[joe-frank-list] Jack Kornfield

Justin Kempton justin at kempton.com
Mon Jun 19 09:53:15 PDT 2006

That's a very interesting point. I listen / listened to all three regularly.

All three have left a huge body of work to the public. Frank and Watts 
are available to listen to on many radio stations (online), and also via 
peer to peer. Thanks to Joe Frank, Kornfield is available via proxy of 
Joe's work. Personally, Joe Frank was my bridge into preferring spoken 
word versus music to listen to. That migrated to a brief bit of 
Kornfield, where I bought two of his series. When I ran through all of 
the Joe Frank programs, I discovered Alan Watts since they were 
available online for free at that time.

Alan Watts let's you know right away that he is an entertainer, 
discounting himself as a guru. He talent is the gift of gab, as they 
say, and he is doing it for money. He smoked marijuana fairly regularly 
(but does not advertise this unless you look for it), had tried Acid, 
and was probably active in that. It was San Francisco, and during the 
late 60's after all. There is audio of him with Timothy Leary / Gary 
Snyder / Allen Ginsberg ). More importantly, Watts was a friend of 
Aldous Huxley and was heavily influenced by Krishnamurti. ). Jack 
Kornfield, of the modern west coast neutered drug class, is less open 
about them. He admits to 'shrooms in Boston, on an unspecified date and 
time. Joe Frank seems more into alcohol then pot, like his friend Larry 
and son. Incidentally, You can hear it after awhile, the drug of choice 
is reflected in their style of speech. Watts tends to ramble, especially 
in his later series, it drives my girlfriend crazy.

Jack Kornfield quotes Alan Watts a few times, but not nearly as much as 
Gandhi. Kornfield seems more focused on the Buddhism of Thailand where 
he studied, Theravada*, *whereas Watts is more into Zen (Japan). 
Kornfield tends to splatter his lectures with quotes from all over the 
place, while Watts does not quote as much. This reflects the difference 
between Theravada and Zen. Zen is more about acting spontaneous, whereas 
Theravada is traditional and holds to authority. I think Watts is more 
original. Watt's may very well be a name that get's quoted a thousand 
years from now, he has a wonderful way of expressing his point so you 
understand it immediately. You get the feeling that Watts didn't like or 
trust Gandhi, as the biggest trouble makers can be the heroic selfless 
preachers of good habit. He certainly didn't quote him. Kornfield on the 
other hand quotes Gandhi regularly. This could be historic / and 
regional preference, Watts is British after all, in the older empire sense.

As to the initial point, what does Joe Frank think of Jack Kornfield? I 
always remember Larry accusing Joe of being a form of provocateur, and I 
think there is some truth in that. It seems more like Joe wants to 
incite thought on these things, rather then project one belief or 
another. As to which beliefs he holds, who knows. One gets the feeling, 
after reading and listening to these westernized buddhists, that a world 
of saints would be a dull world. Joe plays Coyote, in the Navajo 
tradition, almost doing the opposite to prove what is good.

Where would the story be if everyone spoke like Jack Kornfield? If 
everyone was careful never to step on an ant let's say, or swat a fly, 
or hurt anyone's feelings. Debi and Larry are real people, with real 
problems (actually, how much of that is true?).. at least within the 
context of the show, Larry and Debi have real problems. It makes for 
very interesting drama, and a story line you can stick to. Kornfield, 
like the rug in the big Lebowski, really ties the room together, but not 
any more or less then Larry or Debi or Joe himself.

As for myself, were it not for the inclusion of Jack Kornfield, I doubt 
I would have kept listening so long, and to such depth.

-Justin Kempton

Jeff Anton wrote:
> Do a web search and you'll find lots of pages.
> The wikipedia entry is pretty good.
> It occurs to me that Alan Watts is like a bridge between
> Jack Kornfield and Joe Frank.  Alan is like Jack in that they
> both were westerners who taught eastern philosophy and did that
> in Marin county California.  Alan is like Joe in that they both
> struggle with alcohol, were radio broadcasters of stories and
> philosophy, and avoided wars.
> This web page is a transcript of a radio broadcast Alan made in the
> 60's or early 70's.  For me, it reads very much like a Joe monolog show.
> http://www.publicappeal.org/library/unicorn/watts/the_value_of_psychotic_experience.htm 
> Jeff Anton
> Sally wrote:
>> Who is Alan Watts?
>> On Jun 19, 2006, at 12:48 AM, Jeff Anton wrote:
>>> It took quite a while for me to stop being annoyed by Jack's voice
>>> in Joe's work.  For me, Jack seems like a pale, monotone and overly
>>> simple version of Alan Watts.  Having heard many of the recordings
>>> of Alan Watts' lectures, Jack puts me to sleep.  Alan's talks and
>>> stories seem very much more like Joe's work to me.  I've also thought
>>> that Joe might have run out of his own point of view.  Joe's early
>>> work was often actors doing some reading with Joe as a kind of
>>> narrator or chorus pointing something out.  When Jack Kornfield
>>> showed up, I felt that Joe deligated the narrator/chorus role to
>>> Jack because so much of those shows are Joe and Frank or Debi on
>>> the phone.
>>> Jeff Anton
>>> Sally wrote:
>>>> I would absolutely love to hear what everyone's take on Jack   
>>>> Kornfield is, and what they think Joe's take on him is.
>>>> I initially regarded them ironically, and assumed Joe was using  
>>>> them  as counterpoint to Debi (who seems after a sense of  
>>>> spiritual  fulfillment) and also sometimes Larry (who seems to  
>>>> misunderstand  Jack completely). But, now I've actually gotten  
>>>> really into them. I  feel like Joe is using them to condemn Debi  
>>>> and Larry's world view.  But, then, does Joe subscribe to Jack's  
>>>> philosophies?
>>>> -- 

More information about the joe-frank-list mailing list