After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path Paperback – Oct 2 2001
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Jack Kornfield, one of America's most beloved teachers of meditation, assures us that enlightenment does occur on the spiritual path but warns that it is not the end of the road. Bringing his thoughts to a personal level, Kornfield looks up many of the notable spiritual teachers of our times (Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Sufi, etc.) and presents extended quotations of their trials and epiphanies. These anecdotes are woven together with fables and ruminations from Kornfield's own decades-long experience as a practitioner and teacher, creating an image of the spiritual life as challenging, multidimensional, rewarding, and, yes, mundane. In the old days in China, Zen monks were encouraged to travel for instruction under a variety of masters. Here, Kornfield introduces us to today's masters, but off their podiums, as equals. Genuine experiences of awakening, despair, fault, serious transgression, and simple childlike joy all appear as bridges on the way to the divine. After the Ecstasy, the Laundry is not just another inspirational bestseller, it is a lasting record of concrete insights forged from the fires of dedicated practice. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
What to do after one has achieved enlightenmentAor a flash of it? How do the problems of everyday life look different? Which, if any, go away? And what is it like to have lived for decades under a spiritual discipline? Kornfield (A Path with Heart, Teachings of the Buddha, etc.) devotes his latest volume of advice and meditation to such questions. Kornfield has been a teacher in the Theravada Buddhist tradition since the mid-1970s; he also holds a degree in clinical psychology. His methods and counsels here reflect Buddhist teachings, but he also tries hard to be ecumenical: Kornfield interviewed lamas, Buddhist elders and Zen teachers, but also Sufi masters, rabbis and Catholic nuns and monks. Anecdotes and quotations draw on Hindu mythology, medieval Christian theologians, Native American visionary traditions and even decidedly secular modern writers (e.g., Albert Camus and Sharon Olds). Bits of interviews alternate with Kornfield's own interpretations and with anecdotes and lessons drawn from sacred Scripture, anthropology and current events. A chapter about circumstantial hardships jumps from postwar Japan to America's overcrowded prisons; a noteworthy chapter on self-esteem and self-abasement vaults from William Blake to The Tassajara Bread Book. Kornfield wants to help readers attain "a welcoming spirit, to greet all that life presents to us with a wise, respectful and kindly heart." Some may find Kornfield's words vague, or self-evident: "Spiritual life involves a maturing of understanding, a continual unfolding, wherever we are." Even unsympathetic browsers, though, might enjoy the compressed life stories of the many interviewees. And the audience Kornfield envisions may well want and use his admittedly general counsel that "no matter how isolated or embattled our lives, we need one another as family, we need each other's hearts and songs to help one another find the way." That's hardly news, but isn't it the truth? (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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After the Ecstasy is generously sprinkled with the actual words, sometimes half a page or a page long, of people who have been meditating 15, 30, even 40 years. You'll find out what brought them to the meditative path to begin with, and what they've learned along the way. It's fascinating.
There are lots of good anecdotes in this book; interesting and illuminating anecdotes (most of them are true stories). In many Buddhist and Zen books, you read the same stories again and again in different books, but here you find fresh stories, some ancient, some modern, and all very good.
Jack Kornfield is first and foremost a meditation teacher, so woven throughout the book is plenty of good coaching. The meditative path is difficult, and good teaching is vital. I'm the author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, so I've specialized in knowing the difference between teachings that help and those that are merely interesting. In After the Ecstasy, you'll find interesting reading material AND coaching that will truly help you in your practice.
I haven't re-read or revisited it, but it's wisdom stays with me. I'm concerned with my thinning hair, have troubled relations with friends, am pulled into politics at work. My apartment is a mess, my finances aren't in much better shape, I don't go out as much as I would like, I'm not making art as much as I would like. I get angry, tired, frustrated, upset, bored, all within the course of a day.
There's a book out there "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A book that changes lives." I read it despite it's silly name and silly cover. It didn't do much to change my life.
Then there's "After the Ectacy the Laundry." Has it changed my life? No, it hasn't either.
I can almost see you, the reader of this review saying "It didn't change your life? And you're still giving it 5 stars?" and in that, I see myself a just a year ago.
Our society makes too much of escaping the every day: The Laundry, the chores, work, commuting, cooking, cleaning, strained relationships with parents, family, and friends, guilt, anger, frustration, fear, and worry. We seek to escape these things into the magical world of unlimited money and advanced spirituality.
Advertising is based almost entirely on this aspect of our lives. "Buy my product and your life will change" each commercial seems to say. Buy a book by Dan Millman to become a Peaceful Warrior. Buy a sneaker by Nike and escape into a world of physical perfection and love of challenge. Buy some real estate (or a book on buying real estate by Robert Kiyosaki) and become financially independant. Everyone, every single one of us wants to escape.Read more ›
Jack Kornfield is down to earth, he is unpretentious, he is humble, and these are traits rare in today's culture of demigogues and snake-oil salesmen. This work must be read to be appreciated. It has myriad insights from great mystics and more munmdane practictioners. Kornfield includes an eclectic and open treatment of many traditions--Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, etc. In so doing, the words it teaches are applicable to any person who tries to follow a more meaningful path amidst the clutter and cacaphony of our modern lives.
I very highly recommend this work. It will not change your life, but it will remind you how to live it more consciously.
Most recent customer reviews
In a very simplistic way.
All I can say is : " Every word a treasure. ..every sentence a well of wealth ". Read more
Beautifully written, clear and comprehensive guide to the ethics of Buddhism complete with personal experiences and the words of great masters, past and present.Published on Nov. 29 2012 by Janet M. Burke-Gaffney
I would advise prospective purchasers to look at the reviews for the Bantam publications: ISBN 0553378295 (Paperback) & 0553102907 (Hardcover)
The reviews for this book... Read more
In any of Kornfield's work may be found great wisdom and a heart that knows deeply the folly of attaching strongly to anything, especially to this or that single Dharma style (I... Read morePublished on June 19 2004 by Issa
I really liked this book because it helped me realize that waking up or trying to wake up has it's setbacks at times. Read morePublished on March 5 2004
Mr. Kornfield's extensive experiences in buddhist meditation and his wide contact with other meditative traditions gave him an unique insight into the core of spiritual life. Read morePublished on July 2 2003 by imind
I loved this book. I have read many books on philosophy, religion, and spirituality, but this one stands out as one of my all time favorites. Read morePublished on June 9 2003 by Nurcan Kozanli
I just love how Jack Kornfield shares comments from Buddhists, Christians, and others on how the mystical path is at times very arduous. Read morePublished on April 21 2003 by Janet Boyer
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