Cultivating a Compassionate Heart

The Yoga Method of Chenrezig

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Perhaps the most widely known and loved deity throughout the Buddhist world, Chenrezig—also known as Avalokiteshvara, Kuan Yin, or Kannon—is the Buddha of Compassion. Buddhists turn to Chenrezig for protection, friendship, and inspiration on a daily basis. Chenrezig also is the embodiment of the compassion of all the Buddhas and as such is deemed the best possible contemplative gateway to the cultivation of compassion.

In this book, which has received high praise from monastics and lay Buddhist scholars alike, Venerable Thubten Chodron lays out a useful manual on the Tibetan Buddhist yoga of Chenrezig. Based not only on scriptural but also oral teachings, her commentary is comprehensive and practical.

The story behind the book

The Story Behind "Cultivating a Compassionate Heart: The Yoga Method of Chenrezig"

Venerable Thubten Chodron reads an excerpt

Ven. Chodron reads from "Cultivating a Compassionate Heart: The Yoga Method of Chenrezig"

Related materials

Teachings on the Chenrezig practice

Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The problems that we face as human beings today demand a positive mental attitude and a sense of compassion for others. I firmly believe we can solve the majority of our problems by developing a sense of universal responsibility, which is to want to do something for others without a selfish motive, out of a feeling of compassion. Moreover, the Tibetan word for this has the connotation of being courageously determined—not only thinking about others and wanting to do something for them, but actually putting these good wishes into effect. Read more …

Preface by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Chenrezig is the embodiment of all of the Buddhas’ compassion. The main function of this deity called Chenrezig is to develop compassion in the hearts of oneself and all sentient beings. Compassion is the mind that cares for others, whether they help you, harm you, or are indifferent. Why is it so important for us sentient beings to generate compassion in our hearts? Without compassion, this world would be a billion times worse than it is now. With compassion, there will be less war, famine, disease, torture, and natural disasters, all of which come from karma. Read more …

Read an excerpt

Sometimes, just watching the news creates agitation and anger in our mind. Self-righteous feelings and judgment arise because “those idiots” are doing something we don’t like. Work with that self-righteous, judgmental mind in your meditation. Others may do negative actions, but why do we need to be contemptuously “holier than thou” in our response? Why can’t we cultivate a compassionate response to others’ negativity? After all, they’re confused about what causes happiness and what causes suffering, and they’re under the control of mental afflictions, which harm them. Thinking in this way enables us to have compassion, because we see that others don’t mean harm to us when they act in certain ways. Then we can send light and purify other sentient beings of their negative karma. Read more …


Also available in Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, and Vietnamese.


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Rated one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2006
Read review by Spirituality and Practice

“With her usual clarity and humor, Venerable Thubten Chodron delivers a first-rate exposition of the theory and practice of Action Tantra, basing herself on the sadhana of the 1,000-armed Chenrezig. Her clear and helpful explanation are certainly of great benefit for all of us on the Vajrayana path.”
—Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, author of “Reflections on a Mountain Lake”

“In her latest Dharma offering, Thubten Chodron draws on a wealth of oral teachings and years of practice as she insightfully applies the profound methods of Vajrayana to everyday life. She skillfully shows how we can break through our ordinary perceptions of ourselves, other beings, and our environment, through the cultivation of ‘pure appearances’ and other tantric practices, in ways that open the heart to empathy and compassion. This is a book to be cherished.”
—B. Alan Wallace, author of “Minding Closely: The Four Applications of Mindfulness

“Venerable Thubten Chodron is someone whose life embodies the virtues of kindness, simplicity, and a clarity of vision which lie at the heart of the Buddha’s teaching. It is these perennial qualities that shine through her writings and touch the hearts of readers all over the world.”
—Thupten Jinpa, translator for H.H. the Dalai Lama

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