Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Buddhism’s Theravāda: Meditation

  • John ThompsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9249

In all forms of Buddhism, philosophical study (especially Abhidhamma) and monastic discipline are deeply interwoven with the practice of meditation (bhāvanā, “cultivation”). The latter, of course, has attracted much attention in the West, with many people virtually equating “meditation” with Buddhism in its entirety. In actuality, the term “meditation” is very vague and can cover many practices of sustained concentration, but in the Buddhist context, it should not be viewed apart from other aspects of Dhamma. Moreover, the temptation for Westerners to view all forms of Buddhism in terms of psychology can be very misleading, as Buddhist teachings and practices generally are based on very different concerns than those shared by most contemporary Westerners, and the ethical and soteriological aspects of the Dhammamay not square very well with the secular nature of psychology as a discipline. Yet, it is undeniable that Buddhist teachings and techniques of meditation share a strong...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Christopher Newport UniversityNewport NewsUSA