Continuing to look at famous teachings about meditation to support confidence in your search for the answer. The Mindfulness Tradition was created by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 based on his study of Zen with Philip Kapleau (Yasutani Roshi’s lineage parallel to Maezumi Roshi in LA), Thich Nhat Hanh (Buddhist monk from Vietnam), and The Insight Meditation Society (Theravada Buddhist practice founded by Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, etc). Basically he made traditional Zen meditation practice accessible to folks in the US who were not comfortable with the Buddhist religious aspect of Zen. He did it through the U. Mass. Medical School as a pain management technique, later expanded to be a stress reduction technique in what they now call MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction). The UCLA dept. of Psychiatry center, Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC, founded 2011), is in the same Mindfulness Tradition. However Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness practice, Goenka’s Vipassana (= insight) meditation centers are not the same. As I’ve been saying, when you sit down to meditate the first thing that happens is you calm down and many meditate just for that purpose. The second thing is you center yourself. This is as far as pain management and stress reduction can take you in the Mindfulness Tradition. However Zen meditation goes one step further, where you can experience jhana, satori, and eventually enlightenment. For me these are practical human experiences not religious miracles or belief systems. I also often find teachings that work toward being more present forget that remembering the past and imagining the future are activities that you can be present with. Being present means knowing what you are doing. It’s just easier to attain when you limit yourself to the present moment unfolding in the world around you.

One Reply to “2/20/23”

  1. Hi Eric, I just read your comments on the practice of mindfulness brought to the mainstream in this country by John Kabat -Zinn and through university research centers with wonderful teachers such as Daniel J. Siegel at UCLA. I am sorry I missed the discussion last week – i had out of town company and Jay was away. I hear what you’re saying in contrasting a so called “westernized” (?) approach that may have limitations, with a deeper, limitless way to evolving consciousness through a more traditional approach . . .i think i’ll be happy to at least start somewhere, as i haven’t been patient enough to be ready! I do appreciate you and this group for inspiration. I am also starting to contemplate how i might feel about walking for nine days through the region of ancient Bhuddist temples on the Kumano Kodo trail in Japan next month. see you next week, Ilene

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