This excerpt was first offered as the Sravasti Abbey November eTeaching. Sign up here to receive monthly eTeachings excerpts from books by Ven. Thubten Chodron.

Mindfulness in Modernity

from Following in the Buddha’s Footsteps – New Book!
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Ven. Thubten Chodron

Nowadays, there are many and varied uses of some of the basic principles of mindfulness meditation in a variety of fields, including medicine, psychotherapy, education, sports, business, and corrections (prisons).

Here the principles of mindfulness are employed for specific purposes, such as to reduce chronic pain or mental stress or to increase attention. It is wonderful to see Buddhist teachings benefit a wide range of people in this way.

When bare awareness of the present moment is taught in a secular context, I suggest prefacing the instructions by emphasizing that this is a meditation technique derived from Buddhism. In that way, people who practice mindfulness to reduce stress or chronic pain will neither feel pressured to become Buddhist nor think they are doing the full practice of mindfulness as taught by the Buddha.

Similarly, people who are new to Buddhism will understand that mindfulness meditation as taught by the Buddha is done in the context of the four truths and the Buddhist worldview; it is practiced for the purpose of attaining liberation from cyclic existence. They will understand that the Buddha’s teachings are expansive; there is much to learn and practice—mindfulness is not the simplified technique they do with an app.

 Following in the Buddha’s Footsteps

Volume 4 in The Library of Wisdom and Compassion
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Ven. Thubten Chodron 
Wisdom Publications

* Learn more about the book here

* Watch Ven. Chodron’s teachings from the book on how to cultivate serenity given at the Concentration Retreat 2019 here