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Recent dissertation on the history of mindfulness

DGADGA USA New
edited June 2016 in Arts & Writings

My recent PhD thesis challenges many of the assumptions made about "mindfulness" by its promoters in the media and the workplace. Since this board seems interested in a rational, evidence-based approach to the big questions, I suppose it might find some purchase here.

You can read the full text here:

https://www.academia.edu/25482900/WHAT_IS_ENLIGHTENMENT_MINDFULNESS_IN_THE_MOMENT_OF_STRESS

happy reading...

EDIT: I'm posting a dedicated thread here so that I won't have to include this link in other posts I write here. Thanks.

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited June 2016

    Would you mind please giving us a précis synopsis?
    The work is extremely lengthy, and I for one am not wont to sit and read through a 468-page document (including 30 pages of reference credits) in order to appraise and evaluate your findings...
    What mark did you receive?

    And this one thread & link will do just fine. Thank you.

  • howhow Veteran

    @DGA
    Not sure if you are interested but...

    Roshi Daizui MacPhillamy (now deceased) of Shasta Abbey Buddhist Monastery who was also a clinical psychologist, conducted tests over many years on the effects of meditation on a number of the resident monks.
    I am sure someone there could give you info as to how to track it down.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited June 2016

    My take is that modern mindfulness is a technique Buddhists use to practice the Buddhist path. It is only one aspect though, Buddhism offers philosophical, ethical arms and ultimately holds it all in the context of a liberation theology. In as much as mindfulness teachers present their efforts divorced from these other aspects it isn't really Buddhism. That's not to say that its not valuable, if accepting the Buddhist package was necessary for the average person to access the benefits of mindfulness meditation then I'm sure many fewer people would try it.

    I'm a proponent of the metaphor of a funnel in regards to the breadth of "Buddhist" practices. With secular mindfulness casting a wide net but not very deep narrowing down to deeper more "authentic" practices. I've been listening to Dan Harris' podcast, he's the ABC anchor and author of %10 happier, definitely in the camp of the secular mindfulness crowd. He talks about his skeptical scientific upbringing in regards to what he accepts, but has now been meditating for close to a decade and has upped his daily practice to 2 hours. He regularly asks questions about things like enlightenment and other less tangible elements and self identifies as a Buddhist. He is an example of someone who entered into the shallow end of the meditation pool but has moved towards the deeper part.

    I don't know the answer to this question but I would imagine that looking at how yoga has evolved from a Hindu spiritual practice to forms of physical exercise and what ways that move have affected Hinduism proper may be a good example for how secular mindfulness might evolve and affect Buddhism.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    In the long ago and far away (translation: I can't remember and hence cite the source), I remember reading that Gautama was once asked what the essence of all the teachings was.

    I found the introduction to his response almost as interesting as the response itself.
    Hearing the question, Gautama paused a moment and then...

    Intro: Summoning all of his powers, he replied
    Response: "It's not intellectual."

    lobsterBunksShoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @DGA said:

    happy reading...

    Unreading makes me happier. :3
    ... and back to the naughty corner with the unschooled ... o:)

    @genkaku said:
    Intro: Summoning all of his powers, he replied
    Response: "It's not intellectual."

    <3 Tee Hee!

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @federica said:> Would you mind please giving us a précis synopsis?

    That would be very helpful. An abstract, or a conclusion with bullet points or something.

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:
    My take is that modern mindfulness is a technique Buddhists use to practice the Buddhist path. It is only one aspect though, Buddhism offers philosophical, ethical arms and ultimately holds it all in the context of a liberation theology. In as much as mindfulness teachers present their efforts divorced from these other aspects it isn't really Buddhism. ...

    I'm a proponent of the metaphor of a funnel in regards to the breadth of "Buddhist" practices ... I've been listening to Dan Harris' podcast, he's the ABC anchor and author of %10 happier, definitely in the camp of the secular mindfulness crowd. ...

    I don't know the answer to this question but I would imagine that looking at how yoga has evolved from a Hindu spiritual practice to forms of physical exercise and what ways that move have affected Hinduism proper may be a good example for how secular mindfulness might evolve and affect Buddhism.

    There is a big difference between the Buddhist teacher/student relationship and the one between most mindfulness teachers and their students though, and I think that may prove to be a sticking point. Most people with a western upbringing have a habit of the "primacy of the mind", without placing faith in a particular teacher. That may prove to be a big hurdle to acceptance.

    But as far as it goes I think mindfulness will have a positive effect on the western mind, even without accepting deeper Buddhist principles. I am familiar with Dan Harris, not sure if I rate his approach, but it's a positive in so far as he 'spreads the message'.

    In some ways Yoga has divorced itself somewhat from the eastern spiritual discipline, and perhaps mindfulness will do the same. My feeling is that western minds are somewhat wild and untamed, and that mindfulness will do them good, just because of what it is.

    silverWalker
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