Jack Kornfield offers Buddhist wisdom for guiding your own practice as a householder, exploring continuity and impermanence with careful attention.
This talk was given at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in 1986 and was originally published on DharmaSeed.org
Spiritual Practice & Householding in Modern Times
In this dharma talk from April 4th, 1986, at Spirit Rock Meditation Center—wresting a bit with the Theravada tradition taught in monasteries—Jack Kornfield expresses a yearning to find ways to make spiritual practice real, meaningful, and alive in western culture in this modern time. Offering the householder perspective, Jack relays wisdom on how we can move from mind to heart so we can connect with the entirety of our lives and nature in a full, meaningful, personal, and freeing way.
“We as westerners, and as householders, have to find the ways to come to this freedom in ourselves, to be free in our actions, free in our manifestations. Not just free apart from the world, but free in the very center, in the midst of it.” – Jack Kornfield
Dr. Robert Svoboda elucidates the Vedic Four Aims of Life, on Ep. 7 of Living With Reality
Effort, Honesty, & Freedom // The 5 Skandhas & The Solidity of Being (13:00)
Sharing a story surrounding effortful meditation, 80’s TV, and the Buddhist Master, Dipa Ma; Jack highlights the importance of honesty in our practice as an ingredient for liberation. From here, he sheds light on Buddhism’s Five Skandhas – the five aggregates (collections/heaps) which keep us bound to the illusion of ego, desire, and suffering. Welcoming us into a careful attention of the mechanical processes that make up our being, Jack invites us behind the scenes of each seemingly solid frame in the movie of life.
“What happens with a careful attention in this practice, is a dissolving of the solidity of our being. It’s a dissolving of the rapidity, which is called santati in Pali. It happens so fast that it seems like it’s solid, but if you pay careful attention, you start to see the individual frames on the movie screen, and the events of life become momentary flashes, coming out of nothing for a moment, disappearing, followed by the next one.” – Jack Kornfield
Joseph Goldstein illuminates Buddhist reflections on non-self, on Ep. 85 of the Insight Hour
Noting & Continuity // Impermanence & Samadhi // Body, Heart, & Mind (33:00)
Exploring various Buddhist practices centered around witnessing the truth of impermanence through imbibing a steadiness of mind, Jack offers ways to deepen, enrich, and enliven our spiritual lives through small flips in perspective throughout the day. To close, Jack shares the necessity of connecting body, heart, and mind.
“Let yourself really slow down and work with continuity. Make a mental note for all the things that you do—reaching, touching the fork, intending to raise, raising your arm, opening the mouth, opening a door, taking a shower, turning on cold, hot, soaping, touching, smooth—really being there for all the physical and mental events, whatever is predominant in the moment. If you do that even for a day, your practice will change dramatically.” – Jack Kornfield
David Nichtern answers the question: What the Heck Is Mindfulness? in this David’s View episode of Creativity, Spirituality & Making a Buck