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The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion Hardcover – September 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 85 pages
  • Publisher: Sounds True; Har/Com edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591793556
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591793557
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #485,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sharon Salzberg, a student of Buddhism since 1971, has been leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Influenced by her more than twenty-five years of study with Burmese, Indian, and Tibetan teachers, she teaches intensive awareness practice (vipassana or insight meditation) and the profound cultivation of lovingkindness and compassion (the Brahma Viharas). She is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, both in Massachusetts. Salzberg is the author of several books including The Kindness Handbook, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, and A Heart as Wide as the World. She has also authored several Sounds True audio and interactive learning kit works including Insight Meditation (with Joseph Goldstein), Unplug, and Lovingkindness Meditation.

More About the Author

Sharon Salzberg has been a student of Buddhism since 1971, and leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. She teaches both intensive awareness practice (vipassana or insight meditation) and the profound cultivation of lovingkindness and compassion (the Brahma Viharas). She is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts and The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

Sharon's latest book is the New York Times Best Seller, Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program, published by Workman Publishing (2011). She is regular contributor to The Huffington Post and is also the author of several other books including The Kindness Handbook (2008); The Force of Kindness (2005); Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience (2002); Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (1995); and A Heart as Wide as the World (1997).

Sharon Salzberg is cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts. She has played a crucial role in bringing Asian meditation practices to the West. The ancient Buddhist practices of vipassana (mindfulness) and metta (lovingkindness) are the foundations of her work. "Each of us has a genuine capacity for love, forgiveness, wisdom and compassion. Meditation awakens these qualities so that we can discover for ourselves the unique happiness that is our birthright." For more information about Sharon, please visit: www.SharonSalzberg.com.



Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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What a Lovely little book!
Gregory E. Foster
The book is just under a hundred pages and is accompanied by a CD with meditation exercises.
Jed Shlackman
The book is brief and very much to the point and the briefness is actually very deceiving.
Sincerely Yours

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By 9 Sense on January 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was the start of a profound change in my practice. Until I read it and listened to the included guided meditation CD I missed an essential aspect of mindfulness meditation. Repeatedly returning to the breath, returning to the focal point of meditation is essential. But how one returns is critical. Salzberg's reassurance that "nothing is lost, nothing is ruined" when meditation doesn't go as expected helped free me from unnecessary struggle and distracting self-judgment. A single sentence (p. 46) which emphasized the importance of being honest about one's pain turned me on my ear. Salzberg's perspective on mindfulness practice was like a healing balm for my tortured effort. If you have felt frustrated or defeated in attempting mindfulness practice, this book can definitely help. I now own 8 copies so I have enough to share. All are currently out.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Audrey on January 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that will shine a light in the darkness. Salzberg has a wonderous gift in her ability to remind us of our own beauty. I find myself re-reading these pages often when I need to remember my own, and when I need to remember to have compassion for myself and others. Her words easily flow from the pages directly to my heart.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth,

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

~Naomi Shihab Nye

Sharon Salzberg presents kindness in a book about life lived with love and a CD to introduce kindness meditations. Through her work, you can learn how to bring more compassion into the world. She presents her ideas in six chapters:

Compassion in Action

Kindness Toward Ourselves

Overcoming Cruelty

How We See the World

Ethics and Kindness

The Intention of Kindness

Sharon Salzberg teaches us how to see the good inside us and to reflect on things we have done in the world that are positive and nurturing. She recommends spending 15-20 minutes a day on doing something to be kind to yourself. You can also repeat phrases like "May I live in safety," and "May I have mental happiness." She also shows how a natural sense of morality can be born from a sense of empathy and in understanding that hurting others will cause your own suffering.

How can we feel liberating joy?

What is an enlightened being?

Can you dedicate your life to kindness?

How can you become a bodhisattva?

While we all seem to move from unhappiness to happiness on a daily basis or a minute-by-minute cycle of life's ever changing circumstances, this book helps to bring us back to a more centered existence.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The book is brief and very much to the point and the briefness is actually very deceiving. Once you get into chapter 2, the author starts sharing Buddhist's views on kindness and as you slowing read it and ask yourself 'what does this mean' and 'is this something I am applying already' or like me, it started to raise emotions on how hard I have beaten myself up and hence other people: creating this separation. I have been practicing oneness through my spiritual pathway for many years now and this book reminded how much of the journey I still have to travel, to unwind from my current process and apply a new one: I deserve kindness towards myself. Don't expect the book to be an in depth philosophical teaching, it is not provide that at all.

The accompanying CD has four meditations, each approximately 16-23 minutes long.
1) lovingkindness towards ourselves (hmm, definitely needs to be first as you cant really apply kindness to others)
2) lovingkindness towards others
3) lovingkindness for all being
4) meditating with the forced of kindness

meditations 1 through to 3 provide more of a visual meditation with thoughts of acceptances.
meditation 4 is more of a breathe meditation that relaxes the body completely. I like breathe meditations on the whole and this one provided the relax state that I was seeking in between my busy work schedule. yep, I get snappy when I am hyper busy and I am pleased to insert this short meditation at midday!

I would definitely buy this for the CD alone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Niki Collins-queen, Author VINE VOICE on December 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sharon Salzberg shows how to open our hearts and radiate the force of kindness in her powerful book "The Force of Kindness: Change Your life with Love and Compassion." She uses stories, insights, guided exercises and meditations to help us cultivate the foundation of inward peace and empathy. She says, "Kindness is a force that breaks open your heart even as it heals - and in that healing sets you free." Metta or loving-kindness and friendship is a cornerstone of Buddhist happiness.
Salzberg says the Dalai lama's quote, "My true religion is kindness" illustrates how kindness is a deep and abiding understanding of how we are all connected. Kindness helps us develop a certain kind of faith in ourselves and in our ability to meet difficulties. Our potential to grow, understand, love and connect is nourished by what we believe about ourselves. If we truly loved ourselves we would never harm another because if we harm another it diminishes who we are.
The Buddha said within our body lies the entire universe. When we understand our own experience and connect to it, we can connect to all life, to the whole universe. The world is no longer experienced dualistically for there is no sense of "us" and "them." When a person becomes an "other" kindness dies.
To find the power, confidence and release in kindness we must transcend belief systems, allegiances, ideologies, cliques and tribes. Kindness inspires a sense of ethics and requires finding how we can be smart and strong and still be kind. Kindness is not just being nice it has great forcefulness.
Salzberg explains the difference between remorse and guilt. Remorse is considered a skillful state of mind as we recognize we have done something wrong, we experience pain but essentially forgive ourselves and avoid making the same mistake.
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