No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattvaby Pema Chodron
The great Buddhist classic known as The Way of the Bodhisattva has long been treasured as an indispensable guide to enlightened living. Written in the eighth century by the scholar and saint Shantideva, it has inspired many of the Mahayana tradition’s greatest teachers—and despite its antiquity, it remains a remarkable source of insight on the/i>
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The great Buddhist classic known as The Way of the Bodhisattva has long been treasured as an indispensable guide to enlightened living. Written in the eighth century by the scholar and saint Shantideva, it has inspired many of the Mahayana tradition’s greatest teachers—and despite its antiquity, it remains a remarkable source of insight on the means by which we may heal ourselves and our troubled world. Among its most essential teachings are the core Buddhist practices of the bodhisattva warrior: cultivating confidence, joyfulness, and compassion. Pema Chödrön here invites you to journey more deeply into this way of life, presenting Shantideva’s text verse-by-verse and offering both illuminating stories and practical exercises to enrich the text and bring its teachings to life in our own time.
“No Time to Lose represents the fruition of Chödrön’s years of practice and study: a traditional commentary in which passages from The Way of the Bodhisattva are interspersed with her ever-approachable and pithy instructions for daily life.”—Parabola
“Chödrön provides consistently clear expositions of Shantideva’s sometimes convoluted verses and lines of argument, keeping her eye firmly on the question of how his discussion is relevant to the lives of ordinary people living in modern societies. A superlative presentation of the text.”—Buddhadharma
“In this ambitious and profound work, Chödrön hits high stride, creating a wide-ranging, accessible, and soul-stirring commentary on the classic Buddhist text The Way of the Bodhisattva.”—Spirituality and Health
“Chödrön is a clear teacher, explaining key terms and making things simple and characteristically plainspoken. She is also the right kind of motivator, telling readers immediately what’s in it for them: this book can inspire those who want to make the world a better place.”—Publishers Weekly
“Pema Chödrön’s writings have been helpful to countless numbers of people trying to find some ground for their being in this chaotic world.”—Bill Moyers
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Read an Excerpt
Let's say you're out walking and you notice the beauty of the sky. Right on the spot you could rejoice in that very thing. You could rejoice in your good fortune to be in such a beautiful place. Or you might notice, "Well, what do you know? I just did something kind." And you rejoice in that. Maybe you spontaneously said something encouraging, or helped someone with their heavy bags. That instinct to reach out was right there within you. Whatever form it takes, you can rejoice in that virtue, in that tenderness within you.
When others are happy and doing well you can rejoice in their good fortune as well. There are continual opportunities to rejoice in your own good fortune and the good fortune of others. Someone may simply get a letter or a compliment that makes them happy. Or, a person who's been very depressed may have some personal insight that lifts their spirits. Right on the spot we can rejoice in their good fortune.
Generally this is not so easy to do. It's not the natural inclination or habit of mind. Instead, what we notice is our feeling of not-so-glad-about-our-good-fortune—or anyone else's. When you're having a really bad day, seeing someone else having a good day usually does not give you joy. Very likely you thoroughly resent it. Or when someone else gets the job promotion you wanted, your first instinct may not be to rejoice in their good fortune.
If you make it your practice to rejoice for even one week, it will probably show you some envy and resentment you didn't even know you had. Who would have thought that the practice of rejoicing would be a setup for seeing our neurosis? The usual response to this is to feel we've blown it. For the aspiring bodhisattva, this is not the case. When your intention is to wake up so that you can help others to do the same, then you can rejoice in your capacity to see where you're stuck as much as you rejoice in your capacity for loving kindness.
There is no other way for true compassion to emerge. No other way to water the seed of bodhichitta. This is how you know what other people are up against. Just like you, they aspire to open, only to see themselves close. Just like you, they have the capacity to feel joy and, out of ignorance, they block that joy. The difference is that we can get smart and begin to see when we get hooked and do something different. Instead of going on automatic pilot, and following the same old momentum, we could let the storyline go and stay present with an open heart. And we could rejoice that we are even slightly interested in choosing such a fresh alternative.
What People are Saying About This
“In this ambitious and profound work, Chödrön hits high stride, creating a wide-ranging, accessible, and soul-stirring commentary on the classic Buddhist text The Way of the Bodhisattva.”—Spirituality & Health
Meet the Author
Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa. She is resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners. She is the author of many books and audiobooks, including the best-selling When Things Fall Apart and Don't Bite the Hook.
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As always Pema Chodron makes ancient texts relevant and accessible. This book is so good as all of her works are. Her writings have changed my life and world views more than once. Highly recommend!
Pema Chodren's writing about the path of the Bodhisattva from Shantideva's work supports my need of better understanding of the practice of meditation. She does leave out a Chapter on Wisdom, yet states that would be a book of it's own. I love Peam's writing as she simplifies what can appear to be complicated, yet in her wording, I see the path. Great book for beginner's to meditation.
This book takes "The Way of The Bodhisattva" and makes it applicable to our lives today. It helped me to realize that I really needed to be serious about my practice and also why it was important to practice. The teaching explanations by Pema Chodron are given with a sense of humor but yet serious at the same. This book will take your breath away with its beauty. I checked it out of the library but had to own a copy for myself because it was so good!
Chodron acknowledges her own shortcomings and yet she delivers an excellent overview of this ancient text. An occidental spin on an translation of a deep oriental text; not an easy thing to do.