The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby binocular » Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:53 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.

Conversely, since your goal is liberation, as opposed to, say, better productivity at work, nothing is stopping you from following a more authentic Buddhist path and avoiding these "lite" versions. Where is the cause for dispute?

Because there is the fear that the Dhamma that actually can liberate a person from suffering, could disappear.

More and more of what is forwarded under "Buddhism" is becoming a secularized, materialistic effort. So we get (at least nominally) Buddhist establishments where the people in positions of power openly express their skepticism about key Buddhist concepts, such as karma and rebirth, or who openly speak about their dilemmas about end-of-life issues. Things that, as self-declared Buddhists, they should reasonably have settled long before claiming to be Buddhists, and long before taking on those important positions of power as teachers or leaders.

By all means, people can do what they want. But not just anything can be called Buddhism and publicly forwarded as such.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:07 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:◦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.


Hi All,

Just because someone mentioned Thich Nhat Hanh in this thread, I feel like I should clarify what he actually teaches (or at least what my impression is of it). He speaks about sila quite a bit, to the point of seeming to treat it as equivalent to the mindfulness.

He even calls the five precepts as "five mindfulness trainings." A monastic in this tradition once shared with me that Nhat Hanh had some concern that the English translation of the Vietnamese version of his five precepts were not strict enough, or maybe that it was "too soft" (my paraphrasing).

I get the impression (it could be wishful thinking) that Nhat Hanh is fairly strict as a monastic, despite his gentle appearance, or the leeway that he seems to give to others. I think this is just due to his practice, more or less.

:anjali:
User avatar
beeblebrox
 
Posts: 939
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:41 pm

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:31 pm

binocular wrote:
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.

Conversely, since your goal is liberation, as opposed to, say, better productivity at work, nothing is stopping you from following a more authentic Buddhist path and avoiding these "lite" versions. Where is the cause for dispute?

Because there is the fear that the Dhamma that actually can liberate a person from suffering, could disappear.

More and more of what is forwarded under "Buddhism" is becoming a secularized, materialistic effort. So we get (at least nominally) Buddhist establishments where the people in positions of power openly express their skepticism about key Buddhist concepts, such as karma and rebirth, or who openly speak about their dilemmas about end-of-life issues. Things that, as self-declared Buddhists, they should reasonably have settled long before claiming to be Buddhists, and long before taking on those important positions of power as teachers or leaders.

By all means, people can do what they want. But not just anything can be called Buddhism and publicly forwarded as such.


It looks to me as though there are two different issues here. To begin with, the "'mindfulness" programs that we see at companies or in other secularized settings do not always identify themselves as Buddhist. In fact, I would guess that the majority of them don't. The people drawn to these movements are interested in meditation and mindfulness the way they might be interested in yoga, as a mostly non-religious practice. So if we are talking about these groups, the objection that they are "misrepresenting the Dhamma" does not really apply, because they aren't claiming to represent the Dhamma to begin with.

So, okay, then we have groups that do identify themselves as Buddhist, but orient themselves towards the laity. The Insight Meditation Society, for example. Some teachers within this movement do emphasize kamma and rebirth, some don't. There are two points I might make here. One has to do with the well-known tug of war betweem modernism and orthodoxy that we find in all religions. Modernizing/Westernizing trends in Buddhism have a long history.

Of course, "modernist" Buddhism is highly selective in terms of its scriptural sources. But here's my other point: so is conservative/orthodox Buddhism. In parts of South Asia, it looks as though people rely on the Jataka tales as much if not more than on the actual suttas. A good deal of mainstream Theravada is based on the Visuddhimagga rather than the suttas. Then there are people who accept only the suttas and nothing else; and within that group you have folks who accept some suttas but not others, or prioritize some and not others. How many people on this board view the Agganna Sutta as central to their practice?

The point is, the situation is just too complex to justify making such simple, black-and-white judgements. Some of the self-styled "defenders of the true Dhamma" need to get off their high horse. Besides, it's a fairly obvious example of clinging, no?
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:20 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:So if we are talking about these groups, the objection that they are "misrepresenting the Dhamma" does not really apply, because they aren't claiming to represent the Dhamma to begin with...

Of course, "modernist" Buddhism is highly selective in terms of its scriptural sources. But here's my other point: so is conservative/orthodox Buddhism.


Modernist Buddhism vs Orthodox (?) Buddhism, in terms of textual emphasis, is probably a confusing way to approach the conversation, however. The main issue I see everywhere is over where the line is drawn between primary and secondary source material by a given practitioner.

Theravada is one scholastic set which draws its lines in certain ways, but in addition to this & the other scholastic groups we now have a few Western sets as well some other modern sets. They each use a set of material, and near-universal overlap only begins to occur with the four main Nikayas, though even here a set of differences between these schools can be noted.

For example, accounting for chronological stratification is either attempted or ignored by these groups, to various degrees, but nevertheless these D-M-S-A Nikayas/Agamas form the basic framework supporting the claim that what one is doing (or at least attempting to do) is BuddhaDhamma.

Whether approaching this material with the aid of modern commentary, traditional commentary, or combinations of these, those attempting to put this material to work are truly 'Buddhists'. They all allow for this textual layer's primacy as a Dhamma source (the alternative is ahistoricism, but discussing e.g. chronological stratification with such a person is impossible - truly an example of strict black-white thinking).

---

So, if mindfulness courses and miccha-meditations make the corporate circuit, emblazoning their pamphlets with the Sanskrit letter 'om' and seated Buddha figures and Bodhisattvas and lotuses and Zen calligraphy, are they appropriating Buddhist imagery in ways that are liable to facilitate the belief that the course will offer specifically Buddhist lessons & techniques? Will beginners incorrectly feel that they have given the Dhamma a try when they have not actually done so?

Certain iterations of Mahayana & certain traditional ideations (e.g. momentariness) are more troubling in this respect than secular mindfulness courses, I think, but the problem obtains in any case, even without a high horse.
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4182
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:09 pm

daverupa wrote:So, if mindfulness courses and miccha-meditations make the corporate circuit, emblazoning their pamphlets with the Sanskrit letter 'om' and seated Buddha figures and Bodhisattvas and lotuses and Zen calligraphy, are they appropriating Buddhist imagery in ways that are liable to facilitate the belief that the course will offer specifically Buddhist lessons & techniques? Will beginners incorrectly feel that they have given the Dhamma a try when they have not actually done so?


It depends on the particular instance, but I doubt that people enrolled in such courses believe they are giving dhamma a try. They may be aware that meditation practices are found in Buddhism, but they would be ikely to see these practices as extractable from a religious context. Of course, my assertion here is just based on anecdotal evidence. Maybe you or someone else here has seen a company offer a course in "The Dhamma of the Elders" or what not. But I doubt it. Companies don't generally want to be seen as foisting a religion on their employees.

It seems to me the emerging trend is driven more by developments coming out of psychotherapy and by the findings from neuroscience that meditation has measurable, beneficial effects. That, plus the ongoing fascination with yoga. If we look at some examples (below) of the "new mindfulness", we can see that there's an acknowledgement of the "Buddhist context" but that's about it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006226 ... harri02-20

http://m.samharris.org/blog/item/taming-the-mind

http://m.samharris.org/blog/item/how-to-meditate

Even if there are some people out there who embrace a casual, not very well-examined "Buddhism", it is probably not Theravada Buddhism per se. In relation to Theravada, would you say that Kabat-Zinn and so on are any farther astray than Nichiren?

Buddhism has no copyright on the letter om, and much of the imagery you mention comes from later movements in Buddhism that were fairly syncretic in their own day and age. There's probably an argument to be made that the entire history of "folk" or "ordinary people" Buddhism is fundamentally syncretic.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby binocular » Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:30 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:It looks to me as though there are two different issues here. To begin with, the "'mindfulness" programs that we see at companies or in other secularized settings do not always identify themselves as Buddhist. In fact, I would guess that the majority of them don't. The people drawn to these movements are interested in meditation and mindfulness the way they might be interested in yoga, as a mostly non-religious practice. So if we are talking about these groups, the objection that they are "misrepresenting the Dhamma" does not really apply, because they aren't claiming to represent the Dhamma to begin with.

"Mindfulness" programs in workplace settings - that introduces a whole new dynamic, as the workplace power hierarchy gets implicated into whatever "mindfulness" practice may be pursued.

One of the more difficult workplace scenarios I can imagine is to have a boss who has a fake Buddha quote on his wall and claims to adhere to it. As an employee, you can't really point out it's a fake quote, and as an employee, you probably must agree with it. Now, if you do have some background in Buddhism, what do you do?

And even if some workplace policy or practice is not propagated as Buddhist although the original idea is from Buddhism, if one has some background in Buddhism, one will probably have to figure out some creative way to deal with it.
I wonder what I would do if some new-agey "coach" would come to teach mindfulness in the workplace and we would all have to adhere to his instructions.

The point is, the situation is just too complex to justify making such simple, black-and-white judgements.

Agreed.

Some of the self-styled "defenders of the true Dhamma" need to get off their high horse.

Or people who don't fancy those 'self-styled "defenders of the true Dhamma"' need to rethink and redo their own approach.

Besides, it's a fairly obvious example of clinging, no?

No. One should, by all means, cling to the raft until one has crossed to the other shore.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:46 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?

Cittasanto wrote:Here is a direct description of mindfulness from the canon

    SN 48.10 ...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...

And in the Satipaṭṭhāna S. sati is given a refined definition within the context of how it is applied …

    “...abides contemplating body in the body (etc.); with intense endeavor, attentiveness and mindfulness; for the relinquishment of covetous and grievous states.”

    “…kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ.”

… which is helpful by telling us that sati retains its meaning and function as ‘recollection’ in (sarati) by staying on task through the catalyst of ‘intense endeavor’ (ātāpa), to bring ‘attentiveness’ (sampajāna) to carefully examine the objects that have arisen.

But I have to wonder if this emphasis is conveyed in mainstream ‘mindfulness’ systems as they are taught?

ancientbuddhism wrote:What distinguishes secular mindfulness from Dhamma?]


Cittasanto wrote:Wheras Dhammic mindfulness will shy away from sensual pleasure, secular mindfulness will (at times) focus on it.


Actually, the fourth satipaṭṭhāna, first section on Hindrances (nīvaraṇapabbaṃ), covers 'sensual pleasure' (kāmacchanda) in the list. And as with all of these hindrances, it is to be abandoned (pahāna) to the point where one directly knows that that thing that has been abandoned does not arise again in the future ( āyatiṃ anuppādo hoti tañca pajānāti).

But again, I have to wonder if this emphasis is conveyed in mainstream ‘mindfulness’ systems as they are taught?
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)

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:27 pm

Lazy_eye wrote: To begin with, the "'mindfulness" programs that we see at companies or in other secularized settings do not always identify themselves as Buddhist. In fact, I would guess that the majority of them don't. The people drawn to these movements are interested in meditation and mindfulness the way they might be interested in yoga, as a mostly non-religious practice. So if we are talking about these groups, the objection that they are "misrepresenting the Dhamma" does not really apply, because they aren't claiming to represent the Dhamma to begin with.


The programs that meet the public may not make reference to the Buddhist origin of ‘mindfulness’ as the system they teach has borrowed it. But the developers of these modalities have, and I suppose should have considering their backgrounds as practitioners, such as Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Whether they mention it or not, this connection is available for anyone to Google. The question about misrepresentation of the Dhamma is that information on the term ‘mindfulness’ yields a term coined by Buddhist tradition. But the information connecting this ‘mindfulness’ to mainstream modalities is controlled by those who may acknowledge the Buddhist connection, but have redefined the term, its usage and its goals – however benign the intention may be. This is what defines this as a misrepresentation of the Dhamma and false speech. And this is what rebukes at least the developers of these systems as moghapurisā who have misrepresented the Dhamma.
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)

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:50 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:The programs that meet the public may not make reference to the Buddhist origin of ‘mindfulness’ as the system they teach has borrowed it. But the developers of these modalities have, and I suppose should have considering their backgrounds as practitioners, such as Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Whether they mention it or not, this connection is available for anyone to Google. The question about misrepresentation of the Dhamma is that information on the term ‘mindfulness’ yields a term coined by Buddhist tradition. But the information connecting this ‘mindfulness’ to mainstream modalities is controlled by those who may acknowledge the Buddhist connection, but have redefined the term, its usage and its goals – however benign the intention may be. This is what defines this as a misrepresentation of the Dhamma and false speech. And this is what rebukes at least the developers of these systems as moghapurisa who have misrepresented the Dhamma.


Now wait a second here.

If these programs called themselves Buddhist, they would be misrepresenting themselves because what they teach differs from authentic Buddhism (for the sake of simplicity, let's agree there is such a thing).

If they don't call themselves Buddhist, then according to you they are misrepresenting themselves because the term "mindfulness" is coined by Buddhist tradition, Google searches might bring up Kabat-Zinn instead of Access to Insight, and these people's notion of mindfulness differs from a Buddhist definition of mindfulness.

So it seems to be damned if they do, damned if they don't (call themselves Buddhist). That implies that Theravada Buddhism has some sort of copyright on the term mindfulness and a patent on meditation practices. But that's simply not the case. Buddhism is not the only spiritual tradition that includes meditation practices. And the term "mindfulness" was introduced into popular usage in the West by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Mahayana Zen teacher, and he uses it in ways that differ from its usage in Theravada (where a better translation might be heedfulness).

Theravada isn't the only denomination of "Buddhism"; it could be argued that even the most secularized mindfulness practices are closer to what the Buddha taught than, say, Nichiren or Shin Buddhism. Let's face it, "Buddhism" is an umbrella term covering a very diverse array of beliefs and practices. Unless companies and organizations are fraudulently passing something off specifically as "Theravada Buddhism" or "The Teachings of the Buddha as Found in the Pali Canon", the charges of false speech don't have a very stable footing.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:00 pm

Plus, let's not forget that Eisel Mazard has been arguing at length in another thread (and in his essays and videos) that Theravada Buddhism is shot through with inauthenticity. So perhaps some Theravada critics of inauthentic secular Buddhism are vulnerable to accusations of False Speech as well?

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=20387
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:01 pm, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:14 pm

Hi Ancientbuddhism.
To my understanding sensual pleasures are attended too. Do do a search for the instruction for the raisin and chocolate meditation. The instruction does ask practitioners to see the pleasure.

I would wholeheartedly advocate MBCT , for it's treatment for depression. But that is where I see tje demarkation between dhamma and secular meditation here at least.

I have been looking at MBCT and its research recently as I have just finished finding peaxe in a frantic world. And am just starting mindfulness for health.

ancientbuddhism wrote:
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?

Cittasanto wrote:Here is a direct description of mindfulness from the canon

    SN 48.10 ...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...

And in the Satipaṭṭhāna S. sati is given a refined definition within the context of how it is applied …

    “...abides contemplating body in the body (etc.); with intense endeavor, attentiveness and mindfulness; for the relinquishment of covetous and grievous states.”

    “…kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ.”

… which is helpful by telling us that sati retains its meaning and function as ‘recollection’ in (sarati) by staying on task through the catalyst of ‘intense endeavor’ (ātāpa), to bring ‘attentiveness’ (sampajāna) to carefully examine the objects that have arisen.

But I have to wonder if this emphasis is conveyed in mainstream ‘mindfulness’ systems as they are taught?

ancientbuddhism wrote:What distinguishes secular mindfulness from Dhamma?]


Cittasanto wrote:Wheras Dhammic mindfulness will shy away from sensual pleasure, secular mindfulness will (at times) focus on it.


Actually, the fourth satipaṭṭhāna, first section on Hindrances (nīvaraṇapabbaṃ), covers 'sensual pleasure' (kāmacchanda) in the list. And as with all of these hindrances, it is to be abandoned (pahāna) to the point where one directly knows that that thing that has been abandoned does not arise again in the future ( āyatiṃ anuppādo hoti tañca pajānāti).

But again, I have to wonder if this emphasis is conveyed in mainstream ‘mindfulness’ systems as they are taught?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5751
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:01 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:If these programs called themselves Buddhist, they would be misrepresenting themselves because what they teach differs from authentic Buddhism (for the sake of simplicity, let's agree there is such a thing).

If they don't call themselves Buddhist, then according to you they are misrepresenting themselves because the term "mindfulness" is coined by Buddhist tradition, Google searches might bring up Kabat-Zinn instead of Access to Insight, and these people's notion of mindfulness differs from a Buddhist definition of mindfulness.


I have no idea how you came up with that. They learned meditation practice from established religious tradition, repackaged it, and call their product ‘mindfulness’ which is a helpful marketing buzzword to use for a meditation practice already known by that name. I suppose something could be said for Google packaging their program differently as Search Inside Yourself, but wait a minute, that’s Vipassanā isn’t it?

Lazy_eye wrote:So it seems to be damned if they do, damned if they don't (call themselves Buddhist). That implies that Theravada Buddhism has some sort of copyright on the term mindfulness and a patent on meditation practices.But that's simply not the case. Buddhism is not the only spiritual tradition that includes meditation practices.


But that isn't the point I was making, was it?

Lazy_eye wrote:And the term "mindfulness" was introduced into popular usage in the West by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Mahayana Zen teacher, and he uses it in ways that differ from its usage in Theravada (where a better translation might be heedfulness). ...


It may be a bit of a stretch to say that Thích Nhất Hạnh made mindfulness popular. There was T.W. Rhys Davids who used ‘mindfulness’ for sati in the PED in 1921 & Nyanaponika Thera was using it when he wrote The Heart of Buddhist Meditation published in 1954. I think what TNH was presenting was pretty much in tandem with the what the Vipassanā Movement was doing then, just going in quite different directions.
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)

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:34 am

Cittasanto wrote:To my understanding sensual pleasures are attended too. Do do a search for the instruction for the raisin and chocolate meditation. The instruction does ask practitioners to see the pleasure.


Yes, from what I've experienced the focus seems to be on enjoying the experience, and I've never seen this exercise done with something that tastes unpleasant. Though you could look at this approach as skillful means I suppose.
Mrs. Bun: Have you got anything without spam in it?
Waitress: Well, there's spam, egg, sausage and spam. That's not got MUCH spam in it.
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2734
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby dxm_dxm » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:40 am

Excuse me for been a little offtopic but are they using concentration meditation or vipassana ?

I understand from you that they are using vipassana. If so, I can not see how vipassana could bring more working qualities that they look for than concentration practices. I would also like to ask if there is list of qualities that are improved as a side effect by both practices
dxm_dxm
 
Posts: 121
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:32 am
Location: Romania, Bucharest

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:42 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Hi Ancientbuddhism.
To my understanding sensual pleasures are attended too. Do do a search for the instruction for the raisin and chocolate meditation. The instruction does ask practitioners to see the pleasure.

I would wholeheartedly advocate MBCT , for it's treatment for depression. But that is where I see tje demarkation between dhamma and secular meditation here at least.

I have been looking at MBCT and its research recently as I have just finished finding peaxe in a frantic world. And am just starting mindfulness for health.


I recall reading about the ‘raisin’ technique in the article in Time cited in the OP The Mindful Revolution. The article didn’t go into what you mention that the practitioner ‘see the pleasure’, but have you taken one of these courses, or do you know where MBCT/MBSR material mentions this technique? I am interested because of the origins of MBCT/MBSR in RET. When I was using RET in 1980 I thought then that all this modality needed to be ‘Buddhist’ was meditation. Where RET has been criticised for their application of ‘rational’ when challenging their clients beliefs about life events and underlying emotions, as being to stringent, to me looks rather similar to the approach of Dhamma. How RET has evolved into an actual merging with ‘mindfulness’ meditation in MBCT/MBSR is perplexing because the former strict RET approach to emotive events seems to have changed in the latter.
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)

A Handful of Leaves
User avatar
ancientbuddhism
 
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:06 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:To my understanding sensual pleasures are attended too. Do do a search for the instruction for the raisin and chocolate meditation. The instruction does ask practitioners to see the pleasure.


Yes, from what I've experienced the focus seems to be on enjoying the experience, and I've never seen this exercise done with something that tastes unpleasant. Though you could look at this approach as skillful means I suppose.

Hi Spiney,
It is certainly skilful for the target audience (those suffering with depression, anxiety...).
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5751
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:18 pm

Hi Ancientbuddhism.
I am not familiar enough with the two (MBSR/MBCT) modalities to be able to say what differences there are between them (I doubt there are going to be many) although am interested to know of any yourself or anyone else may notice. I am interested in these for educational reasons (not doing the courses but interested in getting my partner and child engaged with something of this nature). And although I have not took a course I have read the Book mentioned and linked to later very recently, and other self-guided secular mindfulness programs in the past. Personally I don't see anything different in the meditation instruction from what I have been instructed to do on retreats, except the inclusion of mindful eating as a "guided" meditation.
there are free online course here
http://jayuhdinger.com/blog/success-doe ... happiness/
http://palousemindfulness.com/selfguidedMBSR.html
and a outline of the MBCT curriculum here http://oxfordmindfulness.org/wp-content ... iption.pdf

Looking at a couple of the links for the raisin and chocolate meditations I don't see the pleasure specifically mentioned so I was either mistaken or it was mentioned in "Mindfulness: Finding peace in a frantic world" Book I have just given away so can not check unfortunately. However I am about to start reading "mindfulness for health" which has a coffee meditation (it can be any drink) that asks readers to pay attention to the taste, smell...

Transcripts & Audio
Chocolate meditation
Raisin
Coffee Meditation Soundcloud Audio

There is developments in Compassion Training using mindfulness and a good e-book for info is "Compassion - Bridging Practice and Science" I have only read the last section on the different 'programs' properly but it is interesting.

Regarding RET... I am focused on cognitive bias/distortions and getting myself familiar with Cognitive Bias Modification research and their focus on attentional and interpretation bias in order to help alleviate my own bias' and distortions.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5751
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Anagarika » Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:59 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Plus, let's not forget that Eisel Mazard has been arguing at length in another thread (and in his essays and videos) that Theravada Buddhism is shot through with inauthenticity. So perhaps some Theravada critics of inauthentic secular Buddhism are vulnerable to accusations of False Speech as well?

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=20387


This entire page is an interesting discussion. I don't ever see the day that it will be appropriate to accuse, for example, Rinzai Zen, of not being "Buddhist." All of these medieval Japanese schools that emerged 1500 years after the Buddha have been sheltered under the umbrella of the term "Buddhism" for so long, that it's not likely that Buddhism in the west will mean anything other than the cocktail of practices that has developed over the centuries. Now, in the west, we have Secular Buddhism, and "mindfulness" practices, that even thogh they don't mention the name of Buddha, or suggest outright that they are Buddhist, it's largely implicit that these concepts are derived from "Buddhism." The core struggle, it seems to me, and this issue has been well identified by others, is that the historical Buddha set down an entire body of teachings that are largely being ignored by most western Buddhists. Were these teachings outdated, or peculiar to modern times, I could see some reason to accept that they could be corrupted, or reformed and modified to suit modern expectations. What is compelling to me, however, is that to really dig deep into the Suttas yields a treasure trove of Dhamma that has universal and timeless utility and appeal.

So, when I read something from E. Mazard, such a treatise on how anapa can mean intestinal gas passing, it's interesting. Is this view correct?...maybe not. Even more compelling are the scholars, such as Ven. Thanissaro and Ven. Bodhi, who do the heavy lifting to really parse out the suttas and, especially in Ajahn Geoff's case, distinguish the Dhammic definitions from the definitions in common usage....mindfulness vs. samma sati being just one example of this.
User avatar
Anagarika
 
Posts: 611
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:25 pm

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:55 pm

Anagarika wrote:[

This entire page is an interesting discussion.


I've found it interesting and thought-provoking too and would like to thank ancientbuddhism for the thread.

I don't ever see the day that it will be appropriate to accuse, for example, Rinzai Zen, of not being "Buddhist." All of these medieval Japanese schools that emerged 1500 years after the Buddha have been sheltered under the umbrella of the term "Buddhism" for so long, that it's not likely that Buddhism in the west will mean anything other than the cocktail of practices that has developed over the centuries.


Yeah, I don't think we're going to see too many heated debates over whether Zen folks should be calling themselves Buddhist.

I'm just saying that influence, adaptation, and syncretism are hardly new in Buddhism so we should maybe be careful about singling out Western Buddhism as particularly egregious. Even in among the established Buddhist movements and sects you can find examples of "prosperity Buddhism", for instance.

Now, in the west, we have Secular Buddhism, and "mindfulness" practices, that even thogh they don't mention the name of Buddha, or suggest outright that they are Buddhist, it's largely implicit that these concepts are derived from "Buddhism."


My argument would be that we should distinguish between mindfulness programs that do not claim to be Buddhist, and centers/programs/teachers that do. I can't see much basis for objecting to the former. Buddhists don't have a monopoly on meditation practices, even if some of these practices originated in a Buddhist context.

Self-described Buddhist teachers presenting distorted or incomplete versions of the dhamma are a different matter. This may not be a simple question either; my point is just that it's a different question.

The core struggle, it seems to me, and this issue has been well identified by others, is that the historical Buddha set down an entire body of teachings that are largely being ignored by most western Buddhists. Were these teachings outdated, or peculiar to modern times, I could see some reason to accept that they could be corrupted, or reformed and modified to suit modern expectations. What is compelling to me, however, is that to really dig deep into the Suttas yields a treasure trove of Dhamma that has universal and timeless utility and appeal.


Yes, agree with you there! Part of the issue, I think, is that the body of teachings is large, stratified and diverse. Anyone can come up with several distinct "Buddhisms" depending on which suttas are prioritized. Not to forget that a significant portion of Theravada practice actually comes from the Visuddhimagga, It can be a surprise to students that certain practices and teachings -- presented as though they came straight from the Buddha's mouth -- are not from the suttas at all.

As we found out during the controversies over "ethno-Buddhism" in Burma and Sri Lanka last year, some traditional Buddhists appear to have a better grasp of the Jataka tales than the core teachings.

It's been awhile since I looked at the relevant scholarship and I don't have it at hand, but I remember reading that the Mahasamghikas ans Sthaviras tended to emphasize different parts of the canon, with the Mahasamghikas placing relatively greater emphasis on the more mystical elements, and the Sthaviras more inclined to bring out the analytical/rational side of the teachings. Someone correct me if I am wrong though.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: The Science Delusion and New Mindfulness

Postby daverupa » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:08 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:I remember reading that the Mahasamghikas ans Sthaviras tended to emphasize different parts of the canon, with the Mahasamghikas placing relatively greater emphasis on the more mystical elements, and the Sthaviras more inclined to bring out the analytical/rational side of the teachings.


I'm gonna wager you read this in Buddhist Thought in India: Three Phases of Buddhist Philosophy by Edward Conze, somewhere, such as where the Sthavira developments are being contrasted with Mahasanghika/Mahayana developments, and he mentions the rational/mystical split a few different ways.

It's probably overly simplistic to think in terms of the right brain/left brain::mystical/rational dichotomy, though back in the 60s this was all the rage.
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4182
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 5 guests