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Practicing Peace in Times of War: A Buddhist Perspective [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Pema Chodron
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 29 2006
“War and peace begin in the hearts of individuals,” declares Pema Chödrön at the opening of her inspiring and accessible new book. In Practicing Peace in Times of War she draws on Buddhist teachings to explore the origins of aggression and war, explaining that they lie nowhere but within our own hearts and minds. She goes on to explain that, remarkably, the way in which we as individuals respond to challenges in our everyday lives can mean the difference between perpetuating a culture of violence or creating a new culture of compassion.

With war and violence flaring all over the world, from Iraq to Darfur to London, most of us are left feeling utterly helpless. In this audiobook Pema Chödrön insists that our world will begin to change when each of us, one by one, begins to work for peace at the level of our own behavior, our own habits of thought and action. It’s never too late, she tells us, to look within and discover a new way of living.

Practicing Peace in Times of War is a short, pithy, and profound work that includes practical strategies for cultivating the seeds of peace and compassion amid life’s upsets and challenges.

Readers who appreciate Pema Chödrön’s books will be delighted to listen to her warm and encouraging voice. The book Practicing Peace in Times of War is based on six of Pema Chödrön’s public talks, and we are proud to present them to you here, in this audio edition.

2 CDs, 1 1/2 hours.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This gifty little book by the American Buddhist nun Chödrön is a solid reinforcement of what she has been saying for many years and in many books. Here, her focus is on the relationship between aggression within and the aggression that fuels war. Chödrön begins with some disquieting observations, such as that we can all be fundamentalists—that is, self-righteous and closed-minded—and that peace demonstrators are not terribly peaceful. Like other Buddhist teachers on the subject of political action, she sees a direct connection between what is in the heart and expressed in outward actions. She teaches how to stop the reflexive and habitual emotional reaction to perceived hostility through patience, pausing, breathing. It's not easy, but it is simple. Chödrön is also provocative: insecurity has a positive function, she suggests, so don't run away from it. Some of what this skillful teacher says is almost too simple or underexplained, which can happen when a talk becomes a book, as is the case here. "Don't spin off" is a condensed instruction that is a little too condensed. While it may intrigue beginners, this book will be a better gift for those who are already familiar with Chödrön's body of work. (Sept. 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“A solid reinforcement on how to stop the reflexive and habitual emotional reaction to perceived hostility through patience, pausing, and breathing. It’s not easy, but it is simple.”—Publishers Weekly

“In her timely new book, Pema Chödrön offers her insights on the origins of world conflict. Anger originates in our own hearts, she asserts, not on the battlefield. Only by checking our aggression on a personal level can we hope to sow the seeds of peace.”—Body & Soul 



"Pema Chödrön's writings have been helpful to countless people trying to find some ground for their being in this chaotic world."—Bill Moyers --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little classic of straight-talking compassion Jan. 6 2008
By Brian Griffith TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Choderon's books keep getting shorter and clearer. Here she gives a little classic of straight-talking compassion. In a world obsessed with finding security, she speaks of living with "positive insecurity". In a simple, honest way she demonstrates how to cultivate our own peace step by step, and why it matters so much:

"If we arn't training inch by inch, one moment at a time, in overcoming our fear of pain, then we'll be very limited in how much we can help. We'll be limited in helping ourselves, and limited in helping anyone else. So, let;s start with ourselves just as we are, here and now." (p. 78)

--author of A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization
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4.0 out of 5 stars Particularly Good Discussion of "Attachment" Feb. 9 2009
Format:Audio CD
I have been through this book twice now, and envision turning to it several more times -- perhaps just particular parts that I feel slip out of my brain too easily.

Her discussion of shenpa is particularly excellent. This Tibetan word, usually translated as attachment, is uncovered in detail with humorous and helpful stories. Shenpa is that experience of tightening we feel when someone says something that pushes one of our buttons or triggers our anger, or touches a soft spot, etc, and is the source of a lot of conflict.

Pema Chodron gives a few suggested practices for dealing with the experience and I have to say I find them both simple and challenging.

What would our family and community life be like if more people were introduced to these ideas and agreed to be more mindful about practicing them? I can't imagine, but would love to see it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A potentially life-changing book Sept. 21 2006
By Donna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I must respectfully disagree with the reviewer who said this book is only good if you are familiar with the author's other work. I was attracted to this book by the title as it was sitting and calling out to me on the new books table at my local bookstore. I looked at the back flap and recognized the author from an interview she did with Bill Moyers on his recent "Faith and Reason" series.

This little book contains 6 essays edited from speeches the author gave. Each one contains grains of truth that can help you stop reacting in fear and anger to situations around you and instead to embrace patience and refrain from acting (or reacting), thus stopping the chain reaction of violence that seems to be swallowing our world.

Although I am not a Christian, this book seems to reflect the core teachings of Jesus when he advised his disciples to "turn the other cheek," "go the extra mile," and when he encouraged them to realize that the person who needs the most help is our neighbor, not the person we feel most alike.

This book has the potential to change your life (and mine) if we simply read the text and allow its messages to sink into our hearts.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The courage to just be Nov. 20 2006
By Neal J. Pollock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This small book (95 small format pages of text) reflects Pema's prior works. It contains 6 of her lectures edited by Sandy Boucher (author of "Dancing in the Dharma" & "Turning the Wheel"). The chapter titles are provocative (e.g. "Compassionate Abiding & Positive Insecurity"), but the Table of Contents is numbered incorrectly (the small Roman numerals in the T of C are Arabic numbered in the book so each chapter is low by 14 pages in the T of C). As in other books, Pema provides valuable Jarvis Masters' stories from San Quentin, lojong mind training principles (see "Start Where You Are"), & Shenpa or emotional attachment (see "Getting Unstuck" CD set). Her main premises here are that individuals create culture & karma: to change them, change yourself (not unique to Pema), & that mindfulness helps us catch habitual patterns of emotional reaction (often centered on a personal history of attachment & pain avoidance) before they manifest--allowing one to act differently in the present & future. But to succeed one needs patience & fearlessness--p. 44: "learning to sit still with the edginess of the discomforting energy." This is consistent with Frank Herbert's "Dune"--"Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me & through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

Per "Awakening Compassion," Pema invokes Tonglen whereby p. 81: "Your own discomfort can connect you with the aversion & pain of other people & awaken your compassion." Furthermore, with mindfulness p. 80: "We can see our interpretations & our opinions as just that," you can p. 50: "`Lower your standards & relax as it is.' That's a slogan for patience," & p. 50: "I've come to find that patience also has humor & playfulness." This reminds me of Theodore Tilton's poem:

"Once in Persia reigned a king, Who upon his signet ring

Graved a maxim true and wise, Which, if held before his eyes

Gave him counsel at a glance Fit for any change or chance;

Solemn words, and these are they: "Even this shall pass away."

It seems to me that Pema's "patient abiding" parallels Shamatha (calm abiding) like two facets of the same gem. Thus, with patience we can let the thoughts (Shamatha) or issues (patient abiding) dissolve of their own accord--observing the process vs. the content--p. 71: "Becoming intimate with pain is the key to changing at the core of our being--staying open to everything we experience." The courage to just be.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and to the Point Sept. 2 2006
By Michael P. Maslanka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Chodron argues for change one person at a time. To practice peace(a very deliberate verb choice) is to pause and reflect when we are hardwired to go on automatic pilot when others hurt or harm us. Don't seek resolution of potential conflict, just let it happen in the moment. Understand that those who hate harm themselves more than those hated. The book can be read as a stand alone, without any knowledge of Buddhism, although a basic grounding helps. It is simply and clearly written.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasent surprise - we should all read this one Sept. 21 2006
By Kug - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This isnt groundbreaking stuff but then there probably isnt anything left that's groundbreaking. But I was pleasently surprised by this little book. I read it in two nights, about used up a highlighter and the central premise is worth all of us trying. That is dont go for the 'hook' in life. When you find yourself angry, irritated or frustrated be quiet and look for the 'hook' what is it that has you acting that way. Not all that new an idea but presented in a simple, easy to understand way that is a message for all of us. In these times of war we need peace and it will always begin in our hearts. The 'hook' think about it next time.

Good read ...
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practicing Peace -- Really Jan. 21 2007
By W. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
With so much discussion and dispute about what it will take to bring peace to Iraq and other troubled places in the world today, it is hard to believe that a tiny book of barely 100 pages could even begin to offer an answer. It suggests no commitment of troops or dollars, no complicated strategy, and no national policy. The answer is not easy, and because it requires individual, personal commitment, it may not make headlines. With disarming clarity, Pema Chodron provides a plan that is so practical and so down to earth that it is probably irrefutable.

What can one person do to bring about peace? This book answers the question. I've considered carrying extra copies of the book to give to friends and strangers: maybe this review will encourage you in some way to pick up a copy for yourself.
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