Here at the Positive Psychology Program, we have been discussing several different aspects of mindfulness for the past few weeks.
In particular, we have explored various ways to learn about mindfulness, practice it, and even where to study the art of teaching mindfulness to others.
It should be noted, however, that even Buddhism itself owes a great debt to Hinduism. Gautama is thought to have been born and raised around modern-day India and Nepal.
Compared to Hinduism, Buddhism’s history is much more well-defined. Based on where and when Gautama was raised, it is safe to say that many Hinduist teachings informed his upbringing.
This should not be taken as a denial of mindfulness’s roots in the other religions, and interested readers are encouraged to seek out information about mindfulness as it pertains to these other religions.
One possible starting point comes from Leisa Aitken, a clinical psychologist and practicing Christian, though this is just one of many options.
About 1,500-2,500 years ago, more texts were composed which are now involved in present-day Hinduism, including texts introducing the concepts of dharma and temple worship.
While these religious traditions continued to develop, they were already pretty recognizable as Hinduism by this time.
That said, most modern Western practitioners and teachers of mindfulness learned about mindfulness in the Buddhist and Hindu tradition, so this article will focus on mindfulness from a Buddhist and Hindu perspective.
Of course, even the secular tradition of mindfulness in the West owes its roots to Eastern religion and even certain practitioners of Eastern religions.
This is where any discussion of the history of mindfulness should begin.
In other words, Hinduism has no single founder and no concrete starting point.
In fact, the religious tradition was not even called Hinduism or considered a singular entity until British writers started calling Vedic traditions “Hinduism” in the 1800s.