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Home > Buddhism > Quotes > Quotes by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Quotes by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Give up the Paranoia

The open path is a matter of working purely with what is, of giving up altogether the fear that something may not work, that something may end in failure. One has to give up the paranoia that one might not fit into situations, that one might be rejected. One purely deals with life as it is. (OD)

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Self-deception's game

Self-deception means trying to re-create a past experience again and again, instead of actually having the experience in the present moment. In order to have the experience now, one would have to give up the evaluation of how wonderful the past was, because it is this memory which keeps it distant. If we had the experience continuously, it would seem quite ordinary, and it is this ordinariness that we cannot accept. We keep ourselves busy remembering the wonderful experience of openness we had in the past. This is self-deception’s game. (CTSM)

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Returning to the world

You have to go beyond duality and you also have to go beyond nonduality at the same time. You have to return to duality: that is the final goal. It is like the ox-herding pictures: finally you return to the world, with a big belly and with the ox behind you. That picture, returning to the world, is the final point. So you have duality; then you discover nonduality because of duality; then you transcend both nonduality and duality because of them. (TS)

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"Life is a humorous situation, but it is not mocking us."

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"If you are able to relax—relax to a cloud by looking at it, relax to a drop of rain and experience its genuineness—you can see the unconditionality of reality, which remains very simply in things as they are, very simply. When you are able to look at things without saying, “This is for me or against me, I can go along with this”, or “I cannot go along with this,” then you are experiencing a state of wisdom."

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Ignorance

Ignorance is the sense of having one particular aim and object and goal in mind. And that aim and object, that goal-mindedness, becomes extremely overwhelming, so you fail to see the situation around you. That seems to be the ignorance. Your mind is highly precoccupied with what you want, so you fail to see what is. (TM)

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Refreshing Boredom

Boredom is part of the discipline of meditation practice. This type of boredom is cool boredom, refreshing boredom. Boredom is necessary and you have to work with it. It is constantly very sane and solid, and very boring at the same time. But it’s refreshing boredom. The discipline then becomes part of one’s daily expression of life. Such boredom seems to be absolutely necessary. Cool boredom.
Ocean of Dharma

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"You should appreciate yourself, respect yourself, and let go of doubt and embarrassment so that you can proclaim goodness and basic sanity for the benefit of others. The self-existing energy that comes from letting go is called Windhorse in the Shambhala teachings. Wind is the energy of basic goodness, strong, exuberant, and brilliant. At the same time, basic goodness can be ridden, or employed in your life, which is the principle of the horse. When you contact the energy of Windhorse, you can naturally let go of worrying about your own state of mind and you begin to think of others. If you are unable to let go of your selfishness, you might freeze Windhorse into ice."

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I began to realize that I would have to take daring steps in my life. Nevertheless, there remained some hesitation as to how to throw myself completely into proclaiming the dharma to the Western world, uprooting spiritual materialism and developing further compassion and affection. I went through several months of ambivalence, of feeling pushed forward and pulled back simultaneously, unable to respond clearly in spite of a series of small warnings. Then driving one day in Northumberland, I blacked out at the wheel of my car, ran off the road, and smashed through the front of a joke shop. I was brought to Newcastle General Hospital. In spite of the pain, my mind was very clear; there was a strong sense of communication—finally the real message had got through—and I felt a sense of relief and even humor. Twenty-four hours later, awakening suddenly, I found that my left side was paralyzed. When plunging completely and genuinely into the teachings, one is not allowed to bring along one’s deceptions. I realized that I could no longer attempt to preserve any privacy for myself, any special identity or legitimacy. I should not hide behind the robes of a monk, creating an impression of inscrutability which, for me, turned out to be only an obstacle. With a sense of further involving myself with the sangha, I determined to give up my monastic vows. More than ever I felt myself given over to serving the cause of Buddhism. (BT)

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There is an interesting story of a group of people who decided to go and study under a great Tibetan teacher. They had already studied somewhat with other teachers, but had decide to concentrate on trying to learn from this particular person. They were all very anxious to become his students and so sought an audience with him, but this great teacher would not accept any of them. “Under one condition only will I accept you,” he said. “If you are willing to renounce your previous teachers.” They all pleaded with him, telling him how much they were devoted to him, how great his reputation was, and how much they would like to study with him. But he would not accept any of them unless they would meet his condition. Finally all except one person in the party decided to renounce their previous teachers, from whom they had in fact learned a great deal. The guru seemed to be quite happy when they did so and told them all to come back the next day. But when they returned he said to them, “I understand your hypocrisy. The next time you go to another teacher you will renounce me. So get out.” And he chased them all out except for the one person who valued what he had learned previously. (CTSM)

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In the tantric tradition, discovering that ambiguity is called “discovering the seed syllable.” Ambiguity is called a “seed syllable” when it becomes a starting point rather than a source of problems. When we accept uncertainty as the working base, then we begin to discover that we do not exist. We can experience and appreciate the ambiguity as the source of confusion as well as the source of humor. The discovery of nonexistence comes from experiencing both the energy of humor and the heavy “thingness” or form of confusion. But form or thingness does not prove the existence of energy, and energy does not prove the existence of form. So there is no confirmation, just ambiguity. Therefore, we still find ourselves at a loss. However, at this point that feeling of being lost has the quality of freedom rather than the quality of confusion.” (JWG)

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It is important to see that the main point of any spiritual practice is to step out of THE BUREAUCRACY OF EGO. This means stepping out of ego’s constant desire for a higher, more spiritual, more transcendental version of knowledge, religion, virtue, judgment, comfort, or whatever it is that the particular ego is seeking. One must step out of spiritual materialism. If we do not step out of spiritual materialism, if we in fact practice it, then we may eventually find ourselves possessed of a huge collection of spiritual paths. We may feel these spiritual collections to be very precious. We have studied so much. We may have studied Western philosophy or Oriental philosophy, practiced yoga, or perhaps have studied under dozens of great masters. We have achieved and we have learned. We believe that we have accumulated a hoard of knowledge. And yet, having gone through all this, there is still something to give up. It is extremely mysterious! How could this happen? Impossible! But unfortunately it is so. Our vast collections of knowledge and experience are just part of ego’s display, part of the grandiose quality of ego. We display them to the world and, in so doing, reassure ourselves that we exist, safe and secure, as “spiritual” people. But we have simply created a shop, an antique shop. (CTSM)

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The only true elegance is vulnerability

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The mutual dance of love

In the mahayana, love and affection are largely based on free love, open love which does not ask anything in return. It is a mutual dance. Even if during the dance you step on each other’s toes, it is not regarded as problematic or an insult. We do not have to get on our high horse or be touchy about that. To learn to love, to learn to open, is one of the hardest things of all for us.

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A bodhisattva is like a crocodile : once you land in its mouth it never lets you go. If you were to want to leave your spiritual friend in order to live a free life away from such involvement, he would say, "That's great, do as you wish, go ahead and leave."
By approving your leaving he removes the object of your rebellion, so instead of going away you come closer. It is a reciprocal situation: the guru's devotion to the student is intense and therefore the student's devotion begins to awaken, even if he is stupid and thick and burdened with all kinds of problems.
The teacher's devotion to the student is compassion and the devotion of the student to the teacher is discipline. So compassion and discipline begin to meet together at some point.
And then we come to the vajrayana type of devotion in which you have given up fascination. You have identified with the path and the phenomenal world becomes an expression of the guru. There is a sense of devotion to the phenomenal world. You finally identify with the teachings and occasionally you act as a spokesman for them. Even to your own subconscious mind you act as their spokesman.
If we are able to reach this level, then any events which occur in life have messages in
them, have teachings in them. Teachings are everywhere. This is not a simple-minded notion of magic in the sense of gadgetry or trickery, but it is an astounding situation which you could interpret as magic.
There is cause and effect involved. The events of your life act as a spokesman constantly and you cannot get away from this guru; in fact you do not want to because you identify with it.
Thus the teachings become less claustrophobic, which enables you to discover the magical quality of life situations as a teaching.
Chogyam Trungpa, Devotion, Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa Vol 3, Shambhala Publications.

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You need to develop some sense of appreciation, and you need to reduce your demands and stick to the point, or realize the need for very good toilet training. Please forgive me—I’m not insulting anybody here by saying that you are not toilet trained. It could be seen as a compliment that you need a higher level of toilet training; that is something you should look for. There is tremendous cause for celebration if you could be toilet trained at a higher level.

in “Seven Characteristics of a Dharmic Person”

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Stray Dog by Chögyam Trungpa
Chögyam is merely a stray dog.
He wanders around the world,
Ocean or snow-peak mountain pass.
Chögyam will tread along as a stray dog
Without even thinking of his next meal.
He will seek friendship with birds and jackals
And any wild animal.

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The Pleasure of the Snow Lion

In the Shambhala teachings, the snow lion is connected with being perky, enjoying the freshness of the highland mountains. The snow lion is vibrant, energetic, and also youthful, roaming the highlands where the atmosphere is clear and the air is fresh. The snow lion is not perked up by temporary situations but experiences unconditional cheerfulness . . .

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"Human dignity is not based on monetary wealth. Affluent people may spend a great deal of money making their home luxurious, but they may be creating artificial luxury. Dignity comes from using your inherent human resources, by doing things with your own bare hands - on the spot, properly and beautifully. You can do that; even in the worst of situations, you can still make your life elegant. (SPW)

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Just Sitting

Questions often come up like, “Why the hell am I doing this, behaving like an idiot, just sitting?” And people also experience a lot of resentment. They think, “I’ve been told to sit like this. Somebody’s making fun of me, taking advantage of my gullibility. Somebody has made me just sit like that, just sit. I’m not even allowed to hang out. I have to just sit on my meditation cushion.” But the instruction to do that is actually an extremely important, powerful message. If we learn to sit properly, thoroughly, and fully, that is the best thing we could do at this point. If we look back on the history of our life since we were born, since we first went to school, we never sat. We never sat. We might have hung out occasionally and experienced utter boredom and felt sorry for ourselves. Feeling bored and preoccupied, we might have hung out occasionally on street corners or in our living rooms watching television, chewing our chewing gum, and so forth. But we never sat. We never sat like a rock. We never did. How about that? Here, this is the first experience in our life of sitting—not hanging out or perching—but actually sitting on the ground on a meditation cushion. Just that to begin with, to say nothing for the moment about techniques for how you sit. Before we discuss techniques, let us point out the merit—punya in Sanskrit—the very merit and sanity and wakefulness you are going to get out of this, out of just simply being willing to sit like a piece of rock. It’s fantastically powerful. It overrides the atom bomb. It’s extraordinarily powerful that we decide just to sit not hang out or perch, but just sit on a meditation cushion. Such a brave attitude, such a wonderful commitment is magnificent. It is very sane, extraordinarily sane. (PG)

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WILLING

Ask yourself: Is there something worthwhile and trustworthy in me? Of course there is! But it’s so simple that we tend to miss it or discount it. When we look into ourselves, we tend to fixate on our neurosis restlessness, and aggression. Or we might fixate on how wonderful, accomplished, and invulnerable we are, but those feelings are usually superficial, covering up our insecurities. Take a look. There is something else, something more than all that. We are willing: willing to wait, willing to smile, willing to be decent.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, “Discovering Our Capacity to Love,” in Mindfulness in Action, page 11.

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PG - The Path is the Goal
TM - Transcending Madness
OD - Ocean of Dharma
CTSM - Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
TS - The Teacup and the Skulcup
SPW - Sacred Path of the Warrior
JWG - Journey Without Goal
BT - Born in Tibet




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