A Few Great Moments with Pema Chödrön

Reflecting on Pema Chödrön’s 80th birthday, I thought I would share a few inspiring, heart-opening teachings. I was fortunate to do a Dathun (month-long sit) in mostly silence with Pema in the Winter of 1991, with a two dozen students. I never felt the month was long since we were joined by a few monastics who were preparing for a three-year retreat.

Pema taught from Atisha’s lojong (“mind training”) slogans based on the bookicon The Great Path of Awakening by the 19th century Tibetan Teacher Jamgön Kongtrül the Great.

“When I first read the lojong (“mind training”) I was struck by their unusual message that we can use our difficulties and problems to awaken our hearts. Rather than seeing the unwanted aspects of life as obstacles, Jamgön Kongtrül presented them as the raw material necessary for awakening genuine uncontrived compassion.”  – Pema Chödrön

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Below, sharing a few videos from Pema that I hope you will enjoy and benefit from.

Understanding Hard Times


The path of awakening has to include all of our experiences—both pleasurable and painful. In the face of adversity, can we keep from losing heart and instead use it to strengthen our compassion? And when life is going well, is it okay for us just to enjoy it? In this clip, Pema Chödrön expands on ancient wisdom for using the vicissitudes of life to help ourselves and develop compassion for others.

Aspiring to Open-Heartedness


The path of the bodhisattva presents us with many challenging ideals—for example, we’re encouraged to feel compassion for anyone who’s harmed us. In this clip, Pema Chödrön shares how we can be kind to ourselves as we practice opening our hearts at the very moment we feel least inclined to do so.

On Never Losing Heart


The path of awakening has to include all of our experiences—both pleasurable and painful. In the face of adversity, can we keep from losing heart and instead use it to strengthen our compassion? And when life is going well, is it okay for us just to enjoy it? In this clip, Pema Chödrön expands on ancient wisdom for using the vicissitudes of life to help ourselves and develop compassion for others.

On Being Present with Yourself

And three more of my very favorites:

 

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