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Lions Roar : July 2017
Over the decades, your teachings have tracked and helped lead the evo- lution of Buddhism in the West. You have undertaken intense traditional practice, integrated the insights of Western psychology into Buddhism, and led Buddhism’s emergence into the American mainstream. What is your message at this stage on your path? JACK KORNFIELD: We are living in difficult and uncertain times. Without care, the cultural fears can take over our hearts. While we need to be able to respond with courage amd compassion to the sorrows of the world, the wise heart can be free wherever we are. When you turn directly toward your own true nature, you discover that your spirit, your consciousness, is always free. With that discovery comes a wellbeing that manifests as joy, which the Buddhist texts declare is a necessary dimension of an awakened heart and mind. The point of dharma practice isn’t to perfect yourself. It’s to perfect your love. It’s to see this world from your original mind, from original goodness, and say, “Amazing, wondrous! Let me express this joy, this ten- derness and compassion, to all whom I see.” Be Free Now PHOTOBYSTACYEVETT-MILLER Jack Kornfield, one of the leading Buddhist teachers of our time, talks to MELVIN MCLEOD about the hopeful message in his new book: we can have joy and freedom—right here, right now. LION’S ROAR | JULY 2017 41