Situating the Concept of Mindfulness in the Theravāda Tradition


  • Tamara DITRICH University of Ljubljana, Nan Tien Institute, University of Stdney



mindfulness, sati, early Buddhism, ethics and Buddhist meditation, Buddhist psychology


Mindfulness plays a prominent role in traditional and modern Buddhist meditation practice. This paper examines the theoretical background of the concept of mindfulness (sati) as presented in the early Buddhist sources, recorded in Theravāda Buddhism. It outlines the definitions and presentations of mindfulness (sati) in the Pāli Canon and examines how it is embedded within the fundamental models of Buddhist discourse. Then it investigates mindfulness within the philosophical framework of the Abhidhamma, where it is presented as one of the mental factors (cetasika) involved in cognitive processes; it outlines its characteristics, functions, conditions, and compatibility with other mental factors, which occur as components within the interdependent processes of consciousness (citta). The article shows how mindfulness has a special role as a component on the Buddhist path to liberation from suffering (dukkha) and how it is integrated within the soteriological and ethical goals of Buddhist practice.



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Author Biography

  • Tamara DITRICH, University of Ljubljana, Nan Tien Institute, University of Stdney


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10. 08. 2016

How to Cite

DITRICH, Tamara. 2016. “Situating the Concept of Mindfulness in the Theravāda Tradition”. Asian Studies 4 (2): 13-33.

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