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What is Mindfulness?

Shinzen Young

Book Edition: 2016

t’s important to remember that mindfulness is merely a word in the English language. As such, its meaning has evolved through time and it may denote different things in different circumstances.

When speaking of non-Western cultures, it is common to distinguish the pre-contact situation from the post-contact situation. Contact, in this case, refers to interaction with modern Europeans.

Here’s an example. Before contact with Western ideas, the Japanese word kami referred to the local Shinto god(s). Contact with Abrahamic religions caused a semantic broadening. Kami can still refer to a particular Shinto god, but it can also stand for the Western monotheistic notion of God/Deus/Elohim.

But contact is a two-way process. Prior to contact with Asian culture, the English word mindfulness meant something general like heedful or aware of context. After contact, it could still be used in that general way but more and more it has come to designate a very specific type of awareness. It is mindfulness in that specialized sense that I seek to clarify in this article. (From Author)

 eBook Contents

Some Useful Distinctions -Noting: A Representative Practice - Towards A Definition of Mindful Awareness - Does the Definition Work? - How Mindfulness Reduces Suffering - Some Unwarranted Assumptions - Where Do We Go from Here?

eBook License: Copyright from Shinzen Young Web Page

Available in PDF format – 76 pages – 4,0 Mb