9781498552295Hackett, Paul (ed.). The Assimilation of Yogic Religions through Pop Culture. London: Lexington Books, 2017. 280 p. ISBN 978-1-4985-5229-5

Publisher | Google Books | Toc

“The image of the meditating yogi has become a near-universal symbol for transcendent perfection used to market everything from perfume and jewelry to luxury resorts and sports cars, and popular culture has readily absorbed it along similar lines. Yet the religious traditions grounding such images are often readily abandoned or caricatured beyond recognition, or so it would seem.

The essays contained in The Assimilation of Yogic Religions through Pop Culture explore the references to yogis and their native cultures of India, Tibet, and China as they are found in the stories of many famous icons of popular culture, from Batman, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange to Star Trek, Doctor Who, Twin Peaks, and others. In doing so, the authors challenge the reader to look deeper into the seemingly superficial appropriation of the image of the yogi and Asian religious themes found in all manner of comic books, novels, television, movies, and theater and to carefully examine how they are being represented and what exactly is being said.”

Holding: UBW, WorldCat

9780190495800David McMahan; Erik Braun (eds.) Meditation, Buddhism, and Science. Oxford University Press 2017 (248  pages, ISBN 9780190495800)

Google Books | Publisher

“The scientific study of Buddhist forms of meditation has surged in recent years. Such study has captured the popular imagination, reshaping conceptions of what meditation is and what it can do. Within the lab and now beyond it, people have come to see meditation as a practical matter, a rewiring of the brain or an optimization of consciousness as a means to better health, more fulfilling relationships, and increasing productivity. Often suppressed if not dropped from this pragmatic approach are the beliefs, values, and cosmologies that underpin such practice from the Buddhist point of view.

Propelled by the imperatives of empirical practicality, for perhaps the first time in history meditation has shifted from Buddhist monasteries and practice centers to some of the most prominent and powerful modern institutions in the world-hospitals, universities, corporations, and the military-as well as many non-institutional settings. As the contributions to this volume show, as their contexts change, so do the practices, sometimes drastically. New ways of thinking about meditation, ways that profoundly affect millions of lives all over the world, are emerging from its move to these more strictly secular settings.

To understand these changes and their effects, the essays in this volume explore the unaddressed complexities in the interrelations between Buddhist history and thought and the scientific study of meditation. The contributors bring philosophical, cultural, historical, and ethnographic perspectives to bear, considering such issues as the philosophical presumptions of practice, the secularization of meditation, the values and goods assumed in clinical approaches, and the sorts of subjects that take shape under the influence of these transformed and transformative practices-all the more powerful for being so often formulated with the authority of scientific discourse.”

Holdings: Worldcat, UBW

 

 

9780190200626Joiner, Thomas. Mindlessness: The Corruption of Mindfulness in a Culture of Narcissism. Oxford University Press, 2017. (224 pages, ISBN 9780190200626)

PublisherGoogle Books

“A contemplative practice with Buddhist roots, mindfulness is ‘the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present-moment, non-judgmentally.’ Practicing mindfulness can be an effective adjunct in treating psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. But have we gone too far with mindfulness? Recent books on the topic reveal a troubling corruption of mindfulness practice for commercial gain, with self-help celebrities hawking mindfulness as the next ‘miracle drug.’ Furthermore, common misunderstanding of what mindfulness really is seems to be fueled by a widespread cultural trend toward narcissism, egocentricity, and self-absorption.

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