If you’re struggling through difficult times, these Pema Chödrön quotes will help you to change your mindset.
Pema Chödrön didn’t start life out living in peace and compassion.
She went through a life very similar to all of us.
She was married, had children, and was divorced twice.
Like many, she struggled with depression which is one of the things that led her to the path of becoming a Buddhist nun.
Since her enlightenment, she has focused on spreading the message of peace and compassion.
Her words are used by many to help them through difficult times in their lives.
Below is our collection of inspirational, wise, and thought-provoking Pema Chödrön quotes and sayings, collected from a variety of sources over the years.
Also check out these overcoming dark quotes for moving past difficult times.
Pema Chödrön quotes about compassion
1. “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.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: People who have experienced trauma or grief do not want pity. Sometimes, they mistake compassion as pity. However, thinking of it this way reminds us that the person showing us compassion is trying to understand the darkness we harbor within. They are drawing on their own experiences to try and empathize with how we feel.
2. “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
Everyday Application: Perfection is an unattainable goal. All we can ever do is our best. We must remember to show ourselves the same love and compassion we show our closest friends. Be kind to yourself and remember that you are only human.
3. “Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: If you can not find kindness and compassion within you for the times when you make a mistake, than how can you truly show it to someone else? In order for us to genuinely believe the kind words we say to others, we need to believe they are inherently true. Therefore, they apply to you as well.
4. “The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: Healing happens when we recognize and name our feelings and emotions. Then we can begin to acknowledge them, and address them in a way that helps us heal. Let there be room to feel your emotions in your life.
Pema Chödrön quotes about life
5. “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
Everyday Application: Focus on the positive things that bring you joy, no matter how small they might seem. There will be some days we only experience those small joys, but there will never be a day we don’t experience something to be grateful for—even if it is just waking up. To recognize the positive when we are in the middle of a struggle, grieving, or feeling hopeless is a testament of strength.
6. “Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: Our destructive habits have likely been learned over the course of our lifetime. Interrupting them is not an easy task, neither is looking into your heart and healing. However, it is the most rewarding work you can do. You can make sure the rest of your life is much better than what you have lived through in the past!
7. “Every day we think about the aggression in the world. Everybody always strikes out at the enemy, and the pain escalates forever. We could reflect on this and ask ourselves, ‘Am I going to add to the aggression in the world?’ Everyday we can ask ourselves, ‘Am I going to practice peace, or am I going to war?’” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: We always have a choice about how to respond. Choose what you add to the world carefully. You can choose love, peace, gratitude, and kindness. Conversely, you can choose aggression, anger, violence, and hate. Negative emotions cost much more to hang on to and put into the universe than others!
8. “Rather than being disheartened by the uncertainty of life, what if we accepted it and relaxed into it? What if we said, yes, this is the way it is; this is what it means to be human, and decided to sit down and enjoy the ride.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: There are actually very few (if really any) things we know for certain in this life. We would be much less stressed if we took life as it came and chose are reactions more carefully. Live in the moment and recognize that certain things are just part of the human experience.
9. “The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: Live in the here and now. Be present for the life that is happening in this moment. The past is done and gone, and the future has yet to be. Also, there is no promise that you will even see the future. Think about the future in terms of anticipating and planning, but don’t put your life off for things that might happen!
10. “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
Everyday Application: Each moment in time is precious. Every lesson is worth learning. All emotions are worth feeling. Although, some emotions you want to feel in the moment and then let them go. Live life being grateful for everything, and you will experience much more joy!
11. “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: We learn a lot about what we can survive when we are thrown out of the nest. Those experiences that challenge us are arguably more important than the things that come easily. We learn and grow when overcome something that we are convinced we couldn’t. Let yourself take risks and leave the nest!
12. “The experiences of your life are trying to tell you something about yourself. Don’t cop out on that. Don’t run away and hide under your cover. Lean into it.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: Who are you when all the chips are down or your back is against the wall? Sometimes, the lesson we learn in those moments is not a practical skill or learning what doesn’t work. Sometimes, those moments reveal a strength we didn’t know we had. Other times, they make us aware of a weakness that needs addressed. It is going to be uncomfortable, because that is how growth feels.
13. “Being open and receptive to whatever is happening is always more important than getting worked up and adding further aggression to the planet, adding further pollution to the atmosphere.” – Pema Chödrön
14. “One can appreciate and celebrate each moment — there’s nothing more sacred. There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more!” – Pema Chödrön
15. “Look ahead to the rest of your life and ask yourself what you want it to add up to.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: We are not guaranteed to live for a certain amount of time. However, every choice and decision we make is measured. Like an abacus, our choices move the little balls from one side to the other. At the end of your time here how many chances did you take? What was the sum of your actions? Do something everyday that gets you closer to what you want your life to add up to.
16. “You must face annihilation over and over again to find what is indestructible in yourself.” – Pema Chödrön
You might also like these world peace quotes that will give you hope for humanity.
Pema Chödrön quotes about difficulties
17. “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: Have you ever felt like the same sort of situation or outcome keeps happening? That is part of a theory that the universe is trying to teach you something. In each of these challenging situations, there is a common theme we need to learn. Are you reacting the same way all the time? Are you treating people a certain way? What are these experiences that you wish would go away really trying to teach you?
18. “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
Everyday Application: Happiness is a choice. Whatever is, simply is. Nothing is permanent and we only have a limited amount of control. The human situation really is open-ended. Each day is a chance to start again and rewrite your story. It is like those old chapter books where whatever decision you chose corresponded to a page, and you got to impact the story.
19. “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
20. “Sometimes when things fall apart, well, that’s the big opportunity to change.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: Our moments that are filled with adversity provide us with an opportunity to push past what we think we are capable of. Anytime you push past something you thought was your breaking point, you unlock a new level of yourself. You remind yourself that you are stronger and more capable than you think. This can be the perfect motivation for the most meaningful changes of our lives.
21. “Let difficulty transform you. And it will. In my experience, we just need help in learning how not to run away.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: Don’t run away from the things that scare you the most. They are likely the very thing you to face in order to change your life. Difficulty and adversity is not fun, but you can survive. In fact, by embracing the lesson you can thrive and transform yourself into the best version of your authentic self.
22. “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
23. “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
24. “None of us is ever OK, but we all get through everything just fine.” – Pema Chödrön
25. “When we protect ourselves so we won’t feel pain, that protection becomes armor, like armor that imprisons the softness of the heart.” – Pema Chödrön
26. “This moving away from comfort and security, this stepping out into what is unknown, uncharted, and shaky – that’s called liberation.” – Pema Chödrön
27. “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
28. “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” – Pema Chödrön
Pema Chödrön quotes about peace
29. “Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.” – Pema Chödrön
30. “Don’t let people pull you into their storm. Pull them into your peace.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: People are always going to want to pull you into their storm. They really can’t help it; they don’t want to be in their alone! However, having two people lost in the anxiety and worry is not good. Instead, help other people figure out how to find the peace to calm their storms.
31. “Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened.” – Pema Chödrön
32. “When we are training in the art of peace, we are not given any promises that, because of our noble intentions, everything will be okay. In fact, there are no promises of fruition at all. Instead, we are encouraged to simply look deeply at joy and sorrow, at laughing and crying, at hoping and fearing, all that lives and dies. We learn that what truly heals is gratitude and tenderness.” – Pema Chödrön
Wise Pema Chödrön quotes
33. “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” – Pema Chödrön
34. “If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” – Pema Chödrön
35. “The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: Do you feel like every relationship you have encounters the same problem? Are the problems you face at work consistently happening regardless of the company you work for? When the same problem presents itself over and over, there is simply a lesson you have not learned yet. Until you learn it and face it, it will continue to find you.
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of karma quotes about what goes around & comes around in our life.
36. “The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” – Pema Chödrön
37. “Just where you are – that’s the place to start.” – Pema Chödrön
Everyday Application: There is a saying: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is right now. You can not go back and start when you think you should have. However, that doesn’t mean you missed your moment. It just means you need to start today. Right now and wherever you are. Do small things every day but do something everyday!
38. “Suffering usually relates to wanting things to be different from the way they are.” – Pema Chödrön
39. “When we protect ourselves so we won’t feel pain, that protection becomes armor, like armor that imprisons the softness of the heart.” – Pema Chödrön
40. “Precision, gentleness and the ability to let go are not something that we have to gain, but something that we could bring out, cultivate, rediscover in ourselves.” – Pema Chödrön
41. “The root of resisting the certainty that no matter what the circumstance, uncertainty is all we truly have.” – Pema Chödrön
42. “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
43. “It’s a nice feeling to just be.” – Pema Chödrön
44. “Clarity and decisiveness come from the willingness to slow down, to listen and look at what’s happening.” – Pema Chödrön
Pema Chödrön quotes about meditation
45. “It helps to remember that our practice is not about accomplishing anything – not about winning or losing – but about ceasing to struggle and relaxing as it is. That is what we are doing when we sit down to meditate. That attitude spreads into the rest of our lives.” – Pema Chödrön
46. “In practicing meditation, we’re not trying to live up to some kind of ideal — quite the opposite. We’re just being with our experience, whatever it is.” – Pema Chödrön
47. “If you ask why we meditate, I would say it’s so we can become more flexible and tolerant to the present moment.” – Pema Chödrön
48. “Meditation practice is not about later, when you get it all together and you’re this person you really respect.” – Pema Chödrön
49. “We don’t sit in meditation to become good meditators. We sit in meditation so that we’ll become more awake in our lives.” – Pema Chödrön
50. “One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are.” – Pema Chödrön
51. “You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” – Pema Chodron
52. “Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world.” – Pema Chodron
53. “Don’t worry about achieving. Don’t worry about perfection. Just be there each moment as best you can.” – Pema Chodron
More Pema Chödrön quotes and sayings
54. “When we are willing to stay even a moment with uncomfortable energy, we gradually learn not to fear it.” – Pema Chodron
55. “Every moment is unique, unknown, completely fresh.” – Pema Chodron
56. “Usually, we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear.” – Pema Chodron
57. “All situations teach you, and often it’s the tough ones that teach you best.” – Pema Chodron
58. “Whatever happens in your life, joyful or painful, do not be swept away by reactivity. Be patient with yourself and don’t lose your sense of perspective.” – Pema Chodron
59. “Without loving-kindness for ourselves, it is difficult, if not impossible, to genuinely feel it for others.” – Pema Chodron
60. “Being satisfied with what we already have is a magical golden key to being alive in a full, unrestricted, and inspired way.” – Pema Chodron
Are you struggling?
If life is feeling overwhelming for you at the moment, you may have found some comfort in the Pema Chödrön quotes above.
She shares a message that supports taking responsibility for your own peace instead of allowing the situations in your life and others to control it.
This approach allows you the ability to find and maintain inner peace.
To live a peaceful life is to do it purposefully.
Choose the words above, or find others, that remind you that you’re in control of your peace and happiness.
Hopefully, these Pema Chödrön quotes will inspire you to move forward each day.
What’s your biggest takeaway from the above quotes?
Do you have any other inspirational Pema Chödrön quotes to add?
Let us know in the comment section below.
July 7, 2022 7:07 AM EST