Pema Chödrön Quotes From ‘When Things Fall Apart’

Pema Chödrön is an American Tibetan Buddhist nun, author and director of Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936, Chödrön had her share of trial and tribulations before becoming a novice nun in 1974.

Chödrön is the author of  numerous books, including When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times and Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living. She is also the founder of the Pema Chödrön Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides resources and support for the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism.

Chödrön’s work has been instrumental in bringing Tibetan Buddhist principles to a Western audience, and she continues to be an influential voice in the world of Buddhist thought.

Chödrön is known for her humorous, down-to-earth interpretation of Tibetan Buddhist principles and her work in making these principles accessible to a Western audience.

Her quotes on gratitude, fear, uncertainty and inner peace have resonated well with people from all walks of life.

Pema Chödrön Quotes

Pema Chödrön Quotes From ‘When Things Fall Apart’


“Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.” Pema Chödrön


“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” Pema Chödrön


″We might think, as we become more open, that it’s going to take bigger catastrophes for us to reach our limit. The interesting thing is that, as we open more and more, it’s the big ones that immediately wake us up and the little things that catch us off guard. However, no matter what the size, color, or shape is, the point is still to lean toward the discomfort of life and see it clearly rather than to protect ourselves from it.″ Pema Chödrön


“The Buddha taught that we’re not actually in control, which is a pretty scary idea. But when you let things be as they are, you will be a much happier, more balanced, compassionate person.” Pema Chödrön


“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” Pema Chödrön


“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” Pema Chödrön


“The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.” Pema Chödrön


“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of sh*t and not be squeamish about taking a good look.” Pema Chödrön


Pema Chödrön Quotes On Gratitude


“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.” Pema Chödrön


“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 Chödrön


“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 Chödrön


“Rejoicing in the good fortune of others is a practice that can help us when we feel emotionally shut down and unable to connect with others. Rejoicing generates good will.” Pema Chödrön


Pema Chödrön Quotes On Change, Fear & Uncertainty


“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 its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment.” Pema Chödrön


“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity not to be afraid.” Pema Chödrön


“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.” Pema Chödrön


“So, 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.” Pema Chödrön


“When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something.” Pema Chödrön


“We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart.” Pema Chödrön


Pema Chödrön Quotes On Inner Peace


“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” Pema Chödrön


“Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime.” Pema Chödrön


“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at. Compassion isn’t some kind of self-improvement project or ideal that we’re trying to live up to.” Pema Chödrön



“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 Chödrön


“If right now our emotional reaction to seeing a certain person or hearing certain news is to fly into a rage or to get despondent or something equally extreme, it’s because we have been cultivating that particular habit for a very long time.” Pema Chödrön


“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 Chödrön


“People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, that means that they did something bad and they are being punished. That’s not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.” Pema Chödrön


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


“I equate ego with trying to figure everything out instead of going with the flow. That closes your heart and your mind to the person or situation that’s right in front of you, and you miss so much.” Pema Chödrön


“According to the Buddhist belief, you can go on and on indefinitely, so you see your life as just a brief moment in time.” Pema Chödrön


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