Pema Chodron was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936, in New York City. She taught as an elementary school teacher for many years in both New Mexico and California. While in her mid-thirties, Pema traveled to the French Alps and encountered Lama Chime Rinpoche, with whom she studied for several years. She became a novice nun in 1974 while studying with Lama Chime in London.
Pema first met her root guru, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, (the "Vidyadhara") in 1972. Lama Chime encouraged her to work with Rinpoche, and it was with him that she ultimately made her most profound connection, studying with him from 1974 until his death in 1987. At the request of His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa, she received the full bikshuni ordination in the Chinese lineage of Buddhism in 1981 in Hong Kong.
Pema served as the director of Karma Dzong in Boulder, Colorado until moving in 1984 to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to be the director of Gampo Abbey. The success of her first two books, The Wisdom of No Escape and Start Where You Are, made her something of a celebrity as a woman Buddhist teacher and as a specialist in the mahayana lojong teachings.
Pema Chodron is interested in helping establish Tibetan Buddhist monastacism in the West, as well in continuing her work with western Buddhists of all traditions, sharing ideas and teachings. She has written five books: The Wisdom of No Escape, Start Where You Are, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times and The Places That Scare You and No Time to Lose are available from Shambhala Publications. Her new book is called "Practicing Peace in Times of War" and was published by Shambhala Publications in 2006.