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Meditation Works in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Daoist TraditionsMeditation Works in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Daoist Traditions

Livia Kohn

Narrated by Tracy Hundley

Available from Audible

Book published by University of Hawaii Press

Meditation is the inward focus of attention in a state of mind where ego-related concerns and critical evaluations are suspended in favor of perceiving a deeper, subtler, and possibly divine flow of consciousness. Usually accompanied by muscle relaxation, it has an overall beneficial and often healing effect. As such, it has made major inroads in Western society, aiding in stress relief, pain management, and various psychiatric conditions.

Research in meditation tends to focus on the concrete healing effects of the practice, working either with a single form or using an indeterminate mixture of practices. So far studies work with minimal typologies often poorly defined and tend to neglect historical and cultural aspects

Meditation Works remedies this shortcoming. Based on extensive cultural studies and long years of practice, the author creates a new typology of meditation based on six distinct ways of access to the subconscious. In a special chapter on each type, she then outlines the physiology, worldview, and traditional practice as well as its modern medical adaptations and organizational settings. In each case, she substantiates her presentation with examples from the Daoist, Buddhist, and Hindu traditions. Providing a thorough theoretical framework combined with a comprehensive, analytical overview, the book greatly advances our understanding of meditation.

Livia Kohn is professor emerita of religion and East Asian studies at Boston University.


“In a masterful way, this book highlights the concepts and practices of Daoist, Buddhist, and Hindu meditation. Supported by personal practice, scientific research, and years of study of classical texts in each tradition, Professor Kohn provides a clear explanation of the similarities and differences between these ancient approaches to self-cultivation and spiritual growth. ”

—Don Davis, Old Dominion University and Tidewater Tai Chi Center

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University Press Audiobooks