Hi Alec, great discussion. But I'd really like to know more about what you consider to be an apparent paradox in 'Buddhist practice' and 'politics'.
You're right that 'depends on what you mean by mindful and what political engagement constitutes'. These two terms have very specific historical and cultural connotations. But I'd like to know what you think!
Furthermore, it's a general observation that those practising mindfulness tend to avert themselves from politics. This tension has long existed in Western philosophy: vita activa v. vita comtemplativa. Perhaps it's the same tension that took on a different context?