There are many famous meditation teachers in 2021. But who is the best meditation teacher in the world? I mean, obviously, I personally give the best meditation lessons of all time. I think we can all agree on that. But excluding myself, who are the best meditation teachers in the world?
Since the mindfulness industry exploded in 2019 and everyone and their mom became a meditation instructor, we’ve all been spoiled when it comes to getting our mindfulness sessions.
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, rather than people who are popular on Instagram or people who are famous just because they’re pretty cool (sorry, Gabby Bernstein and DDP). No, this list is about people who truly are the very best famous meditation teachers in the world. Let’s take a look.
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 makes Thich Nhat Hanh one of the most famous meditation teachers of all time is the way that 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 be more mindful. 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 Jabat Zinn changed the way we approach mindfulness in the West, and was one of the pioneers who made meditative practices scientific and brought the into the healthcare field.
The author of several of the best meditation books, including Wherever You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat Zinn made meditation accessible in the West and introduced us to many new techniques such as 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 form, 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 favourite, The Revolutionary Art Of Happiness. Definitely one of the most popular meditation instructors in the world.
4: Pema Chodron
American Tibetan Buddhist Pema Choron 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 top meditation teachers in the world.
5: Jack Kornfield
Bestselling American author and Vipassana meditation teacher in American Theravada Buddhism, Jack Kornfield 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, and was trained 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 leant 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 top meditation instructor 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.