Editor's Picks / From the Editors / Pema Chödrön

Pema’s Talks on "Be Grateful to Everyone" Now Available

I first heard about the Tibetan practice of tonglen, or sending and taking, when I was studying with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the 1970s. He presented teachings on this practice as well as the general practice of lojong, or mind training. This training on how to help oneself and others often involves studying a group of slogans that are used in connection with “exchanging self for others.” Pema Chodron has been presenting these teachings on lojong in many of her books and programs for years, and this is a backbone of her teaching, which has influenced thousands of us.

I still feel like a complete beginner with this practice, in the sense that my first instinct in so many situations is a selfish impulse to protect myself, rather than thinking about the welfare of others. Even if I think about helping others, it so often comes along with some kind of self-congratulations, a pat on the back for being kind. But there is hope! Even for tough cases, like myself.

Over several decades, I’ve found that the cards that present the mind-training slogans are a great wake-up call. I keep them on a special shelf in my office, and about once a week, I randomly select a new slogan. This week’s slogan on my shelf is

If you can practice even when distracted,
you are well trained.

Once I choose a card, I look up teachings about that slogan—to help remind myself that there is more to life than “me.” I find this a cheerful and rather fun way to engage the lojong material, and I find that the slogans I randomly select always have an auspicious connection to something I need to be working with in my life—right now.

Shambhala Publications is offering Be Grateful to Everyone, a seven-CD audio program presenting teachings on lojong or mind training. When you get the CDs, you also receive a set of the mind training cards for free. These remarkable teachings help us accept and work with our own pain and the pain of others. You can click here to learn more.

One thought on “Pema’s Talks on "Be Grateful to Everyone" Now Available

  1. That slogan stands out for me in more ways than one. At the 1980 Seminary that I attended at Lake Louise also in attendance was the Sakyong-to-be, then the Sawang. A-Suite was right above the space used for the big shrine meditation room. I was up there one afternoon doing something or other and the Sawang asked for my help. So I said, “Sure,” or something to that effect. We leapt over Helen Green’s bed on to the adjacent balcony. He had penned that slogan on a very long paper or sheet and had a couple of bamboo poles attached to it. We then lowered the slogan down slowly to the windows of the room where everyone was meditating. Due to some wind, or panic on my part, the poles dropped. He then turned and ran pell mell out the window, over Helen’s bed, leaving me there to fend for myself in my wedgie heels. I managed to escape unnoticed. I don’t know if you will want to publish this. But it was a very good way for me to never forget this slogan!

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