Thinking Outside the Academic Box: An Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation for Education


  • Deborah Orr York University


mindfulness, Nagarjuna, Wittgenstein, contemplative education


This paper focuses on uses of contemplative practices drawn primarily from the Vipassana and Zen traditions to develop learning in three areas: to enhance students’ learning, address oppressive discourses, and develop a world-view grounded in non-essentialism and interconnectedness. The philosophical work of Nagarjuna, which is foundational to thought across the Buddhist traditions, is used to explore key Buddhist concepts. This is supplemented by Wittgenstein’s mature work on language-games to provide an holistic understanding of the person who engages in these practices, thus developing an understanding of why they “work” not only on cognition but in the areas of emotion, somatic experience and praxis as well.

Author Biography

Deborah Orr, York University

Professor Deborah Orr is an Associate Professor in the Division of Humanities and the Humanities Graduate Program and in the Graduate Program in Humanities, Religion, Values and Culture Field, Her research and teaching bring a philosophical perspective to issues in the areas of gender, ethics, embodiment, spirituality, and pedagogy. Deborah has been active in organizing a series of conferences on holistic teaching and learning. She also teaches Iyengar method yoga, meditation, and philosophy.



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