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

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

fail, pema chodron, chogyam trungpa rinpoche, lion's roar, buddhism, sounds true, advice

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 [...]

A Bodhicitta Practice

Bodhicitta Practice Instruction Pema Chodron Suffering Lion's Roar Buddhism

Pema Chödrön offers a method for generating love and compassion for all human beings. The best way to begin this practice is by thinking of a person whose suffering you feel strongly and whose happiness is very important to you. This could be someone you know or have known, or someone you've seen on the street or read about in the newspaper. The thought of certain people [...]

What to Do When the Going Gets Rough


Pema Chödrön on four ways to hold our minds steady and hearts open when facing difficult people or circumstances. The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful. If we take this instruction to heart and begin to use it, we will probably find that it is [...]

You Can Do It!

Pema Chödrön Tonglen Tibetan Buddhism

Make your vow to help others real with this meditation teaching from Pema Chödrön. The first stage in the practice of tonglen, or taking and sending, is a pause, a moment of stillness and space, a brief gap. If you need an image for this, you can reflect on any experience of wide-open space, such as gazing out at the ocean or looking up into a cloudless sky. The second [...]