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How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind Hardcover – May 1, 2013
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—The Los Angeles Times
"Meditation doesn't remove pain, or alleviate the negative energy flowing through the world. This is the information which beloved teacher Chodrön offers readers at the beginning of this new book. Meditation will, however, relieve suffering, not by changing our outer environment but by turning our attention inward to make peace with ourselves. The aim is not to transcend our feelings of pain and distress. Instead, it is to open our hearts and minds to accept what we are feeling in any given moment even if that feeling is difficult. The gifts that Chodrön's meditation has to offer are steadfastness, clear awareness, courage, attention to the moment, and learning to not make too big a deal of things. The hallmarks of her teaching are gentle encouragement and loving acceptance. While she provides guidelines for getting started and exercises to keep us going, her greatest teaching is the lesson she shows us on every page: to show compassion for ourselves as we struggle with life's challenges and to base our success on the journey not the goal."
—Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight Magazine
"With her gentle approach and clear treatment of difficult concepts, Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart) is a wonderful leader for those who want to begin or deepen a mindfulness meditation practice (shamatha). . . She presents it all with an appropriate humility, sharing her own struggles as an ongoing student, her insights as a sought-after teacher, and a belief that readers should ultimately become their own teachers. Indeed, by embracing the wisdom and practicing the exercises in this book, readers will be well on their way."
—Vanessa Finney, San Francisco Book Review, May 2013
—Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart and A Lamp in the Darkness
"This new book by Ani Pema is a great compilation of meditation instruction which she has personally given to many of her students over the years. These instructions have brought so much help to others that it has made her one of the most beloved and revered Buddhist teachers in this modern world. With a brilliant mind and an absolutely cheerful attitude toward life, she practices what she teaches. She is a great support and friend to thousands of readers, and I am very sure that this book will help many in their everyday lives, as she makes this genuine attempt to reach us all."
—Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche
About the Author
Ani Pema Chödrön was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936, in New York City. She attended Miss Porter's School in Connecticut and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught as an elementary school teacher for many years in both New Mexico and California. Pema has two children and three grandchildren.
While in her mid-thirties, Ani Pema traveled to the French Alps and encountered Lama Chime Rinpoche, with whom she studied for several years. She became a novice nun in 1974 while studying with Lama Chime in London. His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa came to Scotland at that time, and Ani Pema received her ordination from him.
Pema first met her root guru, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in 1972. Lama Chime encouraged her to work with Rinpoche, and it was with him that she ultimately made her most profound connection, studying with him from 1974 until his death in 1987. At the request of the Sixteenth Karmapa, she received the full bikshuni ordination in the Chinese lineage of Buddhism in 1981 in Hong Kong.
Ani Pema served as the director of Karma Dzong in Boulder, Colorado until moving in 1984 to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to be the director of Gampo Abbey. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche gave her explicit instructions on establishing this monastery for western monks and nuns.
Ani Pema currently teaches in the United States and Canada and plans for an increased amount of time in solitary retreat under the guidance of Venerable Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. She is also a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the oldest son and lineage holder of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
Ani Pema is interested in helping establish Tibetan Buddhist monasticism in the West, as well as continuing her work with western Buddhists of all traditions, sharing ideas and teachings. Her non-profit, The Pema Chödrön Foundation, was set up to assist in this purpose.
She has written several books: The Wisdom of No Escape, Start Where You Are, When Things Fall Apart, The Places that Scare You, No Time To Lose, Practicing Peace in Times of War, How to Meditate, and Living Beautifully. All are available from Shambhala Publications and Sounds True.
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Top Customer Reviews
I highly recommend it to anyone interested in either mindfulness, meditation, buddhism or just simply finding a simple way of reducing stress in life and gaining more insight into the experience of being human.
All this answers are gracefully answered inthis beautiful and useful book!!!! The monk tells us, NORMAL NOT ILLUMINATED PEOPLE how we must start and follow our meditation. The purpose and benefits of doing it regularly.
Even that i go to buddist meditation, this book was a great great help, because describes more accurately what, how and why we meditate.
Enjoy and i reccomend.
I wish PEACE for all, especially my brothers humans who buy this book and are learning to calm their minds, as i do.
As this book progresses though, it offers many more meditation approaches, and insights that will be useful even to those who have meditated for a long time. Sections 2, 3 and 4 are devoted to 'Working with Thoughts', 'Working with Emotions', and 'Working with Sense Perceptions', and in each she invites us to actually use these as 'objects of meditation' - to invite them into our meditation and work with them as the foundation for our practice, rather than judging them as 'bad' and trying to push them out. This 'friendliness' as she puts it, really changes everything, and offers us the potential for deep understanding and healing. She offers many personal stories, and anecdotes from students, to support how powerful this can be.
In the final section of the book, 'Opening Your Heart to Include Everything', Pema connects meditation to the awakening or enlightenment process. This is perhaps the most 'Buddhist' section in the book, although really I feel anyone of any faith interested in spiritual meditation will find much value here (as with most of Pema's books, this one is not targeted to those who define themselves as 'Buddhist'.) Pema offers insight into how to work with our biggest challenges in life as objects of meditation, and even to view them as opportunities for enlightenment. She discusses the role of belief in practice, and how to examine the 'firmness' we find in our minds whenever we are gripping a belief as reality. She discusses working with 'groundlessness', and the way of the boddhisattva, or as she defines it, 'becoming a completely loving person.'
So overall, this is a great little book for anyone interested in learning to meditate, or needing to break through barriers in their own meditation practice. If you have already read a lot of Pema's book there may not be anything new here, but as always it is well done and has a lovely transmission behind it. If you are new to her work, and certainly if you are new to Buddhism, this book is a wonderful place to start.