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Awakening Loving-Kindness (Shambhala Pocket Classics)

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Basedon talks given during a one-month meditation retreat at Gampo Abbey, this bookcontains teachings that were intended to inspire and encourage practitioners toremain wholeheartedly awake to everything that occurs and to use the abundantmaterial of daily life as their primary teacher and guide. The message for theretreat participants—and for the reader as well—is to be w Basedon talks given during a one-month meditation retreat at Gampo Abbey, this bookcontains teachings that were intended to inspire and encourage practitioners toremain wholeheartedly awake to everything that occurs and to use the abundantmaterial of daily life as their primary teacher and guide. The message for theretreat participants—and for the reader as well—is to be with oneself withoutembarrassment or harshness. This is instruction on how to love oneself andone's world. ThisShambhala Pocket Classic is an abridged version of TheWisdom of No Escape.


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Basedon talks given during a one-month meditation retreat at Gampo Abbey, this bookcontains teachings that were intended to inspire and encourage practitioners toremain wholeheartedly awake to everything that occurs and to use the abundantmaterial of daily life as their primary teacher and guide. The message for theretreat participants—and for the reader as well—is to be w Basedon talks given during a one-month meditation retreat at Gampo Abbey, this bookcontains teachings that were intended to inspire and encourage practitioners toremain wholeheartedly awake to everything that occurs and to use the abundantmaterial of daily life as their primary teacher and guide. The message for theretreat participants—and for the reader as well—is to be with oneself withoutembarrassment or harshness. This is instruction on how to love oneself andone's world. ThisShambhala Pocket Classic is an abridged version of TheWisdom of No Escape.

30 review for Awakening Loving-Kindness (Shambhala Pocket Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Iona Stewart

    The talks in this book were given in 1989 in a dathun (one-month practice period) held at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia. Pema Chödrön provided “simple accessible instructions on how to alleviate human misery at a personal and global level”. The book is an abridged edition of “The Wisdom of No Escape”, 1991. It deals with loving-kindness (maitri) toward ourselves. The point is not to try to change ourselves. It’s not about “trying to throw ourselves away and become something better”. We need to see how The talks in this book were given in 1989 in a dathun (one-month practice period) held at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia. Pema Chödrön provided “simple accessible instructions on how to alleviate human misery at a personal and global level”. The book is an abridged edition of “The Wisdom of No Escape”, 1991. It deals with loving-kindness (maitri) toward ourselves. The point is not to try to change ourselves. It’s not about “trying to throw ourselves away and become something better”. We need to see how we continually run away from the present moment. The object of being at the dathun was for the participants to study and get to know themselves then and there, not later. They had to learn to be curious, gentle, precise and open. When we get to be honest, gentle, good-hearted and clear about ourselves, we also feel loving-kindness for others. We learn that in meditation and in our daily lives there are three qualities we can “nurture, cultivate, and bring out”. These are precision, gentleness and the ability to let go. Precision We should become mindful of our out-breath, and when we realize we’ve been thinking, we say to ourselves “Thinking”. Gentleness There should only be 25% awareness on the outbreath and we should thus not shut out all the other things that are going on. Touch the breath and let it go. “The touch is the precision part and also the softness part”. As the object of meditation the breath brings a sense of softness and gentleness. You are only doing the technique to be fully present. Letting go This is the third aspect of the technique and less tangible. But when you say “thinking” what you are basically doing is letting go of those thoughts. Mindfulness is loving all the details of our lives. You realize you’re always standing at the centre of the world, in the middle of sacred space, standing in the middle of the circle. Whatever comes into the space is there to teach you. We’re told about an arrogant woman who wanted to attain enlightenment. She was told to climb a high mountain and go into a cave. There she found a very nice old woman with a beatific smile. But she turned into a demon brandishing a great big stick; she started chasing the woman seeking enlightenment saying “Now! Now! Now!” For the rest of her life she could never get away from the demon saying “Now!” If you want to attain enlightenment, you have to do it now. If you’re arrogant and stubborn, it may take someone running after you with a stick. Pema tells us that as soon as we begin to believe in something, then we can no longer see anything else. Holding on to beliefs limits our experience of life. She points out that there are wars all over the world because people are insulted that someone else doesn’t agree with our belief system. We need to look our beliefs straight in the eyes and then step beyond them. “‘When you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha’ means that when you see that you’re grasping or clinging to anything … make friends with that ... look into it … In that way it will let go of itself.” The Buddha taught us about the four noble truths. The first noble truth says that it’s part of being human to feel discomfort. The second noble truth says that resisting life causes suffering. The third noble truth says that “the cessation of suffering is letting go of holding on to ourselves”. The essence of the fourth noble truth is the eightfold path. Everything we do “we can use to help us to realize our unity and our completeness with all things”. We can use our lives to wake up to the fact that we’re not separate: “the energy that causes us to live and be whole and awake and alive is just the energy that creates everything, and we’re part of that”. Pema tells us about “meeting our edge”. “Life is a whole journey of meeting your edge again and again.” The journey of awakening is one of continually coming up against big challenges and then learning how to soften and open. “The whole journey of renunciation, or starting to say yes to life, is first of all realizing that you’ve come up against your edge, that everything in you is saying no, and then at that point softening. “ This is an opportunity to develop loving-kindness for ourselves.” We learn about tonglen, which is a form of meditation to do with cultivating fearlessness. We realize that fear has to do with wanting to protect our heart. When we do tonglen we invite the pain in. We start with perhaps a thimbleful of courage but by doing the practice we awaken our heart and our courage. With tonglen we breathe in painful things and breathe out feelings of well-being, peace and joy. We are willing to give these away and share them with others. The purpose of tonglen is to awaken or cultivate bodhicitta, to awaken your heart or cultivate your courageous heart. All you need to do tonglen is to have experienced suffering and happiness. Doing tonglen is the path of the warrior, where you cultivate a fearless heart. Our whole life is a process of learning how to make friends with ourselves. “The only obstacle is ignorance, this refusal to look at our unfinished business.” The Buddha is the example of what we too can be. The Buddha is the awakened one, and we too are the Buddha. “The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness in all situations.” I didn’t find this an easy read as there were some passages, or at least sentences, that I found hard to digest, hard to fully comprehend. On the other hand, Pema did repeat and explain herself again and again, which was a big aid to comprehension. What I lacked was an appendix explaining all the special Tibetan (I presume) terms which Pema scatters around the book; occasionally she defines these terms but sometimes she does not; even if she does, later in the book they turn up again and we may fail to recollect what they mean. These are words such as maitri, tonglen, bodhicitta, dharma, etc, etc. I did find the book to be a good introduction to the works of this author. I can say that I’m already reading another of her books “Start where you are” and am finding it even better, in fact illuminating. But read this one too.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chris Ainley

    Pema was my first significant step onto the road to enlightenment. To read or listen to her words is a pure joy. She possesses wit, charm and an abundance of knowledge while conveying the teachings. If you seek to devote your consciousness to enhancing your life and our world to a more blissful and compasionate level of being, I highly recommend all of her works for both the newbie and cultivated disciple. Your life may change.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Read for the umpteenth time -- always by my bed. Wonderfully inspriring.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Pema Chodron is always a gentle, thought-provoking, awareness-instilling read. Awakening Loving-Kindness is a collection of talks that she gave at a Buddhist retreat, allowing the reader to simulate the event by reading one chapter each morning. It's a great bridge between mindfulness/meditation practice and thinking about Buddhist principles (dharma). The last talk/chapter is a brilliant summary of the "four reminders", basically to remember the preciousness of life, to accept its impermanence, Pema Chodron is always a gentle, thought-provoking, awareness-instilling read. Awakening Loving-Kindness is a collection of talks that she gave at a Buddhist retreat, allowing the reader to simulate the event by reading one chapter each morning. It's a great bridge between mindfulness/meditation practice and thinking about Buddhist principles (dharma). The last talk/chapter is a brilliant summary of the "four reminders", basically to remember the preciousness of life, to accept its impermanence, to be mindful of karma (interconnectedness, cause and effect), and to understand the uselessness of continuing to blindly seek pleasure and security and to avoid suffering (to be stuck on the limited view of reality which is samsara), which, in Pema's formulation, is to prefer death over life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan Wakula

    A book to read again and again, when you're facing challenges in life, as we all do. How can we truly be happy? What are we searching for? This Buddhist nun has a conversation with the reader, reaching us individually because she's so attuned to the human condition. I checked it out of the library and then I bought a copy to keep because I need to hear this voice of kindness and compassion telling me that I'm okay, I'm just having a human experience...to not be afraid of pain, but to allow yours A book to read again and again, when you're facing challenges in life, as we all do. How can we truly be happy? What are we searching for? This Buddhist nun has a conversation with the reader, reaching us individually because she's so attuned to the human condition. I checked it out of the library and then I bought a copy to keep because I need to hear this voice of kindness and compassion telling me that I'm okay, I'm just having a human experience...to not be afraid of pain, but to allow yourself to sit with it and meditate on it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    wish more people read this one...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Aimee

    This is a beautiful little book that taught me a lot about awakening to true joy and kindness. The author uses very clear and easy to understand language to make her points, and though it is easy to read I found myself going over sections over and over again because they were so important. The use of everyday life experiences is stressed throughout the book to really find your true self and find joy. I know I will be coming back to this book often, I learned a lot from it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Bookman

    Another neat little book from this series. Simple and easy to read. Very much enjoyable, makes you think, makes you smile, feels like you can learn something and read again for new depth. Its very clearly taken from oral telling rather than meant to be written, and so if it bothers you to read the transcript of a retreat that you didn't participate in, this won't be for you. Otherwise, totally worth the hour or less to read. Another neat little book from this series. Simple and easy to read. Very much enjoyable, makes you think, makes you smile, feels like you can learn something and read again for new depth. Its very clearly taken from oral telling rather than meant to be written, and so if it bothers you to read the transcript of a retreat that you didn't participate in, this won't be for you. Otherwise, totally worth the hour or less to read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nadja Miller

    I enjoyed this book more than I thought. This is the first one that I have read of hers. It looks like parts of talk she gave in a particular ashram. She gave some good common sense advice. Explained some of Buddhist is philosophy And it was overall and enjoyable read. It actually makes me think that I should buy it, I got it from the library, or we read it again because some of the concepts did not stay with me and I need to go back

  10. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    There is no sense in this taking me this long to read. I read other stuff in between, often reading this right before bed and falling asleep. It's technically mostly a reprint of stuff from The Wisdom of No Escape but with a little more. Even though I've read that years ago, this still feels fresh, new, and relevant. It seems like an accessible start for folks interested in reading Chödrön since it's a relatively small book. There is no sense in this taking me this long to read. I read other stuff in between, often reading this right before bed and falling asleep. It's technically mostly a reprint of stuff from The Wisdom of No Escape but with a little more. Even though I've read that years ago, this still feels fresh, new, and relevant. It seems like an accessible start for folks interested in reading Chödrön since it's a relatively small book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mikaela Wapman

    One of my favorites of Pema’s so far. This small book had loving, care-full, and witty teachings. "The law of karma is that we sow the seeds and we reap the fruit. To remember that can be extremely helpful. So the you find yourself in a dark place where you've been countless, countless times, you can think, 'maybe it's time to get a little golden spade and dig myself out of this place.'” 5 stars One of my favorites of Pema’s so far. This small book had loving, care-full, and witty teachings. "The law of karma is that we sow the seeds and we reap the fruit. To remember that can be extremely helpful. So the you find yourself in a dark place where you've been countless, countless times, you can think, 'maybe it's time to get a little golden spade and dig myself out of this place.'” 5 stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Fern

    This tiny book called to me last week. Yes, I've read it before. Sometimes I need to see a bigger picture of reassurance, a wider view. I dive into a more formal meditation sporadically, while believing in the many variants of a meditation process. Awakening Loving -Kindness opens up a wide open thought process. Sometimes I need that. This tiny book called to me last week. Yes, I've read it before. Sometimes I need to see a bigger picture of reassurance, a wider view. I dive into a more formal meditation sporadically, while believing in the many variants of a meditation process. Awakening Loving -Kindness opens up a wide open thought process. Sometimes I need that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shaunna

    Great book! Written in a conversational style with connections to everyday life. Great message of using mindfulness to center oneself amongst the chaos of life. I will use this book to inspire me throughout the new year.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Each of her books have jewels of ideas and feelings ...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Just finished over vacation. Perfect book to recalibrate myself.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Taylor T

    Lovely little collection of chapters filled with wisdom, taken from talks at a meditation retreat by Pema Chödrön.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A selection of transcribed readings from talks during a monthly retreat. I found these pretty esoteric and difficult to get much from in this format.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Arya

    Of all the books I have read till date, this little 194-page long (pocket) book is the one that is closest to my heart. Started the book a little over a year ago, in November 2014, and it took me all this time to finish this quaint little book on Tibetan Buddhism and the ways to awaken your true self. The language is as clear and pure as mountain water. The clarity in the teachings is strong enough to weather any storm in your life.I recommend it to anybody and everybody, and especially to those Of all the books I have read till date, this little 194-page long (pocket) book is the one that is closest to my heart. Started the book a little over a year ago, in November 2014, and it took me all this time to finish this quaint little book on Tibetan Buddhism and the ways to awaken your true self. The language is as clear and pure as mountain water. The clarity in the teachings is strong enough to weather any storm in your life.I recommend it to anybody and everybody, and especially to those going through depression. And I must also add that after reading the book, I am happier, calmer, peaceful and also growing to understand and embrace myself and everybody a lot more.Thank you Pema.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jason Marciak

    This book is a reflection on what it is that makes a being what and who they are. It is more than a list of breathing and meditation techniques. Awakening to Loving Kindness is aptly titled in that it presents the reader to awaken to themselves. It is a wake up call to one's life and the possibilities and perceptions that living can carry inherently within. Love, anger, lethargy, a single breath, conscious and unconscious, all aspect of living are choices. This book taught me that each moment is This book is a reflection on what it is that makes a being what and who they are. It is more than a list of breathing and meditation techniques. Awakening to Loving Kindness is aptly titled in that it presents the reader to awaken to themselves. It is a wake up call to one's life and the possibilities and perceptions that living can carry inherently within. Love, anger, lethargy, a single breath, conscious and unconscious, all aspect of living are choices. This book taught me that each moment is an opportunity to grow.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I read this about a month ago, and just discovered it wasn't on my list! This miniature book is an abridged version of Chodron's "The Wisdom of No Escape." For portability, this edition is wonderful, but I would also recommend reading the original in full. She discusses the differences between our ideal and real selves, and to hear about the relationship between those two unreconciled points of view from a spiritual person's perspective is refreshing and precious. I read this about a month ago, and just discovered it wasn't on my list! This miniature book is an abridged version of Chodron's "The Wisdom of No Escape." For portability, this edition is wonderful, but I would also recommend reading the original in full. She discusses the differences between our ideal and real selves, and to hear about the relationship between those two unreconciled points of view from a spiritual person's perspective is refreshing and precious.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    The pocket size is perfect. I keep this in my purse to read at times when I would otherwise be zoning out, impatient, texting gossip or some other unloving-unkind practice. I've been focusing deeply on cultivating metta in my life, so this book is a great little "stay mindful" companion. The pocket size is perfect. I keep this in my purse to read at times when I would otherwise be zoning out, impatient, texting gossip or some other unloving-unkind practice. I've been focusing deeply on cultivating metta in my life, so this book is a great little "stay mindful" companion.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jim George

    The kind of book that you leave on the passengers side of your car, and occassionally you pick it up and read for several minutes after you've parked your car. Nothing earth shattering found on these pages, yet the author offers reflective pleasant moments of repose. The kind of book that you leave on the passengers side of your car, and occassionally you pick it up and read for several minutes after you've parked your car. Nothing earth shattering found on these pages, yet the author offers reflective pleasant moments of repose.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christopherseelie

    A series of talks given over the course of a month-long retreat some 15 years ago, this book contains a lot of the foundations of meditation and frequent pitfalls facing the practitioner. Short, easy to read, and full of insight that can be directly applied to one's meditation practice. A series of talks given over the course of a month-long retreat some 15 years ago, this book contains a lot of the foundations of meditation and frequent pitfalls facing the practitioner. Short, easy to read, and full of insight that can be directly applied to one's meditation practice.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hector

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who is searching to awaken their loving-kindness; their innate goodness. The book also helps to deal with life's difficult moments. I know I'll be reading it again and again. Thanks to my friend for sending me this book at exactly the right time I needed it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is searching to awaken their loving-kindness; their innate goodness. The book also helps to deal with life's difficult moments. I know I'll be reading it again and again. Thanks to my friend for sending me this book at exactly the right time I needed it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Chamberlin

    It ha practical stuff for people who want to help others. (U can't help others if You don't get very comfortable with all parts of yourself) i will think about this for a few days and read another Pema. She's for real. It ha practical stuff for people who want to help others. (U can't help others if You don't get very comfortable with all parts of yourself) i will think about this for a few days and read another Pema. She's for real.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Trying to save it for my trip to rural Alaska. Love Pema Chodron.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lizpaints

    delightful guide to meditation.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shanna

    I read a chapter from this book everyday. Everytime I read it something new is revealed.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katharine Holden

    Interesting, but not helpful to me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A great prospective on the practice of loving-kindness

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