Teaching in Flux: Mindfulness and Conditionality in Pedagogical Practice




Smalley, Nathan

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This study explores mindfulness and conditionality in pedagogical practice. Drawing on two central concepts of Buddhist philosophy and practice, mindfulness (sati), or lucid awareness, and dependent origination (paticca samuppāda), this study approaches teaching and learning as the interplay of awareness within constantly changing conditions. Using Macy’s mutual causality framework to explore conditionality and Anālayo’s scholarship of mindfulness as presented in the Pāli canon, this study explores the application of mindfulness and conditionality as foundational teaching practices for Buddhist and non-Buddhist educators alike. Throughout this study, I unpack several terms with distinct Buddhist origins that now carry a proliferation of meanings, as they have been absorbed for secular study and application, and put them into conversation with researchers and philosophers across disciplines and perspectives to unearth like features of mindfulness and conditionality extant in other practice. Drawing upon these conceptual distillations, this study explores their application in the lived experiences of three educators in primary, secondary, and university settings via semi-structured interviews. I present a conceptualization of the principles and practices of educators and thinkers who ground their practice in these understandings.



awareness, conditionality, dependent arising, dependent origination, emptiness, mindfulness, mutual causality, pedagogy


Smalley, N. (2024). Teaching in flux: Mindfulness and conditionality in pedagogical practice (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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