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When Things Fall Apart
Heart Advice for Difficult Times
by Pema Chodron
Shambhala  ISBN-10: 1570623449
 

Much like Zen, Pema Chodron's interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism takes the form of a nontheistic spiritualism. In When Things Fall Apart this head of a Tibetan monastery in Canada outlines some relevant and deceptively profound terms of Tibetan Buddhism that are germane to modern issues. The key to all of these terms is accepting that in the final analysis, life is groundless. By letting go, we free ourselves to face fear and obstacles and offer ourselves unflinchingly to others. The graceful, conversational tone of Chodron's writing gives the impression of sitting on a pillow across from her, listening to her everyday examples of Buddhist wisdom.

One senses a possibility they may get worse." Consequently, Chodron's book is filled with useful advice about how Buddhism helps readers to cope with the grim realities of modern life, including fear, despair, rage and the feeling that we are not in control of our lives. Through reflections on the central Buddhist teaching of right mindfulness, Chodron orients readers and gives them language with which to shape their thinking about the ordinary and extraordinary traumas of modern life. But most importantly, Chodron demonstrates how effective the Buddhist point of view can be in bringing order into disordered lives.

An American Buddhist nun and author , Chodron advises a loving kindness toward oneself and awakening a compassionate attitude toward our pain and the pain of others. The readings allow us to reconnect with a truth already known or to find a new way of looking at everyday chaos. Throughout, we are shown basic Buddhist beliefs and given instructions in discovering one's true nature through asking questions, facing one's fears, and dealing with the present.

Drawn from traditional Buddhist wisdom, Pema Chödrön's radical and compassionate advice for what to do when things fall apart in our lives goes against the grain of our usual habits and expectations. There is only one approach to suffering that is of lasting benefit, Pema teaches, and that approach involves moving toward painful situations with friendliness and curiosity, relaxing into the essential groundlessness of our entire situation. It is there, in the midst of chaos, that we can discover the truth and love that are indestructible.

The author says that awareness through meditation can teach us what is true, even when the truth is painful or disorienting. Usually we fight with uncomfortable emotion or act it out in habitual ways; we want things on our own terms and don't want to think about how they affect others.

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