Chogyam Trungpa: His Life and Teachings

Overview

Master of meditation, artist, poet, social visionary—Chögyam Trungpa was all these and more. Yet "Who was Chögyam Trungpa?" is a slippery question, for who can nail down the personality of a man who by all accounts seemed to be a different person to different people at different times and on different occasions? Fabrice Midal, by steering his way between conventional Western biography and traditional Tibetan hagiography, has succeeded in painting a detailed portrait of this unconventional Tibetan lama, who is ...

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Chogyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision

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Overview

Master of meditation, artist, poet, social visionary—Chögyam Trungpa was all these and more. Yet "Who was Chögyam Trungpa?" is a slippery question, for who can nail down the personality of a man who by all accounts seemed to be a different person to different people at different times and on different occasions? Fabrice Midal, by steering his way between conventional Western biography and traditional Tibetan hagiography, has succeeded in painting a detailed portrait of this unconventional Tibetan lama, who is regarded as one of the most influential forces in transporting Buddhism to the West.

From his first years of teaching in Britain and the United States, Trungpa began making friends with and teaching his students in a completely free style, with few Buddhist references, adapted to the language and understanding of young Westerners. Yet his radical emphasis was on the traditional source of Buddhism: the root practice of sitting meditation.

In his oral teachings, Trungpa surprised his audiences by making no concession to their expectations, speaking directly from his heart to their hearts, without alluding to techniques and philosophy.

His work was unique in its emphasis on a secular rather than religious approach to spirituality. Among the practices that he encouraged his students to undertake were calligraphy, flower arranging, Japanese archery, tea ceremony, dance, theater, health care, psychotherapy, poetry, elocution, and translation. His founding of centers, communities, and innovative educational institutions was also part of the flowering of a new culture of Buddhism in the West. He founded Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado; Shambhala Training; and Vajradhatu, an international association of meditation centers (now called Shambhala International).

This biography presents a wealth of anecdotes from Trungpa's life, excerpts from unpublished talks, reminiscences by those closest to him, and facts from the archive that preserves his legacy—all making the book a treasure chest of insights and teachings not found in any other book published so far.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590300985
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 1.66 (d)

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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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

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