Beware the cult of ‘The present moment’ and ‘mindfulness’

Acharya Prashant
10 min readApr 21, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): How can we, in daily life, go closer to the Truth? Is that through sitting, walking, working, meditation, by living mindfully in the present moment? Isn’t mindfulness taught by the Buddha himself?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Which Buddha are you referring to (asking the questioner)? The Buddha of the West’s construction, the Buddha of the neo-spiritualists and neo-advaitians, the newness movement, the mindfulness movement? Which Buddha are you referring to? Show me where is Buddha talking of mindfulness? Show me. It is a cult, it is an extremely foolish, but dangerous cult, ‘the cult of mindfulness’. Please be very very cautious of it. In the name of mindfulness, at worst, you can get caught in a universe projected by your own mind, and at best, you will start concentrating on the things that your mind likes or dislikes.

No scripture ever talks of the present moment. Never, never. It is a fake spiritual philosophy emanating from industrial roots. It is driven by nothing but escapism and consumerism. It is both ineffective and impractical. And it is dishonest to boot.

If you are the one, who has been living a debauched life, how will the burden of your past not haunt you?

Because you are still that same person. But in the name of ‘present moment’, and ‘living in the now’, you are taught to disown the past. In the name of disowning the past, you try to disown all the bills that you owe, all the bills that you need to settle, all the dirt that needs to be cleaned. You can try to disown, but that won’t happen. That’s why I am saying it is ineffective and impractical and because you don’t want to settle your bills, so I am calling it dishonest.

The only way to disown your past is to not remain the same person anymore that you were in the past. But that’s not what mindfulness or present-moment talk of. They will never talk of surrender or devotion. They will not say ‘give yourself up’. They will just say ‘live in the present moment.’

How can you live in the present moment?

This very body is a carryover from the past.