98+ Best Pema Chodron Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Pema Chödrön is an American Tibetan Buddhist. She is an ordained nun, former acharya of Shambhala Buddhism and disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Profoundly inspirational Pema Chodron quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

Famous Pema Chodron Quotes

All the wars, all the hatred, all the ignorance in the world come out of being so invested in our opinions. – Pema Chodron

All you need to know is that the future is wide open and you are about to create it by what you do. – Pema Chodron

There comes a time when the bubble of ego is popped and you can’t get the ground back for an extended period of time. Those times, when you absolutely cannot get it back together, are the most rich and powerful times in our lives. – Pema Chodron

Let difficulty transform you. And it will. In my experience, we just need help in learning how not to run away. – Pema Chodron

You’re the only one who knows when you’re using things to protect yourself and keep your ego together and when you’re opening and letting things fall apart, letting the world come as it is – working with it rather than struggling against it. You’re the only one who knows. – Pema Chodron

You could begin to notice whenever you find yourself blaming others or justifying yourself. If you spent the rest of your life just noticing that and letting it be a way to uncover the silliness of the human condition-the tragic yet comic drama that we all continually buy into-you could develop a lot of wisdom and a lot of kindness as well as a great sense of humor. – Pema Chodron

It’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately fill up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness. -Pema Chodron, from When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chodron

Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. Why? Because it is all we ever have. – Pema Chodron

So war and peace start in the human heart. Whether that heart is open or whether that heart closes has global implications. – Pema Chodron

Although it is embarrassing and painful, it is very healing to stop hiding from yourself. It is healing to know all the ways that you’re sneaky, all the ways that you hide out, all the ways that you shut down, deny, close off, criticize people, all your weird little ways. You can know all of that with some sense of humor and kindness. By knowing yourself, you’re coming to know humanness altogether. We are all up against these things. We are all in this together. – Pema Chodron

Ordinarily we are swept away by habitual momentum. We don’t interrupt our patterns even slightly. With practice, however, we learn to stay with a broken heart, with a nameless fear, with the desire for revenge. Sticking with uncertainty is how we learn to relax in the midst of chaos, how we learn to be cool when the ground beneath us suddenly disappears. – Pema Chodron

Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It’s about seeing how we react to all these things. It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness. – Pema Chodron

Every moment is unique, unknown, completely fresh. – Pema Chodron

Sometimes people’s spiritual ideas become fixed and they use them against those who don’t share their beliefs – in effect, becoming fundamentalist. It’s very dangerous – the finger of righteous indignation pointing at someone who is identified as bad or wrong. – Pema Chodron

Don’t worry about achieving. Don’t worry about perfection. Just be there each moment as best you can. When you realize you’ve wandered off again, simply very lightly acknowledge that. This light touch is the golden key to reuniting with our openness. – Pema Chodron

Pain is not a punishment; pleasure is not a reward. – Pema Chodron

Our true nature is like a precious jewel: although it may be temporarily buried in mud, it remains completely brilliant and unaffected. We simply have to uncover it. – Pema Chodron

Things become clear when there is no escape. – Pema Chodron

Some of us can accept others right where they are a lot more easily than we can accept ourselves. We feel that compassion is reserved for someone else, and it never occurs to us to feel it for ourselves. My experience is that by practicing without ‘shoulds,’ we gradually discover our wakefulness and our confidence. Gradually, without any agenda except to be honest and kind, we assume responsibility for being here in this unpredictable world, in this unique moment, in this precious human body. – Pema Chodron

In the end, that’s what we all need more than anything else: to be there for each other, in every kind of situation. – Pema Chodron

Obstacles are our friends: they teach us where we’re stuck. – Pema Chodron

Appreciate everything, even the ordinary… Especially the ordinary. – Pema Chodron

Every day is a new opportunity to work with what you have inside toward enlightenment. – Pema Chodron

Loving kindness towards ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. It means we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. – Pema Chodron

Times are difficult globally; awakening is no longer a luxury or an ideal. It’s becoming critical. We don’t need to add more depression, more discouragement, or more anger to what’s already here. It’s becoming essential that we learn how to relate sanely with difficult times. The earth seems to be beseeching us to connect with joy and discover our innermost essence. This is the best way that we can benefit others. – Pema Chodron

It is possible to move through the drama of our lives without believing so earnestly in the character that we play. That we take ourselves so seriously, that we are so absurdly important in our own minds, is a problem for us. We feel justified in being annoyed with everything. We feel justified in denigrating ourselves or in feeling that we are more clever than other people. Self-importance hurts us, limiting us to the narrow world of our likes and dislikes. We end up bored to death with ourselves and our world. We end up never satisfied. – Pema Chodron

Nobody else can really begin to sort out for you what to accept and what to reject in terms of what wakes you up and what makes you fall asleep. No one else can really sort out for you what to accept – what opens up your world – and what to reject – what seems to keep you going round and round in some kind of repetitive misery. – Pema Chodron

Openness doesn’t come from resisting our fears but rather from getting to know them well. – Pema Chodron

The next time you encounter fear, consider yourself lucky. This is where the courage comes in. Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear. When I was first married, my husband said I was one of the bravest people he knew. When I asked him why, he said because I was a complete coward but went ahead and did things anyhow. – Pema Chodron

Use what seems like poison as medicine. Use your personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings. – Pema Chodron

In tonglen practice, when we see or feel suffering, we ?breathe in with the notion of completely feeling it, accepting it, and owning it. Then we breathe out, radiating compassion, lovingkindness, freshness – anything that encourages relaxation and openness.? So you’re training in softening, rather than tightening, your heart. In this practice, it’s not uncommon to find yourself blocked, because you come face to face with your own fear, resistance, or whatever your personal stuckness happens to be at that moment. – Pema Chodron

The spiritual journey involves going beyond hope and fear, stepping into unknown territory, continually moving forward. The most important aspect of being on the spiritual path may be just to keep moving. – Pema Chodron

Well, it starts with being willing to feel what we are going through. It starts with being willing to have a compassionate relationship with the parts of ourselves that we feel are not worthy of existing on the planet. If we are willing through meditation to be mindful not only of what feels comfortable, but also of what pain feels like, if we even aspire to stay awake and open to what we’re feeling, to recognize and acknowledge it as best we can in each moment, then something begins to change. – Pema Chodron

Generosity is an activity that loosens us up. By offering whatever we can – a dollar, a flower, a word of encouragement – we are training in letting go. – Pema Chodron

WE ALREADY HAVE everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves-the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds-never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. – Pema Chodron

If we’re willing to give up hope that insecurity and pain can be eliminated, then we can have the courage to relax with the groundlessness of our situation. This is the first step on the path. – Pema Chodron

The peace that we are looking for is not peace that crumbles as soon as there is difficulty or chaos. Whether we’re seeking inner peace or global peace or a combination of the two, the way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened. – Pema Chodron

You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather. – Pema Chodron

If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher. – Pema Chodron

The future is completely open and we are writing it moment to moment. – Pema Chodron

If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart. – Pema Chodron

Let your curiosity be greater than your fear. – Pema Chodron

Honesty without kindness, humor, and goodheartedness can be just mean. From the very beginning to the very end, pointing to our own hearts to discover what is true isn’t just a matter of honesty but also of compassion and respect for what we see. – Pema Chodron

Anxiety, heartbreak, and tenderness mark the in-between state. It’s the kind of place we usually want to avoid. The challenge is to stay in the middle rather than buy into struggle and complaint. The challenge is to let it soften us rather than make us more rigid and afraid. – Pema Chodron

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. Even if we run a hundred miles an hour to the other side of the continent, we find the very same problem awaiting us when we arrive. – Pema Chodron

Feel the feelings and drop the story. – Pema Chodron

Difficult things provoke all your irritations and bring your habitual patterns to the surface. And that becomes the moment of truth. You have the choice to launch into your lousy habitual patterns, or to stay with the rawness and discomfort of the situation and let it transform you. – Pema Chodron

Anything we experience, no matter how challenging, can become an open pathway to awakening. – Pema Chodron

Since death is certain and the time of death is uncertain, what is the most important thing? – Pema Chodron

As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution. We don’t deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity. – Pema Chodron

We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. (10) – Pema Chodron

Suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there’s anywhere to hide. – Pema Chodron

If you aren’t feeding the fire of anger or the fire of craving by talking to yourself, then the fire doesn’t have anything to feed on. – Pema Chodron

Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found. – Pema Chodron

One can appreciate & celebrate each moment – there’s nothing more sacred. There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more! – Pema Chodron

Lower your standards and relax as it is. – Pema Chodron

When we protect ourselves so we won’t feel pain, that protection becomes like armor, like armor that imprisons the softness of of the heart. – Pema Chodron

We feel that we have to be right so that we can feel good. We don’t want to be wrong because then we’ll feel bad. But we could be more compassionate toward all these parts of ourselves. The whole right and wrong business closes us down and makes our world smaller. Wanting situations and relationships to be solid, permanent, and graspable obscures the pith of the matter, which is that things are fundamentally groundless. – Pema Chodron

When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into it’s dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment – Pema Chodron

Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know. – Pema Chodron

Meditation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss, or tranquillity, nor is it attempting to become a better person. It is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes. – Pema Chodron

What you do for yourself, any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture of honesty and clear seeing toward yourself, will affect how you experience your world. In fact, it will transform how you experience the world. What you do for yourself, you’re doing for others, and what you do for others, you’re doing for yourself. – Pema Chodron

We can begin to open our hearts to others when we have no hope of getting anything back. We just do it for its own sake. – Pema Chodron

On the journey of the warrior-bodhisattva, the path goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward turbulence and doubt however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, companions in awakening from fear. – Pema Chodron

I can’t overestimate the importance of accepting ourselves exactly as we are right now, not as we wish we were or think we ought to be. – Pema Chodron

If you’re invested in security and certainty, you are on the wrong planet. – Pema Chodron

One of the deepest habitual patterns that we have is to feel that now is not enough. – Pema Chodron

Resistance to unwanted circumstances has the power to keep those circumstances alive and well for a very long time. – Pema Chodron

You build inner strength through embracing the totality of your experience, both the delightful parts and the difficult parts. – Pema Chodron

The next step is to learn to communicate with the people that you feel are causing your pain and misery- not to learn how to prove them wrong and yourself right but how to communicate from the heart. – Pema Chodron

Treat yourself as your own beloved child. – Pema Chodron

Constantly apply cheerfulness, if for no other reason than because you are on this spiritual path. Have a sense of gratitude to everything, even difficult emotions, because of their potential to wake you up. – Pema Chodron

This genuine heart of sadness can teach us great compassion. It can humble us when we’re arrogant and soften us when we are unkind. – Pema Chodron

Even if you don’t feel appreciation, just look. Feel what you feel; take an interest and be curious. – Pema Chodron

Deep down in the human spirit, there is a reservoir of courage. It is always available, always waiting to be discovered. – Pema Chodron

Our wisdom is all mixed up with what we call our neurosis. Our brilliance, our juiciness, our spiciness, is all mixed up with our craziness and our confusion, and therefore it doesn’t do any good to try to get rid of our so-called negative aspects, because in that process we also get rid of our basic wonderfulness. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves. – Pema Chodron

Holding on to beliefs limits our experience of life. That doesn’t mean that beliefs or ideas or thinking is a problem; the stubborn attitude of having to have things be a particular way, grasping on to our beliefs and thoughts, all these cause the problems. To put it simply, using your belief system this way creates a situation in which you choose to be blind instead of being able to see, to be deaf instead of being able to hear, to be dead rather than alive, asleep rather than awake. – Pema Chodron

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world. – Pema Chodron

The wisdom, the strength, the confidence – the awakened heart and mind are always accessible — here, now, always. – Pema Chodron

Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world. – Pema Chodron

If we want there to be peace in the world, we have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid in our hearts, to find the soft spot and stay with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That’s the true practice of peace. – Pema Chodron

Although we have the potential to experience the freedom of a butterfly, we mysteriously prefer the small and fearful cocoon of ego. – Pema Chodron

When we cling to thoughts and memories, we are clinging to what cannot be grasped. When we touch these phantoms and let them go, we may discover a space, a break in the chatter, a glimpse of open sky. This is our birthright-the wisdom with which we were born, the vast unfolding display of primordial richness, primordial openness, primordial wisdom itself. When one thought has ended and another has not yet begun, we can rest in that space. – Pema Chodron

When resistance is gone, the demons are gone. – Pema Chodron

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. – Pema Chodron

In meditation and in our daily lives there are three qualities that we can nurture, cultivate, and bring out. We already possess these, but they can be ripened: precision, gentleness, and the ability to let go. – Pema Chodron

It isn’t what happens to us that causes us to suffer; it’s what we say to ourselves about what happens. – Pema Chodron

The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves. This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering-yours, mine, and that of all living beings. – Pema Chodron

Unconditional good heart toward others is not even a possibility unless we attend to our own demons. – Pema Chodron

When things fall apart in your life, you feel as if your whole world is crumbling. But actually it’s your fixed identity that’s crumbling. And as Chögyam Trungpa used to tell us, that’s cause for celebration. – Pema Chodron

The difference between theism and nontheism is not whether one does or does not believe in God. . . Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there’s some hand to hold: if we just do the right things, someone will appreciate us and take care of us. . . Nontheism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves. – Pema Chodron

We spend all our energy and waste our lives trying to re-create these zones of safety, which are always falling apart. That’s the essence of samsara – the cycle of suffering that comes from continuing to seek happiness in all the wrong places. – Pema Chodron

Without loving-kindness for ourselves, it is difficult, if not impossible, to genuinely feel it for others. – Pema Chodron

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. – Pema Chodron

Most spiritual experiences begin with suffering. They begin with groundlessness. They begin when the rug has been pulled out from under us. – Pema Chodron

Rather than going after our walls and barriers with a sledgehammer, we pay attention to them. With gentleness and honesty, we move closer to those walls. We touch them and smell them and get to know them well. We begin a process of acknowledging our aversions and our cravings. We become familiar with the strategies and beliefs we use to build the walls: What are the stories I tell myself? What repels me and what attracts me? We start to get curious about what’s going on. – Pema Chodron

Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are. – Pema Chodron

When you have made good friends with yourself, your situation will be more friendly too. – Pema Chodron

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.