Monthly Archives: January 2017

Mindfulness of Dharma

Right Mindfulness is the part of the Eightfold Path of Buddhism, which means it is an essential part of Buddhist practice. Mindfulness is a whole-body-and-mind awareness of the present moment. To be mindful is to be fully present, not lost in daydreams, anticipation or worry.

The Buddhist practice of mindfulness has four foundations: Mindfulness of body (in Pali, kayasati), of feelings or sensations (vedanasati), of mental states (cittasati), and of mental objects or qualities (dhammasati). This article will look at the fourth foundation.

A literal translation of the Pali word dhammasati is “mindfulness (sati) of dhamma (or, in Sanskrit, dharma).” To understand this foundation, we need to begin with a look at dharma.

Dharma is a Sanskrit word that is used to mean a lot of different things. In its broadest sense it means something like “natural law.” In Buddhism, it is often used to mean “teaching of the Buddha.” It also can refer to the nature of existence or to phenomena as manifestations of reality, and these last two meanings are closest to the dhamma of dhammasati.

See “What Is Dharma in Buddhism?” for a more detailed explanation of dharma.

Expanding Our Awareness

The four foundations describe a process that begins, traditionally, with mindfulness of the breath. From there one practices mindfulness of the body, of sensations and emotions, and of mental states.

This practice is a whole-body-and-mind experience without conceptualization. In other words, mindfulness is being fully aware and present with the body or with feelings. It is not “thinking about” these frames of reference or concocting ideas about them. Further, there is not “my” body or feelings; there is just body or feelings.

The foundations are frames of reference for mindfulness — body, feelings, mind. But mindfulness of dharma suggests an awareness of everything. How do we do that?

Many teachers explain this foundation as a mindfulness of phenomena. Put another way, it is mindfulness of the experience of the phenomenal world.

The Tibetan Buddhist teacher Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche explained the fourth foundation as “basically the recognition of the interdependent relationship of our mind and the phenomenal world. It is working with the relationship of each individual phenomenon existing around us as the object of our experience.” What does that mean?

Me and Everything Else?

It’s important to understand that the “phenomenal world” is not something that is “out there,” separate from us. The Buddha taught that everything inter-exists. All phenomena, including us, are conditioned and defined by all other phenomena. This is because that is.

Individual things — from teapots and toasters to living beings — are experienced as mental objects. We “know” them as we know them because of how our brains and senses respond to stimuli and also because we’ve been taught from birth to recognize things in a particular way. This is the interdependent relationship of the mind and the phenomenal world.

Very basically, mindfulness of dharmas is a pure awareness of whatever there is. If there is birdsong, there is birdsong. It is not you listening to birdsong. Nor is the birdsong coming from “out there” somewhere. The experience of birdsong is right here.

The Wheel of Samsara

In the Satipatthana Sutta of the Pali Tipitika (Majjhima Nikaya 10), the Buddha begins his teaching on the fourth foundation by advising his disciples to be mindful of the Five Hindrances. Naming each of the five — sensual desire, ill will, sloth, resltnessness, and uncertainty — he counseled being aware of whether the hindrance is present, and if present how it arises, and how it ceases.

Then the Buddha spoke of the Five Skandhas, calling them the “aggregates of clinging.” He advised his disciples to be aware of the skandhas and the corresponding senses organs and objects. The monks and nuns also were taught to contemplate the factors of enlightenment and the Four Noble Truths.

Many Buddhist teachers advocate mindfulness of what binds us to samsara. In particular, be aware of the twelve links of dependent origination.

The Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says that Right Mindfulness is at the heart of the Buddha’s teaching. “When Right Mindfulness is present, the Four Noble Truths and the other seven elements of the Eightfold Path are also present” (The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, p. 59). This is particularly true of the mindfulness of dharma.


In Mahayana Buddhism, the fourth foundation of mindfulness is awareness of sunyata, or emptiness, which is also the basis of wisdom. This much-misunderstood doctrine teaches us that all phenomena are empty of self-essence as well as inter-existing. The distinction we see between this and that is something we are projecting; it is not intrinsic to the things and beings around us. So, in a sense, a particular phenomenon exists as a mental object, not as a thing-in-itself. See also the Two Truths.

[This is an article I wrote for the Buddhism section of However, since has removed it from their servers, all rights revert to me.]

The Fetter of Views

The Buddha spoke often of the danger of clinging to views. For example, in the Sabbasava Sutta (Pali Tipitika, Majjhima Nikaya 2), he said that a person can be lost in “a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views,” and such a person “is not freed from birth, aging, and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair.”

This teaching has led to many misunderstandings, mostly because people cling to views about views. Let’s take a look.

The Metaphysical Misdirection

In several places in the Pali Tipitika, the Buddha declined to answer certain questions. Sometimes, as in the Sabbasava Sutta, he said also there were some questions that aren’t helpful to reflect upon.

Theravadin monk and scholar Thanissaro Bhikkhu says that many of these questions probably were those being hotly debated by philosophers of the Buddha’s day — “Is the cosmos eternal? Is it not eternal? Is it finite? Is it infinite? Is the body the same as the soul? Is the body one thing and the soul another? Does the Tathagata exist after death? Does he not exist after death? Both? Neither?” And after each recitation of such questions, the Buddha would explain that such questions ensnare the questioner in “a fetter of views.”

Some people have interpreted these discourses to mean that the Buddha was not interested in metaphysics. Metaphysics is a word used to mean a lot of things, but primarily it refers to philosophical inquiry into the nature of reality. But many of the Buddha’s teachings are about the nature of reality; on its face, the metaphysics argument makes no sense (see “Buddhism and Metaphysics“).

How Do We Know?

There are several other possible reasons why the Buddha had reservations about some kinds of questions. Some questions might be unanswerable because they are based on mistaken assumptions. For example, the question “is the soul the same as the body” assumes there is a soul.

“Does the Tathagata exist after death” assumes that we all understand what existence and death are, not to mention Tathagata. But usually we don’t. The master teachers tell us that when our understanding ripens, and our understanding of existence and death deepens, we see that the question is meaningless.

Throughout his teaching the Buddha urged his disciples to drop intellectual views and conjecture and instead cultivate direct insight through practice of the Eightfold Path. But for a lot of us, intellectual views and conjecture are the only way we know how to know, and the biggest challenge we face in practice is learning new ways to know.

The Trap of Certitude

Views also become a fetter when they cut off further seeking. Once we are certain we know something, we’re closed off from learning more. Indeed, we humans tend to block out new information that contradicts what we think we know.

And certitude is no guarantee of truth. There’s a saying I heard once — A man with one watch knows what time it is, but a man with two watches is never sure. In this case, wisdom lies with uncertainty.

In Zen Buddhism, teachers refer to beginner’s mind or don’t know mind as a mind that is open to new perspectives.The late Shunryu Suzuki Roshi said, “In beginner’s mind we have many possibilities, but in expert mind there is not much possibility.

Keep in mind also the first two of Thich Nhat Hanh‘s Fourteen Precepts of Engaged Buddhism:

“Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.

“Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout our entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.”

Many Forms of Clinging

Of course, as long as we live we’re going to have views, and that’s all right. Views are only a problem when we attach to them and are unwilling to let them go. (See also “Why Do Buddhists Avoid Attachment?”)

This brings us to another way “clinging to views” is misunderstood. The Buddha taught his disciples not to cling even to his teachings. He compared Buddhist doctrines to a raft that should be abandoned once the other shore is reached.

Some interpret this to mean the doctrines aren’t that important. If we’re not to cling to them, maybe it’s better to avoid them altogether, right? However, often “avoiding” is just another form of clinging.

The Theravadin monk and scholar Bhikkhu Bodhi writes, “Too often this kind of slippery reasoning provides simply a convenient excuse for adhering, at a subtle level of the mind, to ideas which are fundamentally antithetical to the Dhamma. We hang on to such ideas, not because they are truly edifying, but in order to protect ourselves from the radical challenge with which the Buddha’s message confronts us.”

To paraphrase Thich Nhat Hanh — while the written doctrines may not be absolute truth, they are an essential guiding means. Without that guidance, our old assumptions — assumptions to which we cling without realizing it — go unchallenged. Without that guidance, and the challenge to our assumptions, we are likely to remain lost in a wilderness of views.

 [This is an article I wrote for the Buddhism section of However, since has removed it from their servers, all rights revert to me.]

The Third Noble Truth: The Cessation of Craving

The study of Buddhism begins with the study of the Four Noble Truths. You might think of the Four Truths as a basic outline of all the Buddha’s teaching.

The First Noble Truth is about dukkha, a word that means stressful, painful, and unable to satisfy. Life is dukkha, the Buddha said. The Second Noble Truth explains craving, the origin of dukkha.

The Third Noble Truth tells us that we don’t have to remain stuck in this unsatisfactory state. The Buddha said, “And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha: the remainderless fading and cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, and letting go of that very craving.”

The Path of Liberation

A superficial, but common, interpretation of the Four Noble Truths is that life is awful, it is awful because we have desires, and if we can get rid of our desires we will be enlightened and happy and go to Buddha Heaven. If you have studied the first and second Truths you already know there’s more to it than that.

The first point to understand about the Third Noble Truth is that craving cannot be tossed away by force of will. You cannot just tell yourself, “Okay, from now on I won’t crave anything.” This won’t work, because the conditions that give rise to craving will still be present.

The next point is that merely believing in the Four Noble Truths won’t help you, either. You must thoroughly investigate the Truths for yourself. Contemplate them and observe them in your everyday life. Be willing to learn through experience and not just intellect. Be open to insights that might surprise you.


The English word renunciation means to reject or cast away something. Buddhist texts in English use the word renunciation often, for lack of a better word, but in the context of Buddhism it means something else.

Renunciation in Buddhism happens when, because of insight, the things that bind us to dukkha naturally fall away. That’s why contemplation, investigation, and insight are so important.

The Second Noble Truth tells us that we cling to things we believe will make us happy or keep us safe, but by clinging we bind ourselves to dukkha. It is only when we see this for ourselves that we can begin to let go. But when we see it, the letting go is easy. It is an act of liberation rather than penance. The craving will seem to disappear of its own accord.

The Buddha said, “If, by forsaking a limited ease, he would see an abundance of ease, the enlightened man would forsake the limited ease for the sake of the abundant.” (Dhammapada, verse 290, Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)


The Buddha said that “the extinction of thirst [craving] is Nirvana.” (Or, in Pali, Nibbana.) Many newcomers to Sanskrit imagine Nirvana to be something like heaven. But the word actually means “to extinguish,” as in extinguishing a fire.

That may sound unappealing. To appreciate the meaning of the word nirvana, it’s important to understand how fire was understood in the Buddha’s time and culture. Fire was considered to be an element that was always present, but it only became visible as flames when it was attached to fuel. When not attached to fuel, fire still existed but in a transformed state.

In the same way, the Buddha taught that when attachment to craving ends, the fire of dukkha is extinguished. The state of the former sufferer is transformed. This transformed state is so different from common human experience that it cannot be imagined, the Buddha said.

Walking the Way

To review, the first three Truths tell us that life is incapable of satisfying us for very long. It is stressful, even painful, and impermanent. We feel this stress because we are attached to craving, and this attachment is the result of a delusional, self-centered perspective. If we gain insight into the nature of life and realize for ourselves how our own mental habits are causing our problems, the craving falls away.

That’s grand, you might think, but how is this transformation accomplished? The “how” is addressed in the Fourth Noble Truth.

[This is an article I wrote for the Buddhism section of However, since has removed it from their servers, all rights revert to me.]

Dayi Daoxin: Fourth Patriarch of Zen

The Six Zen Patriarchs are the first six masters of Zen Buddhism. Every Zen teacher alive today counts them as her or his dharma ancestors. Dayi Daoxin (or Tao-hsin; 580-651 CE) is recognized in all schools of Zen as the Fourth Patriarch.

Daoxin’s life as a master teacher of Zen came at the very beginning of the Tang Dynasty (618–907), a high point of Chinese civilization and a golden age for Zen. He established the first permanent monastery dedicated entirely to Zen. And he is credited with establishing the unique style of Zen monastic life, in which practice continues through everyday activities.

So, Daoxin is a very important person in Zen history. Even so, his life story comes with a big asterisk.

The wisdom of Zen is said to be directly transmitted face to face, from teacher to student. It is nothing like reading a book to get a conceptual understanding of something. Teacher and student achieve an intuitive bond, and in time the teacher recognizes that the student has realized the enlightenment of the dharma.

Zen history says the chain of teachers transmitting to the next generation of teachers has been unbroken since the time of the Buddha, and even to Buddhas before Buddha. In this way, it is said, the mind of the Buddha is kept alive through the generations.

But Daoxin’s time in Zen history was not well recorded. There is no contemporary record telling us how Daoxin received transmission from the Third Patriarch, Jianzhi Sengcan. Sengcan himself appears to have been inserted into the record as a kind of patch.

What we know about Daoxin appears to be part history and part myth, and it’s hard to know where one ends and the other begins. Here is the story from the classic Zen chronicles.

Daoxin’s Story

Daoxin was born in present day Anhui Province, China, and he began his Buddhist studies at the age of seven. According to Transmission of Light (Denkoroku; compiled in Japan by Keizan Jokin, 1300), Daoxin’s encounter with Sengcan went like this:

Daoxin: “I beg your compassion. Please give me a way of liberation.”

Sengcan: “Who is hindering you?”

Daoxin: “No one is hindering me.”

Sengcan: “Then why do you seek liberation?”

At these words, the Denkoruku says, Daoxin became greatly enlightened.

However he realized enlightenment, Daoxin had the good fortune to live at the dawn of the Tang Dynasty. The Emperor Taizong, who reigned from 626 to 649, was one of China’s greatest emperors. The political upheavals that had challenged Sengcan and the Second Patriarch, Huike, were coming to an end. Daoxin’s predecessors had spent much of their lives wandering or hiding in the mountains, but Daoxin was able to establish a permanent home for Zen.

He established East Mountain Temple / Monastery on Mount Shuangfeng, near modern-day Huangmei in Hubei Province, China. Certainly Zen teachers had taught in monasteries before; Bodhidharma, for example, established Zen in Shaolin Monastery, but even Bodhidharma was something of a visiting teacher at Shaolin. East Mountain was the first thoroughly Zen monastic community.

For thirty years, Daoxin presided over a community of 500 monks. Because alms alone could not support such a large group, East Mountain became a kind of commune, and the monks grew most of their own food. Zen practice was no longer something done in a meditation hall; gardening, cooking, administrating, cleaning, and other chores also were practice. East Mountain became a template that Zen communities have followed ever since.

Even so, for Daoxin, meditation was the most essential practice. “Sit earnestly in meditation!” he is said to have said. “The sitting in meditation is basic to all else.”

A Legend

Of the many legends about Daoxin, the most famous begins with Daoxin refusing to comply with an imperial decree. The master teacher was summoned to the court of Emperor Taizong, but Daoxin would not go. After a second summons also was refused, the Emperor told his messenger to bring back either an unharmed Daoxin or his head.

But when the messenger read the decree regarding his head, Daoxin bent down and presented his neck. “Cut it off, then!” he told the messenger. The astonished messenger left with neither Daoxin nor his head. When the Emperor heard this story, he honored Daoxin as a great Buddhist teacher.

Daoxin’s Zen

It is recorded that Daoxin taught the Prajnaparamita sutras as well as the Lankavatara, the primary sutra of early Zen. There is also a text attributed to him called the Five Gates of Daoxin:

Let it be known: Buddha is the mind.  Outside of the mind there is no Buddha.  In short, this includes the following five things:

First: The ground of the mind is essentially one with the Buddha.

Second: The movement of the mind brings forth the treasure of the Dharma.  The mind moves yet is ever quiet; it becomes turbid and yet remains such as it is.

Third: The mind is awake and never ceasing; the awakened mind is always present; the Dharma of awakened mind is without specific form.

Fourth: The body is always empty and quiet; both within and without, it is one and the same; the body is  located in the Dharma world, yet is unfettered.

Fifth: Maintaining unity without going astray — dwelling at once in movement and rest, one can see the Buddha nature clearly and enter the gate of samadhi.

[This is an article I wrote for the Buddhism section of However, since has removed it from their servers, all rights revert to me.]

Do We Really Make Our Own Reality?

The claim that “we make our own reality” pops up frequently in Buddhism, and the claim often is repeated in mind-body-spirit circles. But what does “make our own reality” really mean?

From a Buddhist perspective, it doesn’t mean that once you’re enlightened you can fly or step in front of speeding trains without harm. Whatever your spiritual status, expect to continue to be subject to the laws of physics.

So what does it mean? To a Buddhist, “we make our own reality” could be understood in different ways, and some Buddhists disagree with the statement entirely. It’s probably the case that Mahayana Buddhists are more likely to agree with it than Theravada Buddhists. And if you do find some truth in it, you may understand the phrase in different ways as your practice matures.

The Fruits of Karma

Some of those who object to the idea of making our own reality say that it’s a misunderstanding of the first verses of the Dhammapada, a collection of sayings of the Buddha found in the Pali Sutta-pitaka. One of the early translations of the Dhammapada, by F. Max Muller, begins All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts.A more recent translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu begins “Phenomena are preceded by the heart, ruled by the heart, made of the heart.”

This verse is about karma. It is said karma is created by body, speech and mind.

But in fact mind comes first; whatever we do with body and speech begins with mind — a thought or an intention.  Note that the original Pali uses variations of the word manas for “mind.”

Read More: “Manas: The Mind of Will and Delusion

However, I think it can also be argued that karma creates our reality, or at least a lot of it. Karma is the action created by intention, and in Buddhism it’s understood that the life you have right now was built by all the choices, and the intentions, you made so far.

But when we say that karma created your reality, be clear that karma refers only to volition action. There are other natural laws in the world — such as physics — that are not affected by karma. Karma doesn’t create natural disasters, for example, but the karma of your life will affect how you handle being in one.

Projected Reality

At this point, you might be thinking this “make your own reality” thing isn’t so cool after all. But there are other ways to look at it.

One of these ways is psychological. People who are frequently angry create a lot of problems for themselves, while someone with a generous heart may inspire generosity in others. What you project out into the world is reflected back to you by the world.

The poet Walt Whitman expressed this when he wrote.,

I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall be complete,
The earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who remains jagged and broken.

It is sometimes said your “outer” reality is a reflection of your “inner” reality, although the “outer” and “inner” really aren’t two separate things.


The Six Realms are sometimes interpreted to refer to personality types or mental states rather than physical places. People driven by addictions might be said to be in the Hungry Ghost realm, for example. So in this case the “realm” you are in is an allegory for your mental state.


The Mahayana philosophy of Yogacara is primarily concerned with the nature of experience. In particular, it analyzes how a mental function called vijnana, awareness or consciousness, connects sense objects with sense organs to create experience. For example, vijnana intersects a visible object with the eye to create the experience of sight. Vijnana also connects perception (samjna) to ideas to create thinking.

Read More: The Five Skandhas

Yogacara is a sophisticated philosophy that takes most of us a long time to comprehend. It proposes that the sense objects we see, feel, taste or hear are not “real” but are creations of vijnana.

This isn’t as off the wall as it might seem. Today’s neuroscientists say that the way we experience all the phenomena “out there” really is mostly a fabrication of our brains and nervous systems. Color, for example, is something our brains create from sensory impulses. The red in a rose is in our heads, not in the rose. This is also true of the way the rose smells and feels.

So, according to Yogacara, we really do “make our own reality”; we’re just not conscious of it.

[This article, written by me, was originally published in the Buddhism section of However, since has apparently removed it from their servers, all rights revert to me.]

The Mindfulness Controversy: Work and War

The Buddhist practice of mindfulness is popping up everywhere, from mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programs to corporate seminars on employee productivity. New self-improvement applications for mindfulness seem to emerge every week.

This mindfulness movement does have its detractors, however, and some of those detractors are Buddhists. Let’s take a look at some of the issues surrounding mindfulness in the workplace and the military. For a look at the use of mindfulness in psychology, see The Mindfulness Controversy, Part 2: Mindfulness Therapy.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a direct, whole-body-and-mind awareness of the present moment. This awareness is pure awareness; it is not filtered through thoughts or interpretations. This awareness includes awareness of one’s body, of sensations, of one’s mental states, and of, well, everything.

In the context of Buddhism, mindfulness is one of eight “folds” of the Eightfold Path, which is the framework of all of Buddhist practice. For now, the important point is that all parts of the Path support and affect all other parts of the Path. So, for example, our intentions and ethical conduct have an impact on our practice of mindfulness, and vice versa. For that reason, from a Buddhist perspective, when mindfulness is practiced in isolation of the rest of the Path it already becomes something different from Buddhist mindfulness.

It’s also important to understand that as a spiritual practice, stress reduction may be a pleasant side effect of mindfulness practice, but that’s not what it’s for.

However, its not being “Buddhist” is not necessarily a problem. If mindfulness exercises based on Buddhist mindfulness are helpful to people, that’s great. So what are the objections?

Mindfulness in War and Work

Buddhists practice mindfulness on the job all the time. And now businesses, especially large corporations, are being sold on mindfulness as a great productivity tool. Mindful employees are focused employees. And mindful employees are less stressed employees, which leads to happier employees and even fewer sick days. Win/win!

© Phovoir |

But some are disturbed when they hear about giant corporations or even the military sending personnel to mindfulness seminars. This is partly because beneficiaries are nearly all upper level executives or valuable production staff, such as software engineers. People assembling products in third-world factories are not invited.

I have also heard objections to mindfulness training in the military. Are we training soldiers to be more focused and effective killers? I have no opinion without knowing more specifically how mindfulness is being used. If mindfulness is being used to help soldiers cope with traumatic stress, or to be more aware of surroundings and more likely to survive and come home, then let us not withhold our compassion from soldiers because we don’t approve of war.

Mindfulness and the Self

There is real concern about making mindfulness into a way to get ahead in the corporate world, which is considerably removed from its roots in Buddhism. In Buddhism, the practice helps us see the ephemeral and evanescent nature of the self. When mindfulness is practiced to improve or enhance the self, however, that really is a very different thing.

This takes us back to separating mindfulness from the rest of the Eightfold Path. Within Buddhist practice there is always a context shaped by the Buddha’s teaching — on ethics, on compassion, on selflessness. Mindfulness practices can have a powerful and unpredictable effect on the psyche. What happens when it is completely removed from those contexts?

It’s hard to say, frankly. Many Buddhist teachers have expressed concern that mindfulness uncoupled from teachings on the release of greed and anger and cultivation of loving kindness for other beings could reinforce negative qualities instead of positive ones.

Stirring the Soup

In an article at titled “Enlightenment Engineer,” Noah Shachtman quoted Kenneth Folk, an influential meditation teacher in Silicon Valley: “All the woo-woo mystical stuff, that’s really retrograde,” Folk said. “This is about training the brain and stirring up the chemical soup inside.”

Teachers of the many Asian meditative disciplines have centuries of experience dealing with the effects of stirring the chemical soup. For most people, spending ten minutes a day doing mindfulness exercises will have only beneficial effects, yes. But it’s also the case that most of us have some nasty stuff in that chemical soup, and for some of us it doesn’t take much stirring to bring it to the surface. One suspects many recently minted mindfulness enthusiasts lack appreciation of this.

It’s also the case that, as with anything valued, lots of people with sketchy credentials are rushing forward to supply the demand. I’ve run into articles and advertisements about meditation instructors who do not appear to know what mindfulness is. For example, mindfulness has been promoted as a way of blocking out intrusive, negative thoughts, but that’s not right at all. Genuine mindfulness requires awareness and acknowledgment of negative thoughts and anything else going on in your head or senses. “Blocking out” is, by definition, just the opposite.

Note also that in Buddhism “mindfulness” and “concentration” are not the same thing. Indeed, Right Concentration is another section of the Eightfold Path. Focusing all your attention on a dot on your monitor, as one mindfulness expert advocates, is a concentration exercise, not mindfulness. Concentration exercises can be beneficial also, but one does wonder if these so-called experts have any idea what they are talking about.

That said, if you are not a Buddhist practitioner and your employer is making mindfulness training available, I wouldn’t hesitate to check it out and give it a try. Chances are you will get some good out of it.

[This article, written by me, was originally published on’s Buddhism site, but since it was removed from their servers all rights revert to me, and I am posting it here.]