Praise for A Whole-Life Path
A clear and inspiring book for living a liberating life, written by a wonderfully creative, dedicated, and engaging Buddhist teacher.
Buddhism is for our whole life, and this book brings our whole life into Buddhism. Kramer has written a clear and inspiring guide to a wholehearted engagement with the path of liberation.
A Whole-Life Path is a compelling, practical, and inspiring guide for how lay Buddhists can fully engage in the Buddhist Path. I recommend it for everyone.
— Gil Fronsdal, teacher, Insight Meditation Center and Insight Retreat Center
“…his drive for “individual awakening, relational harmony, and a humane and just society” is clear and coherent throughout….While brimming with spiritual and whole-life enlightenment, this authoritative Buddhist guide is also punctuated with plenty of real-life direction and practical know-how.”
— BookLife Reviews, editor’s pick
Kramer masterfully translates the Buddha’s core teachings on enlightened living for use in our day and age. This is a book I wish I had when starting out on the Buddhist path, one that presents the Dharma as imminently related to every moment of my life. To read this book is to encounter the truth that you already have what you need to awaken. It will not only enrich your practice of meditation. It may very well change your life.
— Lama Willa Miller, Founding teacher and spiritual director, Natural Dharma Fellowship (USA)
Gregory Kramer has written a comprehensive guide that not only elucidates the Buddhist Eightfold Path but makes it come alive. A Whole-Life Path is both down-to-earth and practical. But even more, it is “practiceable,” giving the reader an in-depth invitation to live the teachings in an embodied way, both on and off the cushion. A truly wonderful contribution. Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu! Well done!
— James Baraz, Cofounding teacher, Spirit Rock Meditation Center (USA); coauthor, Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness
In this book, Gregory Kramer offers us the fruits of his forty years of deep inquiry into how we can live the Buddhist path of liberation in all aspects of our life. . . . [H]e unfolds, with clarity and passion . . . how each of the eight stages of the Noble Path is so much more than an individual practice, but relational and communal as well.
I think that any committed student of liberation can benefit a lot from the many practical suggestions Gregory offers to expand our understanding of the all-inclusive nature of the path and to strengthen our joy in and trust of our potential to live it.
— Carol Wilson, Guiding teacher, Insight Meditation Society (USA)
Gregory Kramer makes the wisdom of the Buddhist path relevant for our times. He brings to the forefront the insights that arise in “the dynamic circumstances of interpersonal contact.” His invitation to engage directly in the relational nature of practice provides a foundation for shifting the social systems in which we live to be more aligned with sīla, dāna, and the Eightfold Path. This book is timely and practical for the world we are confronted with in this day and age.
— Brian Lesage, Guiding teacher, Flagstaff Insight Meditation Community (USA)
A Whole-Life Path is a welcome invitation to wake up in life, to life, for life. It makes accessible what Gregory has dedicated himself to revealing––that the Buddha’s profound teachings are to be seen as precious practices. . . .
Gregory’s warm and accessible voice runs through this book like a refreshing stream. He explains this human condition in human terms, and encourages us out beyond limitations in ways that call the heart with kindness. This is a must read for all who wish to bring the practice into wider, deeper, and broader areas of life.
— Nathan Glyde, Dharma teacher, Gaia House (UK); cofounder, SanghaSeva (UK)
With this clear and inviting roadmap, Gregory demystifies the Eightfold Path and offers a treasure trove of guidance for reflection and practice, both personal and interpersonal. If you want support and encouragement to make the Dharma truly “onward-leading” in your life, this book is for you. It’s so full of good practice suggestions that I think lots of us will be drawing on it for a long time to come.
— Jaya Rugard, Teacher, Insight Meditation Society (USA) and Gaia House (UK)
Gregory Kramer has taken traditional spiritual teachings and expanded them into areas that are often neglected. With deep grounding in the early Buddhist discourses, he manages to bridge the depths of practice with the stuff of our lives, forming an integrated vision of the Buddhist path. This book serves as a valuable blueprint for practicing the Buddha’s Eightfold Path in all areas of life.
— Leigh Brasington, author of Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas
This remarkable book offers a perspective on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path that is at once solidly rooted in the canonical texts of early Buddhism, yet astutely attuned to the needs of contemporary readers seeking to navigate our frantic, directionless culture.
Kramer’s treatment of each path factor is immensely insightful, marked by an abundance of detail and enriched by personal insights . . . drawn from decades of study and practice. While he bases his explanations squarely on the Buddha’s discourses, he does not merely regurgitate old formulas, but provides an expanded view of the Path that extends its relevance beyond the domain of individual, private practice. . . .
A Whole-Life Path should prove to be a major source for understanding and practicing the Buddha’s Eightfold Path in its many different dimensions of relevance, including dimensions generally overlooked by traditional Buddhism.
— Bhikkhu Bodhi, Buddhist scholar and translator
A Whole-Life Path offers a vital and timely validation that “our entire life is our field of practice.” . . . This insightful offering endorses a lay practitioner lifestyle with the same value as a monastic vocation, confirming that both lifestyles offer equal opportunity for realizing and embodying the considerable fruits of being guided by the timeless truths of the Dharma. This is a masterful contribution for all seeking an integrated approach, which, rather than prescriptive, invites direct personal inquiry, leading to an authentic, insightful, heart-full, and meaningful life.
— Thanissara, Buddhist teacher; author of Time to Stand Up : A Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth
A Whole-Life Path is refreshing and bold. What is unique about this book is it that succeeds in addressing the widely shared experience that it is difficult to sustain the feeling of inner peace and wisdom gained in formal practice of meditation after a retreat. Instead, the principles and practices bring the Buddhist teachings alive in the moment for the reader in daily practice. By following the principles and investigation practices it offers, I noticed significant changes in my feelings, thoughts, and actions. I highly recommend this book to meditators who want to grow and explore proven practices for a wiser response to life.
— Nolitha Tsengiwe, guiding teacher, Dharmagiri; psychologist, executive coach, and consultant in leadership development
[A Whole-Life Path] helps to bring the approach to practice as a full steeping of oneself in the refuges of Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, not excluding any of the traditional aspects of the teachings of the Buddha, but reconsidering [them] in ways that are appropriate for a modern society. This book is . . . a valuable contribution to the many seekers of the path in the present time. I liked it and feel it is a good book that will be useful for people. Anumodana!
— Pasanno Bhikkhu, Guiding elder and former abbot, Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery (USA)
Ehipassiko! Come and see!
Here is a healing elixir, distilled from over forty years of deep immersion in Dhamma practice, contemplative study and Dhamma teaching, a compelling invitation to drink deep for all who yearn for truth, happiness, peace—for self, for others, for our world.
Here is the medicine—essential teachings on every aspect of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, eloquently and insightfully explored, offering innovative ways to deepen our enquiry, elucidating the way to fully integrate everyday life and spiritual path.
Here is the cure. This profound handbook for liberation, practical manual for daily use, detailed contemporary map of the timeless terrain, leaves no stone unturned. Every facet of life, alone and in relationship, is an opportunity for practice, is Path, leading onward toward boundless goodness, wisdom, love, and freedom.
Kramer’s work is a light and a blessing in my life. I will be reading A Whole-Life Path again and again.
— Ajahn Brahmavara, Buddhist nun
Gregory Kramer guides you in transforming an ordinary journey of life into a journey of awakening. Based on decades of practice and teaching, and a deep confidence in the potential of the Noble Eightfold Path, he invites you to bring the whole of your life to the practice and to bring the practice to the whole of your life.
— Bhikkhuni Anandabodhi, Cofounder, Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery (USA)
This book is an invaluable resource of inspiration and practical support for everyone aspiring to live and manifest the Dhamma in all aspects of their lives. It shows Gregory’s unremitted dedication to the Buddhist path and relational awakening based on a whole life of practice and teaching. His words, “This whole life is the Path” echoes the invitation of the fully awakened Buddhist nun Rohini 2,600 years ago: “The Path isn’t a line on a map, it’s a great shining world; enter wherever you like.”
— Venerable Anopama, Buddhist nun
This book is the fruit of these years of inquiry, and it offers a unique and powerful perspective on how to infuse every aspect of life with the transformative wisdom of the Buddha.
Using the classical framework of the Noble Eightfold Path, Gregory Kramer . . . invites us to inquire deeply into every aspect of modern life, including technology and media, the arts, psychotherapy, social injustice, and climate change.
Within each chapter, carefully considered questions invite individuals and groups to explore how the path factors are operating in their own lives, and through that process of inquiry, to create a life oriented toward compassion and clarity, in service of the deepest freedom of heart and mind.
— Jill Shepherd, Insight meditation and Insight Dialogue teacher; guiding teacher, Auckland Insight Meditation (New Zealand)
[A] unique and much needed approach to Dharma practice, . . . a profound and accessible set of illuminating teachings, and a wake-up call to the whole of life, this book . . . answers a need of modern-day practitioners. It weaves together the personal, relational, societal, and global aspects of the Path.
Gregory’s message is as clearly expressed as it is radical in content . . . teaching us how we can embrace the complexity and diversity of our lives and include them on the Path in ways that deepen and enrich the Path itself. I feel it is urgent that we listen, for our own happiness and for the wellbeing of our planet and the beings that share it. So I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all. It is truly a Dharma sharing for, and of, our times.
— Zohar Lavie, Dharma teacher, Gaia House (UK); cofounder, SanghaSeva (UK)
The gift of Gregory Kramer’s new book is its peerless translation of the Buddha’s original teachings into wisdom for more skillfully engaging every aspect of our everyday, lived experiences—including the roughest edges of our ordinary lives. In the voice of a gentle and trusted guide, Kramer offers a map for doing what we do with clear intention, and, with increasing attention to how we do it, unfolding in these pages a whole-life path marked by the potential of liberation within the inner work of each instant. It just may be the perfect companion for deepening the practices we call mindfulness in these unprecedented times.
— Rhonda V. Magee, Author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness
A Whole-Life Path is a thoughtful and thorough exploration
of how Dhamma practice can infuse every aspect of our lives. Gregory’s unique perspective, born from years of practice and study, combines an impressive breadth of application to our lives in the world with a profound understanding of practices leading to the highest peace. This work is worthy of careful study as we investigate the causes of suffering and the possibilities of freedom.
— Joseph Goldstein, Author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
[A] compelling and insightful book. . . . A Whole-Life Path is a wholly creative, wholly noble, wholly serious effort to re-present the ancient wisdom of the Buddha for a new time, a new place, and a new generation.
Kramer brings a sophisticated understanding of our contemporary world. . . . [He] addresses the issues of individual and social actions and results again and again in a way that seeks a creative middle way between the self-seclusion of a hermit-practitioner and the self-responsibility of a compassionate, nondelusional, lay Buddhist practitioner.
May the wisdom-practice it offers transform the lives of one and all.
— Mu Soeng, Scholar emeritus, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (USA)
I love this book! We haven’t really had a guide to integration that is so specific, practical, and complete before, even after forty- five years of teachers teaching. Whether beginning or after years of immersion, you can learn practical new ways [of] meditative awareness, combined with relational practice. . .
Gregory’s use of language is creative, precise, and moving; his understanding of Dharma often brings tears of recognition and appreciation to my eyes. Anyone who has Dharma sonar can feel that the writing is born of intense meditative practice experience combined with hard-won relational know-how that is integrated with his granular knowledge of early Buddhist psychology. He translates the classic teachings into innovative exercises and explanations that are both powerful and congruent with daily life.
— Trudy Goodman, Founding teacher, InsightLA (USA)
Wise, innovative, clear, and rich, Gregory Kramer’s A Whole-Life
Path brings the traditional Noble Eightfold Path to modern-day life, offering practical and essential methods for how to live our happiest, most wholesome lives right here in the spin of things. Drawing from a lifetime of practice and deep meditative insight, as well as experience in bringing these practices home, Kramer goes right to the heart of the matter. . . . Especially in our time of uncertainty and groundlessness, this book is a must-read for all who are looking for a clear path toward happiness, wellbeing, and sanity—no matter what.
— Devon Hase, Couthor of How Not to Be a Hot Mess: A Survival Guide for Modern Life
[A] wonderful resource for anyone who sincerely aspires to live a life that is dedicated to the path to awakening. . . . Kramer urges us to apply the teachings to all aspects of our modern life and examine not only our inner world, but also our relationships, our community, our society, and the planet in the light of the Dhamma.
His presentation of the teachings—insightful and filled with compassion—also includes many practice suggestions that make it an invaluable and trustworthy practice guide on the path. Personally, I was inspired by the holistic vision that this book offers and touched by the humanness and devotion to the Dhamma that come through.
— Yuka Nakamura, Teacher, Meditation Center Beatenberg (Switzerland), Insight Meditation Center (USA), and Bodhi College (UK)
Somewhere along the way we . . . decided we could neatly parcel the Dhamma up and pack it away into a retreat or a method or a tradition. Those of us who look for inspiration and wisdom to the Buddha’s teachings are by no means immune to such a response; we too easily imagine that we can solve the problem just by quoting a sutta. Which is where this book steps in.
Gregory Kramer is not one to settle for easy answers or to shy away from the complexities of the real world application of the theory. When reading his words, I found myself wanting to talk with him, to engage in his ideas. The spiritual path is strange and even, after all this time, largely unknowable. But if we take a good book like this one with us, the journey becomes a little less lonely.
— Sujato, Cofounder, SuttaCentral
A Whole-Life Path is an invitation to practice the depth of the Dharma in a way that is refreshingly personal, as well as precise. Gregory Kramer . . . points directly to the truth of our relatedness, which is just the medicine needed for our beautiful and troubled world.
This treasured book points to a way of life that is holistic, just as awareness and the Path are holistic. What touches me most about this timely offering is that when I soak up the pages, it is experiential. I feel the mystery, power, and truth of what it means to be human—not just the idea of relationship, but an experience of the field through which we awaken.
A Whole-Life Path is a friend for the journey, pointing to the freedom our hearts seek, guiding us to touch this right here in the middle of it all. Read it slowly, read it with friends if you can, and savor each wise page.
— Erin Treat, Guiding teacher, Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center (USA); teacher council member, Spirit Rock Meditation Center (USA)
Gregory Kramer has written a must-read, comprehensive book that gives the reader the historical framework for one of the most fundamental teachings in Buddhism, the Eightfold Path, as well as showing us the relevance of these ancient teachings in our incredibly tenuous social, racial, political and global climate of this decade.
I deeply appreciate the flow, meditation, and reflective exercises, as well as Kramer’s depth of lived and studied experience. I will gladly add this book to my repertoire of recommendations for both the beginner and experienced practitioner alike.
— JoAnna Hardy, Dharma teacher
Reading this book gave me a deeper appreciation for the teachings of the Buddha. As I read, my heart welled up with enthusiasm for the opportunity to take a more thorough look at these eight areas of my life. It was wonderful how Gregory would connect these precious teachings to the challenges we are experiencing in this day and age—individual and social injustices, unconscious biases, and a need for greater compassion, including for the earth itself.
As a woman, mother, grandmother, and biracial person of color, the concerns I have for humanity were given respect. Even for those who have been “on the path” for what seems a long time, I found this book offers an opportunity to up-level one’s practice in new ways.
— Kamala Masters, Cofounder, Maui Dharma Sanctuary (USA); guiding teacher, Insight Meditation Society (USA)
If you want to understand the Buddhist Eightfold Path, illuminated in wise, clear, practical ways and a modern perspective, A Whole-Life Path will serve you well. Working with real problems, ranging from climate change to intimate relationship, Gregory Kramer shows how the core teachings can be a guide to wisdom and wellbeing in every part of life.
— Jack Kornfield, Author of A Path With Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life