Synopses & Reviews
The beautiful practicality of her teaching has made Pema Chödrön one of the most beloved of contemporary American spiritual authors among Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. A collection of talks she gave between 1987 and 1994, the book is a treasury of wisdom for going on living when we are overcome by pain and difficulties. Chödrön discusses:
• Using painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and courage
• Communicating so as to encourage others to open up rather than shut down
• Practices for reversing habitual patterns
• Methods for working with chaotic situations
• Ways for creating effective social action
"Pema Chodron, a student of Chogyam Trunpa Rinpoche and Abbot of Gampo Abbey, has written the Tibetan Buddhist equivalent of Harold Kushner's famous book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. As the author indicates in the postscript to her book: 'We live in difficult times. One senses a possibility they may get worse.' Consequently, Chodron's book is filled with useful advice about how Buddhism helps readers to cope with the grim realities of modern life, including fear, despair, rage and the feeling that we are not in control of our lives. Through reflections on the central Buddhist teaching of right mindfulness, Chodron orients readers and gives them language with which to shape their thinking about the ordinary and extraordinary traumas of modern life. But, most importantly, Chodron demonstrates how effective the Buddhist point of view can be in bringing order into disordered lives." Publishers Weekly
"As one of Pema Chödrön's grateful students, I have been learning the most pressing and necessary lessons of all: how to keep opening wider my own heart." Alice Walker
"There are few Dharma voices as clear as Pema Chodron's, and few people who know more about things falling apart than mothers." Tricycle Magazine
An American Buddhist teacher reveals the secret to happiness in the midst of life's difficulties. Pema Chodron shows that the secret to freeing ourselves from pain is not to run away from it, but to step right into the uncharted territory of difficulty with friendliness and curiosity and to relax with the groundlessness of our condition — however difficult it may be.
How can we go on living "when things fall apart" when we are overcome by pain, fear, and anxiety? Pema Chödrön's answer to that question contains some spectacularly good news: there is a fundamental happiness readily available to each one of us, no matter how difficult things seem to be. But to find it, we must learn to stop running from suffering, and instead actually learn to approach it fearlessly, compassionately, and with curiosity. This radical practice enables us to use all situations, even very painful ones, as means for discovering the truth and love that are utterly indestructible.
About the Author
Pema Chödrön is a bhikshuni, or Buddhist nun in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition. Since her ordination in 1974, Ane Pema ("Ane" is a Tibetan honorific for a nun) has conducted workshops, seminars, and meditation re-treats in Europe, Australia, and throughout North America. She is the director of Gampo Abbey, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery for monks and nuns in North America. Pema Chödrön is also an acharya (master teacher) in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. She is the author of The Wisdom of No Escape; Start Where You Are; and When Things Fall Apart.