Chogayam Trungpa: His Life And Vision.

Fabrice Midal



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This biography presents a wealth of anecdotes from Trungpa's life, excerpts from unpublished talks, reminiscences by those closest to him, and facts from the archive that preserves his legacy—all making the book a treasure chest of insights and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.

What will you learn from this book

  1. Early Life in Tibet: Trungpa Rinpoche was born in Tibet and recognized as a tulku, or reincarnated lama, at an early age. He received a traditional Buddhist education and training in the monastic system.

  2. Escape from Tibet: Trungpa Rinpoche fled Tibet in 1959 following the Chinese invasion and occupation of his homeland. His escape was perilous, and he faced many challenges as a refugee.

  3. Establishment of Monastic Centers: Trungpa Rinpoche played a key role in establishing monastic centers in India and the West, where he taught Buddhist philosophy and meditation to a growing number of students.

  4. Innovative Teaching Methods: Trungpa Rinpoche was known for his innovative teaching methods, which combined traditional Tibetan Buddhist practices with Western psychology and philosophy.

  5. Founding of Naropa University: Trungpa Rinpoche founded Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, in 1974, establishing a unique educational institution that integrated Eastern and Western approaches to learning.

  6. Controversy and Criticism: Trungpa Rinpoche's unconventional behavior, including his use of alcohol and his relationships with students, sparked controversy and criticism within the Buddhist community.

  7. Legacy of Teachings: Despite the controversies surrounding his life, Trungpa Rinpoche left behind a rich legacy of teachings and writings that continue to inspire and influence practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism around the world.

  8. Founder of the Shambhala Tradition: Trungpa Rinpoche founded the Shambhala tradition, which emphasizes the practice of meditation and mindfulness as a means of awakening to the inherent goodness of human nature.

  9. Artistic Contributions: Trungpa Rinpoche was also a talented artist and calligrapher, and his artistic creations are an integral part of his legacy.

  10. Spiritual Vision: Throughout his life, Trungpa Rinpoche articulated a profound spiritual vision that emphasized the importance of compassion, wisdom, and courage in navigating the complexities of modern life.

Language English
ISBN-10 159030098X
ISBN-13 9781590300985
No of pages 480
Font Size Medium
Book Publisher Shambhala
Published Date 28 Dec 2004

About Author

Author : Fabrice Midal

2 Books

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