Mindfulness in business: Who’s changing who?

Thich Nhat Hanh on the cover of our January magazine.

Thich Nhat Hanh on the cover of our January magazine.

There’s a lot of debate in Buddhist and political circles about the growing adoption of mindfulness techniques in corporate America. Is meditation being co-opted as a tool for increased productivity and profit, or is it a way to help companies care for their employees, customers, society, and the environment? As editorial director of Mindful, as well as editor-in-chief of the Shambhala Sun, I have faith in the basic practice, which inherently includes an ethical component, and in the many dedicated people who are bringing mindfulness into their organizations.

If there is one person who has credibility in both the dharma and political worlds it is Thich Nhat Hanh. He is both one of the world’s most respected Buddhist teachers and the acknowledged founder of the Engaged Buddhist movement. Snippets of an interview he did with the British newspaper The Guardian have been getting some play in social media to show that Thich Nhat Hanh disproves of mindfulness in business. In fact, his view is more nuanced—and positive. The full Guardian story is here. Thay also discussed this question with the Shambhala Sun‘s Andrea Miller in an interview we published in our January issue. You can view/download a PDF of the full interview here.


  1. Kari Estrada says

    I believe that mindfulness can benefit us in all areas of life. It leads to a response rather than a reaction. Bringing mindfulness into business has helped me with self-acceptance, self-reflection, and has increased my focus to accomplish what I am accountable for.

  2. Michelle says

    I wish more small businesses focused on mindfulness. It seems like the large, successful companies invest the time and money into teaching their employees healthier mental habits. The struggling little guys are just trying to survive and I see a lot of unhealthy stress and running in circles to put out fires. Perhaps mindfulness in business is like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? The basic needs must be met first before business leadership invests in mindful education and awareness? I'd love to hear what others think.