New Release: Listening to the Heart

Posted by – November 05, 2014
Categories: Ecology & Sustainability New Release Spirituality & Religion

Genuine and insightful, Listening to the Heart is both a memoir and a clear guide to authentic practice. Kittisaro and Thanissara unfold the layers of their experience to share their understanding, from deep inner processes to vital social and relational aspects of living a good life.                            — Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness

9781583948392Husband and wife Kittisaro and Thanissara, both monastics in their youth, take turns coauthoring chapters in this deeply personal dharma book that explores the inner practice of meditation in support of awakening. Within the context of the lives of the authors, awakening unfolds as a multifaceted process. Listening to the Heart tells the story of two unconventional individuals who have together embraced spirituality as the keystone of their lives.

Thanissara and Kittisaro encourage us to go beyond the experience of inner peace to embodying wisdom in acts of service within the world. With a realistic appraisal of our current global crisis, in which sustainability is threatened by catastrophic climate change, the authors encourage a preparedness that enables a mindful balance of equanimity and passionate engagement—whatever the outcome of our global evolutionary journey.

The guiding refuge for this journey is the Buddha, the historical teacher and—most profoundly—immediate and direct pure awareness, which we all can access. The book also draws on teachings and stories of Buddhist masters who are fearless, funny, and challenging. As the inner process of awakening unfolds, it transforms seekers and their lives, as modeled by the authors. It both heals the personal self in its journey through its wounds and shadows, and simultaneously dissolves identification with the self.

About the authors


Kittisaro and Thanissara are the founders of Dharmagiri Hermitage in South Africa, where they support several HIV/AIDS outreach programs and help guide and raise funds for Kulungile Care Center for orphaned and vulnerable children and teenagers. They have taught meditation internationally in Europe, the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and Israel for over 25 years.

Kittisaro grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was valedictorian at Baylor School and winner of the National Prep Tournament, before graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton and becoming a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. In 1976, he ordained with Ajahn Chah in Thailand and, during his fifteen years as a Buddhist monk, he helped found Chithurst Monastery and Devon Vihara in the U.K.

Thanissara grew up in London, attending Southampton College of Art and traveling extensively in Asia in the 1970s. Also inspired by Ajahn Chah, she spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun in Thailand. She holds an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice from Middlesex University and the Karuna Institute in the U.K. and cofacilitates the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California.

More praise for Listening to the Heart

“Among the most thoughtful, heartfelt, and wise teachers of Dharma in the West.”        — Jack Kornfield

“From Oxford to Thailand to South Africa, from monastery to frontline work in the crying heart of Zulu country, Thanissara and Kittisaro share their amazing journey. Written with honesty, courage, and deep wisdom, Listening to the Heart shows how to free the mind and open the heart. Highly recommended.”                       — James Baraz, cofounder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and coauthor of Awakening Joy

“This is a wonderful and profound book, deeply researched, written with illuminated elegance; it challenges us all both to deepen our sacred practice and to act for compassion in the world.”                                               — Andrew Harvey, founder of the Institute for Sacred Activism and author of The Hope

Tags: Biography & Memoir Climate Change Sacred Activism Thanissara Kittisaro
About the Author

Marina is the Marketing & Digital Programs Coordinator at North Atlantic Books. After living in New Orleans and Amsterdam, and exploring a couple of continents, she returned to the San Francisco Bay Area to work at NAB. She's passionate about astrology, nonfiction books, and sustainable living, as well as all things metaphysical.