Biography

Born in New York City in 1952, Sharon Salzberg experienced a childhood involving considerable loss and turmoil. An early realization of the power of meditation to overcome personal suffering determined her life direction. Her teaching and writing now communicates that power to a worldwide audience of practitioners. She offers non-sectarian retreat and study opportunities for participants from widely diverse backgrounds.

Sharon first encountered Buddhism in 1969, in an Asian philosophy course at the State University of New York, Buffalo. The course sparked an interest that, in 1970, took her to India, for an independent study program. Sharon traveled motivated by “an intuition that the methods of meditation would bring me some clarity and peace."

In 1971, in Bodh Gaya, India, Sharon attended her first intensive meditation course. She spent the next years engaged in intensive study with highly respected Buddhist teachers. She returned to America in 1974 and began teaching vipassana (insight) meditation. Today she leads intensive retreats worldwide as well as a variety of
non-residential programs, workshops, and classes.

In 1976, she established, together with Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, which now ranks as one of the most prominent and active meditation centers in the Western world. Sharon and Joseph Goldstein expanded their vision in 1989 by co-founding the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS). In 1998, they initiated the Forest Refuge, a long-term retreat center secluded in a wooded area on IMS property. Sharon resides in Barre, Massachusetts, and New York City.