On the Contemporary Applications of Mindfulness: Some Implications for Education

Journal of Philosophy of Education 49 (2):170-186 (2015)
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Interest in the Buddhist concept of mindfulness has burgeoned over the last few decades as a result of its application as a therapeutic strategy in mind-body medicine, psychotherapy, psychiatry, education, leadership and management, and a wide range of other theoretical and practical domains. Although many commentators welcome this extension of the range and application of mindfulness—drawing parallels between ancient contemplative traditions and modern secular interpretations—there has been very little analysis of either the philosophical underpinnings of this phenomenon or of its implications for education. This article examines the new interpretations of mindfulness in the following areas—meaning and definition, ethical foundations and spiritual ethos—in an attempt to gain a clearer understanding of what is involved in the process of reconstructing the concept of mindfulness. In conclusion, some implications for learning and education are examined in the light of these recent re-interpretations of mindfulness principles and practices. A central thesis throughout is that—although there are many educational benefits of mindfulness in the areas of moral, affective and spiritual education—such potential gains require the maintenance of organic connections between contemporary practices and their foundations in secular Buddhism



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