Deluded mindfulness

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Dockstader, Jason
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Taylor & Francis
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This chapter looks at two Chinese traditions that can be described as offering a similar kind of unorthodox practice of mindfulness. Both the classical Daoism of the Zhuangzi and the medieval Buddhism of the Tiantai school develop an approach to mindfulness that presupposes unique metaphysical and epistemic views. In contemporary philosophical terms, by combining a strong many-one identity view in mereology, a novel form of existence monism in fundamental metaphysics, and an explosive trivialism in epistemology, both classical Daoism and Tiantai Buddhism develop an approach to mindfulness wherein each and every moment of experience or thought is accessed and regarded as creating, inherently including, and ultimately being identical to each and every other moment of experience. Every partially and locally coherent, yet wholly and globally incoherent, phenomenon is created by the discerning, deluded mind of everyday sentient beings, and it is by contemplating this deluded mind that one reaches similar soteriological goals of liberation and independence. In the Zhuangzi, this is found in the discussions of the ‘fasting of the mind’ and ‘sitting in forgetfulness,’ of matching Nature's endless production of momentary indexical distinctions, each of which contains the entirety of the Dao's infinite multiplicity. In Tiantai, this is found in discussions of the ‘contemplation of the mind’ and ‘contemplation of inherent inclusion,’ of the attempt to access ‘one moment of experience as three thousand worlds,’ with such ‘three thousand worlds’ being all phenomena created by the deluded mind, which is, namely, everything. The chapter, then, develops this novel form of mindfulness and calls it ‘deluded mindfulness.’ In the process, it aims to ascribe to deluded mindfulness the capacity to offer therapeutic benefits that follow from affirming the many contradictory understandings of mindfulness today.
Mindfulness , Daoism , Tiantai Buddhism , Trivialism , Delusion
Dockstader, J. (2023) 'Deluded mindfulness', in Ferrarello, S. and Hadjioannou, C. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Phenomenology of Mindfulness. London: Routledge, pp. 175-188. doi:
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© 2023, the Authors. All rights reserved. This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Ferrarello, S. and Hadjioannou, C. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Phenomenology of Mindfulness on 22 December 2023, available online: