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Leaning into life's sharp points.
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.