Venerable Thubten Chodron is an author, teacher, and the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey, the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery for Western nuns and monks in the US. She graduated from UCLA, and did graduate work in education at USC. Ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun in 1977, she has studied extensively with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsenzhap Serkong Rinpoche, and Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche.
Ven. Chodron teaches worldwide and is known for her practical (and humorous!) explanations of how to apply Buddhist teachings in daily life. She is also involved in prison outreach and interfaith dialogue. She has published many books on Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and has co-authored a book with His Holiness the Dalai Lama—Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions. Visit thubtenchodron.org for a media library of her teachings, and sravasti.org to learn more about the Abbey.
Thubten Chodron featured in Tricycle: “Tibetan Buddhist Nun Blazes Trail for Others to Follow.”
See Thubten Chodron’s teaching schedule here.
ONLINE COURSE WITH VEN. THUBTEN CHODRON
Books, Courses & Podcasts
Insight into Emptiness
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A former abbot of one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world, Khensur Jampa Tegchok has been teaching Westerners about Buddhism since the 1970s. With a deep respect for the intellectual capacity of his students, Khensur Tegchok here unpacks with great erudition Buddhism’s animating philosophical principle—the emptiness of all appearances. Engagingly edited by bestselling author Thubten Chodron, emptiness is here approached from a host of angles far beyond most treatments of the subject, while never sacrificing its conversational approach.
Winner of an IndieFab Award from Foreword Reviews!
Buddhism is practiced by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, from Tibetan caves to Tokyo temples to redwood retreats. All these traditions trace their beginnings to the teachings of one man in India 2,500 years ago. These teachings spread worldwide in all directions and into numerous languages, making Buddhism one of the today’s most influential religions.
In Buddhism, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and American Buddhist nun Thubten Chodron map out the convergence and divergence of the two major Buddhist movements—the Sanskrit traditions of Tibet and East Asia and the Pāli traditions of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
The authors consider Buddhism’s core practices and tenets, such as the four noble truths, the practice of meditation, the cultivation of love, and the meaning of nirvāṇa, and how the traditions sometimes agree and sometimes differ in their interpretations. The authors’ respectful approach illuminates the many ways that all forms of Buddhism, amid their rich diversity, share a common heritage and common goals.
Practical Ethics and Profound Emptiness
In Practical Ethics and Profound Emptiness Khensur Jampa Tegchok walks us carefully through a classic of Indian Buddhist philosophy, explaining the implications of its philosophical arguments and grounding its advice in a recognizable day-to-day world. In The Precious Garland, the source text for this commentary, Nagarjuna advises his patron king on how best to take advantage of human life to secure a happy rebirth in the next life while making progress toward the goal of enlightenment. Known primarily for his incisive presentation of emptiness, here Nagarjuna shows his wise understanding of how to navigate the intricacies of worldly life to balance everyday needs with spiritual practice. Loaded with equal measures of penetrating explanations of the highest reality and inspiring encouragement toward the bodhisattva practices, Practical Ethics and Profound Emptiness makes the case for living a thoughtful, morally upright life in the world to achieve immediate and ultimate spiritual goals.
Approaching the Buddhist Path
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been publicly teaching Buddhism for decades. The Library of Wisdom and Compassion collects his presentations of every step of the path to enlightenment, compiled and coauthored by one of his chief Western disciples, the American nun Thubten Chodron.
The Buddha wanted his students to investigate, to see for themselves whether what he said were true. As a student of the Buddha, the Dalai Lama promotes the same spirit of investigation, and as the rich tradition of the Buddha makes its way into new lands and cultures, His Holiness has recognized that new approaches are needed to allow seekers in the West to experience the relevance of the liberating message in their own lives. Such an approach cannot assume listeners are free from doubt and already have faith in Buddhism’s basic tenets. The Library of Wisdom and Compassion series, therefore, starts from the universal human wish for happiness and presents the dynamic nature of the mind. This first volume also provides a wealth of reflections on Buddhist history and fundamentals, contemporary issues, and the Dalai Lama’s own personal experiences. It stands alone as an introduction to Buddhism, but it also provides a foundation for the systematic illumination of the path in the volumes to come.
The Library of Wisdom and Compassion
The Library of Wisdom and Compassion collects the Dalai Lama’s decades of presentations of every step of the path to enlightenment. It has been compiled and coauthored by one of his chief Western disciples, the American nun Thubten Chodron.
The Foundation of Buddhist Practice
The Foundation of Buddhist Practice contains the important teachings that will help us establish a flourishing Dharma practice, beginning with the four seals shared by all Buddhist philosophies, and moves on to an explanation of the reliable cognition that allows us to evaluate the veracity of the Buddha’s teachings.
The book provides many other essential Buddhist teachings, including:
the relationship of a spiritual mentor and student, clarifying misunderstandings about this topic and showing how to properly rely on a spiritual mentor in a healthy, appropriate, and beneficial manner;
how to structure a meditation session;
dying and rebirth, unpacking the often difficult-to-understand topic of multiple lives and explaining how to prepare for death and aid someone who is dying;
a fruitful explanation of karma and its results;
and much more.
His Holiness’s illumination of key Buddhist ideas will support Western and contemporary Asian students in engaging with this rich tradition.
Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature
Knowledge of buddha nature reveals and reconciles the paradox of how the mind can be the basis for both the duhkha of samsara (the unpurified mind) and the bliss and fulfillment of nirvana (the purified mind). To illustrate this, Saṃsāra, Nirvāṇa, and Buddha Nature first takes readers through Buddhist thought on the self, the four truths, and their sixteen attributes. It then explains afflictions—including how they arise and their antidotes—followed by an examination of karma and cyclic existence, and, finally, a deep and thorough elucidation of buddha nature. Saṃsāra, Nirvāṇa, and Buddha Nature shows us how to purify our minds and cultivate awakened qualities.
This is the third volume in the Dalai Lama’s definitive and comprehensive series on the stages of the Buddhist path, The Library of Wisdom and Compassion. Volume 1, Approaching the Buddhist Path,contains introductory material that sets the context for Buddhist practice. Volume 2, The Foundation of Buddhist Practice, describes the important teachings that help us establish a flourishing Dharma practice. Saṃsāra, Nirvāṇa, and Buddha Nature can be read as the logical next step in this series or enjoyed on its own.
Watch Ven. Thubten Chodron introduce the book below.
Following in the Buddha’s Footsteps
Delve into the substance of spiritual practice in this fourth volume of the Dalai Lama’s definitive series on the path to awakening, Following in the Buddha’s Footsteps. You’ll first hear His Holiness’s explanation of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, why they are reliable guides on the path, and how to relate to them. His Holiness then describes the three essential trainings common to all Buddhist traditions: the higher trainings in ethical conduct, concentration, and wisdom. These chapters show us how to live a life free of harm to self or others and give us detailed instructions on how to develop single-pointed concentration as well as the higher states of concentration available to an earnest practitioner. In addition, the chapters on wisdom contain in-depth teachings on the noble eightfold path and the four establishments of mindfulness for developing greater awareness and understanding of our body, feelings, mind, and other phenomena. Together, these topics form the core of Buddhist practice.
This is a book to treasure and refer to repeatedly as you begin the path, progress on it, and near the final goal of nirvāṇa.