Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

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

Author Quotes

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.

Not being aggressive with our actions our speech or our minds. Learning not to cause harm to ourselves or other is a basic Buddhist teaching.

Others will always show you exactly where you are stuck. They say or do something and you automatically get hooked into a familiar way of reacting?shutting down, speeding up, or getting all worked up. When you react in the habitual way, with anger, greed, and so forth, it gives you a chance to see your patterns and work with them honestly and compassionately. Without others provoking you, you remain ignorant of your painful habits and cannot train in transforming them into the path of awakening.

Refraining is the method for getting to know the nature of this restlessness and fear. It's the method for settling into groundlessness. if we immediately entertain ourselves by talking, by acting, by thinking- if there's never any pause- we will never be able to relax.

Suffering comes from wishing things were different. Misery a self-inflicted, when we are expecting the ?ideal? to overcome the ?actual,? or needing things (or people, or places) to be different for us so we can then be happy.

Be generous with your joy. Be generous with your insights and delights.

Cool loneliness allows us to look honestly and without aggression at our own minds. We can gradually drop our ideals of who we think we ought to be, or who we think we want to be, or who we think other people think we want to be or ought to be. WE give it up and just look directly with compassion and humor at who we are. then loneliness is no threat and heartache no punishment.

Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves is the path of the warrior.

If your mind is expansive and unfettered, you will find yourself in a more accommodating world, a place that?s endlessly interesting and alive. That quality isn?t inherent in the place but in your state of mind.

It is possible to move through the drama of our lives without believing so earnestly in the character that we play. That we take ourselves so seriously, that we are so absurdly important in our own minds, is a problem for us. We feel justified in being annoyed with everything. We feel justified in denigrating ourselves or in feeling that we are more clever than other people. Self-importance hurts us, limiting us to the narrow world of our likes and dislikes. We end up bored to death with ourselves and our world. We end up never satisfied.

Making good use of our limited time - the limited time from birth to death, as well as our limited time each day - is the key to developing inner steadiness and calm.

Not causing harm obviously includes not killing or robbing or lying to people. It also includes not being aggressive?not being aggressive with our actions, our speech, or our minds. Learning not to cause harm to ourselves or others is a basic Buddhist teaching on the healing power of nonaggression. Not harming ourselves or others in the beginning, not harming ourselves or others in the middle, and not harming ourselves or others in the end is the basis of enlightened society.

Our habitual patterns are, of course, well established, seductive, and comforting. Just wishing for them to be ventilated isn?t enough. Mindfulness and awareness are key. Do we see the stories that we?re telling ourselves and question their validity? When we are distracted by a strong emotion, do we remember that it is part of our path? Can we feel the emotion and breathe it into our hearts for ourselves and everyone else? If we can remember to experiment like this even occasionally, we are training as a warrior. And when we can?t practice when distracted but know that we can?t, we are still training well. Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what?s going on.

Refraining is the quality of not grabbing for entertainment the minute we feel a slight edge of boredom coming on. It's the practice of not immediately filling up space just because there's a gap.

That's when our understanding goes deeper, when we find that the present moment is a pretty vulnerable place and that this can be completely unnerving and completely tender at the same time.

Be grateful to everyone is about making peace with the aspects of ourselves that we have rejected... If we were to make a list of people we don't like - people we find obnoxious, threatening, or worthy of contempt - we would discover much about those aspects of ourselves that we can't face... other people trigger the karma that we haven't worked out.

Determination means to use every challenge you meet as an opportunity to open your heart and soften, determined to not withdraw.

Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us.

In any case, the point is not to try to get rid of thoughts, but rather to see their true nature. Thoughts will run us around in circles if we buy into them, but really they are like dream images. They are like an illusion = not really all that solid. They are , as we say, just thinking.

It?s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately fill up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness.

Maybe the most important teaching is to lighten up and relax. It?s such a huge help in working with our crazy mixed-up minds to remember that what we?re doing is unlocking a softness that is in us and letting it spread. We?re letting it blur the sharp corners of self-criticism and complaint.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown
Birth Date

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