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Mindfulness Vs Buddhism

FrogpondFrogpond California Explorer

Hi all,
I hope everybody is keeping well in these difficult times. As somebody relatively new to all this, I was interested in your take on mindfulness as a movement/practice. Does mindfulness draw on the concentration on the present moment as taught in Buddhism? Anyone recommend anyone /author in the area of mindfulness? I have heard Jon Kabbat Zinn is good.
Any thoughts please share.
Best wishes.


  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2020

    I think you might be hard pressed to find a Buddhist teacher whose description of meditation does not include mindfulness & concentration on this present moment.

    From my Zen perspective I'd be looking out that the mindfulness & concentration that is called for, reflects what is asked for in the Four Noble Truths & Eightfold Path with both those aspects of mentality equally supporting all the other spokes of that Dharma wheel.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 2020

    Mindfulness can be the translation of different things in Sanskrit, Pali, or other languages.

    One example is smirti (Sanskrit) or Sati (Pali)

    When my teacher talks about mindfulness she is usually talking about Sati or smirti

    I think it could refer to other things maybe? Eg single pointed concentration. Eg2 shamata (calm abiding)

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2020

    Good points Jeffrey.

    When speaking of my own meditation, I realize that I think of concentration and mindfulness as the micro and macro views of mentality where concentration refers to a sustained and directable attention like a laser and mindfulness refers to mind-full-ness or a spacious or unlimited accommodation of all things.

    Have you had any practice experience in Tibetan Dzogchen? From the zen side, I find their descriptions of meditation practice to be playfully inspiring.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 2020

    @how my teacher is influenced by Dzogchen as her husband is of that tradition and he is of the Nyingma tradition. She has been influenced by Nyingma and feels connected to that tradition but a lot of her studying and experience with teachers was as a Nun and she had some really wonderful Kagyu teachers in the Mahamudra tradition. She was a translator for awhile and then her teachers asked her to found her own sangha in the west. Her approach has been to make a teaching of what she learned from her teachers but as she finds would work well for western students. So that includes what vocabulary to use. Sometimes 'minting' a new word or using a foreign word or using already existing western words.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The liminal space Veteran
    edited June 2020

    Mindfulness does come from Buddhist meditation, kind of like how yoga comes from Hindu practice. That said meditation is just one aspect of the Buddhist 8 fold path.

    I haven't read his books but I really like listening to Dan Harris's podcast by the same name Ten Percent Happier. His second book is Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics. Currently he's working on a new one Ten Percent Kinder.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Hello @Frogpond. I found mindfulness a really good introduction into Buddhism, its an area of practice that will help you become more aware of yourself and your habits. It’s a separate practice which can be meditative or not, but it’s very gentle and promotes inner peace, without necessarily all the trappings of the Buddhist path.

    A favourite author of mine who straddles the line between Buddhism and mindfulness is Thich Nhat Hanh, a lot of his books use mindfulness techniques without necessarily diving into the depths of Buddhist practice. It’s deceptively simple, but effective when put into practice.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I was interested in your take on mindfulness as a movement/practice.

    Movement is a practice.
    You may not have meant that BUT you have a body and can practice moving it mindfully in:

    • chi kung/tai chi
    • walking meditation
    • yoga posturing
    • Buddhist prostration practice

    Now I am off my cushion to be mindful/aware whilst reading the noose ... eh sorry news ...
    hang in there ...

  • FrogpondFrogpond California Explorer

    Thank you all very much for your responses and insight. Very much appreciated. I can see what you mean that mindfulness is a very useful tool but comprises only part of the kit in the Buddhist toolbox. Mindfulness in movement - I love it @lobster.
    Thank you all. 🙏🏻

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