Not long ago, I discovered the writings of this amazing woman. Pema Chödrön is a Buddhist nun who has written books, lectured around the world, and shown many the beautiful teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.
I was reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown which was recommended to me a friend. While that was a terrific read which I highly recommend, its was Brené’s recommendation of Pema writings that I will be forever grateful for.
If, like me, you have never done any reading on Buddhist philosophy, I can’t overstate what you are missing out on. Even if you are a firm believer in what you would consider an opposing or simply different belief system, you will find their teachings, especially with Pema’s amazing gift for articulating them, to be challenging and life affirming. You may even find that it will enable you to appreciate your currently held beliefs in a new and fresh way as a result of the unique light they shine upon universal truths.
I’m currently reading Pema’s book The Places that Scare You. While it’s a short book, I’m taking my time reading it a few pages at a time because its so good. Each page is packed with depth and wisdom. Like a fine wine, you have to allow it time to roll over your palate to catch all the subtle flavors and beautiful notes. To read it quickly would be a disservice.
Her presentation of the principle of bodhichitta is one that deeply moved me. Bodhichitta is that soft spot that we all have. That vulnerable, open, compassionate place that we all too often build up protective walls around to save ourselves from being hurt. A bodhisattva is one who choosed to be a compassionate warrior for bodhichitta. One who choses to allow the difficult experiences in life to soften rather then harden them. They fight to tap into the bodhichitta in themselves and all those around them. The introduction of this principle into my life could not have been timed more perfectly and it has changed the way I do life on a daily basis.
Its my hope that we can all learn to see the beauty and truth in the wise teaching of all those that have dedicated their lives to the service and mentoring of others, indiscriminate of the religious label under which Barnes and Noble choses to shelve their writings.
If you are interested in reading Pema, her books are published and available for purchase at Shambhala Publications.