Pema Chodron was on ABC World News Sunday

June 29th, 2010

It’s a short piece (see it online here) and not particularly deep, but a good introduction to Pema Chodron’s viewpoint for a typical Sunday-night-network-news audience. It’s nothing too surprising if you’ve read her books.

What is surprising is that it’s part of a series on interviews with “self-help” experts and writers, and that the piece specifically contrasts Buddhist thought to other self-help methods touting “the power of positive thinking.” They contrast it to a clip from “The Secret,” and highlight Chodron’s claim that happiness comes from embracing negative emotions rather than suppressing them.

The things I find interesting, and encouraging about this:

1. Mainstream media is looking at Buddhism now and trying to figure out specifically what it is–which involves looking at what it is not.
2. People are seeing that there’s another way into Buddhism. Rather than saying, “Buddhism is great because it says exactly what I’ve always believed,” they’re seeing the possibility that Buddhism is the antidote to what they’ve always believed.
3. The reputation of the shallow, materialistic New Age philosophy exemplified by The Secret seems to have gone way downhill. The news media is promoting Chodron by saying that she’s nothing like that.

All of these are good signs, in my opinion.

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