Mindfulness and Personal Identity in the Western Cultural Context

Journal of Transcultural Psychiatry 4 (52):501-523 (2015)

Authors
Antoine Panaïoti
Ryerson University
Abstract
In the psychological sciences, mindfulness practices are increasingly being used, studied, and theorized, but their indigenous theoretical foundations in Buddhist accounts of the dynamics and psychology of personal identity tend to be overlooked. This situation is mirrored in the discipline of philosophy: here, Buddhist views on personal identity are beginning to draw attention, but almost invariably in a way which entirely blanks out the role of mindfulness practices in cultivating Buddhist insights on selfhood. The aggregate result is a failure, in the West, to reflect upon and seriously consider Buddhist theory and Buddhist practice in an integrated, holistic fashion. In its effort to overcome the compartmentalization of Buddhist theory (in philosophy) versus Buddhist practice (in psychology) and to embrace the challenges this might pose to fundamental Western beliefs about the self, this paper is intended both as a plea for and an exercise in greater, more venturesome cosmopolitanism.
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