Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Question of Geography


Student: Tonight you mentioned the emphasis hundreds of years ago on students practicing meditation in
their caves. What is the real difference between the experience of a practitioner then and our experience

Chogyam Trungpa: There’s not very much difference. The main difference is that they heard different
noises then. These days we might hear airplanes flying above, and in those days, they might have heard
flies buzzing about….In actual reality, as far as the living situation is concerned, it’s essentially the same,
then and now. In those days, caves were routinely used for sitting practice, not for romantic reasons but
because, in that geographical area, there were lots of caves. You didn't have to spend money to build a
cabin; there were holes in the mountains already. You just went and lived there. Nowadays, we can't find
many holes in the mountains around here, so we have to build retreat cabins. It’s simply a question of
Actually things haven't changed that much. We might romanticize the "good old days," but if you were
there right now, you wouldn't think that those were the "good old days" at all. You would have the same
experience then as now, anyway. It’s just a gap in time, a time lapse.

From "Trungmase and the Three Idiots," Talk Three in THE LINE OF THE TRUNGPAS, an
unpublished manuscript being edited for publication. Forthcoming in 2007 from Vajradhatu Publications.

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