Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun, on 9/11.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jul 19, 2010
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Pema Chodron points out that our response to the attacks of 9/11 is directly analogous to how most of us, most of the time, deal with aggression in our daily lives. Instead of looking within at why we’ve provoked anger in others, we strike back. Right or wrong, as we all too well know, it just winds up escalating and complicating everything more—instead of, as we might wish, achieving happiness and peace for ourselves (or anyone else).



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


9 Responses to “Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun, on 9/11.”

  1. via

    Fred Z
    I find it somewhat offensive. I wouldn't say it wasn't the United States that caused this, however large international corporations and bankers who did this. Give credit were credit is due. The goal of a few people to own and control everything did this.

    Those corporations and bankers have so much power to influence the political machine in US did this.

    Stephanie P
    Did you know that Fred in Norwegian means Peace?
    Fred, I think her basic point isn't to assign blame—but the US hasn't exactly been tiptoeing through tulips, internationally, we're more along the lines of a bull in a china shop. Her basic point is that we can blame the terrorists, or the US, whatever we like…or we can see how we do the exact same things in our own life, and "drive all blames into one," and begin to wake up ourselves.

  2. jcrows says:

    consider the possibility that 911 may, in addition to everything else stated above, also have been an illusion (a hat trick) sic->

  3. Bud Wilson says:

    Waylon, During the Earth Summit in Rio, in 1992, I was standing with diplomats and journalists in a side room to the main auditorium, watching George Bush senior on a large video screen. When he proclaimed with a dose of arrogance that "the American Lifestyle is non-negotiable." I felt a combination of emotions within – anger and embarrassment at our condescending President. These emotions were combined with an uneasy feeling of shame for the inequities in our world filled with "haves and have-nots". I also felt some envy and jealousy from the other international participants who filled the room, but mostly rage, anger, resentment and deep hostility toward the USA. After all, they all wanted to hear what the United States was going to do to help protect Nature, which was under assault then and still is today. While Fred has a valid point that it doesn't serve us to exclusively blame the U.S. – although we are the leader of the G-8, or at least we were then! I entirely agree with Pema Chodron's point to look at root causes for any and all hatred that arises within us as a powerful way to transform imbalances in our inner world as well as the "outer" world. Great Post!

  4. I disagree with Pema on the causes of 9/11 BUT I still want to take her to all mediations I conduct.

    My sense is that just walking in the room with her will resolve about 50% of the issues if not more.

    What a treasure you have presented here on Elephant, Waylon.

  5. JMPW says:

    I love Pema, but 9/11 did not happen because the west had not treated the terrorists with loving kindness and compassion. There were many more facets culturally, for those men, that created their aggression.

  6. elephantjournal says:

    Amen. But our aggression, too, has many interdependent causes and…effects. And, finally, in the end, we've proven to be much more powerful—the combination of a mighty military and still relatively free democracy…two wars…billions wasted that could have been spent on infrastructure, schools, the poor, health care…it's a sad history with many lessons. ~ Waylon

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  8. CharlieInCO says:

    Oh, Deirdre honey, the Buddha said "save yourself". he didn't say "blame yourself." Of course, everything in the Chain of Dependent Origination is interconnected, but we're not then to blame for the other person's karma, just for our own. Thinking that we could somehow do that is bhavatanha, one of the roots of duhkha.

  9. lsharabi says:

    I love love Pema, but she has adopted a common misconception: the MISCONCEPTION that Arabs hated the West before 9/11. Most Arabs pre-9/11 had as a goal to go to school and live in the United States. Most Arabs sat with the rest of the world watching on with sadness – great sadness, truly. Folks in the Middle East certainly felt US policy was not fair, but most did not hate the west. The bringing down of the Twin Towers is an incident that has more to do with warlords than it does with everyday people. Remember, only a handful of folks (mostly Saudis) carried out this act. The US RESPONSE has fueled anti-American sentiment – note: especially economically. Take for example, Iraq: the before and after picture. People are bereft and easily swept into war-ish-ness, whereas before they were living in a functioning country with an economy. WHEN WE LOOK AT 9/11 and ask why – it is really about behind the scenes arms dealers and behind the scenes jockeying for power within the Middle East, not anti-Americanism per se – or to the extent that it was fueled by anti-Americanism – it did not represent the view folks in the Middle East PRE 9/11. LOVE!