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
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.