Buddhism’s Wise Heart, From Author Jack Kornfield

Buddhism can be as ephemeral as a butterfly, captivating and instinctively appealing, yet difficult to grasp.  Frequently, its concepts seem to be completely at odds with our Western way of thinking.
Many of us, myself included, feel drawn to explore a spiritual path and in that search feel aligned with many of the precepts of Buddhism. The dharma, often defined as the teachings of the Buddha, seems to offer a more humanistic approach than the formal and dogmatic religions many of us experienced in the past.

A Practice of Stillness and Compassion

Stillness and compassion, how rare these attributes seem in our current times. As we rush, distractedly, too busy to think, experiencing isolation and disharmony, both in ourselves and the world, we may wonder how to break this cycle.

Beginning with a practice of meditation, we may be inspired to further explore specific disciplines such as Buddhism and see how they can benefit our interactions with others and our planet.

A Teaching for the West

Yet Buddhism can be a challenging spiritual path and philosophy, sometimes speaking in riddles not easily suited to our Western minds.
Luckily we have Buddhist writer, teacher, and psychologist, Jack Kornfield. Through his many books (such as The Wise Heart, A Path with Heart) and talks available on YouTube, he makes it easier to understand the teachings and assimilate them into our hearts and minds.
He is a very appealing author and a great storyteller, who speaks with compassion for his audience and brings a sense of humor to the subject, as evidenced by the title of one of his books, After the Ecstasy the Laundry.
One of the pre-eminent Buddhist writers and teachers in North America, born in the United States, he trained as a monk in Thailand, Burma and India.  After he returned to the U.S. he eventually decided to pursue studies in psychology and received his Ph.D.  Bringing together both disciplines, he is able to offer an accessible approach to a spiritual path, while interweaving insight into our behaviour, personal relationships and coping with life’s challenging circumstances.  Reading his work is like sitting down with a kindly, caring mentor.

Doctrine and Discipline

Jack Kornfield was ordained as a monk in the Theravada branch of Buddhism.  Its main practices are Vipassana, which helps the practitioner gain insight, through meditation, into the patterning of the mind, and Metta, which is the cultivation of goodwill.  And so we return to stillness and compassion. Through Kornfield’s writing, with his synthesis of dharma and psychology, we are offered a practical and attainable way to live our lives.  The ethical and spiritual fundamentals are revealed in stories of real people striving to live more fully and deeply amidst the difficulties and challenges we all face. It becomes clear that how we live our lives is both the doctrine and the discipline of Buddhism.
source and courtesy: sivanaspirit

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