Mindfulness, by any other name…: trials and tribulations of sati in western psychology and science

Contemporary Buddhism 12 (1):219-239 (2011)

Authors
Paul Grossman
Universität Basel
Abstract
The Buddhist construct of mindfulness is a central element of mindfulness-based interventions and derives from a systematic phenomenological programme developed over several millennia to investigate subjective experience. Enthusiasm for ?mindfulness? in Western psychological and other science has resulted in proliferation of definitions, operationalizations and self-report inventories that purport to measure mindful awareness as a trait. This paper addresses a number of seemingly intractable issues regarding current attempts to characterize mindfulness and also highlights a number of vulnerabilities in this domain that may lead to denaturing, distortion, dilution or reification of Buddhist constructs related to mindfulness. Enriching positivist Western psychological paradigms with a detailed and complex Buddhist phenomenology of the mind may require greater study and long-term direct practice of insight meditation than is currently common among psychologists and other scientists. Pursuit of such an approach would seem a necessary precondition for attempts to characterize and quantify mindfulness
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DOI 10.1080/14639947.2011.564841
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