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The mindfulness conspiracy

Interesting article in The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jun/14/the-mindfulness-conspiracy-capitalist-spirituality

The hypothesis seems to be that how mindfulness is being adopted plays into the hands of those with vested interest in how the world (supposedly) is because it encourages people to accept things for how they are and to change themselves rather than change a world that (supposedly) needs to be changed.

Thoughts?

Comments

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I think its true that that is what mindfulness does, but...

    1) “Where would I find enough leather
    To cover the entire surface of the earth?
    But with leather soles beneath my feet,
    It’s as if the whole world has been covered.”

    That idea goes back to way before capitalism, so I don't think it can be said to be a capitalist conspiracy.

    2) Changing the way people think about and react to the world does change the world. If mindfulness makes people less addicted to consumption that quite directly weakens a consumerist society. Its about whether change comes from within or without, I'd say it can come from both.

    JeffreyKundo
  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran

    The side-effect of mindfulness is compassion. This benefits society.
    But I doubt if mindfulness will ever become an epidemic in society!

    ShoshinKundo
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I don’t think that accepting things as they are is necessarily a bad outcome, after all things really are like that. But if you look at advanced mindfulness practitioners like Thich Nhat Hanh before he had his stroke, he was a strong proponent for the practicalities of peace between peoples, he gave a beautiful retreat in 2013 to which a number of Israeli’s and Palestinians were invited together. So it seems that mindfulness and activism can go together.

    Perhaps the problem is how mindfulness teachers are themselves taught. Mindfulness does not mean you ignore difficult issues, instead it provides a different blade for separating what is important from what is not.

    adamcrossleyperson
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 14

    You can use mindfulness to pay attention to anything. You can become a better gardener or sniper.

    But if the mindfulness is used to attend to our experience with clarity and perceive the true nature of ourself and the world then it is a good use of mindfulness surely.

    A second thing comes to mind is that Buddhism does not try to "fix samsara"... Samsara cannot be fixed. But that doesn't mean we go to some extreme of doing nothing political just we know we cannot fix samsara. Nirvana doesn't need to be fixed. There is a story of Milarepa who was meditating in a cave. He did not uproot the stinging nettles that were outside his cave and instead meditated. I suppose maybe he uprooted a few. But if he set on the course to uproot all stinging nettles on earth he would still be doing that until his death and would never have meditated in retreat... There are always endless crap to do. That doesn't mean we can't be political etc just that if we are too focused on that we are "trying to fix samsara".

    Shoshinpersonlobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @FoibleFull said:
    The side-effect of mindfulness is compassion.

    Is it?
    Some have noted that minedfoolness makes us potentially a better stock exchange shark, sniper, Mistress of Zen or consumerist unboxer

    But I doubt if mindfulness will ever become an epidemic in society!

    Strangely enough I believe increased attention/awareness/meditative mind is exactly where we are moving towards ... in time ...

    Mindful? Pah! Heartful!

    Iz plan.

    federicaFosdick
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @lobster said:

    @FoibleFull said:
    The side-effect of mindfulness is compassion.

    Is it?
    Some have noted that minedfoolness makes us potentially a better stock exchange shark, sniper, Mistress of Zen or consumerist unboxer

    Apparently there is a difference in philosophy around this point between Mahayana and Theravada. From what I've heard when this topic came up in one of HHDL's Mind and Life conferences Theravadins say that mindfulness has a positive quality to it and Mahayanists say it is neutral.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited June 15

    @person said:

    @lobster said:

    @FoibleFull said:
    The side-effect of mindfulness is compassion.

    Is it?
    Some have noted that minedfoolness makes us potentially a better stock exchange shark, sniper, Mistress of Zen or consumerist unboxer

    Apparently there is a difference in philosophy around this point between Mahayana and Theravada. From what I've heard when this topic came up in one of HHDL's Mind and Life conferences Theravadins say that mindfulness has a positive quality to it and Mahayanists say it is neutral.

    Some might, but that's not true across the board. Theravada doesn't consider all forms of mindfulness or recollection as wholesome, only those arising out of wholesome mental states. For example, forms that are connected with tahna, such as recollecting something out of lust, aren't considered wholesome or sati in the proper sense used in the practice (samma sati). The same with those arising out of anger or hatred. Sati, while commonly called mindfulness, is a technical term denoting a specific form of recollection involving wholesome mental factors (i.e., the Abhidhammic literature defines sati as "non-forgetfulness of what is wholesome"). Recollection (sanna) itself is neutral, however, taking its moral colour from the mental factors conditioning it.

    KeromepersonlobsterFosdick
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @Jason said:

    @person said:

    @lobster said:

    @FoibleFull said:
    The side-effect of mindfulness is compassion.

    Is it?
    Some have noted that minedfoolness makes us potentially a better stock exchange shark, sniper, Mistress of Zen or consumerist unboxer

    Apparently there is a difference in philosophy around this point between Mahayana and Theravada. From what I've heard when this topic came up in one of HHDL's Mind and Life conferences Theravadins say that mindfulness has a positive quality to it and Mahayanists say it is neutral.

    Some might, but that's not true across the board. Theravada doesn't consider all forms of mindfulness or recollection as wholesome, only those arising out of wholesome mental states. For example, forms that are connected with tahna, such as recollecting something out of lust, aren't considered wholesome or sati in the proper sense used in the practice (samma sati). The same with those arising out of anger or hatred. Sati, while commonly called mindfulness, is a technical term denoting a specific form of recollection involving wholesome mental factors (i.e., the Abhidhammic literature defines sati as "non-forgetfulness of what is wholesome." Recollection (sanna) itself is neutral, however, taking its moral colour from the mental factors conditioning it.

    So it technically isn't sati unless it is directed towards something wholesome, otherwise it would be considered sanna?

    I wish I could remember exactly where in the conferences this topic came up. It was between Mattieu Ricard and a Pali scholar who was presenting that session.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited June 15

    @person said:

    @Jason said:

    @person said:

    @lobster said:

    @FoibleFull said:
    The side-effect of mindfulness is compassion.

    Is it?
    Some have noted that minedfoolness makes us potentially a better stock exchange shark, sniper, Mistress of Zen or consumerist unboxer

    Apparently there is a difference in philosophy around this point between Mahayana and Theravada. From what I've heard when this topic came up in one of HHDL's Mind and Life conferences Theravadins say that mindfulness has a positive quality to it and Mahayanists say it is neutral.

    Some might, but that's not true across the board. Theravada doesn't consider all forms of mindfulness or recollection as wholesome, only those arising out of wholesome mental states. For example, forms that are connected with tahna, such as recollecting something out of lust, aren't considered wholesome or sati in the proper sense used in the practice (samma sati). The same with those arising out of anger or hatred. Sati, while commonly called mindfulness, is a technical term denoting a specific form of recollection involving wholesome mental factors (i.e., the Abhidhammic literature defines sati as "non-forgetfulness of what is wholesome." Recollection (sanna) itself is neutral, however, taking its moral colour from the mental factors conditioning it.

    So it technically isn't sati unless it is directed towards something wholesome, otherwise it would be considered sanna?

    I wish I could remember exactly where in the conferences this topic came up. It was between Mattieu Ricard and a Pali scholar who was presenting that session.

    From the Theravadin standpoint, yes. Mindfulness as a factor of the path (sati) is wholesome. General mindfulness or recollection varies depending on the mental factors conditioning it.

  • opiumpoetryopiumpoetry Delaware, Ohio, USA New

    Here are the 14 Precepts of Engaged Buddhism: http://viewonbuddhism.org/resources/14_precepts.html
    They're quite a counterpoint to the view that Buddhism is a religion of self-absorbed navel-gazers. And I'd say they're tantamount to a pamphlet on how to start a revolution!

    lobsterQuidditch
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 15

    Also we use the English word mindfulness sometimes for shamata and sometimes for sati of the five indiryas

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indriya

    In Mahamudra (unless I'm mistaken) the indiryas are quite important and they are related to the three bodies of Buddha essentially with sati being related to Openness/dharmakaya.

    Shamata as in the meditation technique which when developed later becomes a support to insight

    So when a western psychologist talks about "mindfulness" is what they are saying consistent with shamata or sati or none of the above?

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @opiumpoetry

    Revolution, internal jihad, genuine spirituality changes us for the better. It is a high calling. Useful precepts <3

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @opiumpoetry said:
    Here are the 14 Precepts of Engaged Buddhism: http://viewonbuddhism.org/resources/14_precepts.html
    They're quite a counterpoint to the view that Buddhism is a religion of self-absorbed navel-gazers. And I'd say they're tantamount to a pamphlet on how to start a revolution!

    Perhaps a different sort of revolution, one of internal transformation. Half of that runs pretty contrary to most political revolutions.

    lobsteropiumpoetry
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 17

    So when a western psychologist talks about "mindfulness" is what they are saying consistent with shamata or sati or none of the above?

    Regarding mindfulness, my understanding and experience is that Buddhism has greater understanding and nuances than psychology. However psychology can provide useful understanding and verification of some mind states. Buddhist teachings go way beyond 'being attentive to the moment' ...

    FoibleFullperson
  • opiumpoetryopiumpoetry Delaware, Ohio, USA New

    @person said:

    @opiumpoetry said:
    Here are the 14 Precepts of Engaged Buddhism: http://viewonbuddhism.org/resources/14_precepts.html
    They're quite a counterpoint to the view that Buddhism is a religion of self-absorbed navel-gazers. And I'd say they're tantamount to a pamphlet on how to start a revolution!

    Perhaps a different sort of revolution, one of internal transformation. Half of that runs pretty contrary to most political revolutions.

    Good point. My rejoinder is that if you internally transform enough people, you end up with an army to carry out the revolution.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited June 21

    @opiumpoetry said:

    @person said:

    @opiumpoetry said:
    Here are the 14 Precepts of Engaged Buddhism: http://viewonbuddhism.org/resources/14_precepts.html
    They're quite a counterpoint to the view that Buddhism is a religion of self-absorbed navel-gazers. And I'd say they're tantamount to a pamphlet on how to start a revolution!

    Perhaps a different sort of revolution, one of internal transformation. Half of that runs pretty contrary to most political revolutions.

    Good point. My rejoinder is that if you internally transform enough people, you end up with an army to carry out the revolution.

    I guess I would say that the internal transformation of enough people IS the revolution.

    I guess I'm wary of political revolutions as they ultimately rely on external pressure or force and demand a fair degree of ideological conformity to gain traction and success, and those forces have often taken on a life of their own.

    lobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @person said:

    @opiumpoetry said:

    @person said:

    @opiumpoetry said:
    Here are the 14 Precepts of Engaged Buddhism: http://viewonbuddhism.org/resources/14_precepts.html
    They're quite a counterpoint to the view that Buddhism is a religion of self-absorbed navel-gazers. And I'd say they're tantamount to a pamphlet on how to start a revolution!

    Perhaps a different sort of revolution, one of internal transformation. Half of that runs pretty contrary to most political revolutions.

    Good point. My rejoinder is that if you internally transform enough people, you end up with an army to carry out the revolution.

    I guess I would say that the internal transformation of enough people IS the revolution.

    I guess I'm wary of political revolutions as they ultimately rely on external pressure or force and demand a fair degree of ideological conformity to gain traction and success, and those forces have often taken on a life of their own.

    Not much different from the status quo.

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