Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron is an American Buddhist nun in the Tibetan tradition. Ordained in 1977, she is a student of H. H. The Dalai Lama and other Tibetan masters. Thubden is the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey, a Buddhist monastic community in Washington State where she lives. She is profiled in S&P's Living Spiritual Teachers Project.
Here is a wonderful daybook with brief and substantive meditations for every day of the year. The subtitle reveals that this spiritual teacher's intention is to invite mindfulness and joy into our lives but throughout the paperback she also encourages us to reflect upon the mental afflictions that can cause harm to ourselves and misery to others, thus hindering our spiritual progress.
The Buddha's teachings are filled with examples of antidotes for anger (fortitude), attachment (impermanence), hatred (love), and jealousy (virtue). Chodron challenges us to learn and practice new ways of thinking and being. Or as she puts it, cultivating a proper motivation is the core of our practice. One of the tools she suggests is three daily aspirations:
"Today, as much as possible, I won't harm anybody.
Today, as much as possible, I will be of benefit and service to others.
Today, I will hold in my mind the bodhicitta motivation to attain awakening for the benefit of all beings."
The author illuminates many situations we face throughout the year. Her reflections cover having the strength to say "sorry," counteracting our judgmental mind, appreciating our beauty, keeping the precepts, transforming adversity into the path, pampering our bodies, creating opportunities for others, seeing our enemies as precious, shucking the idea that "It's all about me," speaking out with passion, and many more subjects.
One of most helpful sections of the book is a discussion of the factors that might cause afflictions to rise — seeds, contact with certain objects, detrimental influences, exposure to the media, and habit. Chodron continues to create and share spiritual perspectives and resources that can be most helpful when the rubber hits the road!