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History of Mindfulness

The term mindfulness comes from the Buddhist concept of “Sati,” a state of awareness of present events. According to scholars, Buddhism originated around the fifth century BCE by Siddhartha Gautama (commonly known as Buddha).

The “Sati” to “mindfulness'' came in 1881 when a British magistrate in Srilanka identified “mindfulness” to be the closest translation of “Sati .”Mindfulness is not about converting to Buddhism. It is a practice derived from the Buddhist concept of observing our thoughts, feelings and sensation without judgment to gain insight, wisdom and self-awareness.

Despite being widely practiced in the East, mindfulness didn't reach the West until the 1970s. 


Job Kabat-Zinn introduced mindfulness in the United States. He was a medication emeritus professor and the Stress Reduction, Clinic creator. He learned about the philosophical tenets of Buddhism while studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Kabat-Zinn established the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. He adapted Buddhist teachings and developed a “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction " program (MBSR). 

This program put MBSR into a scientific framework and diluted the connection between mindfulness and Buddhism. Mindfulness has continued to gain awareness and practice since then. 

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