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Publisher's Summary

Created specifically to address the questions and needs of first-time students, here is Buddhism's vast spiritual legacy, presented by one of America's leading meditation teachers.
©2001 Jack Kornfield; (P) Sounds True

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Colleen
  • River Falls, WI, USA
  • 12-24-08

Highly Recommended!

For me, this has been the next best thing to having a great teacher in my own home. His calm manner, deep insights and easy to understand presentation are a gift to anyone interested in knowing more about Buddhist philosophy. I have listened to this over and over again and get something more each time. Along with Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron, the teachings of Jack Kornfield have had a life changing a influence in my life. I am grateful to have these audio recordings so easily available.

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Anna
  • Vancouver, WA, USA
  • 07-13-09

Might be difficult for true beginners...

I really enjoyed these lectures. They definitely give a greater understanding of what Buddhism means. However, I do think I wouldn't have grasped many of the deeper meanings if I hadn't had some introduction to very, very basic Buddhist concepts to begin with. I would recommend listening to "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle before listening to this if you are a true beginner and a Westerner. Most of it was extremely helpful (see my review on that one). My only other complaint about this audiobook is that Jack Kornfield really seems to love the sound of his own voice. Sounds hypercritical, but the breathy, caressing voice could be a little nauseating at times.

56 of 57 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

This is the one...

I almost didn't get this book because of the reviews about Jack Kornfield's speaking voice. I'm glad I didn't make that huge mistake.

If you're interested in learning about Buddhism, then this is the book. This is the guy to explain it to you. His voice is perfect for what he's explaining. He's not reading the pages into a microphone in a studio somewhere, he's speaking from his heart with genuine compassion.

This is a good quality recording of a series of informative speeches given to a small audience. The speaker is a Buddhism master, and I think he's enlightened and is passing the Buddha's wisdom as well as his own down to students who wish to learn. I am just beginning my studies of Buddhism and I feel like this was the perfect introduction.

If you're interested in learning about Buddhism, get this. You won't be sorry.

75 of 78 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A delightful introduction to Buddhist Life

This is a wonderful series of dharma talks given by the foremost (at least in my mind) American Buddhist teacher, Jack Kornfield. Kornfield's voice and manner are warm, soothing, and kind, and he illustrates his distillation of Buddhist teachings with everything from real-life anecdotes, poetry, and jokes. It is a pleasure to listen to, from beginning to end. The beauty of these talks is that they do not require a previous knowledge of Buddhism or a desire to immerse one's self in scripture. Kornfield gives practical advice on cultivating mindfulness, lovingkindness, and interconnectedness for even the most non-dogmatic of listeners. What a delight!

34 of 35 people found this review helpful

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This recording will change your life

It was this recording that really touched me. Jack Kornfield has the right style to talk to the west. A really beautiful way of presenting the Buddhas teachings in a way that really means something in everyday life.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicholas
  • Haenertsburg, South Africa
  • 05-10-11

A great first look into Buddism/ liked the speaker

I was weary at first since some were complaining about the speaker, saying he was irritating and to be honest it took me a chapter to get into the way he speaks. Ended up really liking the speaker though his quotes from Don Juan Matus to Woody Alan made it easy to relate to the stories and philosophies.

Would recommend.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • Nebraska City, NE, United States
  • 04-23-11

Better than Expected

Mr Kornfield's presentation is informative and at times, very funny. If you've been curious about Buddhism, I would highly suggest that you give this audiobook a try. Even if you are not looking for enlightenment, this selection has information for leading a calm, centered and spiritual life. At first the live audience threw me off but I came to appreciate their reactions and laughter and got great enjoyment from it. I also purchased Meditation for Beginners from Mr Kornfield and have also found it helpful and enjoyable. Listen at bedtime for a great nights sleep.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


a most excellent book. i will admit that he kinda sounds like a subdued Mr. Rogers at naptime. the speaking voice kinda turned me off at first but i hung with it because of the content. he has a good cadence and clarity of speech so it's easy to get past the tone.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Honey
  • New Port Richey, FL, United States
  • 04-10-10


I love this audible! This is a must have for anyone who is unfamiliar with Buddhism or is interested in learning what it is and how to apply it to your everyday life. I listen to this book at least twice a week and parts of it daily! He makes it easy to understand and how to apply it to every day living. It is in layman terms, humorous, insightful. You walk away with a very in-depth understanding of what Buddhism is and how it can benefit your life! I just purchased another book by this author! Must have.... Money well spent! I recommend this one before purchasing his other book, Roots of BuddhismPhychology, which is my other favorite of his. I like the way he uses humor to which I can relate to and the different story his refers to.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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For Beginners

What made the experience of listening to Buddhism for Beginners [Jack Kornfield] the most enjoyable?

Jack Kornfield so gently invited me into the world of Buddhism.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I guess Jack and the Buddha are my favorite characters because they are both offering to light the way to a deeper, more meaningful life.

What about Jack Kornfield’s performance did you like?

I found his voice soothing and inviting.

What did you learn from Buddhism for Beginners [Jack Kornfield] that you would use in your daily life?

This book is a daily reminder of the value of the Buddhist perspective and practice.

Any additional comments?

I am a bit confused by the comments about this not being for beginners. To me it seems like an appropriate and gentle introduction.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Skootaman
  • 11-02-09

The best audiobook I have bought so far

I love audiobooks, but lets be frank, they can be pretty variable!

This one takes the format of teachings recorded live in front of an audience. Jack Kornfield delivers these lectures in an accessible manner, with appropriate humor that never detracts from the content and indeed assists in delivering the messages. I sometimes find it hard to listen to audiobooks in American or other accents (I am dyslexic and have APD) but his voice is calming, never patronizing and as a result I have listened to this many times over.

My usual audiobook 'fodder' is comedy, dramatized stories or perhaps some general classics to pass long journeys. However, I bought this as an agnostic who has been exploring theology and belief systems, and remarkably this has already helped me through some difficult times. As a newcomer to Buddhism, this did not put me off by sounding elitist or too 'new world-y' (I tend to recoil when I feel I am being fed hippy nonsense). Instead, this has been genuinely enlightening and helpful and gets my highest recommendation.

I shall now continue to explore Buddhism and will certainly favor Kornfields work. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank him for making this and for the impact that it has already had upon me.

Instead, I am buying a further audiobook outside of my monthly plan

42 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • Deirdre
  • 01-20-12

buddhism for beginners

this book was excellent and i really enjoyed listening to it and learned a lot about the buddhist way of life from it. i enjoyed the narrator also found his voice calming and gentle, think this book would be excellent for anyone interested in buddhism or even just to listen to to destress and see the reality of life and whats important its a real eyeopener and life changer cant wait to listen to more from jack

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • kjzee
  • 08-07-14

Genuine, warm, funny and compassionate

What did you like about this audiobook?

The author has a genuine, warm and caring approach to the subject matter born out of deep wisdom, knowledge and practice. The story of buddhism is delivered via a series of lectures on the important elements of the subject in front of a live audience. This really allows you to get a sense of the gentle, kind and humourous nature of the author, and the warmth and respect of the audience for the speaker.

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

Yes, greatly. Deep, yet accessible insight in to the tradition with an eye to the Eastern roots of the teachings and a Western context for the practice.

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

The teachings are littered with stories, quotes and insight from great teachers and leaders from all traditions. Lots of deeply moving stories from the author's personal experience and amusing anecdotes keep the perfect balance between light heartedness and being deeply moved.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

Not a thing. Great insight to the teachings and flawless, caring and compassionate delivery. I've listened to the book a number of times, the author is now a part of my daily life as I can hear his words as I go through my day.

Do you have any additional comments?

Highly recommended!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gary
  • 03-31-11

A gentle introduction:

At first I found the lecture format a bit off-putting but as the author continued I found it increasingly pleasant and relaxing.

I would recommend this as a good, gentle introduction into buddhism and would certainly consider purchasing any further contributions by Jack Kornfield in this area.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 11-24-12

Funny, insightful and inspiring - non buddhist

I picked this up looking for some inspiration to get through a period of illness that was stretching my sanity.

The author is very funny and engaging and I learned more than a trick or two from it. I keep going back to it when I am looking for energy and ideas to help get me through difficult times. I have found it especially useful in dealing with chronic physical pain, even though it's not a meditation book.

I have always had an enquiring mind and much of this book rings true for me, even though I am not a religious person.

A really good listen that I think will help enrich your quality of life.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Fabrice Saenger
  • 08-25-17

Very boring

how many times can I person repeat the same thing? mindfullness is being present. OK, so what? Personally I was very bored and could not finish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hill roamer
  • 09-21-16

Conflicted on this audiobook

The author and narrator clearly knows his subject and is very capable of expressing his opinions . He is clearly knowledgeable and can explain the concepts very well. But........ his way of speaking just comes across as kind of effected. He speaks very slowly and in a softened tone, and at times it seems like he is deliberately trying to project an image of "inner peace"
I could be (and I suspect that I am being) unfair in saying this, and maybe that is actually how he speaks but it just comes off a little annoying at times.
All of that said, the content is excellent and well structured, and I did get a much better understanding of the subject.
I would just say that another narrator with the same content would have made this a more enjoyable listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss
  • 04-14-13


Almost meditative, this audiobook is a great bedtime listen and feels almost therapeutic as well as informative. I learnt all the basic facets of Buddhism without feeling preached at or presdutusrd. You can take what you want from the content, and the delivery is calm and almost hypnotic as his voice kills you to sleep. Only problem wad I had to keep rewinding when I missed bits due to snoozing! A good intro.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-19-17


My first insight into Buddhism and I learned a great deal. I will be listening again. The elements of comedy were a really nice touch too.

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  • A. Herd
  • 07-07-17

A life changing listen

Utterly brilliant
I will return to this book many times in my life. Jack Kornfield's lectures bring the spirit and the beauty of Buddhism to everyone. He has a wonderfully easy tone and the teachings are sprinkled with amusing anecdotes and quotes from many different and varied sources. It's not preachy in any way, doesn't ask for anything, it simply seeks to help the listener see life through a clearer eyes. Can't recommend enough - wonderful.

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  • Deborah May
  • 12-21-15

Had to listen twice

Jack Kornfield is brilliant. Bringing mindfulness to life in a context of modern day madness is his gift and I'm appreciative.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful