In this dharma talk from 1986, Jack Kornfield explores a few truths about life that are really all we need to know, and how our direct experiences of these truths lead to freedom.
This Jack Kornfield talk given at Spirit Rock in 1986 was originally published on Dharma Seed.
All We Need to Know
Through poetry, stories, and quotes, Jack weaves a tapestry that reflects back the great mystery of life. These are confusing times, and it’s hard to know what to believe. Jack explores how there are just a few simple truths in life – that things change, that each moment contains both light and darkness, that opinions are fleeting – which are really all we need to know.
“The One Who Knows has found what it is like to live in the reality of the present. And it’s very, very simple.” – Jack Kornfield
Open-Hearted Presence (19:14)
Jack talks about how these simple, direct experiences of truth are what lead to freedom. He explores how all Buddhist teachings are directed back to living in the reality of the present, and how we need to take on the practice of letting go. Life is really about seeing with the heart, living each moment with an open-hearted presence, and bringing compassion to every situation.
“Just to sit with what’s true, to let one’s heart open and one’s body open and one’s mind open, we can do that. There’s a vulnerability to it, but also a tremendous grace, and a kind of strength to it.” – Jack Kornfield
Krishna Das looks at the full experience of opening the heart on Pilgrim Heart Ep. 62
Awaken to Freedom (43:25)
Jack explores how bizarre the mystery of life really is, why spiritual practice is not about self-improvement but about awakening, the grace of great teachers, and the honor of truly living out our birthrights. He ends the talk with a brief meditation and some chanting.
“If you were true to your highest understanding, true to your heart’s deepest values, what would that ask of you at this time in your life? If you let yourself look clearly, you can let yourself know.” – Jack Kornfield