Martijn van Beek, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and based at the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University in Denmark. He lived and worked among Tibetan Buddhist communities for extended periods since the early 1980s, particularly in Ladakh. His earlier research examined the nexus between development, religious identification, and the dynamics of communal conflict. For the past several years, his research has focused on contemplative practices, lineages, and communities in the contemporary world, in the West as well as in Asia. He has a particular academic as well as personal interest in the refiguring of contemplative life in the context of normative secularism and the scientific worldview. Together with colleagues in the cognitive and health sciences, he has been involved in (neuro-) scientific research on contemplative practices and their effects and is particularly interested in the methodological and conceptual challenges of experimental and experiential research on contemplative practices and contemplative life. He collaborates closely with colleagues from a number of disciplines to explore the potential of “microphenomenological” elicitation interviews for contemplative research, teaching, and practice. Together with other members of the Danish Society for the Promotion of Life Wisdom in Children, he is also involved in research and practice in contemplative education, including through the teacher training programme Training Empathy, to help school teachers facilitate the unfolding of children’s innate potential for presence and empathy. He is affiliated with Vaekstcenteret, a contemplative community in Denmark.

This profile was last updated on January 1, 2016

Mind & Life Connections


2016 Summer Research Institute Session

Contemplative Life: An Anthropological Perspective

Martijn van Beek

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom | Interconnection

2016 Summer Research Institute Session

Interdisciplinary Panel & Small Groups

Panel: Andreas Roepstorff, Catherine Kerr, Laurence J. Kirmayer, David McMahan, Martijn van Beek, Carol Worthman

Topics: Interconnection | Self & Other


2014 International Symposium for Contemplative Studies Session

Concurrent Session 3 – Integration and Engagement: Personal and Professional Practice in the Lab, the Clinic, and Education

Lone Fjorback, Andreas Roepstorff, Martijn van Beek

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Education | Mindfulness