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  • Our Inspiration: The Origins of Mindfulness

    Our name is a nod to Buddha, whose teachings laid the foundation of mindfulness meditation. The Maya Devi Temple’s flower garden in Lumbini, Nepal commemorates the site of Buddha’s birth and stands as a beacon of peace. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, the Maya Devi Temple is a protected space surrounded only by temples; Each year, it draws over 1.6 million visitors from around the globe. Visitors flock to the site to meditate from the early hours of the morning through the evening.

    Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini (Nepal)


    Mindfulness meditation, a technique coming directly from Buddhism

    At its core, mindfulness meditation is a practice that finds its roots deep within Buddhism. Buddha believed he could find freedom and peace in an imperfect world. Mindfulness meditation consists in paying attention to an object in order to cultivate a state of calm and awareness. Buddha’s quest for mental clarity and concentration required mastering control over his mind and senses, adopting a posture of stillness with a straight spine, and engaging in deep, rhythmic breathing akin to that of restful sleep.

    This type of breathing has been found to have a significant effect on our mental wellbeing, leading to feelings of profound tranquility and a sense of openness. By focusing intently on a single point and observing his thoughts without judgment, Buddha laid the groundwork for what we now recognize as mindfulness meditation.


    Buddha and the origins of mindfulness

    As a child, Buddha sat in the shadows of a rose apple tree when a feeling of pure joy came over him. Instinctively, adopting a meditative posture—and deep feelings of a calm happiness washed over him. From this experience came mindfulness, the precursor to meditation. Buddha noticed how his feelings and sensations changed together with the ebb and flow of his consciousness. He discerned the ways in which his senses and thoughts changed through interactions with the world around him and made himself aware of his every move.

    Aiming to recapture this state of serene contentment, Buddha chose to meditate in the lotus position under a Bodhi tree. As it turned out, Buddha didn’t sit beneath just any tree. He chose to quiet his mind in the shadows of a tree with a lengthy lifespan. The average Bodhi tree lives between 900 and 1,500 years. Those still in their native habitats are said to thrive for more than 3,000 years. The Bodhi tree, known for its remarkable longevity, provided the perfect backdrop for Buddha’s meditative journey towards achieving a tranquil mind.

    Bodhi Tree, Maya Devi Temple 


    The benefits of meditation

    The therapeutic effects of meditation have been rigorously documented by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the first person to demonstrate the specific benefits of meditation.

    Kabat-Zinn found that the heart rate decreases during meditation and brain rhythms change, allowing individuals to neurologically detach themselves from their surroundings and therefore become more sensitive to contemplation. Through regular practice, meditation has been found to offer many benefits, including reduced stress, the ability to relax and ease anxiety.