Mindfulness, derived from Buddhist psychology and philosophy, has gained broad popularity in the last decades, due importantly to scientific interest and findings. Yet Buddhist mindfulness developed in Asian pre-scientific culture and religion, and is predicated upon long-term cultivation of introspective awareness of lived experience, not highly accessible to empirical study. Further complicating the ‘science’ of mindfulness, mindfulness's very definition is multifaceted, resistant to dismantling and requires substantial amounts of personal practice to gain expertise. Most scientists investigating mindfulness have not achieved a high level of this expertise. Here I address how mindfulness is currently being invented as a scientific fact or object of inquiry. The intrinsic porosity of subjective and objective factors influencing the investigation of mindfulness is highlighted: the evolving body of ‘scientific’ experts, instruments used to measure mindfulness, the alliances of funders and other supporters of mindfulness research, and the public representation of the related findings.