Pema Chödrön on Buddhism


“It isn’t the things that happen to us in our lives that cause us to suffer, it’s how we relate to the things that happen to us that causes us to suffer.” — Pema Chödrön

Ani Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun and author whose teachings and writings on meditation have helped make Buddhism accessible to a broad Western audience. She currently directs the Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada, the first Tibetan monastery in North America for Western monastics and lay practitioners.

Born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in New York, Chödrön was raised in a Catholic family in New Jersey. After earning a master’s in education from the University of California, Berkeley, and teaching elementary school in California and New Mexico for nearly a decade, Chödrön discovered Tibetan Buddhism in 1972 while on a trip to the French Alps. In 1974, she began a 13-year tenure with the meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, founder of the Shambhala school of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, and became one of his foremost students. She was ordained as a nun in 1974, at the age of 38.

In addition to her work at the Gampo Abbey, Ani Pema (Ani being the Tibetan honorific for nun) has served as director of the Karma Dzong Shambhala Center in Boulder, Colorado, and has authored several popular books on Buddhist practice, including Wisdom of No Escape (1991), When Things Fall Apart (1996), The Places That Scare You (2001), and Start Where You Are (2004). Chödrön has devoted much of her writing and teaching to explaining how the basic tenets of Buddhism can help people understand and cope with the pain and disappointments of everyday life in the modern world. She is has just finished a new book titled Practicing Peace in Times of War.

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