2021 Mar 27
The beautiful practicality of her teaching has made Pema Chödrön one of the most beloved of contemporary American spiritual authors among Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. A collection of talks she gave between 1987 and 1994, the book is a treasury of wisdom for going on living when we are overcome by pain and difficulties. Chödrön discusses:
- Using painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and courage
- Communicating so as to encourage others to open up rather than shut down
- Practices for reversing habitual patterns
- Methods for working with chaotic situations
- Ways for creating effective social action
Notes & Highlights
3. This Very Moment Is the Perfect Teacher
In practicing meditation, we’re not trying to live up to some kind of ideal—quite the opposite. We’re just being with our experience, whatever it is. If our experience is that sometimes we have some kind of perspective, and sometimes we have none, then that’s our experience. If sometimes we can approach what scares us, and sometimes we absolutely can’t, then that’s our experience. “This very moment is the perfect teacher, and it’s always with us” is really a most profound instruction.
22. The Path Is the Goal
Now is the only time. How we relate to it creates the future. In other words, if we’re going to be more cheerful in the future, it’s because of our aspiration and exertion to be cheerful in the present. What we do accumulates; the future is the result of what we do right now.
There’s a famous dharma saying that goes: “If you want to see what has brought you to this point, look at your past thoughts and actions. If you want to see your future, look at your present thoughts and actions.”