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Practicing Peace in Times of War

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  1,139 ratings  ·  132 reviews
With war and violence flaring  all over the world, many of us are left feeling vulnerable and utterly helpless. In this book Pema Chödrön draws on Buddhist teachings to explore the origins of aggression, hatred, and war, explaining that they lie nowhere but within our own hearts and minds. She goes on to explain that the way in which we as individuals respond to challenges ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Shambhala
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I downloaded this one of those times Hoopla told me I still had downloads left that month and I felt compelled to use them. I have enjoyed previous books by Pema Chödrön, particularly When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. This interested me because it was narrated by her. Well, that's what I thought but in actuality this originated in audio, a series of teachings she gave at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco during a program held in 2004. I understand they have been transcribe ...more
Kivrin Engle
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Practicing Peace was previously published under the title, Practicing Peace in Times of War. I did not know this when I started reading this tiny beauty of a book, but as I've read the previous title, it soon became apparent, because I have memorized much of it! Each time I read it, I am always reminded of one of Yogi Bhajan's mantras on peace, that I know by heart, "Peace unto me, Peace within me, Peace in my mind, Peace in my surroundings, Peace to all, Peace to the Universe. May there be peac ...more
Jean Marie Angelo
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Pema Chödrön wasn't always Pema Chödrön. She embraced Buddhism and her Buddhist name after living as a married woman and school teacher. When her husband announced he wanted a divorce, she flew into rage and grief. But that led to a search for a better way to live. She is now an honored author, Buddhist nun, and teacher.

This short, small book about practicing peace is based on her human experience, and the reactions and human traits we all share.

Many points of wisdom here. I list here just a few
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best. So tiny, but my companion in the middle of the night, again again and again. Just a few essential practices ... enough to build a life on.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, excellent, teeny tiny book. I got if from the library but had to buy one. I will buy it for lots of people too. It's simple (but not really), short and tremendously helpful. I am not really doing the book justice with this review. I love all kinds of spiritual books but had not really read anything Buddhist. This would be helpful to anyone from any faith. ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of the 12-step program slogans is "fake it til you make it." I think that's my approach with Pema Chodron and my ongoing quest to become more centered and sane. This is the third or fourth book I've ready by her (thankfully, she has many more) and I have not even attempted to establish any kind of meditation practice. Still, the way she frames her ideas and Buddhist concepts makes me reexamine my habitual approaches and patterns of thinking and reacting. There is no end game here. Just readi ...more
Paula Cappa
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The “war” here means personal wars of anger, resentment, rigid thoughts of fundamentalism, aggression, and self-absorption in our relationships. What a great time to read this little book, barely 100 pages, with targeted topics and practical methods to practice a peaceful demeanor, state of being, and heal ourselves and others. I read it in about 90 minutes at one sitting, snug in my home, near a window with lots of blue sky outside—and a pot of tea. Basically this book helps you to find the “so ...more
Jun 02, 2020 added it
Shelves: meditation
quick, based on a lecture series.
This is a series of four talks given by American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco during a program held in 2004. The fundamental takeaway is one that will not be at all surprising to Buddhist practitioners or those familiar with the teachings, but might be unexpected to others: not only is working with one's own mental/psychological/emotional aggression a necessary prerequisite for bringing about peace in a war-torn world, but is in fact one and the same undertaking. ...more
Melanie Filizola Ruiz
May 12, 2021 rated it it was ok
This was a book that I picked up for no particular reason. Probably because it was small. I love small books. The idea that I could read it in under a day and be a whole book smarter is always intriguing to me. This one was not that great though. The beginning was immediately off-putting because of the way the author equated the experience of the oppressor to the experience of the oppressed. She really conflated, I think, the subliminal emotional pain and mild cognitive dissonance of the oppress ...more
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A short (100 pages) reminder that peace on a societal scale begins with a sense of peace within ourselves. The teaching here, however, is not to find some state of inner bliss. Instead, it's about getting comfortable with suffering, with uncertainty, and with insecurity. This book offers a gentle instruction on how to stay with those things that make us uneasy so that we can build up a sense of compassion for ourselves, then extend that to others, who are also invariably dealing with their own d ...more
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was AMAZING! If you are considering reading either "The Anatomy of Peace" or "Leadership and Self Deception" take the shortcut and read this instead. It covers all the same concepts but in a much more concise and direct manner. It also includes, in my opinion, insights that are much more deep and relatable. I would recommend this book in a heartbeat to anyone! Don't be deceived by the size there's a lot in there! ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my most favorite short books I've ever read. I asked myself this question last night. How do I personally practice peace and bring that to the world at large? I realized I had a book that might answer some of the question. So I read it. And so should you. Pema Chodron is a Buddhist nun and has much wisdom we can learn from. ...more
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
She is just amazing - not just because she is so wise and insightful but also because she has the strength and confidence to admit where she stumbles in her journey. I sure would love to go to Gampo Abbey and get to see the wisdom of this place in person!
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you are filled with angst regarding the recent presidential elections, this is a book for you. It helps to put things into perspective and I'll need to read it several times to perhaps learn how to regain my cool. I'm off to breathe. ...more
May 12, 2019 added it
“We can talk about ending war and we can march for ending war, we can do everything in our power, but war is never going to end as long as our hearts are hardened against each other.”

Pema Chödrön

We often harden our hearts against others because we want to protect ourselves from suffering. But if we continue in this way, ignoring and lashing out, repressing our unwanted feelings and distracting ourselves, after enough time, we will become rigid and closed off.

We will become manipulative, not ac
German Castro
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Short Summary: Chödrön states that "War and peace begin in the hearts of individuals." The current state of hate, rage and violence begins in with our own Hearts. Through a series of transcribed talks, the readers confronts the reality that it is our own responses to things that happen to us that lead us to violence or to compassion and peace.

Review: Chodron has a series of talks on "shenpa"-- the Tibetan word for "attachment." which is a term that loosely translated means "Hooked, or the urge"
Richard Propes
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Practicing Peace in Times of War" is, relatively speaking, a primer with a strong focus on inward peace (despite a title that I can't help but think is a tad deceptive). For those unfamiliar with Chodron's writings, it's actually a great place to start. However, if you're already immersed then it's likely to feel like familiar writings/lessons.

However, there's a certain advantage to this type of book - it's a quick, easy read filled with fundamental lessons that are well communicated and made
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Know that feeling of doom you get after reading news after news, of tragedy, of violence, and so on; when you get home and feel like your world is crumbling because you won't be able to make ends meet this month or the next; that feel you get when you see people so full of hatred attacking others as if it's a skill to hone?

Probably all of us do, and that's kind of what this book addresses, at least for me, and tries to help you with.

What I like about the author's books is that they are meant fo
Kelly Brill
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I discovered Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia on my summer vacation and so wanted to read more about Buddhism, and was especially curious about Pema Chodron. This book could serve as devotional reading and is short enough to be almost like a long read magazine article. I’m glad I read a basic book about Buddhism first. This book helps you think about how your practice of inner peace can help create more peace throughout the world. As she says, “If we want there to be peace in the world, we have to be ...more
Angélique (MapleBooks)
Although I deeply admire Pema Chödrön, I didn't find Practicing Peace terribly insightful. Even though the book is very short, it's still very wordy despite having only a few (powerful) advices to give. It could litteraly be summed up within one page. Connect with all feelings, including emotional discomfort, instead of getting mad. Practice meditation to develop the skill to pause before you react. Embrace your imperfect self and other's...
However, I am familiar with the teachings at Shambhala
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful little book that's really focused and easily digestible. Funny story - I was reading it on public transit where it was very crowded. If I recall correctly, I had just finished a section on having compassion for the self, and for others when it comes to making mistakes when we're trying to do our best. I suddenly felt a huge wave of compassion and connectedness wash over me and I looked at everyone around me new eyes, realizing that we were all on the same team. And....then I walked o ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
"It takes bravery to train in unconditional friendliness, it takes bravery to train in "suffering with", it takes bravery to stay with pain when it arises, and not run or erect barriers. It takes bravery to not bite the hook and get swept away."

"...don't act out, don't repress, but let the experience pierce your heart."

Two things I needed to hear today after months of having a rough time at work. A brief but powerful (and quotable!) book. I liked the notion of 'seeds of aggression burning away'
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Chödrön's discussions related to patience and sitting with moments in moments of conflict are useful and helpful. I understand the usefulness of the principles when shenpa is happening due to variances in perspectives and opinions. However, I had difficulty with grasping how to practice compassionate abiding in situations where someone is physically violating or harming you. I'm curious to learn about suggested approaches for moments where one is experiencing impending or actual physical harm. ...more
Alexander Gates
Jul 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Super quick read, easy to follow and understand. I loved the use of small stories to share complex concepts. It’s a book of how to find inner peace to aid in navigating a difficult and negative world. Published in a post-9/11 world, it’s still useful for all that’s going on in our society today. I appreciated learning about these Buddhist concepts from the author. Thank you for the book Anastasia!
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My aunt gave me this book and I put off reading it...but things have been really hard lately and I picked it up out of curiosity. It's written in a manner that makes the concepts easy to grasp and use. I meant to read a couple pages, and I read the whole book (it's not long). It's what I needed to hear. ...more
Quinn Selby
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: war, spirituality
There other magnificent pieces of literature along the lines of this book. This one specifically didnt stand out like others did upon reading it.

But I am nevertheless happy to have bought it as another addition to my spiritual readings.

I hope others ascertain a degree of insight from this!

Love to all on this beautiful day: today.
Apr 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-re-read
I found this book really handy for times when I was getting triggered to reaction. I feel I'll need it beside my bed so I can actually remember it and practice it all my life. I want these practices for inviting them into my life, so I can manage my emotions and reactions in a better way. This book was exactly what I needed. ...more
Meg Yeager
Dec 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love that if you have the chance you're able to read this book in a day. Adjusting your thoughts is never easy when you come across difficult moments, but this book gives you hope. Would love to keep rereading when I need positive reminders. ...more
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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

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“What I'm advocating here is something that requires courage — the courage to have a change of heart. The reason this requires courage is because when we don't do the habitual thing, hardening our heart and holding tightly to certain views, then we're left with the underlying uneasiness that we were trying to get away from. Whenever there's a sense of threat, we harden. And so if we don't harden, what happens? We're left with that uneasiness, that feeling of threat. That's when the real journey of courage begins. This is the real work of the peacemaker, to find the soft spot and the tenderness in that very uneasy place and stay with it. If we can stay with the soft spot and stay with the tender heart, then we are cultivating the seeds of peace” 3 likes
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