Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Jack Kornfield

American Psychotherapist, Meditation Teacher, Author

"One of the difficulties with our busy modern culture is that we don’t take time to listen to our hearts. Our immediate problems, our plans and thoughts, fill our minds and, lost in thinking, we lose our connection to our hearts and our true nature."

"The quality of impeccability entails realizing how precious life is, even though it is transient, and how each of our actions and words does count, affecting all beings around us in a profound way. There is nothing inconsequential in this universe, and we need to personally respect this fact and act in accordance with it."

"This is the spirit of our practice: love - not attachment, but something much deeper - infusing our awareness, enabling us to open to and accept the truth of each moment; and service that feels our intimate connectedness with all things and responds to the wholeness of life."

"Mature spirituality has little to do with altered states of consciousness. Powerful meditation and visionary experiences often initiate people into spiritual life, waking them up to untapped potentials. But mental disciplines, such as meditation cannot single-handedly sustain us on our journeys. We also need to open our hearts, then embody our love in everyday acts of attentive living. This integration of wisdom, love, and embodied action, which requires years of inner and outer work, constitutes our spiritual curriculum in today's modern world."

"Does the world need more medicine and energy and buildings and food? No. There is enough food and medicine, there are enough resources for all. There is starvation and poverty and widespread disease because of human ignorance, prejudice, and fear. Out of greed and hatred we hoard materials; we create wars over imaginary geographic boundaries and act as if one group of people is truly different from another group somewhere else on the planet."

"True spirituality is not a removal or escape from life. It is an opening, a seeing of the world with a deeper vision that is less self-centered, a vision that sees through dualistic views to the underlying interconnectedness of all life. Liberation is the discovery of freedom in the very midst of our bodies and minds."

"Realizing that no simple formulas apply to everyone, we develop the courage to live a unique spiritual life, in our own idiosyncratic way. While archetypal patterns exist to guide seekers, in the West individuals can find their won way within these deeper patterns by honoring their unique backgrounds, temperaments, values and creative capacities... We commit ourselves to passionate action in the world, without becoming overly attached to the success or failure of our endeavors... In spiritual maturity, recognizing that such an attitude of indifference stems from a fear of life, we commit to our spouses, professions, and social action, developing compassion and equanimity through a balanced engagement with life."

"Work less on reaching enlightenment and more on developing the capacity to love."

"In many spiritual traditions there is only one important question to answer, and that question is: Who am I? When we begin to answer it, we are filled with images and ideals – the negative images of ourselves that we wish to change and perfect and the positive images of some great spiritual potential – yet the path is not so much about changing ourselves as it is about listening to the fundamentals of our being."

"At the end of life, when someone has lived a life with consciousness and they look back on it, the questions are simple: "Did I live fully?" and, more than anything else, "Did I love well?""