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Quote of the Week: Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

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Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939 – 1987) was a Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher and the founder of the Shambhala community.

Trungpa packed a lot into his relatively short life. He received traditional monastic training in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions in Tibet, and then later studied comparative religion, philosophy, and fine arts at Oxford University. In 1967, he founded the Samye Ling meditation centre in Scotland, the first Tibetan Buddhist practice centre in the West. He went on to found Vajradhatu, which evolved into the Shambhala organization.

His legacy includes Naropa University–the first Buddhist-based university in North America–Shambhala Publications, and hundreds of meditation groups and practice centers around the world.

A key element of the Shambhala path is peacemaking, as it manifests in the journey of the “Shambhala warrior.” While peacemaking and warrior-ship may seem contradictory, Trungpa’s “crazy wisdom” brought these apparent dualities together in a skillful way.

This quote comes from the book Ocean of Dharma: The Everyday Wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa. 365 Teachings on Living Life with Courage and Compassion.

For the Shambhala warrior, the actual, basic notion of victory is not so much that you have one-upped your enemy and therefore you are victorious. Rather, no enemy exists at all; therefore, there is victory. This is the idea of unconditional warriorship and unconditional victory. In connection with this, the concept of sacredness is that fearlessness is carried into everyday life situations, even brushing your teeth.

So fearlessness occurs all over the place, all the time. Fearlessness here is also unconditional. In this way, fearlessness becomes cheerful and very light. There’s no need for cowardice or fear at all, or any moments of doubt. Actually what we’re talking about is doubtlessness, we could say, rather than fearlessness. There’s no doubt. There are no second thoughts.

Everything is a complete warrior’s world. So here victory is not having to deal with an enemy at all. It is the notion of no enemy. The whole world is a friend.


If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to visit my other website: The Liberated Life Project — a personal transformation blog with a social conscience.

About Maia

I've been practicing and studying the Buddha way since 1994, and exploring the question "What is engaged Buddhism?" since the late 90s. As former executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and editor of its journal, Turning Wheel, I had the honor of meeting and working with many practitioners of engaged dharma, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Joanna Macy, Alan Senauke, and Robert Aitken Roshi. I write about socially engaged Buddhism on my blog, "The Jizo Chronicles," as well as on the theme of personal and collective freedom on my website, "The Liberated Life Project." Through my Five Directions Consulting, I offer support to individuals and organizations who aspire to integrate awareness into their work.

3 responses »

  1. Having studied Trungpa’s teachings for some years, a related notion of his comes to mind: “victory over war”, which is a similar idea. Because there is no enemy therefore there is no struggle and no warfare, hence victory. At first glance this can seem esoteric and hard to understand. But the idea, at least partly, has to do with clear seeing. You understand what is happening within a conflict, so you know what to do. There is no struggle to ‘overcome the enemy’, you just respond appropriately, taking action that will best serve the good of all.

  2. “The necessary and welcome economic growth within our Sangha, in the form of business operations and commercial and domestic investments, has brought along as a by—product an increasing frequency of disagreements and disputes. There is a need for our society to provide resources for the sane, nonagressive resolution of such conflicts in keeping with the principles of Dharma and the Great Eastern Sun. Accordingly I have decided to institute and appoint the Upaya Council. The function of the Upaya Council shall be to mediate and/or arbitrate commercial and domestic disputes among members of the Vajradhatu community, as individuals, groups, or businesses. It shall be the initial task of the Upaya Council to propose to me and my Privy Council a set of guidelines under which it shall operate. There shall be no internal hierarchy within the Upaya Council and each member shall have an equal voice; the findings of the Council shall be arrived at by unanimous consent.”

    ~ Vajracarya the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, Spring, 1979.

    Upaya Council

  3. Pingback: Creative Chaos Award *** Thank you Mel! « Step On A Crack…Or Break Your Mother's Back

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