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The Wisdom of No Escape: And the Path of Loving Kindness

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  6,142 ratings  ·  268 reviews
This book is about saying yes to life in all its manifestations—embracing the potent mixture of joy, suffering, brilliance, and confusion that characterizes the human experience. Pema Chödrön shows us the profound value of our situation of "no escape" from the ups and downs of life.
Paperback, 120 pages
Published August 21st 2001 by Shambhala (first published January 1st 1991)
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Hannah Garden
Aug 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh lordie. Pema Chodron makes me understand how people go insane and become fundamentalists. She is SO SMART and EVERYONE should just walk around thinking about her ALL THE TIME.
"Once you know that the purpose of your life is simply to walk forward and continually to use your life to wake you up rather than put you to sleep, then there's that sense of wholeheartedness about inconvenience, wholeheartedness about convenience. .... Comfort orientation murders the spirit--that was the general message. Opting for coziness, having that as your prime reason for existing, becomes a continual obstacle to taking a leap and doing something new, doing something unusual, like going ...more
May 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: buddhists, people struggling for a healthier mind set
Recommended to Akkire55 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.

I honestly believe that reading this book may have saved my life. I found it in the midst of the greatest crisis in my life, and I think it's what helped me to get through it.
Nov 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful series of talks given during a 1-month "dathun" (practice period) by Buddhist nun, Pema Chödrön, at a monastery called Gampo Abbey. It may be as close as I come to meditation practice at a monastery...but this description in the preface made me feel throughout the book as if I were almost there (easy to visualize because it sounds like my home in the Pacific Northwest that's forever a part of me): "The abbey is located on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia at the end of along dirt road, ...more
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism
As a teacher, Pema Chödrön is something of a cross between Thich Nhat Hanh and Charlotte Joko Beck. She is a bit more Western than Thich Nhat Hanh, but not quite as original as Joko Beck. However, her talks are more grounded in the Tibetan tradition than a Zen one.

This book is a collection of dharma talks given over the course of a one month retreat. The majority of the talks present sound, practical advice derived from the wisdom her teachers. For at least the first half of the book, there was
Lacey N.
Mar 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
I picked Pema Chodron's book after I saw it laying on a friend's coffee table, intrigued but not completely convinced. I expected a self-helpy and precious book that I would drop after reading the first few pages. I was surprised, however, when Chodron's clear, intellectual prose brought me to a wholly unexpected place. Buddhism is often overly-cerebral and vague to me, with metaphorical stories I can never quite grasp. Chodron, a Buddhist nun, writes from the Buddhist perspective with a recogni ...more
H.A. Leuschel
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The four traditional reminders - precious human birth, the truth of impermanence, the law of karma, which is cause and effect, and the futility of continuing to prefer death to life - are the cornerstone of Chödrön's beautiful, honest and deeply empathetic book. She talks from experience, from a warm kind heart and from the point of view of a fellow human who like all of us has and will experience pain and urges the reader to face it rather than escape from it. I especially enjoyed learning from ...more
Oct 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jun Chen
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book worth coming back to and coming home with. I felt so loved and held while reading the teachings, the sense of opening to the spaciousness around me. I started this book a long time ago, put it aside for some silly reasons - I cherished these teachings so much, that my silly self thought if I finished this book, there would be no new wisdom to learn - and how wrong was I! But I picked it up again while I was going crazy for a job interview, it did magic to my mind.
Rebecca Garcia
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
very approachable teachings. perfect timing for the practice of tonglen and for the definition of "bardo"--"you've left the shore, but you haven't arrived anywhere yet. You don't know where you're going, and you've been out there at sea long enough that you only have a vague memory of where you came from. you've left home, you've become homeless...that's called the bardo, in-between." "not quite here, not quite there, just hanging out in this sort of uneasy space and having to sit with it hour a ...more
My second time reading this. First time was in Victoria, borrowed directly from the Shambhala Centre. It blew my mind.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can see myself reading this again and again.
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like this book. I find this whole world fascinating. I feel like when I read this book some of the theories or themes don't make sense then as I ponder them it feels like it opens up a whole new way of thinking. I loved the chapter on staying in the boat. I have found my boat. I have gained my testimony of God and Jesus Christ through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is my core foundation. I have learned through small and simple things what I believe. As I contempla ...more
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A series of short talks given during a meditation retreat, which means sometimes they were a little technical, but as always Chodron's writing is lucid and illuminating. Very useful for trying to be more mindful in everyday life as well.
Owen Cantrell
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a series of dharma talks on various aspects of Buddhism. They were originally delivered during a retreat so I think keeping that in mind is helpful for considering their intent—as well as how you might use them for reflection.
Adrian Sprague
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a really good book. It has some great descriptions of what samsara and nirvana are in life, as well as great methods of meditation, both bodhicitta and tonglen, and wonderful lessons. The best part is the book is a quick and easy read!

My biggest takeaway? Don’t run away from the bad things in life, and try not to chase comfort
Smitha Murthy
With her typical warmth, Pema again teaches me how to live. How to make friends with who we are. With who others are. This book is something that I would love to dip into every now and then -because the learnings from these are something that I need to refresh myself with all the time.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My second book by Pema Chodron this year and loved this one too! Great reminder going into the new year on how to meditate, stay mindful and be content with our lives. I love her simple but deep advice.
Rhys Lindmark
Lots of repeated "love yourself" with a good couple stories about the process of doing so.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great spiritual book that goes beyond my traditional thoughts and beliefs. A book that really has me thinking outside the box of my current existence. Thank you Pema Chödrön for sharing your wisdom and stories of enlightenment.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, advice
I borrowed this book of brief talks (given during a month-long Buddhist meditation retreat) from the library after seeing it recommended on, and although it was very short, I enjoyed reading it slowly, rationing myself to one talk daily to give myself time to reflect on each section. I liked the down-to-earth and humorous (often self-deprecating) style, and found it generally persuasive (in the abstract, anyway...). She quotes her teacher, Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, as saying t ...more
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
Teo 2050


Chödrön P (1991) (04:37) Wisdom of No Escape, The - And the Path of Loving Kindness


01. Loving-Kindness
02. Satisfaction
03. Finding Our Own True Nature

04. Precision, Gentleness, and Letting Go
• Precision
• Gentleness
• Letting Go

05. The Wisdom of No Escape
06. Joy
07. Taking a Bigger Perspective
08. No Such Thing as a True Story
09. Weather and the Four Noble Truths
10. Not Too Tight, Not Too Loose
11. Renunciation
12. Sending and Taking
13. Taking Refuge
14. Not Preferrin
Oct 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
I listened to this book on disc and really enjoyed it. I actually listened to each cd twice in a row, (I kept it in my car)before going on to the next disc.

I would recommend listening as opposed to reading it, as it felt like a good friend talking to me, and offering great advice. I have been able to use a little of what I learned about experiencing our unpleasant feelings without wallowing in them, or trying to run away from them.
Josh Fish
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Emily Balawejder
This book has absolutely transformed me. It's told with such heart and care and utter love and allows you to hear things about yourself that you have been afraid of without even knowing it. It was the first book I read for a yoga teacher training, and cannot wait to dive into more. So highly recommended. I know I will visit this one over and over through the years, and push it on many an unsuspecting friend in need of insight.
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in meditation or mindfulness practice, people with anxiety
I don't agree with all of it, but there's lots of good stuff here on cultivating presence of mind and openness to oneself and the world...basically advice on how to be at home with yourself and roll with the punches life brings. Something I really needed to read about now.
Meg Wallace
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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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“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.” 393 likes
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