Ben wrote:Comments welcome but please read the article in its entirety first.
It's a refreshing article in the sense that it acknowledges various viewpoints, rather than just hammering home the same tired old arguments against "corporate mindfulness" that are rooted in the contentious, divisive, and academically dubious frameworks of cultural appropriation
and critical race theory
. (Admittedly there is some of that in the article, but as I said, it does acknowledge various viewpoints...)
To that end, it avoids the hypocrisy and double standards of many of the published articles which discuss such matters. For example, it has the integrity to note that...
Loncke and other mindfulness critics belong to an engaged Buddhist movement that itself is open to criticism for the appropriation of Buddhism, hitching the tradition to a progressive political agenda. “There’s nothing necessarily inherent in the Buddhist tradition that would lend itself to leftist politics,” said McMahan. “I’m sympathetic to engaged Buddhism,” he added. “But that’s more about me and my politics than it is about Buddhism.” The Buddha wasn’t mindfully coding apps—but he wasn’t scrawling lefty placards, either.
Engaged Buddhists, meanwhile, tend to link broad Buddhist notions like nonviolence (ahimsa) or generosity (dana) to contemporary political issues. Ikeda warned against such “cherry-picking through Buddhist sources” or “finding nuggets of things and saying ‘aha, this supports my point.’” She contrasted this approach with a “logical and thoughtful evolution” of the religion, which she says engaged Buddhism can provide.
Such transparency, nuance and honesty is rare in such pieces, as it's typically these so-called Engaged Buddhists who appear to be the most heavily invested in influencing and controlling the narrative on how other people choose to understand and practice mindfulness (as if such private matters of spiritual autonomy are matters of public concern).
Perhaps the corrective for appropriation, in either case, is proper citation. That’s what Ikeda, the East Bay Meditation Center teacher, wants, demanding of Western Buddhists “not only awareness” of source cultures “but attribution and acknowledgment.”
... and this, appears to be a sensible middle way to me. Citation and acknowledgement enables people to be better informed about the origin of certain practices, and be empowered to make more informed choices - all without recourse to the unwholesomeness of heavy-handed cultural authoritarianism
, or incessant complaining