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Calling it By It's Name, Buddhism

Buddhism is a spiritual tradition that has been practiced for thousands of years and has influenced countless individuals across the globe. Yet, in

recent years, there has been a trend to refer to Buddhism as simply "mindfulness." While mindfulness is an important aspect of Buddhist practice, reducing Buddhism to just one aspect of its teachings diminishes the depth and richness of the tradition.


One reason why it is important to call Buddhism by its

name is that it acknowledges the history and cultural context of the tradition. Buddhism emerged in ancient India and has evolved over time as it has spread to other parts of the world. The teachings of Buddhism are deeply rooted in the cultural and historical context of its origin, and recognizing this context is essential to fully understanding and appreciating the tradition.


Another reason why it is important to call Buddhism by its name is that it honors the diversity within the tradition. Buddhism is not a monolithic tradition, and there are many different schools and lineages of Buddhism that emphasize different aspects of the teachings. Referring to Buddhism as "mindfulness" ignores the vast array of practices, beliefs, and rituals that make up the Buddhist tradition.

Additionally, calling Buddhism by its name acknowledges the ethical and moral dimensions of the tradition. Buddhism is not simply a set of techniques for achieving personal well-being but a comprehensive system of ethics and values that emphasizes compassion, wisdom, and social responsibility. By reducing Buddhism to just "mindfulness," we risk ignoring the broader ethical and moral dimensions of the tradition.


Finally, calling Buddhism by its name respects the autonomy and agency of Buddhist communities and practitioners. By referring to Buddhism as "mindfulness", we risk appropriating and commodifying the tradition, reducing it to a marketable product that can be sold to consumers. This disrespects the agency of Buddhist communities and practitioners, who have their own distinct identities, histories, and cultures.

In conclusion, calling Buddhism by its name is important because it acknowledges the history, diversity, ethics, and agency of the tradition. While mindfulness is an important aspect of Buddhist practice, it is just one part of a much larger and richer tradition. By recognizing the full complexity and depth of Buddhism, we can deepen our appreciation and understanding of this ancient and profound spiritual tradition.


Source:

Gombrich, R. F. (2013). What the Buddha thought. Oxford University Press.

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