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Dreamers and Their Shadows Paperback – July 12, 2013
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About the Author
Douglas Penick was a research associate at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. He studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism for more than 35 years. He has written and taught on Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian religion, history and culture. He wrote the National Film Board of Canada’s prize winning two part series on the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the libretti for two operas: KING GESAR (Sony CD w/ Ma, Serkin, Ax et. al.) and ASHOKA'S DREAM (Santa Fe Opera) with composer, Peter Lieberson. He is the author of three books deriving from the epic cycle on the life of King Gesar of Ling: WARRIOR SONG OF KING GESAR, CROSSINGS ON A BRIDGE OF LIGHT, and THE BRILLIANCE OF NAKED MIND. His novel about the 3rd Ming Emperor, A JOURNEY OF THE NORTH STAR was published last year by Publerati.
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Top customer reviews
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As Trungpa Rinpoche's brother-in-law, Penick had a front row seat in the serendipitous, magical and befuddling mandala that surrounded this great teacher. Trungpa, living in naked awareness, brought profund impact and whimsical humor everywhere he went, and Penick has beautifully evoked that sweet, powerful presence. This book can change your mind, as Trungpa did literally to hundreds of his students.
I’ve always been interested in personal accounts of this most unusual of individuals, so put in an order as soon as I saw it mentioned in Jim Lowrey’s wonderful memoir of Chogyam Trungpa and the Pygmies, “Taming Untameable Beings”. However, I’d thought the Amazon description somewhat contrived and too clever by far, and my purchase was more in hope than expectation. In the event I found that I quickly became engrossed in the oddly shifting alternate realities that make up the book, from the, at first sight, superficial cover story of the graduate student struggling in Japan, to the central substantial core that is Chogyam Trungpa himself, manifesting, as if in a dream landscape, as a mythic sixteenth century charismatic teacher embedded in a twentieth century hoax, while all the time the nature of memory itself is gently challenged.
Douglas Penick was well placed to observe these events and, despite, perhaps even because of, this use of alternate dreamlike reality, is able to convey the essence of events and teachings in rare clarity. In some strange way the mythic quality of Chogyam Trungpa is emphasised without taking away from the personal nature of the account. Not only did I really enjoy this book, but I found moments in it of remarkable depth.
Many thanks Douglas.