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The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World
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The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World

4.39 of 5 stars 4.39  ·  rating details  ·  2,635 ratings  ·  88 reviews
It’s true, as they say, that we can only love others when we first love ourselves and we can only experience real joy when we stop running from pain. The key to understanding these truisms lies in remaining open to life in all circumstances, and here Pema Chödrön shows us how. Because when we embrace the happiness and suffering, intelligence and confusion that are a natura ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 2004 by Element Books (first published 1991)
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Erikka
May 14, 2008 Erikka rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: buddhists, people struggling for a healthier mind set
Recommended to Erikka by: Jason Nelson
Shelves: reads-of-08
Pema Chodron takes Tich Naht Hahn's Zen Buddhist wisdom and makes it readable. No totally obscure allegories or fragments of wisdom to decode for meaning. She is straight from the heart, speaks of her experience, and translates the traditional Buddhist teachings into an every day accessible language and practice. I reference Tich Naht Hahn, but she is actually from a different school of Buddhism under Tringpah Ringpoche.

Cassidy
I would not call myself a particularly "spiritual" person, but someone who I respect deeply for his ability to treat all things with an even temper gave me this book. While I can't say that I practice this all the time (ha ha ha), I respect the idea that 1) it's important to accept yourself, including all of your glorious faults, 2) all things can teach you something, and 3) we should all try to be a little gentler with ourselves and with others.
Jennifer
The first part of this book resonated with me more than the second part. Chapter 3 "Finding Our Own True Nature" begins with a metaphor of horses and how the worst horse turns out to be the best practitioner, not the best horse, the horse everyone wants to be when they first hear the story. There is also wonderful story at the beginning of the chapter titled "Joy" about strawberries. I was reading it during the same week our local strawberries were right at their peak. Enjoy the moment. Discussi ...more
Leslie
I read this book right after I crushed my hand and was experiencing nearly constant panic. It reached me through that buzz when nothing else could.

I gave it to my mom to look at when she visited and she borrowed it for like 3 years. I just got it back. I remembered a story about ravens being knocked around in the desert wind, literally holding onto phone lines by their beak and claws. then how they would just let go and play in the fury. there was so much joy and fearlessness in the idea that I
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Josh Fish
Just a simple series of short talks by Pema Chodron, I think most if not all of them are transcribed from events she spoke at, at a little over 100 pages, this book cut right through me. The main gist is to accept your life, embrace everything about it with gentleness and for God's sake be a friend to yourself instead of frustrated all of the time. I really needed to hear what she had to say. I highly recommend anyone take a few hours and check it out.
Meg Wallace
Very helpful book about how to be more at peace with your world. I typically get turned off by many such books as the author feels patronizing but Pema Chodron speaks with such humbleness that any wisdom she bestows feels warranted.
Stephanie
As always, Pema's books give you the reality testing and support you need when struggling thru a tough time in your life…Written with grace and humility and humor, she scores yet again with another winner..
Joey Heflich
Good, but it felt like I was reading a programming book slightly beyond my skill level. Which is also good.
Jennifer Louden
so thankful for Pema's wisdom
Jo
Hmm, not sure what to say here. I read the whole thing. I knew what I was letting myself in for. Having picked up a couple of books that seemed academic but turned out to be a bit of a mix of academic, evangelism and self-help, I thought I would expose myself to a real self-help book from a 'pop' buddhist perspective. This book is a series of talks given at a long retreat. The speaker explores her experience of Tibetan meditation, and I feel like I came to understand a little more of the inside ...more
Kenny
In her book, she describes a simple meditation exercise. Starting with the simplest form of it that can be used on its own, and building as the book goes on. What I liked most of all is that she gives the reader an understanding of what each part is for and what it is supposed to help you discover for yourself. My explanation might make it sound like she's "ruining the purpose of the exercise" or something, however (as she explains in the book) knowledge can be explained and conceptualized but e ...more
Jessica
This is one of those books that seemed to have wisdom relevant to my exact situation every time I picked it up to read it. The lectures are really great and accessible, but I did find that sometimes she used words in a way that didn't make sense to me, or was repetitious. But the main reason I took one star off was because of the way that she almost flippantly references depression often, in a way that made me think that she more meant "those days when you have the blues." Regardless of what she ...more
Jay Cook
I enjoyed this book, although it was different than what I had expected. I had purchased the book thinking it was more of a how-to on Metta, or Loving Kindness, meditation. It was really more of a collection of dharma talks on the topic (and some off).That said, it was definitely a worth-while read.
While not offering in-depth instruction on the meditation side of Metta, there was a lot of food for contemplation. The best passages in the book provide inspiration for acting with kindness towards y
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Nancy
Parts of this must be on a recording under another title, because several anecdotes felt familiar. But that did not diminish the impact. I read a chapter a day and use it as a vitamin. I let the technical terms slip through me but hold on to the concepts that say: hey. This is it.
Ken
This transcription of talks Pema Chödrön gave at a retreat at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia is a simple, quick, and easily digested read. Chödrön's guidance is practical, speaking to common, every-day experience, so this book is great for anyone just beginning to learn about Buddhism or just searching for wise livelihood in general. Chödrön, herself, I found easy to relate to because she came to Buddhist practice, not as a high-minded spiritual seeker, but because her life was simply miserable—ofte ...more
Katey
I don't know why I keep bothering with this kind of book. They offer nothing to me. While I can appreciate and/or respect certain aspects of the Buddhist philosophy, most of the time I feel it's a cop-out, including most of the rather generalised writing in this book. While I found it definitely less annoying than most self-help type books, I couldn't quite relate to it, as the goals are not my goals. I don't believe in many of the tenets in this book. Life is suffering though, I agree with that ...more
Judith
This book is a transcription of a series of dhamma talks given by Pema Chodron during a "dathun" (one month retreat) in Gampo Abbey. The book is not the best introduction to buddhism. It doesn't have a clear structure and the language is a bit too fuzzy for my taste.
However, after reading so much books on buddhism by practitioners and teachers of the insight meditation tradition, the talks of Pema Chodron provide a new, more personal perspective on the dhamma and meditation. It's clear from the
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Pat
It's good for pragmatists, but not great. There is a lot of useful thought exercises to start training the mind to be more "open" and mindful and free of discursive thought. The author does a good job of demystifying the thoroughly mystified. BUT, there is a lot of language that tends toward poetics, rather than simple descriptive prose. When discussing contemplation and consciousness, its so easy to get lost in flowery language and have a good idea lose all meaning.

So, it doesn't get the perfec
...more
Tania Puell
Somebody lent this to me. Ii was a little wary of it, seeing as i didnt know anything about Pema Chödrön, and the edition i have at hand looking much like one of those dreadful self help books, but its actually very good. It's a collection of talks given by Pema during a meditation retreat. She has a very easygoing way of relating Buddhist principles and gives introspection advice that holds valid beyond meditation practice. In the end I really liked it. I read it in tandem with Zen and the Art ...more
Kaitlin
I struggled between 4 and 5 stars and settled on 4 because of the chapter on "sticking to your own boat." I wish it would have been explained more as it became this pivotal notion towards the end and then was never flushed out. Overall, this book made me think in ways I never have before and is highly applicable to daily life.
Elizabeth
Sep 28, 2007 Elizabeth rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: someone who complains endlessly about a situation they could manage, with a little help.
This book is very practical and one of the earlier books published by Pema Chodron. The writing is very clear and simple and introduces the reader to concepts like "maitra", which means giving loving kindness to yourself, and "boddhichita" which means giving loving kindness to others. Essentially an introduction to the bare bones of Buddhist philosophy, Chodron uses these cornerstones as sites for illustrating how essential truths, when seen through an intentionally loving and kind way, can be n ...more
Lisa Campbell
Very practical and useful book.
Keith Heiberg
A true classic. My only reason for giving it four rather than five stars is because she sometimes fails to question her teacher's (Trungpa's) standard dogma. But her own insights are impressive.
Melissa
So, after a year I suppose I should move this from my "currently reading" shelf. I read the whole book and re-read several chapters. I will probably be "currently reading" this book for a long time. Each chapter is a different talk and I found it more valuable to read a talk or two in one sitting rather than plow through the book. I'm not a Buddhist and this is not a particularly dense book, which is good for me. Now if there was a magic "currently living" button I could press on goodreads, I'd ...more
Eric
I was pleasantly surprised when I found this on the train and decided to take it home.
Pam
This is another great book by Pema Chodron. Like her others, it has many great thoughts that deserve to be chewed on over time. It certainly isn't a book you want to read too quickly. Plus, its ideas are always great to look back on in the future when dealing with different aspects and challenges of one's life. Regardless of how it is read, her words are always great for bringing up different enlightened perspectives on the path of life.
Ritch Flynn
Great book. Such a concise expression of what I interpret as a fantastic universal philosophy for our modern age. That sounds a little grand perhaps, but its so straightforward and simple, and yet profound at the same time. Looking forward to reading it a second time, to absorb it deeper.

This is a very short read, and as deep as it can go, its also infinitely readable. A must read for anyone interested in Eastern philosophy/spirituality.
Allison
This book was a gift years ago, and I tried to read it then and maybe two other times unsuccessfully. I knew all along it was well written, insightful, and full of wisdom but I couldn't dig in, it wasn't speaking to me. I picked it up again recently, after having started a (semi?)-regular meditation practice. That was it! Without the practice, the words had nothing to grab onto. It was really helpful and inspirational.
Justin Cambria
This is a series of lectures that Pema gave at Gampo Abbey on mindfulness and various other Buddhist concepts. It often resolves to the power of staying in the present moment, and techniques to do so. It's a quick read and I enjoyed it, and have been using the technique of non-judgmentally labeling mental meandering as 'thinking' to bring myself back to what is really going on right now.
Michelle
Chodron talks about sticking to one boat. Does she mean Buddhism or a single kind of Buddhism? I think for me it must be the latter, because while I find good things here and there in her books, Tibetan Buddhism doesn't speak to me the same way Zen does. I've read two of her books now and while I think they are valuable, I'm going to go back to the Zen Buddhism that gets me in the gut.
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Ani Pema Chödrön (Deirdre Blomfield-Brown) is an American Buddhist nun in the Tibetan tradition, closely associated with the Kagyu school and the Shambhala lineage.

She attended Miss Porter's School in Connecticut and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught as an elementary school teacher for many years in both New Mexico and California. Pema has two children and three g
...more
More about Pema Chödrön...
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears

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“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.” 229 likes
“Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already.” 14 likes
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