She was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936.
She discovered Buddhism while exploring her spirituality to recover from two failed marriages.
She studied under Lama Chime Rinpoche in London and was ordained as a novice nun by His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa in 1974.
We’re hoping you find a Pema Chödrön quote that fits your unique situation and lifts you up.
We’ve curated 45 of her sayings with that in mind.
45 Soul-Touching Pema Chödrön Quotes
“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes. ” ― 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
“A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”― 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
“Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Without giving up hope—that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be—we will never relax with where we are or who we are.” ― Pema Chödrön
“We are all capable of becoming fundamentalists because we get addicted to other people’s wrongness.” ― Pema Chödrön
“As long as our orientation is toward perfection or success, we will never learn about unconditional friendship with ourselves, nor will we find compassion. ” ― Pema Chödrön
“True compassion does not come from wanting to help out those less fortunate than ourselves but from realizing our kinship with all beings.”― Pema Chödrön
“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” ― Pema Chödrön
“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 Chödrön
“The greatest obstacle to connecting with our joy is resentment.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Trying to run away is never the answer to being a fully human. Running away from the immediacy of our experience is like preferring death to life.” ― Pema Chödrön
“The more we witness our emotional reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain.” ― Pema Chödrön
“At the root of all the harm we cause is ignorance.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Everybody loves something, even if it’s only tortillas.” ― Pema Chödrön
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“Honesty without kindness, humor, and goodheartedness can be just mean.” ― Pema Chödrön
“None of us is ever OK, but we all get through everything just fine.” ― Pema Chödrön
“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
“We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can’t relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, unbiased.” ― Pema Chödrön
“The essence of bravery is being without self-deception.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Once you create a self-justifying storyline, your emotional entrapment within it quadruples.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things pass, that things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time—that is the basic message.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Don’t let life harden your heart.”― Pema Chödrön
“Things are as bad and as good as they seem. There’s no need to add anything extra.” ― 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
“Patience is the training in abiding with the restlessness of our energy and letting things evolve at their own speed.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Pain is not a punishment, pleasure is not a reward.” ― Pema Chödrön
“In truth, there is enormous space in which to live our everyday lives.” ― Pema Chödrön
“We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Affirmations are like screaming that you’re okay in order to overcome this whisper that you’re not… maybe you’re not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine.” ― Pema Chödrön
“In a nutshell, when life is pleasant, think of others. When life is a burden, think of others.” ― Pema Chödrön
“The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” ― Pema Chödrön
“The more we make friends with ourselves, the more we can see that our ways of shutting down and closing off are rooted in the mistaken thinking that the way to get happy is to blame somebody else.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Words themselves are neutral. It’s the charge we add to them that matters” ― Pema Chödrön
“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast and limitless.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. We.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Scrambling for security has never brought anything but momentary joy.” ― Pema Chödrön
“It helps to remember that our spiritual practice is not about accomplishing anything—not about winning or losing—but about ceasing to struggle and relaxing as it is.” ― Pema Chödrön
How Will You Use These Pema Chödrön Quotes?
Now that you’ve read these quotes, only you know whether you felt more drawn to Pema Chödrön on love quotes or to the Pema Chödrön when things fall apart quotes.
Having read her thoughts, you know the two are not mutually exclusive. Some of her sayings will resonate with you (as you are now) more than others. We hope that whichever quotes you keep close to you, you remember the importance of self-compassion.
Keep lifting yourself and others up. Keep giving love and learning as you go. The rest will sort itself out.