The practice of mindfulness adapts Buddhist meditation to everyday life. It seems effective at managing depression and anxiety, and is taught in schools to boost resilience and grades. Mostly, this prioritises calm. Students learn to focus on themselves, without Buddhist teachings on ethics or interdependence. This limits the scope for transformation. Whilst it can help to share techniques to cope with stress, it would be more insightful to target its causes not just symptoms. Instead, a fixation on self gets reinforced, which serves the prevailing market system. The onus is on individuals to be more resilient, instead of changing how things work. Widening inequality and a volatile climate are communal expressions of the roots of suffering, identified by Buddhists as greed, hatred and delusion. If mindfulness in schools were to cultivate “moral and civic virtues”, as British members of parliament argue it should, it could foster compassionate “pro-social” action.
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