Why mindfulness is just the beginning

wildmind meditation newsDavid Mochel, The Huffington Post UK: Huffington Post, Forbes, New York Times, Bloomberg News, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Business Insider — articles on mindfulness are everywhere these days. It is difficult to avoid some mention of this ancient practice in the media. While it is most directly linked with Buddhism, the practice of using your attention on purpose and accepting external and internal events has been taught by the Stoics of Greece, as well as contemplatives from Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and many other faiths. The body of scientific evidence pointing to the physiological, psychological, and social benefits of this practice is large and …

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  • Can you provide the holy texts which state this? Only Buddhist holy texts exts explicitly teach this and Buddhists were also the first missionaries who were sent to the Middle East.

    I love other religions trying to jump on the bandwagon of mindfulness.

    • I wonder how you can make a statement like this? Have you read all the religious texts of other traditions? You might want to check out Daniel Goleman’s book, The Meditative Mind: The Varieties of Meditative Experience, for very clear descriptions of mindfulness practice from other religious paths.

  • Yes, I have. Which is why the claims of mindfulness of breath as taught by Buddha – specifically body in body, feelings in feelings, mind in mind and phenomenon in phenomenon – a very detailed technique is not found in other traditions. There is mantra mindfulness in Hinduism, however it is religious, and what both Hindu and Jews fail to tell you is their forms of meditation are severely limited since they could not figure out how to center the body outside of their “holy lands”, in Hinduism this is known as Kala Pani. Similarly when Jews were exiled, all their rituals are invalid and could only practice until they returned to Israel. The Stoics were not really a long standing group, you don’t find a school of stoics.

    There is no meditative technique taught in The New Testament, there is no continuous tradition found in Jewsih tradition.

    So saying “mindfulness is found in all traditions” without discussing the severe limitations of the traditions does a great disservice to Buddhist Monks and Nuns who actively preserved hundreds of techniques in Buddhist holy texts which are discussed in great detail with preservation of a lineage — a continuous tradition of meditation for the past 2500 years.

    • Really. You’ve read all the religious texts of all other traditions? Including the writings of the Christian desert mystics, the kabbalists, and the Sufis, and all the writings of the Stoics? I find that rather hard to believe.

      That the Buddha’s teaching on mindfulness is presented differently from in other traditions isn’t surprising. It’s such differences that make different traditions different. But it seems arrogant to claim that only Buddhism has taught mindfulness. Perhaps in some of your studies of religion you may have come across teachings on humility and respect. Those are worth considering as a part of one’s mindfulness practice.

      The Stoics, incidentally, were around for 800 years, so I’m not clear what you mean by saying they were not a long-standing group, or indeed what relevance the lifespan of that tradition would have for your argument that only Buddhism has explicitly taught mindfulness.

  • Obviously you really don’t understand what a continuous tradition is. Christian mystics have no teachings from Jesus on how to meditate, Buddhists get this directly from Buddha and it is VERY detailed. I have read several works of Christian mystics and they are not impressive and may I say, just like many Christian monastics learn from Buddhist Zen monastics, I would frankly question the sources of their meditative techniques. Just like I would question how The New Testament got so many Buddhist teachings as most major scholars have noticed.

    To compare Buddhist meditation and details set forth in their works to Christian meditation and instruction is dangerous since I would not trust such dubious sources or the credibility of their mystical experiences. You can if you want to, but I trust experts. I did my homework and get an “A+” in my research. I don’t buy the joke of nonBuddhist traditions offering anything of value. I don’t practice with quacks or hack “mystics”.


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