eBook A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life – Bilb-weil.de

A guide to reconciling Buddhist spirituality with the American way of life addresses the challenges of spiritual living in the modern world and offers guidance for bringing a sense of the sacred to everyday experience I ve been reading this book for a long time I read a chapter, put it down Pick it up months later Not because it is bad or poorly written it s not It s just something I do with some books I have learned from itand I m sure I will learnin the future. I can sincerely say this is an excellent book but that it is not the correct book for me at this time Books tend to be time sensitive documents, meaning if you read one at the right time, it can light fireworks under your butt, while if you had read the same book at an earlier or later time of your life, you might toss it aside and pick up instead the latest copy of Time pun intended My experience with what is probably Kornfield s most widely read book is somewhere in between, but again, t I can sincerely say this is an excellent book but that it is not the correct book for me at this time Books tend to be time sensitive documents, meaning if you read one at the right time, it can light fireworks under your butt, while if you had read the same book at an earlier or later time of your life, you might toss it aside and pick up instead the latest copy of Time pun intended My experience with what is probably Kornfield s most widely read book is somewhere in between, but again, this may be on account of personality or timing Anyway, having read the book and announced this caveat, I ll plunge in to my review.First let s nail down what the book is about, because it s not immediately clear by looking at the table of contents The title comes from an oft quoted passage from Carlos Castaneda s first book, The Teachings of Don Juan A Yaqui Way of Knowledge For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly The spiritual life is not just a path, but a forest, with infinite numbers of highways and byways and small trails, and if you re not careful, or don t have a good guide, it is easy to end up at a dead end or some bad place you never intended This book is meant as a guide or map to this terrain.Its range is necessarily vast, covering everything from the important questions of one s life Did I love well to making peace with oneself dealing with our stuff as Daniel Ingram would say , and initial attempts to train the wayward mind the puppy as Kornfield puts it Salient topics such as the stages of insight and the perennial debate of True Self versus No Self are considered from Kornfield s typically ecumenical and gracious standpoint The particular issues of Westerners dealing with abuse, codependence, and self loathing are tackled, and the positive role psychotherapy can play in unwinding these issues is also discussed Karma is defined and the necessary role of compassionate, helpful work as meditation in action advocated Kornfield is one of the godfathers of the American meditation scene, and his vast experience, sensitive expression and insight are abundantly on display It is not surprising then that while I would heartily recommend it as an introduction or preliminary text to one s sadhana, it also bears reviewing at later stages of development In other words, this is neither a book for beginners, intermediates, or advanced students of the Way it s for everyone, since everyone at all times is running into at least one or two issues discussed in the book.Quality wise Kornfield s insights, suggestions and clarifications are impeccable He is a very human and down to earth guide, one who sees beyond the starry eyed ideals of perfection many traditions advocate cf Ingram s Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha foron this , and while the Theravada is his home base so to speak, his vision is all embracing as regards the varieties of approaches one can take to the contemplative path I would recommend this book even to dyed in the wool Christians maybe an evangelical or two but maybe not without hesitation I don t see how it could fail to inform or advise someone, regardless of where they are In the end, sincerity and a desire to learn are what count.Despite all these good points, I found myself constantly irritated by Kornfield s writing It is, to say the least, a little on the saccharine side nay, sometimes it went down like seven packs of Splenda in my coffee There s a little too much wisdom and compassion, heart, and joy, being and Buddha nature here, and in Kornfield s world everyone is a master a Zen Master with both words capitalized no less, like it s a job title or something , a meditation master, a spiritual master, or just plain master I m sorry, but not everyone can be a master If you ve been on retreat for ten oryears or you re a natural born genius, you might qualify, but these sorts are rare the word is overused Besides, I don t want a master I want a teacher or guide or good friend, but I digress To make a long story short Kornfield is heavy on the fufu jargon, and for a spiritual curmudgeon like me it just doesn t fly.This kind of writing is unabashedly popular, politically correct, and nice The above is symptomatic of this, but his willingness to water down passages quoted from other especially traditional sources, to massage them into accordance with his way of presentation, also points to this tendency Not to mention irritates the hell out of me I groaned at one point page 74 where, when quoting don Juan from Castaneda Kornfield felt it necessary to stick the word spiritual in front of the word warrior, as if without we might all think he was advocating something he clearly wasn t Two pages later an even worse example of this sort of heavy handed editorializing reared its ugly head In Kornfield s words, the Buddha said Just as the great oceans have but one taste, the taste of salt, so too there is but one taste fundamental to all true teachings of the Way, and this is the taste of freedom 76 The source is Udana 5 6, where in the original Pali it says Just as the great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt, so too this Dhamma and Discipline have one taste the taste of freedom Clearly, the Buddha was describing his teaching, not anyone else s, but Kornfield, liking the passage, adjusted it to fit his message I think you can see why this sort of thing, indulged in on a regular basis, would rub some people the wrong way.So, the brilliant and witty, the philosophically profound and the airy fairy it s all here and muchI will leave you with some sage advice on this book from Daniel Ingram, who called A Path With Heart a masterwork Only major problem is that is it so nicely written and gentle you might not realize how hard hitting it is Assume it is very hard hitting and technical despite its friendly tone and you will getout of it I really like books about meditation, and I think the amazingly prolific Jack Kornfield, an American psychologist Ph.D in clinical psych , former Buddhist monk in Thailand, Burma and India, and now a husband, father, teacher, and popular lecturer, is a great place to start and to continue The title of this book emphasizes Kornfield s favorite theme that love is what life is ultimately all about and whatever path one follows in life, one must be sure that it is a path with heart, one that w I really like books about meditation, and I think the amazingly prolific Jack Kornfield, an American psychologist Ph.D in clinical psych , former Buddhist monk in Thailand, Burma and India, and now a husband, father, teacher, and popular lecturer, is a great place to start and to continue The title of this book emphasizes Kornfield s favorite theme that love is what life is ultimately all about and whatever path one follows in life, one must be sure that it is a path with heart, one that will lead a person at the end of his her life to be able to answer positively to the question Did I love well I also have enjoyed some of Korfield s audio CDs such as his six CD set called Buddhist Meditation for Beginners, a collection of his lectures that emphasize the main tenets of Buddism the four noble truths, suffering, the cause of suffering, letting go of suffering, an end to suffering and the eight fold path to peace, etc.,A Path with Heart contains chapter after chapter of Kornfield s calm, loving wisdom, and each has a detailed guided meditation such as lovingkindness, stopping the war within, a meditative visit to the healing temple, transforming sorrow into compassion, forgiveness meditation, and manyIt took me a long time to finish this book because I was highlighting so much and taking so many notes Despite the notes I already have, I believe that among all of the books I have read, this is one that deserves most to be reread and savored So much calm, sane, and life affirming advice to be gleaned here Have read it 3 times Takes me to a beautiful place everytime.