Monday, January 29, 2007


One often finds Avalokitesvara [the bodhisattva of compassion] portrayed as having a thousand arms [and a thousand eyes], and these symbolize his innumerableactivities. He took a vow to save all sentient beings in that very lifetime....As long as there are more sentient beings and as long as there is more that needs to bedone, his compassion also increases. And this shows that compassion is something within us. Where there is new suffering or a new outbreak of violence, thatviolence contains another eye, another hand of Avalokitesvara. The two things always go together. There is always a kind of negative, but there is always a positivewhich comes with it. In this particular sense, then, one should not exclude the negative and work only for the positive, but realize that the negative contains thepositive within itself. Therefore the act of compassion, the act of Avalokiteshvara, is never ending.

From "The Mahasattva Avalokiteshvara," pages 450-451 in THE COLLECTED WORKS OF CHOGYAM TRUNGPA, Volume One.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Poem to Buddha

You overcome the temptations of the world
You are inspired by the simplicity of life without passion
Your exertion is the only way to conquer the seduction of the world
The victorious one, compassionate,
Propagates profound dharma to all beings.

Brings passion and aggression
The world of samsara
Is endless suffering.

Realizing deception
I seek the path of non-ego
I find the delighted Buddha.

You understand my hopes and fears
You are both pleasure and pain
You are my friend eternally,
I would like to ask you to be my teacher.

Chogyam Trungpa,Unpublished poem, written at the Vajradhatu Seminary, Pennsylvania, 1982.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Patrul Rinpoche

Once you feel the wish to practice Dharma, do not let laziness or procrastination take over even for a moment. Set to work immediately, spurred on by the thought of impermanence. That is what is called diligence in action. -- Patrul Rinpoche, The Words of my Perfect Teacher

Monday, January 15, 2007


Giving birth to bodhicitta in one's heart, buddha in one's heart, brings freedom. That is the notion of freedom in Buddhism, altogether...We are talking about freedom from the constriction of our own capabilities. It is as if we were extraordinary children, possessing all sorts of genius, and we were being undermined by the society around us, which was dying to make us normal people. Whenever we would show any mark of genius, our parents would get embarrassed. They would try to put the lid on our pot, saying, "Charles, don't say those things. Just be an ordinary person." That is what actually happens to us, with or without our parents. I don't particularly want to blame our parents; we have also been doing this to ourselves. When we see something extraordinary, we are afraid to say so; we are afraid to express ourselves or to relate to such situations. So we put lids on ourselves -- on our potential, our capabilities. But in Buddhism we are liberated from that kind of conventionality....Fundamentally speaking, ladies and gentlemen, here is the really good news, if we may call it that: We are intrinsically buddha and we are intrinsically good. From "What Is the Heart of the Buddha?" in THE HEART OF THE BUDDHA, THE COLLECTED WORKS OF CHOGYAM TRUNGPA, Volume 3, page 311. (THE HEART OF THE BUDDHA is also available in paperback.)

Sunday, January 14, 2007


We cannot work with our fixations if we do not acknowledge them and
accept their existence.

The more we accept them, the more we are able to let go of them.

--Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Heart of the Buddha

Crash Course

Particularly in the Western hemisphere, when you go to a new country, you take a crash course to learn how to conduct yourself. A lot of business people get into acrash course to learn how to eat with chopsticks, how to move and behave, what to eat or not eat, what to say and whether it is polite to finish the food on yourplate or leave something behind. However, when you come to a spiritual master, you don't come having had a crash course on how to handle a guru. You havealready had a crash course of your own, which is your own neurosis, your confusion. That's fantastic. It's a very vivid crash course, a very good one. It's honest andgenuine experience. You come along as you are, as they say.

From "Tradition and Sanity in Zen and Tibetan Buddhism," Talk Ten of Fourteen, from THE TIBETAN BUDDHIST PATH, Summer, 1974, Naropa University.Forthcoming as a DVD series from


Student: The point of genuineness seems to be so simple that it's almost impossible to understand. Could you say something about non-genuineness and theproblems that we get into when we're trying to be confident? From that, maybe we can get a better idea of genuineness.

Chogyam Trungpa: I could give you a lot of examples. Inviting depression is one way of not being genuine, and refusing to be a human being and trying to be asuperman all the time is another way. In either case, we are trying to be somebody or something else and not paying attention to what's happening. You see, whatwe generally do is constantly, constantly substitute for ourselves somebody else who doesn't even exist. Nevertheless, we keep on doing that. When we fail to findour own quality right away, we run into trouble. Being genuine from that point of view is being indestructible in some sense. It depends on how much you can be awarrior.

From "Basic Goodness," a talk to directors of Shambhala Training, January 1978.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Student: Would you say that unconditional confidence is the same as tenderness?

Chogyam Trungpa: Yes, very much so. The unconditional confidence is the pragmatic aspect of that tenderness. It is the action arising from the softness. It is just
like watching the sun rise. First, it is very feeble and one wonders whether it will make it. And then it shines and shines. Confidence is not arrogance or pride or
anything like that. Confidence is a natural unfolding process. It's not a question of needing confidence or not needing it. It's naturally there.

From "Basic Goodness," a talk to directors of Shambhala Training, January 1978.

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

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Whether one looks at a Sugata's face or any other part of his body, one never feels one has looked enough. It is an example of ultimate beauty. Similarly, those for whom everything is backed by the realization of the unborn nature no longer have ordinary attachment and aversion, and such persons can therefore act like enlightened beings: whatever they do is bliss. Since they have fully realized the absolute nature, there is no question of telling them, "This is the right thing to do; that is something you should not do." They have no concepts or limits, so they can act as they wish. Everything they do will be nothing but bliss. (DK)

--from Zurchungpa's Testament: A Commentary on Zurchung Sherab Trakpa's Eighty Chapters of Personal Advice by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, translated by the Padmakara Translation Group, published by Snow Lion Publications


Because of its immateriality, the mind can never be harmed by anyone.

Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva


Fearlessness is the absence of cowardice. That is to say, cowardice, or uncertainty, comes from speed, from not being on the spot, and from not being able to lead life properly and fully. You miss a lot of details, and you also miss the overview. To correct that, you need ROOM for fearlessness, which comes from having faith in your existence. Basically speaking, fearlessness is not particularly a reward or a goal, but fearlessness is part of the journey on the path. Fearlessness alternates with fear, and both of those are kindling for the fire. You are nervous, speedy, fearful. Then that brings another area of steadiness, solidity, and calm. So fear and fearlessness constantly alternate.

From "Sacredness: Natural Law and Order," in GREAT EASTERN SUN: THE WISDOM OF SHAMBHALA, page 90.

All material by Chogyam Trungpa is copyright Diana J. Mukpo.


The challenge of warriorship is to live fully in the world as it is and to find within this world, with all its paradoxes, the essence of nowness. If we open our eyes, if we open our minds, if we open our hearts, we will find that this world is a magical place. It is not magical because it tricks us or changes unexpectedly into something else, but it is magical because it can BE so vividly, so brilliantly. However, the discovery of that magic can happen only when we transcend our embarrassment about being alive, when we have the bravery to proclaim the goodness and dignity of human life, without either hesitation or arrogance.

>From 'Sacred World' in SHAMBHALA THE SACRED PATH PF THE WARRIOR, pages 147 to 148 in the Shambhala Library Edition


Student: Could you explain more of what you mean by being a warrior or a soldier on the path?

Chogyam Trungpa: Being a warrior is not necessarily being a soldier, but it is being fearless and willing to trod on the path.....It is not that you are unafraid of enemies or fearless towards certain particular things. It's different than saying, "I'm not afraid of rattlesnakes. I'm not afraid of dogs." That's very dualistic, a special kind of adolescent approach, a boyish approach to growing into manhood. When we talk about basic warriorship here, we are talking about being a bodhisattva [someone who has taken a vow to put others before him or herself], someone who's willing to include everything and willing to work with everything without any fear. Even fear itself is frightened by the bodhisattva's fearlessness.

From "Bodhisattva and Paramita," Talk Nine of THE TIBETAN BUDDHIST PATH, the first seminar given by Chogyam Trungpa at the Naropa Institute, Summer, 1974. Unpublished.

Of interest to readers: For continuing reports on the activities of the Chogyam Trungpa Legacy Project, see the blog at

All material by Chogyam Trungpa is copyright Diana J. Mukpo


Student: How does the development of a relationship between a man and a woman or a marriage relate to the spiritual path?

Chogyam Trungpa: You relate with a lot of people, including your husband or wife. I don't see any particular problems. At some point, your mate becomes a spokesman of the universe to you, because your mate or your friend has been with you for a long time, so they have knowledge of you from the inside out, roughly, somewhat. I think a marriage situation is extremely creative from that point of view. There is the sense of understanding that somebody is actually a talking mirror who minds your business.

From "Bodhisattva and Paramita," Talk Nine of THE TIBETAN BUDDHIST PATH, a seminar at the Naropa Institute, Summer, 1974. Unpublished.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Great Eastern Sun


Normally, when you see a brilliant light, that light comes from a finite source of energy. The brightness of a candle depends on how much wax surrounds it, and the thickness of the wick. The brightness of a light bulb depends on the electric current running through it. But the Great Eastern Sun is eternally blazing; it has no need of fuel. There actually is greater luminosity that occurs without fuel, without even a pilot light. Seeing the sacred world is witnessing that greater vision, which is there all the time.

>From SHAMBHALA: THE SACRED PATH OF THE WARRIOR, page 141 of the Shambhala Library Edition.