UK Gov. Plans to Introduce Buddhist Meditation Techniques into Schools… We should resist!
Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families at Department for Education, Edward Timpson, wants to introduce Buddhist meditation techniques and yoga into schools.
Mr Timpson said that schools across the country should start teaching "mindfulness" as a "normal part of the school day".
The meditative practice, which has its roots in Buddhism, encourages people to focus on the present, rather than on the anxieties of the past or future.
Speaking during a debate in Parliament, Mr Timpson said that mindfulness is “a modern innovation born from the deepest traditions of meditation” and that schools and colleges using the technique “to enable all children to enjoy good mental health and emotional wellbeing”.
“We want schools to have a whole-school approach that makes talking about feelings, emotions and wellbeing as normal for pupils as talking about their physical bodies. That might include lessons taught as part of the PSHE curriculum, whole-school programmes such as mindfulness that become a normal part of the school day, role play in drama lessons, or offering meditation or yoga sessions.”
While helping to improve children’s mental well-being is indeed commendable, we should be concerned about this development.
Being inspired by ancient Buddhist meditation, it is doubtful whether mindfulness can be separated from its religious roots. As such, the state should not be promoting this particular religious practice which is foreign to our tradition.
The introduction of mindfulness into schools would amount to the introduction of a particular state sponsored religious practice. Whilst this is done to a certain extent within particular faith schools, it is not appropriate for the state to do this more generally.
It is the job of parents to look after the spiritual well-being of their children, not the state.