born 1952

Sharon Salzberg is recognized as an expert on happiness. To get there, she had to be an expert on suffering. 

A troubled childhood can be a barrier for many, but Sharon believes in acknowledging pain in order to experience true happiness. She first encountered Buddhism in a college course and took a life-changing trip to India in 1971. She began teaching vipassana meditation herself in 1974, eventually co-founding the Insight Meditation Society. 

Today, IMS is one of the leading centers for study, meditation and refuge. In our hurried world, Sharon has become a much-sought-after mentor who reminds us of the simple value of kindness, silence + faith.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Sharon Salzberg (19)

"Faith is a willingness to take the next step, to see the unknown as an adventure, to launch a journey."

Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience | september 2003

"We in the West hear a teaching about effort, and we translate that in our minds to a strained striving doomed to failure, instead of wholeheartedly applying ourselves to bring forth qualities we definitely have the potential for."

Tradition, Transition, Translation | july 2005

"As a teacher I try to stay a practitioner, which helps a lot. I have teachers of my own who connect me to an authentic transmission."

Tradition, Transition, Translation | july 2005

"Faith is the quality of the heart that impels us to seek what is constant and whole. The sense of connection can be found in vastly different ways: in classically religious pursuits or ones that are completely secular; in music or art, meditation or service to others; with groups in city rooms or in the forest on one's own."

Only Connect | may 2007

"Not only did the Buddha say that love for oneself is possible, but he also described this capacity as something we must nurture, since it's the foundation for being able to love and care for others."

Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation | december 2010

"I deserve to be happy, and so does everyone else."

Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation | december 2010

"The content and quality of our lives depend on our level of awareness—a fact we are often not aware of."

Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation | december 2010

"Tuning in to yourself is the first step toward tuning in to others."

Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation | december 2010

"You are not trying to do battle with your experience."

How to Get Real Happiness | february 2011

"If you are breathing, you can meditate."

on Meditation | february 2011

"I think there's something beautiful and magnificent in silence."

on Meditation | february 2011

"The opposite of faith is despair."

Through meditation, she makes happiness an inside job | february 2011

"As I get older, the quality I appreciate more than any is kindness."

Sharon Salzberg - Kindness | june 2011

"In our day-to-day life, we get mixed messages. We want to be kind to our neighbor, yet are told it's a dog-eat-dog world. We want to turn the other cheek, but think we must also get revenge and defend our honor. We want to feel included and inclusive, but we must get ahead at all costs. We want to love, but we're afraid to be hurt."

A Way Out of Suffering | february 2012

"Just to stop is kind of a revolutionary act and it brings many beautiful results."

The Buzz on Silent Retreats | january 2013

"For our work to be of maximum benefit, we need to let it go. For our contribution to help the community, we need to remember it's not about us."

Real Happiness at Work | december 2013

"Try to perform a simple, conscious act of kindness every day."

Real Happiness at Work | december 2013

"Each of us has a genuine capacity for love, forgiveness, wisdom and compassion. Meditation awakens these qualities so that we can discover for ourselves the unique happiness that is our birthright."

Sharon Salzberg | 2014

"It all matters, everything we do. We don't know where the ripple effects will end up or when."

Everything We Do Matters | may 2015
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curated with care by Meghan Miller Brawley {april 2014 ~ updated june 2015}