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Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  3,413 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
Throughout our lives we long to love ourselves more deeply and find a greater sense of connection with others. Our fear of intimacy—both with others and with ourselves—creates feelings of pain and longing. But these feelings can also awaken in us the desire for freedom and the willingness to take up the spiritual path.

In this inspiring book, Sharon Salzberg, one of Americ
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Shambhala (first published January 1st 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kim Olver
Jul 30, 2010 Kim Olver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I surprised myself once when I took part in a values clarification exercise. I always thought honesty was my number one value. I believe very strongly in honesty and integrity but what I realized after completing this values activity was that if push came to shove, I would choose kindness over honesty every time. The highest value by which I live my life is kindness. That is not to say, I'm right and if you would choose honesty or any other value that you would be wrong. It's simply to say that ...more
Jan 26, 2009 Cheryl rated it liked it
“Throughout our lives we long to love ourselves more deeply and find a greater sense of connection with others. Our fear of intimacy- both with others and with ourselves-creates feelings of pain and longing…The Buddha described the nature of such a spiritual path as ‘the liberation of the heart, which is love.’

Drawing on simple Buddhist teachings, wisdom stories from various traditions, guided meditation practices…the author shows how each of us can cultivate love, compassion, joy, and equanimi
Mar 10, 2013 Clara rated it really liked it
I can appreciate why this book has become a classic in its circles. Although it purports to be about metta (translated from the Pali as 'lovingkindness'), both what it is and how to cultivate it, it addresses much more than that, since metta can be seen as an entry point for just about every quality and practice that the Buddha suggested we nurture in order to live happily. Irrespective of your spiritual or philosophical bent, Salzberg makes it clear that starting simply by becoming aware of the ...more
David A. Guinee
Jan 29, 2016 David A. Guinee rated it really liked it
As a relatively inexperienced meditator, I have found this to be a helpful guidebook and will refer to it for exercises. Since this is Buddhism filtered through a Western lens, I sometimes feel like I'm being sort of person who says, "I love the blues. I listen to Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt."
Oct 21, 2014 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Salzberg is a queen in the meditation field, and although I own a few of her books, this is the first one I actually read. I was inspired after doing a 4-week meditation series with my yoga teacher who talked about lovingkindness, and I thought--hey, I have a book on that at home! I've started using a pencil to underline and notate my spirituality books--there's too much good stuff I'll miss otherwise. This book got LOTS of many beautiful concepts about the need to let go of our ...more
May 16, 2016 kat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
This was a good exercise in bearing witness to my own judging mind and my uneasy relationship to the more spiritual aspects of meditation.

I originally started it before reading Full Catastrophe Living, put it down about 1/3 way through for a few months, and then came back to it as I wrap up my 8-week mindfulness workshop.

Whether or not it's a good fit for me, I do think it's interesting to at least have some exposure to the lovingkindness practice while I continue to experiment with making mindf
Philippe Desaulniers
Aug 08, 2014 Philippe Desaulniers rated it really liked it
Inspiring reading. It has provided me with answers on the questions I had on the practice of metta. My meditation background is mainly on the vipassana technique as taught by S.N. Goenka, which only gives a little place to metta, and had let me a bit confused on the subject. It was interesting to see how the two approaches seem to take paths in opposite directions (different starting points, and different sequence of progress) to get to the same goal.

As another reviewer pointed out, the chapter
Jul 04, 2015 Murf rated it liked it
I found this book profoundly long-winded. Yes, it was interesting to read Salzberg’s interpretations of some of the ancient texts on the subject, but too much of it felt like padding. Instead of a focused description of how to do loving-kindness meditation, we end up with a rambling presentation of multiple threads that you have to pull together yourself; fine, perhaps, if you are familiar with the practice, but possibly a bit too freeform if you are not. [Full review on my blog]
Nov 29, 2010 Dominique rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book the foundation of happiness for all of us. Sharon Salzberg has a true gift for putting into words and examples the teachings of the Buddhist path so that it is clear on how they do truly apply to everyday life. I particularly used this book to help me work through a situation where I was so hurt, angry and betrayed by a family member that I couldn't find the place in my heart to feel love. I knew it was there, but I just couldn't access it. Truly, if every human being o ...more
Sirpa Grierson
May 05, 2010 Sirpa Grierson rated it really liked it
A profound, yet simple book on practicing "metta," or lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg, the founder of Insight Meditation Society. We can all benefit from the four ideas of lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity, whether or not we choose to meditate. All people deserve our compassionate attention and perhaps those who seem as the least likely candidates, need it the most. The beauty of metta is that as we learn to see ourselves with clarity, we will then move from this cent ...more
Dharmamitra Jeff Stefani
May 11, 2012 Dharmamitra Jeff Stefani rated it it was amazing
Given to me By a fellow Mitra, Pat, from Missoula. This book was so essential in my Dhyanic breakthroughs, via, the Metta Bhavana. I give it a full 5-STARS (I admit, i am a bit liberal with the stars, i always 'round-up', from 4 1/2 to 5. But truthfully, If the book is a 3, I will Just stop, Not finish it, and find a 5-STAR book. My time and my Intentions, are valuable. My full mindfulness is Priceless. Only 4 and 5 star books are worthy of my mindfulness! Arrogance? You might think so. I think ...more
My mother and I are reading this book along with my step-sister. It's sort of a family affair, if you will. I loved this book and plan on rereading it immediately as part of my daily practice. For more:

PS: I'll also be rereading Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.
Sep 03, 2007 Cindywho rated it liked it
This one is alternately encouraging and overwhelming, with odd exotic anecdotes. It's all about trying to be a kinder, better person - always a bit of a squirm inducing subject, but definitely worth reading about. I've been meditating regularly for a couple of months now and am hoping to wear some happier ruts in my brain. (August 12, 2006)
Marina Quattrocchi
May 18, 2014 Marina Quattrocchi rated it really liked it
Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness was one of those books I had known about for years but just never got around to reading. In holistic education circles this book was a classic and people held the author Sharon Salzberg in high regard. Once I started the book I understood why. There are few books that actually teach the reader how to have compassion and kindness towards ourselves. Salzberg does this in a simple, but beautiful way. I love her meditation, May I be free from danger ...more
Aug 29, 2010 Maureen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dharma
This book is doing more to spread well-being than the many I'v read thus far. Practicing and teaching metta - lovingkindness - is being of incredibly great benefit. Thank you, Sharon Salzberg!
Gudrun Mouw
Dec 27, 2014 Gudrun Mouw rated it it was amazing
Loving-Kindness is a treasure I first read a while ago. It is one of those modern classics that invites more than one reading. Metta Practice, or Loving-Kindness Practice was a favorite during my years immersed in the Vipassana Buddhist tradition.

My current favorite section of the book is “Developing the Compassionate Heart.” It took me a while on the spiritual path to get that I no longer wish to endure suffering in the name of compassion. This understanding has changed everything; for that I a
Sep 02, 2016 Dolly is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to learn more about Buddhism

interesting quotes:

"This is what should be done
By those who are skilled in goodness,
And who know the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: in gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever l
Iona  Stewart
Jun 14, 2013 Iona Stewart rated it it was amazing
Sharon Salzberg has practiced Buddhist meditation for many years, so the book provides much information about Buddhism. Though reading the book requires focus and concentration, I found it to be enlightening and inspiring. It also absolutely exudes lovingkindness, which is a main factor attracting me to a book, though I was not previously familiar with the term.

Lovingkindness is a translation of the Pali word “metta”, which is the first of the brahma-viharas, or the “heavenly abodes”. The others
Amy Beth
Dec 05, 2015 Amy Beth rated it really liked it
Because I read "Kindness, a Practical Companion" first, this was a lot of the same, and even though it was more fleshed out, and written many years prior, it was not quite as succinct in its message. If I could, I would give it 4.5 stars though. Sharon Salzberg is a beacon of light in a world so often dark, cold, and scary. These books have had a profound effect on my life in a landmark transformative way, and yet the surprising gift is that the gist is amazingly simple.
Aug 30, 2016 Abigail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"We give fearlessness to others by becoming trustworthy. Seeing clearly who we are, we serve all beings. As William Butler Yeats wrote, 'We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us, that they may see their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer, life because of our quiet'" (189).
Aug 28, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is in the "Insight Meditation" tradition of Buddhism, and is basically about compassion as a path to more happiness in your life. If you read much of this type of thing, you're going to have a lot of "well, this sounds familiar" moments, and there's nothing wrong with that - they're all going to be dealing with a lot of the same basic teachings. Still, there should be something that's distinctly the author's contribution - personal experiences, stories, personal insights and so on. So I'd g ...more
Sep 26, 2016 Anie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book incredibly helpful. I've been struggling a bit recently with trying to meditate, and this book has given me a real route into meditation that will be both be doable and give a lot of dividends. Just in reading the book I could feel myself reacting as I just thought about the various components of the metta meditations -- it's clear to me that there's things to be reaped in there.
Matthew Hunter
Sharon Salzberg is a gem! In my experience, lovingkindness meditation, or metta, is an essential life practice for peacebuilders. Loving self, friends, acquaintances, enemies - all are difficult. Thankfully, Salzberg provides very clear explanations for how one can move toward a life marked by greater love and compassion.

For Christians and other faith practitioners, metta offers a practical application of the Golden Rule and Jesus' radical teachings on loving enemies. Instead of jumping straight
Hicham Daoudi
I'm sure Sharon Salzberg is a great teacher, however to me the book was not well structured, therefore I skimmed trough some parts. I did find some techniques to improve my meditation practice, which was the reason in the first place to read this book.
What a wise, loving voice and outstretched helping hand this book has!
It took the Buddhist teachings - which I agree and have a deep affinity with, but can nonetheless sometimes find to be about difficult to comprehend and relate to my western life and thinking patterns - and presented them in a understandable fashion, taking some of the words, parables and practices of the tradition and putting them into context with a western mind and living. It spoke to my soul and I leaped at its calling.

"Love can uproot fear or anger or guilt, because it is a greater power."

This is an amazing, life-changing, immensely wise book that everyone should read. Sharon Salzberg explains the Buddha's teachings about practicing lovingkidness, sympathetic joy, compassion and equanimity, together which brings us happiness. She illustrates the impediments to this practice - clinging, judgment, envy, anger, fear, and so forth - with tremendous insight. At the end of each chapter, she gives concrete, detaile
Sita Brand
Jan 29, 2015 Sita Brand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
This is a wonderful instruction to loving kindness meditation. As a Buddhist of many years standing I find this a helpful reference text to refer to frequently.
Jul 31, 2014 Vale rated it it was amazing
Demasiada sabiduría es lo que podemos encontrar en este pequeño libro. Me ha dejado reflexionando demasiado y he encontrado una paz interna hermosa.
Kelly Shafer
Mar 12, 2013 Kelly Shafer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this for the second time in conjunction with a meditation group I was sitting with for six weeks. A very good book for new and seasoned practitioners alike. I found bits of wisdom and practical ideas on nearly every page - perhaps more even on the second time around than the first! I liked the gentle voice the book is written with - reminding readers on every page - we are all able and qualified to bring loving-kindness into the world - and most especially to ourselves. If you've wanted to ...more
Feb 16, 2015 Ben rated it it was amazing

The first book on Buddhism I have read and it was so very impactful.

Such an incredible voice. I recommend it to anyone.
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One of America’s leading spiritual teachers and authors, Sharon Salzberg is cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts. She has played a crucial role in bringing Asian meditation practices to the West. The ancient Buddhist practices of vipassana (mindfulness) and metta (lovingkindness) are the foundations of her work.
More about Sharon Salzberg...

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“Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate, means that we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us, to smile and let anyone do what they want with us. Yet this is not what is meant by compassion. Quite the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.” 91 likes
“Metta is the ability to embrace all parts of ourselves, as well as all parts of the world. Practicing metta illuminates our inner integrity because it relieves us of the need to deny different aspects of ourselves. We can open to everything with the healing force of love. When we feel love, our mind is expansive and open enough to include the entirety of life in full awareness, both its pleasures and its pains, we feel neither betrayed by pain or overcome by it, and thus we can contact that which is undamaged within us regardless of the situation. Metta sees truly that our integrity is inviolate, no matter what our life situation may be.” 27 likes
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