I have come to India to study Western spiritual tourism, a business that has grown steadily since the 60′s (symbolically marked by the Beatles’ first famous visit to Rishikesh to attend an advanced Transcendental Meditation training session). I want to burrow into the world of spiritual tourism and unearth just how this market works. Where is the money going, what are the demographics involved, how are the local populations being affected? On a philosophical level, what spiritual or emotional goals are spiritual tourists hoping to find? Are they successful?
To accomplish these goals I plan to embed myself into all the different realities of spiritual tourism, from the classic 10-day of silence Vipassana retreats to the bizarrely utopist French community of Auroville to name a few. My plan is to immerse myself into each of these diverse environments and see what revelations come my way. The Dharma Project attempts to document these experiences, giving an inside view into spiritual tourism today.
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