Jon Kabat-Zinn takes on the idea of “McMindfulness”

This is an excerpt from a longer interview. Worthwhile read that also touches upon the current explosion of interest in mindfulness. “Not just the big bang but the inflation of the big bang.”

Some Buddhist teachers and scholars have criticized the popular mindfulness movement and implied that what is being taught no longer reflects the traditional meaning of mindfulness or Sati. In fact, in some papers we find the term ‘McMindfulness’ popping up. What are your views on this?
First of all, that term first came out of one person’s mouth or one person’s mind. When you say it is popping up, of course, every term like that tends to just go viral on the web, but it just came out of one person’s mind. This is not McMindfulness by any stretch of the imagination. What it is – now I have to use some Buddhist terminology – it is the movement of the Dharma [the Buddhist teachings] into the mainstream of society. Buddhism really is about the Dharma – it’s about the teachings of the Buddha. You know, in various Buddhist traditions, there are actually very big differences among Buddhists about what it is all about and what the best methodologies are and all of that stuff. So Buddhist scholars you know, love to, you know, stew with each other about the nature of all of those questions. And now that this is moving into the mainstream, I think instead of seeing that it has the potential to actually elevate humanity in profound ways that are just completely in accordance with the fundamental teachings of the Buddha about the nature of suffering and the possibility of the sort of transformation and liberation from suffering, they get into, kind of, what I might call orthodoxies that allow them to continue to basically throw grenades at something that is at least 99% healthy for people.


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Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

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