Filed in Tibetan

Renunciation

Like a Raven in the Wind

Pema Chödrön

Wisdom Collection

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Pema Chödrön is an American nun in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and the director of Gampo Abbey, on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the first monastery in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition in North America. After practicing for almost twenty years, she now represents one of the most respected examples of the transmission of Buddhist teachings to American disciples. Born Dierdre Blomfield-Brown, Pema graduated from the elite Miss Porter's school and then attended Sarah Lawrence College and the University of California at Berkeley. At 21, she married and had two children. After a painful second divorce in 1972, she began looking for spiritual guidance, and soon became the student of the late Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. In 1974, she received the nun's novice ordination from His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa and, at his request, took the full nun's ordination in Hong Kong in 1981. Like a Raven in the Wind was adapted from a talk given during a one-month practice period. A collection of Pema Chodron's talks, The Wisdom of No Escape, will be published this fall by Shambhala Publications.


Lynn DavisWhen people take refuge in the formal ceremony of becoming a Buddhist, they receive a name that indicates how they should work. I've noticed that when people get the name "Renunciation," they hate it. It makes them feel terrible; they feel as if someone gave them the name "Torture Chamber," or perhaps "Torture Chamber of Enlightenment." People usually don't like the name "Discipline" either, but so much depends on how you look at these things. Renunciation does not have to be regarded as negative. I was taught that it has to do with letting go of holding back. What one is renouncing is closing down and shutting off from life. You could say that renunciation is the same thing as opening to the teachings of the present moment.

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