A perspective on Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

My familiarity with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche comes from his books, especially Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior, which I discovered as a teenager. This book taught me that gentleness and precision were the prerequisites for magic, and that the "ordinary" world is sacred. Trungpa turned the world into a magical place for me, and it has remained that way. Now I know the importance of sitting upright and open in meditation, surrendering to everything and opening my chest. Now I know the relationship of courage to gentleness, and the relationship of sacredness to ordinary things.

Trungpa is known for his ability to reach unlikely students with the teachings of Buddhism by making Buddhism understandable to westerners like me. My "glimpse" of Trungpa was initially shaped by my perspective as an aspiring martial artist. Having recently earned my driver's license, I was exploring faraway martial arts schools, and I was attracted to the title of this book because of its reference to "warriorship." Many seventeen year-old boys like to think they are warriors. Trungpa was able to convey the wisdom of peacefulness by appealing to my desire to be a "warrior"... how brilliant! And as I got older, I came to appreciate the depth of wisdom that is available through careful reading and re-reading of his work.

Although I cannot capture the full profundity of Trungpa's teachings, this biographical "glimpse" is inspired by the concepts that most stand out in my mind after having continually re-read Trungpa's work over the course of many years. They include the "genuine heart of sadness," which acknowledges compassionately the way things are for suffering beings, and important concepts such as "Nowness." How should I convey the appreciation I feel for this teacher whose words influenced me at a crucial time in my youth and continue to help me today? Many people try to write impressive words, but few succeed in impressing readers the way Chogyam Trungpa impressed upon me the importance of courage and compassion in meditation practice.

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