May 14, 2014

Pema Chodron’s Commencement Speech at Naropa University’s Class of 2014 Graduation Ceremony. {Video}

pema chodron video naropa graduation commencement

While she politely declined elephant’s request for an conversation for a record 9th time (despite knowing me and my mother for 40 years, despite our video interviewing her teacher Dzigar Kongtrul, Sakyong Mipham, Deepak Chopra, Arianna Huffington, Marianne Williamson, Sister Helen Prejean, Congressmen & Governors & hundreds of other inspiring thought leaders; and despite our now reaching 8.3 million readers a month—by a factor of 108 a greater reach to sentient beings the world over than our print and digital mindful-life-focused peers), she did generously appear at Naropa. Thanks to her sweet granddaughter’s presence, as charming and capable President Chuck Lief acknowledges in his introduction.

Rather crushed (we’d been rejected by her only the month before, when the Sakyong asked on our behalf), I couldn’t bear to attend the Commencement myself, but I know you’ll enjoy and get a lot out of her speech.

This here blog represents the first share of this video and speech. Enjoy! She’s wonderful—perhaps the most approachable, while still profound, voice for Buddhism, and mindfulness and compassion and humor generally, in the world today. We’re honored to have shared more than 500 blogs featuring her speeches and wisdom, for a total of (yes, we got our calculator out, more than 4,000,000 readers over the past 11 years) as a print and now virtual publication.

Skip to 1:25 to Pema’s speech, if you like, or watch the full thing: I’ve attended 11 out of 13 years of Naropa Commencement Ceremonies over the past years (after being born on the first summer, on the only day off between two sessions, 40 years ago, then growing up hanging around the campus [my mom started the English Composition program, helping Naropa to get accredited back in the ’80s], then I attended a semester of the remarkable Jack Kerouac school where Rose Taylor & I helped reinstigate fun Dharma teaching events and meditation campus-wide before I left to…start what would become elephant)—and all of Naropa’s commencements are long, but magical, inspiring, fun, and heartbreaking in the best way.

Good luck out there, Naropa graduates! May it be of benefit!

The rest of the ceremony:

Video streaming by Ustream

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