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Comfortable With Uncertainty: 108 Teachings

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  3,489 Ratings  ·  249 Reviews
Comfortable with Uncertainty reads like a perfect companion guide to the traditional 108-day Buddhist retreat. In a day-by-day format, author Pema Chödrön dives into the soothing wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism, reminding us that groundlessness is the only ground we have to stand on. Each of her 108 teachings are brief (about two pages), and all of them are excerpted from longe ...more
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Published September 1st 2003 by Sounds True (first published 2002)
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Jeannie Mancini
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Years ago while in a period of personal turmoil, a dear friend of mine recommended a book titled ‘When Things Fall Apart” by female Buddhist monk Pema Chodron. I remember reading it and feeling connected to this woman’s words, and enjoying her writings of introductory Buddhism for the lay person. Now many years later I find myself yearning and seeking more out of life, and am interested in delving deeper into the practice and philosophy of Buddhist thought. I picked up a copy of the author’s boo ...more
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever heard the adage, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

This book is like that for me. I have had it for a few months now, and dipped into its very very short chapters from time to time. But recently I read it fully and it lifted a blind in my window.

Of course I had to get past the “Four truths of enlightenment” and the “Six beliefs of compassion” and the “Three ways of feeling pain“. The trite phrase “be here now” that I see in management training seminars and the seemi
Jun 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A super nice, amazing person gave me this book to read as I was in the fetal position over my husband's fifth bout of unemployment in eight years. I tried to get into this book.I can see its wisdom. However, what I really want is a different book, titled something like "Taking Bite-Sized Pieces of Ragged Flesh From the Bodies of Those Who Have Wronged Me" or "I Will Burn You And Your Entire Career To The Ground, Oh My Enemy."
I've been so reticent to take this back to the library that I finally just bought a paperback copy. I'm also the world's worst library employee because... I dog-eared some pages. What delighted me about that, though, is that all the pages I turned down had been turned down previously. Kindred spirits, I guess.
Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A multifaceted jewel and game-changer.

When I was in DC this summer my friend Stephen gave me this book. I wasn’t even able to glance at it until we got back to Negril, but I loved the title. I recall checking out When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron years ago, but at that time I wasn’t ready to dwell deeply on these ideas.

I read this book slowly, a couple of pages a day. It consists of 108 short chapters excerpted from Pema’s previous books. This is all about how to live our lives better on a
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't feel like I can write useful reviews for people (and even for myself looking back on them) about Pema Chödrön's books. Simply, she speaks to me. The way she talks about things are accessible and make sense to my brain. I've yet to encounter one of her books that's bad.

This one is unique in that it is made up of 108 small chapters -- 1-2 pages each, is that even considered a chapter? -- from her other books. This is neither a substitute nor a summary of them, but it really feels like a wh
Tim Niland
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
This book takes a look a how we deal with our uncertain lives and times. Chodron is a Buddhist nun and she uses the teachings of Buddhism to illustrate her points throughout the book, which is actually excerpts of lectures she has given around the world. This is far from doctrinaire religion or self-help as possible, in fact she gently chides religious thinking as just another way for a person to escape from what is truly real and look for a "hand to hold" which isn't really there. The idea of w ...more
Frank Jude
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every student of Yoga/Dharma.
This is a great, little book: 108 pithy teachings and instructions forming an integrated course of practice of vipassana, lojong, the four brahma-viharas, tonglen and the bodhisattva paramitas. The first year it came out, I read it through, one teaching a day for 108 days, reflecting on the teachings and following the practices. Then, I began again and did it two more times as an almost year-long practice. Since then, I've encouraged several of my students to take up that practice and they have ...more
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You pick up a book like this with the expectation to emerge more enlightened in the end, when in fact the main thing it teaches you is to drop all expectations and just face whatever comes openly.

The three ideas I'd like to embrace from this book are mindfulness, facing your fears and that the path is the goal.

The three shortcomings that I found are the lack of responsibility for one's choices, disregard for goals of personal growth and most importantly the idea that only the present moment ma
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
In this book Buddhist nun Pema Chodron explains basic ideas of Buddhism, such as being alive in the present moment, staying open to suffering and strong emotions instead of shutting down, and learning to relax in the middle of chaos. She emphasizes honesty, gentleness, curiosity, interconnectedness, and being compassionate towards ourselves and others. These concepts are an antidote to the stereotypical American strategies of denying and repressing feelings, focusing on the future, using technol ...more
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a daily devotional
Recommended to Stephanie by: Janet Conner
Pema Chodron was already one of my favorite authors and teachers before bestselling journaling coach/author Janet Conner recommended this title to my Book Group. I liked that Pema's book was 108 short entries that could be read at the start of each day. The glossary helped me understand Buddhist terminology better.

Some of Chodron's passages are so well crafted that they could be epitaphs and signature quotes.

Chodron is one of the great teachers of contemporary times.
She is that wounded warrior w
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I really enjoyed this book. This is an example of a passage from the book that I found conveys the basic message of the book:

"The central question is not how to avoid uncertainty and fear but how we relate to discomfort. How do we practice with difficulty, with our emotions, with the unpredictable encounters of an ordinary day? For those of us with a hunger to know the truth, painful emotions are like flags going up to say "You're stuck!" We regard disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, jea
Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third or fourth book by Pema Chodron that I've read in the past five-or-so years. I'd be hard pressed to differentiate among them. That's not a negative comment, though. In every book, Pema's basically telling the same story: she's sharing the messages of the Buddha on how to alleviate dukkha (suffering, dissastisfaction) and live more sanely. Like any good teacher, she makes her points in various ways so that we're more likely to get the message: maybe understand more clearly, catch ...more
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A compilation of 108 short lessons. This book has made it's way from my bookshelf to my bedside table numerous times over the years. Each time I read it, I find new meaning. Basic Tibetan Buddhist concepts, presented in layman’s terms, applicable to anyone’s life - regardless of what your belief system is. This is a beautiful little book which I will never really be finished with. I am not sure if there is anything more important than becoming comfortable with uncertainty. It is thought provokin ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Pema Chodron through a link on facebook by Marty Howes (thanks, Marty!!!). I have been reading about Buddhism for awhile now because I don't believe in conventional religion. Buddhism is about peace, love, and co-existing (I know, I sound like a 60's hippie). It's helping me embrace Tonglen -- taking in sufffering and sending forth compassion. Working with the Wounded Warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan allowed me to employ this practice daily. A great read especially if you're stru ...more
Jelle Derckx
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life, to-review
Één van mijn eerste boeken over het Boeddhisme en wat een Boeddhistische openbaring. Veel praktische tips en zo leerzaam voor het dagelijks leven. Ik wil mijn hele leven dansen met het oncomfortabele. Bijna het hele boek heb ik gemarkeerd. Meest inspirerende quote uit het boek: "Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already".
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never thought of myself as someone interested in Buddhism, but this book totally changed my perspective -- a lot of what Chodron had to say really resonated with me. When I finished this book, I bought my own copy off Amazon (the one I read was a library copy), which is really rare for me because I keep such a small book shelf! Worth it.
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The goal isn't really to become comfortable with uncertainty but rather to embrace the fear . . . the discomfort and relax in the moment of "uncomfortableness". As the summer of reflect comes to an end my goal is to embrace the fear and discomfort-- to relax in the moment. I'm on the path each moment each day. I'm me again.
Jeff Cannon
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful bedside book. It's not necessarily an eye opener, but it is a wonderful way to remind yourself of some of Pema's thoughts and lessons. Each is just a page or two. Easy to read and soul stirring.

Thank you for yet another reminder on living a life in balance.
Oct 02, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
this book is absolutely amazing! It teaches so much about learning to live with fear and pain and how those things actually make life worth living and...I don't even know how to begin to expain it but it's based a lot on buddhist principles...check it out, really!
Thomas Ruddy
Jun 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is not a book you read once but a book you read over and over. Start in the middle and finish at the beginning if you want.
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read one of the teachings each day, starting the book over once I reach the end. Despite this, they are new each time, and, very often, precisely the lesson I needed to hear.
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I knew everything contained in this little book, I'd be wise enough to last me a lifetime.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from a friend of mine right before moving from Seattle to LA to start a new job. And, I should note that I had recently started doing more thinking about my thinking and how it related to my actions and responses to others, having just co-taught a course (with the friend who game me the book) on ethical philosophy to high school students. So, this was an interesting book and has some great lessons about the transformative power of love and compassion, both for others and our ...more
Jake Kairis
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Full of little axioms that I recall discovering on my own (but not always following) so it's a good reminder of those. It's a long Buddhist listicle. There were some inspirational moments but the format feels scattershot and disorganized at times. A nice one to keep on the shelf and return to in the mornings.
Colin Fyfe
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book with valid points. Though it come off a little "cut and paste" with following these rules/ dogmatic to end suffering. Would have enjoyed more holistic integrative narrative. I did enjoy parts and themes of integration along ownership of all elements of life. I'd give between 3-4 starts.
Magdalena Golden-Baran
A great collection of short musings. I was reading it really slowly - just one at a time, every few days, sometimes with long breaks in between and it almost always seemed that the one I was reading had some important insights for me specifically to what was happening around me :) Definitely a book I'll be coming back to time and again.
Cheryl Goveia
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
I read the book entirely too fast so I'm re-reading it as it's supposed to be digested, as a daily meditation. It's chocked full of wonderful daily insight and will most likely be started over again, once 108 days have passed. She's a magnificent teacher and this is a must for the daily practitioner. Enjoy!
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life changing. I will read this little book again and again and am already incorporating the simple practices Chödrön describes into my daily routine.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is like Pema condensed or Pema Coles Notes. Or Buddhism 101.

Great overview and light touch introduction to practice.
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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 about Pema Chödrön...
“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” 74 likes
“Be grateful to everyone" is about making peace with the aspects of ourselves that we have rejected... If we were to make a list of people we don't like - people we find obnoxious, threatening, or worthy of contempt - we would discover much about those aspects of ourselves that we can't face... other people trigger the karma that we haven't worked out.” 41 likes
More quotes…