Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

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Kusala
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Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by Kusala » Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:29 am

"In the Western corporate culture, in the rush to secularise it, Mindfulness have been turned into a technique divorced from ethical responsibility. In fact, its training and promotional ventures are highly commercialized often associated with a high price tag."

Thoughts?

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 57,0,0,1,0
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He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

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gavesako
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by gavesako » Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:05 am

A few quotations:


From Monastery to Marketplace

Mindfulness is no longer just a form of meditation—it’s a lifestyle that can be bought and sold. Is there an upside?Jeff Wilson:

Alidina is an example of a new figure on the economic landscape: the professional mindfulness instructor. Non-monks like Alidinia who earn much or all of their income through teaching mindfulness in secular settings now number in the many hundreds, perhaps thousands, and can be found in every Western country. The existence of such instructors attests to the mass-marketing and commercial diversification of mindfulness, and to the fact that it has become a big business. According to federal data, Americans spend billions every year on mindfulness courses, books, and related products.

At first blush, mindfulness may seem like the ultimate anti-product, immune to the capitalist impulse. Indeed, the origin of mindfulness as a practice in Asian monastic communities seeking transcendence of the worldly makes it an unlikely candidate for adoption by non-Buddhist urban fashionistas, suburban hockey dads, and tech cognoscenti. But it’s never a good idea to bet against the ingenuity of late capitalism to find a way to make a buck off anything and everything. To make mindfulness saleable, it has been submitted to processes of recontextualization, adaptation, and creative application to meet the desires of new consumers.

http://www.tricycle.com/blog/monastery-marketplace

Muse/Calm isn’t the first Buddhist-inspired meditation app on the market. Popular smartphone apps like Headspace, Rewire, and buddhify all credit Buddhism as an inspiration, if only fleeting. I see these apps as a heightened version of Buddhist modernism, or the deinstitutionalization, demythologization, and psychologicalization of Buddhism. Simply put, it is the removal of institution, hierarchy, mythology, and other pesky religious rituals, paired with the transformation of one small aspect of Buddhism—meditation—into a contemplative practice. Digitizing meditation adds another layer: the gamification of spirituality. Interactive mindfulness technology is absolving our need for communication with and affirmation from traditional offline authorities. For non-Judeo-Christian religions, this is greeted with open arms, as practicing communities are usually too distant or scattered for regular, direct communication, if you even wanted it. The app becomes our own personalized authority: Siri for our psyche. ...

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/buddhism-gamified

"The corporate world sees that it can make its workers more self-reliant, balanced and focused. What could be better? Take your medicine, because the mindfulness movement is symptomatic of what late capitalism requires of us. A contemplative space opens up where religion used to be. We learn techniques to make us more efficient. This neutered, apolitical approach is to help us personally – it has nothing to say on the structural difficulties that we live with. It lets go of the idea that we can change the world; it merely helps us function better in it."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... just-world

Are you a high achieving woman who wants to have a big impact? Do you find yourself exhausted and anxious as you strive to succeed? We have a new solution for you! It’s called Mindfulness Based Achievement and includes a set of tools that will revolutionize your life and give you the ability to achieve your goals with ease and joy. Lisa Abramson and Vanessa Loder are two high achieving women who are passionate about bridging business and technology with mindfulness and personal growth. With successful careers in finance, investing, media and PR and a toolbox full of mindfulness techniques, we are setting out to create a revolution in the way we pursue and attain our goals.

http://akoyapower.com/mindfulness-based-achievement/

Forget greed is good... now mindfulness is City's mantra

* Soaring numbers of financiers in London finding solace in 'mindfulness'. * Form of relief draws on ancient Buddhist ideas to fight mental suffering. * Encourages people to slow themselves down and 'inhabit the moment'.
Wall Street’s best investors are turning to a surprising money-making strategy

The idea that Type-A traders are seeking profit with the same tool that Buddhist monks use to achieve enlightenment might seem like sacrilege. Yet most people misunderstand meditation, says Jay Michaelson, author of “Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment.”
“Meditation used to have this reputation as a hippie thing for people who speak in a particularly soft tone of voice,” Michaelson says. Not so. “Samurai practiced meditation to become more effective killers,” he says. So too did kamikaze pilots. “It’s value neutral,” Michaelson says.

Workers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) are folding into the lotus position in droves, says Elizabeth Sudler, an instructor the firm retains. Classes where students breathe and monitor their wandering minds have waiting lists several hundred long, Goldman spokesman David Wells says. One trader there gets a twinge in his gut when he senses a move in the markets, Sudler says. Meditating gives him an edge, he told her, by tuning into that sensation more reliably. Others report downshifting more easily after work and sleeping better at night. “Goldman employees are under a lot of pressure to produce,” Sudler says. “No one wants to be left behind.”

http://thecrux.com/some-of-wall-streets ... -strategy/

:shrug:
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:30 am

The important thing is to get the patient to take the medicine.

From the Story of Jīvaka
When Caṇḍappajjota, king of Ujjeni, was ill, Bimbisāra lent Jīvaka to him. Caṇḍappajjota hated ghee, which was, however, the only remedy. Jīvaka prepared the medicine, prescribed it for the king, then rode away on the king’s elephant Bhaddavatikā before the king discovered the nature of the medicine. Pajjota, in a rage, ordered his capture and sent his slave Kāka after him. Kāka discovered Jīvaka breakfasting at Kosambī and allowed himself to be persuaded to eat half a myrobalan, which purged him violently. Jīvaka explained to Kāka that he wished to delay his return; he told him why he had fled from the court and, having returned the elephant, proceeded to Rājagaha. Pajjota was cured and, as a token of his favour, sent Jīvaka a suit of Sīveyyaka cloth, which Jīvaka presented to the Buddha (Vin.i.268-81; AA.i.216).
If people can be persuaded to take the medicine of mindfulness, they will gradually become more aware of the innermost workings of their minds. Faith in the Buddha may come later if they develop their practice well enough.
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Mkoll
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by Mkoll » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:46 am

Overall, something is better than nothing.

:juggling:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

meindzai
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by meindzai » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:39 pm

Reading some of the "product" descriptions does make me shudder a bit.

Is this really new? I'm pretty sure many martial arts were based on bastardized forms of Buddhism, which makes for a kind of historic precedent. (The title of this book made me laugh: (When Buddhists Attack: The Curious Relationship Between Zen and the Martial Arts)

I'm willing to bet that a large portion of us here on this forum came across Buddhism by way of something that wasn't really Buddhism, or at least not theravada. I started meditating because I wanted to cure my A.D.D. (that worked out well...) I certainly wasn't interested in cleaning up my act (sila) at the time!

-Dave K

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Mkoll
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by Mkoll » Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:24 pm

meindzai wrote:(The title of this book made me laugh: (When Buddhists Attack: The Curious Relationship Between Zen and the Martial Arts)
:lol:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by m0rl0ck » Thu Aug 14, 2014 12:54 am

Mindfulness reaveals peoples real motives and motivations to them so that they are more likely to make good (in both the ethical and utilitarian senses) decisions. I cant see how this harms anyone.
Its seems to me that eventually someone practicing mindfulness would begin to see through the myths and symbols that may be controlling them.

What occurs to me when i see this debate is why do some seem to feel as if something is being taken from them? Nobody has a patent on paying attention. Is it better if the world is totally blind or only in one eye?
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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gavesako
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by gavesako » Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:26 am

At a recent meeting of Buddhist monks in England, it was suggested that we use the Pali word "sati" rather than "mindfulness" when we teach and explain what it means in its proper context. The reason is that, unlike say 20 years ago, "mindfulness" has become a mainstream buzz-word and appropriated by the commercial sector to such an extent that it lost much of its original connotation ("sati" as part of the eightfold path of Buddhist practice). Whereas 20 years ago, Buddhist monks were pretty much the only people talking about mindfulness and in a way reviving the relevance of this obsolete word (and giving it a new meaning within the Buddhist context), now it looks like we will soon need an official certificate from a recognized Mindfulness School to be allowed to teach about "mindfulness"...

:soap:
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Dinsdale
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:01 am

gavesako wrote:...now it looks like we will soon need an official certificate from a recognized Mindfulness School to be allowed to teach about "mindfulness"...
. :soap:
:D
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Mkoll
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by Mkoll » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:26 am

gavesako wrote:At a recent meeting of Buddhist monks in England, it was suggested that we use the Pali word "sati" rather than "mindfulness" when we teach and explain what it means in its proper context. The reason is that, unlike say 20 years ago, "mindfulness" has become a mainstream buzz-word and appropriated by the commercial sector to such an extent that it lost much of its original connotation ("sati" as part of the eightfold path of Buddhist practice). Whereas 20 years ago, Buddhist monks were pretty much the only people talking about mindfulness and in a way reviving the relevance of this obsolete word (and giving it a new meaning within the Buddhist context), now it looks like we will soon need an official certificate from a recognized Mindfulness School to be allowed to teach about "mindfulness"...

:soap:
Sounds like a good idea. It would probably be good to use more Pali words in general rather than English translations, or at least mentioned alongside them. I think it's edifying and it avoids the problems that come with using just a single English word without mention of what the Pali is.

And one can replace "English" with any language other than Pali in what I just said.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

SarathW
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by SarathW » Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:19 am

m0rl0ck wrote:Mindfulness reaveals peoples real motives and motivations to them so that they are more likely to make good (in both the ethical and utilitarian senses) decisions. I cant see how this harms anyone.
Its seems to me that eventually someone practicing mindfulness would begin to see through the myths and symbols that may be controlling them.

What occurs to me when i see this debate is why do some seem to feel as if something is being taken from them? Nobody has a patent on paying attention. Is it better if the world is totally blind or only in one eye?
I have to agree with you.
I was born to Buddhist parents in a Buddhist country.
Majority of people do not have a clue about Buddha's teaching.
We have borrowed many Pali words from Buddhism and use them in a wrong context.
I picked up my knowledge in Buddhism only about few years ago by reading English literature.
This problem was there even in Buddha's time.
Buddha also borrowed words from others and gave his own interpretation!
:shrug:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Dinsdale
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:07 am

Mkoll wrote: It would probably be good to use more Pali words in general rather than English translations, or at least mentioned alongside them. I think it's edifying and it avoids the problems that come with using just a single English word without mention of what the Pali is.
Yes, definitely, and people can get stuck on single-word translations - "dukkha" is a good example of that.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by m0rl0ck » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:40 am

Mkoll wrote: Sounds like a good idea. It would probably be good to use more Pali words in general rather than English translations, or at least mentioned alongside them. I think it's edifying and it avoids the problems that come with using just a single English word without mention of what the Pali is.

And one can replace "English" with any language other than Pali in what I just said.
Yes, if you have to use the pali, please put the english along side it. Occasionally in chat someone will stop in and every other word seems to be pali. They are such erudite, intellectual Buddhists that its impossible to understand them. Im sure if the buddha were with us today he would have no trouble communicating in english.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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gavesako
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by gavesako » Thu Aug 14, 2014 3:18 pm

Ajahn Sucitto just wrote a short article explaining "sati" in its original context and application:

http://cittaviveka.org/index.php/teachi ... indfulness
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
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Viscid
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Re: Mindfulness: A Secularized Buddhist Practice in the West

Post by Viscid » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:00 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:Yes, if you have to use the pali, please put the english along side it. Occasionally in chat someone will stop in and every other word seems to be pali. They are such erudite, intellectual Buddhists that its impossible to understand them. Im sure if the buddha were with us today he would have no trouble communicating in english.
But, (as I'm sure we've discussed before,) when reading a word, we bring our entire history of associations with that word into its interpretation. With an exotic word, we are totally open to associate that word with novel meaning. Thus, the subtle difference in the meaning of the word 'sati' as intended by Theravadin Buddhists may be understood, and not conflated with what 'mindfulness' has come to mean in Western culture.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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