Saturday, March 08, 2008

THE CHARNEL GROUND

March 8, 2008

THE CHARNEL GROUND

As a young prince who had been recently turned out of his palace, the great Tibetan teacher Padmasambhava roamed around the charnel ground, the burial ground. The genteel young prince seemed to fit in to that scene quite well, as incongruous as it might seem. He was quite fearless, and his fearlessness became accommodation as he roamed through the jungle charnel ground near Bodhgaya. There were awesome-looking trees and terrifying rock shapes and the ruins of a temple. The whole feeling was one of death and desolation....He regarded this place as another palace in spite of all the terrifying sights. Seeing the impermanence of life, he discovered the eternity of life, the constant changing process of death and birth taking place all the time....
Our civilized world is so orderly that we do not see places like this charnel ground. Nevertheless there are the greater charnel grounds of birth, death, and chaos going on around us all the time. We encounter these charnel-ground situations in our lives constantly. If we identify with Padmasambhava, we could relate with that fearlessly. We could be inspired by this chaos -- so much so that chaos could become order in some sense. It could become orderly chaos rather than just confused chaos, because we would be able to relate with the world as it is.

From "Eternity and the Charnel Ground," in CRAZY WISDOM, pages 39 to 40.

All material by Chogyam Trungpa is copyright Diana J. Mukpo and used by permission.

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1 comment:

Brandon said...

Im curious about the 8 great charnel grounds mentioned in Indian and Tibetan traditions. Whatever their historical origins, they seem to have taken on symbolic meaning.