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am 25. Mai 2000
Life's difficult times may be inevitable, but they're not a prerequisite for appreciating the 146 pages of wisdom found in this book. Pema Chodron is the director of Gampo Abbey in Pleasant Bay, Nova Scotia. WHEN THINGS FALL APART pays respect to her teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. We learn in the book's title essay, before becoming a Buddhist nun, Chodron survived the anger of a failed marriage. In truth, she writes, it saved her life (p. 10).
Chodron's experience illustrates the point of the 22 "teachings" contained within this book: "Life is a good teacher and a good friend" (p. 10). Life, Chodron observes, "is like riding a train sitting backwards" (p. 143). Leaning into the sharp points along the way is the kind of instruction we can apply to our lives to bring about "revolutionary changes in how we perceive things" (p. 139). The thorny path through hope, fear, death, loneliness, opinion and chaos should not be avoided. It is the goal.
I have now read Chodron's book twice. It is like a heart-to-heart encounter with an insightful friend. Thank you, Pema Chodron.
G. Merritt
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am 20. Februar 2000
As this book has deeply touched my heart, so did the previous reviews. Yes, certainly one of the best books I ever read, too. Many of us go through changes, even chaos at certain times of our lives. Perhaps particularly after losing one or more of our loved ones -or in many other situations, too. What Pema Chödron says in this book, it not just useful. Far from being one of those silly "How-to" manuals, it is more like a friend! This is deep, rich, glowing wisdom, and it is given so warmheartedly that even when you feel the most lost, alone, it can give you support, comfort and practical advice on how to proceed. Particularly one phrase in the book struck me. Pema Chödron explains that when she first came to Gampo Abbey, she was going through a lot of emotional stuff, "It was like being boiled alive", she says. Now, just one phrase like that shows how willingly she shares her own experience; she is not somewhere "up there" telling everybody what to do. She is right there, on the spot - the hot spot! - with you. The first thing I did when I had finished the book, was to re-read it! (As I had already done with each chapter!). Recently, I have re-read it once more, only to find that there was a lot more for me to learn from it. Still looking forward to the next re-reading!
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am 15. Dezember 1999
One of the goofier things typically characteristic of Zen practitioners like myself is the notion that sitting, sitting, sitting takes care of everything. No words, just sit!
Maybe it does. But I'm no Zen master. In the toughest of times, there's nothing better than words wisely spoken to support the sitting -- to support this life. And there's not a single book in my whole library better for this than When Things Fall Apart.
When things are really falling apart, I open this book to anywhere it happens to open, read two or three pages and somehow always come up more clear-headed about my particular situation. Like fueling the spirit tank.
There's a million books I love. If I could take just one on the journey, though, it'd be this one. O.k., if I could take just two on the journey, it'd be this one and Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. If you let me have three, I'm all set! Add Thay Nhat Hanh's Heart Sutra commentaries (The Heart of Understanding) and I'm walking tall.
More seriously still: for what ails you, this is the book.
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am 26. Juli 1997
This is the first time I have read any book on Bhuddist philosophy. I was quickly drawn in by Ms. Chodron's humor and candor about her own life. Everyone can find something in their lives that relates to this book. Reading a chapter a night was calming and centering. Great
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am 22. März 2002
A practical guide for every day on how to learn to be friendly
to ourselves. To accept ourselves the way we are and to learn
to face fear and through that letting it go.
Pema Chödrön combines a very straight message for the reader with
a very sensitive way of writing. One feels never in a corner in
fact all she writes is dead encouraging and creates distance to
all our problems.
Highly recommendable to everybody-no matter whether one is a
buddhist or not.
Stephan Laub
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am 16. Januar 2000
At this time, there are 18 five star customer reviews here. But the important thing is that each of these conveys that Pema Chodron has touched the reader emotionally.
She pushes through concepts like "austerity" and comes out to joyful living and compassion for all beings. Buddhist concepts underlie everything she writes. But theory is given only in relation to practice. All the writing is aimed right at the reader's daily life. Much of the World needs to be shown the difference between "tough" and "hard". Pema Chodron has done this admirably.
On an inside page it is stated "the author's profits are to be donated to the Gampo Abbey". Gampo Abbey and all of us are benefiting from the work of Pema Chodron.
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am 12. Mai 2000
Dieses Buch wurde zu meiner "Bibel" in schwierigen Lebenssituationen. Die schweren Seiten des Lebens mal anders ansehen, somit auch anders annehmen, wird plötzlich machbar. Ein Buch, dessen Aussagen so leicht umsetzbar sind im täglichen Leben. Durch umgewandeltes Leiden zu neuer Lebensfreude!
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am 21. Oktober 1999
Ane Pema Chodron writes in a clear and simple manner. I read this book about twice a year, because I learn something new or revisit concepts that I might have overlooked previously. It is clearly not just reading for when you go through tough times - its applicable to daily life. Pema's style is simple, clear and very human. We can all understand and relate to the teachings. It also provides us with an understanding of what we are going through and clear methods to deal with our situations and life.
For people who meditate - it is excellent reading. It gets you to understand what you go through when life is difficult, and how it is of great benefit along your path. It is like drinking a long cool glass of clear water on a warm day - clear and refreshing.
Its a great book to give as a gift. This book is a wonderful gift given to us by Pema Chodron.
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am 22. Januar 1999
Those who buy this book while in the midst of some sort of life crisis hoping to glean a few easy skills to glide through a "difficult time" will undoubtably be disappointed. On a superficial level that is. In Pema Chodron's view (as is the Buddhist view in general, I suppose) life itself is a difficult time. No easy answers are available here, but plenty of accessible insight and life-shaking wisdom. Parts of this book hit me like a smack on the head, leaving me awestruck and able to say only "Oh!" For those of us muddling through with aspirations of doing so more gracefully, this book is invaluable.
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am 2. Oktober 1998
"When Things Fall Apart" has helped me through a very difficult time in my life. Chodron talks (with humour) about the craziness of life, and how it is the FIGHTING of the craziness that makes us depressed/angry/upset. If we accept that we're human and we're not going to be perfect and happy all the time, then we find a place in our souls where we are OK with whatever feelings we have.
I highly recommend reading this book, whether you're having a difficult time with your life right now or not. You will circle many paragraphs and make them your mottos for living your life.
Peace.
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