Chogyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision [NOOK Book]

Overview

Ch?gyam Trungpa is virtually synonymous with the transmission of Tibetan Buddhism to the West. Over the course of his seventeen-year teaching career in North America, Trungpa ushered in a radically new approach to spirituality?both rooted in the ancient wisdom of the buddhadharma and thoroughly situated in the contemporary world. His teachings, grounded in what he called the ?Shambhala vision,? focused on the development of an enlightened ...

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Chogyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision

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Overview

Chögyam Trungpa is virtually synonymous with the transmission of Tibetan Buddhism to the West. Over the course of his seventeen-year teaching career in North America, Trungpa ushered in a radically new approach to spirituality—both rooted in the ancient wisdom of the buddhadharma and thoroughly situated in the contemporary world. His teachings, grounded in what he called the “Shambhala vision,” focused on the development of an enlightened society through the transformation of ordinary, everyday life into sacred activity.


Steering between Western biography and traditional Tibetan hagiography, Fabrice Midal takes you on a soaring journey through Trungpa’s life and teachings. Touching on all of the most momentous events, this series of glimpses into Chögyam Trungpa’s world provides a rare view on the formation of Trungpa’s thought and the remarkable body of teachings and writings that remain as his legacy. Included are accounts of:


  • Chögyam Trungpa’s education in Tibet under the tutelage of great tantric masters, like Jamgön Kongtrül of Sechen and Khenpo Gangshar
  • The founding of landmark centers for Buddhist practice and education, such as the Naropa Institute (now Naropa University), Karmê Chöling, and the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center (now the Shambhala Mountain Center)
  • Trungpa’s historic meeting with the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa in 1974, the first-ever visit of the Karmapa to America
  • Behind-the-scenes stories of Trungpa’s most treasured writings, including Meditation in Action, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, and Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
  • And much more


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A wealth of anecdotes, unpublished material, and reminiscences by students help round out this fascinating portrait of one of the most unconventional and influential teachers in the West.”—Snow Lion

“An excellent introduction to the life and work of a truly remarkable teacher.”—The Middle Way

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834821866
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Fabrice Midal is a professor of philosophy at the University of Paris. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Paris, Sorbonne, and teaches the dharma in France and elsewhere in Europe. A practicing Buddhist in the tradition of Chögyam Trungpa, he is well known in Buddhist circles in France and has published books on religious topics with major French publishers, among them several titles on Tibetan Buddhism.

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Read an Excerpt

From
Chapter 5

"I
have been doing as much as I can in my presentation of the teachings so far to
make sure you understand that each one of the dharmas I have presented to you
is your personal experience. You can actually relate the dharma to what you
experience on the spot."—Chögyam Trungpa


To
Speak from the Heart

Chögyam
Trungpa is one of the most widely read Buddhist authors among the various
Western practitioners of the dharma. The quality and depth of his teachings
remain as vibrant now as they were when he was physically among us. His many
books form a genuine body of work, with its own unity. Rinpoche hoped
eventually to see the publication of 108 volumes destined for the general
public, to which would be added about 40 volumes intended for more advanced
students.

For
the most part, his works are based on transcripts of oral teachings. On each
occasion, Chögyam Trungpa taught in relationship to the context in which
he found himself and the expectations of the people who had come to hear him.
But he also had in mind to present a unified group of teachings that could be
edited into works that would be of use to people in the future.

He
explained that he was teaching not just his own students but also future
generations.

What
makes his books so different from those of other spiritual teachers?

One
characteristic of his approach was that he did not cater to people's
expectations, especially when it came to preconceptions about spirituality.
Without adopting a mystical or subjective approach, Chögyam Trungpa broke
with both theology and metaphysics—that is, with the theoretical approach to
spirituality that has dominated the West since the days of scholasticism. He
also broke with the normative, moralistic discourse in which religion often
cloaks itself. He wore none of the conventional masks of the "sage."
His rigor was unequaled, merciless, and yet never dogmatic.

His
teaching style was very different from what he had seen at Oxford. Nor did he
adopt the traditional Tibetan style, which generally consists of the
line-by-line explanation of a classic text and commentaries by a great teacher
of the past.

During
the first few years, he taught in an extremely direct and free manner, aiming
at the heart of everyone's experience: "We are going back to the original
style of how Buddhism was practiced in the time of the Buddha, so that people
live the dharma, they live impermanence on the spot. They actually live the
whole thing, properly and fully. That seems to be the only way to make
everything real."

Despite
the deep comprehension and realization of other teachers, many of them are
stuck in a web of concepts embedded in their traditions. This makes them hard
to understand for those who were brought up outside those traditions. This is
why Chögyam Trungpa decided to speak so directly. If Buddhism is to be a
description of how we can free ourselves from conceptual thought—or, more
precisely, our set of beliefs concerning reality—Chögyam Trungpa showed
the way. He constantly cut through abstractions in order to reveal our most
concrete experiences of their ultimate depth. He invented a new language that
allowed him to provide simple explanations for complicated, advanced teachings.

Apart
from the brilliance of his teaching, there was another, even more touching
factor: Chögyam Trungpa spoke directly about his own experience, sharing
his heart with his entire audience. He thus removed the distance that Tibetan
tradition maintains between teacher and disciple. In this way, as explained in
the preceding chapter, Chögyam Trungpa leaped into modernity: "So I
thought I shouldn't be too methodical or scholarly in expounding the vajrayana
to you, and that I should speak from my heart."

He
did not mean "from my heart" in the sentimental sense, but in a
spirit of complete openness and involvement. Over and above being a guru, he
was a human being entering into a relationship of friendship with another human
being.

This
quality is particularly noticeable in the inimitable way he answered questions.
The typical Tibetan teacher gives a scholarly, often very long, precise, and
technical answer to each question, taking the opportunity to reiterate some
doctrinal point.

Chögyam
Trungpa answered the person directly. When you read these answers later, they
often seem to be off the point. But if you watch the videotape of the
question-and-answer session, then everything becomes clear. The visual image
reveals the special atmosphere of an encounter between two people. Chögyam
Trungpa replied not just to the meaning of the words in the question, but to
what the person was really trying to ask and had concealed behind the words. He
did not try to give the "right" answer according to Buddhist
doctrine; instead, he pointed to the space out of which the question came, in
order to open his student's mind further.

His
teaching had nothing technical or philosophical about it. Chögyam Trungpa
liked to surprise and touch his audience. When listening to him, or when
reading his words today, there is always a moment when a flash of his intense
brilliance suddenly hooks you. To take one example, while he was presenting a
seminar on the life of Naropa, one of the greatest teachers of the Kagyu
lineage, he began by explaining: "It seems that in relation to the whole
thing we are talking about, Naropa's attainment of enlightenment is not that
important. It is Naropa's confusion that is important for us as ordinary
people."

Thanks
to this turnabout, he cut through the usual logic in order to show what had
previously been hidden but which is of vital importance: while everyone was
expecting to find in Naropa a primary example of spiritual accomplishment,
Chögyam Trungpa emphasized that it was the way Naropa coped with his
confusion that is truly edifying. Thus we follow the path not by imitating an
external model but by establishing authentic contact with who we really are. It
is while we are listening that we are suddenly disarmed and opened out to an
even vaster dimension than the one we had perceived initially—and there is
nothing conceptual about such an experience.

He
never appeared to teach out of a sense of duty. This was surely the secret of
the freedom he manifested. He wanted to enter into a relationship with students
that was as direct as possible. At the end of a talk, he often would devote
some time to meeting those who had come to listen to him. A line of people
formed, everyone waiting to exchange a few words with him personally. Even
though it was just for a few minutes, he was so available and concerned about
who you were that people were profoundly moved by just a short contact. He thus
radically changed the lives of those he encountered. Susan G., one of his
students, remembers the moment when she was introduced to him: "I was
stunned, as if I had received an electric shock. He held out his hand to me,
and when I took it I felt the most unbelievable feeling of gentleness I had
ever known. In contrast, my own energy felt painfully aggressive. Then I looked
into his eyes. There was a softness and kindness exuding from him which I had
never experienced before and, beyond that, a depth I could not fathom. I
couldn't find the person beyond those eyes. The effect on me was tremendously
powerful. It was as if this man could see through to my deepest core, and yet
he accepted me. I felt I had been penetrated by loving but X-ray eyes—my mask
unraveled in the light of his being so real."

Most
university professors, many scholars, and some religious personalities adopt a
particular tone of voice and look when they speak, as if they are playing a
part. So nothing was more moving than to listen to someone speak without this
layer of protection distorting his humanity. Chögyam Trungpa, with his
high voice,

burning
with love for all of us, was there before us, naked and cosmic



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Table of Contents

Foreword
by Diana J. Mukpo xvii

Preface
xix

Introduction
xxi

Chapter
One

PORTRAIT
OF CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA IN 1970 1

1.
Encounter with Hippie America 3

Chögyam
Trungpa meets the hippie generation

True
communication beyond hypocrisy

A
challenge to inauthenticity

2.
His Following Increases 10

Tail
of the Tiger

Colorado
and the lack of a private life

Rocky
Mountain Dharma Center

A
rapid expansion

3.
Teaching Buddhism: From a Seminar on
The
Jewel Ornament of Liberation

to "Work, Sex, and Money" 16

4.
Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism 18

The
retreat in Bhutan and the realization of the universality of spiritual
materialism

The
Three Lords of Materialism

The
persistence of spiritual materialism

5.
From Cynicism to Gentleness 24

No
more "trips"

Meditation
The
second phase: open your heart

Chapter
Two

CHILDHOOD
AND EDUCATION 29

1.
Finding the Eleventh Trungpa and the Notion of Tülku 32

2.
The Tradition of Surmang and the History of the Lineage 35

The
union of the Nyingma and Kagyü lineages

The
union of politics and spirituality

Künga
Gyaltsen, the first Trungpa

From
the second to the ninth Trungpa

The
tenth Trungpa

3.
Recognition of the Eleventh Trungpa and His Training 41

4.
Jamgön Kongtrül of Sechen and the Student-Teacher Relationship 43

The
importance of the teacher

Devotion
as the heart of an authentic spiritual attitude

Jamgön
Kongtrül the Great, the Ri-me movement, and the denunciation of corruption

With
Jamgön Kongtrül of Sechen

5.
Leaving Tibet 53

The
extension of the seminary and Khenpo Gangshar

The
Chinese invasion

To
return to Surmang or leave for India?

Escape
to India

Chapter
Three

MEDIATION
AND THE IMPORTANCE OF SITTING 61

1.
The Need to Return to Simple Practice 63

2.
The Basis of the Path 65

3.
Description of the Practice 67

The
posture

Breathing
The
mind

4.
The Practice of Shamatha and Vipashyana 70

5.
No Promises 72

6.
From the Simplicity of Shamatha to the Primordial Nature of Mahamudra and Maha
Ati 74

The
perspective of mahamudra

7.
Nyinthün, Dathün, and Meditation Instructors 76

Chapter
Four

EXPERIENCE,
MODERNITY, AND TRADITION 81

1.
Thinking Takes a Modern Turn 83

A
traditional master

Modernity
Chögyam
Trungpa the revolutionary

Chögyam
Trungpa and Paul Cézanne

2.
Translation 94

Teaching
in English

What
is translation?

Chapter
Five

HOW
CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA TAUGHT 101

1.
To Speak From the Heart 103

An
uncompromising teaching

2.
Three Styles of Transmission 109

3.
Commitment to a Specific School 112

4.
Advice for Students about to Teach 113

Seminary

Chapter
Six

TEACHING
THE THREE YANAS 119

1.
The Progressive Approach of the Three Yanas 121

2.
Hinayana: The Narrow Path 125

3.
Mahayana: The Open Way 126

4.
Vajrayana: The Abrupt Way 132

5.
Restoring the Sense of Initiation 133

6.
The Dzogchen Teacher: Presenting Everything from the Ultimate Point of View 138

Gradual
way / sudden way

Chapter
Seven

THE
TANTRIC TEACHER 145

1.
Tantra as Ground 148

Appreciating
relative truth

Passion,
pleasure, art, and sensory perceptions

2.
Crazy Wisdom Teacher 152

Crazy
wisdom

3.
Inviting Chaos and Confusion 155

Chapter
Eight

MAITRI:
OPENING OUT TO THE

MANIFESTATIONS
OF SPACE 167

1.
From an Experimental Therapeutic Community to the Development of Contemplative
Psychology 170

The
creation of Maitri rooms

2.
The Practice of Space Therapy 173

Maitri
The
tantric perspective: the five Buddha families

3.
The Maitri Center 176

4.
The Development of Maitri 180

Chapter
Nine

MUDRA:
SPACE AWARENESS 185

1.
The Birth of Full Mudra Space Awareness 188

The
creation of Mudra, the sound and perception cycles

2.
The Mudra Theatre Meeting 191

3.
The Intensification Exercises 193

4.
Mudra, Dzogchen, and Mahamudra 196

5.
The Mudra Group 197

6.
The Second Meeting: Being and Projecting in Space 198

7.
The Plays 199

Chapter
10

PRESENTING
THE SHAMBHALA TEACHINGS 201

1.
The vision of the Kingdom of Shambhala 204

2.
Discovering in Our Hearts a Sense of Genuine Initiation 207

Basic
goodness

Fear
The
warrior

3.
The Shambhala Teachings: A Complete Cycle of Termas 216

Receiving
the termas

The
king joins heaven and earth

4.
How to Enter into Relationship with the Dralas 228

Chapter
Eleven

FROM
SHAMBHALA TEACHINGS TO

SHAMBHALA
TRAINING 233

1.
A Weekend of Shambhala Training 235

2.
The Creation of Shambhala Training 237

3.
The Five Levels of Shambhala Training 241

4.
Presenting the Shambhala Teachings beyond the First Cycle 243

5.
Buddhism and Shambhala 244

Affirming
the independence of the Shambhala teachings

A
vaster vision

Chapter
Twelve

RETHINKING
EDUCATION 249

1.
The Naropa Institute 251

The
project

The
Nalanda heritage

The
importance of meditation

A
contemplative education

A
brief history of Naropa Institute

Official
recognition

2.
The Schools 259

Alaya,
a preschool for children between two and five

Vidya,
an elementary school

Chapter
Thirteen

PORTRAIT
OF CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA AS AN ARTIST 265

1.
The Theatre 268

2.
Photography and Cinema 271

3.
Poetry 275

Dohas
and haikus

Encounters
with Allen Ginsberg

Improvisation
Poetry
as personal experience

4.
Painting and Calligraphy 284

5.
Ikebana 286

6.
A Complete Artist 287

Chapter
Fourteen

THE
KARMAPA'S VISIT AND THE INTRODUCTION OF FORMALITIES MANIFESTING ENLIGHTENMENT 289

1.
Establishing a Set of Formalities 291

Why
formalities?

2.
The Karmapa's Visit: A Turning Point 295

How
formalities allowed a "sacred vision" to be manifested

A
moving meeting

The
sacred vision

Chapter
Fifteen

A
BUDDHISM FOR THE WEST: FOUNDING A NEW CULTURE 305

1.
The Sources of a New Culture: England, Japan, and Tibet 308

England
and the West

Ties,
suits, and uniforms

Savoir-vivre
and table manners

Japan
Ikebana
Kobun
Chino Roshi and Kanjuro Shibata Sensei

Oryoki
Rituals
Tibet
2.
The World of Shambhala 325

The
meditation room

Publications
and posters

Pins
and flags

Symbolism
and the magic of colors

Ceremonies
Midsummer's
Day

Shambhala
Day

Chögyam
Trungpa's birthday

Marriages

Chapter
Sixteen

FORMS
ASSOCIATED WITH SPEECH 337

1.
Teaching Elocution: Recognizing the Importance of Speech 339

The
threefold logic of elocution

2.
The Qualities Game 344

3.
The Shambhala Anthem and Other Songs 345

Chapter
Seventeen

THE
CREATION OF THE COURT 349

1.
Daily Life with Chögyam Trungpa 352

Four
Mile Canyon

Aurora
7

550
Mapleton Avenue

Eleventh
and Cascade Streets

2.
The Creation of a Mandala, or Court 360

The
mandala as a field of experience

The
three mandalas

3.
Serving Rinpoche 363

The
three dimensions of reality and symbolic language

A
sense of humor

Kasung,
Kusung, and Shabdu

4.
The Court and Mandala: A Teaching Situation 365

Chapter
Eighteen

DHARMA
ART 369

1.
Deliberate Art and Art in Everyday Life 373

2.
From the Creation of Padma Jong to the Large Installations in Los Angeles and
San Francisco 374

Padma
Jong: an artists' community

At
the Naropa Institute

The
study of Dharma Art

3.
The Richness of Perception Transcends All Aggression 381

From
ikebana to arranging objects

Polishing
the mind

Chapter
Nineteen

THE
SOCIAL VISIONARY 387

1.
The Need to Unite Spirituality and Politics to Help Others 391

Building
a political and spiritual community

Founding
an "enlightened society"

2.
An Enlightened Society 396

Facing
the distress in our world

Beyond
individualism and subjectivity: what is a society?

3.
The Political Project: Propagating Human Dignity 401

Enlightened
society in the perspective of the Great Eastern Sun

4.
Sacred Order 407

A
hierarchical society: a way of taking care of each other and allowing for true
transmission

A
hierarchy with neither superiors or inferiors

Recognizing
hierarchy provides the chance to cultivate excellence and authentic presence

5.
Royalty, Democracy, and Socialism 412

Criticism
of democracy

Monarchy,
or the conception of a sacred power

The
parliament and the role of the dekyongs

Chapter
Twenty

THE
MAIN FIGURES IN THE MANDALA OF

CHÖGYAM
TRUNGPA 423

1.
Students 425

Assigning
responsibilities

Allowing
everyone to find their place

2.
Diana Mukpo, Sakyong Wangmo 431

3.
Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo, Sawang and Future Sakyong 434

4.
The Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin 437

The
first encounter

The
future Gampopa

Thomas
Rich officially becomes the Vajra Regent

The
Regent's activities

5.
The Dorje Loppön, Responsible for the Three Yanas 444

6.
David Rome 445

7.
The Board of Directors, the Sangyum, and the Dapöns 447

The
board of directors

The
Sangyum

The
Dapöns

Chapter
Twenty-one

THE
DORJE KASUNG: AN EXEMPLARY PATH 455

1.
The Dorje Kasung, the Kasung Kyi Khyap, and the Dapöns 457

The
creation of the Dorje Kasung

David
Rome becomes the head of the Kasung

2.
The Path of the Kasung 461

Learning
to be Overcome aggression

Serving
the teacher

3.
Encampment 466

4.
An Army Dedicated to Wakefulness and Helping Others 469

Chapter
Twenty-two

DEPARTURE
FOR NOVA SCOTIA 471

1.
Integrating Practice into the Local Economy and Politics 474

2.
Moving to Nova Scotia 475

Chapter
Twenty-three

SPIRITUAL
MASTER AND MONARCH 483

1.
The Teacher Is One with the Nature of Each Being's Mind 485

2.
Contact With All Aspects of Students' Lives 490

3.
An Unconditional and Personal Love 492

4.
A Man in Constant Transformation 493

Total
abandonment

5.
His Death and Continuing Presence 498

Afterword
507

Organizations
Established by Chögyam Trungpa 509

Books
by Chögyam Trungpa 513

Resources
515

Acknowledgements
519

Index
525


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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2005

    Great Story

    This is a long read but very well worth the time. Mr. Trungpa was one of a kind. This is a clear-eyed look at someone who helped bring Buddhism to the west and helped define it in a way that was accessible for westerners to understand. His methods were extraordinary and sometimes very unorthodox. I read an quote recently from Irshad Manji where she stated that by being so outspoken and sometimes outrageous it allowed others to come behind her and teach in ways that would have been considered outspoken had she not preceded them. I thought it was an interesting concept and it seems to me that Chogyam did much the same thing. He got everyone¿s attention and then while they were standing there with their mouths open it allowed other, quieter people to help spread the word. He was an audacious man and an equally audacious teacher. You may or may not agree with all or some of his methods or even his lifestyle, but many, many people consider their lives to be richer as a result of their connection with him. He made a tremendous contribution to the understanding of Tibetan Buddhism in America and this book is a wonderful description of that. I recommend it highly.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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