Ville Husgafvel is a doctoral student in the Study of Religion at the University of Helsinki. His research interests include contemporary mindfulness practices, Buddhism, yoga and meditation, and the concept of religion. Publications include “On the Buddhist Roots of Contemporary Non-Religious Mindfulness Practice: Moving Beyond Sectarian and Essentialist Approaches” (Temenos, 2016), The 'Universal Dharma Foundation' of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Non-Duality and Mahayana Buddhist Influences in the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn (Contemporary Buddhism, 2019), and Buddhalaisuus Suomessa [Buddhism in Finland] 2017 – Ruth Illman, Kimmo Ketola, Riitta Latvio & Jussi Sohlberg (eds.), Monien uskontojen ja katsomusten Suomi. Helsinki: Kulttuuri- ja uskontofoorumi Fokus ry.
Any casual user of social media can’t have missed the increasing number of adverts for dozens of ‘mindfulness’ apps. Perhaps you have encountered the term in the workplace or in a healthcare setting? It seems that, in the contemporary West, mindfulness is everywhere. But what is it? How popular is it? What is its connection to particular forms of Buddhism? Can it ever be considered wholly secular or is it necessarily religious? And why does this matter, and for whom? Today, Chris is joined by Ville Husgafvel of the University of Helsinki to discuss these important questions surrounding an increasingly pervasive phenomenon that has received little engagement from the critical religious studies community.