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May 13, 2009

Just back from three weeks on the road in Europe. It is really a truism that one of the beneficial effects of travel to different cultures is that it makes you see things in a new light. This time in Europe, I felt that I was engaged in a sort of dharma tourism that gave me a renewed appreciation for the tradition in which I am practicing. I was visiting Buddhist practitioners in France, Spain, and Italy. Throughout my travels, I heard about and met with various teachers who are presenting the work of Chögyam Trungpa in country after country. In Paris, I had the opportunity to meet with editors connected with Editions du Seuil, one of the main publishers of Chögyam Trungpa's work in France. Over a publishers' lunch in an Italian restaurant on the Left Bank, we spoke about the current editorial efforts by senior editor Judith Lief to edit the advanced teachings presented by Trungpa Rinpoche at the Vajradhatu Seminaries into three volumes of root texts to be published by Shambhala Publications, in association with Vajradhatu Publications, in 2012. The recently released The Truth of Suffering is a taste of what these volumes will offer. In France, there was a great deal of interest in this project, as well as in other new books by this most prolific of authors—astonishingly still being edited and published more than twenty years after his death.

Then, in Rome, staying in a wonderful apartment close to the Coliseum and other ancient sites, offered to me by one of the founding members of the Shambhala group in Rome, I was touched to find people for whom the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa are their life's blood, precious treasures amidst a world of ancient glories. One day, while sightseeing near the Pantheon, my daughter and I went into a small doorway that promised a tour of an ancient Roman apartment and cistern. There, beneath the city of Rome, the Indian owners of the establishment had decorated their Roman ruins with photographs from the Ajanta caves and various Buddhist sites in India. Even looking for an experience of Rome, we found the Buddha!


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