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139 Reviews
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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Living by the Three Vows -- Challenging, Fulfilling, and Not Impossible
Using as the basis of this book the idea that all of our suffering comes from our fear of uncertainty, Chodron presents her path to freedom from this suffering. She presents the notion of "living by vows." Now, we're not talking head-shaved monastery living. Nor the drop-out (if enlightened) approach of I Walked to the Moon and Almost Everybody Waved. No, this book is for...
Published 24 months ago by Kevin W.

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A retreat to awaken us
In these times when the media stirs such anxiety that parents fear leaving their children to play in the yard alone and security in airplanes and society at large is a multibillion dollar industry, we need to be aware of and fully embrace the uncertainty and ephemeral nature of life.

Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön uses the Three Commitments (not...
Published 10 months ago by Carolyn Kost


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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Living by the Three Vows -- Challenging, Fulfilling, and Not Impossible, October 26, 2012
Using as the basis of this book the idea that all of our suffering comes from our fear of uncertainty, Chodron presents her path to freedom from this suffering. She presents the notion of "living by vows." Now, we're not talking head-shaved monastery living. Nor the drop-out (if enlightened) approach of I Walked to the Moon and Almost Everybody Waved. No, this book is for spiritual people committed to living in the modern, secular world. It's for laypeople. So these are meant more as guideposts than strict practices.

The three vows are:
- Pratimoksha. Commitment to personal liberation and doing no harm.
- Bodhisattva. Selfless service and alleviation of the suffering of others.
- Samaya. Accept reality as it is -- "awakened energy."

If this sounds intriguing, provocative, or helpful to you, I recommend this book.

----

Pros: Communicates a reassuring message that we can be free from fear. Also about the essential goodness of humanity, and the fact that no failure is final. Has plenty of practical teaching.

Cons: You may have run across some of this material before. Like many spiritual teaches, Chodron tends to repeat herself. So while there is new material here, there's much that won't surprise you if you're a seasoned Chodron reader.

---7/19/13 Edit/Addition: I'm just about done reading Extraordinary Zen Masters: A Maverick, a Master of Masters, and a Wandering Poet and finding it a subtly inspiring book. I highly recommend it for anyone on the Buddhist or spiritual path. It won't wow you at first, but it grew on me as I appreciated it's quiet--bumps and all--interesting profiles of three historically important Zen masters.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Embracing life simply as it is, October 26, 2012
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A distinctive compilation on the beauty of continuous change in everyday life, Pema Chödrön - once again - clearly and effortlessly shows her reader how to live a committed life within the present moment. Chödrön displays this approach to life by providing an educational framework concerning three forms of commitment. These "Three Commitments" entail embracing the fundamental groundlessness or impermanence in life, and the prevention of intentional harm to oneself and others; taking on the courage and responsibility to embrace others as oneself; and embracing the world just as it is. Through this framework, Chödrön provides her reader with the tools to progressively see the underlying stories that construct the ego, which - in turn - allow the mind's clouds (i.e. thought and emotion) to gradually dissipate, and eventually leave a clear mind of unconditional, non-judgmental, self-acceptance. With this clearing mind in progress, one is free to live beautifully with endless change and embrace life simply as it is.
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61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is there a better time than Now, October 18, 2012
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This woman, this wisdom . . . "When Things Fall Apart" was given to me a decade to go, and it turned out to be just what I needed. After reading a brief excerpt of Pema Chodrons new book in Tricycle Magazine, I had a feeling this might be for me what "When Things Fall Apart" was years ago. I warn you, I haven't yet finished, in fact I'm only about 32% through it; but of that 32%, I've highlighted/underlined close to 75% . . . Were this a paper edition, I would put my yellow Sharpie away and trade it for a paint brush and yellow paint; as it is, I'll simply keep the highlighting function on my Kindle going til I finish. It is a wonderful book. Clear. Concise. It goes straight to the heart.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pima's Amazing., March 8, 2013
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With her straight forward writing style and keen awareness for what it is like to be naturally human, by page two Pima nails the most common difficulty our own humanity brings: We want naturally want stability and surety in a world that is constantly in flux. Luckily Pima doesn't stop at pointing out this inner struggle, but continues on with easy to read and follow steps for becoming more comfortable and and authentically comfortable in a world filled with constant change.

"Aha Moments" abound throughout the book. I started highlighting passages I related to and advice I wanted to remember and quickly realized I had more areas highlighted than not.

I've read several of Pima's books and find this to be the best collection of the essence of her works and message.

Frankly, at times I can get pretty anxious not knowing what's around the corner. This book was the most helpful of any I have read for overcoming my worries and developing a new perspective. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who would like to relax and be more comfortable with change.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How To Cope With Life !, November 1, 2012
Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron
provides good advice on how to cope in a world with constant
change and flux. The author derives important lessons from
Eastern traditions ; such as, the Tibetan experience.

Chodron explains breathing techniques; such as, tonglen which
instructs practitioners to breathe in the unpleasant and exhale
relief and happiness. The author encourages us to embrace the
world as it is instead of changing it into a mirror image of our
own concepts about how people should live.

This concept of "awakened energy" is called Samaya. A corollary
is to do no harm through the practice of Pratimoksha. Selfless service
leads to Bodhisattva which seeks to alleviate the suffering of
others through surplus resources which reside in the personal comfort
zone.

Chodron seeks to increase our collective tolerance for change.
In order to accomplish this, people need to stop feeding their
egos with things that drain rather than enhance the resource pool
available to the community. When we learn to let go of our protective
shells, we find that we begin to reach out more significantly to others
with real empathy and support.

The author spends a good deal of time explaining how each
of us should protect the body and mind from the negations inherent
in a host of vices. A related concept is to know the things that
trigger our fears and sum zero confrontation modes. Chodron has
good advice for containing rage. That is, extreme anger should not
be boiled over; instead, it should be simmered or kept to a low level
where it can be controlled more easily and effectively.

Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron
is an important work which teaches each of us how to cope in a
changing world.

Credits: First Published on Blogcritics
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open-Hearted Living at its best, March 30, 2014
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I read this book because my life is so full of uncertainty and change right now. I am unemployed, and the anxiety of not being able to pay the rent, the car loan, the bills is incredibly stressful. Pema's words do not allow me to escape the essential problems of my life, but to find the courage to act without the overwhelming sense of fear. Her words are like a soothing balm. Instead of just fear, she has helped me to see that I can take this as a time of deep spiritual growth - in a very real, honest way. I will read this book over and over again.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pema Chodron, December 3, 2012
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I love everything she writes. Even though her message is always the same--she always finds a fresh way to present it. My life is better because of her.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My life felt out of control and this title spoke to me…., August 19, 2013
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Great book if you are seeking answers in decreasing your personal pain & suffering & improve a greater awareness & self acceptance. Learning to be okay with okay~ letting go of self destructive/controlling behaviors that ultimately held me back from my true happiness. Effective techniques I use daily to keep myself more in balance… I recently was diagnosed with a medical condition that requires interferon treatments (a 10 year breast cancer survivor, I just dreaded going down that road of being so sick from pharma drugs)… I felt like my emotions were spiraling out of control because….. Being in control was what I was good at…. The news made me anger, retreat and I diffidently went into a dark place of depression, anger etc.. Big time fear! A friend recommended any of Pema's books, I am glad she did. I am in a much better-place (mentally) as I await further medical answers/tests…
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, with practical advice. Shares her own struggles, January 4, 2013
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The framework of "Living Beautifully" is a three-step Buddhist process. However, if you aren't specifically seeking a Buddhist point of view, don't let that deter you from reading this book.

There are practical suggestions on how to deal with and accept yourself and others--both what we might label as the "good" and "bad." Pema Chodron shares examples from her own life in which she thought she was behaving in one way and in which others had a different perception. For me, that self-revealing gave me hope and helped me feel connected with her and others. Of course, that is the point: we are all connected.

I like her approach because she doesn't pretend that living is easy or that following the three-step process is easy. She doesn't pretend that she or you or I will be able to follow these steps perfectly every minute, every day.

She accepts that we live in uncertainty and change. I agree; I surely do. While I cannot control external factors, I can work on how I understand, accept and respond to those factors.

I really appreciate this no-nonsense approach. I appreciate that she appreciates the life can be challenging.

I have this book on my Kindle with bookmarks and sections highlighted. It will be a reference and refuge for me going forward.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite authors, September 2, 2013
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Dennis Cardiff (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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I have read all of Pemas's books. They always take me from a place of stress to a place of peace, where everything makes sense. I learn from her books that bad things are always going to happen, but I don't have to be a victim, I can accept and grow from my experiences. This is truly a book to live by. ~ Dennis Cardiff
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Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change
Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron (Paperback - October 8, 2013)
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