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Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  6,745 ratings  ·  257 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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 ·  6,745 ratings  ·  257 reviews

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Kim Olver
Jul 30, 2010 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
"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
Mar 29, 2012 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
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be the first book on meditation that serves two very simple purposes in a highly organized fashion: (1) the user's manual, meaning it is very easy to return to it as a reference point for anything you may need; and (2) a coherent argument supporting the wisdom of mudita, metta, the Dharma, etc. Among the other purposes it fulfills are a quick overview of the brahma-viharas, an efficient balancing of Buddhist stories as well as modern examples from Salzberg's personal life, an accepting ...more
Jan 25, 2009 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
Saleh MoonWalker
از کتاب های خوبی که راجع به بودیسم در زمینه مهربانی هستش. نثرش ساده س و خیلی سریع خوندنش به پایان میرسه و مثل آثار خوب در این زمینه، بعد از خوندنش حس خوبی رو بهتون میده. یاد میده که چجوری شاد و مهربان باشین.

The Dalai Lama has said: 'My religion is kindness.' If we all adopted such a stance and embodied it in thought and action, inner and outer peace would be immediate, for in reality they are never not present, only obscured, waiting to be dis-covered. This is the work and the power of lovingkin
Jul 04, 2014 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 underlining...so many beautiful concepts about the need to let go of our ...more
Dave G
Jan 13, 2016 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." ...more
Lisa Kentgen
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a classic and a must read for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in the mindfulness genre.
Philippe Desaulniers
Jul 29, 2014 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
Smitha Murthy
I am a fan of Shambhala Publications, if you are as interested in the human psychology of mind, matter, and soul as I am. I had heard of ‘metta’ or lovingkindness before. I had been practising it after each meditation session, but then I felt something was lacking. I had been confusing being passive as being kind. I had allowed people to treat me miserably and thought that being quiet means I am compassionate. This book made me realize just how strong lovingkindness is.

To be kind is to not cond
Mar 04, 2015 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
Sep 03, 2007 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) ...more
Mar 30, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Really liked this, lots of simple and useful insights into the benefits of Buddhist ideas and how to implement them through meditation. The author is an American, and she spends a lot of time talking about the benefits of Buddhism in everyday Western life which is a perspective I thought was pretty useful. This book is definitely less academic, more anecdotal/self-help, but I still learned a good bit and now I'm a lot more curious about Buddhism.
Jul 14, 2012 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
Marina Quattrocchi
May 03, 2014 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
Sirpa Grierson
Mar 01, 2009 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
Nov 29, 2010 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
Dharmamitra Jeff Stefani
May 07, 2012 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.
Joshunda Sanders
This book has a lot of great wisdom in it about how equanimity, morality and lovingkindness all operate together to help us love ourselves and each other a little more deeply. it was a quick read and for those unfamiliar with metta meditation practice, there are some exercises that will guide you at the end of eacch chapter.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Picked up at a used bookstore at a difficult time in my life and it gave me so much peace and a more positive outlook - it's one of the few books I would call life changing, and I reread it a while ago (a rare distinction usually reserved for my favorite novels!) I can't wait to read her other books! ...more
May 22, 2010 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! ...more
May 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Some good moments... but this book took me forever to get through. It was a little too out there (even for me) I would read it before bed to help me fall asleep. Ha!
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It took me forever to read this because it is not light reading. It is a book to be studied and practiced, with passages underlined and delighted in. I am not a Buddhist, though I do find myself drawn to teachers who are. I bought this book because of the title, and because I am familiar with Sharon Salzberg through the meditation app insight timer. (Which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to begin a meditation practice.)
Who doesn't want to be happy? And yet so often we fail to achieve th
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Sharon Salzberg and her work. I have done a lot of teaching in my meditation offerings around Loving Kindness and the brahma-viharas and clients tend to LOVE this compassion practice because it’s accessible and works!

"The Path to true happiness is one of integrating and fully accepting all aspects of our experience. This integration is represented in the Taoist symbol of yin yang, a circle which is half dark and half light. In the midst of the dark area is a spot of light, and
The short poetic book arose to mind at just the right time, adding, in combination with a metta course and some good discussions with friends, much appreciated heartfulness, nurturance and unconditional acceptance to a demanding, overly effortful, and impatient style of meditation.
Appreciated the exercises throughout the book.
AnnaLee Barclay
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
A very wise & useful book that anyone would benefit from imo
Claire Meador
Aug 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-shelf
Though not exciting like other books I give five stars too, this book is intensely valuable. I am going back and creating a study guide so that I don’t forget what I’ve learned.
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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.

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38 likes · 2 comments
“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 compassion...is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.” 111 likes
“The difference between misery and happiness depends on what we do with our attention.” 48 likes
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