Transcendental Meditation and the Art of Living Foundation

AoL East and West - A Study of the Art of Living Foundation - Inga Bårdsen Tøllefsen

Inga Bårdsen Tøllefsen [+-]
University of Tromsø.
Inga Bårdsen Tøllefsen is currently a PhD candidate in Religious Studies at the University of Tromsø. Her research interests include new religious movements (especially Indian-oriented movements) and the New Age, religion and gender, and religion and nature. She has published a number of articles (including on Art of Living) and book reviews in international academic journals, and has several articles forthcoming. Additionally she is co-editor of the forthcoming Nordic New Religions (Brill),
Milda Alisauskiene [+-]
Vytautas Magnus University
Associate professor at Department of Sociology, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania Director of New Religions Research and Information Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
James R. Lewis [+-]
Wuhan University
James R. Lewis is Professor of Philosophy in the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University. He is well-published in the field of new religious movements. His publications and edited volumes include The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, Controversial New Religions (with Jesper Petersen), Scientology, Children of Jesus and Mary (with Nicholas Levine), and, most recently, Violence and New Religious Movements.


This chapter summarizes the history of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and its history in the West (and especially in North America), chronicling periods of less or more mainstreaming on TM’s part – moving from world peace and psychedelics in the Beatles era to science as a way of attracting the ‘Average Joanna’ practitioner in later years. The chapter also examines schisms from TM, including the Robin Carlsen case and, notably, that of the Art of Living Foundation (AoL). AoL became a global movement in a relative short period of time. In addition to exploring the likelihood of schisms from AoL, the chapter also assesses controversial (and non-controversial) interactions between AoL, TM and the mass media.

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Bårdsen Tøllefsen, Inga; Ališauskienė, Milda; Lewis, James R.. Transcendental Meditation and the Art of Living Foundation. AoL East and West - A Study of the Art of Living Foundation. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2024. ISBN 9781781791332. Date accessed: 01 Dec 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.22334. Oct 2024

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