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Teachers: Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield, PhD, trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India, and Burma. He is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Center and has taught meditation internationally since 1974. He holds a doctorate degree in clinical psychology, and is a husband and father.


The Wise Heart

This book offers a systematic and well-organized view of Buddhist psychology, complete with occasional diagrams. Concepts and practices are placed in a framework that explains and connects them. It's all done with an eye toward application; most chapters end with exercises. Kornfield has been practicing Buddhism for close to 40 years, a lasting discipline that has produced this masterful book and a seasoned view of life that acknowledges a lot of oopses. As a mediator and psychologist, he has also witnessed some serious angst, including his own, and draws on it for illustrative power. Not everything here is new, least of all the title, but then the Buddha isn't either. The best is left for last: joy you can seek for yourself and others. Just keep your meditative seat, and this book by your bed. Kornfield comes across as the therapist you wish you'd had.

A Path with Heart

Through generous storytelling and unmitigated warmth, Jack Kornfield offers this excellent guidebook on living with attentiveness, meditation, and full-tilt compassion. Kornfield uses everyday metaphors to describe the elusive lessons of spiritual transformation. For example, he opens with "the one seat" lesson taught to him by his esteemed teacher. Literally it means sitting in the center of a room and not being swayed or moved by all the people and dramas happening around you. On a spiritual level it means sticking "with one practice and teacher among all of the possibilities," writes Kornfield; "inwardly it means having the determination to stick with that practice through whatever difficulties and doubts arise until you have come to true clarity and understanding." The same could be said for this "one book." Among all the spiritual self-help books, this is a classic worth sticking with and returning to--a highly approachable teacher that can only lead to greater clarity and understanding.

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path

Bringing his thoughts to a personal level, Jack Kornfield looks up many of the notable spiritual teachers of our times (Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Sufi, etc.) and presents extended quotations of their trials and epiphanies. These anecdotes are woven together with fables and ruminations from Kornfield's own decades-long experience as a practitioner and teacher, creating an image of the spiritual life as challenging, multidimensional, rewarding, and, yes, mundane. In the old days in China, Zen monks were encouraged to travel for instruction under a variety of masters. Here, Kornfield introduces us to today's masters, but off their podiums, as equals. Genuine experiences of awakening, despair, fault, serious transgression, and simple childlike joy all appear as bridges on the way to the divine. After the Ecstasy, the Laundry is not just another inspirational bestseller, it is a lasting record of concrete insights forged from the fires of dedicated practice.

Guided Meditation: Six Essential Practices to Cultivate Love, Awareness, and Wisdom  Audio CDs

Jack Kornfield leads listeners through six essential meditations, a simple way to progressively deepen a practice--whatever your level of experience. Two CDs include:

  • Breath meditation for stilling the body and quieting the mind
  • Mind Like Sky meditation for releasing the ego's attachments and resting in pure awareness
  • Visualization practice to meet the "inner sage," and more

Meditation has its challenges--especially for beginners. With practices you can listen to again and again, Guided Meditation gives listeners a concise training "of the heart and mind" to enjoy the fruits of this centuries-old art.

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The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace

Jack Kornfield has put together a how-to book to encourage the best side of humanity. In The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace, Kornfield uses the evocative power of aphorisms to spark feelings and thoughts that can germinate and grow. After a chapter of aphorisms and quotations on each of the title's three topics, Kornfield offers a related series of meditations that show how to cultivate what the aphorisms have prepared. Whereas essays tend to be read through and forgotten, this book invites a deliberate pace, with the reader filling in the blanks, taking time away for meditation, then coming back for more inspiration. Never descending into triteness, Kornfield is realistic on tough issues, encouraging awareness and persistence over resignation and indifference. If you yearn to open your heart, open the pages of Kornfield's latest.

Audio CD

Meditation for Beginners: Six Guided Meditations for Insight, Inner Clarity, and Cultivating a Compassionate Heart  Audio CDs

Meditation for Beginners presents a complete introduction to "Insight" meditation with bestselling author and trusted teacher Jack Kornfield. Through step-by-step instruction in everything from breathing, posture, and attention to working with difficult emotions and physical discomfort, readers from any spiritual tradition will learn the essentials for creating a daily meditation practice. CD includes five guided meditation sessions to help cultivate the inner tranquility, natural joy, and mental clarity that are just some of the fruits of meditation.

Audio CDs