Pema Chödrön

The work of Pema Chodron

Who is Pema Chodron?

Pema Chodron is a bhikkhuni which means she is an ordained member of a monastic order of Buddhists. As a nun, Chodron is a disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a master of meditation in the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism. These days, Chodron is among the leading teachers at Gampo Abbey, a Western Buddhist monastery that is located in Nova Scotia, Canada. Chodron has lived in the Gampo Abbey community since 1984 and became one of its directors in 1986. During the summer months, Chodrom often resides in Berkley, California where she teaches a course entitled 'Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life'. She has written numerous articles and books about her Buddhist beliefs, some of which have been made into audiobooks, too.

 What does Pema Chodron mean?

According to an interview that Pema Chodron – which is more appropriately written as Pema Chödrön – gave to the US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, she was given her new name early in her spiritual studies in the 1980s. According to that interview, the name literally translates as 'lotus torch of the dharma'. Perhaps a better way of interpreting the meaning of her name is to translate it as 'lamp of the truth', however.

Where was Pema Chodron born?

Deirdre Blomfield-Brown, who went on to become Pema Chodron, was born in New York City in 1936. She went on to attend a preparatory school for girls in Farmington, Connecticut and spent much of her formative life in New Jersey. Later, she went on to study in New York and then at the University of California in Berkeley. Her interest in Buddhism began after travelling to Europe, where she was first introduced to Lama Chime Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher.

How can you meditate with Pema Chodron?

Now in her 80s, Pema Chodron still teaches meditation formally. People who want to get to know her style of meditation better can attend one-off lectures, but these are not a common as they used to be. Nevertheless, her style can be learned from her numerous written works on the subject as well as her audiobooks. 'Pure Meditation: The Tibetan Buddhist Practice Of Inner Peace' is a twin CD guide to meditation that first came out in 2004. 'Giving Our Best: A Retreat With Pema Chodron on Practicing the Way of the Bodhisattva' is a DVD that was released in 2014. It contains many insights into meditation techniques, as well.

Which books explain the teaching of Pema Chodron?

From 1994, 'Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living' is one of the earliest titles by Pema Chodron to teach her vision of western Buddhism. 'Practising Peace in Times of War' is another key tome written by her. It came out in 2006. 'Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World' is a more recent work which was published in 2019.

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