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Book: Buddhism in Five Minutes

Chapter: 27. What is "Mindfulness" in Buddhism, and does it Differ from Modern Secular "Mindfulness"?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.40766


The quasi-term “mindfulness” is an English translation of sati in Pali or smṛti in Sanskrit. This Indic word originally meant “memory,” but the Buddha assigned the word new meanings consonant with his own system of thought. “Mindfulness” has become the most popular English translation or even the only possible translation of sati. What does “mindfulness” mean in the context of early Buddhism? How does it differ from modern secular “mindfulness”? These are the questions I attempt to address.

Chapter Contributors

  • Tse-fu Kuan ( - tkuan) 'National University of Kaohsiung'