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Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation (Shambhala Classics)

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InSeeking the Heart of WisdomGoldstein and Kornfield present the central teachings and practices of insightmeditation in a clear and personal language. The path of insight meditation isa journey of understanding our bodies, our minds, and our lives, of seeingclearly the true nature of experience. The authors guide the reader indeveloping the openness and compassion that ar InSeeking the Heart of WisdomGoldstein and Kornfield present the central teachings and practices of insightmeditation in a clear and personal language. The path of insight meditation isa journey of understanding our bodies, our minds, and our lives, of seeingclearly the true nature of experience. The authors guide the reader indeveloping the openness and compassion that are at the heart of this spiritualpractice. For those already treading the path, as well as those just startingout, this book will be a welcome companion along the way. Among the topicscovered are: Thehindrances to meditation—ranging from doubt and fear to painful knees—andskillful means of overcoming them Howcompassion can arise in response to the suffering we see in our own lives andin the world Howto integrate a life of responsible action and service with a meditative lifebased on nonattachment Usefulexercises are presented alongside the teachings to help readers deepen theirunderstanding of the subjects.


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InSeeking the Heart of WisdomGoldstein and Kornfield present the central teachings and practices of insightmeditation in a clear and personal language. The path of insight meditation isa journey of understanding our bodies, our minds, and our lives, of seeingclearly the true nature of experience. The authors guide the reader indeveloping the openness and compassion that ar InSeeking the Heart of WisdomGoldstein and Kornfield present the central teachings and practices of insightmeditation in a clear and personal language. The path of insight meditation isa journey of understanding our bodies, our minds, and our lives, of seeingclearly the true nature of experience. The authors guide the reader indeveloping the openness and compassion that are at the heart of this spiritualpractice. For those already treading the path, as well as those just startingout, this book will be a welcome companion along the way. Among the topicscovered are: Thehindrances to meditation—ranging from doubt and fear to painful knees—andskillful means of overcoming them Howcompassion can arise in response to the suffering we see in our own lives andin the world Howto integrate a life of responsible action and service with a meditative lifebased on nonattachment Usefulexercises are presented alongside the teachings to help readers deepen theirunderstanding of the subjects.

30 review for Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation (Shambhala Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This is a great book with many new insights for me. Interesting to read the mixture of two western practitioners. Quotes from all over the place including Christian mystics, Hindu, Islam and of course Buddhist thinkers; really bringing together deep thinking from many traditions. It is an older book, the foreword is by the Dalai Lama and is date April of 1987. Though it did not seem dated in the least when reading, it could of just as well been written and released this year. I would recommend thi This is a great book with many new insights for me. Interesting to read the mixture of two western practitioners. Quotes from all over the place including Christian mystics, Hindu, Islam and of course Buddhist thinkers; really bringing together deep thinking from many traditions. It is an older book, the foreword is by the Dalai Lama and is date April of 1987. Though it did not seem dated in the least when reading, it could of just as well been written and released this year. I would recommend this book for those on a spiritual path of any persuasion, though there are probably better first books on Buddhism than this one.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marc Perry

    I found this to be a great book for not only beginners, but also seasoned practitioners. I love to go back and re-read bits here and there, gaining new insights each time (even though I know I have read that sentence at least 10 times previously). To me, the messages seem to speak in different ways to different people (or in my case, speak in different ways at different times on the path). This is my most used (and most useful) book on Theravadan Buddhism

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    A slow read and at times sermonizing but the last chapter about integrating meditation into your life was very helpful and doable.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Roberta

    Inspired by Joseph Goldstein's leadership of a silent retreat I attended in St. Louis last summer, I got this book to read slowly, and there is much to take in. It's been 9 months since I began, and it will be re-read. The book is a collaboration between Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, both American Buddhist teachers. In one of the early chapters, this ancient poem is written: "The world is entangled in a knot. Who can untangle the tangle. It is to untangle the tangle that we begin meditation practic Inspired by Joseph Goldstein's leadership of a silent retreat I attended in St. Louis last summer, I got this book to read slowly, and there is much to take in. It's been 9 months since I began, and it will be re-read. The book is a collaboration between Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, both American Buddhist teachers. In one of the early chapters, this ancient poem is written: "The world is entangled in a knot. Who can untangle the tangle. It is to untangle the tangle that we begin meditation practice." One of my favorite chapters is "The Path of Service" in which Kornfield writes: "At its best, spiritual service is not a giving from the ego-sense of 'See what I have done.' It is not even a way of bettering the world through achieving desirable ends. But the spirit of service asks us to touch and act from a deeper place, a chord of the heart that responds to life out of connectedness and compassion, independently of results." It is a book worth spending 9 months on--and longer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    As I've read more detailed works about Buddhism over time, the more I grow dissatisfied with it, even to just borrow ideas from. This book will probably be the last, as it is one of the more disappointing books on the subject (mostly because I found a lot of the subject matter disagreeable, especially the section on Karma). It's probably hard to take a bunch of lectures from retreats, where you have a live audience, and condense them into a single coherent book. The book is easy enough to follow As I've read more detailed works about Buddhism over time, the more I grow dissatisfied with it, even to just borrow ideas from. This book will probably be the last, as it is one of the more disappointing books on the subject (mostly because I found a lot of the subject matter disagreeable, especially the section on Karma). It's probably hard to take a bunch of lectures from retreats, where you have a live audience, and condense them into a single coherent book. The book is easy enough to follow, however I found it quite a dry read. Also, it feels disjointed and ends abruptly.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve Woods

    Often in embarking on practice of meditation and exploring Buddhist teachings a person can become overwhelmed in the foreign nature of the concepts and the peculiarity of language. This is probably the clearest and most succinct explanation of what it's all about. It encapsulates the purpose of it all and serves as a reinforcement of my own commitment and an assurance that all is well. Inspiring to say the least. Has to be among my top five dealing with the issue. Often in embarking on practice of meditation and exploring Buddhist teachings a person can become overwhelmed in the foreign nature of the concepts and the peculiarity of language. This is probably the clearest and most succinct explanation of what it's all about. It encapsulates the purpose of it all and serves as a reinforcement of my own commitment and an assurance that all is well. Inspiring to say the least. Has to be among my top five dealing with the issue.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Corey Moore

    What a beautiful & inspirational piece of work. If you are interested in meditation I would highly recommend this book!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Since I started getting really interested in concentration practices earlier this year, I've gotten into the habit of lurking around the Buddhism section of the Redmond Half Price Books, looking for whatever Shambhala Publishing castoffs they might have floating around, and there are generally quite a few. The quality varies, but this one I can recommend without hesitation. The authors, Goldstein and Kornfield, are two of the most well-known antecedents of the Mindfulness craze in the West, havi Since I started getting really interested in concentration practices earlier this year, I've gotten into the habit of lurking around the Buddhism section of the Redmond Half Price Books, looking for whatever Shambhala Publishing castoffs they might have floating around, and there are generally quite a few. The quality varies, but this one I can recommend without hesitation. The authors, Goldstein and Kornfield, are two of the most well-known antecedents of the Mindfulness craze in the West, having been among the cohort of East coast academic seekers who traveled the Hippie Trail into Asia in the 60s and 70s, absorbing the surprisingly comprehensive psychological systems detailed in the Pali Canon and bringing it all back home just in time for modern brain science to start confirming even the more alarming teachings therein: we're essentially running around atop a loose bundle of desires connected to the senses and various prehistoric survival routines, with the "self" perched precariously in the driver's seat much like a bug-eyed and slavering Ed Roth hot rod monster, having evolved as a sort of social proboscis back when we started living in huts and farming Einkhorn wheat. The Buddha called this phenomenon "anatta", or no-self, which many take as an assertion that the self doesn't exist, but of course it does. Mickey Mouse exists too, you can see him on TV and he makes more money than any of us. This is an extremely detailed and thorough "next-level" guide to the what, how and why of Theravada insight meditation. As I understand it these guys mostly got their chops in Burma, Sri Lanka, and Ceylon, where the main strain of "small vehicle" Buddhism had gotten even smaller and more refined due to a bunch of monks retreating into impenetrable jungle to examine their own minds for decades on end. The timing was perfect: the Burmese in particular were experiencing a flourishing revival of jungle Buddhism traditions in the 1960s, as a reaction against the destruction of monastery culture by white colonialism, so Kornfield and Goldstein, among others, were (somewhat uncomfortably ironically) able to study directly with masters like Mahasi Sayadaw and Ajahn Chah, receiving transmissions of knowledge that had been stored there in the jungle pretty much unchanged for two thousand years, returning to found influential study centers in Massachusetts and California, and so on to the radiant and went-swept yoga models posing in green fields on the cover of the Mindfulness magazines you see in the check-out aisle, between the Trident and the Goldfish (what's with the nautical snack themes, grocers? What are you trying to tell us?). The substance of the teachings has clearly been diluted somewhat in the intervening years, so this book (from 1987) is a welcome balance of popular introduction and explanations of intermediate and advanced topics. Buddhism is full of lists, many obscure due to the abstract and subtle nature of the concepts described, as well as through layers of indistinct translation from the original Pali. The authors here provide breakdowns that are both simple and scholarly, on the Five Hindrances, the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, and several of the other Big Important Lists. There are even concise but complete summaries of significant side-topics like Buddhist cosmology and the life of the historical Buddha (or at least the mythic version of that biography which has been preserved by history). Things can get a little weird here for Western readers, as unlike the meditation methods brought into the average cubicle farm by today's stress-reduction gurus (who, nothing against them, seriously, they're doing good work), the teachings exposited here make no bones about their origins and implications. Buddhism is an easy and practical science to dip a toe into, but one doesn't have to go far before opening doors to a conceptual landscape resembling something out of an an acid-drenched Jack Kirby comic book, which would be easy enough to dismiss if it didn't look so unsettlingly close to the kinds of facts about the universe that are dripping out to the public from the last hundred years or so of Western science, starting from Einstein and getting progressively weirder from there. I don't want to make any definitive statements about this stuff really, but here's what I can say: concentration practices are good for you and will improve your life. You can learn more with this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chandana Watagodakumbura

    In “Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation”, the authors, Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, put forth the significance of our body as a whole (including the heart and gut) in accessing insights as part of the Buddhist meditation practices. When the term mind is referred to, it implicitly means the heart and mind together, and openhearted practices of loving-kindness, compassion, and appreciative joy are highlighted in addition to the recurring featuring notions of mindful In “Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation”, the authors, Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, put forth the significance of our body as a whole (including the heart and gut) in accessing insights as part of the Buddhist meditation practices. When the term mind is referred to, it implicitly means the heart and mind together, and openhearted practices of loving-kindness, compassion, and appreciative joy are highlighted in addition to the recurring featuring notions of mindfulness, concentration, ethical conduct, effort and equanimity. Once a basic level of concentration is established, a path to a higher level of consciousness and wisdom can be achieved through continuous practice while overcoming hindrances such as hatred, desire, restlessness, laziness and doubt. Through enhanced consciousness, we get to see and accept reality as is with an embodied understanding of the changing nature of phenomena/impermanence, the unpleasantness of challenging life situations such as ageing, getting sick and dying and the insubstantiate nature of phenomena. Such open acceptance of life as is with equanimous states of mind helps us minimise unavoidable suffering while continuing to be productive members of society. Towards the end of the book, following some enthralling discussions, the authors highlight the importance of integrating meditation practices into every possible daily routine we undertake to reap the maximum benefits. Put differently, we endeavour to be mindful of as many actions we engage in daily. Moreover, an important aspect of our practice is to be of service to the world in numerous ways through our more evolved selves and deep understanding of the interconnected/interdependent nature of all living things. Social activism for a healthy and needy cause, such as protecting the environment, is one example. It is interesting to see that neuroscientists are scientifically investigating many aspects of ancient meditative practices. From the viewpoints of neuroscience, engaging in a contemplative developmental path makes us more integrated, whole persons. For example, the body scans commonly used among many other meditative practices help us in body-mind integration or integration in the vertical domain. It is interesting to note from recent research that we have neural systems in our hearts and guts in addition to the brain inside the skull. Similarly, in some instances, they help in bilateral integration of the functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Moreover, research reveals that integration across multiple domains leads to psychological wellbeing and resilience. According to Buddhist philosophy, even our mere intentions, not necessarily actions, will have future effects depending on the wholesome and unwholesome nature of the intentions as per the law of cause and effect. Interestingly, neuroscience research shows that even our thoughts, such as intentions, we hold for a few seconds can form appropriate physical neural connections within the brain (the notion of neuroplasticity). Good thoughts, such as loving and compassionate ones, will create positive neural connections that will be useful in future and will result in wellbeing- one possible explanation, at least partly, to a complex subject matter. It is great to see some consilience between ancient experiential wisdom and third-person scientific inquiry of them.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Garnette

    I’ve never been fond of self-help books; most of them seem glib and shallow. And Insight Meditation is clearly something that can only be learned through experience. I’ve toyed with meditation on occasion for years, using it as a stress reliever. But now my interest is growing, and I needed a systematic introduction. The challenge of this kind of book is to write logically about a type of understanding that is not grounded in logic. Paradoxically, this is a self-help book aimed to help the reade I’ve never been fond of self-help books; most of them seem glib and shallow. And Insight Meditation is clearly something that can only be learned through experience. I’ve toyed with meditation on occasion for years, using it as a stress reliever. But now my interest is growing, and I needed a systematic introduction. The challenge of this kind of book is to write logically about a type of understanding that is not grounded in logic. Paradoxically, this is a self-help book aimed to help the reader to understand the self, finally concluding that the self does not exist. Goldstein does a surprisingly good job at this. I still rebel against the supernatural bits of Buddhism (karma reflected in reincarnation, for example), but Buddhism, especially Insight Meditation, provides a path to a different kind of experiential knowledge

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anu

    Comprehensive roundup of different facets of secular Buddhist meditation and a glimpse into some religious facets as well. I loved the simplicity with which abstract and deep concepts are expressed, along with the accompanying exercises where you can test your understanding of the said concept in action. The entire premise of Buddhism is scientific - there is empirical evidence supporting each of the principles and meditation practitioners are instructed to verify each principle via their own ex Comprehensive roundup of different facets of secular Buddhist meditation and a glimpse into some religious facets as well. I loved the simplicity with which abstract and deep concepts are expressed, along with the accompanying exercises where you can test your understanding of the said concept in action. The entire premise of Buddhism is scientific - there is empirical evidence supporting each of the principles and meditation practitioners are instructed to verify each principle via their own experience. The exercises proffer an easy way to do that. Only complaint : The flow feels a bit janky given the styles of the two co authors are so different (I definitely preferred Goldstein over Kornfield - more rational, less flowery and a lot more impactful)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Phil Calandra

    Insight Meditation or Vipassana is a complex and elaborate philosophy into the nature of reality. In my opinion, the author has failed to provide a true sense of Vipassana and has failed to present its central tenets in a cogent and systematic manner. A few books that provide a better understanding of Vipassana are "An Ancient Path: Talks On Vipassana" by S.N Goenka, " The Quiet Man" by John Coleman and "Meditation Now: Inner Peace through Inner Wisdom" by S.N. Goenka Insight Meditation or Vipassana is a complex and elaborate philosophy into the nature of reality. In my opinion, the author has failed to provide a true sense of Vipassana and has failed to present its central tenets in a cogent and systematic manner. A few books that provide a better understanding of Vipassana are "An Ancient Path: Talks On Vipassana" by S.N Goenka, " The Quiet Man" by John Coleman and "Meditation Now: Inner Peace through Inner Wisdom" by S.N. Goenka

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy Iverson

    Informative and practical I appreciated the simplicity of the layout, the stories, the information, followed by the practices to help start and enhance the different aspects of my meditation practice.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Prophe Mangwa

    WELCOME FATHER AMON & MAMA SPIRITUAL HEALER. With Spiritual healing and the ability to heal, read and provide spiritual prayers” +27718273254 love spells, bring back lover based in Sandton ,Gauteng visit us https;//www.mamaandfatheramon.co.za WELCOME FATHER AMON & MAMA SPIRITUAL HEALER. With Spiritual healing and the ability to heal, read and provide spiritual prayers” +27718273254 love spells, bring back lover based in Sandton ,Gauteng visit us https;//www.mamaandfatheramon.co.za

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris Duprey

    A truly inspirational dharma book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Junaid Noor

    A totally new intro to Meditation and Buddhism I have read a lot about Meditation and Buddhism but this book is the best intro to both. Highly recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anatta Home

    Added

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jun Chen

    I'd give this book a seven star if I could. It is a book that I will come back to often. I'd give this book a seven star if I could. It is a book that I will come back to often.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    He presents some good concepts and outlines a few precepts

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A great case for not giving up on a book. Section 3 about Karma was very enjoyable and educational. I read straight through, but this would be useful as a subject reference too.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Two of my favorite Buddhist authors make one great book. I find to really "get" Buddhist notions, I must read and re-read and re-read again whatever explains them in my language. Many of my spiritual books remain in my library for that reason. I have not found that I've put their entire wisdom in my heart yet but know that I really want to. So this will go on my shelves to take out again in the future and ingest a little more. Loved this book! Two of my favorite Buddhist authors make one great book. I find to really "get" Buddhist notions, I must read and re-read and re-read again whatever explains them in my language. Many of my spiritual books remain in my library for that reason. I have not found that I've put their entire wisdom in my heart yet but know that I really want to. So this will go on my shelves to take out again in the future and ingest a little more. Loved this book!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sabine

    Gave me peace of mind, a lot of insights and covered some important subjects that are normally overlooked but that still play a big role in our lives.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alex Craciun

    This book will definitely change your perspective if you take every advice with a pinch of salt. You don't have to be into budhism to read it and after finishing it if you manage to implement some of the concepts you'll be a better person and more open-mind. This book will definitely change your perspective if you take every advice with a pinch of salt. You don't have to be into budhism to read it and after finishing it if you manage to implement some of the concepts you'll be a better person and more open-mind.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

    I was really impressed by how the initial chapters of this book are structured like a well-organized BarBri lecture: introduction, with basic rules/principles set out; further discussion of basic rules/principles; conclusion and review of basic rules/principles. I liked the substance of the book as well -- well, actually only part one, which concerns the practice of meditation. Very insightful!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cindywho

    This one is intense and interesting if you are interested in meditation. Unfortunately the section about karma and the different levels of existence that you may be born to depending on your state of mind at death just seemed silly but I found the rest of the book worthwhile. (May 13, 2006)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Like many spiritual books, it was pretty esoteric, but the message came through in the end. It is a book that anyone thinking of taking the spiritual path should take. Explanations of karma, Buddhism and meditation are excellent.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Al

    A comprehensive guide to practicing insight meditation.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    this book is sort of like a bible to me. It's about insight meditation but has a lot of other really great instruction, quotes, self-actualization info this book is sort of like a bible to me. It's about insight meditation but has a lot of other really great instruction, quotes, self-actualization info

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christy Hart

    Another favorite. I keep it on my nightstand.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    May finish this one later...maybe not. I wasn't too impressed. May finish this one later...maybe not. I wasn't too impressed.

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