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Mindfulness Teacher Jack Kornfield

by Nensi Beram
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Jack Kornfield is a clinical psychologist, the bestselling author, and one of the most influential spiritual teachers of our time.

He trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India, and Burma and he is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practices to the West. He has taught meditation worldwide since 1974.

In 1975, he co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, with Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein, and subsequently in 1987, Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California,  where he currently lives and teaches.


As a Buddhist monk-turned-psychologist, he is widely credited for combining deep Buddhist practice with modern western psychology.  His unique teaching style has helped people around the world heal their hearts and minds.

Over the years of teaching, I’ve found a growing need for profound lovingkindness and compassion–a transformation of the heart–to underlie the insights and understandings that come out of the practice. An opening of the mind needs to be supported by compassion from the heart if the practice is to be integrated, fulfilled, and lived in our lives. ~Jack Kornfield

He is one of the key teachers to introduce mindfulness practices to the West and he has spent many years teaching people how to live more mindfully despite the challenges of doing so in the modern world.

With mindfulness we learn to be aware without judging, fixing, resisting or grasping. This is not a self-improvement project but rather the opportunity to become the loving witness to this life, which changes everything because usually we’re trying to “fix” it. Mindfulness training allows us to be spacious and gracious with what’s actually happening. Without being aware it’s difficult to live freely because we are in reaction to what comes our way. ~Jack Kornfield


Mindfulness is a technique where one tries to notice present thoughts, feelings, and sensations without any kind of judgment.

We spend so much time lost in thought, either worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, that we miss out on the present moment. By practicing mindfulness, we learn how to be fully present and allow ourselves to be with each moment with warmth and kindness.

“Mindful attention to any experience is liberating,” says Jack Kornfield. “Mindfulness brings perspective, balance, and freedom.”

To become mindful is to see the world afresh without being lost in our reactions and judgments, and in seeing it afresh with clarity, we begin to be able to respond to the world rather than react to it. I like to translate mindfulness as loving awareness—an awareness that knows what’s present and also brings a quality of compassion and lovingkindness to that.  ~Jack Kornfield

Studies show that mindfulness can help increase our ability to regulate emotions, may reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, boost the immune system, help manage pain, soothe insomnia, reduce high blood pressure, and even change the structure and function of the brain in positive ways—perhaps in as little as 8 weeks of practice. It can also help us to focus our attention, as well as to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment.


If you are interested in introducing mindfulness practice into your life, there is a free online guided training Mindfulness Daily led by  Jack Kornfield & Tara Brach.

This 40-day online program offers a short daily session in mindfulness and compassion. By the end of 40 days, you will have the grounds for a practice that can bring increasing clarity and wisdom, resilience, and love to your life.


The following resources will give you an overview of his work and his teachings:


Explore our selection of his books:


And here is the selection of some of his talks that you can find on YouTube:

In the end, just three things matter: How well we have lived. How well we have loved. How well we have learned to let go.  ~Jack Kornfield

To learn more about his work, visit his web page jackkornfield.com.

Credit: All images and videos are the property of Jack Kornfield.


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