Inspiring Buddhist teachings on promoting peace within our own lives—and throughout the greater world—by examining how we respond to conflict in our thoughts and actions
With war and violence flaring all over the world, many of us are left feeling vulnerable and utterly helpless. In this book Pema Chödrön draws on Buddhist teachings to explore the origins of aggression, hatred, and war, explaining that they lie nowhere but within our own hearts and minds. She goes on to explain that the way in which we as individuals respond to challenges in our everyday lives can either perpetuate a culture of violence or create a new culture of compassion.
“War and peace begin in the hearts of individuals,” declares Pema Chödrön at the opening of this inspiring and accessible book. She goes on to offer practical techniques any of us can use to work for peace in our own lives, at the level of our habits of thought and action. It's never too late, she tells us, to look within and discover a new way of living and transform not only our personal lives but our whole world.
This gifty little book by the American Buddhist nun Ch dr n 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. Ch dr n 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. Ch dr n 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 Ch dr n's body of work.