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Toward an understanding of non-dual mindfulness
Contemporary Buddhism
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2011
Pages: 71 - 88
Sources ID: 73231
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)
The aim of this article is to explore an approach to ‘mindfulness’ that lies outside of the usual Buddhist mainstream. This approach adopts a ‘non-dual’ stance to meditation practice, and based on my limited experience and training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, this non-dual notion of ‘mindfulness’ seems an especially appropriate point of comparison between Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Buddhism. That comparison itself will not be the focus here—given my own inexpertise and lack of clinical experience, it would be best to leave the comparison to others! Instead, the aim here will be to explore some features of ‘mindfulness’ in the context of non-dual styles of Buddhist practice. To begin, we will assess some difficulties that emerge when one attempts to speak of ‘mindfulness’ in Buddhism. Next, we will turn to the somewhat radical notion of ‘non-dual’ practice in relation to the more mainstream descriptions found in the Buddhist Abhidharma literature. We will then examine some crucial features of Buddhist non-dualism, including attitudes and theories about thoughts and judgments. A brief foray into specific practice instructions will help us to understand the role of ‘mindfulness’ in a specific non-dual tradition called, ‘Mahāmudrā’ (the ‘Great Seal’). Finally, after some reflection on ‘mindfulness’ in the non-dual practice of Mahāmudrā, I will conclude by considering a crucial issue: the context of practice.