Buddhism without Religion?

Q&A with Jack Kornfield

The cofounder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and one of America’s leading teachers of Buddhism, Jack Kornfield reflects on what he calls “Buddhism 101”—simple practices for a more mindful and peaceful life.Why do you think there now seems to be such an interest in Buddhism among Westerners?There is an epidemic of stress and increasing speed in people’s lives in modern culture. Buddhist practices, what the Dalai Lama calls the “science of mind,” are based on ways to train ourselves to well-being, mindful presence, ease, and joy, based on the fundamental dignity and value of every human being. How does Buddhism fit into the Western concept of religion?In parts of the world, Buddhism functions as a religion—with temples, services, and a whole set of practices. However, the original teachings of the Buddha are not a religion, and they are what interest people in America. They are practices for improving health, clarity, understanding, wisdom, and loving-kindness.As a young Ivy League graduate in the 1960s, what led you to train in an Asian Buddhist monastery?What brought me was my own difficulty. There wa …

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MeditationBuddhismSpiritual Teachers