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Mind CureHow Meditation Became Medicine$
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Wakoh Shannon Hickey

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190864248

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190864248.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 November 2020

Is Mindfulness Religion?

Is Mindfulness Religion?

(p.137) 5 Is Mindfulness Religion?
Mind Cure

Wakoh Shannon Hickey

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers whether Mindfulness can reasonably be considered a kind of religion, despite proponents’ claims to the contrary. If so, what kind? Is it Buddhist? If so, what kind of Buddhism? The rhetoric of Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the modern Mindfulness movement, is tested against several different theories of religion, as well as critiques by specialists in both Theravāda and Māhāyana forms of Buddhism. While Mindfulness is positioned as a strictly secular therapeutic method, it has all the characteristics of American metaphysical religion, as well as of modernist Buddhism and neo-Vedanta. Kabat-Zinn claims his teachings are “universal,” yet they actually reflect his own eclectic blend of elements from various religious traditions with roots in Asia, the United States, and Europe. As Mindfulness is increasingly promoted in public schools, government agencies, and the military, this raises legitimate questions about the separation of church and state.

Keywords:   Mindfulness, metaphysical religion, Albanese, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Theravāda, Māhāyana, Buddhism, Vedanta, sati, modernist

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