I'm looking for a quote by Pema Chodron. In my memory, she's having a discussion with a Zen master, and the quote goes something like this;

Pema: "what do you do when things fall apart?"

Zen Master: "I stay"

I seem to remember it being in her book When Things Fall Apart, but I searched it for the word 'stay' and I couldn't find this anywhere.

Does anybody recognise where it comes from? Maybe it's from a video or an audio recording of an interview with her? Maybe it exists only in the recesses of my memory?

  • 1
    Perhaps this reference may help: brainpickings.org/2017/07/17/…
    – OyaMist
    Feb 25, 2021 at 14:55
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    Hi I searched 'stay' in that page but I couldn't find it, does it have the quote I'm looking for or is it just talking about related ideas? I'm hoping to find that exact quote if it exists
    – Jojo
    Feb 25, 2021 at 15:05
  • I reckon your brain has mixed it up in some form. stay sounds like sit, anyway
    – user23322
    Feb 19, 2022 at 7:11
  • @again_insane_buddhist, yes it's actually 'I agree', see my answer. In hindsight, 'Zen' may have been a more distinctive keyword to search than 'stay'.
    – Jojo
    Feb 19, 2022 at 12:34

2 Answers 2


Here is the quote I was looking for last year,

I once asked the Zen master Kobun Chino Roshi how he related with fear, and he said, "I agree. I agree."

It is on page 9 of my copy, which is a 2005 edition printed on the Element imprint of HarperCollins.


“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man's-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ”

― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

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    This is a nice quote, but it's not the one I was looking for. I was looking for one where Pema is talking to a Zen master. I actually found it a while back, I might post it a an answer later if I remember
    – Jojo
    Jan 19, 2022 at 9:02

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