Harvard Innovation Lab is offering an interesting new resource to students hoping to launch their own businesses someday. The lab, which dispenses entrepreneurship advice, now provides a meditation adviser, as well, according to The Harvard Crimson.
This announcement makes sense within the broader context of the business world. Companies such as Google and Aetna have long offered employee mindfulness programs.
But does it make sense for Buddhism, which inspires modern, secular meditation practices?
Buddhist leaders answer that question differently. Some believe religions must evolve to stay relevant in new contexts, while others say meditation shouldn’t be aimed at improving a business’s bottom line.
This edition of ReligionLink explores the rise of mindfulness in the business world and highlights people who can help you cover meditation in many forms.
- Read “Use of yoga, meditation and chiropractors among U.S. adults aged 18 and over” from the National Center for Health Statistics in November 2018.
- Read “The religious typology” from Pew Research Center on Aug. 29, 2018.
- Read “Meditation is common across many religious groups in the U.S.” from Pew Research Center on Jan. 2, 2018.
- Read “Prevalence of mindfulness practices in the U.S. workforce” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 5, 2017.
- Read “Marvel’s top executives are obsessed with this daily self-care practice” from Variety on April 16, 2019.
- Read “Why so many Americans are turning to Buddhism” from The Atlantic on March 7, 2019.
- Read “A lot more Americans are meditating now than just five years ago” from the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 8, 2018.
- Read “How to be more mindful at work” from The New York Times on Nov. 1, 2018.
- Read “Meditation rooms are the hottest new work perk” from MarketWatch on Oct. 26, 2018.
- Read “Meditation in the time of disruption” from The Ringer on Oct. 25, 2018.
- Read “Before Americans turned to Buddhism for life hacks, they treated it like a dangerous cult” from Quartz on March 15, 2018.
- Read “McMindfulness: Buddhism as sold to you by neoliberals” from The Conversation on Feb. 23, 2018.
- Read “Mindfulness: Corporate America’s strange new gospel” from National Review on Jan. 1, 2018.
- Read “The untold story of America’s mindfulness movement” from Tricycle on Sept. 26, 2017.
- Read “Can mindfulness fill corporate America with better, happier workers?” from Pacific Standard on June 14, 2017.
- Read “On Mindfulness” from Tricycle in the fall of 2016.
- Read “The higher life” from The New Yorker on July 6, 2015.
- Read “In Silicon Valley, meditation is no fad. It could make your career” from Wired on June 18, 2013.
Hugh Byrne directs the Center for Mindful Living, a meditation community in Washington, D.C. He is also a teacher for Insight Timer, a meditation app for smartphones.
Erik Dane is an associate professor of management at Rice University. He specializes in the study of organizational behavior and has researched the effectiveness of workplace mindfulness programs.
Richard Davidson is a professor of psychology and psychiatry and director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has studied the brain activity of meditators and since 1992 has collaborated with the Dalai Lama and Buddhist monks to study the effect of meditation on mental activity.
Nalika Gajaweera is a research associate and anthropologist with the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture. She studies Buddhism, transnationalism and religious innovation, and she’s written about the mindfulness movement in the U.S.
David Gelles is the author of Mindful Work, which is about meditation in the business world. He is also a business reporter for The New York Times and mindfulness practitioner.
Wakoh Shannon Hickey
Wakoh Shannon Hickey is an assistant professor of religious studies at Alfred University in New York. She serves as co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Buddhism in the West unit.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He also leads the school’s stress reduction clinic and offers training on mindfulness and stress reduction.
Jaime Kucinskas is an assistant professor of sociology at Hamilton College in New York. She studies religion, inequality and the mainstreaming of Buddhist meditation, and she recently published The Mindful Elite, which is about the elite leaders behind the mindfulness movement.
Ellen Langer is a professor of psychology at Harvard University, where she researches mindfulness, social cognition and well-being. She also leads the Langer Mindfulness Institute.
Janice L. Marturano
Janice L. Marturano is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, which offers mindfulness training to people in the business world. Arrange an interview through Peter Thompson, the organization’s managing director.
David L. McMahan
David L. McMahan is a religious studies professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., and editor of Meditation, Buddhism and Science and Buddhism in the Modern World.
Scott A. Mitchell
Scott A. Mitchell is a professor of Buddhist studies and dean of student and faculty affairs at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, Calif. He also serves as co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Buddhism in the West unit.
Elizabeth Prather leads the Prather Group, which offers mindfulness training to business leaders and organizations.
Charles S. Prebish
Charles S. Prebish is a professor emeritus of religious studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is a co-founder of the Journal of Buddhist Ethics and can speak about the development of Buddhism in North America and the way the internet has been used to connect Buddhists worldwide.
Ronald Purser is a professor of management at San Francisco State University, where he researches corporate mindfulness programs and the challenges of introducing mindfulness training into secular settings. He is an ordained Zen dharma teacher.
Clifford Saron is a research scientist at the University of California, Davis’ Center for Mind and Brain. He studies the effects of long-term meditation on the brain.
Judith Simmer-Brown is a professor of Buddhist studies and chairwoman of the department of religious studies at Naropa University, a college founded in the Buddhist tradition in Boulder, Colo. She can speak about American Buddhism and about Buddhist-Christian dialogue.
Daniel Stuart is an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of South Carolina. He is a scholar of South Asian religions, literary cultures and meditation traditions who specializes in the texts and practices of the Buddhist tradition.
Chade-Meng Tan became famous for launching and leading the Search Inside Yourself mindfulness course at Google for his fellow employees. He now leads the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute and writes and speaks about the value of mindfulness training.
Kassi Underwood is a meditation adviser for Harvard Innovation Lab, where she offers spiritual counseling to students. She is also pursuing her master’s at Harvard Divinity School. Arrange an interview through the contact form on her website.
Pamela Winfield is an associate professor of religious studies at Elon University. She has written about the rise of nonreligious Buddhism in the U.S.
￼Diana Winston is the director of mindfulness education at the University of California, Los Angeles Semel Institute’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. She has taught mindfulness practices for more than 25 years and published Fully Present: The Science, Art and Practice of Mindfulness in 2010.
Andrew Hafenbrack is an assistant professor of business at the University of Washington in Seattle. He researches the effectiveness of workplace mindfulness programs.
Damien Keown is a professor emeritus of Buddhist ethics at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has a particular interest in the ethics of medicine and biotechnology.
Kim Lam is an associate research fellow at Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. She has written about the transformation of Buddhist meditation into a secular mindfulness practice.
Jinwol Y.H. Lee
Jinwol Y.H. Lee, a Buddhist monk and Zen master, teaches Buddhist meditation and culture as chair professor of the department of Seon studies and director of the Institute of Seon at Dongguk University, Gyeongju, in South Korea. He belongs to the Jogye order of Korean Buddhism, the major traditional Mahayana Buddhism in Korea.
Caroline Starkey is a sociologist of religion at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. She studies religious practice in Great Britain, religion and gender and contemporary Buddhism.
Jeff Wilson is an associate professor of religious studies and East Asian studies at the University of Waterloo. He focuses on the interaction of Buddhism and various aspects of North American culture and published Mindful America: The Mutual Transformation of Buddhist Meditation and American Culture in 2014.