Pema Chödrön

With her powerful teachings, bestselling books, and retreats attended by thousands, Pema Chödrön is today’s most popular American-born teacher of Buddhism. In The Wisdom of No Escape, The Places that Scare You, and other important books, she has helped us discover how difficulty and uncertainty can be opportunities for awakening. Her book Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better: Wise Advice for Leaning into the Unknown will be published in September, 2015. She serves as resident teacher at Gampo Abbey Monastery in Nova Scotia and is a student of Dzigar Kongtrul, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and the late Chögyam Trungpa. For more, visit

Home Cooking


At New York’s Reciprocity Foundation, homeless youth receive nourishment for body and mind alike. Founder Taz Tagore explains the program’s recipe for success. Living in New York City, there is no shortage of joy or suffering. They’re all around you, on a daily basis. As a practicing Buddhist, I strive to see it all clearly, but when I arrive at work, that can get very [...]

Smile at Fear: Pema Chodron’s teachings on Bravery, Open Heart & Basic Goodness


Despite what we might think much of the time and what the news programs imply, we all wish to be sane and open-hearted people. We could take I our wish to be more sane and kind and put it in a very large context. We could expand it into a desire to help all other people, to help the whole world. But we need a place to start. We can’t simply begin with the whole world. We need [...]

Six Kinds of Loneliness


To be without a reference point is the ultimate loneliness. It is also called enlightenment. In the middle way, there is no reference point. The mind with no reference point does not resolve itself, does not fixate or grasp. How could we possibly have no reference point? To have no reference point would be to change a deep-seated habitual response to the world: wanting to make [...]

The Fine Art of Failing

Pema Chodron, Fail, Liza Matthews, Buddhadharma, Lion's Roar, Buddhism

In her commencement speech at Naropa University, Pema Chödrön explains that if there’s one thing we all need to practice, it's how to fail well. When Naropa asked me for the topic of my talk, I decided not to give it to them because I thought if I did, they wouldn’t let me do it! My talk is inspired by a quote from Samuel Beckett that goes like this: “Fail. Fail again. Fail [...]

A beginner’s guide to the teachings of Pema Chödrön

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She's a powerful teacher—and a prolific one. There's a Pema teaching for every stage of your life. Here are some of the best. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times Shambhala Publications Difficult moments abound in life but we can meet them with confidence and grace. The key, Pema Chödrön says, is having the courage to rest in the open space of [...]

How to Move Forward Once You’ve Hit Bottom

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Pema Chödrön tells the story of when, having hit rock bottom, she asked her teacher what to do.   I thought I would tell you this little story about Naropa University’s founder, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and my very first one-on-one interview with him. This interview occurred during the time when my life was completely falling apart, and I went there because I [...]

Thank You, Pema

Andrea Miller, Editorial, expectation, Parenting, Pema Chödrön, Shambhala Sun

Have you ever walked down the street lost in thought, just present enough not to fall into a manhole but not enough to see anything a block ahead? When I did a retreat with Pema Chödrön, she looked around the room at the one thousand retreatants and said that she’d hazard a guess that every single one of us had had that experience. To illustrate her point, Pema Chödrön [...]

Practice Pema Chödrön’s “Three Conscious Breaths”


Pema Chödrön teaches us a simple technique we can use anytime we need a break from our habitual patterns. Our habits are strong, so a certain discipline is required to step outside our cocoon and receive the magic of our surroundings. Pause practice—taking three conscious breaths at any moment when we notice that we are stuck—is a simple but powerful practice that each of us [...]

Pema Chödrön and Jack Kornfield talk “The Wondrous Path of Difficulties”

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A conversation with Pema Chödrön and Jack Kornfield, moderated by Michael Krasny about the everyday difficulties that provoke us, reveal our habitual patterns, and ultimately transform us. Call it luck, good luck. A sellout crowd of over 3,000 people arrives at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco to listen to a discussion with two of America's most respected and [...]

Celebrate Pema Chödrön’s birthday with some of her best from Shambhala Sun

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Pema Chödrön with k.d. lang on the cover of the upcoming September Shambhala Sun. Here's reason to celebrate: the American Buddhist nun (and frequent Shambhala Sun contributor!) Pema Chödrön turns 79 today. Born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936 -- read her life story, "Becoming Pema" -- she's now beloved as a teacher to us all. So what better way to honor her than to make a [...]