An Examination of Modern Expressions of Mindfulness Practice: Pertinent Questions and Potential Pitfalls
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This thesis examines relevant questions and potential limitations/risks that arise when mindfulness, a traditional Buddhist religious practice, is implemented within modern Western society. It begins with an examination of mindfulness practice found within the Buddhist tradition, in particular within the Theravada and Zen schools, and moves on to address modern expressions of secular mindfulness practice found in the West. I survey two prevalent cases: mindfulness in the field of psychotherapy and the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program as examples. This thesis concludes with a discussion of important questions/drawbacks that arise in the modern, Western setting: namely, questions about fundamental cultural biases, teaching qualifications, the religious-secular line, commodification, and underlying company/institution intentions, to name a few. I argue that as the field of mindfulness continues to grow, these questions must be taken into account in order for open dialogue to ultimately result in positive development within the field.