cover image The Compassion Book: Teachings for Awakening the Heart

The Compassion Book: Teachings for Awakening the Heart

Pema Chödrön. Shambhala, $14.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-61180-420-1

In this brief book, Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart) focuses on lojong, or mind training, to develop compassion, based on 59 “slogans” (short teachings) from The Root Text of the Seven Points of Training the Mind, written by a 12th-century Tibetan Buddhist master. “The basic notion of lojong is that we can make friends with what we reject, what we see as ‘bad’ in ourselves and in other people,” writes Chödrön, who studied with the late Chögyam Trungpa. Her commentary on each slogan is usually short, sometimes one sentence; readers who wish for more extended discussion of these teachings in Chödrön’s personable, down-to-earth style will find it in her 1994 title, Start Where You Are. While some of the slogans refer to fairly technical Buddhist points (e.g., “Seeing confusion as the four kayas is unsurpassable shunyata protection”), Chödrön is adept at clear, simple explanations. The book includes suggestions for incorporating lojong into daily practice, a link to an audio of Chödrön teaching tonglen (an increasingly well-known breathing practice to cultivate compassion), and a short list of additional resources on lojong. (Mar.)