Sunday, April 4, 2010

In memory of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Not everyday can be auspicious. That is simply not the way life rolls.

But after posting my initial findings on Dharma centers in Wyoming, I continued reading from the bevy of new links I had found this morn. Learning of Laramie Shambhala Center brought into this blog the first mention of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. And in my continued digital readings, I learned that today is the anniversary of his death. (The Chronicle Project posts a nice tribute entitled Parinirvana Day)

I recall my summer of 2005 in Ithaca, New York, when I began picking up my first readings on Tibetan Buddhism. Trungpa Rinpoche's biography was one of the first books I delved into and I was thoroughly engaged. My mind swept to the various dharma centers that Trungpa Rinpoche had founded: Samye Ling in verdant Scotland, which is typically attributed as the first Tibetan Buddhist centre in the West, Tail of the Tiger (Karmê-Chöling), a meditation center in a woodsy, mountainous setting in Vermont that is often attributed as the first dharma center in the US and Gampo Abbey, the Buddhist monastery Trungpa Rinpoche established in the mid 80's on the coasts of Nova Scotia (just to name a few). I imagined the energy in Boulder, Colorado in the 70's, where Trungpa Rinpoche established Naropa University as well as Vajradhatu (now Shambhala International), the headquarters and umbrella organization for numerous dharma centers that would be founded worldwide.

Tibetan Buddhism has four main schools: Nyingma, Kagyü, Sakya and Gelug. While Trungpa Rinpoche was trained in both the Kagyü and Nyingma traditions, another aspect of his legacy was his manifest intent to teach in the manner of the rimay, or non-sectarian, movement, bringing together the valuable teachings of all the schools as well as dispelling sectarian rivalry.

I look forward to reading many more of Trungpa Rinpoche's texts and to eventually, in this life, making in person vajrayanic pilgrimages to some of the centers he founded, which are vital nodes in the network of dharma center history and practice.

And with that, I sign off with a quote:

"The process of freeing yourself from arrogance and cutting off your habitual tendencies is a very drastic measure, but it is necessary in order to help others in this world. You should take pride in yourself and uplift yourself. Your should regard yourself as an honest and genuine warrior."

-Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, 'Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior'

The late H.H Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

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