Talk:Pema Chödrön

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I feel that the photo of Pema Chodron in this entry is too dark. Can someone provide a better picture?

This is not a Pema fan page. The picture is one Chodron and/or Chodron's publisher uses. I have nothing to do with posting the picture that is up, but I am very uncomfortable with this becoming another wiki page that ends up being skewed by the subject's staunch supporters. 21:48, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

The current photograph does not appear to me to be of Pema Chodron. In the origional photo on flickr, she is not identified, and from photos I've seen, the nun in the picture looks very different from Pema Chodron. Has this photo been verified? Nightngle (talk) 19:40, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure either, but it's motivated me to look for a more current photo. I've sent emails to three folks that have some online asking if they'd release them. - Owlmonkey (talk) 21:26, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

I can confirm that the photo that is posted as of today is Pema Chodron. On website given you can find a portrait of her to compare the photo with. I agree that a better and/or closer picture of her face would be preferable for the page. Replacing a photo with a better one does not suggest biases or sycophancy. --Russot1 (talk) 04:09, 18 October 2010 (UTC)


Ekijati removed "as spam" a link to a wonderfully done satire regarding Chodron in Big Red Buddha, a marvelous, professionally written webzine. I, Enkido, put up the link and it is not spam from me; I'm not Miso, the webmaster; I didn't write the satire. Pema Chodron is a very public person and is certainly not protected from being satirized. Yes, it is not wholly positive, but must everything said about Pema BE positive? THAT is, in fact, I would guess, one of the issues regarding Pema: That she is unassailable -- like the Dalai Lama, St. Francis of Assisi, and Sadam Hussein before 2002 in Iraq. Is Wiki supposed to be a fan magazine, like People or Us -- hopelessly, cloyingling, truth-twistingly positivist? Satarize, don't sanitize!! -- --Enkido 22:02, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Please take some time to familiarize yourself with Wikipedia policies. External links are not allowed in the body of the article. Thanks. Ekajati (yakity-yak) 22:08, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

So, Ekajati, your sole objection is where the external link was placed? -- --Enkido 22:34, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Not entirely. For example, if the satire magazine cover was made from a copyrighted photograph w/o the permission of the photographer, WP policy would also not allow linking to it. It is in questionable taste, and not pertinent to the bio of this individual, and may very well violate WP:LIVING. Dubious all around, IMO. What's your motivation? Ekajati (yakity-yak) 22:41, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

MY motivation? That bios in Wiki not fall under the control of the subject's supports such that they are all worshipful. For example, what does this mean, how is this quantified? "She is one of the most successful interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism for westerners." Chodron is probably most know by her books rather than her workshops, seminars and retreats, BUT IT IS THESE IN-PERSON EVENTS WHERE HER MONEY IS MADE. Chodron's agents are, I am sure, delighted with this Wiki entry. They couldn't have paid for better. REAL people have warts and a buzz of concern about them, but in Western Buddhism, you won't easily see it in print. Consider, Zen and the Art of Archery, which was about magic about as much as Harry Potter was the top-selling book on Zen for decades. Why? In part, because it was too pristine for criticism. I would contend that the Big Red Buddha satire is saying something many if not most Buddhists exposed to the Pema phenomena are really thinking: She is a little too much like a Buddhist Mary Poppins OR too authentic to be truly authentic OR, as they say in Zen [tho she's not a Zenist, of course], She has the stench of Zen. -- --Enkido 23:24, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Why don't you go edit Mother Teresa for a while, then? You certainly aren't biased, oh no. If you don't like that statement, why don't you ask for a citation or rewrite it? Adding "satire" that violates the precept of "Right Speech" seems a bit hypocritical, given your concerns. :-) Ekajati (yakity-yak) 15:07, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Ekajati, you must be unfamiliar with life in America, freedom and encyclopedias. In my response to you asking about my motivation, I was fleshing out all that is wrong with this article. Why DONT YOU, instead of adding to the falseness of this bio, do something constructive to clean it up, huh? In bios of Abraham Lincoln, the reactions of others than his worshipful supporters is known. I don't know a lot about Mother Teresa, and she is not so much in my realm of interest, but HELL YES things about her that might suggest she is real instead of floating above the soil should be presented. I bet Mother Teresa got her hands dirty caring for the dying in Calcutta. I would like to know all that. What is good about satire, generally, is that it gets at things that aren't normally presented in publications sanitized by censors who don't know what they're doing. :-( --Enkido 00:50, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

You mean got her hands dirty "fucking" for the dying in Calcutta, forcing them to convert otherwise cursing them to hell?

btw, where in the world did you get the idea that satire violates the precept of "Right Speech?" In what fundamentalist Christian church did you learn that? Besides, this bio SHOULD NOT BE WRITTEN IN ACCORD WITH ANYONE'S IDEAS OF WHAT RIGHT SPEECH IS. This bio should be written under a proper code that is uniform for ALL bios in this wikipedia. I am agast -- agast, I tell you -- that you would disagree with that!  :-) --Enkido 00:50, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Putting all the appeals to freedom of speech, right speech, and Mother Teresa aside, it sounds like you would like to write an article for a magazine about your original research about Pema Chodron - that would be very interesting to read. The article as it stands now is merely a stub and hardly the glowing praise of Pema Chodron that seems to be alluded to here. Hopefully, more will be added to the page, but facts about her life would be more in keeping with the encyclopedic nature of this work as opposed the analysis of her work, comparisons with other religious teachers or Oprah, and her place in Western Buddhism that you seem to be suggesting.Nightngle 16:26, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Most successful interpreters[edit]

Ekijati You added a request for a citation to this: "She is one of the most successful interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism for westerners, noted for her approachable and down-to-earth teaching style" Even with a citation, I would like to know what it MEANS. Successful as in having amassed the most wealth? Successful as measured how? She IS the ONE OF THE MOST PROMINENT -- I would think that would be a gimmee. As for her style, could we go with "approachable, down-to-earth and annoying"? How about adding "noted for being Oprah-like in putting her picture on the front of all of her books." --Enkido 01:05, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Question about Citations[edit]

I see that there is a single citation at the end of this article. Does that mean that all the information is from that article or does that mean that just the info about her kids and grandkids are from that article? Shouldn't there be a more complete citation system on this page? Thanks, Killerbeez 17:52, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Killerbeez, no one owns this, or any other article. If you have other citations to add or improvements to make, please do so - that's actually far preferable to going from article to article asking other people to do the heavy lifting. Thanks Nightngle 13:41, 6 June 2007 (UTC)


The history section contained two sentences that were almost facsimnile. "Pema was appointed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche as "acharya" (senior teacher) in California." I removed the last one to improve readability.--Russot1 (talk) 03:42, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Major overhaul needed to Wikify[edit]

This entry needs a major overhaul to Wikify it. From the opening paragraph, with "The goal of her work is the ability to apply Buddhist teachings in everyday life" to the entire "Teachings" section ("Pema Chödrön's teachings are all about not running away from ourselves. She teaches how to embrace life fully, including pleasant and painful situations. Her teachings are of great value in crisis situations...") it's chock-full of weasel words, handwaving and partisan fluff. It was written like a PR piece, not an encyclopedia entry. One could easily imagine a similar puff piece written about the "teachings" of L. Ron Hubbard, Aleister Crowley or the Rev. Jim Jones, but no one would let it go unchallenged. If no one else steps up to prune out all of the subjective blather, I'll do it myself, and there won't be much remaining when I'm done (but it will be Wikified). Bricology (talk) 18:31, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Well, I gave it more than a week, but no one else stepped up to Wikify it, so I did. I removed the "Teachings" section, since it was comprised entirely of weasel words, unsubstantiated claims and basically, preaching. I removed the "Family" section since no one in her family is notable. I removed a paragraph quote near the bottom that was more wimble-wamble. I got rid of unsourced claims like "widespread acclaim" and "bestsellers". And I changed the opening sentence from "...formerly known as Deirdre..." to "...born Deirdre...". I think that all of this improves the encyclopedic quality of the entry. If anyone gets it into their heads to revert, think twice. If you don't know how to properly contribute to a Wiki, learn how. WP isn't a PR organ. Bricology (talk) 19:44, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

The family section is referenced and quote common in biographical entries. I restored it. The teaching section is partially restored with sources. The PR fluff is removed. I took the further reading section and converted them to inline references. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Helpsome (talkcontribs) 20:05, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Helpsome, you say "the family section is...quite common in biographical entries". Well, that depends upon the notability of the subject. The PotUS, yes. The Pope, perhaps. But I'm afraid that some minor theologian does not rank having their children and grandchildren listed; they're simply not notable enough to possibly confer relevance. There are countless thousands of bio Wikis. Should every one of them list their subject's family members?! No one cares that Pema Chodron has "one granddaughter living in Boulder, Colorado", or anywhere else. NOT NOTABLE. As for "the teaching section is partially restored" -- well, I don't see it. Regardless, my objection was to the claims in it like "Pema Chodron teaches us to live in the present", or whatever "woo" was previously written there. There's simply no sourcing possible that could Wikify such claims. It would be tantamount to saying something like "L. Ron Hubbard teaches us to shed our 'body Thetans'." One can't source "woo". Bricology (talk) 08:42, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

You are entitled to your opinion but that doesn't make your word law. Since you have personally deemed Pema Chodron a "minor theologian", you act accordingly. But that isn't necessarily a correct assumption. I restored what you blanked under the guise of "wikifying". Please don't use dishonest edit summaries. Helpsome (talk) 17:28, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Helpsome, you really don't seem to get it, or to understand what Wikipedia is. This is NOT a place for you or anyone else to post unsubstantiated claims, and certainly not to post "woo". Take the first three sentences of the "Teachings" section you posted: "Pema Chödrön's teachings are all about not running away from ourselves. She teaches how to embrace life fully, including pleasant and painful situations. Her teachings are of great value in crisis situations like the death of close persons, addictions, sickness or separation from loved ones." You may not recognize it, but this is classic "woo" -- unsubstantiated claims and weasel words. "What is "running away from ourselves"? What is "embracing life fully"? Are either of these claims objective? Can they even be made objective?! And who says that "her teachings are of great value"? --her followers? Can you feature say, Encyclopedia Britannica, allowing such unsubstantiated claims and New Age-speak? Hardly! Again, it's instructive to substitute L. Ron Hubbard for Pema Chodron, to see how that looks: "L. Ron Hubbard's teachings are all about removing our body thetans. He teaches how to embrace life fully, by removing our enturbulations. His teachings in 'Dianetics' are of great value in crisis situations like the death of close persons, addictions, sickness or separation from loved ones." Would you let such claims about L. Ron Hubbard (or Rael, or David Koresh, or...) pass? I doubt it. That means that you're simply engaging in special pleading for Pema Chodron. Again, unless and until you can strip out the unsubstantiated claims, until you can provide objective, verifiable sources to back up these claims, you cannot put such blather in here. I will once again remove it. If you revert it again without the required sources, I will request that the page be protected. That will not look good on your contribution history -- to be the cause of an entry being locked. Figure it out, already. This isn't about me, nor is it about you. It's about WP being encyclopedic, and so far, you are operating contrary to that goal.Bricology (talk) 07:27, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

I didn't post anything of the kind. I did add sources...which you deleted. I restored that content. Also, you are rude. Helpsome (talk) 12:56, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

*sigh* You know, Helpsome, you really should take some time to familiarize yourself with how WP works before (1) making edits and (2) trying to correct others. In the first place, when you are responding to someone on a Talk page, preface your comments with a colon. In the second, you wrote "I didn't post anything of the kind (unsubstantiated claims, 'woo', etc.)". You then provide a link to the revision history that shows you doing exactly that. The entire "Teachings" section, which you reverted, is nothing but unsubstantiated claims and woo. To wit: "Somebody says a mean word to you and then something in you tightens — that's the shenpa." Has it ever been established that such a thing as "shenpa" exists? No more than its ever been established that Scientology's "body thetans" exist. The "citation" you list in that section is to Pema Chodron's own website! It may be news to you, but this is called "circular reasoning", and its absolutely unacceptable as a reference on WP. You also reverted the "One of her granddaughters lives in Boulder, Colorado" nonsense, which also has no citation, besides being non-notable. Are you this granddaughter? Is that why you seem to be so attached to posting it here? And third, as for my being "rude": I really don't care if that's your perception. I think of it as me being unwilling to put up with nonsense that subverts WP's credibility. Bricology (talk) 17:33, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

With all due respect, I feel that it is YOU who doesn't understand Wikipedia. As you can see here Wikipedia:Verifiability: The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. That is, whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true. It doesn't matter what you think about shenpa.

Also, the link I provided showed that I didn't add ANY of the material you were speaking about. And you are still rude. Helpsome (talk) 17:54, 5 December 2010 (UTC)


As she has a Tibetan name could anyone provide it correctly romanised and also in Tibetan script? EdRicardo (talk) 13:30, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

At your request now added.Richard Gooi (talk) 23:13, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Improved info and structure[edit]

Please dont erase big parts before posting reasons here and giving others an option to discussion it. Richard Gooi (talk) 23:13, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

The burden is on those who argue for inclusion in BLP's, rather than the opposite.
I've removed the new and huge section on her beliefs that was sourced solely by her own publications. Having such a large section like that, sourced only by her own writings, violates most of our content policies including NOT, OR, NPOV, and BLP. --Ronz (talk) 15:42, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Skimming the rest of the massive rewrite, I suggest undoing it all, then restoring it piecemeal with descriptive edit summaries for each piece, so we can understand what you're proposing and why. --Ronz (talk) 16:06, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and reverted it all, as a new editor was already touching it up.
Any of the new material verified by sources that are both independent and reliable should almost certainly be restored.
Material verified by her own writings (or any other primary or self-published sources) needs to be carefully considered before inclusion per WP:BLPSOURCES. If it provides additional details on sub-topics already mentioned in independent sources, then it's much more likely to be included. --Ronz (talk) 15:46, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
Can we start by identifying the new sources? --Ronz (talk) 16:39, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
The deletion on 11 October 2014‎ about the Lojong, Shenpa en Tonglen sections for content policies including NOT, OR, NPOV, and BLP. i can agree that those large sections are better suited in a seperate sections. The other deletions i dont agree. But nevertheless instead of the total artikel i will add info by pieces, not according to Ronz way but to Wikipedia's WP:SELFPUB starting with the Bibliography. Richard Gooi (talk) 21:47, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
I strongly encourage you to not do so, as you'll most likely just frustrate yourself as you try to work around problems that you don't appear as yet to understand.
If you instead focus on identifying sources that are both independent and reliable, we should easily be able to make progress. --Ronz (talk) 16:34, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────We're still relying heavily on primary sources, but it's much improved over the earlier versions. Good job! --Ronz (talk) 16:47, 21 October 2014 (UTC)