The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby pegembara » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:11 am

"Greed is so well organized that we call it economic prosperity.
Ill will is so organized that we call it defense and we make weapons and war.
Ignorance is so well organized that we study about everything except ourselves."

Ari Yaratne
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby cooran » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:18 am

pegembara wrote:"Greed is so well organized that we call it economic prosperity.
Ill will is so organized that we call it defense and we make weapons and war.
Ignorance is so well organized that we study about everything except ourselves."

Ari Yaratne


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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:56 am

Lazy_eye wrote:Then why worry about secular mindfulness movements, or companies borrowing meditation techniques from Buddhism? Obviously these trends reflect the interests of puthujjana, who as you say are inclined towards the world. The objection that "such practices will not lead to cessation/liberation" is not relevant to these practitioners, because that's not their goal to begin with.


A lot of things reflect the interests of the puthujjana, then and now. Even so, some did have little dust in their eyes. This discussion is not as simple as an objection to a contemplative system inferior to Dhamma, rather, it raises concerns about a system that references its source in Dhamma, uses its nomenclature, through which it presents a contemplative system inferior to Dhamma. I am just asking what practitioners think about that. The Tathāgata was far more harsh when someone misrepresented his teaching, he refered to such as moghapurisa – a nitwit.

Lazy_eye wrote:Conversely, since your goal is liberation…Where is the cause for dispute?


I have raised the questions and thoughts I have to offer. That is why it is a discussion; it is not about me or my goals in practice or whatever other inference about me you may have.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby seeker242 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:37 am

Interesting article I came across. :) "Thich Nhat Hanh: is mindfulness being corrupted by business and finance?" http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable- ... oogle-tech

Thich Nhat Hanh, the 87-year-old Zen master considered by many to be the father of mindfulness in the west, says as long as business leaders practice "true" mindfulness, it does not matter if the original intention is triggered by wanting to be more effective at work or to make bigger profits. That is because the practice will fundamentally change their perspective on life as it naturally opens hearts to greater compassion and develops the desire to end the suffering of others. Thay tells the Guardian: "If you know how to practice mindfulness you can generate peace and joy right here, right now. And you'll appreciate that and it will change you. In the beginning, you believe that if you cannot become number one, you cannot be happy, but if you practice mindfulness you will readily release that kind of idea. We need not fear that mindfulness might become only a means and not an end because in mindfulness the means and the end are the same thing. There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way."
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:34 pm

What we need is more business leaders to use mindfulness to achieve happiness, eliminate guilt, and find even more devious ways to rip us off as consumers.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby daverupa » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:30 pm

Thich Nhat Hanh, the 87-year-old Zen master considered by many to be the father of mindfulness in the west, says as long as business leaders practice "true" mindfulness, it does not matter if the original intention is triggered by wanting to be more effective at work or to make bigger profits. That is because the practice will fundamentally change their perspective on life...


This is an important qualifier, and I think something of the message gets lost when the emphasis is given to just the line about intention being of lesser importance, even at first. I dare say, there are micchabhavanas in the world.

As he continues,

"If you consider mindfulness as a means of having a lot of money, then you have not touched its true purpose," he says. "It may look like the practise of mindfulness but inside there's no peace, no joy, no happiness produced. It's just an imitation. If you don't feel the energy of brotherhood, of sisterhood, radiating from your work, that is not mindfulness."


Indeed, sammasati touches all aspects of experience:

When they create electronic devices, they can reflect on whether that new product will take people away from themselves, their family and nature," he says. "Instead they can create the kind of devices and software that can help them to go back to themselves, to take care of their feelings. By doing that, they will feel good because they're doing something good for society...

"If they begin to practise mindfulness, they'll experience joy, happiness, transformation, and they can fix for themselves another kind of aspiration. Fame and power and money cannot really bring true happiness compared to when you have a way of life that can take care of your body and your feelings."


---

So his comments revolve around changing aspirations, and without an understanding of the Goal, the mindfulness work is anemic (plus, is this breath-focus mindfulness? They apparently did some seated and walking meditation, but did anyone get instruction in satipatthana? And if so, was it more than just a few minutes? I fear the seeds were scattered on a dusty plain, more than sown...).
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:52 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:What we need is more business leaders to use mindfulness to achieve happiness, eliminate guilt, and find even more devious ways to rip us off as consumers.


Hi Lyndon,

According to the Abhidhamma it is impossible for the mindfulness to be unwholesome.

If greed or ill-will arises then the mindfulness is lost, along with wholesome qualities that are associated with it.

:anjali:
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby cooran » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:19 pm

This previous thread may have some relevance:

Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=15935

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:01 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:What we need is more business leaders to use mindfulness to achieve happiness, eliminate guilt, and find even more devious ways to rip us off as consumers.


Hi Lyndon,

According to the Abhidhamma it is impossible for the mindfulness to be unwholesome.

If greed or ill-will arises then the mindfulness is lost, along with wholesome qualities that are associated with it.

:anjali:


Does anyone believe these businessmen are actually being taught real mindfulness as opposed to mind control???
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:37 pm

daverupa wrote:indeed sammasati touches all aspects of experience


And Satipaṭṭhāna is the framework through which all aspects of experience are assimilated through contemplative knowledge, and ultimately, liberating wisdom.

Thích Nhất Hạnh has been very good at giving a humanitarian emphasis to a so-called ‘mindfulness’ practice, but loving-kindness and other social graces arise best as a product of sammasamādhi/sammasati. Otherwise, if these are the main focus of practice the result will be much the same as clinical or mainstream mindfulness, and even the positive development of loving-kindness etc. will eventually fade and give-way to lesser saṃsāra.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:17 pm

The Thich Nhat Hanh connection is important, I think, so thanks to seeker242 for bringing it up. Salient point here is that TNH is part of the broader "Humanistic Buddhism" reform movement, which includes such tenets as:

-- From secluded Buddhism to societal Buddhism
-- From Buddhism that avoids the world to Buddhism that benefits the world
-- From a penitent Buddhism to an enterprising Buddhism
-- From a Buddhism of temples to a Buddhism of meeting halls

...and so on (these bullet points are from Ven Hsing Yun's "Humanistic Buddhism: a Blueprint for Life")

The notion of "expedient means" also may be relevant here. Now, it would probably be going too far to say that the emerging secular mindfulness movements are necessarily Mahayana in nature, because probably they also draw from the secularized, Westernized side of Theravada. Nevertheless, it may be that some of the objections being voiced here to "mindfulnessism" (pardon the neologism) would also apply to some currents in East Asian Mahayana.
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby seeker242 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:35 pm

daverupa wrote: I fear the seeds were scattered on a dusty plain, more than sown...).


Perhaps. :) Although, seeds scattered on a dusty plain is better than no seeds scattered at all, I think. Especially when the seeds themselves are infinite in number. Of course sowing them in fertile soil is better, but if all you have is a dusty plain to work with to begin with, why not just scatter them everywhere!?

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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby seeker242 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:37 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:What we need is more business leaders to use mindfulness to achieve happiness, eliminate guilt, and find even more devious ways to rip us off as consumers.


Hi Lyndon,

According to the Abhidhamma it is impossible for the mindfulness to be unwholesome.

If greed or ill-will arises then the mindfulness is lost, along with wholesome qualities that are associated with it.

:anjali:


Does anyone believe these businessmen are actually being taught real mindfulness as opposed to mind control???


If Thich Nhat Hanh is the one teaching them, then yes they are being taught real mindfulness I would say personally. :anjali:
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:54 pm

seeker242 wrote:If Thich Nhat Hanh is the one teaching them, then yes they are being taught real mindfulness I would say personally. :anjali:


I doubt very much he is.
In fact, I doubt very much they even have the presence of mind - to be Mindful.
The situation simply does not occur to them.
:namaste:

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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:01 pm

From my understanding, on the graded path of buddhism, mindfulness is a more advanced practice, you can't just skip all the beginning steps of buddhism and go straight to mindfulness, not real mindfulness at least!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:15 pm

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:
seeker242 wrote:If Thich Nhat Hanh is the one teaching them, then yes they are being taught real mindfulness I would say personally. :anjali:


I doubt very much he is.
In fact, I doubt very much they even have the presence of mind - to be Mindful.
The situation simply does not occur to them.


Hi NoBSBuddhist,

I don't understand this response... did you mean to say that you doubt Thich Nhat Hanh teaches mindfulness, or just that you doubt he teaches a specific group of practitioners?

Also, who is "they"? Did you mean non-practitioners, or did you also mean to include those specific practitioners?

:anjali:
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby seeker242 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:47 pm

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:
seeker242 wrote:If Thich Nhat Hanh is the one teaching them, then yes they are being taught real mindfulness I would say personally. :anjali:


I doubt very much he is.
In fact, I doubt very much they even have the presence of mind - to be Mindful.
The situation simply does not occur to them.


I don't know about that. :smile: Just because one does not realize what is being taught, does not necessarily mean it's not being taught. I don't think a teaching is dependent on whether or not someone understands it or even has the capacity to understand it. A teaching is still a teaching even if it falls on deaf ears. :) IMO. :) If even only one person out of the millions, one day comes to even a partial understanding, then it's totally worth it!
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:46 pm

To help guide and inform the discussion set out in the OP, it may be helpful to discuss what differences there are between classical Early Buddhist meditation, including Vipassanā, and later modalities of MBCT/MBSR and mainstream ‘mindfulness’ systems that have derived influence from the former. Some questions have been raised in the thread about whether these later ‘mindfulness’ strategies are comparative to ānāpānasati/satipaṭṭhāna as method and Dhamma as goal. Perhaps the talking-points below will be useful:

◦What does the English term ‘mindfulness’ (Pāḷi sati) mean within the context of Early Buddhist contemplative endeavor, and within the contexts of secular modalities?

    – Ānāpānasati and Satipaṭṭhāna would be a good basis for discussing sati within EB praxis. Much of this was covered in Pali Term: Sati

    –Kabat-Zinn teaches a 'mindfulness' method that seems to meet with how Vipassanā has been taught. And a glance at ‘mindfulness’ as it is taught in MBSR looks like the khaṇika samādhi of Burmese Vipassanā e.g. staying present in the moment in an alert and nonjudgmental way (Kabat-Zinn, 1994).
◦What distinguishes secular mindfulness from Dhamma?

    – Perhaps revisiting the question raised here & here on the connection between practice and ethics would help lead this part of the discussion.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:45 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:What does the English term ‘mindfulness’ (Pāḷi sati) mean within the context of Early Buddhist contemplative endeavor, and within the contexts of secular modalities?

Here is a direct description of mindfulness from the canon
SN 48.10 wrote:"And what is the faculty of mindfulness? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, is mindful, highly meticulous, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago. He remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This is called the faculty of mindfulness.



ancientbuddhism wrote:What distinguishes secular mindfulness from Dhamma?]

I agree there is/can be some meeting and correlation between secular and dhamma mindfulness practices but looking at the "raisin meditation" the split becomes more obvious. Wheras Dhammic mindfulness will shy away from sensual pleasure, secular mindfulness will (at times) focus on it. also the precepts, and arguably the sila section of the Noble Eightfold Path, are for mindfulness (SN47.21) and I see no training in virtue within secular mindfulness practices.
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Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:31 am

Cittasanto wrote:... "raisin meditation"


I completely failed the raisin exercise when I did on an MBSR day - I just ate the raisin straight away, assuming it was a very small snack. ;)
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