I'm guessing someone like Thanissaro Bhikkhu wasn't invited, as he would likely have suggested everyone put down their Android phones, their iPads, and just find the base of a tree and meditate. Bhikkhu Bodhi wasn't invited as he might have suggested they take the $700 daily conference fee charges to attendees and use the money to help eradicate hunger.
In any case, what are we to make of this incursion of so-called mindfulness into the depths of Silicon Valley? Is this the second coming of Devadatta? Is this the era of the erosion of the Dhamma into a vehicle for increasing employee productivity and profits for companies? Are there benefits to having companies, personal coaches, and inspirational speakers talking about mindfulness and meditation? Is a watered down, abused Dhamma in the west better than no Dhamma at all?
"Founders from Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Zynga and PayPal, and executives and managers from companies like Google, Microsoft, Cisco ... in conversations with experts in yoga and mindfulness."
- The New York Times
“Everywhere you turn at Wisdom 2.0, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, you’re here too?’”
~ Luke Nosek, Cofounder, PayPal
What is Wisdom? http://youtu.be/6dRyWLXcWkk
Of course, without the internet, we wouldn't have DhammaWheel, and my own currently woeful Dhamma scholarship would be abysmal if I had to depend on books found at the Barnes and Noble. Yet, once we achieve a measure of community through technology, and have the ability to be e-kalayana mitta with each other, do we encourage the Dhamma to be infected by corporatism, monetization, and as a vehicle for convincing people that more mindfulness means more productivity? Is being fully interconnected 24/7 a good thing, or are we just cultivating more poo-throwing monkeys for our minds to tangle with?
In other words, what does the Dhamma have to do with selling shoes?