Corporate "Mindfulness".

Discuss the application of the Dharma to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice.
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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu May 28, 2015 8:28 pm

Malcolm wrote:
MrBlueSKY wrote:To make sense of the future in regard to this corporate mindfulness ....No ?
No, mindfulness is not Buddhadharma.
?

You mean without the other 7 paths of the 3 trainings, I guess

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by DGA » Thu May 28, 2015 8:29 pm

Malcolm wrote:
MrBlueSKY wrote:To make sense of the future in regard to this corporate mindfulness ....No ?
No, mindfulness is not Buddhadharma.
Bingo. but if it gets people interested in Buddhadharma, then so much the better. If you read (and I don't recommend you do) the book about Google's in-house mindfulness program, Search Inside Yourself, you'll see constant references to Buddhist themes and contemporary Buddhist masters (I think he plagiarized a bit from Thich Nhat Hanh, but that's another issue). So if someone reads that book and takes an interest in the Dalai Lama, or Matthieu Ricard, then--great.

And there's another problem: the notion of Buddhism being reduced to mindfulness.

And another response: many of the criticisms of corporate mindfulness, particularly at the 2014 Wisdom 2.0 conferences, were brought about by Buddhist practitioners on Buddhist premises, eg against greed, against ignorance, &c.

Full disclosure: this is my dissertation topic. I should be done with the thing by this time in 2016. I'm happy to talk about it more if anyone's interested.

I'm going to San Francisco next week for a conference on the subject. Matthieu Ricard with be there. The conference includes a visit to the Zen Center of San Francisco... the connection of mindfulness and Buddhism is a curious one.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by DGA » Thu May 28, 2015 8:30 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
MrBlueSKY wrote:To make sense of the future in regard to this corporate mindfulness ....No ?
No, mindfulness is not Buddhadharma.
?

You mean without the other 7 paths of the 3 trainings, I guess
can't speak for Malcolm, but I can say for a certainty that what Kabat-Zinn and Daniel Goleman talk about when they talk about mindfulness in corporate & health care contexts is not the same as what Buddha Shakyamuni talks about when he talks about mindfulness. the objectives for practice are entirely different. One is to realize liberation. The other is to realize a less-stressed or more comfortable, more "meaningful" bourgeois lifestyle.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by dreambow » Thu May 28, 2015 11:42 pm

Jikan, I agree. This sanitized version of mindfulness is a complete watering down of the Buddha's teachings. Just a reflection of the rampant materialism and neoconservative influence pervading society.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by zengen » Thu May 28, 2015 11:54 pm

dreambow wrote:Jikan, I agree. This sanitized version of mindfulness is a complete watering down of the Buddha's teachings. Just a reflection of the rampant materialism and neoconservative influence pervading society.
:good:
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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri May 29, 2015 12:02 am

Jikan wrote: can't speak for Malcolm, but I can say for a certainty that what Kabat-Zinn and Daniel Goleman talk about when they talk about mindfulness in corporate & health care contexts is not the same as what Buddha Shakyamuni talks about when he talks about mindfulness. the objectives for practice are entirely different. One is to realize liberation. The other is to realize a less-stressed or more comfortable, more "meaningful" bourgeois lifestyle.
Yes I understand. Upon reflection it was not an intelligent comment. The Kagyupas speak of the 4 foundations of mindfulness. I somewhat doubt that is what is being sold in the corporate context.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by Heterodox Garden » Fri May 29, 2015 12:27 am

This question is actually a subset of the larger question of how Buddhism interacts with the various worldly institutions in the societies in which it finds itself. Rinzai zen archery became a military technique in some very bloody medieval battles; Nichiren Buddhism became popular with the merchant class in the same era because it came to be interpreted by many as more accommodating of worldly wealth and material pursuits. All over Asia, monestaries had (and have) large landholdings and commercial interests. China's Empress Wu was a great patron of Hua Yen Buddhism, and yet is known by historians for achievements of questionable morality. And so on.

The intersection of the spiritual and the worldly has always been a sticky matter, no less in Buddhism than in other paths.
Recommended reading material of recent interest:
写経 仏典を訓読してみませんか
http://gallerynyoze.web.fc2.com/syakyo.html

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by DGA » Sat May 30, 2015 1:37 pm

I'm really interested in what it makes possible, though. Does it get people thinking about important issues that are not even directly Buddhist just by association, such as environmental and social justice? I think it can.

One of the things that made the present mess possible, in my opinion, was the erasure of the left as a producer of credible critique globally. Even if you disagree with leftists, and I think most DW people probably do to some extent or another, you have to admit that dissenting voices have value in making any society function well. What happens to leftist discourse against globalization and environmental exploitation? It becomes refracted through Buddhist discourse ("Buddhist economics") and then taken up by association with the mindfulness situation.

That's the contradiction of "mindfulness," or one contradiction of it: it's completely compensatory (it gives one the means to accomodate oneself to the moment and thus reproduce it, rather than liberate oneself and others from it, or change it), but it also has some traces that are potentially emancipatory. That's why I find it so interesting as an academic (my day job).

I show how some of those traces circulate in this paper

https://www.academia.edu/12472332/The_M ... _Happiness

Please forgive the wonky language--I was speaking to an academic audience and a somewhat technical vocabulary is the coin of the realm.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by avisitor » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:52 am

Dan74 wrote:On a positive side I can imagine in a few case where mindfulness will lead people to the Dharma and real change can be effected.
Some time ago, a guy I know asked me for materials to learn meditation. I passed a few things on to him. Some time later when I tried to follow up, he said "I'm not interested in enlightenment, I just wanted to utilise my time at work better."
I guess at the end of the day, it is good to help people where we can, even when this help is very 'incomplete'.
Whether it is corporate mindfulness or it is incomplete help, it is very much like throwing a stone into the river.
All things in the river move or flow forward down the river ... just at different rates.
If not in this life ... next maybe in the next ... Just a funny thought

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by boda » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:40 am

DGA wrote:can't speak for Malcolm, but I can say for a certainty that what Kabat-Zinn and Daniel Goleman talk about when they talk about mindfulness in corporate & health care contexts is not the same as what Buddha Shakyamuni talks about when he talks about mindfulness. the objectives for practice are entirely different. One is to realize liberation. The other is to realize a less-stressed or more comfortable, more "meaningful" bourgeois lifestyle.
Corporate mindfulness is about stress reduction and perhaps a sort of mental hygiene. Realizing liberation is "meaningful."

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by dreambow » Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:02 am

Corporate mindfulness is a sham an artificial construct. The corporations are only interested in productivity, profit and a compliant workforce. We now have colouring books for adults being flogged in every book shop and news agency, apparently a trend to relax the busy western mind; business is booming.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:39 am

I went to a talk last month at the Aust. Assoc. of Buddhist Studies, by Geoffrey Samuels, author of Civilized Shamans, on this topic:
Mindfulness Within the Full Range of Buddhist and Asian Meditative Practices

The initial stages of the Mindfulness movement involved, for the most part, a limited set of meditative practices derived from modernist forms of Buddhism in Asia and the West, and restated in terms relatively distant from those of life and practice in Asian Buddhist societies. Much initial research was also focussed on the effects and therapeutic efficacy of this modernised and secularised set of practices, in part because of the relative ease with which it could be assimilated within contemporary scientific thought and biomedical practice. However, as the Mindfulness movement has grown, it has provided an invitation to consider the much wider range of meditative forms existing within Asian Buddhist traditions. This seminar discusses some of these meditative forms, also considering similar and parallel contemplative practices within Hindu and Daoist traditions. A better understanding of this multiplicity of contemplative forms and techniques, and of the cultural and philosophical context which they assume and imply, can both stimulate an expansion and rethinking of Western modes of scientific thought, and aid us to develop a more varied and productive range of therapeutic applications.
He is well aware there are, shall we say, 'soteriolical' dimensions of Buddhism that aren't necessarily present in the 'secular mindfulness' types of movements, but he still sees it as a constructive dialogue between Western psycho-therapeutic and Eastern disciplines.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:24 am

dreambow wrote:Corporate mindfulness is a sham an artificial construct. The corporations are only interested in productivity, profit and a compliant workforce. We now have colouring books for adults being flogged in every book shop and news agency, apparently a trend to relax the busy western mind; business is booming.
"You're unhappy and stressed? I have the perfect solution for the right price."
Nothing new in any of this, unfortunately :toilet:

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by DNS » Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:46 pm


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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sun Oct 04, 2015 1:51 am

:thumbsup:
A good article - thanks - although I've got to say it didn't do much to change my opinion of Corporate "Mindfulness". I'm with dreambow on this:
dreambow wrote:Corporate mindfulness is a sham an artificial construct. The corporations are only interested in productivity, profit and a compliant workforce. We now have colouring books for adults being flogged in every book shop and news agency, apparently a trend to relax the busy western mind; business is booming.
:namaste:
Kim


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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by boda » Sat May 21, 2016 3:51 pm

Congratulations on completing this. Is there an English translation available? I'm not fluent in academe.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by Bakmoon » Sat May 21, 2016 5:55 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
MrBlueSKY wrote:To make sense of the future in regard to this corporate mindfulness ....No ?
No, mindfulness is not Buddhadharma.
?

You mean without the other 7 paths of the 3 trainings, I guess
Mindfulness as explained in this modernized mindfulness movement isn't quite the same thing as mindfulness in the traditions it is drawn from, both in terms of some of the practical details, and also the broad context.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by monktastic » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:05 am

I might as well share my story now.

I quit Google a few months ago. I joined in 2008 (as an engineer) partly because of their Search Inside Yourself program. As luck would have it, as I was joining, Chade-Meng Tan (the man who invented and developed it, and whom I now consider to have been a mentor) said he could use some help.

I wasn't nearly as a big a help as I might've been, but I can tell you that (a) Meng did it because he's a serious practitioner and genuinely wants to help, and (b) there was nothing "corporate" about it. Trusted employees at Google got to do what they wanted, with minimal oversight, as long as the Google community wanted it (they did). And there was no influence from "the corporation" about how to teach it. As they say, at some companies, the inmates run the asylum.

I eventually taught my own mindfulness course there. It was received well, but eventually as people decided it would be easier to consolidate all the programs into one, I decided to part ways.

All I want to say is: I know Google culture is a bit unusual, but there still are grass roots out there, spreading it for the right reasons.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa

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Karma Dorje
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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by Karma Dorje » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:16 am

dreambow wrote:Corporate mindfulness is a sham an artificial construct. The corporations are only interested in productivity, profit and a compliant workforce. We now have colouring books for adults being flogged in every book shop and news agency, apparently a trend to relax the busy western mind; business is booming.
As a hiring manager for technology companies for over the past decade, I can tell you that many of them are not anywhere near as mercenary when it comes to employee well-being as you imagine. There is a genuine concern for work/life balance because it is a well established fact that happier, more fulfilled staff do better work, are more innovative and invested in the success of the company. This is widely true in European business as well.

In IT we are already paid ridiculously highly. Most companies don't compete as much on salary as lifestyle for technologists, whether it is Work From Home, free food on campus, free daycare or yes, accommodation for meditation and prayer.

I thought we were supposed to be all about helping beings suffer less. Secular mindfulness can certainly reduce suffering. We should be happy about that and not go on some counterculture rage against someone appropriating "our stuff". Seriously.
"Although my view is higher than the sky, My respect for the cause and effect of actions is as fine as grains of flour."
-Padmasambhava

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