Rev. Takafumi Zenryu Kawakami, Deputy head priest, Shunkoin Temple, Myoshinji, Kyoto will lead us in a thoughtful discussion and practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness has become a significant phenomenon in the West that is also becoming increasingly popular in Asia. Mindfulness is generally defined as non-religious meditation. As a secular practice supported by scientific evidence, mindfulness is now accepted as a valid medical and therapeutic method that has been broadly incorporated into workplace and school wellness programs.

This Western and de-contextualized perspective of mindfulness began in the late 1970s. The practice of mindfulness in Japan, however, has its roots in Buddhism and is not just about meditation. To fully appreciate the importance and meaning of mindfulness, it should be considered within the context of Buddhist philosophy, like the concept of no-self. Ultimately, mindfulness is about much more than achieving temporal happiness and relaxation, it is about changing one’s approach to actuality. This talk will highlight the importance of re-contextualizing mindfulness and present its holistic practice from the Zen Buddhist perspective.