Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Ahmet Yukleyen

Second Advisor

Tamara Warhol

Third Advisor

Robbie Ethridge

Relational Format



Buddhism is a religious tradition that spans the globe, and has erupted in popularity in the United States since the 1960s. This is a study of Thã­ch Nhat Hanh's "mindfulness" practice center, Magnolia Grove Monastery, in Batesville, Mississippi. Participant observation and interviews are implemented to understand the local concerns of its practitioners, and how they deal with these concerns. "Mindfulness" practice is made locally relevant to its practitioners through what I term "localization processes." these processes enable members at the site to negotiate different meanings of this tradition amongst themselves. An individual's "localization process" consists of several "boundaries" or elements that separate practitioners along several lines. This includes language use, the interpretation of religious and meditative practices, and psychosocial elements. Because several groups are using the same site at the same time for multiple reasons, there is ambiguity in the interpretation of what "mindfulness" is, and how it should be interpreted and practiced. Based on my observations and interviews, these interpretations, while different, did not infringe upon other people's interpretation of "mindfulness." this allows members at the site to practice "mindfulness" however they choose.



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