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Other titles in the Oxford Ritual Studies series:

Knowing Body, Moving Mind: Ritualizing and Learning at Two Buddhist Centers in Toronto (Oxford Ritual Studies)


Knowing Body, Moving Mind: Ritualizing and Learning at Two Buddhist Centers in Toronto (Oxford Ritual Studies) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

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Knowing Body, Moving Mind investigates ritualizing and learning in introductory meditation classes at two Buddhist centers in Toronto, Canada. The centers, Friends of the Heart and Chandrakirti, are led and attended by Western (sometimes called "convert') Buddhists: that is, people from non-Buddhist familial and cultural backgrounds. Inspired by theories that suggest that rituals impart new knowledge or understanding, Patricia Campbell examines how introductory meditation students learn through formal Buddhist practice. Along the way, she also explores practitioners' reasons for enrolling in meditation classes, their interests in Buddhism, and their responses to formal Buddhist practices and to ritual in general.

Based on ethnographic interviews and participant-observation fieldwork, the text follows interview participants' reflections on what they learned in meditation classes and through personal practice, and what roles meditation and other ritual practices played in that learning. Participants' learning experiences are illuminated by an influential learning theory called Bloom's Taxonomy, while the rites and practices taught and performed at the centers are explored using performance theory, a method which focuses on the performative elements of ritual's postures and gestures. But the study expands the performance framework as well, by demonstrating that performative ritualizing includes the concentration techniques that take place in a meditator's mind.

Such techniques are received as traditional mental acts or behaviors that are standardized, repetitively performed, and variously regarded as special, elevated, spiritual or religious. Having established a link between mental and physical forms of ritualizing, the study then demonstrates that the repetitive mental techniques of meditation practice train the mind to develop new skills in the same way that physical postures and gestures train the body. The mind is thus experienced as both embodied and gestural, and the whole of the body as socially and ritually informed.

About the Author

Patricia Q. Campbell is a scholar of contemporary western Buddhism and ritual studies. She has published articles based on ethnographic studies of western Buddhists in Canada, and teaches in the areas of ritual studies and eastern religions.

Table of Contents


Chapter One: Friends of the Heart and Chandrakirti Centre: Meditation in Toronto

Friends of the Heart

Chandrakirti Centre


Chapter Two: Discovery Stories

Why Take a Meditation Class?

Chapter Three: Meditation Classes, Rites, and Ritual

Rites of Entry

Opening Prayer


Talks or Lectures

Group Discussion and Socializing

Closing Rites

Ritual and Introductory Meditation Classes

Ritualization and Ritualizing

Performance Theory and Restoration of Behavior


Chapter Four: Beyond Knowledge

Bloom's Taxonomy

Cognitive Learning

Affective Learning

Psychomotor Learning

A Fourth Domain?

"Practice" as Changing Behavior


Chapter Five: The Ritualizing Body-Mind

Ritualizing and Decorum


Learning, Experimentation and Invariance

Cognitive Learning and Ritualizing

Ritualizing and Meditation

Meditation and Embodied Knowing


Chapter Six: Learning is Change

Newcomers, Learning and Change

Teacher's Objectives


Appendix: Student Interview Participants by Name



Product Details

Campbell, Patricia Q.
Oxford University Press, USA
Patricia Q Campbell
null, Patricia Q
Theology | Symbol, Ritual
Religion & Theology | Symbol, Ritual & Practice
Religion-Eastern - General
Publication Date:
6.4 x 9.3 x 0.9 in 0.7 lb

Related Subjects

Religion » Christianity » Devotionals
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » General

Knowing Body, Moving Mind: Ritualizing and Learning at Two Buddhist Centers in Toronto (Oxford Ritual Studies) New Hardcover
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