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Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein (born 1944) is one of the first American vipassana teachers (Fronsdal, 1998), co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) with Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg, contemporary author of numerous popular books on Buddhism (see publications below), resident guiding teacher at IMS, and leader of retreats worldwide on insight (vipassana) and lovingkindness (metta) meditation.

While the majority of Goldstein's publications introduce Westerners to primarily Theravada concepts, practices and values, his 2002 work, "One Dharma", explored the creation of an integrated framework for the Theravada, Tibetan and Zen traditions.


  • 1944: Born; grew up in the Catskill mountains of New York
  • 1965: Graduated from Columbia University as a philosophy major
  • 1965: Entered the Peace Corps in Thailand, where he first became interested in Buddhism. After the Peace Corps, he spent most of the next seven years in India studying and practicing Buddhist meditation
  • 1974: He began teaching at Chogyam Trungpa's Naropa Institute in Boulder, CO. He has been leading vipassana and metta retreats worldwide since 1974
  • 1975: Co-founded the IMS [1] in Barre, MA with Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg.
  • 1989: Helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies [2]
  • 1998: Co-founded the IMS Forest Refuge [3] for long-term personal retreats.


Since 1967, Goldstein has practiced different forms of Buddhist meditation under well-known teachers from India, Burma and Tibet. His teachers include: Anagarika Sri Munindra, Sri S.N. Goenka, Mrs. Nani Bala Barua (Dipa Ma), the Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche.

Publications (partial list, in chronological order)

  • The Experience of Insight: A Simple and Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation (1976)
  • Insight Meditation: A Step-By-Step Course on How to Meditate (2002), with Sharon Salzberg
  • One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism (2002)
  • A Heart Full of Peace (2007)


Goldstein was honored by the New York Open Center [4] in 1999 for his "outstanding contribution to the mindfulness of the West."



  • Fronsdal, Gil (1998). Insight Meditation in the United States: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, in C.S.Prebish & K.K.Tanaka (1998), The Faces of Buddhism in America, University of California Press. Also available on-line at:
  • Gross, Amy (1999). An Interview with Joseph Goldstein, in Tricycle Magazine. Available on-line at:
  • Prebish, Charles (March 2002). Surveying the Buddhist Landscape, in Shambala Sun (March 2002). Also available on-line at:
  • Schwartz, Tony (1995). What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America. NY: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-09398-3.
  • Wright, Robert (undated). An Interview with Joseph Goldstein. Available on-line at:

External links

  • Goldstein's IMS biography
  • Downloadable talks at AudioDharma and Dharmaseed
  • Video interview with Joseph Goldstein
  • Audio interview on the benefits of long term practice on Buddhist Geeks
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