Mindfulness in East and West – is it the same?
The transference of the practice and concept of mindfulness from Eastern Buddhist into modern Western society is reconsidered. The underlying question is whether mindfulness as practiced in the ancient Buddhist tradition is still compatible with its modern expressions growing more and more popular in the Western world. Definitions and contexts within the Eastern tradition and the Western approach which is more scientifically dominated are compared, and the process of transference and secularization is addressed. Also, reasons for the popularity of mindfulness and meditation in the West based on societal developments are identified. This analysis comes to the conclusion that there are huge differences between the Western and Eastern approaches and contexts. Thus, it is more appropriate to see the heterogeneous, and mostly secular, practices in the West as a newly emerging culture of mindfulness which has not been there before. Nevertheless, this movement itself entails a transcultural aspect connecting East and West.
Schmidt, S. (2011)., Mindfulness in East and West – is it the same?, in H. Walach, S. Schmidt & W. B. Jonas (eds.), Neuroscience, consciousness and spirituality, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 23-38.
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