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Thread: McMindfullness? Ooh boy...

  1. #1

    McMindfullness? Ooh boy...

    Hello all, I just came across this and I wanted to hear the voice of the sangha:

    http://www.salon.com/2015/07/15/mind...ium=socialflow

    Gassho, Dylan, sat today.

  2. #2
    Sounds about right to me. But it has little to do with our practice.

    -satToday
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan View Post
    Hello all, I just came across this and I wanted to hear the voice of the sangha:

    http://www.salon.com/2015/07/15/mind...ium=socialflow

    Gassho, Dylan, sat today.
    Hello,

    Seems cute, mostly harmless, and something stepped over with the goallesss goal.


    Gassho
    Myosha sat today

    (Don't read this: imagine showing up at your McDonalds five minutes after the kitchen stopped serving the breakfast McMindfullness - "But, I was inside the door before 10:35, man!")
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  4. #4
    Hi Dylan,

    Well, a couple of points ...

    To the degree the people are using meditation merely to relax a bit, work more efficiently and be a bit more "chill" about the problems in their life, it is a bit like using a race car to go pick up the dry cleaning, like putting a band-aid on one's heart attack. They are missing much of the real power of this practice, and Buddhist Teachings on the root of the human condition and suffering, when they water things down (same with afternoon yoga at the YMCA) and turn it into some "let's relax a bit, and be a bit more efficient while wallowing in ignorance" technique.

    Next, when meditation is simply used as a tool to make businessmen more effectively greedy, more "chill" about turning out junk and polluting the environment, and soldiers into more efficient killing machines ... well, there are real ethical questions, not to mention that it may backfire (the soldiers and businesspeople may be damaging themselves in the process).

    Now, the above does not mean that Zen and Buddhism has always been "anti-business" (or even "anti-military"!) thru its long history. I has not. Since the days of the Buddha, in India, China, Japan and wherever Buddhism can be found, Buddha and his successors knew that somebody had to keep society going, keep the economy going, keep the food growing and the money coming in. After all, somebody had to pay for the monasteries, and that was usually business people (Buddhism developed in India as primarily an urban movement accompanying the rising of commerce), kings and other rich folks.

    Buddha had advice for rich people: Use you wealth and social power for good, cultivate simplicity, do not be overly attached. He never said to stop working, however (he knew that some folks were suited to the monastery, some to staying home). More here:

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post150891

    Buddha, while preaching the ideal of "non-violence", also had students who were kings and leaders, many with armies. Same for the Buddhist monks in China, Japan, Tibet and elsewhere, who lived in societies dominated by kings, lords and samurai. One may say that, at best, Buddhists counselled to use military power sparingly, reluctantly and in defense of life ... but they recognized the necessary evil, and counseled their students who were soldiers to be the best soldiers they could be. More here:

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ction-in-Syria

    This topic of "mcmindfulness" has come up a couple of time lately ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...lness-Disciple

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post138425

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-16-2015 at 02:29 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan View Post
    McMindfullness? Ooh boy...
    That's a cue for a heated debate, isn't it?

    It's probably been linked before, but there's a cracking article about all of this over at Secular Buddhism: http://secularbuddhism.org/2014/12/1...the-bathwater/

    It gets more and more interesting towards the end, with a hint of cynicism e.g.
    The Buddha was rather more an ethical pragmatist than some today have tended to see him: throughout his life the Buddha worked to gain the favor of wealthy and powerful patrons to his cause...
    Gassho
    Jeremy
    Will Sit Later

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    That's a cue for a heated debate, isn't it?

    It's probably been linked before, but there's a cracking article about all of this over at Secular Buddhism: http://secularbuddhism.org/2014/12/1...the-bathwater/
    Just to mention, I am going to be interviewed this weekend for the Secular Buddhism Podcast. The theme: Religious Secularism, the Best of Both Worlds. I will link to it when I know the release date.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Hi all. That's awesome, Jundo. I would love to hear it when it is available. ☺

    Gassho

    #SatToday

    Sent from my LGMS345 using Tapatalk
    Forever is so very temporary...

  8. #8
    The interview will be delayed a couple of weeks. Why?

    Well, in my "mindfulness", I failed to read the calendar correctly ...

    Oh, well. All things in their time. It will be in a couple of weeks.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    The interview will be delayed a couple of weeks. Why?

    Well, in my "mindfulness", I failed to read the calendar correctly ...

    Oh, well. All things in their time. It will be in a couple of weeks.

    Gassho, J
    Cool Jundo, look forward to hearing it when it comes out. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

  10. #10
    Thank you, Jundo, for your post.

    On this whole topic, I have a feeling that a little meditation can never be a bad thing, unless the meditator takes the position that he/she is 'special' because of it.

    _/\_

    Luciana

    sat2day

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Next, when meditation is simply used as a tool to make businessmen more effectively greedy, more "chill" about turning out junk and polluting the environment, and soldiers into more efficient killing machines ... well, there are real ethical questions, not to mention that it may backfire (the soldiers and businesspeople may be damaging themselves in the process).
    Hi Jundo,

    This really resonates with me because this is something that has been in my mind these past couple of weeks.

    Some days ago a neighbor came to my home to ask me if I could go to his businessmen club and give them "relaxation" classes. These gentlemen are very powerful here in the city and own almost every seat in the government and big local company. They even say they have links with the mafia (I have no proof of that, but somehow I think it's true).

    I think meditation and zazen should be practiced by everyone. There's much to learn and much to practice with. I usually say yes to requests like these and I find joy in helping people learn.

    But this time I couldn't say yes instantly because something inside me triggered alarms. It seems they are not interested in the dharma or ethics at all. If I help them find a "relaxing" time, they could gather more energy to keep on being greedy.

    So I said yes to the request and we still have to find a date and time.

    I'll go and do my best trying to teach them, but also I'll see if what people say is true. Not sure until I am actually with them.

    Until then, what you just said up there, really makes sense. Along with sitting there should be ethics study too.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  12. #12
    I agree with the above. Mindfulness, meditation, zazen, whichever form and function the word takes, does exactly as -intended.-

    Is the intent to find yourself, help others, maybe just unwind a little, or sit without intent (but with), Etc?

    Or, is it to help increase the capacity for greed, focus on unethical ways and treatment of beings, or delude yourself in thinking immoral behaviour is ok, as long as you're aware of it?

    It seems up to the practitioner at hand, indeed. Self discovery can be a wonderful, or frightening, thing. Not just for yourself -- but everyone around you.

    Or I could be completely wrong. Who knows what's in each other's hearts?

    Gassho,

    Jesse | SatToday

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Hi Jundo,

    This really resonates with me because this is something that has been in my mind these past couple of weeks.

    Some days ago a neighbor came to my home to ask me if I could go to his businessmen club and give them "relaxation" classes. These gentlemen are very powerful here in the city and own almost every seat in the government and big local company. They even say they have links with the mafia (I have no proof of that, but somehow I think it's true).

    I think meditation and zazen should be practiced by everyone. There's much to learn and much to practice with. I usually say yes to requests like these and I find joy in helping people learn.

    But this time I couldn't say yes instantly because something inside me triggered alarms. It seems they are not interested in the dharma or ethics at all. If I help them find a "relaxing" time, they could gather more energy to keep on being greedy.

    So I said yes to the request and we still have to find a date and time.

    I'll go and do my best trying to teach them, but also I'll see if what people say is true. Not sure until I am actually with them.

    Until then, what you just said up there, really makes sense. Along with sitting there should be ethics study too.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hi Kyonin,

    Many Teachers have responded to such a situation by trying, subtly, to turn them in a direction which is less greedy and more socially aware. (Sometimes "subtle" is important, because one may move a great ship with a subtle push more effectively than a resisted storming wind sometimes. Case by case. ).

    The Buddha and Dogen did so. In the old legend, the Buddha taught the great mass murderer, Angulimala ....

    [Angulimala] began waylaying lone travellers, killing them, cutting off one of their fingers and living off the possessions he stole. ... Ahimsaka would thread the fingers on a cord and hang them around his neck. This gave him a terrible appearance ... When the Buddha heard about Angulimala, he quietly left the Jetavana and set out for the Jalani forest ... Seizing his sword and shield, Angulimala emerged from the jungle and began to chase the Buddha, but although he ran as fast as he could, he could not catch up with the Buddha, who only walked. He put on a burst of speed but still could not get near the Buddha. Utterly bewildered, he shouted out: "Stand still, ascetic!" The Buddha turned around and looked at him, and replied: "I am still. Why don't you be still also?" Even more bewildered Angulimala asked: "What do you mean, ascetic?" "I am still in that I harm no living being. You kill and therefore you are not still," replied the Buddha. ... The terrible things that he had done and the wretchedness of his life dawned on Angulimala and he broke down and sobbed. He threw down his weapons, bowed at the Buddha's feet and asked to become a monk. ... Angulimala led a life of simplicity and solitude, and under the Buddha's guidance eventually attained enlightenment. But even then, there were many who remembered his terrible past and people would shun him. Often, he would return from his alms round with no food and sometimes people would throw stones at him. Once he returned from his alms round with blood and cuts all over him having been attacked by an angry mob. The Buddha comforted him, saying: "You must endure this, Angulimala. You must silently endure this. This is a result of the deeds you have done previously." http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/...isciples10.htm
    And, although it is just a corny religious biopic [nobody knows what really happened between them], there is this scene of Dogen and the young and psychologically tormented Shogun [the leader of the Samurai government in Japan] ...



    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-21-2015 at 02:12 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Ran across this NPR article from today discussing similar issues. The author is a scientist who also says he practices Zen.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/201...-mean-anything

    Gassho,
    Matt
    #SatToday

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    Ran across this NPR article from today discussing similar issues. The author is a scientist who also says he practices Zen.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/201...-mean-anything

    Gassho,
    Matt
    #SatToday
    Yes, thank you. This points out many of the issues ...

    Let's take on the science first. There have been many studies showing the effectiveness of meditation for different conditions (particularly those related to stress). But a meta-review of these studies by the Association for Health and Research Quality showed only moderate evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation. This overarching review study didn't necessarily say the effects were not there. Instead, it told us that, taken together, the quality of the studies (based on sample sizes, research protocols, etc.) were not strong enough to support the strong conclusions many mindfulness advocates hope for.

    ...

    "Scientists are, for the most part, circumspect about making claims for cures attributed to mindfulness. The science doesn't support that. Scientists know from looking at meditation trials that not every person benefits from mindfulness therapies, but this is something non-scientists seem to have difficulty with. Individuals should not make clinically based decisions based only on neuroscientific studies because the sample sizes are too small."
    Pointing to specifics of stress and depression she adds:

    "The clinical trial data on mindfulness for depression relapse, for example, is not a slam-dunk. The results are really not better than those for antidepressants. In general, mindfulness is not orders of magnitude stronger than other things that people are doing right now to help manage stress and mood disorders. So you have to look at mindfulness in the context of a range of options."

    ...

    Losing these religious, spiritual, ethical aspects of meditation as a practice when it's transformed into mindfulness is what worries many Buddhist teachers. Traditionally, Buddhist practice was meant to be radically transformative and a means, among other things, of awaking to the reality that, on the deepest levels, the "self" is an illusion. But by stripping away this context into just "mindfulness," many teachers fear the powerful transformative effects of the tradition will be watered down so completely that it becomes just a tepid form of "self-help."
    I believe that Zazen is helpful for conditions such as depression and anxiety ... for the simple reason that it teaches us not to "buy into" and get caught by our runaway thoughts and emotions. Anything grounded in allowing life, letting things be and "going with the flow", would seem that it must be helpful. That was my purely anecdotal experience with my own deep depression many years ago. I wrote about this today on another thread ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...513#post157513

    However, it is hard to study, varies person to person, and the studies to date have been so poorly designed and implemented. Also, Zazen practice can go hand in hand with all manner of other treatments and therapies.

    Also, I believe very much that one can preserve a "secular" view and maintain many of the most powerful teachings, practices and perspectives of Buddhism ... the best of both worlds. This will be the topic of my upcoming "Secular Buddhist Podcast" interview on "Religious-Secularism". So many of our key teachings are perfectly harmonious with a modern, secular and scientific world-view (such as teachings on "Emptiness" and "Non-self"), and one can safely abandon many of the more superstitious aspects of Buddhism while maintaining those in tact.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-22-2015 at 02:28 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I believe that Zazen is helpful for conditions such as depression and anxiety ... for the simple reason that it teaches us not to "buy into" and get caught by our runaway thoughts and emotions. Anything grounded in allowing life, letting things be and "going with the flow", would seem that it must be helpful. That was my purely anecdotal experience with my own deep depression many years ago. I wrote about this today on another thread ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...513#post157513

    However, it is hard to study, varies person to person, and the studies to date have been so poorly designed and implemented. Also, Zazen practice can go hand in hand with all manner of other treatments and therapies.

    Also, I believe very much that one can preserve a "secular" view and maintain many of the most powerful teachings, practices and perspectives of Buddhism ... the best of both worlds. This will be the topic of my upcoming "Secular Buddhist Podcast" interview on "Religious-Secularism". So many of our key teachings are perfectly harmonious with a modern, secular and scientific world-view (such as teachings on "Emptiness" and "Non-self"), and one can safely abandon many of the more superstitious aspects of Buddhism while maintaining those in tact.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Hi Jundo,

    Thank you for your perspective on that. Looking forward to the Secular Buddhist Podcast.

    Deep bows,
    Matt
    #SatToday

  17. #17
    I was reminded just yesterday that Siddhartha Gotama was a secularist as well. There was no big-B Buddhism in his day; no temples, no forms, no hierarchy, no special history. Just his deep inquiry into the nature of the mind.

    Just his mindfulness that "This is not me. This is not mine. This is not self."
    Simple, simple, simple. Whether depression or exaltation arises.

    Just my two cents...
    _/\_ Shinzan
    sit some more
    Last edited by Shinzan; 07-23-2015 at 03:41 PM.

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