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Chogyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision [Kindle Edition]

Fabrice Midal
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Chögyam Trungpa is virtually synonymous with the transmission of Tibetan Buddhism to the West. Over the course of his seventeen-year teaching career in North America, Trungpa ushered in a radically new approach to spirituality—both rooted in the ancient wisdom of the buddhadharma and thoroughly situated in the contemporary world. His teachings, grounded in what he called the “Shambhala vision,” focused on the development of an enlightened society through the transformation of ordinary, everyday life into sacred activity.

Steering between Western biography and traditional Tibetan hagiography, Fabrice Midal takes you on a soaring journey through Trungpa’s life and teachings. Touching on all of the most momentous events, this series of glimpses into Chögyam Trungpa’s world provides a rare view on the formation of Trungpa’s thought and the remarkable body of teachings and writings that remain as his legacy. Included are accounts of:

  • Chögyam Trungpa’s education in Tibet under the tutelage of great tantric masters, like Jamgön Kongtrül of Sechen and Khenpo Gangshar
  • The founding of landmark centers for Buddhist practice and education, such as the Naropa Institute (now Naropa University), Karmê Chöling, and the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center (now the Shambhala Mountain Center)
  • Trungpa’s historic meeting with the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa in 1974, the first-ever visit of the Karmapa to America
  • Behind-the-scenes stories of Trungpa’s most treasured writings, including Meditation in Action, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, and Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
  • And much more


Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is precisely the book about Trungpa Rinpoche that has been needed for a long time. I feel that it is absolutely what Rinpoche would have wanted written about his major accomplishments and teachings. My husband was so brilliant in being able to use many different media to express his teachings. Rinpoche demonstrated that the awakened mind can be expressed in many ways, through various art forms, as well as in all the forms and details of everyday life. His approach made the buddhadharma available to all kinds of people who have different interests in their lives. As well, it is a hallmark of the vajrayana teachings that you fully engage everything in your world. My husband was a master of this, and Fabrice Midal has beautifully captured this quality in his book."—from the Foreword by Diana J. Mukpo

About the Author

Fabrice Midal is a professor of philosophy at the University of Paris. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Paris, Sorbonne, and teaches the dharma in France and elsewhere in Europe. A practicing Buddhist in the tradition of Chögyam Trungpa, he is well known in Buddhist circles in France and has published books on religious topics with major French publishers, among them several titles on Tibetan Buddhism.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1225 KB
  • Print Length: 581 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 159030098X
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications; 1 edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00452VFCQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,802 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice overview, but . . . January 22, 2005
Format:Hardcover
I'd like to start by saying that I am a Buddhist student in the lineage of Trungpa Rinpoche, and am deeply devoted to the man and his teachings. It seems like such an admission is necessary at the outset of this review.

Given the above, I was, needless to say, highly excited about the release of this book. I bought several copies, and gave a few as gifts. Nevertheless, having read the book, I must say that I am a bit disappointed.

This book does provide a nice overview of Buddhism, the Vajradhatu path as elucidated by Trungpa Rinpoche, and Buddhist concepts. The unfortunate flaw of this book, however, is that it is absolutely rife with butt kissing and sweeping statements of praise, the vast majority of which are uttered in Mr. Midal's own voice (it would have been much better to let a wealth of anecdotes speak for themselves). The end result is that the tone of this book comes off as an unfortunate "do no wrong", glossed-over tribute to a complex and un-glossable individual (and, in my opinion, clearly a Buddha).

Since the Vidyadhara was a great man, we should be afforded with a more discerning and textured look at the play of his manifestation. For a man who encouraged us to lean into the sharp points, to feel and examine them, this array of rounded corners and nerf controversy seems an incomplete tribute.

So, flatly, I would have liked to have seen more of Trungpa Rinpoche in this book-- the whole man. Midal dilutes the Vidyadhara's legacy by not presenting the "things as they are" of his life in all their vivid glory. The end result is a transparent attempt to glaze a razorblade fortress with feel-good honey.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars CTR deserves better June 5, 2005
Format:Hardcover
This isn't really a biography of Trungpa Rinpoche and he deserves a good one. Whereas Chogyam Trungpa was a man who took risks, Midal's book stays within the safe bounds of cult worship. David Chadwick's biography of Suzuki Roshi (Crooked Cucumber) describes the difficulties that Shunryu Suzuki faced (and sometimes caused), bringing the man closer and making his life an example, an inspiration. Midal on the other hand keeps the messy and chaotic life and legacy of Chogyam Trungpa at arm's length. Not only is this a superficial examination but it doesn't inspire, which a biography of a great man should do.

Perhaps it's too early for a real biography of CTR; there are still too many people whose careers are dependent on Shambhala International. But Trungpa Rinpoche would want and deserves the naked truth to be told--that a real analysis of his life, his successes and his mistakes be laid out and examined for us to learn from. Midal's tepid biography attempts to keep CTR in a hermetically sealed casket. I look forward to someday reading a biography by someone who will fearlessly engage with the fearlessly lived story of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really all that naked May 19, 2005
Format:Hardcover
I felt this book was rather poorly put together. As other commentators have noted, it presents only half a picture, and overlooks very important and potentially very illuminating aspects of a great man's life. Still, even in the half-a-picture we are afforded, the style is hodgepodge and the author seemed very intent on letting us know about his own thoughts on Cezanne and sculpture and other things that simply break up the flow. The flow, such as it is, is more along the lines of essays joined together, not by any means a biography. The author poses a lot of questions "Why did he drink?", "why did he break his vows?" but after several hundred pages I didn't really fell like I knew much more about Chogyam Trungpa than when I had begun. Instead of answering the questions, the writer often launches into a prolonged litany of praises better left to guru yoga. The author keeps telling us that Buddhism is really all about living in the here and now in our full nakedness - which I'm not really sure is true of Tibetan Buddhism - but this book did not present its own subject in full nakedness. As another reviewer stated, the write should have given us a full picture, and then we would decide. Instead we got something along the lines of a very, very long fan letter.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trungpa Lite January 9, 2006
By J Doyle
Format:Hardcover
I'm a student of Trungpa Rinpoche. Midal's biography is informative in certain respects and a decent read. Like many reviewers here though, I agree that it's too sanitized and lukewarm by half, and carries very little of the actual crazy wisdom that Trungpa radiated. If you really want a feel for the man, read John Perks "The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant", the only book I've ever read that really does the job, in spades.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing indeed. November 15, 2005
By Sylvain
Format:Hardcover
As a student in the lineage of Trungpa Rinpoche, I have great respect for his brilliance. This hagiography, however, was alternately infruriating and embarassing. If there is an official North Korean biography of Kim Il Sung, I imagine it reads much like this book in tone. As other reviewers have noted, Midal violates the first lesson of writing in that he tells, he doesn't show. I agree with Midal's objection that it is silly to expect a biographer to savage his subject. That doesn't mean, however, that one must write a slavish piece of propoganda instead. There's no need to tidy up and oversell Trungpa Rinpoche.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book, highly recommend!
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story
Amazing story, amazing man ! I can't believe a monk raised in Tibet could do some much in such a short life in a foreign country ! Read more
Published 6 months ago by Elisabeth S. Ducasse
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough love
I am very pleased with this book about Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
The author gives a comprehensive look at Chogyam's life.
This man was a genius. Read more
Published 12 months ago by K. F. Sell
5.0 out of 5 stars Midal has gifted all Trungpa lovers and first timers with a detailed...
The writer brings Trungpa's unique ways of transmission of the Dharma making me feel alive and inspired by this man's journey! I simply love reading this book!
Published 12 months ago by Julie R.Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book about an inspiring teacher. Highly recommended
This book not only includes the life story, but also the many teachings of Chogyam Trungpa. Warmly recommended for anybody who would like to understand more about the Shambhala... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Fred van Welsem
1.0 out of 5 stars Yet to come
Hopefully this biography will inspire others to write more and better about Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Read more
Published on November 26, 2008 by M. Sørensen
5.0 out of 5 stars A personal invitation to experience Trungpa's vision.
I first read Fabrice Midal's book about a year ago. My impressions then, when I just beguin to read, were that I was before an easy reading biography about someone I knew very... Read more
Published on July 29, 2005 by Pablo Guerra
5.0 out of 5 stars Trungpa Biography
An excellent book. I had a hard time putting it down.Though not then a Buddhist or direct student of Trungpa's I was a student at Naropa from 1974 until 1979. Read more
Published on July 27, 2005 by Brian D. O'connor
4.0 out of 5 stars A flawed teacher
Although of considerable interest for its details this biographical history of one facet of the spread of Tibetan Buddhism to America is far too hagiographical. Read more
Published on February 22, 2005 by John C. Landon
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