Monday, November 4, 2013

Pema Chödrön on Buddhism | BillMoyers.com

Pema Chödrön on Buddhism | BillMoyers.com
Pema Chodron is one of my favorite Buddhist authors. Her book, "When Things Fall Apart" is a great one. The link above will take you to an enlightening interview between Bill Moyers and Ani Pema; it is worth every minute of your time to watch (if you prefer to read, the transcript is also available on the website).

A few of my favorite quotes from the piece:
PEMA CHÖDRÖN: "The thing is, what we find if we're not used to sitting quietly with ourselves, not used to meditation, not used to having any inner solitude in our lives, we find that we're very threatened by nothing happening."
"...someone once said to me, 'The best in that spiritual instruction is when you wake up in the morning and you say, "I wonder what's going to happen today?" ' And then carry that kind of curiosity through your life."
"...one of the principle teachings of the Buddha was that he said, 'I teach only two things. Suffering and the end of suffering.' So this conviction that sentient beings could be free of suffering, they could end their suffering. That doesn't mean physical pain. It doesn't mean outer circumstances being unpleasant. It means what you do with the things that happen."
BILL MOYERS: "What do you think he meant by suffering? And what do you Buddhists mean by suffering?"
PEMA CHÖDRÖN: "Suffering?...Well, that's a complex question, but it doesn't mean that we could be free of that, if fire burns you, it won't hurt. If you get cut, it won't hurt. It also doesn't mean that if someone you love very dear, deeply, dies you won't feel sadness. And it doesn't mean that bad things won't happen to you anymore, you know? It doesn't mean that you won't have your personal tragedies and catastrophes and crisis. And it also certainly doesn't mean that you could avoid planes flying into the towers...the end of suffering has to do with how you relate with pain. Let's distinguish just for semantics, the difference between, let's call pain the unavoidable and let's call suffering what could what could lessen and dissolve in our lives."

SHANTIDEVA: "We shrink from suffering, but we love its causes."

DALAI LAMA: "Religion is not outside. Religion is here. I think essential, essential in a religion is good heart. Something I call love and compassion is the universal religion. That's my religion."

Simple, brilliant, ancient wisdom...not easy to practice, but something tells me it is worth the effort.

5 comments:

Kim Andersen said...

Something to ponder isn't it .... My aunt has an Irish saying that the back is formed for the burden

Elizabeth said...

I love Kim's comment(and her aunt's!). And I find that Buddhist thought is deeply instinctual for me -- there's something about it that resonates more than any other "faith," and Pema Chodron articulates it so well. I look forward to listening to that interview --

Busy Bee Suz said...

Very thought provoking! I too love Kim's comment.....her Aunt sounds awesome.

Karen said...

I caught up with you today after some weeks of travel. A cool drink of water. Esp. loved your post on the Ronald McDonald houses, and your fancy evening supporting it. Thinking of the flashbacks and the memories associated, and your courage in "going back". Not easy, but such a worthy investment of your time and heart. You are so lovely.

Jenna said...

Hi Karen,
Thank you so much for this awesome post. It was exactly what I needed to read today. I have been a Christian almost my entire life, but over the past few months have been really taking the microscope to my faith and examiniating and thinking carefully about my beliefs and what they are based on. As part of my searching for the truth, I have been learning and reading about Buddhism and things like meditation and mindfulness. I have found it not only fascinating and interesting, but extremely helpful in helping me in learning to live a life of calm and peace, as well as to become a more compassionate person and live a more centred life. Your writing so often inspires and encourages me.