Mindfulness is good —
but what guides your mindfulness,
if not sound ethics,
and where does it lead to,
if not true enlightenment?
The conspicuous absence of a path for ethical development in the secularized mindfulness movement creates a moral vacuum. A belaboured form of self-surveillance — being in the present moment — displaces ethical reflection, severing the chain from past to present. Forethought and care, vigilant awareness of the consequentiality of one’s actions, and striving to eradicate unwholesome mental qualities (all basic Buddhist aims) take a back seat to just “being mindful,” “being present,” and other platitudinous edicts like “radical acceptance.”
Lacking a noble vision and purpose, the mindfulness movement seems adrift, resigned to a do-it-yourself, make-it-up-as-you-go-along mentality. The ambiguity of … [the] umbrella term “mindfulness” has become a new “Brand X,” inviting commodification and pilfering. The lowest common denominators of mainstream Western consumerist culture – corporate capitalism, crass instrumentalism, and scientific materialism – are sadly becoming the new “place-holder for the entire Dharma.”…
I do not question the value of adapting mindfulness for therapeutic use, nor do I deny that it can help people. What bothers me is how its promoters want things both ways: one minute, mindfulness is science, since that’s what sells: the next, it stands for “everything” in Buddhism, since it makes it sound deep. Switching “Buddhist” branding one and off for one’s own convenience is contradictory and misleading…
Buddhism is borrowed and exploited in ways that date back to colonialism, which distorts modern Western understanding of Buddhist traditions. My objection is not that Buddhists have exclusive rights to mindfulness. I am critiquing how people have used it to serve their own goals, while pretending that their adaptations of mindfulness are the equivalent of Buddhism.
McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became The New Capitalist Spirituality
Ronald E. Purser
Beware Of Western Self-Centric ‘Mindfulness’
What Are You Practising Mindfulness For?