Jack Kornfield

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jack Kornfield
Jack Kornfield.jpg
Jack Kornfield, 2005
School Theravada
Born (1945-07-16) 16 July 1945 (age 70)
United States
Senior posting
Title Vipassana Meditation Teacher
Religious career
Website jackkornfield.com

Jack Kornfield (born July 16, 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 practice 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 organized teacher training and led international gatherings of Buddhist teachers including the Dalai Lama and has worked as a peacemaker and activist.


After graduating from Dartmouth College in Asian Studies in 1967[citation needed], Kornfield joined the Peace Corps and worked on Thai government tropical medicine teams in the Mekong River valley.[citation needed], There he met and became a monk under the renowned forest master Ajahn Chah, and later practiced with Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma.[3] Upon returning to the United States, Kornfield co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, with Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein in 1975. In 1974 he became a founding faculty member of Naropa Buddhist University. In 1987 he co-founded Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California.

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,[4] Kornfield has written extensively on the bridge between Eastern and Western psychology.

Personal life[edit]

Kornfield, a twin, is one of four boys born to Dr. Alfred Theodore Kornfield (a biophysicist) and Joyce Frances Minerva Kornfield, both of Philadelphia. His brothers are Irv (ret. Professor of Population Genetics at University of Maine), Laurence (ret. Chief Building Inspector for San Francisco), and Kenneth (ret. Director of Genentech Corp.). His daughter Caroline is a graduate of Berkeley Law and practices Asylum Law. His ex-wife Liana is an artist and therapist. His partner Trudy Goodman is the founding teacher of InsightLA.


Spirit Rock Meditation Center founded by Kornfield in 1987

Kornfield has worked to make Buddhism accessible for Westerners.[5] 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."[citation needed]

Books published[edit]

His books include

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


  1. ^ Elliott, William (1 March 1996). Tying rocks to clouds: meetings and conversations with wise and spiritual people. Image Books. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-385-48191-5. Retrieved 6 June 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. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "About". Jack Kornfield. Retrieved 2013-12-21. 
  4. ^ Palmer, Helen (28 December 1998). Inner knowing: consciousness, creativity, insight, and intuition. J.P. Tarcher/Putnam. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-87477-936-3. Retrieved 6 June 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 ... 
  5. ^ Grof, Stanislav (June 2006). When the Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-Ordinary Reality. Sounds True. p. 235. ISBN 978-1-59179-420-2. Retrieved 6 June 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, ... 

External links[edit]