About Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein has studied and practiced meditation since 1967 and is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, Massachusetts. An early student of both S.N Goenka and Anagarika Munindra, Joseph has been a pivotal figure bringing Buddhism, meditation, and mindfulness to the West.

He is the author of many books, including The Experience of Insight: A Simple and Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation, Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, and Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation. He continues to lead Insight Meditation retreats around the world.

"Joseph is another of those beings who could be called (as Jung referred to Richard Wilhelm) a 'gnostic intermediary'; that is, one who transmits a teaching from one culture and age to another not via his intellect but through absorption into his blood and gut so that he, in truth, becomes the teaching."

Ram Dass

Books and Audio by Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein's Experience of Insight

This modern spiritual classic, presented as a thirty-day meditation retreat taught by Joseph Goldstein, offers timeless practical instructions and real-world advice for practicing meditation—whether walking or sitting in formal practice or engaging in everyday life. Goldstein—a beloved and respected meditation teacher who studied for many years under the guidance of eminent Buddhist teachers from India, Tibet, and Burma—uses the retreat format to explain various basic Buddhist teachings including karma, selflessness, and the four noble truths, while also drawing connections to many different spiritual traditions. With a new preface reflecting on how the conversation around meditation has changed over the last forty years, this book is the perfect companion for both experienced practitioners and those looking to get into meditation for the first time.

Narrated by Joseph's student, Jozen Tamori Gibson


In Seeking the Heart of Wisdom Joseph teams up with Jack Kornfield to present the central teachings and practices of insight meditation in a clear and personal language. The path of insight meditation is a journey of understanding our bodies, our minds, and our lives, of seeing clearly the true nature of experience. The authors guide the reader in developing the openness and compassion that are at the heart of this spiritual practice. For those already treading the path, as well as those just starting out, this book will be a welcome companion along the way. Among the topics covered are:

  • The hindrances to meditation—ranging from doubt and fear to painful knees—and skillful means of overcoming them
  • How compassion can arise in response to the suffering we see in our own lives and in the world
  • How to integrate a life of responsible action and service with a meditative life based on nonattachment

Useful exercises are presented alongside the teachings to help readers deepen their understanding of the subjects.


This is Joseph's overview of the practice and context for Buddhism generally and vipassana meditation specifically.  It covers what the path itself is composed of, how to practice, what freeing the mind is all about, how karma works, the connection between psychology and dharma practice, and a look at what selflessness really is.  The final and largest chapter is on how to practice in the world, touching on topics like the art of communication, family relationships, our livelihood, dying, and how to really be of benefit to others.

Books Featuring a Teaching by Joseph Goldstein

This anthology centered around bringing mindfulness to our relationships includes Joseph's May All Beings Be Happy, on the practice of Loving-Kindness.

"Loving-kindness, on the other hand, is extraordinary precisely because it can embrace all; there is no one who falls outside of its domain. That is why, when we encounter people who have developed this capacity to a great extent—the Dalai Lama, for example—we sense their tremendous kindness toward everyone. Loving-kindness is a feeling that blesses others and oneself with the simple wish,"

"This was a great turning point in my practice. I understood that how I feel about someone is up to me and that my feelings do not ultimately depend on the person, his or her behavior, or the situation. The gardener remained the same. He did not change what he was doing or how he related to me. But because of a turn in my own understanding and practice, my heart began to fi ll with genuine feelings of kindness and care."

This powerful anthology of Buddhist approaches to handing fear includes Joseph's The Practice of Loving-Kindness
for All.  This collection was put together by the editors at Lion's Roar where you will find many articles on or by Joseph.


$24.95 - Paperback

By: Stephanie Kaza

This collection of essays and teachings on Buddhism and greed, desire, and the urge to consumebegins with a teaching from Joseph entitled Desire, Delusion, and DVDs.

"One of the things I discovered in my own practice, which speaks to my relation to consumerism, was how desire works on very subtle levels. For example, when I’m on retreat and I find myself desiring a cup of tea, I might be inclined to get up and gratify that desire. This is because I am focusing strongly on the object of my wanting, the cup of tea. But if I shift my focus from the object to the anticipated feeling of satisfaction, I can be aware that it is the pleasant feelings associated with the tea that are really what I am after. It is then much easier to remember that these feelings are fleeting. Remembering this impermanence, I am less hooked by the object of desire. If we focus on the object, which appears to be more real, it is harder to resist the desire; we are more fooled by the apparent substantiality of the object and less able to see its impermanence. When we focus on the feelings, we have a greater chance of remembering the impermanent nature of feeling, thus breaking the link that generates the wanting."

"What is the nature of awareness, the basic process of consciousness? It is a tremendous mystery, because when we look for awareness, there is nothing to find. And yet it ceaselessly and spontaneously knows, cognizes, everything that is arising. It is quite amazing. Through the development of the science and art of practice, through the balance of precise investigation and open receptivity, we cut through to the essential nature of our minds, of our bodies, of our awareness. We begin to touch the truth of our lives. This is the great voyage of discovery that we are on, discovering ourselves."

Voices of Insight

$22.95 - Paperback

By: Sharon Salzberg

Gathered here are the voices of many of the leading lights of Insight meditation.  Joseph has two pieces, The Buddha’s Sacred Journey and The Science and Art of Meditation.

Living This Life Fully

$29.95 - Paperback

By: Mirka Knaster

In this profile of Joseph's teacher Anagarika Munindra, Joseph appears throughout.

"Munindra did not let his students deceive themselves. Whether it was thinking they had reached a certain stage in practice that they had not, or believing they were suitable and ready to become a dharma teacher when they were not, he stated what he thought. A particular interview still sticks in Joseph Goldstein’s mind from his early years in India. When he reported having dropped into a state that felt totally free and open, Munindra simply said, 'Don’t recondition your mind,' guiding him not to get attached to this state of mind or create concepts about it. And when Vivian Darst entertained thoughts of becoming a teacher, Munindra told her, 'You have to have a lot of patience if you’re going to be a teacher. And you are impatient with me, so how can you be a teacher?'"

"Some years ago, I was facing a situation of immense difficulty in my practice. For weeks, great pain and anguish permeated my experience. At the very lowest time, in a moment of hopeless despair, when any effort at all seemed impossible, the word “courage” suddenly appeared in my mind. It kept repeating, almost like a mantra, and each time the word sounded in my mind, I could literally feel my heart grow stronger. With some magic of its own, it unhooked that last deep place of aversion and fear about what was happening that was keeping me separate from the experience. It brought forth the courage of simply being. What had been intolerable a moment before became completely acceptable. Courage is not about changing anything or grasping for some better state. It’s the valor of truly being present."

The Buddha Is Still Teaching

$29.95 - Paperback

By: Jack Kornfield

There are multiple short pieces from Joseph in this work of contemporary teachers holding the torch of the Buddha's teaching.