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Lions Roar : March 2010
63 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2010 BARRY BOYCE: Does mindfulness go beyond simply cultivating our attentiveness? JON KABAT-ZINN: The ultimate promise of mindfulness is much larger than that, more profound. It helps us understand that our conventional view of ourselves and even what we mean by “self ” is incomplete in some very important ways. Mindfulness helps us recog- nize how and why we mis-take the actuality of things for some story we create, and then makes it possible to chart a path toward great- er sanity, well-being, and purpose. Based on that understanding, how would you describe the central mission of your work? In part 2 of Coming to Our Senses, I talked explicitly about the word dharma—describ- ing it both in terms of the teachings of the MINDFUL LIVING The Pioneer PHOTOBYLIZAMATTHEWS Toward a Mindful Society As creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Jon Kabat-Zinn has brought the benefits of meditation practice to hundreds of thousands of people and inspired a movement that is changing our society in many ways. In this important interview with the Sun’s Barry Boyce, he discusses the philosophy, goals, and promise of the mindfulness movement. Buddha (with a capital D, often spoken of as buddhadharma) and also as the way things are, the fundamental lawfulness of the uni- verse. So although the Buddha articulated the Dharma, the Dharma itself can’t be Buddhist any more than the law of gravity is English be- cause of Newton, or Italian because of Galileo. It is a universal lawfulness. I specifically asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Mind and Life XIII conference in Washington, D.C., in 2005 whether there was any fundamental dif- ference between Buddhadharma and universal dharma and he said “no.” The central mission of my work and that of my colleagues at the Center for Mindful- ness has been to bring universal dharma into the mainstream of human activity for the benefit of as many people as possible. That’s a very broad calling, so as a skillful means I chose very consciously from the beginning