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Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa
brings together in eight volumes the writings of the first and most influential and inspirational Tibetan teacher to present Buddhism in the West. Organized by theme, the collection includes full-length books as well as articles, seminar transcripts, poems, plays, and interviews, many of which have never before been available in book form. From memoirs of his escape from Chinese-occupied Tibet to ...
Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa
brings together in eight volumes the writings of the first and most influential and inspirational Tibetan teacher to present Buddhism in the West. Organized by theme, the collection includes full-length books as well as articles, seminar transcripts, poems, plays, and interviews, many of which have never before been available in book form. From memoirs of his escape from Chinese-occupied Tibet to insightful discussions of psychology, mind, and meditation; from original verse and calligraphy to the esoteric lore of tantric Buddhism—the impressive range of Trungpa's vision, talents, and teachings is showcased in this landmark series.
Three captures the distinctive voice that Chögyam Trungpa developed in
North America in the 1970s and reflects the preoccupations among Western students of that era. It includes
Through Spiritual Materialism
The Myth of Freedom,
the two books that put Chögyam Trungpa on the map of the American spiritual scene.
Heart of the Buddha
and sixteen articles and forewords complete this volume.
a lecture tour in California and met quite a few people there. From these encounters and others in the West, it seems that there is, on the whole, a continual fascination with Eastern teachings. People are, in a sense, very honest and generous; that is, they are open to the teachings, but they are also compelled and provoked by them. Somehow confusion sets in because either they are fascinated by the colorful exterior, robes, and rituals; or, being already a part of Western society and having to keep some kind of link with it, they do not know how to relate the teachings to their daily life. Their attempts to make this link between their living in the Western world and the desire for experience beyond reveals something lacking.
This problem relates to a basic underlying pattern in the growth of spiritual movements. It becomes more evident in looking back, for instance, at the development and study of meditation and Buddhist thought in Great Britain and
Europe. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, there already was,
apparently, a basic dissatisfaction with the established teaching of
Christianity. Perhaps familiarity bred contempt, but it seems to have been more than that. At the end of the century many people were involved with such organizations as the Rosicrucians, the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley's O.T.O.
[Ordo Templi Orientis], and various others, seeking ways out of church doctrine and into the "mysteriousness" which accompanies the teachings. The results were often similar to those of Crowley, who attempted, after having made a crude study of Buddhist thought, to bring it
together with the roots of Western civilization. The focus became a mysticism in the sense of the "mysteriousness" found in witchcraft and magic. The organizations arising at this time generally came from the intelligentsia, or people involved with intellect and richness of material comfort, who searched for the patterns in this "mysteriousness," while others merely continued through the established churches.
The establishment of the Theosophical Society attracted many in search of a basic pattern, something more than the ordinary worship of Jesus Christ as a savior.
They were looking for the power of mind that exists behind the dogma, but were caught up in the confusion between power of mind and the egocentricity that all these "magical" organizations developed.
Early in the twentieth century this search coincided with certain material problems,
a coincidence which occurred in the East as well, for instance with Gandhi's movement in India or in Sun Yat-sen's attempt to revolutionize China. But here the conflict was in a spiritual, a more intellectual realm. The pattern of searching for the "magic" behind dogma continues on and on. It does not provide anything particularly meaningful nor fulfill the object of search.
After a while the whole thing is dropped, more or less, and another search begun.
The study of Eastern thought as it has developed in America follows this same pattern. The present availability of Tibetan and Buddhist teachings is mainly due to the Pali Text Society and the work of India's Anagarika Dharmapala, who delivered the message of the Buddha throughout the world. At the same time in
Tibet, the monk Gendun Chophel, an extraordinary and inspired person, rebelled against the pattern of the church structure there; he made a pilgrimage to
India and then decided to study Pali in Ceylon. He became a Pali scholar and tried to make some link between modern Western culture and the traditional
Tibetan pattern. He translated Pali texts into Tibetan and endeavored to introduce Buddhist thinking that differed from the prevailing ideas. At the same time, Anagarika Dharmapala was working to legalize pilgrimages to Buddhist countries and to restore the inspirational monuments. This whole development was partially Buddhist and partially global. The work of Theosophy in the West was mirrored in the East, a tremendous movement to find new ways of adapting the teachings, a new way of understanding. It is part of the pattern that goes on continuously. And so it seems at this moment that there is this great potential of a search for a new interior and exterior life. If we are particularly searching for an exterior mode, then this pattern will develop as an effort to transplant those religions we are interested in: Hinduism,
Buddhism (Zen, Theravadan, or whatever). These patterns may be imitated or followed. Many people have tried to become Tibetan, but it is very clumsy.
Others have tried to become Japanese, which is equally as clumsy. Still others have tried to become Burmese, Sinhalese, or Thai as well as Indian, and again it is very clumsy. As we continue to search for images and forms, the pattern continues to be the same. Try to remember our history.
People are inspired by Egyptology; I'm sure many have been. We do not have the oral teachings, but merely study it from the archaeological point of view. We have been given a few clues and would like to follow them on and on. It's a process of working back through the material. In this fascination with externals we could end up back in the Stone Age. We could come to worship the sun and moon;
hunt, eat raw meat, and wear skins. It's a great trip. We could just try and be with nature.
Many feel this contact is lacking and often begin to experience a longing for it,
reading back into history with nostalgia. But since all this going back to the
Stone Age involves searching for more luxury, how are we going to place our minds? It is luxury because people tire of central heating and automatic equipment. Water boils and signals with a whistle, and you don't even have to watch it. But it becomes a child's game to do all this manually and participate in the excitement of watching it happen. But all this is luxury. There is no difference in having this way of life as opposed to that one. It is quite the same. We are searching for some kind of luxury. It seems to follow generally that once we are leading a mechanized life, we feel something is missing.
What is missing? I think we have lost the point. If we look at things with this particular fascination for the exterior alone, we merely want to substitute one thing for another. This is pure materialism. Psychological materialism has gotten into the process in a highly complicated and sophisticated way, going so far as leading the Stone Age life. One can sense possibilities, even in the extreme cases, but they all miss the point. There will still be dropouts in these Stone Age communities, reactionaries and all the rest. This is inevitable as long as we search for comfort, or, more important, the romantic aspect of things. We see this with people who have become completely Japanese or Tibetan.
They are completely trained in that way of life. One would live this kind of life with the encouragement, of course, of the Tibetans and Japanese
("What a wonderful transformation they've made; at last they've managed to become like us"). But, then, one would have problems whether one lived as a Tibetan, Japanese, or Indian. So what happens next? Something is fishy;
something is lacking. Did we miss the boat somewhere? What is wrong? Having involved myself in becoming completely Tibetan, I can't possibly go back to
Western ways; that would be embarrassing! But secretly I would contemplate this, have private conversations with myself about it. "What is wrong? I
didn't get some kind of expected utopian civilization as I imagined I would.
There is something wrong behind it all." And then I would begin to question my fascination for such a civilization, such a work of art! I used to be able to sit and just gaze at the pure image of the Buddha or certain patterns of the interior decoration. I could really live on and on, spend twenty-four hours a day watching them, but what's gone wrong now? I just can't do that anymore.
It is really a matter of fascination. Nothing is wrong with the design or the inspiration of the work of art, but something is wrong with the fascination. It has gone too far. We haven't checked ourselves in the process of going into it.
We've let ourselves be sucked out. We involve ourselves too much. So the situation develops that one has to look back. These philosophies and works of art are beautiful as they are, but we don't have to just plunge into them. We have to realize that we can't change ourselves completely this way. The main thing is to develop a sense of humor on the journey and see the funny side of our involvement. A sense of humor plays a great part in balancing things,
sometimes sarcastic, sometimes inspiring. But we certainly can't become
Tibetans, Japanese, or Indians, because the very desiring to become so contains the preconceived idea of ambition. The way of life may be extremely attractive to us, but being moved by the wisdom doesn't mean we have to accept the exterior. This exterior is a very difficult thing. Its fascination plays a too important part. If one wants to absorb the teaching, one has to work in a different way.
Although the symbols may contain a certain inspiration, one needn't go through the whole external trip. And what is behind that external trip that seems so embarrassing to look into? Each time there is a little attempt to look into ourselves, it is an embarrassing situation, because it
involves the complicated and unfamiliar action of dealing with our own mind. We try to avoid this by involving ourselves more and more with externals. This seems to be the problem, a neurotic pattern, the feeling of embarrassment or hesitation that makes us get lost in outside details.
In any case, one has to face the truth sooner or later. Facing the truth later will be more shocking, more difficult. It will be more disappointing, because you have gone as far as you can, to the point of eating and dressing and behaving as they do, and still something is wrong. It will be very painful and disappointing. So it seems necessary to have a good look before the fascination takes over. The fascination takes us away from looking at ourselves. When there are psychological problems involved, it doesn't work to merely sit and gaze at a work of art and try to get some kind of kick out of it. Many people do just that; all of us do, but it isn't valid. It's a substitution, an escape.
Whenever we are shrouded in a mental depression, we talk to someone, or go to the shrine, or read a book to try to ease the problem, which is a cowardly hesitation. It may seem very easy at the moment, but we are going to get addicted this way. And each time there is a further psychological problem or depression, we are going to escape further and further and at last decide to give up the whole responsibility of our family or business. Suddenly, one completely flips out and decides to give up the whole thing and take the first train or airplane to the nearest place and become a sannyasin or bhikshu or whatever. This is the ultimate hypocrisy, one might say transcendental hypocrisy. So something is wrong there, a hole that we really have to look into. No, we are not supposed to abandon all these uneasy materialistic scenes in Washington or New York, etc. We are supposed to work with it. The world is not built purely for us, but is a mutual effort of ourselves and others. So we have to develop some kind of compassion and openness of love for it.
know a person who completely abandoned his eight children, wife, home,
business, and everything; just completely left like that. After a final blow,
he took the first plane east to India. He became a sannyasin and resident of an ashram. I think that is a very selfish act, regarding the world as if it were only for you rather than for everybody. This is the extreme attitude of self-deliverance. We need a great deal of compassion to share paths and problems with others. In order to do this, of course, we have to become willing to offer ourselves to the situation, not make a big scene of it. Not to demand attention for ourselves. We have to learn to dance with the situation, to work with it. This is very important, extremely important. We could be developed spiritually and be working on ourselves continually. Suddenly we run out of inspiration for further development. We don't make any demands or a big scene out of it, which would be a very clumsy kind of skillfulness.
Introduction to Volume Three
THROUGH SPIRITUAL MATERIALISM
Hard Way 59
Open Way 70
Sense of Humor 85
Development of Ego 93
Six Realms 105
Four Noble Truths 113
Bodhisattva Path 125
Prajna and Compassion 153
MYTH OF FREEDOM AND THE WAY OF MEDITATION
1. The Myth of Freedom 189
2. Styles of Imprisonment 199
3. Sitting Meditation 215
4. Working with the Emotions 227
5. Meditation in Action 241
6. The Open Way 253
7. Devotion 269
8. Tantra 283
Mahamudra Upadesa 290
HEART OF THE BUDDHA
Part One: Personal Journey
1. What Is the Heart of the Buddha? 309
2. Intellect and Intuition 318
3. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness 324
4. Devotion 353
Part Two: Stages on the Path
5. Taking Refuge 375
6. Bodhisattva Vow 393
7. Sacred Outlook: The Practice of Vajrayogini 412
Part Three: Working with Others
8. Relationship 445
9. Acknowledging Death 449
Alcohol as Medicine or Poison 456
Practice and Basic Goodness: A Talk for Children 461
Dharma Poetics 467
Green Energy 473
Manifesting Enlightenment 475
Ban Way of Life
List of Sources
Wisdom of Tibetan Teachings 503
Tibetan Buddhist Teachings and Their Application 518
Three Yana Principle in Tibetan Buddhism 529
Cynicism and Warmth 531
House Discussions I and II 548
Report from Outside the Closet 560
Is a Kind of Gyp: An Interview with Chögyam Trungpa 562
Myth of Don Juan: An Interview with Chögyam Trungpa 566
Jewel Ornament of Liberation
History of the Sixteen Karmapas of Tibet
Buddha in the Palm of Your Hand
Women of Wisdom
Biography of Chögyam Trungpa
Books by Chögyam Trungpa