The Pocket Pema Chodron is a small but perfectly formed collection of extracts from Pema Chodron’s various other best-selling titles. Published in the Shambhala Pocket Classics series, this volume is light and compact enough for you to carry around on your person, but the weight of its content is far greater.
There are 108 sections – most of which run for just a page or two – and that makes it easy to use the book as a handy source of inspiration. Read a section in the morning before heading out to work and you’re sure to have something useful to ponder as you go through each day.
Pema Chodron has a great talent for making Buddhist teachings and principles directly relevant to daily life, and she doesn’t beat around the bush or dilute her message to appease sensitive types. On the contrary, she gets straight to the point and addresses reality exactly the way it is, helpfully destroying any unrealistic notions that might stand in the way of us seeing that reality. To illustrate, here is a quote from the section entitled Getting the Knack of Hopelessness:
To think that we can finally get it all together is unrealistic. To seek for some lasting security is futile. To undo our very ancient and very stuck habitual patterns of mind requires that we begin to turn around some of our most basic assumptions. Believing in a solid, separate self, continuing to seek pleasure and avoid pain, thinking that someone “out there” is to blame for our pain – one has to get totally fed up with these ways of thinking.
That might not be the kind of thing that some people want to hear, but it is the truth, and Pema’s willingness to express it in such a forthright manner is to be applauded.
The range of topics covered in this book is wide, with sections on The Path of the Bodhisattva-Warrior, Why Meditate?, Difficulty is Inevitable, We Don’t Need to Change Ourselves, Developing True Courage, When Things Fall Apart, The Law of Karma and many more. In addition, at the end of the book you will find a very useful Sources section that tells you which titles the excerpts were taken from, so if you want to go on to read the source titles themselves you can easily do so.
Whether you read all 108 sections in one sitting or you take the approach that we adopted and contemplate one section a day for 108 days (which we highly recommend), The Pocket Pema Chodron is a title that you will want to pick up again and again.