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Ori Mautner (2016)

Ori Mautner (2016)

Research Title: Between ‘Repairing the Self’ and ‘Repairing the World’: The Practice of Insight Meditation among Israeli Jews

Supervisor: Professor James Laidlaw


Ori Mautner’s research examines the practice of insight meditation (vipassanā)—contemplative and ascetic techniques that originate in Theravāda Buddhism—by two groups of Israeli Jews operating in Israel and the occupied West Bank. The first group consists of orthodox Jews who utilize insight meditation for realizing goals that the Jewish tradition advocates. The second consists of secular (i.e., non-observant) Jews whose ‘Engaged Dharma’ practice involves not only meditative introspection, but also human rights and solidarity activism among Palestinians.

In his dissertation, Ori discusses the various ways in which his orthodox Jewish interlocutors relate their practice of insight meditation to Jewish ethics, mysticism, religious-nationalism and therapy; and how his secular Jewish interlocutors connect their practice of Dharma and meditation to radical forms of political action. Moreover, Ori analyses how in both settings, meditation is linked to notions of intimacy, friendship, solidarity and hospitality.

Ori received his MA (Magna Cum Laude) in 2016 from the department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University, where he also worked as a research and teaching assistant for three years. Previously, Ori studied at Tel Aviv University’s ‘Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students’.  

Research Interests

The anthropology of ethics; mysticism and spirituality; political activism; ethno-nationalism; liberalism and non-liberalism; secularism; intimacy; therapy and healing; Buddhism; Judaism; insight meditation (vipassanā).