Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

American Buddhist Nun, Author and Teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist Lineage

Author Quotes

This process of experiencing laziness directly and nonverbally is transformative. It unlocks a tremendous energy that is usually blocked by our habit of running away. This is because when we stop resisting laziness, our identity as the one who is lazy begins to fall apart completely. Without the blinders of ego, we connect with a fresh outlook, a greater vision. This is how laziness?or any other demon?introduces us to the compassionate life.

We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we're doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we're doing.

What is the lesson in this wind? What is the storm trying to tell you? What will you learn if you face it with courage? With full honesty and ? lean into it.

When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we don?t know what?s really going to happen. When we think something is going to give us misery, we don?t know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. We try to do what we think is going to help. But we don?t know. We never know if we?re going to fall flat or sit up tall. When there?s a big disappointment, we don?t know if that?s the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don?t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don?t know.

You are the sky. Everything else ? it?s just the weather.

The idea is to develop sympathy for your own confusion.

The Truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen.

Through formal meditation... we begin to get the hang of not indulging or repressing and of what it feels like to let the energy just be there. That is why it's so good to meditate every single day and continue to make friends with our hopes and fears again and again.

We can step into uncharted territory and relax with the groundlessness of our situation; [we can] dissolve the dualistic tension between us and them, this and that, good and bad, by inviting in what we usually avoid. My teacher described this as leaning into the sharp points.

What we hate in ourselves, we?ll hate in others. To the degree that we have compassion for ourselves, we will also have compassion for others. Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don?t even want to look at. Compassion isn?t some kind of self-improvement project or ideal that we?re trying to live up to.

When we touch the center of sorrow, when we sit with discomfort without trying to fix it, when we stay present to the pain of disapproval or betrayal and let it soften us, these are times that we connect with bohdichitta.

You could endlessly try to have suffering cease by dealing with outer circumstances?and that?s usually what all of us do. It is the usual approach; you just try to solve the outer problem again and again and again. But the Buddha said something quite revolutionary, which most of us don?t really buy: if you work with your mind, you will alleviate all the suffering that seems to come from the outside. When something is bothering you?a person is bugging you, a situation is irritating you, or physical pain is troubling you?you must work with your mind, and that is done through meditation. Working with our minds is the only means through which we?ll actually begin to feel happy and contented with the world that we live in.

The meditation technique itself cultivate precision, gentleness, and the ability to let go - qualities that are innate within us.

The very first noble truth of the Buddha points out that suffering is inevitable for human beings as long as we believe that things last?that they don?t disintegrate, that they can be counted on to satisfy our hunger for security.

Throughout my life, until this very moment, whatever virtue I have accomplished, including any benefit that may come from this book, I dedicate to the welfare of all beings.

We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves. Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That's the ground, that's what we study, that's what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.

What you do for yourself- any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture of honesty, will affect how you experience your world.

When we've seen ourselves completely, there's a stillness of body that is like a mountain.

You must learn to sit with the restless, painful energy and not let the momentum pull you under and cause you to do the same thing over and over that's ruining your life and the lives of those around you.

Basically, we're continually opening further, learning more , connecting further with the depths of human suffering and human wisdom, coming to know both those elements thoroughly and completely and becoming more loving and compassionate people.

Compassionate action, compassionate speech, is not a one-shot deal; it's a lifetime journey.

Get used to the feeling of falling.

If you have rage and righteously act it out and blame it all on others, it's really you who suffers. The other people and the environment suffer also, but you suffer more because you're being eaten up inside with rage, causing you to hate yourself more and more

It is part of being alive, something we all share. We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold on to. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.

Love and compassion are like the weak spots in the walls of ego. They are like a naturally occurring opening. And they are the opening we take. If we connect with even one moment of good heart or compassion and cherish it, our ability to open will gradually expand. Beginning to tune into even the minutest feelings of compassion or appreciation or gratitude softens us. It allows us to touch in with the noble heart of bodhicitta on the spot.

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Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown
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American Buddhist Nun, Author and Teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist Lineage