This article demonstrates that the international experience of and response to meditation retreats in Thailand has many faces – from travelers who mix meditation with a beach vacation to serious practitioners with hopes of becoming ordained; from accidental religious tourists to people who intend to change their lives. All of this diversity illustrates the various routes by which hybrid religiosities are created. The portraits of international meditators discussed here illustrate the extent to which meditation has become divorced from the Thai Buddhist context. International meditators selectively appropriate aspects of the meditation retreat according to their personal motivations and goals. An experience of the exotic, a connection with nature, a way to recover from addiction, and catharsis are all discourses with which international meditators engage when participating in a meditation retreat.
(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 6/2013, Page 1-24)
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