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Welcome to a Voices of Esalen archive edition. Our featured lecture was delivered at Esalen as a part of a weeklong training in 2018, by wise teachers Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman.
Jack Kornfield is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India, and Burma, and has taught meditation internationally since 1974 .After graduating from Dartmouth College in Asian Studies in 1967 he joined the Peace Corps and worked on tropical medicine teams in the Mekong River valley. He later met and studied as a monk under the Buddhist master Ajahn Chah. Returning to the United States, Jack co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California, with fellow meditation teachers Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein. His books have been translated into 20 languages and sold more than a million copies. They include A Wise Heart; Living Dharma; and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.
Trudy Goodman has devoted much of her life to practicing Buddhist meditation. She is one of the earliest teachers of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and co-taught with Jon Kabat-Zinn at the MBSR clinic at University of Massachusetts Medical School. In 1995 she co-founded the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, the first center in the world dedicated to exploring the synergy of these two disciplines.
From 1991 to 1998, Trudy was a resident Zen teacher at the Cambridge Buddhist Association. She then moved to Los Angeles and founded InsightLA, the first center in the world to combine training in both Buddhist Insight (Vipassana) Meditation and nonsectarian mindfulness and compassion practices.
After becoming a mother, Trudy co-founded a school for distressed children, practicing mindfulness-based psychotherapy with children, parents, teenagers, couples, and individuals.
She has trained a generation of teachers, mindfulness humanitarians who make mindfulness and meditation classes available for professional caregivers, social justice and environmental activists, unsung individuals working on the front lines of suffering – all done with tenderness, courage and a simple commitment to holding hands together.
(Side note: She is also the voice of “Trudy the Love Barbarian” on the Netflix series Midnight Gospel.)
This is an wonderful talk. They cover so much, including how we may misuse mindfulness, how thought is a great servant but not a great master, how we may navigate living in this life of 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows. Also, Jack and Trudy are married, for those who don’t know, and they comment insightfully on their relationship during the question and answer section of this talk.
A final note: at one point, Jack and Trudy comment on an Esalen community member who died unexpectedly in 2018. They are in fact referring to Weston Call, who was a friend to so many people at Esalen and in Big Sur. This episode is dedicated to his memory.