David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The term mindfulness has become increasingly popular in the West due, in no small part, to contemporary studies of mindfulness-based therapies in psychology. According to the Pali Nik?yas, mindfulness practice is the heart of Buddhism, for it alone can lead one to enlightenment. However, are contemporary and traditional accounts of the practice of mindfulness referring to the same technique? In this paper I will argue that modern accounts of mindfulness in the field of psychology omit important features of the classical Buddhist accounts of the term: specifically, the sense of mindfulness (sati) as recollection, and the context of mindfulness practice, which includes significant ethical and cognitive implications. I will argue that the exclusion of these aspects of sati leads to confusion and to the neglect of constitutive features of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness that could prove beneficial to modern contemplative practitioners as well as to both psychology and cognitive science. While the Western psychological tradition emphasizes the nonjudgmental and present-centered nature of mindfulness -bare attention- (Kabat-Zinn, 2003), the classical accounts given in traditional Buddhist texts, both Theravada and Mahayana, emphasize the relation of sati to memory and the cognitive and evaluative aspects of the practice, as well as its ability to distinguish and select between wholesome and unwholesome tendencies. Classical sources also emphasize the need for mindfulness practice to be embedded in the Noble Eightfold Path. While contemporary mindfulness is practiced as a way to better enjoy the present moment, the traditional notion of sati is actually supposed to induce “disenchantment” with our present circumstances so as to be motivated to free oneself from samsara (Wallace, 2006). Thus, close analysis reveals that, although the notion of bare attention is not completely foreign to traditional views, it by no means exhausts the complete meaning of sati. As long as the recollecting, cognitive, and ethical features of sati are ignored, mindfulness will continue to be regarded merely as a therapeutical tool for reducing mental symptoms, rather than for irreversibly eliminating mental afflictions (klesha) from their root, which is the fundamental goal of Buddhist practice..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Tse-fu Kuan (2012). Cognitive Operations in Buddhist Meditation: Interface with Western Psychology. Contemporary Buddhism 13 (1):35-60.
Antonino Raffone, Angela Tagini & Narayanan Srinivasan (2010). Mindfulness and the Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention and Awareness. Zygon 45 (3):627-646.
Ayon Maharaj (2013). Yogic Mindfulness: Hariharānanda Āraṇya's Quasi-Buddhistic Interpretation of Smṛti in Patañjali's Yogasūtra I.20. [REVIEW] Journal of Indian Philosophy 41 (1):57-78.
Terry Hyland (2012). Mindfulness and the Myth of Mental Illness: Implications for Theory and Practice. Contemporary Buddhism 13 (2):177-192.
Richard Gilpin (2008). The Use of Theravada Buddhist Practices and Perspectives in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Contemporary Buddhism 9 (2):227-251.
Jake H. Davis & Evan Thompson (2013). From the Five Aggregates to Phenomenal Consciousness: Toward a Cross-Cultural Cognitive Science. In Steven M. Emmanuel (ed.), A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy. John Wiley & Sons.
Astrid M. Schulke, Herbert Plischke & Niko B. Kohls (2011). Dialectics of Mindfulness: Implications for Western Medicine. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 6 (1):10-.
Sebastian Sauer, Siobhan Lynch, Harald Walach & Niko Kohls (2011). Dialectics of Mindfulness: Implications for Western Medicine. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 6 (1):1-7.
Padmasiri de Silva (2011). Thinking and Feeling: A Buddhist Perspective. Sophia 50 (2):253-263.
Sean Valentine, Lynn Godkin & Philip E. Varca (2010). Role Conflict, Mindfulness, and Organizational Ethics in an Education-Based Healthcare Institution. Journal of Business Ethics 94 (3):455 - 469.
S. Tachibana (1992/1975). The Ethics of Buddhism. Curzon Press.
Added to index2010-12-10
Total downloads29 ( #70,686 of 1,679,344 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #183,792 of 1,679,344 )
How can I increase my downloads?