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

Jack Kornfield
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 1993
Beloved Western Buddhist master Kornfield makes known his personal, practical wisdom, garnered from 25 years of practicing and teaching the path of awakening, as he guides self-searchers to a simplicity of perception that brings alive spiritual practice, peace, and truth in their daily lives.

Frequently Bought Together

A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life + After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path + The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology
Price For All Three: CDN$ 48.79


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In undertaking a spiritual life, we must make certain that our path is connected with our heart, according to author and Buddhist monk Jack Kornfield. Since 1974 (long before it gained popularity in the 1990s), Kornfield has been teaching westerners how to integrate Eastern teaching into their daily lives. Through generous storytelling and unmitigated warmth, Kornfield offers this excellent guidebook on living with attentiveness, meditation, and full-tilt compassion.

Part of what makes this book so accessible is Kornfield's use of everyday metaphors to describe the elusive lessons of spiritual transformation. For example, he opens with "the one seat" lesson taught to him by his esteemed teacher. Literally it means sitting in the center of a room and not being swayed or moved by all the people and dramas happening around you. On a spiritual level it means sticking "with one practice and teacher among all of the possibilities," writes Kornfield; "inwardly it means having the determination to stick with that practice through whatever difficulties and doubts arise until you have come to true clarity and understanding." The same could be said for this "one book." Among all the spiritual self-help books, this is a classic worth sticking with and returning to--a highly approachable teacher that can only lead to greater clarity and understanding. --Gail Hudson

Review

"A warm, inspiring and, above all, practical book" Pride Magazine "It's encouraging to find Westerners who've sufficiently assimilated the traditions of the East to be able to share them with others as Jack is doing. May such efforts further the peace of all beings." -- His Holiness the Dalai Lama "This important guidebook shows in detail and with great humour and insight the way to practise the Buddha's universal teachings here in the West. Jack Kornfield is a wonderful storyteller and a great teacher." -- Thich Nhat Hanh "Jack Kornfield is a remarkable and thoughtful teacher." -- Sogyal Rinpoche --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In the summer of 1972 I returned to the home of my parents in Washington, D.C., head shaved and robed as a Buddhist monk, after my first five-year study in Asia. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction Aug. 16 2002
Format:Paperback
Jack Kornfield's "A Path With Heart" is both an introduction to Buddhism and a spiritual workbook, since chapters examining Buddhist principles are followed by specific meditation practices. I read a chapter a day, which I recommend to people new to Buddhism because it allowed the information to sink in.
Some information --like sections on karma, chakras, and lovingkindness meditation-- will be familiar to a general audience (it's interesting how many of these concepts have permeated the New Age and mainstream culture, e.g. Gary Zukav's "Seat of the Soul"--- read by Oprah's audience-- covers the same karma concepts.) Other parts -- like a section on mind altered states-- may surprise some.
It doesn't surprise me that Buddhism has become popular in the States, particularly in the Western States... it is a de-institutionalized religion with a practical approach to problem solving. Its emphasis on individual power and responsibility aligns with the rugged individualism that informs much of the American character.
A gracefully written book, well worth a look.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only buy one book on Buddhism . . . Sept. 3 1999
. . . let it be "A Path With Heart!" With wise and skillful words, Jack Kornfield is a master of teaching Buddhist practices including insight meditation (known as vipassanna) to Western students for over 20 years. Being a former Buddhist monk with a PHD in psychology, as well as a husband and father, he is able to communicate the practice of Buddhism in everyday life in a way that makes sense to Western minds. Kornfield embraces the stuggles and hindrances that are common to the spiritual path as well as offering timely and useful meditations for awakening, opening the heart and clear and humorous insight into basic Buddhist principles such as the 5 precepts, the Buddhist view of self (or lack thereof) and karma. With open arms and a deep understanding of the Western psyche and it's tangles, Kornfield delivers a book that is a love song, a workout and a survival manual for anyone committed to the spiritual path.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A "Path" worth travelling. Aug. 19 2000
Format:Paperback
I arrived at this 1993 book after reading Jack Kornfield's more recent book, AFTER THE ECSTASY, THE LAUNDRY (2000). I enthusiastically recommend both books.
We must be a lamp unto ourselves, the Buddha said. We must find our own true way. This is really the point of Kornfield's book. As a former Buddhist monk, a psychologist, and a seasoned meditation teacher, Kornfield has the qualifications to help us on our journey through life. "What matters is simple," he writes. "We must make certain that our path is connected with our heart" (p. 11). To live a genuine spiritual life in this confusing world, and a society all too often "addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, sexuality, unhealthy relationships, or the speed and busyness of work" (p.23), we must bring our full attention to life. "To open deeply, as a genuine spiritual life requires," Kornfield says, "we need tremendous courage and strength, a kind of warrior spirit . . . We need a warrior's heart that lets us face our lives directly, our pains and limitations, our joys and possibilities" (p. 8).
Although written from a Buddhist perspective, this book will appeal to anyone interested in living an authentic life. It is filled with insightful passages. In Chapter Two, Kornfield encourages his reader to stop the war with oneself and make peace. He teaches his reader in Chapter Seven to name one's demons, e.g., greed, fear, doubt, judgment, confusion, anger, boredom, sleepiness, and restlessness, in order to gain power over them. "A genuine spiritual path does not avoid difficulties or mistakes," Kornfield observes in Chapter Six, entitled "Turning Straw into Gold," "but leads us to the art of making mistakes wakefully" (p.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Be Here Now" for the 90s Jan. 31 1999
Format:Paperback
Twenty years ago, when I was a college student, I got turned on to spirituality largely by reading Ram Dass' "Be Here Now." Kornfield's book could do the same thing for thousands of people today (to the consternation of apologists for other religions!).
A Path with Heart is pretty much my favorite book on spirituality. It contains both useful practical advice on living a spiritual life and amazing esoteric descriptions of super-normal states. Numerous pages contain "gems" that speak directly to my personal struggles and experiences. And Kornfield has a great sense of humor with deep compassion.
One of the things that attracts me to Buddhism is its relative lack of superstition and dogmatism. The essential teaching is practical, down-to-earth, and perfectly acceptable to a scientifically minded person. Still, many Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and Kornfield describes some pretty far out experiences involving, for example, reincarnation, angelic beings, and psychic powers.
Kornfield is a wonderful writer, and I hear that he is such a good teacher that one has to enter a lottery to get the chance to go to one of his retreats. He seems to be a charismatic, highly advanced being (though, who am I to judge?). But he would be the first to warn against starry-eyed adulation of him. An oft-repeated theme throughout the book -- and the topic of one whole chapter -- was the need to beware of unhealthy, exploitative relationships with teachers. Every spiritual seeker has one or more fallings-out with a teacher, he says. These fallings-out can be painful and damaging, but we must learn to learn from such events.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This book has enriched my path in life....denise
Published 6 days ago by Denise Tipping
1.0 out of 5 stars havn't got it yet, shipping from the State really takes long time
havn't got it yet, shipping from the State really takes long time. I want to buy used book, but I wont' recommond it if you are in a urgent to use. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2011 by jojo
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal and Universal
I read this book when it was first published and recognized immediately that Jack Kornfield's path was also 'my path'. Read more
Published on June 18 2003 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars get the tapes instead
Jack Kornfield is responsible for inspiring me to start my daily practice 8 years ago. I got a set of tapes, I think it was _The Inner Art of Meditation_ from the library and... Read more
Published on March 2 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, and rightfully so!
What would American Buddhism have done without Jack Kornfield? It wouldn't have come so far so fast, that's for sure. Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2002 by Sean Hoade
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all spiritual seekers
This book is written in a clear flowing compassionate style that is easily accessible to all levels of seekers. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2002 by Dr. Jan B. Newman
2.0 out of 5 stars Complicated Book
For those of you who are lazy to mow your lawn, this book is not for you. It's thick and too complicated. I personally find the exercises between each chapters obnoxious. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2002 by Expedient Being
5.0 out of 5 stars A Path with Heart
After reading this book (which was required for yoga school) I must say that there are many markings and folded over corners! Jack Kornfield is a man of true integrity. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Happiness isn't out there
But it is difficult to imagine that if you listen to this book, you won't be happier when you finish.
Published on May 23 2002 by Edward Canler
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite book ever!
When I read this book, i can feel jack kornfield's heart in every page illuminating the spiritual journey which is found in each moment. Read more
Published on March 2 2002 by Vanessa
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