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No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva Hardcover – November 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 1st edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590301358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590301357
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Popular Buddhist teacher Chödrön has a surprise for her many readers and students: textual commentary. Her newest book comments at length on an eighth-century text by the Indian Buddhist sage Shantideva. It's a guidebook for developing bodhichitta, an awakened mind that expresses itself in compassionate action to alleviate suffering. The lengthy text will certainly be unfamiliar to beginners, but Chödrön is a wise choice for an escort. She is a clear teacher, explaining key terms (the Sanskrit term klesha, for example, may be translated as neurosis or affliction) and making things simple and characteristically plainspoken ("When we are distracted, we can't remember anything we've studied or read"). She is also the right kind of motivator, telling readers immediately what's in it for them: this book can inspire those who want to make the world a better place. Readers will need a helpful teacher and patience to take up the challenge offered by the long Buddhist text, which has been important in Chödrön's own study. It's not a book for beginners or a good introduction to Chödrön's own body of accessible work. But for those wanting depth and greater awareness of the Buddhist canon, this book opens a door. (Nov. 8)
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"As one of Pema Chödrön's grateful students, I have been learning the most pressing and necessary lesson of all: how to keep opening wider my own heart."—Alice Walker

More About the Author

Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa. She is resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners. She is also the author of many books and audiobooks, including the best-selling When Things Fall Apart and Don't Bite the Hook.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 47 customer reviews
When I finish all of her books, I will simply go back and read them again.
Louise D. Somes
This book puts Pema in the ranks of scholars interpreting the meaning of the ancient texts.
C Nolan
It is the most practical and helpful of her guides on the Buddhist spiritual path.
Janet S. Hathaway

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

165 of 169 people found the following review helpful By Janet S. Hathaway on November 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The title of this book may intimidate a little. But believe me, this book is a treasure. This is the best of all of Pema Chodron's wonderful books. It is the most practical and helpful of her guides on the Buddhist spiritual path. She doesn't presume we already are Bodhisattvas (saints) -- but this book can remind us of the steps toward that end, no matter who we are. And with her characteristic humor and friendliness Pema reminds us not to despair when we mess up, which we will. She makes it clear that we simply renew our resolve and begin again because there is always hope! Pema Chodron calls upon the great wisdom of the ancient sage Shatideva, whose spiritual poetry is quoted throughout this book, as a resource to draw upon as we attempt to become Bodhisattvas. We are encouraged to tame our anger through patience, to uncover our own Buddha-nature by sitting mindfully, and, generally, to practicing the Dharma. This is a lovely work, lyrically written, playful while erudite, and absolutely uplifting. If you want to be happy, do yourself an enormous favor and get yourself this book.
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105 of 108 people found the following review helpful By LuelCanyon on December 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Pema Chodron is a great teacher because she always positions herself firmly in place as a learner. This book of hers is no exception, and ends up rewarding both her message and her readers with simplicity, clarity, and profound usefulness. Pema's commentary on Shantideva's mystical poem The Way of the Boddhisattva is measured and fulfilling, and her visceral understanding of the majesty of bodhichitta is alive and free on every page. Leave it to a teacher of this depth and understanding to make an 8th century mystical treatise address with intense awareness the commonplace realities of daily life. There is so much wealth for the serious practictioner contained in this book, it's tough to single out individual segments for praise; but the long middle section on Patience is especially attentive, and often piercing to the point of sublime beauty, and the segments Using Our Intelligence and Taming the Mind are wisdom overflowing. Reading this book, one easily discerns the joy of sitting at the feet of this master at Gampo Abbey and finding oneself whole time and again. "May the blind receive their sight, and the deaf begin to hear ... May the naked now be clothed, and the hungry eat their fill." Thank you, Pema, for revealing to us the path of fearlessness and love. This is food for life. Supreme recommendation, no reservations. And the book has a beautiful little appendix with a study guide that turns out to be one of its most useful attributes!
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By ascent magazine on July 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Buddhism has always struck me as a fine balance between high ideals and common sense. The former gives us something to aim for, whereas the latter delivers practical advice to lead us out of our suffering. In Pema Chodron's latest book, No Time to Lose, the American Buddhist nun provides both by offering her commentary on The Way of the Boddhisattva, an eighth-century Buddhist poem by the upstart monk Shantideva, who presented it to his fellow monks before wandering away from the university.

Reading Shantideva's poem, it is obvious that not much has changed for humankind in 1300 years. We are still greedy, self-absorbed and ruled by our desires and kleshas, negative emotions that distort our perception and keep us from experiencing the present moment. In our search for happiness, we repeatedly reach for and attach ourselves to things that are impermanent, destined to disappear and die, including our ego.

Death, indeed, looms large throughout the book. Leading a life full of compassion and free of attachment assures an easier passage when our end comes. "If we can't handle being told off or not getting what we want, how will we be able to handle death?" Chodron asks almost urgently. And as we have no idea when this might occur, there is no time to lose in getting our house, and more importantly, our heart in order.

Using vivid imagery and written in very accessible language, the poem itself provides a systematic, if somewhat idealistic, program for achieving happiness, good karma and peace of mind throughout our lives and at the end. Chodron's interpretation, in gentle and engaging prose, shows us how Shantideva's advice and admonitions apply to our daily trials and tribulations.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. Pollock VINE VOICE on September 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A commentary on Shantideva's 8th c. classic from transcripts of Pema's teachings at Gonpo Abbey in Nova Scotia (she's resident teacher), using the Padmakara translation, verbal advice from Trungpa Rinpoche, & Dzigar Kongtrul, & prior commentaries (e.g. the Dalai Lama's "Transcendent Wisdom" & Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's "Meaningful to Behold"). The text is a guidebook for compassionate action (i.e. how to be a bodhisattva); the commentary is interspersed with groups of stanzas. The book has a Western orientation & a friendly, down-to-earth tone, making it "accessible even to people who know nothing of Buddhist teachings." Interestingly, Thubten Chodron has written two books bearing titles of two chapters ("Working with Anger" & "Taming the Mind"). All three are psychologically astute per Pema's prior works (e.g. "Start Where You Are" addressing lojong mind control). Her commentary is especially helpful both with cryptic passages & in explicating text in terms relevant & understandable to modern, Western readers. I have effectively utilized the section on anger. Pema's advice is practical & relevant: pp. 91-2: "Treat our crippling emotions like drug pushers. If we don't want to stay addicted for life, we have to see that our negative emotions weaken us & cause us harm. It is just as difficult to detox from emotions as it is to recover from heavy drugs or alcohol." p. 165: "Trungpa R. used to say, when something like anger arises, we should regard it as `not me.' Just think of it as a little bug trying to land on you; if your mind remains open & free of bias, the bug has nowhere to light...Anger is not `me,' it's just dynamic energy. If we don't identify with it, that energy remains unfixated & free. If it freezes into `want' & `don't want,' will cause suffer.Read more ›
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