on October 4, 2001
This was the first Pema Chodron book I'd ever read and it was transforming! I was familiar with Buddhist teachings prior to reading this, but found that her book made those sometimes complex teachings very accessible. Don't be scared off if you're not Buddhist, however. The principles here give one a different perspective on life--it's a psychological approach rather than a religious approach. Pema Chodron's THE WISDOM OF NO ESCAPE gave me an excitement about exploring my inner world and helped me to see that wherever I'm at in life is okay--I don't have to struggle against the process of Life. It's a book I've returned to time and again.
on September 8, 2001
"Each of us has all that it takes to become fully enlightened," Pema Chodron writes in this book. "We have basic energy coursing through us. Sometimes it manifests as brilliance and sometimes it manifests as confusion" (p. 22). Chodron's 108-page book is based on a series of "talks" she delivered in the spring of 1989 at Gampo Abbey, a Buddhist monastery in Nova Scotia founded by Chodron's teacher, Chogyam Trungpa. "The message . . . for the reader," Chodron writes in the book's Preface, "is to be with oneself without embarrassment or harshness. This is instruction on how to love oneself and one's world" (p. x).
This book is nothing less than liberating. It offers the power to awaken your heart, and the power to awaken your courage. "Working with obstacles is life's journey" (p. 68) Chodron tells us. "The purpose of your whole life is not to make a lot of money, it's not to find the perfect marriage, it's not to build Gampo Abbey. It's not to do any of these things. You have a certain life, and whatever life you're in is a vehicle for waking up. If you're a mother raising your children, that's the vehicle for waking up. If you're an actress, that's the vehicle for waking up. If you're a construction worker, that's the vehicle for waking up. If you're a retired person facing old age, that's the vehicle for waking up. If you're alone and you feel lonely and you wish you had a mate, that's the vehicle for waking up. If you have a huge family around you and you wish you had a little more free time, that's the vehicle for waking up. Whatever you have, that's it" (p. 71).
Written before her perhaps better known books, this may be my favorite Pema Chodron title. I have returned to it many times since it was first published in 1991. This is a good dharma book, written with Chodron's characteristic wisdom and clarity.
on February 20, 2002
I found this book to be extraordinarily simple to ingest. I enjoyed reading it one short chapter at a time and contemplating that chapter until I had time to read another. Pema has an elegantly straightforward manner of writing, and she has a great deal of helpful information to convey.
on September 4, 2000
This is my favorite Pema Chodron book! You can open its pages anywhere, any time, in any frame of mind, and receive wide benefit to mind and heart. It is spiritual teaching of the only useful kind, practical teaching deliberately intended not to implant, but rather to unsheathe what is already native, but hidden. Pema Chodron leaves one to oneself -the very best teaching!- and by the faintest strokes of wisdom, insight, and practiced sensibilities leaves one higher, deeper, and more able to live freely within oneself. I think she is an extraordinary teacher, in the very best tradition of Western Buddhist training. If Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia is fortunate indeed to be gifted with this extraordinary woman, likewise are we. It seems I open that amazing turquoise cover (a more illustrious blue than even the fine photo on this page indicates!) several times a week. It is a book one gratefully lives with. I have given it to friends, family, and even a few strangers! I recommend it with confidence, compassionate purpose, and indeed a great deal of joy.
on January 16, 1999
Based on talks given during a dathun (one month practice period) in Gampo Abbey, the contents of this book "speak" to each of us about embracing life's pain rather than running away from it, and about the down-to-earth benefits of practicing lovingkindness in our every day lives, both in formal meditation and informal meditation. The latter includes all aspects of our lives, and in this series of talks, the author shows us how we can utilize our own life's experiences as the source of our wisdom and compassion. Highly recommended!
on May 26, 1998
I found this book to be very clearly written in plain english on a topic that could easily become obscured by its own sublety. My favourite chapter is the one on precision, gentleness and letting go. The idea of hard discipline that I had previously associated with Buddhism evaporated as I read it. I really wanted to buy a 100 copies and send them to all the people I care about! I think its a great book and an excellent text for anyone learning to be gentle with themselves and others.
on November 17, 2001
Simply a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful book. This book entered my life by accident (?) in the Tibetian colony of Sikkim, India, and has finally found its path to my bookshelf and coffee table. The gentlness of Tibetian buddhism revealed in a language accessable to anyone. A life changing book, as gentle as early morning breeze. The talk of a true warrior of the heart.
on February 8, 2014
This book is one of her earlier writings during a month long meditation retreat. It is excellent, concise, to the point, and very helpful and pragmatic. I simply love reading Pema's writings - she has a direct yet subtle way of making honest and open statements. This book is great for anyone interested in Buddhism without actually becoming a Buddhist, or simply interested in meditation as the tool to increasing self-awareness.
on December 3, 1998
Marvelous book. Very well written, you feel like the author was there with you, talking to you. It all sounds so truthful, like you always knew, yet how come we chose the opposite? There's no escape , unless you want to keep dying day after day. Let's wake up. It's worth it, and this book is a good start. It was for me. Probably the best I've read of all so-called "self-help" books.
on January 27, 2013
I've had a tough time for the last while and have been trying to learn about Mindfulness...but I never actually GOT it until I read this book. A friend of mine lent me his copy and I just couldn't believe how easy it was to say YES, now I know...and understand - talk about a light bulb going on, or whatever the term is! I wanted to highlight parts...practically the whole book but obviously couldn't as it wasn't mine! I ordered a copy for myself as it's one you need to have on hand to pick up and read over and over again. Pema Chodron is an American Buddhist nun who is a resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners.
I can't say enough about her writing and how easy it is to read. In no way does she just preach about Buddhism, but about LIFE even throwing in a few spicy words now and again. I just wish the whole world would read it, then maybe the sad state of affairs in many countries, caused by ignorance, just might be a better place. Now I'm absolutely hooked and there are so many books here on Amazon of hers to choose from, I want them all! In fact I wish I could share a cup of tea with Pema Chodron at Gampo Abbey. Must admit I'm a little obsessed at the present time reading about Buddhism - who knows? From Jewish - Agnostic - Atheist...I might be on to something?!