Some Tensions between Capitalism and Buddhism

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  • Title: Some Tensions between Capitalism and Buddhism: A Reflection from McMindfulness
  • Author(s): João Simão
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Religion in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society
  • Keywords: Buddhism, Capitalism, Mindfulness, Consumption, Appropriation
  • Volume: 9
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2154-8633 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8641 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v09i03/75-88
  • Citation: Simão, João. 2019. "Some Tensions between Capitalism and Buddhism: A Reflection from McMindfulness." The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society 9 (3): 75-88. doi:10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v09i03/75-88.
  • Extent: 14 pages

Abstract

The root of mindfulness is the seventh step of the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism. Taken out of the original context, it is currently in vogue in Western societies for clinically proven positive effects. Most recently, mindfulness has been extended into business and has become a product of consumer society, interpreted as a competitive advantage (for employers) and an aid to career progression (of employees). For corporations, the advantages of mindfulness include the individualization of stress and the shaping of workers in toxic business environments without questioning the organizational culture in which they are inserted. This is the guiding idea for a reflection between Buddhism and capitalism. Based on three essential elements of Buddhism (anatta, tanha and kamma), it exposes the impossibility of conciliation of the philosophical and religious teachings of Buddhism with the current social-economic paradigm. In a society that lives accelerated in time, in space, in things, in actions, and in relationships, it is argued that this is an appropriation by the capitalist system, a takeover, which looks to mold individuals to neoliberalism.