Is Mindfulness a Religion?

Buddhism runs afoul of the Church/State debate.

Mark Phillips

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It is easy to imagine the benefits of a Buddhist police force: wiser, cooler heads to keep the peace in America’s embattled streets, or perhaps a kinder, gentler traffic cop. But in Madison, Wisconsin, police captain Cheri Maples argues that the most compelling reason to teach police officers the Buddhist practice of mindfulness is to better equip them to deal with the emotional and mental stress that comes with the job. A nineteen-year police veteran who has participated in several retreats with famed Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, Maples has experienced for herself the benefits of mindfulness practice. Determined to bring the practice to her colleagues, she organized a visit by Thich Nhat Hanh, who led a five-day nonsectarian retreat for civil servants and their families at Green Lake Conference Center outside of Madison.

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