Sharon Salzberg

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Sharon Salzberg
Sharon Salzberg (49614105351).jpg
Salzberg in 2020
Born (1952-08-05) 5 August 1952 (age 70)
  • Author
  • meditation teacher

Sharon Salzberg (born August 5, 1952) is a New York Times bestselling author[1] and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices in the West.[2][3] In 1974, she co-founded the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts, with Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Her emphasis is on vipassanā (insight) and mettā (loving-kindness) methods,[4] and has been leading meditation retreats around the world for over three decades.[5][6] All of these methods have their origins in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Her books include Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (1995), A Heart as Wide as the World (1999), Real Happiness - The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program (2010), which was on The New York Times Best Seller list in 2011,[7] and the follow-up Real Happiness at Work (2013). She runs a Metta Hour podcast,[8] and contributes monthly to a column On Being.[9]

Early life[edit]

Born in New York City to a Jewish family, Salzberg had a troubled early life after her parents divorced when she was four and her father abandoned the family.[10] At nine, her mother died and she went to live with her father's parents.[10] Though her father returned when she was eleven, he soon overdosed and was subsequently hospitalized. He was placed in the mental health system, where he remained until his death. By 16, Salzberg had lived with five different families.

In her sophomore year at the State University of New York, Buffalo in 1969, Salzberg encountered Buddhism during a course in Asian philosophy.[10] The following year, she took an independent study trip to India, and in January 1971 attended her first intensive meditation course at Bodh Gaya.[10] In the next several years, she engaged in intensive study with various Buddhist teachers including S.N. Goenka.[10] After returning to US in 1974, she began teaching vipassana (insight) meditation.[11]

Salzberg had a health emergency in February 2019 of which details were not disclosed.[11]


Salzberg is a student of Dipa Ma,[12] Anagarika Munindra,[13] Sayadaw U Pandita[10] and other Asian masters. She, Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein founded the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts, in 1974.[14][15] She and Goldstein co-founded the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in 1989 and The Forest Refuge, a long-term meditation retreat center 9 years later. Today, she is a notable teacher of the Vipassana movement.

An in-depth interview with Salzberg appears in the book Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America, by Lenore Friedman. (Boston:Shambhala, Revised and Updated edition, 2000. ISBN 1-57062-474-7)


Salzberg was honored by the New York Open Center in 1999 for her "Outstanding Contribution to the Mindfulness of the West"



Audio publications[edit]




  1. ^ New York Times Best Seller List 3/13/10
  2. ^ "Meditation made easy". Well & Good NYC.
  3. ^ Ricci, Claudia (August 24, 2011). "How One Book Changed My Life". Huffington Post.
  4. ^ a b Downing, Renée (15 September 2005). "Sharon Salzberg believes in the power of kindness". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  5. ^ "Sharon Salzberg (interview)". CBC Radio. November 29, 2009.
  6. ^ "Insight LA". University of the West. April 6, 2011. Archived from the original on April 17, 2011.
  7. ^ "Best Sellers, March 13, 2011". New York Times. March 13, 2011.
  8. ^ "Metta Hour Podcast - Sharon Salzberg". Be Here Now Network and Sharon Salzberg, accessed 2021.
  9. ^ "On Being Column - Sharon Salzberg". On Being and Sharon Salzberg, accessed 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "To Love Abundantly: Sharon Salzberg's Journey on the Path". Lion's Roar. January 1, 2003. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Morris, Nomi (February 19, 2011). "Through meditation, she makes happiness an "inside job"". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Amy Schmidt, Dipa Ma: The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master. ISBN 0-9742405-5-9 (USA); ISBN 1-899579-73-7 (Europe), p. 9.
  13. ^ Knaster, Mirka (2010). Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra. Shambhala Publications. p. xvi. ISBN 9780834822542.
  14. ^ Miller, Andrea (March 2011). Shambhala Sun (B000302EG0): 52. {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Leslie Kaufman (May 25, 2008). "A Superhighway to Bliss". New York Times.

External links[edit]