Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India, and Burma, and he is one of the key teachers who have brought Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. His books include A Path with Heart; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; and The Wise Heart. Jack Kornfield is also featured on our website as a Living Spiritual Teacher.
The Buddha spoke words of liberation, peace, and compassion which have been passed from generation to generation. In this enlightening work, Jack Kornfield has brought together the wisdom teaching of 75 contemporary Buddhist writers and teachers. He has divided their words into four sections:
• Wise Understanding
• Compassion and Courage
• Enlightenment and the Bodhisattva Path
Among those featured in this book are Ajahn Chah, Sylvia Boorstein, Tara Brach, Pema Chödrön, Sharon Salzberg, Stephen Levine, Robert Thurman, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ram Dass, Mark Epstein, Suzuki Roshi, Tulku Thondup, Rick Fields, Lama Surya Das, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In the introduction, Kornfield writes: "These teachings are the good medicine of the Dharma. Read them slowly, listen to them. Let these luminous words bring the Buddha's awakening to your own heart and mind. Reflect on them, practice them, let them transform your life. These words will bless you."
Here is a sampler of quotations from these contemporary Buddhist writers and teachers:
• The Birth of Bodhichitta
"A young woman wrote to me about finding herself in a small town in the Middle East surrounded by people jeering, yelling, and threatening to throw stones at her and her friends because they were Americans. Of course, she was terrified, and what happened to her is interesting. Suddenly she identified with every person throughout history who had ever been scorned and hated. She understood what it was like to be despised for any reason: ethnic group, racial background, sexual preference, gender. Something cracked wide open, and she stood in the shoes of millions of oppressed people and saw with a new perspective. She even understood her shared humanity with those who hated her. This sense of deep connection, of belonging to the same family, is bodhichitta."
— Pema Chödrön in The Places That Scare You
• Are You Blind?
"Imagine walking along a sidewalk with your arms full of groceries, and someone roughly bumps into you so that you fall and your groceries are strewn over the ground. As you rise up from the puddle of broken eggs and tomato juice, you are ready to shout out, 'You idiot! What's wrong with you? Are you blind?' But just before you can catch your breath to speak, you see that the person who bumped into you is actually blind. He, too, is sprawled in the spilled groceries, and your anger vanishes in an instant, to be replaced by sympathetic concern: 'Are you hurt? Can I help you up?'
"Our situation is like that. When we clearly realize that the source of disharmony and misery in the world is ignorance, we can open the door of wisdom and compassion."
— B. Alan Wallace in Tibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up
• Who Is Bothering Whom?
"In our practice, we think that noises, cars, voices, sights, are distractions that come and bother us when we want to be quiet. But who is bothering whom? Actually, we are the ones who go and bother them. The car, the sound, is just following its own nature. We bother things through some false idea that they are outside us and cling to the ideal of remaining quiet, undisturbed.
"Learn to see that it is not things that bother us, that we go out to bother them. See the world as a mirror. It is all a reflection of mind. When you know this, you can grow in every moment, and every experience reveals truth and brings understanding."
— Ajahn Chah in A Still Forest Pool: The Insight Meditation of Achaan Chah by Jack Kornfield and Paul Breiter