Joseph Goldstein


American Vipassana Teachers, Co-Founder of The Insight Meditation Society with Jack Kornfield And Sharon Salzberg, Contemporary Author

Author Quotes

A healthy self and an empty self are not contradictory; it just appears so because we use the same language to describe two different things. The whole path of meditation is about understanding that the self as an unchanging entity is a fiction, an illusory mental construct.

Distortion of view takes place when we hold so deeply to our viewpoint that not even known facts can sway our beliefs.

If we work with them, hindrances will enrich our lives. They have been called manure for enlightenment, and some teachers speak of them as 'mind weeds,' which we pull up and bury near the plant to give it nourishment. Our practice is to use all that arises within us for the growth of understanding, compassion, and freedom.

Love, compassion, and peace do not belong to any religion or tradition. They are qualities in each one? of us, qualities of our hearts and minds..

Our mind becomes more spacious, more open, and happier as we move past our avoidance and denial to see what is true.

The results of our actions follow us like a shadow, or, to use an ancient image, like the wheel of the oxcart following the foot of the ox.

Until we're fully enlightened, there's ignorance in the mind. So of necessity a view is going to be skewed.

When we see deeply that all that is subject to arising is also subject to cessation, that whatever arises will also pass away, the mind becomes disenchanted. Becoming disenchanted, one becomes dispassionate. And through dispassion, the mind is liberated.

Actions rooted in greed, hatred, or ignorance bring unpleasant results.

Doubt is very seductive because it comes masquerading as wisdom. We hear these wise-sounding voices in our minds trying to figure out the dilemmas, difficulties, and paradoxes of our experience through thinking about them. But thinking can take us only so far. It's like trying to know the experience of music by reading a book about it or the taste of a good meal by looking at the menu. We need some other way to understand the nature of doubt, so we can address its concerns appropriately.

If we?re more accepting, more peaceful, less judgmental, less selfish, then the whole world is that much more loving and peaceful, that much less judgmental and selfish.

Meditation has to do with opening what is closed in us, balancing what is reactive, and exploring and investigating what is hidden. That is the why of practice. We practice to open, to balance, and to explore.

Our progress in meditation does not depend on the measure of pleasure or pain in our experience. Rather, the quality of our practice has to do with how open we are to whatever is there.

The ten unwholesome actions, then, are three of body: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct; four of speech: lying, harsh words, gossip, and useless talk; and three of mind: covetousness, ill will, and wrong view. The Buddha highlighted these for us out of his compassion and care. They are dangers. They do harm, causing suffering to others and having a deleterious effect on our own happiness. Reading the Buddha's admonitions to refrain from these actions is like coming across a sign on the beach saying, Danger. Strong Undertow. We were walking along the beautiful beach about to dive into the inviting ocean when we encountered the life-saving warning. This is the Buddha as lifeguard, putting up the notices.

We all know people who become strongly identified with, and attached to, their intelligence. It can become a big ego trap, harmful to oneself or others. Intelligence can also be a great blessing, providing invaluable clarity.

Where is the end of seeing, of hearing, of thinking, of knowing?

All beings are the heirs of their own karma. Their happiness or unhappiness depends on their actions, not upon my wishes.

Every time we become aware of a thought, as opposed to being lost in a thought, we experience that opening of the mind.

If you tell the truth you don?t have to remember anything.

Mind is the forerunner of all things. Speak or act with an impure mind, suffering follows as the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox. Mind is the forerunner of all things. Speak or act with peaceful mind, happiness follows like a shadow that never leaves.

'Skillful means' is a phrase often found in Buddhist literature referring to the particular methods and practices used to help people free themselves from the bonds of ignorance. As skillful means we can employ whatever is useful, whatever is truly helpful. For each of us at different times, different traditions, philosophical constructs, and methods may serve us, either because of temperament, background, or capacities. For some the language of emptiness may be as dry as the desert, while for others it may reveal the heart-essence of liberation.

The thought of your mother is not your mother. The thought of your mother is just a thought.

We can also strengthen the quality of ardor by reflecting on the transiency of all phenomena. Look at all the things we become attached to, whether they are people or possessions or feelings or conditions of the body. Nothing we have, no one in our lives, no state of mind is exempt from change. Nothing at all can prevent the universal process of birth, growth, decay, and death.

Why be unhappy about something if it can be remedied? And what is the use of being unhappy about something if it cannot be remedied?

All things arise when the appropriate conditions are present, and all things pass away as conditions change. Behind the process, there is no self who is running the show.

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American Vipassana Teachers, Co-Founder of The Insight Meditation Society with Jack Kornfield And Sharon Salzberg, Contemporary Author