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Sharon Salzberg

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Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg
Born (1952-08-05) 5 August 1952
New York City
Occupation author, meditation teacher

Sharon Salzberg (born 1952) is a New York Times Best selling author[1] and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices in the West.[2][3] In 1974, she co-founded the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts with Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Her emphasis is on vipassanā (insight) and mettā (loving-kindness) methods,[4] and has been leading meditation retreats around the world for over three decades.[5][6] All of these methods have their origins in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Her books include Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (1995), A Heart as Wide as the World (1999) and Real Happiness - The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program (2010), which was on the The New York Times Best Seller list in 2011.[7]

Early life

Born in New York City to a Jewish family, Salzberg had a troubled early life after her parents divorced when she was four, and her father abandoned the family. At nine, her mother died and she went to live with her father's parents. Though her father returned when she was eleven, he soon overdosed and was subsequently hospitalized. He was soon placed in the mental health system, where he remained until his death. By 16, Sharon had lived with five different families.[8]

In her sophomore year at the State University of New York, Buffalo in 1969, Salzberg encountered Buddhism during a course in Asian philosophy. The following year, she took an independent study trip to India, and in January 1971 attended her first intensive meditation course at Bodh Gaya. In the next several years, she engaged in intensive study with various Buddhist teachers. After returning to US in 1974, she began teaching vipassana (insight) meditation.[8][9]


Salzberg is a student of Dipa Ma, Anagarika Munindra and other Asian masters.[10] She, Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein founded the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts in 1974.[11][12] She and Goldstein co-founded the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in 1989 and The Forest Refuge, a long-term meditation retreat center 9 years later. Today, she is a notable teacher of the Vipassana movement.

An in-depth interview with Salzberg appears in the book Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America, by Lenore Friedman. (Boston:Shambhala, Revised and Updated edition, 2000. ISBN 1-57062-474-7)


Salzberg was honored by the New York Open Center in 1999 for her "Outstanding Contribution to the Mindfulness of the West"



  • Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (1995) ISBN 1-59030-187-0[4]
  • Heart as Wide as the World (1999) ISBN 1-57062-428-3
  • Voices of Insight (2001) ISBN 1-57062-769-X
  • Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience (2003) ISBN 1-57322-340-9
  • The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion (2006) ISBN 1-59179-355-6
  • The Kindness Handbook: A Practical Campanion (2008) ISBN 978-1-59179-655-8
  • Real Happiness - The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program (2010) ISBN 978-0-7611-5925-4

Audio Publications

  • Insight Meditation: A Step-By-Step Course on How to Meditate (2002), with Joseph Goldstein ISBN 1-56455-906-8.
  • Lovingkindness Meditation (2005) ISBN 1-59179-268-1
  • Guided Meditations For Love & Wisdom: 14 Essential Practices (2009) ISBN 978-1-59179-707-4
  • Unplug: An Interactive Kit for Giving Yourself a Break (2009) ISBN 978-1-59179-638-1


  • A Teaching in Shambhala Sun Magazine
  • Life of One Piece, PBS The Buddha
  • How Silence Can Help Us Unplug,
  • How Doing Nothing Can Help You Truly Live,
  • Meditation Practice: A Paradigm Shift,
  • 12 Tips on Exploring Spirituality,
  • The Benefits of Meditation,
  • Opening the Heart with Lovingkindness,
  • Buddha Nature,
  • What's Better for Creativity: Depression or Happiness?


  • Video interview with Sharon Salzberg
  • Audio Interview Series on Buddhist Geeks
  • Salzberg interview with Dan Harris for ABC News
  • Huffington Post Interview with Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
  • Yoga and Buddhism's adaptation in the West: An interview with Ascent magazine.
  • Salzberg discusses meditation, happiness & social media with Danny Fisher for Shambhala Sun
  • PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly Interview, 2/18/2011
  • LA Times Interview 2/19/2011
  • Healthy Radio Interview 2/23/2011
  • Sharon Salzberg talks
  • Sharon Salzberg talks about her childhood and early life, June 2011


  1. ^ New York Times Best Seller List 3/13/10
  2. ^ "Meditation made easy". Well & Good NYC. 
  3. ^ Ricci, Claudia (August 24, 2011). "How One Book Changed My Life".  
  4. ^ a b Downing, Renée (15 September 2005). "Sharon Salzberg believes in the power of kindness".  
  5. ^ "Sharon Salzberg (interview)".  
  6. ^ "Insight LA".  
  7. ^ "Best Sellers, March 13, 2011". New York Times. March 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Morris, Nomi (February 19, 2011). """Through meditation, she makes happiness an "inside job.  
  9. ^ About
  10. ^ Amy Schmidt, Dipa Ma: The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master. ISBN 0-9742405-5-9 (USA); ISBN 1-899579-73-7 (Europe), p. 9.
  11. ^ Miller, Andrea (March 2011). Shambhala Sun (B000302EG0): 52. 
  12. ^ Leslie Kaufman (May 25, 2008). "A Superhighway to Bliss".  

External links

  • Sharon Salzberg's Website
  • Sharon Salzberg audio from the DIY Dharma site
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