Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change

Pema Ch%C3%B6dr%C3%B6n. Shambhala, $22.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-59030-963-6
With her characteristic clarity, Buddhist nun Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart) once again explores how Buddhist ideas can help individuals live joyful lives. Her framework is three traditional vows: refrain from harm, take care of others, and accept the world as it is. Commitment to these principles, she argues, can address the "fundamental ambiguity of being human" which includes fear of change and an unknown future. Drawing in particular from the wisdom of her teacher, the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the American-born nun and popular writer shows how the "real cause of suffering is not being able to tolerate uncertainty," with the resulting struggle to cling to a "fixed identity." Strategies to address impermanence and the fear it causes include refraining from acting on negative emotions; practicing compassion; and fully acknowledging the experience of the present moment, however painful. The text, adapted from talks, includes brief practices. Chödrön's strength is her ability to communicate to a general audience that people are essentially good, that they can be free from fear, and that they can always try again when they fail. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 10/09/2012
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