It’s no secret I love Pema Chodron’s books. This one focuses on the transformation of our sorrows through the Bodhisattva Path. That is: through transforming our fears into fearlessness and love for all beings.
This works, because it takes us out of our own small world to realize that we’re not the only one suffering and we’re not all that important. Doesn’t sound appealing? Weirdly enough it’s liberating. But let me quote Pema Chodron instead of relying on my own meagre words:
“Bodhichitta exists on two levels. First there is unconditional bodhichitta, an immediate experience that is refreshingly free of concept, opinion, and our usual all-caught-upness. It’s something hugely good that we are not able to pin down even slightly, like knowing at gut level that there’s absolutely nothing to lose. Second there is relative bodhichitta, our ability to keep our hearts and minds open to suffering without shutting down.” (The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics), p. 6)
“Few of us are satisfied with retreating from the world and just working on ourselves. We want our training to manifest and to be of benefit.The bodhisattva-warrior, therefore, makes a vow to wake up not just for himself but for the welfare of all beings.” (The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics), p. 122)
This is the sort of book that I can open at random and come up with an interesting quote. For instance:
Sometimes remembering our basic goodness takes a leap of faith. The trick is to connect with the soft spot that we already have. Sometimes it helps to find little ways that the seed of goodness manifests in our life. To find our ability to rejoice and to care, even when it’s fleeting, strengthens our confidence. To see how we block our hearts and close our minds brings self-compassion and the longing not to do that anymore.
So our practice is to keep watering the seed. We water it by thinking of others, both when we’re happy and when we’re in distress. We water it by recognizing our kinship with all beings throughout time and space. We water it by noticing our negative and positive reactions to whomever and whatever we meet. We water it with gentleness and honesty. We learn to ask: “How can I use this suffering and this joy as a vehicle for transformation?” And we practice being kind when we’re stuck. (The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics), p. 111, 112)
- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Shambhala; 1 edition (August 9, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590302656
- ISBN-13: 978-1590302651
- Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 0.8 x 7.1 inches