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Practicing Peace in Times of War Hardcover – August 29, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This gifty little book by the American Buddhist nun Chödrön is a solid reinforcement of what she has been saying for many years and in many books. Here, her focus is on the relationship between aggression within and the aggression that fuels war. Chödrön begins with some disquieting observations, such as that we can all be fundamentalists—that is, self-righteous and closed-minded—and that peace demonstrators are not terribly peaceful. Like other Buddhist teachers on the subject of political action, she sees a direct connection between what is in the heart and expressed in outward actions. She teaches how to stop the reflexive and habitual emotional reaction to perceived hostility through patience, pausing, breathing. It's not easy, but it is simple. Chödrön is also provocative: insecurity has a positive function, she suggests, so don't run away from it. Some of what this skillful teacher says is almost too simple or underexplained, which can happen when a talk becomes a book, as is the case here. "Don't spin off" is a condensed instruction that is a little too condensed. While it may intrigue beginners, this book will be a better gift for those who are already familiar with Chödrön's body of work. (Sept. 5)
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Review

“A solid reinforcement on how to stop the reflexive and habitual emotional reaction to perceived hostility through patience, pausing, and breathing. It’s not easy, but it is simple.”—Publishers Weekly

“In her timely new book, Pema Chödrön offers her insights on the origins of world conflict. Anger originates in our own hearts, she asserts, not on the battlefield. Only by checking our aggression on a personal level can we hope to sow the seeds of peace.”—Body & Soul 



"Pema Chödrön's writings have been helpful to countless people trying to find some ground for their being in this chaotic world."—Bill Moyers --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; First Edition, First Printing edition (August 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590304012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590304013
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,245,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I must respectfully disagree with the reviewer who said this book is only good if you are familiar with the author's other work. I was attracted to this book by the title as it was sitting and calling out to me on the new books table at my local bookstore. I looked at the back flap and recognized the author from an interview she did with Bill Moyers on his recent "Faith and Reason" series.

This little book contains 6 essays edited from speeches the author gave. Each one contains grains of truth that can help you stop reacting in fear and anger to situations around you and instead to embrace patience and refrain from acting (or reacting), thus stopping the chain reaction of violence that seems to be swallowing our world.

Although I am not a Christian, this book seems to reflect the core teachings of Jesus when he advised his disciples to "turn the other cheek," "go the extra mile," and when he encouraged them to realize that the person who needs the most help is our neighbor, not the person we feel most alike.

This book has the potential to change your life (and mine) if we simply read the text and allow its messages to sink into our hearts.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This small book (95 small format pages of text) reflects Pema's prior works. It contains 6 of her lectures edited by Sandy Boucher (author of "Dancing in the Dharma" & "Turning the Wheel"). The chapter titles are provocative (e.g. "Compassionate Abiding & Positive Insecurity"), but the Table of Contents is numbered incorrectly (the small Roman numerals in the T of C are Arabic numbered in the book so each chapter is low by 14 pages in the T of C). As in other books, Pema provides valuable Jarvis Masters' stories from San Quentin, lojong mind training principles (see "Start Where You Are"), & Shenpa or emotional attachment (see "Getting Unstuck" CD set). Her main premises here are that individuals create culture & karma: to change them, change yourself (not unique to Pema), & that mindfulness helps us catch habitual patterns of emotional reaction (often centered on a personal history of attachment & pain avoidance) before they manifest--allowing one to act differently in the present & future. But to succeed one needs patience & fearlessness--p. 44: "learning to sit still with the edginess of the discomforting energy." This is consistent with Frank Herbert's "Dune"--"Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me & through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

Per "Awakening Compassion," Pema invokes Tonglen whereby p. 81: "Your own discomfort can connect you with the aversion & pain of other people & awaken your compassion." Furthermore, with mindfulness p.
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Format: Hardcover
Chodron argues for change one person at a time. To practice peace(a very deliberate verb choice) is to pause and reflect when we are hardwired to go on automatic pilot when others hurt or harm us. Don't seek resolution of potential conflict, just let it happen in the moment. Understand that those who hate harm themselves more than those hated. The book can be read as a stand alone, without any knowledge of Buddhism, although a basic grounding helps. It is simply and clearly written.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am a BIG fan of Pema Chodron and own many of her cds. Therefore I found this one disappointing as it was a compilation from other talks I already own. Very happy with her new things and it would be nice to know when buying that it is a compilation for those of us who buy her talks.
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Format: Hardcover
This isnt groundbreaking stuff but then there probably isnt anything left that's groundbreaking. But I was pleasently surprised by this little book. I read it in two nights, about used up a highlighter and the central premise is worth all of us trying. That is dont go for the 'hook' in life. When you find yourself angry, irritated or frustrated be quiet and look for the 'hook' what is it that has you acting that way. Not all that new an idea but presented in a simple, easy to understand way that is a message for all of us. In these times of war we need peace and it will always begin in our hearts. The 'hook' think about it next time.

Good read ...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With so much discussion and dispute about what it will take to bring peace to Iraq and other troubled places in the world today, it is hard to believe that a tiny book of barely 100 pages could even begin to offer an answer. It suggests no commitment of troops or dollars, no complicated strategy, and no national policy. The answer is not easy, and because it requires individual, personal commitment, it may not make headlines. With disarming clarity, Pema Chodron provides a plan that is so practical and so down to earth that it is probably irrefutable.

What can one person do to bring about peace? This book answers the question. I've considered carrying extra copies of the book to give to friends and strangers: maybe this review will encourage you in some way to pick up a copy for yourself.
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