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A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life Paperback – June 1, 1993


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A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life + The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (June 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553372114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553372113
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Jack Kornfield, Ph.D. co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, in 1975 and later, the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. His books include After the Ecstasy, the Laundry and the national bestseller A Path with Heart (over 100,000 copies in print).

Customer Reviews

If you're on a spiritual path, or even if you're just curious and open-minded, read this book.
dsmith@cs.waikato.ac.nz
This book is written in a clear flowing compassionate style that is easily accessible to all levels of seekers.
Dr. Jan B. Newman
I found this book to be very helpful in approaching Buddhism generally and Buddhist meditation specifically.
Alvaro Cordova

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

128 of 130 people found the following review helpful By dsmith@cs.waikato.ac.nz on January 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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82 of 83 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
About two-thirds of the way through this extraordinary book, I can only add to the 5-star accolades accumulating here. I've read several other wonderfully erudite and inspiring authors on Buddhism, meditation and spirituality lately, but Kornfield's gentle pragmatism (particularly his advice on meditation and mindfulness in daily life) makes this one of the most endlessly useful books I've ever read, as well as one of the most affecting. If you're vacillating over the abundance of titles in this field, don't hesitate for a second over A Path With Heart.
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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Elkins on November 18, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
I've read many books on meditation and while each of them answers some of my questions, Jack Kornfield's book, A Path with Heart, answers every one save those that must be experienced first-hand in one's own time. His voice and advice is articulate, intelligent, humorous, open, patient and wise. He starts out by telling you a little about his own experience, goes on to cover the basics of vipassana meditation and then leads you bit by bit deep into the issues every meditator and spiritual seeker must face. What I love most about his teaching style is that he gives gentle, practical advice on the day-to-day, minute by minute stuff to do to explore, commit to, love being on the path. If my house were on fire and I had to grab only one book on my way out the door, it would be A Path with Heart.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Davis on September 3, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
. . . 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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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
I read this book when it was first published and recognized immediately that Jack Kornfield's path was also 'my path'. It inspired a deepening of my spiritual practice and a truly happier and more peaceful life. I re-read it whenever I need a boost. This book is very personal, and also universal. Jack uses stories from his own experience to illuminate the path of a more general spiritual journey, and to entertain us.
It's a must for anyone seeking guidance for a spiritual journey or inspiration to begin one. A Path With Heart speaks to the heart, the mind, the body and the soul. It is accessible, it is not religious, it is not heavy duty philosophy. Read it.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
An excellent guide to the basic tenets of buddhism applied to everyday life. Kornfield shares some of his personal journey as an inspiration to all to follow their own path. I especially like the way he drew wisdom from all traditions to illustrate key points, with quotes from Martin Luther King Jr to Shakespeare. Practical aspects of the methods and challenges of meditation are also included. This book had a profound impact on my life, and is one of those that I get off the shelf every so often and read again. Highly recommended!
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