Mindfulness is everywhere. It is in religious institutions and practices, of course, but not just Buddhist ones, and the idea and its attendant practices have gone viral. They are in public schools, companies, hospitals, and summer camps. In all of these venues and more, individuals pursue the benefits claimed to flow from secularized visions of Buddhist meditation techniques. The vision that psychologist Jon Kabat-Zinn began developing in the 1990s—focused on being present, self-care, and feelings of nonmoralistic well-being and contentment—is particularly influential. Mindfulness is so widespread that many people who use it have little sense that it began as a Buddhist idea or, if they do, what the consequences for this might be. It has even returned to parts of Buddhist Asia, through the “pizza effect,” to become part of therapeutic practices in Thailand, among other places. This latter is particularly intriguing because of the way that a Buddhist practice...

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