A Mindful Balance

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What did the Buddha really mean by “mindfulness?” B. ALAN WALLACE describes how misunderstanding the term can have implications for your practice.

Buddhist scholar and teacher B. Alan Wallace is a prolific author and translator of Buddhist texts. With a B.A. in both physics and the philosophy of science from Amherst College and a Ph.D. in religious st u dies from Stanford Unive rsity, he devo tes much of his time combining his inte rests in the study of Buddhist philosophical and contemplative traditions and their relationship to modern science. Wallace is founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, in Santa Barbara, California. Here he speaks in depth with Tricycle about what he considers an essential but widely misunderstood Buddhist practice: mindfulness meditation. Wallace argues that our poor understanding of the practice has profound implications for our meditation practice, and may very well draw us from the ultimate fruit of Buddhist practice— liberation from suffering and its underlying causes. The interview was co n d u c ted by email over the co u rse of seve ral months in 2007.