Quote Archives: Pema Chödron

Remaining stuck in the repetitious habit of escalating our dissatisfaction ~ Pema Chödron

Suffering and Happiness We look for happiness in all the wrong places. The Buddha called this habit “mistaking suffering for happiness.” We become habituated to reaching for something to ease the edginess of the moment. Thus we become less and less able to reside with even the most fleeting uneasiness or discomfort. What begins as […]

Realizing that we are never alone ~ Pema Chödron

When things fall apart and we can’t get the pieces back together, when we lose something dear to us, when the whole thing is just not working and we don’t know what to do, this is the time when the natural warmth of tenderness, the warmth of empathy and kindness, are just waiting to be […]

Extricating ourselves from positive obstacles ~ Pema Chödron

When someone is angry with us, it might remind us to meditate on patience. When we get sick, our suffering can put us in touch with the pain of others. When things go well, however, our mind easily accepts this. Like oil absorbing into our skin, attachment to favorable circumstances blends smoothly and invisibly into […]

Just being here again and again and again ~ Pema Chödron

It is never too late for any of us to look at our minds. We can always sit down and allow the space for anything to arise. Sometimes we have a shocking experience of ourselves. Sometimes we try to hide. Sometimes we have a surprising experience of ourselves. Often we get carried away. Without judging, […]

Difficult relationships ~ Pema Chödron

But often it is a seemingly irresolvable relationship that teaches us the most, once we’re willing to be vulnerable and honest, once we’re willing to connect with what Chogyam Trungpa called “the genuine heart of sadness.” As warriors in training we do our best to hold the person in our heart without any hypocrisy. One […]

The essence of generosity ~ Pema Chödron

The essence of generosity is letting go. Pain is always a sign that we are holding on to something — usually ourselves. When we feel unhappy, when we feel inadequate, we get stingy; we hold on tight. Generosity is an activity that loosens us up. By offering whatever we can — a dollar, a flower, […]

Becoming unstuck ~ Pema Chödron

We hear a lot about the pain of samsara, and we also hear about liberation. But we don’t hear much about how painful it is to go from being completely stuck to becoming unstuck. The process of becoming unstuck requires tremendous bravery, because basically we are completely changing our way of perceiving reality, like changing […]

Always Maintain Only a Joyful Mind ~ Pema Chödron

Constantly apply cheerfulness, if for no other reason than because you are on this spiritual path. Have a sense of gratitude to everything, even difficult emotions, because of their potential to wake you up. Pema Chödron

Staying with the discomfort of a situation ~ Pema Chödron

Difficult things provoke all your irritations and bring your habitual patterns to the surface. And that becomes the moment of truth. You have the choice to launch into your lousy habitual patterns, or to stay with the rawness and discomfort of the situation and let it transform you. Pema Chödron

No fresh air ~ Pema Chödron

We think that if we just meditated enough or jogged enough or ate the perfect food, everything would be perfect. But from the view of someone who is awake, that’s death. Seeking security or perfection, rejoicing in feeling confirmed and whole, self-contained and comfortable, is some kind of death. It doesn’t have any fresh air. […]

What is in front of us right in the moment ~ Pema Chödron

We’re always in some kind of mood. It might be sadness, it might be anger, it might be not much of anything, just a kind of blur. It might be humor or contentment. In any case, whatever it is, that’s the path. When something hurts in life, we don’t usually think of it as our […]

We Have a Choice ~ Pema Chödron

We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can’t relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, and unbiased. Pema Chödron

Don’t Set Out to Save the World ~ Pema Chödron

When we are training in the art of peace, we are not given any promises that, because of our noble intentions, everything will be okay. In fact, there are no promises of fruition at all. Instead, we are encouraged to simply look deeply at joy and sorrow, at laughing and crying, at hoping and fearing, […]

The key instruction ~ Pema Chödron

The key instruction is to stay in the present. Don’t get caught up in hopes of what you’ll achieve and how good your situation will be some day in the future. What you do right now is what matters. Pema Chödron

The mandala of our life ~ Pema Chödron

Each person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life. We enter a room, and the room is our mandala. We get on the subway, and the subway car is our […]

Only in our own experience ~ Pema Chödron

Listening to talks about the dharma, or the teachings of Buddha, or practicing meditation is nothing other than studying ourselves. Whether we’re eating or working or meditating or listening or talking, the reason that we’re here in this world at all is to study ourselves. In fact, it has been said that studying ourselves provides […]

The most important requirements for a teacher ~ Pema Chödron

The most important requirements for a teacher are to know you well, see where you’re holding on, and be able to create circumstances that highlight your grasping. Situations emerge that allow you to see where you’re stuck. Because it’s happening with your dharma teacher, you don’t run away when you’re insulted or uncomfortable, and that’s […]

Beginning to trust in your basic goodness ~ Pema Chödron

The teacher serves as a mirror but also encourages your ability to trust in yourself. You begin to trust in your basic goodness instead of identifying with your neurosis. There’s a shift of allegiance. Then the obstacles begin to seem temporary, and what’s permanent is the wisdom. To the degree that you become intimate with […]

Just as we are ~ Pema Chödron

While we are sitting in meditation, we are simply exploring humanity and all of creation in the form of ourselves. We can become the world’s greatest experts on anger, jealousy, and self-deprecation, as well as on joyfulness, clarity, and insight. Everything that human beings feel, we feel. We can become extremely wise and sensitive to […]

Cultivating equanimity ~ Pema Chödron

Training in equanimity is learning to open the door to all, welcoming all beings, inviting life to come visit. Of course, as certain guests arrive, we’ll feel fear and aversion. We allow ourselves to open the door just a crack if that’s all that we can presently do, and we allow ourselves to shut the […]