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

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  10,273 ratings  ·  272 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 Kor…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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 ·  10,273 ratings  ·  272 reviews

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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
May 14, 2009 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
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favs, favourites
Have read it 3 times. Takes me to a beautiful place everytime.
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 marked it as to-read
Shelves: buddhism, meditation
Found at the laundry room free shelf at the apartment where I'm staying in Vancouver...
Sidney Luckett
May 04, 2012 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
Oct 20, 2012 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
Dec 06, 2015 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
Sian Lile-Pastore
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This took me a long time to read as its so big and so dense. I really loved it tho - wise, kind and full of love, there was so much in here to write down, re-read and revisit. It's a book about spiritual practice, but it's also about how you take that practice into the world and how you relate to others. Definitely reading more by Kornfield.
Dec 29, 2008 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.
Oct 15, 2007 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
Jon Bash
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
It's taken me way too long to realize that I just don't relate to Jack Kornfield and his whole style. It's basically the epitome of woo-woo baby boomer, through the lens of Western Buddhism. If that's your thing, cool. It is most definitely not my thing. I couldn't finish it. And honestly, I think his style might be impeding some folks' meditative progress.

Also he does this thing where he'll tell a feel-good story that's only tangentially related to his topic at hand, but happens to be really cl
Steve Woods
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism, favorites
Living as I do in a fairly isolated environment, my being solitary most of the time without access to either a community or a teacher Jack Kornfield has in some ways fulfilled the role of both for me.His gentle insight into the ways we need to translate our practice into our daily lives has been a rudder as I wend my way along the path. His writings have provided guidance and inspiration as well as an anchor point for one who has a tendency to wander, I am grateful to have found his writing it h ...more
Unfortunately I didn't even finish this book. It was hard to get through. I love spiritual books but this one was boring. Life is too short to finish bad books :)
Maren Cotton
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really really really wanted to like this, but couldn't get through it. At times I was interested, but it didn't work for me right now. I may give it a shot another time!
Nuey Thepyasuwan
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book that covers both esoteric and practical aspects of meditation and spiritual growth. This book could fruitfully be read by both beginners and advanced practitioners but I think someone intermediate with several years meditation experience would get the most out of it.

As a long time meditator, I could relate to many of the different states of consciousness the author describes. I believe life - this life, now - is a journey in increasing consciousness, and increasing understanding
Jun 01, 2016 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
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism
like kornfield, my early practice focused too much on ideas of the mind, not including or focusing on the heart. this book helped me be kind to myself and others through tough times. I see myself returning to it frequently. It takes a very long, broad view towards spiritual practice and has lots of practical, compassionate advice for the many stages at which one may find oneself.

I'd also recommend it to anyone new to this type of stuff, it's easy and lovely to read, the practices are short and
Sep 27, 2013 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 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 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all time favorite metaphysical/spiritual books. Well written and full of heart.
Walter Wartenweiler
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Intelligent, pragmatic and "enlightening" book about healing yourself, the world and all our relationships past, present and future. Highly recommended for seekers of inner and outer peace.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Read it for my YTT. I thought it was good info but I zoned out a LOT. Maybe the dude's voice? I liked the meditations.
LuAnn Oburn
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have been enthralled with everything I have read by Jack Kornfield.
Nov 26, 2015 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
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
As a former Buddhist monk, he speaks much about the Buddha, and his teachings, however, the lessons within are universally applicable when it comes to opening up the path to the center of ourselves, and seeking to be better people, and he offers guidelines to assist us in reaching these goals of spiritual maturity. A wonderful teaching on forgiveness shows the author's background in psychology, and the Dharma. I find myself recommending this book for anyone to explore their mind, and feelings.

Mauniera Samel
15% into the book and I'm honestly feeling that the author thinks everyone is broken and needs healing. I also get the impression that by brokenness, the author means (and even clearly writes) heart breaks, mental and physical abuse, childhood trauma, family and work problems and addictions. Yes, that's a good round-up of issues but that's not an exhaustive list.
I just have a simple question - why would you assume that each person in the world necessarily goes through atleast one of these things
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful beautiful book. Clearly written from a place of deep presence and spiritual wisdom. I have meditated for about six years, but never really stuck to any specific format. Often chopping and changing my focus from counting to body sensations.... never really settling into it, and actually constantly being associated with the mind.

For me the book has given me the structure I needed and it has helped immensely. It has tied together non duality studies and the growth one experiences through
Julie Franks-Murray
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a very thorough, practically grounded yet stretching read on the spiritual life. Not fluff, not at all. Not your average "spirituality" book, and that's where it gets my high marks: it's actually a book on walking out a spiritual path rather than just talking hiply, loosely, and to a large degree, superficially, about what spirituality is thought to be. It's written by someone who knows, who walks out his own path every day, every day (you can just TELL) and discusses real spiritua ...more
Reid Belew
Aug 07, 2020 rated it liked it
A friend recommended this book with high marks, so I’m a bit sad I didn’t have the same experience.

If this book is the first you ever read about eastern spirituality, it would be stronger. I wish I would’ve understood its target audience better.

This book was fascinating in the way it was both very specific and practical, but also at times very vague. I see this trend a lot in books about spirituality—the author is far too comfortable with ungrounded writing, and there’s beautiful sentiments wi
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Jack Kornfield 1 8 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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