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Buddhadharma : Spring 2015
spring 2015 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 55 technology down—we know how to run retreats, for example, and people can benefit from that experience. TRuDy GOODMAN: Yes, Buddhist teachers have pro- found gifts to help the new generation of mindful- ness teachers preserve what’s possible in deep prac- tice, then offer this in sensitive and attuned forms to the different communities of people coming to learn. BARRy BOyCE: Another area would be in how we plant intention. The Buddhist traditions are very good at that. For example, in the morning I say things like, “May I have no desire for honor and gain; may all sentient beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.” The way the dharma tradi- tions plant intention is very powerful. BuDDhADhARMA: How should Buddhists view the mindfulness movement going forward? DIANA WINSTON: I’ve been thinking about what makes mindfulness different from Buddhism. I used to wonder if mindfulness is just the dharma repackaged for a different audience, but now I real- ize that we have the possibility of repackaging it in a way that is not going to replicate some of the negative aspects of Buddhism, such as the paternal- ism, hierarchy, and sexism that comes certainly through Theravada Buddhism. There’s an incredible opportunity to consciously shepherd the growth of mindfulness so it’s not done haphazardly, which is why I’m interested in standards and certification. I’d like us to take the best from Buddhism, incorporate other influences like science and Western psychol- ogy, and see what evolves. MELISSA MyOZEN BLACKER: I hadn’t thought of the chance to modernize some things in our Buddhist heritage. Sexism strikes me as an important thing to change, although sexism is everywhere in Western culture too, including in the mindfulness move- ment. I think it’s unavoidable, but we can be awake to it and perhaps shape certain influences more beneficially. TRuDy GOODMAN: The mindfulness movement can be seen as a blessing for people who would never want to be Buddhists but are looking for support to cope with their suffering with dignity and grace, or for those who are longing for better relationships with others, themselves, and their world. I agree with Barry that realization is our birthright as human beings—it’s not Buddhist, or any “-ist.” I sought out Buddhist teachers to help make sense of powerful spiritual openings that I experienced before I ever studied or practiced Buddhist meditation. Buddhists can keep open minds and hearts and view the mind- fulness movement as full of potential for awakening and liberation too. BARRy BOyCE: Yes, I would say let’s keep a very open mind and be curious about these developments in the mindfulness movement, and use our own “smell test” to see what’s authentic. Don’t be too quick to judge. It’s a wide-open, innovative space. There’s some real dharma happening and some bullshit happening too, just as there was in Buddhist tradi- tions. So it’s a very interesting and exciting time—I would like to ask for some of the rhetoric to be toned down and for a little bit more curiosity to surface. If we talk about the mindfulness movement as an outgrowth of Buddhism, that’s a narrow and self-serving framing—the fundamental mindfulness that we all have is obviously not an invention of Buddhism. —Barry Boyce Meditating at a program with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Richard Davidson hosted by University of Wisconsin Health