The Robert H. N. Ho Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies supports scholarship in the rapidly expanding field of Buddhist Studies. Professor Stuart was awarded a fellowship for an interdisciplinary collaborative project with two scholars from Brown University—Jared R. Lindahl and Willoughby B. Britton—entitled Liberating the Impurities from the Body: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Somatic Experiences among American and Indian Meditators in the Goenka Vipassanā Tradition. The three collaborators will write a series of interdisciplinary papers providing insight into forms of meditation practice that are rapidly becoming part and parcel of modern Western life—in the context of healthcare, new age cultures, and psychiatric treatment—even though they are poorly understood.
The Fulbright Program supports international exchange at the level of teaching and research. Professor Stuart was awarded a nine-month research fellowship for his next book project, Insight in Perspective: The Fashioning of the Modern Vipassanā Tradition in India. This project is a historical and ethnographic study of the modern insight (vipassanā) meditation tradition that came out of Burma in the 1960s, took root in India, and spread to the rest of Asia and the West. The project fills a key historical gap by exposing how Indian Vipassana straddles the more traditional, cultic frames of Burmese mindfulness and the modern, transnational frames that are prevalent today. Stuart’s study shows how the Indian Vipassana movement negotiates multiple ethnic and religious identities, and how current "non-sectarian" practices emerge from the context of post-colonial Indian secular pluralism.