Pema Chodron

Pema Chödrön was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936, in New York City. She attended Miss Porter’s School in Connecticut and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught as an elementary school teacher for many years in both New Mexico and California. Pema has two children and three grandchildren.

While in her mid-thirties, Pema traveled to the French Alps and encountered Lama Chime Rinpoche, with whom she studied for several years. She became a novice nun in 1974 while studying with Lama Chime in London. His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa came to England at that time, and Pema received her ordination from him.

Pema first met her root teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in 1972. Lama Chime encouraged her to work with Rinpoche, and it was with him that she ultimately made her most profound connection, studying with him from 1974 until his death in 1987. At the request of the Sixteenth Karmapa, she received the full monastic ordination in the Chinese lineage of Buddhism in 1981 in Hong Kong.

Pema served as the director of Karma Dzong, in Boulder, until moving in 1984 to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to be the director of Gampo Abbey. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche asked her to work towards the establishment of a monastery for western monks and nuns.

Pema currently teaches in the United States and Canada and plans for an increased amount of time in solitary retreat under the guidance of Venerable Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche.

Pema is interested in helping establish the monastic tradition in the West, as well in continuing her work with Buddhists of all traditions, sharing ideas and teachings. She has written several books: “The Wisdom of No Escape”, “Start Where You Are”, “When Things Fall Apart”, “The Places that Scare You”, “No Time to Lose” and “Practicing Peace in Times of War”, and most recently, “Smile at Fear”. All are available from Shambhala Publications.

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Simple Reminders by Pema Chodron

Amazing Quotes by Pema Chodron

If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher. ~Pema Chodron (4)

Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth. ~Pema Chodron (47)

The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves. ~Pema Chodron (33)

The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently. ~Pema Chodron (-75)

Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look. ~Pema Chodron (-42)

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. ~Pema Chodron (7)

When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. ~Pema Chodron (-86)

As long as our orientation is toward perfection or success, we will never learn about unconditional friendship with ourselves, nor will we find compassion. ~Pema Chodron (-30)

The greatest obstacle to connecting with our joy is resentment. ~Pema Chodron (41)

The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new. ~Pema Chodron (26)

We work on ourselves in order to help others, but also we help others in order to work on ourselves. ~Pema Chodron (4)

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. ~Pema Chodron (37)

Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. ~Pema Chodron (19)

When we scratch the wound and give into our addictions we do not allow the wound to heal. ~Pema Chodron (15)

It isn't the things that happen to us in our lives that cause us to suffer, it's how we relate to the things that happen to us that causes us to suffer. ~Pema Chodron (-26)

A further sign of health is that we don't become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it's time to stop struggling and look directly at what's threatening us. ~Pema Chodron (-58)