How Mindfulness Becomes Mindlessness – A Hermeneutical Approach


  • HÃ¥kan Nilsson University of Skovde


Mindfulness, Mindlessness, Hermeneutic, Buddhism, Mindfulness-Based Intervention


Over the last several decades the practice of mindfulness has grown to become one of the most widespread applications in the West, so much so that it now rivals words such as yoga and meditation in terms of public recognition. The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly it intends to shed light on mindfulness as a concept and practice that is rooted in Theravada Buddhism. As understood in terms of Buddhism’s ontological soteriology, mindfulness (sati) involves the practice of “right meditation†(samma sati) as a means of realizing one’s true nature, escaping the cycle of birth and death (samsara) and attaining the ultimate goal of nirvana through wisdom (panna) and the ethics of the eightfold path (magga). Secondly, this paper aims to highlight mindfulness as a popular form of intervention and therapy among health care professionals and private therapists in the West. It is fairly well accepted that mindfulness techniques such as MBSR, MBCT, DBT and ACT have been beneficial in terms of treating various illnesses. Unfortunately, in the process of transforming mindfulness (or sati) from a Buddhist soteriological to a postmodern Western ontology, the practice has lost a bit of its true soul. The paradox of mindfulness in the West is that while, on the one hand, its various modern formations have been effective when it comes to the treatment of illness, on the other, it has been commercialized as a form of quick-fix healing by certain therapists and instructors. This East-West paradox will be analyzed herein in terms of a hermeneutical approach.


Author Biography

HÃ¥kan Nilsson, University of Skovde

Depart Technology and Society


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How to Cite

Nilsson, H. (2013). How Mindfulness Becomes Mindlessness – A Hermeneutical Approach. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 1(4). Retrieved from