The Mindful Cranks

Where using your mind is not necessarily a bad thing

Episode 7: Barry Magid - What's Wrong with Mindfulness

Barry Magid, MD, is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. He received Dharma Transmission from Charlotte Joko Beck in 1998 and has been teaching Zen at the Ordinary Mind Zendo for the past twenty years.

In addition to co-editing “What’s Wrong with Mindfulness (And What’s Not) with Bob Rosenbaum, he is the author of three books integrating Zen and psychoanalytic theory and practice: "Ordinary Mind"; "Ending the Pursuit of Happiness", and "Nothing is Hidden” all published by Wisdom Publications. He has also edited (with Hugh Witemeyer) a volume of the correspondence of poets William Carlos Williams and Charles Tomlinson, as well as "Father Louie: Photographs of Thomas Merton by Ralph Eugene Meatyard,"  and “Freud’s Case Studies: Self Psychological Perspectives.” 

In this interview, Barry shares his concerns when mindfulness is reduced to a self-improvement technique within a Western consumerist culture. He discusses "The Three Shaky Pillars of Western Buddhism" in terms of deracination, secularization and instrumentalization. This "practice-as-gain" approach epitomizes the McMindfulness trend, which poses a risk and danger of obscuring the fundamental nature of Buddhism itself.

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