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Mindfulness in western psychology

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  • Mindfulness in western psychology


    I recently watched a video of Ajahn Brahm expressing his concerns about mindfulness being taught without the accompanying factors of the path. Such as what is now taught by many psychologists and instructors of MBST/MICBT/MBCT etc. or even meditation teachers that focus only on mindfulness without an ethical framework. There's a link to the interview below.

    I was surprised to hear that he had such a strong view on this matter. Whilst I understand the immense (and in terms of awakening, necessary) importance of the other factors, I have always felt that even mindfulness on it's own is a wonderfully beneficial/wholesome practice. I have heard many times the point 'if a sniper practiced mindfulness they'd just have better aim', but I feel that if a sniper practiced mindfulness the probability of them switching careers would increase... I feel that mindfulness on it's own is conducive to other aspects of the path, even without intentionally cultivating those factors. Obviously no where near as much as when one cultivates them all intentionally, but yeah...

    Anyway it's been interesting for me to hear a teacher that I respect as much as Ajahn Brahm say this. I've been a firm believer for years that if mindfulness was taught at schools, prisons and workplaces (even without an ethical focus) the individuals/the world would benefit greatly. I even intend to teach meditation at these places before ordaining and I previously had no intention of including much of an ethical teaching into what I spoke about.



  • #2
    Hello Dylan, I think the main concern here was - as these grow - how commercial interests may influence / corrupt / override / require licences etc....

    But I do believe as mindfulness gets cultivated, ethics follow.... at least, that's what happened to me re the precept about alcohol.

    Best wishes, Mahisha


    • #3
      Mindfulness without sila is kind of like a laser sharp scalpel in the hands of one without surgical training. Mindfulness is only a tool. Sila is, by itself, a tool or means. Remember the old saying "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". If somebody has the wonderful tool of mindfulness, but no guidelines as to how to use it. Just a quick response.


      • #4
        I agree with you Dylan,
        Mindfulness and increased awareness, along with a direct understanding of how the processes of being a human work, and seeing and knowing that we are not our thoughts, not our emotions and not our bodies. These things rise and fall mostly without any control on our behalf. This awareness itself and this deeper self knowledge helps many people. It helps addicts, it helps anxiety, it helps depression and stress. I only see benefit in anyone practicing any form of diligent mindfulness training and practice through regular meditation. I was saddened to hear Ajahn Brahms dogmatic view on this. I thought it was a very narrow view and wasn't helpful at all.



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