There are many famous meditation teachers and gurus in the world. But who is the best meditation teacher of them all?
I mean, obviously, I myself am the best private meditation teacher ever. I think we can all agree on that. But excluding myself, who are the best meditation teachers in the world?
When the mindfulness industry exploded in 2019, everyone and their mom became a meditation instructor. Now, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to mindfulness teachers.
However, there are some meditation gurus who are just so darned inspirational that I had to include them in this list.
I’ve intentionally made this list about people who genuinely know their stuff. You know, gurus. You won’t find Instagram celebrities on her. Nor people who are famous just cause they’re kinda cool (sorry, Gabby Bernstein and DDP). No, this list is about people who truly are the absolute best famous meditation teachers in the world.
The Best Famous Meditation Teachers
1: Thich Nhat Hanh (of Plum Village)
In my opinion, Thich Nhat Hanh has one of the most beautiful minds ever. He is the Vietnamese Thien Buddhist monk and activist who founded Plum Village, a global community of mindfulness schools. He wrote many of the world’s best mindfulness books, including the absolute must-read Peace In Every Step.
What made Thich Nhat Hanh one of the most famous meditation teachers of all time is the way he translates profound and life-changing wisdom into words that are so simple a 5-year-old could understand them.
If you follow our newsletter, you’ll notice that I often mention Thich Nhat Hanh. That’s because he is such an inspiration to me personally.
I feel like Thich Nhat Hanh could teach anybody in the world to meditate. He just has that ability to communicate important points in layman’s terms. In my opinion, he is the best Buddhist meditation teacher since Buddha.
2: Jon Kabat Zinn
Let me be straight about this. If it were not for Jon Kabat Zinn teaching meditation, the practice would not be as popular or important in the West as it is today.
An American professor emeritus of medicine and the founder of Mindfulness-Based-Stress Reduction, Jon Kabat Zinn changed the way we approach mindfulness in the West. He was one of the pioneers who made meditative practices scientific and brought them into the healthcare field.
Plus, he authored several of the best meditation books, including Wherever You Go, There You Are. Overall, Jon Kabat Zinn made meditation accessible in the West and introduced us to new techniques like Body Scan.
If you use mindfulness to stop stress, you should probably go ahead and thank Jon Kabat Zinn. Because without him the Western world would not have taken meditation as such a serious treatment for stress reduction.
3: Sharon Salzberg
Sharon Salzberg has a truly enlightened approach. She basically goes everywhere and gives meditation lessons to everyone and anyone. Perhaps that’s because she is known for Loving-Kindness, which is a Buddhist method used to cultivate compassion for other people.
Salzberg studied in numerous forms, ranging from Tibetan Buddhism to Theravadin. And she co-founded the Insight Meditation Society , a non-profit organization for the study of Buddhism located in Barre, Massachusetts.
She is best known for her work in the loving-kindness movement. And for her exceptional books, including one of my favourites, The Revolutionary Art of Happiness. Definitely one of the most famous meditation instructors in the world.
4: Pema Chodron
American Tibetan Buddhist Pema Chodron is one of the most famous meditation teachers working in the Buddhist style. She’s also an ordained nun, the former acharya (instructor) of Shambhala Buddhism and disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Her numerous books include the frankly sublime When Things Fall Apart.
What I love most about Pema Chodron is her warm personality and the absolute mastery in which she teaches Buddhist meditation. Truly a leader in the field and one of the best meditation teachers in the world.
5: Jack Kornfield
Jack Kornfield is a bestselling American author and Vipassana meditation teacher in American Theravada Buddhism. He is one of the most famous meditation teachers in the world. He trained in Buddhist meditation as a monk living in Thailand, Burma, and India under Thai Forest master Ajahn Chah and Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma.
My favourite book by Jack Kornfield is The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology.
And those are the world’s best meditation teachers.
I will note that although I didn’t mean to do so I have leaned slightly in favour of Buddhist meditation teachers. Perhaps because there simply are more of them and because of the popularity of Buddhist methods in the West.
I will say, however, that there really is no such thing as the best meditation teacher because it is a personal thing. What truly matters in a meditation teacher is their ability to communicate with you and to inspire you, as an individual, to live mindfully. And it can be impossible to measure that until you get an actual meditation teacher. Speaking of which, here is my guide to finding a meditation teacher.