THE COMPASSION BOX: Powerful Practices from the Buddhist Tradition for Cultivating Wisdom, Fearlessness and Compassion

Pema Chodron, Author . Shambhala $26.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-59030-075-6

Recently, some publishers have repackaged their bread-and-butter titles as gift boxes, pairing known bestsellers with certain extras (CDs, prayer flags, Tarot cards, etc.) and doubling the price. Rarely, however, has the strategy worked so seamlessly as it does in this gift collection from Chödrön, Buddhist nun and author of the bestsellers When Things Fall Apart and The Places That Scare You. The pocket-sized book contained here, Start Where You Are, is nearly a decade old and is a popular primer on compassion-in-practice. In it, Chödrön argues that to start where we are, we have to embrace our pain and learn how to live with it—and how to let it go. "It is unconditional compassion for ourselves that leads naturally to unconditional compassion for others," she writes, paraphrasing the lojong teachings that form the heart of the book. Lojong, meaning "mind training," consists of 59 "pithy slogans" about cultivating compassion. In addition to the book, this gift box contains 59 lojong cards with the teachings on one side and Chödrön's commentary on the other. ("In all activities, train with slogans," says the ninth lojong card. It's advice that Chödrön seems to have taken to heart.) The set comes with a little cardboard stand so that practitioners can prop a card in front of themselves during meditation, and it also offers a 43-minute CD with Chödrön's spoken instructions on tonglen meditation—breathing in the suffering of others, and breathing out compassion. (Sept. 9)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2003
Release date: 10/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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