Jack Kornfield

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Jack Kornfield
Jack Kornfield.jpg
Jack Kornfield, 2005
TitleVipassana Meditation Teacher
Born1945 (age 75–76)
Senior posting

Jack Kornfield (born 1945) is a bestselling American author and teacher in the Vipassana movement in American Theravada Buddhism.[1] He trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, Burma and India,[2] first as a student of the Thai forest master Ajahn Chah and Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. He has taught meditation worldwide since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practices to the West. 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. Kornfield has worked as a peacemaker and activist, organized teacher trainings, and led international gatherings of Buddhist teachers including the Dalai Lama.


Kornfield is one of four boys[3] born to Jewish parents.[4] He is a fraternal twin. His father was a scientist, which brought him to an interest in healing, medicine and science. He took a course in Asian philosophy with an old man named Dr. Wing-tsit Chan, born in the 1890s in China. Kornfield ended up majoring in Buddhist Asian studies.[5]

After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1967,[6] Kornfield joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Thailand where he worked on tropical medicine teams in the Mekong River valley.[3] There he met and became a monk under the renowned forest master Ajahn Chah, and later practiced with Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma[6] and Dipa Ma.[7] Kornfield returned to the United States in 1972 and in the summer of 1974, participated in the founding session of Naropa University. From the associations of this period came the Insight Meditation Society co-founded in 1975 with Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein in Barre, Massachusetts. In 1987 he co-founded Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California.[3]

Kornfield has trained many of the Vipassana teachers in America, and hosted and led gatherings for Buddhist teachers together with the Dalai Lama and worldwide. Trained with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Saybrook Institute,[8] Kornfield has written extensively on the bridge between Eastern and Western psychology.

His daughter Caroline is a graduate of Berkeley Law[3] and practices Asylum Law. His ex-wife Liana is an artist and therapist.[3] His wife Trudy Goodman[9] is also a renowned meditation teacher and the founding teacher of InsightLA, which combines training in Vipassana and non-sectarian mindfulness and compassion practices, including Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC).[10]


Spirit Rock Meditation Center founded by Kornfield in 1988

Kornfield has worked to make Buddhism accessible for Westerners.[11] He has focused on combining loving kindness and self compassion with the practice of mindfulness, and incorporating together the wisdom of Eastern and Western psychology.

In Jack Kornfield's book After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, he writes about the honest development of the wise heart within the cycles of day-to-day life; for instance "amid all the Western masters and teachers I know, some idealistic perfection is not apparent. Times of great wisdom, deep compassion, and a real knowing of freedom alternate with periods of fear, confusion, neurosis, and struggle. Most teachers will readily admit this."[12]

Kornfield sells online meditation courses from his web site.

Books published[edit]

His books include

Kornfield lectures were featured by Joe Frank on his radio series "The Other Side."


  1. ^ Elliott, William (March 1, 1996). Tying rocks to clouds: meetings and conversations with wise and spiritual people. Image Books. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-385-48191-5. Retrieved June 6, 2011. So before my interview with Jack Kornfield, who is a well-known Vipassana meditation teacher, I was concerned about not
  2. ^ "About". Jack Kornfield. Archived from the original on August 12, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e Silberman, Steve (September 1, 2010). "Wise Heart: A profile of Jack Kornfield". Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  4. ^ "Finding My Religion / Buddhist teacher and author Jack Kornfield on mindfulness, happiness and his own spiritual journey". SF Gate. November 28, 2005. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  5. ^ https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/FINDING-MY-RELIGION-Buddhist-teacher-and-author-3236141.php
  6. ^ a b "About". Jack Kornfield. Archived from the original on December 22, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  7. ^ Kornfield, Jack (2008). The Wise Heart. Bantam Books. p. 76. ISBN 9780553382334.
  8. ^ Palmer, Helen (December 28, 1998). Inner knowing: consciousness, creativity, insight, and intuition. J.P. Tarcher/Putnam. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-87477-936-3. Retrieved June 6, 2011. Regardless of its level of complexity, every practice relies on steadiness of concentration. Jack Kornfield, psychologist and meditation teacher, describes the practice that forms a cornerstone of …
  9. ^ "Dharma teachers Trudy Goodman and Jack Kornfield to tie the knot". Lion's Roar. April 20, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  10. ^ "About InsightLA". InsightLA. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  11. ^ Grof, Stanislav (June 2006). When the Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-Ordinary Reality. Sounds True. p. 235. ISBN 978-1-59179-420-2. Retrieved June 6, 2011. Coleader of the workshop was Jack Kornfield, dear friend, psychologist, Vipassana teacher, and Buddhist monk, who taught participants the principles of insight meditation, gave lectures on Buddhism, offered personal darshans, …
  12. ^ Kornfield, Jack (2001). After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path. Random House. p. xix. ISBN 9780553378290.

External links[edit]