Practicing Peace in Times of War: A Buddhist Perspective

Overview

“War and peace begin in the hearts of individuals,” declares Pema Chödrön at the opening of her inspiring and accessible new book. In Practicing Peace in Times of War she draws on Buddhist teachings to explore the origins of aggression and war, explaining that they lie nowhere but within our own hearts and minds. She goes on to explain that, remarkably, the way in which we as individuals respond to challenges in our everyday lives can mean the difference between perpetuating a ...
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Practicing Peace in Times of War

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Overview

“War and peace begin in the hearts of individuals,” declares Pema Chödrön at the opening of her inspiring and accessible new book. In Practicing Peace in Times of War she draws on Buddhist teachings to explore the origins of aggression and war, explaining that they lie nowhere but within our own hearts and minds. She goes on to explain that, remarkably, the way in which we as individuals respond to challenges in our everyday lives can mean the difference between perpetuating a culture of violence or creating a new culture of compassion.

With war and violence flaring all over the world, from Iraq to Darfur to London, most of us are left feeling utterly helpless. In this audiobook Pema Chödrön insists that our world will begin to change when each of us, one by one, begins to work for peace at the level of our own behavior, our own habits of thought and action. It’s never too late, she tells us, to look within and discover a new way of living.

Practicing Peace in Times of War is a short, pithy, and profound work that includes practical strategies for cultivating the seeds of peace and compassion amid life’s upsets and challenges.

Readers who appreciate Pema Chödrön’s books will be delighted to listen to her warm and encouraging voice. The book Practicing Peace in Times of War is based on six of Pema Chödrön’s public talks, and we are proud to present them to you here, in this audio edition.

2 CDs, 1 1/2 hours.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This gifty little book by the American Buddhist nun Chodron is a solid reinforcement of what she has been saying for many years and in many books. Here, her focus is on the relationship between aggression within and the aggression that fuels war. Chodron begins with some disquieting observations, such as that we can all be fundamentalists-that is, self-righteous and closed-minded-and that peace demonstrators are not terribly peaceful. Like other Buddhist teachers on the subject of political action, she sees a direct connection between what is in the heart and expressed in outward actions. She teaches how to stop the reflexive and habitual emotional reaction to perceived hostility through patience, pausing, breathing. It's not easy, but it is simple. Chodron is also provocative: insecurity has a positive function, she suggests, so don't run away from it. Some of what this skillful teacher says is almost too simple or underexplained, which can happen when a talk becomes a book, as is the case here. "Don't spin off" is a condensed instruction that is a little too condensed. While it may intrigue beginners, this book will be a better gift for those who are already familiar with Chodron's body of work. (Sept. 5) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590304143
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/29/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 965,652
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Practicing Peace in Times of War

War and peace start in the hearts of individuals. Strangely enough, even though all beings would like to live in peace, our method for obtaining peace over the generations seems not to be very effective: we seek peace and happiness by going to war. This can occur at the level of our domestic situation, in our relationships with those close to us. Maybe we come home from work and we’re tired and we just want some peace; but at home all hell is breaking loose for one reason or another, and so we start yelling at people. What is our motivation? We want some happiness and ease and peace, but what we do is we get even more worked up and we get everyone else worked up too. This is a familiar scenario in our homes, in our workplaces, in our neighborhoods, when we’re driving our cars. We’re just driving along and someone cuts in front of us and what happens? Well, we don’t like it. Sometimes we roll down the window and scream at them.

Someone once gave me a poem that has a line in it that offers a good definition of peace: "Softening what is rigid in our hearts." 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 people’s hearts are hardened against each other.

If you have a bird’s-eye perspective on the Earth and you look down at all the conflicts that are happening, all you see are two sides of a story where both people think they’re right. So the solutions have to come from a change of heart, from softening what is rigid within us.

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