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The Making of Buddhist Modernism$
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David L. McMahan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195183276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183276.001.0001

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Mindfulness, Literature, and the Affirmation of Ordinary Life

Mindfulness, Literature, and the Affirmation of Ordinary Life

(p.215) 8 Mindfulness, Literature, and the Affirmation of Ordinary Life
The Making of Buddhist Modernism

David L. McMahan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the conditions under which Buddhist practices of mindfulness have come to take on a new significance within the context of modernity’s broad affirmation of the ordinary world. More specifically, modern articulations of mindfulness are informed by modern literature’s valorization of the details of everyday life, its finely tuned descriptions of the flow of consciousness, and its new reverence for ordinary objects and their capacity to reflect the universal. These are reflected in the work of authors like James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Herman Hesse, who have been hidden resources for a modern re-interpretation of mindfulness. Further, this understanding provides a distinctively modern way of re-sacralizing and re-enchanting the world without resort to the supernatural, as in the work of Thich Nhat Hanh.

Keywords:   mindfulness, modernism, affirmation of ordinary life, Herman Hesse, James Joyce, Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhism and literature

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