#137 – Buddhist Happiness with Sylvia Boorstein



Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D. has been teaching meditation since 1985 and teaches both vipassana and metta meditation. She is a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County, California. She is also a senior teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She writes a regular column for Shambala Sun and lectures widely. She is a psychotherapist, wife, mother, and grandmother who is particularly interested in seeing daily life as practice. Her latest book is Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for A Joyful Life. Her previous books are: It’s Easier Than You Think; Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There; That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Buddhist; and Pay Attention for Goodness’ Sake.

(Psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.)



  1. Hella
    Posted February 14, 2008 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Love Sylvia…have read all her books and have recently attended her lecture at Noetic Sciences. Kudos for having her on!

  2. Rick Vail
    Posted March 10, 2008 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I actually recomended that a few of my friends listen to this particular episode of shrink rap radio but there is something that I think Sylvia could not be more incorrect about and that is that everyone is doing the best they can. Twenty years ago I was in therapy and the therapist recomended that I read a book titled “Shake the Anger Habit.” After reading through a book that belabored it’s final point with was that “everyone is doing the best they can” I just wanted to chuck that book off a cliff. I know that statement isn’t true because I my self (who am part of everyone) do not do the best I can all the time. My experience tells me that others wax and wane also, I think this is a dangerous premise to operate on in life. The reason to let go of anger is because it is in our own best interest to do so. That doesn’t mean i have to forgive it just means we have to let go. There are many folks running around harming others because they take pleasure in doing so or they simply don’t care. I got a lot out of this last episode but I had to comment on an idea that I believe is fallacious and dangerous.

  3. Michaela
    Posted March 13, 2008 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    Rick, would it make more sense to you if you reword “Everyone is doing the best they can” to “Everyone is doing the best
    they can given the resources they /believe/ they have available
    to them at that particular time”?

    I know, for instance, that when I’m under a lot of pressure with a lot to do, and
    someone asks me to do yet another
    thing, I sometimes forget that I have certain choices and I react instead of

    However, if I am not under too much pressure and someone asks me to do
    something else I am more likely to remember that I have other choices(resources) and it’s easier for me to
    handle the situation

    [Even if it means that I end up deciding to say “Sorry, but that’s not something I feel comfortable doing.”]

  4. Kush
    Posted February 1, 2009 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    Rick & Michaela,
    You might have been too wrapped up in your own Interpretation of what “doing the best they can”. If you were better able to understand the other person, you might understand that the phrase above implies that it is based upon the given the resources they /believe/ they have available as you mention and perhaps more. The reason that the person is where s/he is most likely the makeup of what/where they have been, what they have done and what they have thought in the past. As a result their best is what they are doing now, given the circumstances they are in (that applies to you and me as well)!

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