Skip to main content
US Macmillan Tradebooks for Courses

The Road Home

A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path

Ethan Nichtern; Foreword by Sharon Salzberg

North Point Press

The Road Home Download image

ISBN10: 0374536716
ISBN13: 9780374536718

Trade Paperback

288 Pages



Request Desk Copy
Request Exam Copy


Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.

Sign up now

Do you feel at home right now? Or do you sense a hovering anxiety or uncertainty, an underlying unease that makes you feel just a bit uncomfortable, a bit distracted and disconnected from those around you?

In The Road Home, Ethan Nichtern, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, investigates the journey each of us takes to find where we belong. Drawing from contemporary research on meditation and mindfulness and his experience as a Buddhist teacher and practitioner, Nichtern describes in fresh and deeply resonant terms the basic existential experience that gives rise to spiritual seeking—and also to its potentially dangerous counterpart, spiritual materialism. He reveals how our individual quests for self-awareness ripple forward into relationships, communities, and society at large. And he explains exactly how, by turning our awareness to what's happening around us and inside us, we become able to enhance our sense of connection with others and, at the same time, change for the better our individual and collective patterns of greed, apathy, and inattention.
In this wise and witty invitation to Buddhist meditation, Nichtern shows how, in order to create a truly compassionate and enlightened society, we must start with ourselves. And this means beginning by working with our own minds—in whatever state we find them in.


Praise for The Road Home

"Nichtern lays out a relatable account of the contemporary 'commuter,' who struggles to find a sense of home and moves through life with her eyes fixated on an ambiguous 'elsewhere.' Nichtern's book offers compassionate, practical, and largely secular guidance rooted in his Buddhist practice. In an age of increasing fragmentation and restlessness, Nichtern offers accessible antidotes to everyday feelings of disorientation, distraction, and dissatisfaction. The Road Home ends with a stirring call to action on the global scale, emphasizing the ethical duties of the modern-day Buddhist."—Vice

"Grounded in compassion, Nichtern's teaching offers a profound, lucid, and complex education in self-awareness, interdependence, and enlightenment.”—Publishers Weekly

“A wise, humane, and deeply sympathetic introduction to the practice of Buddhism . . . Those wondering what Buddhism is all about will find plenty to think about in these pages, which make for a gentle and user-friendly invitation to explore further . . . Thoughtful and helpful alike.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Makes ancient Buddhist teachings and texts approachable, contemporary, and relevant . . . Valuable for readers looking for an introduction to Buddhist teachings as they relate to meditation practice or for those searching for ways to live their lives in the here and now.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“A beautiful guide and invitation to a sane life. Refreshingly straightforward, accessible, skillful and kind.”—Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart

“Ethan Nichtern is as gifted and compassionate a teacher in writing as he is in person. In The Road Home, he proposes that we move past our destructive repetitive patterns not by shellacking over sadness or anger or fear with some sort of enlightened-guru positivity but by accepting them, in all their contours, as an inevitable part of what makes us human. I've dog-eared my copy so thoroughly, it's swollen to twice its normal size.”—Maud Newton

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt



Accepting Your Own Friend Request

Meditation has become incredibly popular. Well, at least popular in theory. Aspects of Buddhist meditation have already had a profound influence on a wide swath of...

About the author

Ethan Nichtern; Foreword by Sharon Salzberg

Ethan Nichtern is a Shastri, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, and the author of One City: A Declaration of Interdependence. He is also the founder of the Interdependence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to Buddhist-inspired meditation and psychology, integral activism, mindful arts, and meaningful media. Nichtern has taught meditation and Buddhist psychology classes in New York and around the country for the last ten years.

©Marissa Dutton