"It isn't the things that happen to us in our lives that cause us to suffer, it's how we relate to the things that happen to us that causes us to suffer."
-- Pema Chödrön
What do you think?
Add your thoughts below:
Poster: James Flowers
Caption: Amen to your statement! God gave us human reason to live life, not be victims of life!
Poster: Rose Coughlin
Caption: relating & relationship to... suffering is a feeling that cannot be denied. It is in the denial that facts are morphed into something a being can embraced as the story they want to tell (a comfort zone)-- when in fact facing reality helps us to know our soul's work.
Caption: This is a truth I've experienced in my life.
Poster: Brent Meeker
Caption: I think that falsely implies that we can simply choose how to relate to events:
I will be flesh and blood;
For there was never yet philosopher
That could endure the toothache patiently,
However they have writ the style of gods
And made a push at chance and sufferance.
--- W. Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
Poster: barbara johnson
Caption: I met a diabetic man who was missing a leg and facing the amputation of the remaining leg. i was coming from tests to see if i had disease in the arteries to my brain. we shared a laugh over his t-shirt which said something about key lime pie. i walked away from that encounter believing in the strength of the human spirit. and while i can't control the suffering of this impermanent body, i CAN control how i relate to those sufferings....and keep laughing as often as possible. nobody expects someone to endure a toothache without acknowledging the pain. it's about NOT carrying that experience around with you as a wound, and instead turning the corner and laughing with a stranger about the pie you both love and can't eat!
Poster: John Vitkus
Caption: Wonderful clarification. It seems that if we can take each learning opportunity in life, we will make the corrections needed to eliminate our own suffering. We are in a winning position in every moment.
Caption: Think of all the painful emotions we experience. Remove the experiencer, and there is no more painful experience. This is proof that we, the experiencers, are the creators of painful experiences. We have the gift of choice, and the ability to learn and evolve psychologically. That is the good news.
Poster: Tomas de la Milera
Caption: When we reliaze that it is not the situation but our craving or aversion towards things that is the problem...It's the begining of a smile!
Poster: Pelayo Carlos Milera
Caption: When we start responding instead of reacting to problems...maybe things would be just that much better!
Poster: david nelson
Caption: The seeds of anger, pain and misunderstanding are deep in us. It only takes a simple word or action to water them. With mindfulness we can comfort the pain and nurture our happiness.
Poster: Lenore McGee Luscher
Caption: I knew this when I was 16, but it's taken me over 6 decades to learn how to do it.
Poster: Sheila Craig
Caption: Living by this view (or at least constantly trying to!) has made me a much happier person since I first encountered this message almost 10 years ago. It certainly is a life-long pursuit but one that is well worth the effort. Thank you again, Ani Pema.
Poster: elizabeth A. Dawson
Caption: Yes, and learning to respond constructively is how we grow, which I think, is why we're here.
Poster: Kit Watkins
Caption: I love Pema Chodron's teachings. I've read a couple of her books and always find them so helpful and therapeutic. And, even though I abhor religions in general (because of their inherent hypocrisies and judgements and wars), Buddhism is an exception. I look forward to hearing Pema speak with Bill Moyers!
Poster: Waylon Lewis
Caption: Amen, sister, great point!
Poster: Everett Smith
Caption: The truth in this simple statement about experience, begins to allow us to control our lives not the other way around.It should be taken to heart and cherished.
Poster: Bart Marshall
Caption: What happens in life is not the cause of suffering. Suffering is caused by the difference between what happens and what we think we would prefer. “The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.”
Caption: Ancient and basic human truth by any other words remain true.
Poster: Corinne Marie
Caption: Thank you Pema! We all need to relate to reality now. Not the past or future. Our live's are happening now, and to wish for the future or hang on to the past means we don't like our live's now. And that is a waste!
Poster: Ruth Kibby
Caption: The challenge to live in the moment with no past or future, just now, possibility is now. All is fresh from that point of relating to any situation. The challenge is the cultivation of now.
Poster: Susan Anderson
Caption: I thoroughly agree--I have to consistently remind myself that it is not what happens specifically, but rather how I react that creates suffering.
Poster: Diane Calderone
Caption: Life is what you make it...you can not control all but you can control the response to all.
Thank You for Your shared thoughts...for Your wonderful books! I wish the best for You and Yours~
Poster: Corinne Newell
Caption: This is so true. My frustration, that I am trying to overcome, is working with people who do not take control of their lives and continue to play the victim card. It is so draining.
Poster: mel g.
Right on, Pema !
Caption: Truer words were never spoken, HOWEVER, living by these words is a life-long pursuit. It seems that suffering is everywhere, not only personally, but globally, what is the appropriate response? I will ask this question until the day I die.
Caption: This thought rescued me. The follow up plan to learn from whatever trouble was near, offered a distracting challenge,also.
I used to notice that dogs live in the moment and don't hold grudges. I always wanted to be more Cocker Spaniel-like. Buddhist thought makes me able to accept what has happened and not fret about what may. arf, arf.
Poster: William Fargo
Caption: A war traumatized veteran can work on positive cognitions but components of his/her trauma are chemical/biological. A choice of how to relate to his/her traumatic sequalae is limited. In this particular instance brain disruption by combat episodes does not respond to a choice of how to relate to them. The brain is altered and the choice is non-existent. With all due respect I suggest that your comment is important and essential but in light of what I have discussed it is a limited approach to events in some lives.
Poster: Jana Hillhouse
Caption: When no energy is going towards keeping the drama alive, it just ceases to make an impression and dies. So it's like living fresh at every moment.
Poster: Marilee Helen Jenkinson
Caption: It came to me years ago that all we have to do is imagine we are the child at the age of two. And what I remember back to with my son was a vague inability to communicate effectively to give him the power to make a dignified decision for himself. I was afraid. And I am sure I gave him a feeling of insecurity - a set up for pain and suffering I see now. I made mistakes. I was suffering and I still suffer. In relationships I am afraid. I can choose the road of pain and suffering - and be so dismal - or dialogue within - and give myself the dignity of multiple choice - and grow into a much happier person - as it is not a habit we are used to - and the immediate freedom of choice will cause unease at first - and I can see this path vaguely at first and then more clearly and joyously as the path to freedom. This can be applied to our Mom Earth of course who is most paient and kind. But dark too. There are consequences of course.
Caption: Yes, it is true, however, most buddhist teaching does not show how to reach the state....Sometimes when your karma get to you without your expectation, it could be very difficult for most people.
Poster: Cody W Dickson
Caption: The WORLD need to hear more from Pema. Her explanations of suffering help to develop the understanding that suffering happens and as soon as we can accept this as the human condition we will have more insight into where we should be in our lives. Thank you Pema, Hope to see you in Denver in September.
Poster: Mike Smith
Caption: I came to understand this concept upon reading Pema Chodron’s Book When Things Fall Apart. Today when I catch myself causing my own suffering, I try to calm down and see what there is to learn from the situation that has brought on this destructive, self imposed pain; “lean into the sharp points” as the quote goes. Sometimes it is easier said than done, but with practice it becomes more of a natural and healthy response.
Caption: Cutlivate a compassionate heart. Having compassion for another who suffers, and helping to alleviate his/her suffering also helps to alleviate our own pain.
Caption: Yes, it is true.
If we all know how to relate things to us, there will be no paint and sorrow in lives.
Poster: Chris F
Caption: I agree with Pema although it is not easy. We are products of our biology and our experiences, and many of us experienced much pain, trauma, and suffering growing up, and most of this was done utterly alone. These experiences have shaped us from the inside out. And then there's war.... So, compassion is always necessary. I ask you or anyone reading this quote to realize that the suffering is real, and that even those of us who work at this everyday make many, many mistakes. There is danger in taking this quote out of context and in a typically polyanna-ish way.
Poster: Mary Jane Murphy
Caption: I believe this is true and have learned to love the teaching. It is liberating to accept what is uncomfortable and out of our control. Instead of continually rearranging the furniture in order to feel at peace, we allow the external world to be what it is and cultivate peace within.
Poster: RICK HENRY
Caption: What kind of suffering are we talking about here? Suffering is real and we need to be thoughtful about how we think of suffering. Every faith has an explanation for the suffering we endure in the world. Even so, whatever pain we are experincing is real and putting it into perspective is not enough to alleviate the pain. Sometimes it just hurts and the only cure is time, family and friends and for those of faith it is a belief that everything will be ok. Pain should not be trivilized by a bumper sticker comment. Pain is hard and its real,however t is created. I am not convinced that there is a way to circumvent pain and i am sure that we should try. Life is tuff get a helmet.
Poster: Thomas Jann
Caption: Broad, general statements imply an unexamined degree of recklessness. If a brick falls on your head does it cause you pain?
Poster: Matt Turner
Caption: This is true. We cause our own suffering by allowing our minds to run away on us. Buddhist practice awakens us aware to how our minds react to each situation - constantly enforcing an identity that never measures up to our hopes.
Poster: Arlene Chicco
Caption: Last night I was anquished over a problem that I knew was entirely created within my brain. It made no difference that this same brain knew that my suffering was of my own making. That suffering came from my longings for things I could not even articlulate. Yet all my anquish, pain and frustration was only there to keep me from truly knowing what I was feeling, what I was longing for and what I was needing in that very momemt.
Caption: Intersting--I find it most interesting that she was able to leave her childre, although she does say she feels guild about it. I wonder how their lives have turned out--
Caption: I would love to hear Pema Chodron's response to William Fargo's post on the brain changes traumatic stress engenders. Perhaps others may help with this? Maybe mediation brings brain chemistry changes, too, of a relaxed and healthful nature that over time -- much time, perhaps -- could help the veteran.
Caption: When I resist because I get what I DO NOT want then I suffer. But if I can accept what is happening I find that my mind and heart are open and I am able to be present. It is a habit that I try to cultivate so that I can enjoy my life fully and have compassion for others who are in pain. Pema makes a distinction between pain and suffering that is real in my experience.
Caption: I hope that Bill Moyers will interview Pema Chodron again, perhaps several times. Thanks for this wonderful interview!
Poster: Leonie Luterman
Caption: It helps if the basic premise is that we are not innately 'bad' but actually innately 'good'. All of us.
Poster: Skip Gatting
Caption: I've come to understand that the things that happen to us in our lives are only the stimulus and we have a choice as to how we will respond to it. The choices are a full spectrum. One end is negative, pain and suffering. The other end is positive, love and hope. The enlightened lesson is to learn we have the choice to decide 'how do I chose to experience my life'.
Poster: Carl Haldeman
Caption: Circumstances in life determine how we respond to the circumstances in life, and we are a circumstance in life. If it is determined by circumtances that we learn how to deal with suffering caused by circumstances, our new good way of dealing with suffering becomes a new circumstance. The things that happen to us and how we relate to them are determined, not by any gods, but by eternal circumstances of which we do not know.
Poster: Naida Rudolph
Caption: this is true and thanks you for your personal stories Pema Chodron it helps us to know that we are all still pulled by our humanness no matter where we are on the path to enlightment the words you spoke in that hour were my words thank you so much love and light dear one
Poster: G. Haberman
Caption: Thank you Bill Moyers and Pema Chodron for coming together and talking. You reminded me how important it is to sit on my meditation cushion-every day. I have been lagging a bit.
Caption: Life is so short and difficult...how can we be anything but kind?
Poster: Lill Grammy
Caption: I believe it's our attitude toward the negatives we encounter in our lives that make the differnce. There are many things in our lives that we cannot control,and others that we can, but the one thing we can control is ourselves. I think it is best to learn how to best play the hand of cards we are dealt in life. It has taken me many, many years to learn this, and worth all the suffering to achieve the little I have. I look forward to achieving more.
Caption: Emotions will rise, but we don't have to let an emotion run away with our minds. Feeling slighted or hurt by someone doesn't have to push us to seek revenge or anger rising doesn't have to lead to a demon rage, because the cessation of suffering is always present in every moment.
Great show, Bill!
Poster: Vladimir Sanchez
Caption: This is one of the truths of life I sometimes forget.
I immigrated to the USA on AMrch 2005. I came with my wife (she is american) nad our alost 2 year old daughter. My wife got a job and I was trying to get one while taking care of our daughter. Sometimes I was almost nut with our daughter, who is very energetic, and very worried and stressed because I had not a job. Then, on a phone call my mother made me see the privilege I was having all that time: staying with my daughte, watching her growing , leraning, developing as a human beeing. That helped me to turn all my stress and worries, and to enjoy all that time with my daughter.
Poster: Kerry K
Caption: We can learn to control our thoughts to a degree yes. To a degree we create our own reality. If I fall from a building I will splat. If I have heartbreak or other pain - which is a big part of life, then knowing how to reduce suffering is priceless. Pema Chodron says she hit a positive bottom. You see people like Michael J. Fox who remain positive in light of darkness. Yesterday on tv I saw a woman who was severely injured while serving in battle and now has to adjust to life in a wheelchair. She optimistically said she was determined to get in the best shape of her life. The anchorman closed the show by saying anyone who knows this woman knows that she can do it. I hope Pema's wisdom becomes mainstream. Thanks Bill M.
Poster: Patrick Yaeger
Caption: So true. Like many, I have brought upon myself exponential amounts of needless long-term suffering by reacting foolishly to an initial uncomfortable life situation which otherwise would have likely proved fleeting. I am very talented in that way. :)
Poster: Carol Jones
Caption: I just watched the interview wth Ani Perma Chodron. I will have to invest in one of her books. I try very hard not to have any expectations from others but sometimes I am caught off guard. It is hard to let go.
I do agree that I should not take these events personally, most often I don't. I do have those times when I regress. Then who suffers. I do.
Poster: Jesse Hardeman
Caption: I Agree we all suffer pain but knowing there is another side of the coin we find happiness within ourselfs. With compassion for other who also suffer and by helping others we find out own happiness and contentment.
Poster: doug streeb
Caption: if we as people of the world could learn to open our eyes up abit wider to the truth of these words, it would be amazing to see the reflections that the mirror would shine back onto the world
Poster: Isaac A. Richards
Caption: ...the excerpt from Pema made me realize why I've grown so dark with recent personal tragedies and a long long time of feeling sorry for events that have happened in my life...at this point in my life I'm at a crossroads, again...Pema couldn't have come at a better time to help me find something that will motivate me to be a healthier person!
Poster: Robert G
Caption: Yes, quite true. Buddism provides much wisdom as well. A great contribution to secrets of living in the present fully. The past is not really part of reality except as our mind clings.
Poster: Donna Burgess
Caption: Pema Chodron reaffirms what I have come to believe in my lifetime. It is sad to see others who are unhappy, but don't know how to come to peace with themselves.
Poster: Linda Mutch
Caption: Thank you Ani Pema. How wonderful to learn of you and your teachings. My unsettledness has been a grand learning. And now There is a clarity to learn even more about it. I so appreciate Bill Moyer for havinf this interview with you. It is now my responsibility to use the wisdom and make it life changing.
Caption: The only control we possess in this life is how we choose to react and respond to life. Accepting that the only constant in life is change. Having no expectations; invite the change as a potential for personal growth and pursue a positive outcome.
Caption: Very simplistic and not realistic. What would the human race be like if we all turned off our true feelings and stuffed them?
Caption: True. When my son, my only child at that point died when he was seven months old of a rare form of muscular dystrophy, I had a friend who told me that God wasn't so much concerned with what happens to us in life as with how we react to what has happened to us.
Poster: Linda Van Leuven
Caption: Ah, so as 'control freaks' we actually can control (or make friends wth) the one thing we never try to.....our own thoughts/reactions. What a concept! Personal awareness: The ultimate grass roots movement. Pema Rocks!
Caption: Thank you
Poster: Aaron Slowey
Caption: this statement is a truth of ultimate pragmatism, directly so for those who must endure the deeds of the powerful and for us (the west), who, in remote detachment, either to speak truth to power or wither in reluctance.
Poster: Albert Downs
Caption: I found this the key to my understanding how I was to get better and to be happy with being delt bi-lateral strokes after a Dr. error. To see life as a challenge every day...but mainly how to remain happy and to learn from everything. Friends tell me that they don't how I do it....I say what real choice do I have? Bitterness or hope were the only two answers.... and bitterness takes too much energy! Take life from this point on, the past is done.
Caption: Thank you for such thoughtful reminder on practice and the middle way. In addition to wonderful teachers as yourself, I have also come to realize the with age comes a lessening of the need to hang on to those things and events that distract from my awareness and the need to end suffer both personally and universally. Many Blessingss, Hal
Poster: a compulsive gambler
Caption: As with so much in philosophy and religion (and life), this quote and its well-considered responses illustrate not only the limitations of language, but (hence) also the limits of individual human understanding. I think I know what Pema means by this statement, but only because I am truly starving as I write this (MY) response...
Caption: I spent the majority of my life feeling very depressed, lonely, and miserable because a series of birth defects left me (in my mind) horribly deformed and unloveable. However, I eventually discovered that a great gulf exists between my circumstances and how I, in turn, chose to feel about them. This was not a matter of deluding myself into feeling happy; rather, it was my first realization on the journey towards learning how to stop deluding myself into feeling overwhelming sad. I humbly applaud and thank Chodron for her remarkable insights.
Caption: Here's a metaphor that might help.
Think of suffering as a rectangle. The short side of the rectangle represents the amount of actual physical pain you feel. The long side of the rectangle represents the amount by which you push away your pain, the amount by which you close your mind and contract your heart. Then the area of that rectangle represents the pain you feel that is associated with suffering.
I realize this is an over-simplification, but it's nevertheless a good metaphor to explain the concept.
Poster: John J Rottersmann
Caption: I am so close to her that I think I could be a Boudhist my self.She is so simple and so deep .What a conversationalist.
Poster: james neveau
Caption: It would seem that only when we go thru suffering do we look
inside ourselfs.that strenth that is god ( LOVE )When we attach
ourselfs to hate , resentment and fear we lose tract of all that
is peaceful to us .what joy it is to let go.
Poster: Rosemarie Woods
Caption: Do you see just a tree? Or a maple with glossy forest and lime leaves dancing with the spirit of the wind? Is that a robin resting on the branches? Or a female cardinal? Perhaps you are thinking how much work it's going to take to rake all those leaves come Autum...
Poster: Howard Schwartz
Caption: I noticed long ago in my academic studies of the mentally ill, that they tended not to share the common assumption- we have so much more control, even complete freedom over what goes on inside us, compared to the events, good or bad, that happen outside us. How we relate to an event can be equally as inevitable as the event itself.
Poster: James Hill
Caption: As a practioner of Nichiren Buddhism,with the SGI, we are taught and experience the empowerment of chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This elevates our life condition so that we are able to change our suffering into enlightenment. Put another way we are able to change poison into medicine.
Poster: Rich Chappell
Caption: Sister: If our old Church wasn't so archaic we could have you be a priest or bishop - thanks for your message
Poster: Raymond J. Brisson
Caption: suffering is a part of buddhism and a part of life. its how you channel you mistakes,then be awakeing mind from their actions.
Caption: suffering is a part of life. its the reaction to the suffering to know that postive action has to work. to suffer is to gain knowedlege,and to awakeing the bodhichitta in all of us.
Poster: Karen Kentosh
Caption: I was driving home from work one night, very depressed about something, suffering again ... when I suddenly realized that this suffering was a bad habit that that I'd fallen into and used over & over to occupy my mind. I began that very day to stop doing it.
When I heard Pema talk about this on TV, I understood completely.
Poster: Joyce Fama
Caption: I wish I could embrace this beautiful comforting thought but it doesn't address the inherent pain that is in every level of this planet. Nature is in a constant cycle of pain. Looking at just n the animal level, pain is everywhere from hungar, disease, fear (tearing alive a living feeling being for food), losses due to natural disasters. Why pain is so pervasive is an unanswerable
question for me.
Poster: Linda Warner Constantino
Caption: I have read almost all of her books and indeed she offers an access to Buddhism that relates well to the suffering of everyday Western life. Her words have inspired me to cope with the pain in my life is such a different way. Nothing short of an epiphany for me.
Poster: Gary Singleton
Caption: We each carry the seeds of those who have gone before us--parents, teachers, preachers, neighbors, stragers, etc. Many times I find myself saying the things these people said, thinking the thoughts they thought, feeling the way they felt, aspiring to what they aspired...If the outcome of those things leads me to contentment--that is certainly good. If not, then I must decide (if I have the ability) to create my own sayings, thoughts, feelings, aspirations and such. This is arduous by fulfilling. Namaste
Poster: Tom Logue, Jr.
Caption: Sounds very much like the philosphy of the Stoics as described by Epictetus in his Enchiridion.
Caption: Thank you for this amazing interview. I fell upon it looking for something to watch and lo! and behold!, you whisked me back to my Buddhist studies, just when I needed it most! Namaste!
Caption: Pema Chodron's teachings have moved me and have helped me to learn to take pauses in my life. Often, I disguise pain or suffering, with hope and care and wish it to go away. Sometimes I deny the experience of feeling the pain and move on with something less painful. Today I am stuck or hooked and choose to not move on but to stay with the discouraging situation, and try to work it piece by piece day by day. Although, it's not easy to work and to relate to the suffering but I'm trying everyday. Any thoughts or words of encouragement are appreciated. Thank you Pema for sharing your wisdom that inspires and challenges me to live a more fulfilled life. Peace.
Poster: Gerald I. Evenden
Caption: It is interesting how some take the obvious and mangle it into a statement designed to sound profound. Her preaching is the same as the exaltation of a charasmatic minister but wrapped in a more pretentious monolog. The least interesting of the program series.
Poster: mary t.
Caption: pain and suffering, real or imagined, can be found everywhere in life. pema's statement can be used like a ladder to climb out of it.
Poster: paul jeffries
Caption: Your words stole my breath and watered my eyes. Your way is a round hole for my round shape. I could never admit that before, I never felt that way before. Some how that frieghtens me.
Caption: The peace that comes from being able to apply Pema's teachings to everyday life feels like being reborn. Just as negativity perpetuates more of the same, so does an attitude of allowing life to be a positive force. One can feel it's flow- it can make such a difference in how we relate to the world, ourselves, and others, and how others relate to us.
I would love to sit down and chat with Pema-what an absolutely fascinating being!
Poster: laura quilligan
Caption: I'm very happy that pbs and Bill Moyers presented Pema Chodrun...Her message is so greatly needed. Understanding and feeling suffering is a way to develop compassion for other sentient beings. The first Noble Truth states that suffering exists as a human condition that we all share. To be human is to suffer. It is a link that connects us to one another, and understanding this in our hearts helps us to become one interconnected mindstream.
Caption: Touche. We have choices and we can choose to respond to situations or people in a positive or negative way. Either way, our response continues to radiate long after we've made it.
Poster: mary riechers
Caption: When we grasp at things as existing independent of the mind, we are setting ourselves up for more and more suffering. Gaining nner peace is the only way to pass through this life with any modicum of happiness.
Caption: great to hear some basic truths told with such caring and humor. her expressiveness convinces me that her heart mind are in all she says. she is an inspiration to me to get going to do the meditation and bring more sanity into my own life.
Poster: Chris Lynn
Caption: I was so touched by your interview. The concept of 'groundlessness' truly resonated, and how New Yorkers responded after 9/11 in a kind of communal goodness. I've always feared that feeling...losing ground as you did after the loss of your husband, and as I did after experiencing 3 miscarriages in one year. Now I feel almost ready to embrace the next one. Thank you
Caption: yes, yes, and yes!
the liberating journey is the bringing this from head to heart.
thank you, ani pema, for your gentle, unflinching guidance.
Caption: This is so true, if we could live by this statement we would be much happier and loving to our self and to others
Poster: K. Farris
Caption: Oh, Yes, so true. A core principle that so simplifies our path. Pema Chodron is so dynamic and inspiring. Thanks for bringing her to my attention
Poster: Dennis McCole
Caption: I am grateful that my life has been a warm bed and full stomach...in such a state these teachings can take root and bloom...I wonder how the cold, hungry and homeless handle their particular brand of suffering...If I had a child who was sick and hungry and I was unable to help her, all the teachings in the world would be of no use to me...mindfulness is a wonderful thing but it is a luxury.
Poster: Cynthia Waldon
Caption: It is a wonderful statement, but how does one end a period of suffering and embrace the notion that suffering is not a necessary part of pain, grief, illness, sadness, etc.?
Poster: Peggy Carpenter
Poster: Nancy Erhardt
Caption: I experienced the death of my mother and 1 1/2 years later the death of my brother. I was just getting over the loss of my mom when my brother died. After a mourning period for my brother, I thought to myself I can go even deeper into depression or be happy that we were able to have my mother and brother around for such a long time. It made me realize that everything you encounter in life must be met head on with the idea that good or bad, this is all part of the continuing life circle.
Poster: Carmen R
Caption: I agree. Life is what we make of it; and when we're children so much of it is outside of our control. Only as we get older is much of it within our control. However, we cannot control other people or the events in our life that may cause suffering. We can, however, decide how to react; and it is the reaction that will either help us move along to happier state or prolong the suffering.
Poster: Jo Ann
Caption: Last night on PBS I met Pema-The first of many doors was opened as I saw, for the first time, that the garden in one's mind can sprout new plants that last forever!
Poster: Gary S.
Caption: Well I think I finally have found an alternative to medication. That's right medication. After going through many life challenges in the past 6 years I have arrived at a crossroad. DO I continue to numb myself or try to look inside for the power to deal with these issues and temper my reactions so as to gain the ability to move forward in a clear concise manner. Thanks for the exposure to Pema. Prior to this episode my exposure to this subject had been driven by Hollywood. Maybe just maybe there is an answer here.
Poster: David Small
Caption: Great energy in these responses. If suffering is the focus what else can be seen? Distraction from the simple joys that surround us always. When bad things that happen, do happen, we all have concious choices that we can make, if we react rationally. Using our creative energy to decide to suffer, or smile, because both are always available. We just might not be aware that it is, if we become subject to our emotions. The importance of being in the moment is as always, where do our priorities lay? What is the best that we can get from each moment? Without doing a complete objective analysis, for each second that we live. We wouldn't get anything else done, but analysis. Thank you and bless you Ani Pema.
Poster: Patrick Kretsch
Caption: How we relate to suffering seems to depend on the love and support we received in our life. My belief is that poverty is the greatest cause of suffering and crime. Also, that, in general, the happiest adults are those who grew up in a loving and supportive family. Some individuals have an inborn fortitude, or maybe DNA, that enables them to relate positively to life regardless of their childhood experiences. Therefore, all things being equal, I agree with your statement. However, many individual's life experiences have had a profound negative psychological affect on them. This negativity can be overcome by the rest of us relating to them in a loving manner and ending the dire poverty so many many are trapped in..
Poster: Chuck Moreland
Caption: Saying everything twice doesn't mean it's going to make a difference in any one's life.
Poster: Lucky Flores
Caption: I am absolutely amazed with your teachings!!! I commend you in so many ways and would love to began learning this way of life. you are a wonderful person!!
Poster: Kathleen Marotta
Caption: Hearing and seeing Bill interview Pema, perhaps I was safer because I trust Bill so much and was in my own living room. Or perhaps I was in more acute pain than ever before and thus had less illusion of having anything to lose.
I have always FEARED Trungpa, Rinpoche and Pema Chödrön for the position Pema expounds in this interview, about accepting groundlessness. Trungpa, Rinpoche always used to talk about having the rug yanked out from under you with the implication that this was a wonderful development. Pema had a similar theme. It is so hard for me to FIND any ground in my own chaos that I feared and somewhat avoided them as lunatics, frankly, really scary people.
But somehow I GOT what they are saying, scrambling to catch the interview, jotting down notes, hungrily watching and listening.
I got that it is hopeless desperately to scramble to establish ground when the ground has crumbled and fallen irreparably away.
I got that the hatred I feel for neighbors who torment me and national figures responsible for vast human misery --- hatred which even as I feel it gives me the creeps, I can feel that it’s hatred and that I refuse to relinquish it even in part --- is pretending.
I identified when Pema spoke of how many of us are running around in circles, desperately industriously trying to pretend we have still some ground.
I got that this might be necessary for me today, but that there could be a path if I were open to it on which I could practice letting hatred go and letting knowing-it-all entitlement to hatred go, and that Pema was saying this is what is beautiful about representations of the Buddha. This is that still continuity, that harmony, that peace. This is awake. This can happen for me and every sentient being.
I got that what they are saying is amazing kindness and not lunacy or threat.
What a relief. So thank you, deep benefactors, kind liberators.
Poster: Jim S.
Caption: Your words could not have come at a better time. Many blessings to you. Thank you.
Poster: Dorothy Matz
Caption: Ah! To live this truth each day.
Poster: Laurie Sudol
Caption: Simply wonderful! Thank you
Poster: Bill Hiner
Caption: Much too often we just react to things that happen, and those quick reactions cause the suffering. To stop and think about the sitation before speaking, or forming an opinion can allow us to better understnd the situation, and the more we understand the less we suffer.
Poster: MM Bemoit
Caption: I really appriciate the difference Pema Chodron discussed between pain vs suffering. Yes, I agree, it is the suffering we give ourselves, not the painwe feel from the things things we have no control over. It is through overcoming our reaction to this pain, that we avoid suffering in ourselves and in consequesce to others as well. I see this and will work towards it. Thank you Pema.
Poster: Kevin M.
Caption: I coulndnt agree more. Thank you Pema Chodron.
Caption: our response to an experience is framed by belief. and our beliefs are what create our experiences. holding a perspective that finds suffering, that labels experiences as either this or that, good or bad, bearable or unbearable gives rise to a condition seeking an appropriate response. whereas holding a perspective that is simply pure experience opens limitless possibility.
Poster: A. Parsons
Caption: Love is a cure for suffering. Suffering is self centered, true love is not. Those who love truly, attain happiness.
Poster: LS Thomas
Caption: Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for bringing Ani Pema to the eyes and ears of PBS viewers. She is a true Bodhisattva, and a balm for our troubled world.
Caption: Your appearance, and the thoughts you expressed on the programme were deeply inspirational.... and will improve my meditations tomorrow and for many tomorrows to come. I hope I may meet you some day. May you live a long, healthy and happy life of great satisfactions. And I Thank you.
Poster: bob m
Caption: Wonderful-words cannot convey how deep you touched me--and may I add, given me another blessed role model.
Poster: J Johnson
Caption: I believe this to be true. This does not mean that we will not feel physical or emotional pain. I believe this means that we are able to lessen the suffering that we experience by altering our perception of the event or situation.
Caption: Thank you for the wonderful insights. You seem to be truly at peace with your inner self and an excellent example for us all.
Poster: Andre L.
Caption: To be precise, it's not how we relate to the things (...), it is how we relate to our ideas about the things that happen to us – that's what causes us to suffer. 'Things' cannot make us suffer, it's only our ideas about them.
Poster: Iektje van Bolhuis
Caption: Thank you, Pema, for your wonderful teachings. May we meet again some day!
Poster: Greg Demmons
Caption: William Fargo: Learning to meditate will also cause changes in your thought patterns and the way that even an altered mind functions. Scientists have discovered that Tibetan meditation masters and even regular practitioners have significantly different brain functions than those who do not meditate. I fully believe that what you are referring to can be aided through meditation with a guide. Several Vietnam veterans can attest to the significant assistance that Thich Nat Han has given them. Seeing what the mind is actually doing by watching it while meditating may help.
Caption: Go Pema!!! Encore!! It is such a comfort to listen to you.
Poster: RGW in Maine
Caption: thank you, Pema Chodron...may your vows be fulfilled!
Caption: Bless you Bill Moyers and Bless you Pema. I got goosebumps while absorbing this interview. Thank you for your inspiring work.
I have to sit and meditate on this.
Poster: Boo in Maine
Caption: Knowing this took away a great deal of my anger. While I wish others could learn this, I know each of us has to come to this on her/his own. When my suffering increases, I quickly intensify my meditation. Thanks for a great discussion.
Caption: Here here!
Caption: I agree that our attitude to what happens to us can affect our reality but I also agree with others who have noted that there is a danger in using this philosophy to discount or trivialize the suffering of others - ie implying that if they just had a different attitude they wouldn't be suffering. Many people in the world have little or no control over their external political or socio-economic situations, for example, and experience suffering that cannot be meditated away.
Caption: Several years ago I repeatedly read two of Pema's books and gained much, but then I drifted from awareness back to my hooks. But lately has been a period of being on my hooks and intense suffering. Last night I was thinking of Pema's books and then turned on the tv and - BAM (to borrow from Emeril) there was Pema with Bill! Their conversation has rekindled my awareness and begun my movement away from the suffering which I nurtured out of my current life-events. Many thanks!
Poster: Clodagh Harvey
Caption: It was only by chance I came upon the program with Pema Chodron, but I was stopped dead in my tracks. I had to listen. Her thoughts made some breathing room for me in my hurried life and reaffirmed the essentialness of quietude and reflection. Thank you so much, Bill Moyers and Pema Chodron.
Caption: I think suffering is caused by our inability or unwillingness to accept the reality of life; agony & joy coexist.