Wise Heart: A profile of Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield Shambhala Sun cover Wise Heart

Jack Kornfield's brilliant synthesis of deep Buddhist practice and modern psychological insight has made him one of the most influential spiritual teachers of our time. Steve Silberman tells the fascinating story of Kornfield's voyage — both literal and philosophical — from West to East and back. Jack Kornfield is dancing. With a fluid arc of his left hand, he plucks a sheet [...]

Building Your Mental Muscles

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Meditators and musclemen don’t seem to have much in common, but Thanissaro Bhikku says meditators can learn a lot from the techniques of strength training. Meditation is the most useful skill you can master. It can bring the mind to the end of suffering, something no other skill can do. But it’s also the subtlest and most demanding skill there is. It requires all the mental [...]

The Only Choice is Kindness

Sylvia Boorstein Photo

“Life is so difficult, how can we be anything but kind”—it was these words that inspired Sylvia Boorstein to follow the Buddhist path.  Steve Silberman talks with her about the challenges of life, from a rough childhood to a post-partum depression, that helped her become such a beloved teacher—and example—of Buddhist virtues. Sylvia Boorstein's writing room—a solarium at the [...]

Here, Now, Aware: The Power of Mindfulness

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It’s the essence of the contemplative path and the key to transforming our lives. In this teaching from his book, A Heart Full of Peace, Insight Meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein describes this simple yet profound expression of our mind’s natural awareness. Mindfulness is the key to the present moment. Without it we cannot see the world clearly, and we simply stay lost in [...]

Doing the Buddha’s Practice

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Mindfulness/awareness was the meditation the Buddha practiced and taught—it was his basic prescription for human suffering. Looking at life with an open and nonjudgmental attention, we see our confusion and develop insight. This is the basis of all Buddhist practice and the key to liberation. Jack Kornfield explains. My friends, it is through the establishment of the lovely [...]

Generosity’s Perfection

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Giving up, giving in, just plain giving—Sharon Salzberg says that’s the truly transformative experience. Generosity opens our heart, frees us from attachment and is the basis of all good qualities. It’s the foundation of the Buddhist path. The cultivation of generosity is the beginning of spiritual awakening. Generosity has tremendous force because it arises from an inner [...]

Creating a Good Ground for Meditation

Buddha in meditation, Thailand, late 6th - early 7th CE. Image via www.metmuseum.org.

Meditation isn't a one-way street—you can’t just meditate and your life will get better. You have to change the way you live to improve your meditation. Thanissaro Bhikku outlines five principles of the ethical, restrained life conducive to meditation practice. Often we like to think that simply by adding meditation to our daily schedule, the effects of the meditation will [...]

How to Practice Vipassana Insight Meditation

how to vipassana meditation

Step-by-Step Instructions on how to do this important practice ­— the foundation of all Buddhist Meditations — from the famed Vipassana master Sayadaw U Pandita. Vipassana, or insight meditation, is the practice of continued close attention to sensation, through which one ultimately sees the true nature of existence. It is believed to be the form of meditation practice taught [...]

Mindfulness, Compassion, & Wisdom, Three Means To Peace

Joseph Goldstein, via Dharma.org

Joseph Goldstein on how three principles of meditation can be applied to the world's conflicts. The method is mindfulness, the expression is compassion, and the essence is wisdom. A central question confronting spiritual life today is how we can best respond to the tremendous conflicts and uncertainties of these times. The war on terror, the seemingly intractable violence of [...]

Vipassana Meditation

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In the direct, insightful style for which he is known, Bhante Henepola Gunaratana teaches the meditation technique known as Vipassana and explains why only meditation addresses the human condition. Meditation is not easy. It takes time and it takes energy. It also takes grit, determination, and discipline. It requires a host of personal qualities that we normally regard as [...]