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A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  7,185 Ratings  ·  194 Reviews
A guide to reconciling Buddhist spirituality with the American way of life addresses the challenges of spiritual living in the modern world and offers guidance for bringing a sense of the sacred to everyday experience.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Bantam
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Bill I know it's not quite what you asked for but you can download some great podcasts from including quite a few from Jack…moreI know it's not quite what you asked for but you can download some great podcasts from including quite a few from Jack Kornfield. In fact it's via these podcasts that I found this book. (less)
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May 14, 2009 Helynne rated it it was amazing
I really like books about meditation, and I think the amazingly prolific Jack Kornfield, an American psychologist (Ph.D. in clinical psych), former Buddhist monk in Thailand, Burma and India, and now a husband, father, teacher, and popular lecturer, is a great place to start and to continue. The title of this book emphasizes Kornfield's favorite theme that love is what life is ultimately all about and whatever path one follows in life, one must be sure that it is a "path with heart," one that w ...more
Craig Shoemake
I can sincerely say this is an excellent book but that it is not the correct book for me at this time. Books tend to be time sensitive documents, meaning if you read one at the “right” time, it can light fireworks under your butt, while if you had read the same book at an earlier or later time of your life, you might toss it aside and pick up instead the latest copy of Time (pun intended). My experience with what is probably Kornfield’s most widely read book is somewhere in between, but again, t ...more
This is a Kornfield's attempt at a general guide book to Buddhist spiritual inquiry. It makes an attempt to draw parallels between Buddhism and other spiritual traditions, but in general it's intended audience is practicing Buddhists with some familiarity with the tradition. I bought this book after seeing Kornfield speak at the Evolution of Psychotherapy conference. He got a room of about a thousand mental health practitioners to chant and do meditation in concert. It was a powerful experience. ...more
Sep 20, 2016 Lauren marked it as to-read
Shelves: buddhism, meditation
Found at the laundry room free shelf at the apartment where I'm staying in Vancouver...
May 01, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Have read it 3 times. Takes me to a beautiful place everytime.
Sidney Luckett
Sep 02, 2012 Sidney Luckett rated it it was amazing

Buddhism has many strands. As the original teachings of Buddha through North India, South India, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Burma, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan it took on flavors of the local contexts and thus different forms of Buddhism emerged. It's arrival in North America took on a form known as Insight Meditation. (I'm not a scholar of Buddhism and I don't doubt that there there are others) . Insight Meditation, with a number of centers in the Cambridge/Boston area has had significant influence
Ben Batchelder
Feb 24, 2013 Ben Batchelder rated it it was ok
One of my spiritual advisors recommended this book, which makes me wonder if she wanted me to feel even more the spiritual midget than I am. While it is full of entertaining quotes (e.g. “People with opinions just go around bothering one another” says Buddha) and genuine, if therapeutic, insights, I couldn’t help feel Buddhism (the author’s specialty) is horribly complicated. The chapter titled Expanding and Dissolving the Self details myriad levels of meditative nirvana which entail months and ...more
Jun 04, 2016 Tiia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book, in a way it is many books. It contains the basics of loving compassion for those who still might be doubtful. It contains heart's advice for those who might have had a dawn of awakening as well as warnings for those who might have stopped seeking and are just trying to escape the world in meditation. It also addresses the tender issue of some spiritual teachers taking advantage of their students. Ethics are covered in detail.

If you are new to Buddhism and initially deeply inv
Dec 29, 2008 Jim is currently reading it
I've been reading this book for a long time. I read a chapter, put it down. Pick it up months later. Not because it is bad or poorly written--it's not. It's just something I do with some books. I have learned from it...and I'm sure I will learn more in the future.
Jul 13, 2016 Nick rated it liked it
It is a fairly basic book if you already have some detailed knowledge of (particularly western) Buddhism. However it goes over the basic forms of meditation, with a focus on heart/compassion centric meditation. The walkthrough it gives on how to actually do that meditation is better than any ive found online, so that is probably the most valuable part of the book. It also has a lot of the more preliminary aspects of Buddhist philosophy which underlie or justify these practices. There were some p ...more
Oct 21, 2007 Mary rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: yogis, wanna-be-yogis
good ol' kornfield. i'm unsure how well this book would read if you didn't have a meditation practice already, but i'm finding it to be a fantastic support for my current practice. he lays out the key obstacles that people find as they build their spiritual practice, as well as how to support yourself when you come up against these roadblocks. gentle, wise, funny, sometimes weird, i'm finding that this book is very much reflecting the challenges i'm currently in the midst of.

i'd be interested t
Mary Karpel-Jergic
A book to help you understand Buddhist spiritual practice and to develop the skills that lead to peace - not from fulfilling our wants but from he moment that dissatisfaction ends.

I have many, probably too many, books of this nature that I read and re-read when returning to meditation. As you can note I am not the most disciplined. Lately, I have wanted to meditate and experience the simple pleasures that the practice offers without necessarily having the sense of any spirituality tagged on. I g
Jan 05, 2015 Tim rated it it was amazing
Subtitled "A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life", this book lives up to its promise and offers a serious, yet enjoyable and readable look at living under the influence of (or in the bosom of) an Eastern religion. Kornfield is a Buddhist, a former monk in the Thai Theravadan tradition, which is affiliated with the Insight Meditation movement. I first came across this book at an IM center, and am very glad I picked it up. In contrast to many Eastern writers on Buddhism and spi ...more
Oct 06, 2013 Liz rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
"Compassion is the heart's response to sorrow. We share in the beauty of life and ocean of tears, Sorrow in life is part of each of our hearts and what connects us to one another. It brings tenderness, mercy, and all embracing kindness that has the ability to touch every being".

"Our compassioned heart can untangle our sorrow".

"The temple bell stops
but the sound keeps coming out of the flowers".
Dec 01, 2010 carrie rated it it was amazing
This book put into words much of what I've been experiencing in the past year or so through my yoga practice. It's a must.
Apr 11, 2012 Leigh rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all time favorite metaphysical/spiritual books. Well written and full of heart.
LuAnn Oburn
Jan 22, 2012 LuAnn Oburn rated it it was amazing
I have been enthralled with everything I have read by Jack Kornfield.
Kreeti Shakya
Sep 03, 2015 Kreeti Shakya rated it it was amazing
This is a comprehensive book on Insight Meditation that discusses the various difficulties that could arise during our meditation practice and ways to overcome them. It further acknowledges the other paths (including psychotherapy) that exist in a person's quest to healing and liberation. I found the writer Jack Kornfield sincere and humble as he recognizes his own limitations rather than portraying himself as an expert. I also found the book very realistic and practical as it encourages living ...more
Amos Smith
Sep 18, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-books-other
If I were to only read five books on Buddhism this would be one of them. Kornfield ventured to Thailand at a young age and sought out meditation practice with vigor. Then he brought what he learned back to the West. There is much practical wisdom here. There is integrity and deep soul searching. I respect Kornfield's vigor and beautiful writing, which inspired me at a young age to go deeper into Christian Meditation/Centering Prayer.
-Amos Smith (author of Healing The Divide: Recovering Christian
Apr 09, 2016 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
A Path with Heart is about meditation, inner transformation, and bringing “…a genuine spiritual practice in our own world” (p. 4). Jack Kornfield, a teacher, psychologist and meditation master, takes us through his spiritual life journey, which is based on the practice of Buddhism. We hear about his personal stories, anecdotes, struggles, epiphanies, and how they formed who he is today. Through useful meditation exercises, he teaches us how we can have a more fulfilling life in this challenging ...more
Diane  Holcomb
Dec 16, 2014 Diane Holcomb rated it really liked it
I picked up a copy of A Path with Heart in a used bookstore to read on Sunday mornings, a time that I devote to inspirational texts. Every week I headed into nature and read one chapter. The idea was to reflect upon the teachings through the week; but of course my attention went elsewhere, to all those minute tasks that filled my days.

I definitely needed the lessons in this book.

Kornfield’s “guide through the perils and promises of spiritual life” is written from a Buddhist perspective. I could
Claire Elizabeth
Feb 05, 2014 Claire Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Great book for Mindfulness!

This is a true reflection piece.

I have been going through a spiritual season of forgiveness as a result of awareness of bitterness and fear for the past few weeks. Therefore, the sections on awareness of difficult emotions was very helpful. Also the sections on forgiveness were especially meaningful for me.

“When any experience of body, heart, or mind keeps repeating in consciousness, it is a signal that this visitor is asking for a deeper and fuller attention. While th
Dharmamitra Jeff Stefani
Jack brings his experience as one who has Won Stream Entry, and the Transcendental Wisdom that comes along with this. a Level of attainments so distinctly profound, that it resonates loundly and cleaerly in his soft, peaceful voice. (I LOVE the Audio Book Format, for this very reason.

In this Installment, I learned so much more about Jack's personal journey, from the Monastic life of a Thai Forest Monk, to Ph.D. Doctor of Psychology, through the ups and downs (And some HARD FALLS after the Glow i
Susan Taylor
Sep 26, 2012 Susan Taylor rated it it was amazing
A gift from my daughter. I love Dr. Kornfield, his dry sense of humor, the lessons he's learned and shared,both during his experience as a Buddhist monk, father, and invested in life. I can attest, it was with this man's wisdom, his ability to impart into my thick head, the understanding of how to be present and at the same time letting go. Dr.Kornfield is adept at imparting the means to accept the changes, the pain, the frustration of having a life torn apart and that peace and joy were possibl ...more
Forest Tong
Aug 12, 2016 Forest Tong rated it really liked it
A treasure trove. Kornfield's unifying message is that love and spirituality need to permeate every aspect of our lives. He also touches on a broad variety of topics, including kundalini, no self vs. true self, and problems with spiritual communities. The writing could definitely be more concise, and Kornfield has a tendency of over-quoting, but with sufficient patience the reading is always an inspiration.
Kathryn Bumbaugh
Aug 17, 2016 Kathryn Bumbaugh rated it it was amazing
Learn to laugh when needed, as you move through life or dive deep into the darkness. The only way is through it, baby cakes.
A nice feature of this book, are the time-tested meditation techniques at the end of the chapters. Another boon are the quotes from other humans throughout the ages.

You'll be hooked on JK and next read After The Ecstasy the Laundry...
Pam Meserve
May 25, 2011 Pam Meserve rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone and all seeking 'insight' and peace
Recommended to Pam by: Akasha
This is a spiritual guide book I find that you can refer to frequently.. it focuses on our body, emotions, relationships, spirituality and helps the reader to develop and enhance the skills we need now to be present in all life has to offer. I find it helps opening up your inner self and awareness to help you look and see in a different way perhaps, the world around us, and it does this by aiding you in finding a healing, compassion, and freedom within you. It comes with a variety of special med ...more
Ron Christiansen
Dec 31, 2014 Ron Christiansen rated it really liked it
Shelves: nf, meditation
Another solid guide to eastern thought for westerners. I keep reading them though my meditation practice is never amazing...though while reading about meditation I feel like I'm basically meditating.

Kornfield suggest we should become a "connoiseur of our neuroses" without judgment and that's my only new years resolution for 2015.
Apr 06, 2012 Lorraine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
I give this book five stars with a small but important disagreement. Towards the close of the book, the author discusses spiritual materialism and eludes to the Krishna Consciousness movement in that light. On page 310, Kornfield calls such an experience "self absorbed" and posits it as a dead end. Perhaps the culture of the 1960's/1970's failed to support the movement long term, however I would not call Srila Prabhupada's methods impure and certainly not self absorbed nor spiritually materialis ...more
Oct 24, 2007 Mattie rated it liked it
I liked this book, even though it wasn't quite what I was expecting. The book was much more about meditation, per se, than the broader commentary on living a "spiritual life." That said, it's a really good book on meditation and contains a variety of suggested meditations that are good. I've actually been trying to incorporate one in particular, with good results (I think). Also, there are some thoughtful insights about the fruits of meditation - various realizations about the nature of life and ...more
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Jack Kornfield 1 5 Apr 06, 2014 09:39AM  
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Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He began his training after graduating from Dartmouth College in Asian Studies in 1967. Then he joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to the Public Health Service in no ...more
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“Let go of the battle. Breathe quietly and let it be. Let your body relax and your heart soften. Open to whatever you experience without fighting.” 38 likes
“This life is a test-it is only a test.
If it had been an actual life, you would have received further
instructions on where to go and what to do.
Remember, this life is only a test.”
More quotes…