Cultural Histories of Meditation

Main conference at Halvorsbøle outside of Oslo

May 2010

Arrangement committee: Svend Davanger, Halvor Eifring, Terje Stordalen, University of Oslo

This first-ever international conference comparing meditative traditions globally was held in Norway in May 2010, with financial support from the University of Oslo, the National Tsing Hua University and Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation. Forty recognised scholars from Europe, North America and Asia presented papers on meditative practices within Western monotheistic mysticism, Indic yoga and tantra, the various strands of Buddhism, as well as Daoism and Confucianism; cognitive and biomedical perspectives on meditation were also represented.

From left: Laurence Fine, Terje Stordalen and Michael Swartz. Photo: Torbjørn Hobbel

The main goal of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary work is to establish a more culture-independent framework for describing and analyzing meditative practices.This will in turn improve our understanding of the relation between technical practice and cultural interpretation. The papers provided at the conference provided interesting and valuable preliminary insight to these topics.

Event programme.


The conference resulted in four publications:

Asian Traditions of Meditation. Edited by Halvor Eifring. University of Hawai'i Press. 2016.

Meditation and Culture. The Interplay of Practice and Context. Edited by Halvor Eifring. Bloomsbury Academic. 2015

Hindu, Buddhist and Daoist Meditation: Cultural Histories. Edited by Halvor Eifring. Hermes. 2014.

Meditation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Cultural Histories. Edited by Halvor Eifring. Bloomsbury Academic. 2013.

Participants at the Cultural Histories of Meditation at Halvorsbøle near Oslo. Photo: Torbjørn Hobbel

Published Sep. 19, 2016 7:11 PM - Last modified Sep. 19, 2016 8:36 PM