Theory and Practice

Subject code ABS802
Lecturer Dr Toby Mendelson
Delivery mode Online, live
Duration 10 weeks
Next start date Visit timetable

Subject Overview

Mindfulness: Theory and Practice examines the systems of meditative practice taught in Buddhist traditions, focusing on mindfulness as the key component in the Buddhist doctrinal framework. It explores the theoretical foundations for meditative practice as well as the practical methods and techniques of meditation, and it also looks at the variety of applications of mindfulness in new contexts and environments. The subject places emphasis on theory and on practice. In addition to the study and critical examination of primary and secondary sources on Buddhist meditation, the subject also demonstrates several techniques and aspects of mindfulness in practice. Students are expected to devote two hours per class day to the practice of mindfulness and record and reflect on their experiences. The classes are accompanied by practical sessions of meditation as appropriate to the development of each topic.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the foundational concepts, beliefs and worldviews underlying the principal Buddhist mindfulness meditation traditions, from early Indian Buddhism to the East Asian traditions and beyond. 
  2. Develop an ability to recognise and critically evaluate the methods and claims of the mindfulness movement, which entails understnding that challenges arising from contemporary applications of mindfulness in new contexts.
  3. Gain practical experience in the various techniques of mindfulness meditation and develop the ability to critically evaluate the technical skills involved in its practice. 
  4. Be able to connect the practical techniques of mindfulness meditation with the theoretical role and function of mindfulness within the Buddhist doctrinal framework. 


  • Assessment 1: Summary of reflective journal outlining the experience of meditation practice (15%)
  • Assessment 2: Short essay in the theoretical foundations of mindfulness practice (35%)
  • Assessment 3: Essay on the application of mindfulness in new contexts and environments (50%)


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