The Dharma of Modern Mindfulness
Discovering the Buddhist Teachings at the Heart of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Published by: New Harbinger Publications
Imprint: New Harbinger Publications
Deeply embedded in the practice of contemporary mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) are concepts drawn from the ancient wisdom of meditative traditions. The Dharma of Modern Mindfulness uncovers the essential Buddhist teachings at the heart of this powerful anti-stress program, enabling you to deepen your historical and spiritual understanding of MBSR and nourish your practice.
Meditation and mindfulness are everywhere: in hospitals, clinics, and schools; in major medical, psychological, and scientific journals; on TV; and in popular publications—even on the cover of Time magazine. And thankfully so—since Jon Kabat-Zinn developed MBSR, a treatment blending meditation and yoga, it has been proven effective in treating conditions like chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and depression for sufferers around the world. Lesser known, however, are the deep philosophical roots of MBSR known as the Buddhist dharma, translated as “the teachings of the Buddha.” Although they form the very foundation underlying MBSR and other mindfulness-based interventions, they often remain hidden within modern mindfulness practices.
The Dharma of Modern Mindfulness illuminates these cornerstones, communicating previously esoteric teachings with language that makes them easily accessible and applicable to your complex daily life. The book follows the structure of an eight-week MBSR class, paralleling the participant’s journey with that of the Buddha for the alleviation of suffering. With real-life examples, guided reflections, and practices throughout, this book will show you the connections between the ancient wisdom of Buddhism and contemporary MBSR.
Regardless of your background, status, or education, and whether you’re a practitioner, teacher, or trainer, this invitation to explore the essential Buddhist teachings at the heart of modern mindfulness—such as the four noble truths, the noble eightfold path, and the four brahmaviharas: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity—will expand your understanding and enhance your practice, and, in doing so, connect you with your inner wisdom and deepest humanity.
A Note About the Spirit of This Book
1. The Dharma of Suffering: It’s Not Personal
2. The Dharma of the Body: What We Resist Persists
3. The Dharma of Curiosity: What Is Here Right Now?
4. The Dharma of Awareness: Turning Toward Stress
5. The Dharma of Choice: Finding a Bigger Container
6. The Dharma of Our Speech: The Lessons of Relationship and Community
7. The Dharma of the Daylong Retreat: Exploring Our Hindrances as Teachings
8. The Dharma of Action and Livelihood: Working with Our Ethical Compass
9. The Dharma of Wisdom: Practice, Practice, Practice
10. The Dharma of Four Good Gardens: Cultivating Attitudes
Recommended Readings and Resources
“Written with disarming candor and clarity, this book takes the reader on an intimate journey through mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), the gold standard of mindfulness training. The author seamlessly reveals both the compassionate heart of MBSR and core teachings from Buddhist psychology that underlie the program. If you want to understand mindfulness training more deeply than ever, this wise and generous book should not be missed!”
—Christopher Germer, PhD, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, coeditor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and lecturer on psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
“An invaluable companion for anyone taking a mindfulness-based stress reduction course. It makes the teachings of MBSR come alive in a deep, meaningful, and easy-to-understand way. Highly recommended!”
—Kristin Neff, PhD, associate professor in the department of educational psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, and author of Self-Compassion
“As a medical professional, Zen practitioner, and teacher of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), Beth Ann Mulligan is able to weave together different perspectives to illuminate a path toward greater health, happiness, and freedom. This book has the power to transform our individual and collective lives.”
—Shauna Shapiro, PhD, professor at Santa Clara University, author, speaker, and mindfulness consultant
“What a gem of a book! Beth Ann Mulligan leads us, with her many years of experience in teaching mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and even more years of being a dedicated Dharma student, intimately through one eight-week MBSR course, chock-full of wonderful people, stories, and insights. She weaves into this the Dharma teachings as they show up in the classroom, without ever being mentioned in there. She makes the invisible visible and understandable for us, so we can teach MBSR and other mindfulness-based classes from a place of deeper understanding. This is a must-read for all MBSR and mindfulness-based intervention teachers, and anybody else curious about how the Buddhist teachings are informing modern mindfulness.”
—Christiane Wolf, MD, PhD, certified MBSR teacher, adjunct faculty of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, director of MBSR programs and senior teacher at InsightLA, vipassana and mindful self-compassion (MSC) teacher, and coauthor of A Clinician’s Guide to Teaching Mindfulness
“A wise and openhearted invitation to the teachings of modern mindfulness and Buddhism. Beth Ann Mulligan tells stories and offers the teachings that arise directly from our human experience, showing how the path of modern mindfulness parallels the ancient teachings of Buddhism. Weaving these two streams, Beth offers us a way of finding freedom right in the middle of the challenge of our lives. Down-to-earth and inclusive, this book is a wonderful introduction to mindfulness-based stress reduction and the basic teachings of Buddhism.”
—Roshi David Dae An Rynick, author of This Truth Never Fails
“Beth Ann Mulligan’s wise, clear, and compassionate writing brings the ancient teachings of the Buddha to life as she describes her lived experience of teaching mindfulness-based stress reduction. The authenticity, integrity, and vulnerability that she shares in her stories and teachings offer us an intimacy with what it means to be fully human. This beautiful book has touched my heart deeply and enriched my understanding of the roots of mindfulness-based programs. It is a true gift, a shining pearl in the growing field of modern mindfulness.”
—Diane Reibel, PhD, director of the Mindfulness Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, coauthor of Teaching Mindfulness, and coeditor of Resources for Teaching Mindfulness
“This beautifully structured, wise, and compassionate book takes us behind the scenes of a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) class for an insider’s view. Beth then offers in-depth teachings from the Buddhist tradition that underlie MBSR. Most importantly, Beth’s years of personal meditation practice and teaching shine through; the writing is infused with both theory and a deep experiential knowing. It is sure to be a seminal work for students and teachers of mindfulness alike.”
—Diana Winston, director of mindfulness education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, and coauthor of Fully Present