Title

Meditation, Trauma and Suffering in Silence: Raising Questions about How Meditation is Taught and Practiced in Western Contexts in the Light of a Contemporary Trauma Resiliency Model

Publication Date

7-3-2014

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Although there are very few published studies on the issue, there is much anecdotal evidence that, despite all its undisputed benefits, meditation practice can have psychologically deleterious effects. In this paper I will describe a body-based model for understanding trauma, the Trauma Resiliency model, and suggest it might be a helpful tool in anticipating, preventing and/or mitigating these effects. I will argue that Buddhist traditions are replete with frameworks, tools and techniques for addressing some of the psychological pitfalls highlighted. However, some of these methods may have been ‘lost in translation’ as Buddhist meditation training has been adapted for a Western audience. I will make the case that, somewhat ironically, in operational terms some of the secular modalities for teaching mindfulness (such as MBSR) may be psychologically ‘safer’ than those offered in a (Western) Buddhist context. I will call for further inquiry about how to mitigate and protect against psychological harms in Buddhist meditation training.

Publication Title

Contemporary Buddhism

Volume

15

Issue

2

First Page

274

Last Page

297

DOI

10.1080/14639947.2014.935264

Version

pre-print, post-print

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