Conference: Buddhist Meditation: History, Culture, Development, Science



Conference: Buddhist Meditation: History, Culture, Development, Science


Fri., Feb 28 2014 - 12:00 PM to Sun., Mar 2 2014 - 7:00 AM

The Buddhist Studies Group at the University of Virginia, an organization devoted to promoting the academic field of Buddhist Studies, is organizing a conference with support from the Contemplative Sciences Center. The conference, coinciding with surge in interest in meditation and contemplation both within the U.Va. community as well as in society at large, will be held at U.Va. on Feb 28-Mar 2, 2014. A bright and dynamic figure in the field of Buddhist Studies, Dr. George Dreyfus, will give the keynote speech and act as moderator. Before receiving his PhD at the University of Virginia in 1991, from age nineteen Dreyfus lived and studied extensively in a Tibetan Monastery, culminating in his receiving the highest possible degree bestowed in the Tibetan monastic system of education. Dr. Dreyfus’s work thoughtfully engages the new and evolving partnership between religious studies scholars and scientists. His participation is guaranteed to attract a wide audience. The conference will include thematically organized panel presentations from currently enrolled PhD and MA students from around the country. The panels will address current issues in the study of Buddhist meditation as they relate to psychological interventions, meditative practice, issues of geography and culture, and the literature on meditation. This conference, which follows upon a successful conference from the previous year, promises to provide valuable opportunities for emerging scholars to present and develop their research, form collaborative relationships with peers, and directly participate in framing new and experimental discourses that will drive the field in the coming years.


Friday, February 28

5:00-6:15pm:  Keynote Talk:

George Dreyfus, Williams College
"Taking Meditation Seriously (but not too much)"
Nau Hall 101

6:15-7:00pm: Reception

Saturday, March 1

8:45-10:00am: Meditation Study Design Charrette Part 1 (Breakfast served) (Nau Hall 211)

All panel discussions below will take place in Gibson 211.

10:00-11:30am: Panel 1: Pathways to Resilience: Contemplative (De)Constructions of the Self
11:45am-1:15pm: Panel 2: Holding the Un-held Mind: Precept and Practice in Buddhist Contemplation
2:15-3:30pm: Meditation Study Design Charrette Part 2
3:30-5:00pm: Panel 3: There and Back Again: Traversing Cultural Terrain and Contemplative Geographies

5:00-5:30pm: Coffee/Tea Break
5:30-6:45pm: Second Keynote Talk:

Erik Braun, University of Oklahoma
"The Queen and the Monk: How Colonialism Sparked
the Global Insight Meditation Movement"
Nau Hall 211

Sunday, March 2

8:45-10:00am: Meditation Study Design Charrette Part 3: Conclusions (Breakfast served) (Nau Hall 211)
10:00-11:30am: Panel 4: Contemplative Literature (Gibson 211)

Conference Website:

All sessions are open to the public.
For more information, visit:

Key People: Graduate Students: Naomi Worth; Christopher Hiebert; Natasha Mikles; Nicholas Trautz; K. Nyima Cape; James Fair. Kurtis Schaeffer, Professor and Department Chair. All organizers are from the University of Virginia’s Department of Religious Studies.