VIDEO> Chris Hedges talks to Ron Purser on "McMindfulness"

From Stephen Jenkins

This debate over mindfulness is where the rubber hits the road for our discipline and highlights popular misperceptions of Buddhist philosophy, practice and ethics. Analayo stretches to find an example where mindfulness is connected to health, but ironically all the benefits claimed for "mindfulness" by modernists are explicitly claimed for the compassion development practices they tend to neglect. We need a compassion pandemic more than a "mindfulness revolution."

It was refreshing to hear him join Schmithausen, and Olendzki in pointing out that the "interconnectedness," so central to Buddhist modernism and much scholarly treatment of Buddhist ethics, is based on a viral misinterpretation of dependent origination. A related idea is that meditative realization of this "interconnectedness" naturally results in compassion. This misconception may be a factor in the movement's problematic relationship with ethics. Compassion requires distinct techniques of cultivation and is the preceding motivation for acquiring higher wisdom, not a spontaneous aftereffect of meditation on the breath. Indian traditions generally agree that even demonic beings can employ yogic disciplines for militaristic ends.

All the best,

Steve