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The Dharma of Modern Mindfulness: Discovering the Buddhist Teachings at the Heart of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

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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.

216 pages, Paperback

Published January 2, 2018

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About the author

Beth Ann Mulligan

2 books7 followers
Beth Ann Mulligan, PA-C, graduated magna cum laude from the Duke University School of Medicine physician assistant program in 1982, and has practiced primary care medicine with diverse populations for the past thirty years. She is a certified mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) teacher and international teacher trainer for the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, as well as a certified mindful self-compassion (MSC) teacher and international teacher trainer. She teaches MBSR, MSC, and mindful eating at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine and at InsightLA, and has been a presenter at the International Scientific Conference on Mindfulness. The Guiding Dharma teacher at Insight Community of the Desert, and a longtime senior student at Yokoji Zen Mountain Center, she leads meditation retreats across the world.

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5 stars
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18 (26%)
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11 (16%)
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Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews
Profile Image for Irida.
105 reviews
November 29, 2017

This book about is about the author's approach on Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) a technique made popular by Jon Kabat-Zin. The book is very well written as it chronicles her 8 week MBSR sessions with her clients, who have joined her program with various issues such as diagnoses of terminal cancer, neurological disorder and depression due to loss of family members among others. Through the book she shares the experiences of her students. As she lays out her program week by week, she invites the reader to join in the practice and provides links to electronic resources, guided meditation practices. This makes this book not just a book about meditation but also allows the reader to follow the program. I found the book very easy to read and I read the book in 2 sessions.

I highly recommend this book. I want to thank the publisher,New Harbinger Publications Inc and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC for my honest review. I have been dabbling into meditation practices for the last 9 months. I am very grateful that I have been chosen to review this book.
Profile Image for Lori Tatar.
601 reviews64 followers
January 6, 2018
I took my time reading this and at least practicing some of the lessons. It will be awhile before I habitually live a mindful life. Just writing this review shows me I have a long way to go. I am trying to slow down and actually pay attention to what I am doing, feeling. When I catch myself to do something simple like focus on my breathing, I feel the benefits immediately. My goal is to read this again and again until I fully implement the practices without having to consciously remind myself to be mindful and aware. Now, to unwind for bed....
Profile Image for Jessica.
212 reviews10 followers
April 23, 2020
This was a wonderful book expanding on the Buddhist teachings behinds Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction techniques. A good practical guide to how Buddhist teachings are grounded in the here and now. Not theoretical but firmly rooted in real life experiences of the author and her students. I found myself highlighting many different parts. Especially about loving-kindness / boundless friendliness and how we as people can offer it freely and without expectations for a certain outcome. Being present and offering goodwill to all beings is the work of a life time.
1,147 reviews6 followers
March 25, 2018
This was a good solid 3 star book for me until the author explained one point. She explained the point of experiencing discomfort while meditating. If you have an itch, you don't scratch it. You examine the feeling and let it be. I have seen this in many other books on meditation but her explanation of why is the only one that has resonated with me. If you let your body/mind practice experiencing discomfort on a small level, when a larger life discomfort comes along, your body/mind knows the basics of how to handle it. Super simple explanation that I hadn't seen so I bumped it up to 4 stars.
294 reviews8 followers
January 9, 2020
"The Dharma of Modern Mindfulness..." describes the author's mindfulness based program based on Buddhist Meditation Theory and Technique. It should be noted that the author is a medical professional and Zen Practitioner. The author's main contention is that MBSR has the power to transform our lives greatly eliminating suffering and leading to happier and more productive lives. The author gives examples of the aforementioned in chronicling the progress of several of her clients in the MBSR Program. The progress of many of these clients is, indeed, remarkable; however, in my opinion, substantial progress for most people would take from several weeks to several years. I would, however, recommend this book.
September 4, 2022
I feel like this book has a crisis of identity, certainly the title does. On one hand this book reads like it’s geared to other practitioners, but it’s far too simplistic to be useful in that way. If it’s geared at new MBSR practitioners I wonder if they’re drawn to the title? It’s not that this is a bad book by any stretch, it just had moments of being a bit self congratulatory (as many books highlighting teaching styles do).
The dharma of mindfulness is revealed simply to be the eightfold path, which of course is true AND feels like it doesn’t merit it’s own book, as there are many other books about the eightfold path. I guess, critical old me wonders what this particular book accomplished that other Buddhist texts don’t?
Profile Image for Leann.
63 reviews6 followers
January 4, 2018
What a comforting book on mindfulness! Many times books on dharma, meditation, or MBSR can be a bit dry. This book by Beth Ann Mulligan was such a solace to read. It's a wonderful "bridge building book" - combing science and inquiry with MBSR techniques and the heart of Buddhism. Mulligan does not teach from a high pedestal: she speaks with a voice of one who has been there and had her share of struggles. Her voice is wise and caring: she sounds like someone who is talking to you over a cup of coffee while curled up on your couch.
If you have had a hard time getting interested in mindfulness because you "didn't see how it could help" this is a wonderful book to take your first steps with. You will gain not only knowledge but wisdom as well.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews

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