I was lucky enough to take part in a practice day set aside for the Mindfulness Association tutors. At the practice day, I asked Choden and Vin Harris to speak a bit about their new ‘Foundations to Buddhism’ course that will start in April 2015.
Secular mindfulness has received some negative attention from Buddhists and Buddhism has felt the negative effects of secular mindfulness. This has culminated in social commentary such as this article affectionately known as ‘Beyond McMindfulness’.
However, both Choden and Vin Harris, long running Buddhist practitioners ( Choden having completed a 3 year 3 month retreat and Vin having an integral role in the construction of Samye Ling Tibetan Centre), have found that there is room for both Buddhism in the secular world and secular modes of delivery in the Buddhist world. In other words, they have found a balance that feels right to them.
Both Choden and Vin teach a variety of secular mindfulness course with the Mindfulness Association and now they are bringing Buddhism back in to the conversation with their new course “Mindfulness and Compassion: Foundations to Buddhism”.
Choden explains that “[i]t is not unusual for people to become interested in the Buddhist roots of the practices that have brought them so much benefit. We have developed this course not only for those who are considering entering the Buddhist path but also for those who wish to understand the Buddhist background to their practice of secular Mindfulness and Compassion.” In other words, signing up to Buddhism is not necessary. However, it is a wonderful opportunity to gain deeper understanding behind the secular teachings.
Here are Choden and Vin speaking on their new course: