For Sharon Salzberg, the Four Noble Truths is not a sacred dogma but a lived experience.
Born to a Jewish family in New York City in 1952, her parents divorced when she was just four years old. Her father, whom she adored, abandoned shortly thereafter. When she was nine, Salzberg’s mother died due to post-surgery heavy bleeding. She went to live with her father’s parents. When she was eleven, he father returned but he overdosed on sleeping pills. He entered mental health system and remained there until his death.
At age 16, Sharon encountered Buddhism through a course in Asian philosophy in State University of New York, Buffalo. The Buddha’s teaching of Four Noble Truths struck her like an enlightening thunderbolt. She immediately knew them to be true, and learned that meditation was the way to liberate from suffering.
She studied under various Asian masters such as Dipa Ma, Anagarika Munindra, S.N.Goenka etc. In 1974, she co-founded the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts, with Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein, turning the Dharma wheel as a Vipassana Buddhist teacher.
She is a prolific author. Her books include Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (1995), A Heart as Wide as the World (1999), Real Happiness – The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program (2010), which was on The New York Times Best Seller list in 2011, and Real Happiness at Work (2013).
Here are the 10 inspirational quotes from Sharon Salzberg:
Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope; a slight change, and all patterns and configurations alter.
To offer our hearts in faith means recognizing that our hearts are worth something, that we ourselves, in our deepest and truest nature, are of value.
If you go deeper and deeper into your own heart, you’ll be living in a world with less fear, isolation, and loneliness.
If we fall, we don’t need self-recrimination or blame or anger – we need a reawakening of our intention and a willingness to re-commit, to be whole-hearted once again.
Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion…is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.
We need the courage to learn from our past and not live in it.
Meditation is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively.
It isn’t enough to appreciate change from afar, or only in the abstract, or as something that can happen to other people but not to you. We need to create change for ourselves, in a workable way, as part of our everyday lives.
For all of us, love can be the natural state of our own being; naturally at peace, naturally connected, because this becomes the reflection of who we simply are.
Metta is the ability to embrace all parts of ourselves, as well as all parts of the world. Practicing metta illuminates our inner integrity because it relieves us of the need to deny different aspects of ourselves. We can open to everything with the healing force of love. When we feel love, our mind is expansive and open enough to include the entirety of life in full awareness, both its pleasures and its pains, we feel neither betrayed by pain or overcome by it, and thus we can contact that which is undamaged within us regardless of the situation. Metta sees truly that our integrity is inviolate, no matter what our life situation may be.