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Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery Hardcover – November 3, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“The teachings presented in this book are transformational—and especially relevant today, when so many of us are facing uncertainty and anxiety. Chögyam Trungpa shows us how to uncover our innate strength, confidence, and joy under any circumstances. I strongly recommend this book to all those seeking awakening and freedom.”—Pema Chödrön

“Chögyam Trungpa offers us a rich banquet with many inviting, intriguing, and delicious glimpses into the Buddhist perspective on our mind and life.”—Daniel Goleman

“There is no one better than Chögyam Trungpa to show us how to be fearless. He overcame great difficulties while remaining true to his principles—bravery, compassion, and gentleness. These are the qualities of a Shambhala warrior, which shine through brilliantly in this book.”—Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

“This is powerful dharma encouragement to awaken our own fearless and wise heart—from one of the most remarkable and brilliant teachers of modern times.”—Jack Kornfield

“This book offers each of us an encounter with our own fearlessness. I will keep this book close by and treasure it for the rest of my life.”—Margaret J. Wheatley

“Chögyam Trungpa’s vision of fearlessness as honesty, joyfulness, sadness, and openness is inspiring and particularly relevant to our historical moment.”—Norman Fischer

“A book that should be included in nearly every Buddhist’s library.”—Elephant Journal

About the Author

Chögyam Trungpa (1940–1987)—meditation master, teacher, and artist—founded Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, the first Buddhist-inspired university in North America; the Shambhala Training program; and an international association of meditation centers known as Shambhala International. He is the author of numerous books including Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, and The Myth of Freedom.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (November 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590306961
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590306963
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #961,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jon Leland on December 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is really the third in a series of what I would consider essential teachings from one of the most important Buddhist teachers of our time. It follows "Shambhala, Sacred Path of the Warrior" and "Great Eastern Sun." I love reading this before I sit for meditation in the morning. I salute Carolyn Rose Gimian for a loving and elegant job editing these talks.

In case you have any doubts, this is no little book of "left-overs" that are being put out long after Trungpa's death. This is the "real deal." I find these teachings--arranged in bite sized chapters--to be profound and literally enlightening. The material not only covers diving into your fears or being present with them rather than recoiling; but more importantly to me, it explains how to shine with the unconditional fearless, doubtless awareness that fuels the confidence and joy of Windhorse energy.

This pithy little book is surprisingly powerful--at least it is to me. I recommend it very highly, especially to anyone who has found resonance with the teachings of Chogyam Trungpa, Pema Chodron or Sakyong Mipham.

Very rich and rewarding indeed!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We live in an age of easy access to information about virtually anything; that's a double edged sword. Sometimes, what we don't know won't scare us; when we find out about every little thing that could pose a threat to our well being, we have a tendency to worry; and when we worry, we're not living life to its fullest potential.

The late Chogyam Trungpa (1940-1987) understood how fear can hold us back, and his writings from over two decades ago are particularly helpful for guiding us through the scary world of 21st century realities.

His simple strategy relied on looking objectively at ourselves and meeting every possible challenge to our sense of safety and security head on; instead of running away from our fears, we assertively address them, and they become minimalized. By mastering this ability, we discover the "way of the warrior"; our true heart of bravery is awakened, and suddenly that big presentation you were dreading in front of all those people doesn't seem like such a big deal, after all.

Trungpa's sage advice is particularly valuable in dealing with today's modern problems---from a struggling economy, to unstable world affairs, to trying to avoid the swine flu. Personally, the latter never crosses my mind, until I see another story about it as a trending topic on Twitter. Still, I think I'll manage to avoid its devastation, perhaps forever. We'll see.

In the meantime, for readers of this book, you'll come away with a better understanding that life's not so challenging after all; especially if we keep smiling (or even laughing) in the face of fear.
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Format: Hardcover
The essential teaching of mindfulness: to turn towards our fears and suffering and surround them with the compassionate space of pure awareness. We spend so much of our lives reacting against our fear and anxiety, which is a path to suffering; to open to experience fully what is real is the path to awakening and freedom. I also recommend 'The Path of Mindfulness Meditation', available through Amazon.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was skittish about buying this book knowing the good, the bad and the ugly about Trungpa Rinpoche and his legacy.
Trungpa founded Naropa Institute, was Pema Chodren's primary teacher, and began a number of meditation centers. His personal life was a disaster and embodied the worst of what can happen when Tibetans encounter the West with its perversions and their self restain fails.He died at a young age from the ravages of alcoholism.

Now we have that out of the way, this book is amazing. Although it is a compilation of Trungpa's talks on this subject, it flows as if these talks were meant to be sewn together. It is written with the characteristic openness and bluntness of many Tibetan masters which I find refreshing in this time of political correctness and self-soothing. The first chapter is titled Face Yourself-in which he elaborates unblemished self-examination, The second chapter gives specifics of meditation, the book proceeds on about how to develop fearless which is actually the process of finding one's own true nature, basic goodness and developing one's windhorse which arises out of mindfullness and is characterized by natural gallantry and fearlessness.
This books has many gems including the need to embrace the paradox that constitutes one's true nature...happiness but always with a touch of sadness.To get all this book has to offer requires more than one reading.
Perhaps that is what we are called upon to do with Trungpa himself...see the paradox of this brilliant man...the dark and light. By Trungpa's own words that doesn't mean condoning his actions.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a beginning meditator, I find a lot of texts obscure, but this one is not at all. Here, Carolyn Rose Gimian has taken published and unpublished teachings about becoming a warrior given by Tibetan-born Chogyam Trungpa, who died in 1987, and interpreted them in contemporary American English. It's very direct. For example: "Warriorship is based on overcoming cowardice and our sense of being wounded....Fear is nervousness; fear is anxiety; fear is a sense of inadequacy, a feeling that we may not be able to deal with the challenges of everyday life at all."

Since I wasn't familiar with the works of Chogyam Trungpa, who founded Naropa University in Colorado, I was at first startled by the language, but I learned he was one of the first Buddhists to teach consistently in English. I found the teachings very accessible and applicable. I'm reading the book for a second time, and I sent a copy to a friend who loved it.
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