The Mindful Self in Space and Time
The contemporary mindfulness movement emphasizes cultivating present-centered awareness. While this simple practice seems to offer real benefits, it has been criticized on the grounds that it psychologizes the Buddhist teachings on which it relies and, in doing so, discards the Buddha’s central concern: undoing fundamental forms of ignorance and craving that fuel the fires of samsaric suffering. Supporters reply that linking the practice of mindfulness to such traditional teachings would erect a needless barrier to its benefits; some also maintain that mindfulness as they present it preserves and updates what is most central to Buddhism. This chapter sidesteps this debate by introducing a different way of being mindful, one that focuses on the fullness of space rather than the present-centered immediacy of time. The basic practice is to investigate the space, or field, within which appearances arise rather than the specific appearances themselves. Field-centered mindfulness builds on present-centered mindfulness, but introduces a fundamentally different orientation to the stream of experiences and appearances we encounter. In doing so, it challenges the standard subject/object framework, which receives little if any attention in the practice of present-centered mindfulness. Without requiring practitioners to study and accept Buddhist doctrines or a Buddhist worldview, a space-centered approach offers a way of seeing that seems congruent with key Buddhist insights. For this reason, it has the potential to become what ancient Western philosophers called a therapeia, a cure for the existential ailment characteristic of our times.
KeywordsMindfulness Space Field Framework Therapeia Tarthang Tulku Self
- Arittha Sutta (SN 54,6) Trans. Thanissaro Bhikkhu. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn54/sn54.006.than.html. Accessed December 26, 2015.
- Bhaddekaratta Sutta, MN 131. Trans. Bhikkhu Ñanananda. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.131.nana.html. Accessed February 6, 2016.
- Tevijja Sutta, DN 13. Trans. Nyanaponika Thera. http://www.buddhanet.net/ss02.htm. Accessed December 26, 2015.
- Bruner, J. (1987). Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Carette, J., & King, R. (2005). Selling spirituality: The silent takeover of religion. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Cogan, J. (2016). The phenomenological reduction. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. www.iep.utm.edu/phen-red/. Accessed February 14, 2016.
- Cornford, F. M. (1936). The invention of space. In G. Murray & H. A. L. Fischer (Eds.), Essays in honour of Gilbert Murray (pp. 215–235). London: George Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
- Dennett, D. (1986). The self as narrative center of gravity. In F. Kessel, P. Cole, & D. Johnson (Eds.), Self and consciousness: Multiple perspectives. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Ganeri, J., & Carlisle, C. (2010). Philosophy as therapeia. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement (Vol. 66, pp. 187–218). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Gethin, R. (1998). The foundations of Buddhism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Goldstein, J. (2003). One Dharma: The emerging western Buddhism. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
- Goldstein, J. (2016). Who knows: An interview with Joseph Goldstein. Tricycle. Spring 2016.Google Scholar
- Hadot, P. (1995). Philosophy as a way of life (M. Chase, Trans.) Oxford: Blackwell. (Original work published 1981)Google Scholar
- Healy, R. (2008). Holism and nonseparability in physics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, www.plato.stanford.edu/entries/physics-holism/#OHQM. Accessed December 27, 2015.
- Husserl, E. (1970). The crisis of European sciences and the transcendental phenomenology (D. Carr, Trans.). Evanston: Northwestern University Press. (Original work published 1936)Google Scholar
- Husserl, E. (2002). Foundational investigations of the phenomenological origin of the spatiality of nature: The originary ark, the earth, does not move (F. Kersten Trans., L. Lawlor Rev.). In E. Husserl & M. Merleau-Ponty (Eds.), Husserl at the limits of phenomenology: Including texts by Edmund Husserl. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
- Jackson, P., & Delehanty, H. (2006). Sacred hoops: Spiritual lessons of a hardwood warrior (p. 2006). New York: Hyperion.Google Scholar
- Jepsen, K. (2013). Real talk: Everything is made of fields. Symmetry: Dimensions of particle physics. Retrieved from http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/july-2013/real-talk-everything-is-made-of-fields
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (2006). Coming to our senses: Healing ourselves and the world through mindfulness. New York: Hyperion.Google Scholar
- Kawakami, T. (2015). Luke Walton, Steve Kerr and the Warrior’s four core values: joy, mindfulness, compassion and competition. San Jose Mercury News. November 24, 2015.Google Scholar
- Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- McMahan, D. L. (2008). The making of Buddhist modernism. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of perception (C. Smith, Trans.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. (Original work published 1945)Google Scholar
- Musser, G. (2015). Spooky action at a distance: The phenomenon that reimagines space and time—and what it means for black holes, the big bang, and theories of everything. New York: Scientific American/Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.Google Scholar
- Puhakka, K. (2015). Encountering the psychological research paradigm: How buddhist practice has fared in the most recent phase of its Western migration. In E. Y. Shonin, W. Van Gordon, & N. N. Singh (Eds.), Buddhist foundations of mindfulness. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
- Rhys Davids, T. W. (1963). The Questions of king Milinda. New York: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
- Sartre, J. P. (1958). Being and nothingness: An essay on phenomenological ontology (H. E. Barnes, Trans.). London: Methuen. (Original work published 1943)Google Scholar
- Sharf, R. (1998). Experience. In M. C. Taylor (Ed.), Critical terms in religious studies (pp. 94–116). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Strauss, E. S. (2015) Big three dominates: No streak, but Warriors still at the peak. www.espn.go.com/blog/golden-state-warriors/post/_/id. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
- Tulku, Tarthang. (1977). Time, space, and knowledge: A new vision of reality. Emeryville: Dharma Publishing.Google Scholar
- Tulku, Tarthang. (1987). Love of knowledge. Berkeley: Dharma Publishing.Google Scholar
- Tarthang Tulku. (2015). Space field. In J. Petranker (Ed.), Inside knowledge: How to activate the radical new vision of reality presented to the world by Tibetan lama Tarthang Tulku. Berkeley: Dharma Publishing. [Originally published 1990]Google Scholar
- Taylor, C. (1992). Sources of the self: The making of the modern identity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Taylor, C. (2007). The secular age. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. (1999). As it is. Kathmandu: Rangjung Yeshe Publications.Google Scholar