Sacred Groundlessness: Deepening the Ethics of Mindfulness in the Midst of Global Crisis

  • Lama Karma
Part of the Mindfulness in Behavioral Health book series (MIBH)


This chapter situates the question of ethics and mindfulness in the context of a global crisis—a crisis that is at once ecological, social, and personal—and suggests that these dimensions of the global crisis contain a common and underlying crisis of being, a nihilistic despair that is symptomatic of an inability to come to terms with groundlessness and relativity. Informed by the methods of insight (vipashyanā) within the awareness traditions of Tibetan Buddhist Mahāmudrā and Dzogchen, the emerging trend of “compassion” within secular mindfulness discourse is critiqued and applied to the question of nihilism and the global crisis. Through normalizing and cultivating a familiarity with groundlessness and relativity, mindfulness practice can anchor itself to deeper intentions that can not only critique the way that mindfulness is currently being taught and practiced but can also liberate the personal and collective resources necessary for global sustainability. By honoring the integration of groundlessness and compassion presented in the traditional “mind training” teachings, secular compassion trainings can facilitate a novel and emergent culture of groundlessness within secular society. In this way secular compassion training can become an authentic and powerful agent for personal and social change, forming the basis of globally sustainable ethical action, i.e., a groundless ethics of wisdom and compassion.


Mahamudra Vipashyana Nihilism Compassion Groundlessness Mindfulness Ethics Global crisis Eco-Dharma Sacred Secular 


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Lama Karma
    • 1
  1. 1.Milarepa Ösel Chö DzongHappy ValleyUSA

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