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Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change Paperback – October 8, 2013
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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 Buddhist monastery in North America established for Westerners. She is the author of many best-selling books, including When Things Fall Apart.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
"The Three Commitments are three levels of working with groundlessness. Underlying them all is the basic instruction to make friends with yourself—to be honest with yourself and kind. This begins with the willingness to stay present whenever you experience uneasiness. As these feelings arise, rather than running away, you lean into them. Instead of trying to get rid of thoughts and feelings, you become curious about them. As you become accustomed to experiencing sensation free of interpretation, you will come to understand that contacting the fundamental ambiguity of being human provides a precious opportunity—the opportunity to be with life just as it is, the opportunity to experience the freedom of life without a story line."
—from Living Beautifully --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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.
“The first commitment is a vow to know your triggers, a vow that whatever it takes, you’ll compassionately acknowledge when you’re hooked by the eight worldly concerns-or indeed, hooked by anything.” She completes the first section by emphasizing that awakening is not a process of building ourselves up, rather it’s a process of letting go.
Part Two: The Second Commitment: Committing to Take Care of One Another
In the next section, the author lays out the second commitment traditionally known as the Bodhisattva Vow; a commitment dedicating our lives to keeping our hearts and minds open and to nurturing our compassion with the longing to ease the suffering of the world. Ani Pema describes the second commitment as stepping further into groundlessness as a source of awakening rather than a source of dread, as a path to fearlessness rather than a threat to survival. In this section She introduces the reader to Tonglen meditation, teaching the four stages as a core practice for cultivating courage and compassion, thus accessing our interconnectedness with all beings.
Part Three: The Third Commitment: Committing to Embrace the World Just as It Is
In part three, Pema Chödrön presents what is traditionally known as the Samaya Vow, the commitment to not reject anything, surrendering to life as it is. The author states the following, “Simply put, the practice at this stage is to turn toward your experience, all of it, and never turn away.” The Samaya Vow, engaging with the simplicity of life just as it comes, is taken after the cultivation of the first two commitments; much of which involves minimizing our tendency to pin labels and preconceptions, views and opinions, on everything we perceive.
Part Four: Concluding Words
At the conclusion of the book, Pema Chödrön leaves the reader with the following question: “Are you ready to make a commitment?” In closing, we are encouraged to maintain these commitments, thus embarking on the journey of embracing the positive groundlessness of life for the sake of our loved ones, our enemies, and ourselves.