Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield, 2005
School Theravada
Born (1945-07-16) July 16, 1945
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.


Kornfield is one of four boys[3] born to Jewish parents.[4]

After graduating from Dartmouth College in Asian Studies in 1967,[5] Kornfield joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Thailand.[3] There he met and became a monk under the renowned forest master Ajahn Chah, and later practiced with Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma[5] and Dipa Ma.[6] Upon returning to the United States, Kornfield co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts,[3] 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.[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,[7] 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 partner Trudy Goodman[8] is the founding teacher of InsightLA.[9]


Spirit Rock Meditation Center founded by Kornfield in 1987

Kornfield has worked to make Buddhism accessible for Westerners.[10] 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."[11]

Books published

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. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 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. 1 2 "About". Jack Kornfield. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
  6. Kornfield, Jack (2008). The Wise Heart. Bantam Books. p. 76. ISBN 9780553382334.
  7. 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 …
  8. "Dharma teachers Trudy Goodman and Jack Kornfield to tie the knot". Lion's Roar. April 20, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  9. "About InsightLA". InsightLA. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  10. 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, …
  11. Kornfield, Jack (2001). After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path. Random House. p. xix. ISBN 9780553378290.
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