Purser, R.E., Forbes,D. & Burke,A. (editors) 2016. Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, context, and social engagement, Switzerland: Springer International. 514 pages. 33 chapters, including one by myself.

My copy of this large collection arrived in the post while i was away. I don't expect that i shall get around to reading it all but there are certainly some interesting essays here. With Ron Purser as the lead editor one can take it that this is not simply a eulogy of all that is good about mindfulness. There are some critical notes here. What is the relationship of mindfulness to ethics? Is secularising a religious discipline really a good idea? Is this just a transient fad? Is the great mountain of 'research' all it is cracked up to be? These are some of the questions that crop up in a number of the chapters.

The book is in five sections: 1. Between Tradition & Modernity; 2. Neoliberal Mindfulness versus Critical Mindfulness; 3. Geneologies of Mindfulness Based Interventions; 4. Mindfulness as Critical Pedagogy; 5 Commentary. Part One has chapters by Bhikkhu Bodhi, David Loy, Richard King, Geoffrey Samuel, Candy Guenther Brown,  Jack Petranker and myself. Part Two includes chapters with such titles as "Corporate Mindfulness and the Pathologisation of Workplace Stress", "Mindfulness as an Opiate of the Middle Classes", "Mindfulness and the Moral Imperative for the Self to Improve the Self" and five others. In Part Three, Manu Bazzano has a chapter called "The Fourth Treasure: Psychotherapy's Contribution to the Dharma" and David Lewis & Deborah Rozelle have "Mindfulness Based Interventions: Clinical Psychology, Buddhadharma or Both? A Wisdom Perspective". Part Four is mostly about ethics and education.

The book is not cheap. If you save a dollar a day for a year you might be able to afford one. So to read it you might need to convince your institution that they have to have this in their library.

https://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Mindfulness-Culture-Engagement-Beha...

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Running a Course in Korea and Elsewhere

Posted by David Brazier on August 3, 2018 at 1:40 2 Comments

I am currently leading courses on Buddhist psychology here in Seoul, Korea, but as I am putting the course onto this site as we go along, members of La Ville au Roi (Eleusis) are also responding so it is a bit as though the course is going on in several countries at the same time which is nice.

Varlam Shalamov

Posted by Geeta Chari on July 16, 2018 at 0:00 1 Comment

From The Paris Review:

For fifteen years the writer Varlam Shalamov was imprisoned in the Gulag for participating in “counter-revolutionary Trotskyist activities.” He endured six of those years enslaved in the gold mines of Kolyma, one of the coldest and most hostile places on earth. While he was awaiting sentencing, one of his short stories was…

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The Buddha, Season 1, Episode 1

Posted by Geeta Chari on June 29, 2018 at 9:21 1 Comment

I have been watching The Buddha on Netflix, and although I came well-prepared to scoff, there is a surprising amount of food for thought from a Pureland perspective. What follows is a review of the Pureland touches in the episode, coloured inevitably by my upbringing in India, although I have now lived in Britain for more than half my life.

The scene opens in the republic of Kapilavastu, depicted as a green and pleasant land, with the Himalayan mountains as a backdrop. (I was…

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Nembutsu Question

Posted by Dayamay Dunsby on April 20, 2018 at 8:22 1 Comment

I found this in a book that I'm reading. It has challenged my current "understanding" of the Nembutsu. I tend to think of the name itself as salvation and the bridge to the Pure Land...

"...Nembutsu is not a means to gain salvation but a reflection of it. Shinran acknowledges there is nembutsu without true entrusting because he lived in an environment where nembutsu was recited for benefits and merit. By itself it cannot produce true entrusting. Nevertheless, they are inseparable as…

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