Bodymind (in meditation traditions)

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Bodymind is a compound of body and mind and may be used differently in different meditation traditions. These different understandings often inform each other. The Buddhist philosopher, Herbert V. Günther, has stated:

What we call 'body' and 'mind' are mere abstractions from an identity experience that cannot be reduced to the one or the other abstraction, nor can it be hypostatized into some sort of thing without falsifying its very being.[1]

Modern Western culture inherited a Cartesian dualism not evident in many other cultures. As a result of multiculturalism and globalization, the bodymind understood in Navajo and Tibetan cultures as documented by the anthropologist Gold (1994), has dialogued with the bodymind in what is construed as the New Age.

Vajrayana and Zen Buddhism[edit]

In Vajrayana, Mahayana, Theravada and Zen Buddhism the concept of bodymind, or namarupa, is key. In Vajrayana, namarupa is informed by the related doctrines of heartmind and Yogachara's mindstream. Within these traditions, Bodymind is held as a continuüm and field phenomenon. Arpaia and Rapgay discuss the connection of mindbody in the eighth chapter of their book, Tibetan Wisdom for Modern Life , entitled "Health: strengthening the mind-body connection".

David E. Shaner, PhD, coined the compound term "bodymind" in his thesis work at the University of Hawai'i, "The Bodymind Experience in Japanese Buddhism", which he defended in 1979 and published in 1985. Shaner translated the term 心身統一合氣道, Shinshintouitsu Aikidō.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mipham 1973, pp. 15–16


  • Arpaia, Joseph & D. Lobsang Rapgay. 2004. Tibetan Wisdom for Modern Life. Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-1955-1
  • Benson MD, Herbert. 2000 (1975). The Relaxation Response. Harper. ISBN 0-380-81595-8
  • Gold, Peter (1994). Navajo & Tibetan sacred wisdom: the circle of the spirit. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International. ISBN 0-89281-411-X. 
  • Mipham, Lama (Tarthang Tulku, trans.) 1973. Calm and Clear. Emeryville, CA: Dharma Publ. (NB: with forward by Herbert V. Günther)