like Zen, Pema Chodron's interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism takes
the form of a nontheistic spiritualism. In When Things Fall Apart
this head of a Tibetan monastery in Canada outlines some relevant
and deceptively profound terms of Tibetan Buddhism that are germane
to modern issues. The key to all of these terms is accepting that in
the final analysis, life is groundless. By letting go, we free
ourselves to face fear and obstacles and offer ourselves
unflinchingly to others. The graceful, conversational tone of Chodron's writing gives the impression of sitting on a pillow across
from her, listening to her everyday examples of Buddhist wisdom.
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.
An American Buddhist nun and author , Chodron advises a loving
kindness toward oneself and awakening a compassionate attitude
toward our pain and the pain of others. The readings allow us to
reconnect with a truth already known or to find a new way of looking
at everyday chaos. Throughout, we are shown basic Buddhist beliefs
and given instructions in discovering one's true nature through
asking questions, facing one's fears, and dealing with the present.
Drawn from traditional Buddhist wisdom, Pema Chödrön's radical and
compassionate advice for what to do when things fall apart in our
lives goes against the grain of our usual habits and expectations.
There is only one approach to suffering that is of lasting benefit,
Pema teaches, and that approach involves moving toward painful
situations with friendliness and curiosity, relaxing into the
essential groundlessness of our entire situation. It is there, in
the midst of chaos, that we can discover the truth and love that are
The author says that awareness through meditation can teach us what
is true, even when the truth is painful or disorienting. Usually we
fight with uncomfortable emotion or act it out in habitual ways; we
want things on our own terms and don't want to think about how they
This book is highly recommended by our Book Group.
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