Customer Reviews: The Path Is the Goal (Dharma Ocean Series)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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on November 30, 1999
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche does not engage in "idiot compassion." This book will not gratify any of the desires of your ego. Instead it has (as the foreward says) an "iron hook" of compassion, which will attempt to cut away your ego & expose you to the hard lonely reality of practice.
In his first exposition of the nature of meditation Rinpoche tells us to sit without pretensions, "like a disused coffee cup." He describes the feeling of spaciousness that comes from abandoning the ego as a reference point as "boring" & "suffocating." He does not give us any room to use meditation as an ego toy.
I recommend this book highly to anyone who is seriously interested in the hard, confusing road of spirituality. After many years of meditation, feeling very confident & special, reading "The Path is the Goal" and "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" was a kick to the gut.
When you're done having fun pretending to meditate, come to "The Path is the Goal" & be cut open by Chogyam Trungpa's absolute unwavering compassion.
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on March 8, 2002
Another reviewer harshly criticized Chogyam Trungpa's lack of compassion with respect to the meditation practices and the non-dualism that they promote. While I would concur that the Rinpoche's style is very straightforward, I do not believe that is the result of a lack of compassion or any extra "harshness" on the his part.
His writings are direct, and concise. I find that his writing style very much belies his primary language and the translation is almost exact, phrase-for-phrase. This often leads to difficult reading because the subject-verb-object relationships and sentence structures do not map well between Tibetan and English. Additionally, he spends much time discussing the failures of language with respect to non-dualism. The use of any language to describe concepts inherently opposed by language leads to several tricky sections where I was forced to rigorousely parse each section in order to understand his point. The rewards of better understanding and a much diminished ego were well worth the effort.
All in all, this book is an excellent building block that doesn't treat meditation in the same feel-good, "New Age" style of so many other authors. It is definately built upon the underlying structures of Kagyu-style Buddhism. If Trungpa hurts your ego and makes "you" feel virtually non-existant... Well that's kind of the point of non-dualism in the first place.
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on August 26, 2004
Naropa obtained enlightenment after his teacher, Tilopa, asked him to perform countless grueling tasks, many at the risk of death. One day, Tilopa smacked Naropa on the head with his sandal and that was it, enlightenment.

Milarepa, after killing 12 people, was asked by his teacher, Marpa, to build a temple before he would receive the teachings. When he finished the temple, Marpa found it unsatisfactory and had him rebuild it. It went on and on and on, with Milarepa nearly dying and Marpa treating him brutally. But all along, Marpa loved him like a son. Because of the negativities Milarepa accumulated, this was his ngöndro, his púrification. Milarepa then went into 12 years of solitary retreat, eating barely nothing.

The 84 mahasiddhas displayed outrageous behaviour in order to benefit beings.

The Buddha himself, in a previous life, killed the captain of a boat. Compassion? You may not think so, unless you knew the captain was going to kill his entire crew.

Buddhism will not make your life easier. It is not about having a safe place, but about being homeless. It is not about gathering about you the clothes of bliss, but about going naked. It is not a peaceful journey (until the later stages) but an ardous task. If you feel lonely, discouraged, depressed because of the teachings, it is not the teachings that have depressed you, but your ego which has chosen to respond to them. THAT is what you can work with.

Remember, the working basis is this defiled mind. If we were already enlightened, we wouldn't feel depressed, or discouraged. Everything is workable.

Please keep these things in mind.

For the record, the Karma Kagyü tradition does not permit its fully ordained monastics to engage in alcohol abuse or sexual misconduct. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche gave up his vows as a monastic, TO GREAT DANGER TO HIMSELF, so he could better relate to his western students.

Pema Chödron, the western nun who many describe as loving, compassionate, and ethically unsurpassed, was one of Trungpa's students and can best talk about his approach. I invite any and all to read this interview with her.

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on December 16, 1998
I don't consider this a beginner's ("Basic") guide to meditation. Many of the topics seem more appropriate for experienced meditators: boredom, loss of self, Vipashyana meditation, etc.
The author does a fair job describing methods for beginning meditators, but explains almost nothing for those who feel they're ready for insight meditation, simply stating that the path is very lonely. Actually, I thought much of his advice was discouraging, given his emphasis on the negatives of meditating practice.
This "book" is actually a transcription of two seminars, and I didn't find the student question & answer segment at the end of each section to be very helpful. And, I was surprised at the lack of compassion Chogyam Trungpa showed to one student who felt threatened by his teachings on loss of self. He appeared to be mocking the student as he/she left the teaching.
I'll give this book another chance after a few more months of meditation, but I don't recommend it for idealistic beginners.
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on May 20, 2008
I'm not a Buddhist, not a meditation expert, I don't have an ".edu" at the end of my email address. I'm no specialist in anything. I critique this book as a complete and utter novice trying to figure out how to meditate when I thought "I'm not doing it right", or "I'm too conscious".

This was the first book that finally explained in all in a way I could simply understand. Like the "just do it" slogan of Nike, I found this author's narrative clear where others had been obtuse. I'd read all sorts of books from my local library and bookstores. But it wasn't until I became engrossed in this little book with the peaceful cover and title that I understood.

Am I a great or even a regular practitioner? No hardly I'm sure. But I feel much happier about the endeavor after reading Trungpa's book.
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on June 23, 2014
I learn best if what I am being instructed to practice is explained in a way that my mind understands the rationale for the instruction. This book reads easily - and thoroughly! - so that basic meditation instructions are presented in a way that supplies a context. This gives a perspective that accounts for the whole nature of the situation, (whatever it may be). As the Buddha taught, meditation is the essential spiritual practice."Friendly to oneself" is a primary instruction, since without it, we cannot make progress on the path.
It is a point of view that makes obvious sense from the beginning of meditation practice, and with which we can continue to practice throughout the remainder of our days.
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on May 6, 2016
Yes, 5-stars! This is NOT a simple book to read and understand, It is indeed challenging [at least for me] but in my judgment certainly well worth the effort. If fact, although I've read it only once so far, it has become the newest member of my small but growing library of "must-rereads". As a suggestion, if your courageous venture into this book is reasonable and appealed to you, you might also consider his "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" discussion. Personally, I believe that being aware of and then understanding this specific topic [the contamination of spiritual materialism] is crucial for a results and goal-oriented Westerner like me -- and perhaps you too?
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on January 29, 2014
Clear, to the point, this book is completely straightforward about meditating. Mindfulness/awareness meditation is not a practice to make you feel good, or bad, for that matter. It is a practice to train your mind so that you might develop and cultivate broader awareness, deeper insight, and thus greater compassion for self and other. It is deceptively simple, but not at all simplistic. The practice is subtle, complex, and is, no question, a journey without a goal. It is a workout for your mind and heart, but done through gentleness and persistence. This book offers clear instruction and support for the beginner and the long-time practitioner. It can be read over and over and still remain fresh. I highly recommend this book for meditators, and would-be meditators who are looking for the real thing.
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on November 19, 2011
another good book by trungpa, i love his straightfoward way of relating with the audience, like all of his books actually. i dont know if it would be understandable for the person just beginning meditation, maybe for someone that knows a little bit about it first, but a really good book.
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on November 14, 2011
This is one of the best and most concise books available on the practice of meditation.
It busts many myths, explains that it can be done only by courageous people, and lets
us all know that meditation is a work in progress, not to be done with an end in mind.
To add to the greatness, this is done by a true Master. What more can you ask?
Top notch!
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