Reader Guides

  • Tao Te Ching: A Reader’s Guide to the Great Taoist Classic

    Lao Tzu

    Legend has it that around the sixth century BCE, during the Spring and Autumn period of ancient China, a wise and venerable philosopher found himself so distraught over the chaos and social upheaval of his time that he decided to flee across the western border of China (into what is now the region of Tibet). But before he could pass beyond the western gates, he was approached by a guard who had heard of his reputation as a person of great wisdom. The guard asked the philosopher to leave some record of his wisdom before passing beyond. And the philosopher retreated for a short time before returning with a simple yet amazingly profound book of his writing, which was passed on to later generations as the Tao Te Ching (or more phonetically in pinyin, Dao De Jing)—the book of the Way and its virtue. And then he journeyed forth across the Tibetan plateau, never to be seen in China again. This philosopher would eventually become known as Lao Tzu, “the Old Master,” and his little book would go on to become not only the foundational text for the Taoist tradition but one of the most widely studied and influential works of philosophy and spirituality to ever grace the cultures of our world.

    Of course, whether or not there was an individual named Lao Tzu or even a single author of the Tao Te Ching is hotly contested. But the Tao Te Ching nevertheless stands as one of the shining jewels of ancient Chinese thought and a treasured classic of our global intellectual heritage. It has become so influential, in fact, that it parallels even the Bible in its readership, having been translated into dozens of versions in countless languages worldwide. With so many translations available, the task of choosing a version to read can be downright overwhelming.

    We offer this as a guide to the many translations available from Shambhala Publications. Although we certainly don’t publish all of the staggeringly numerous translations available in English, we are proud to share some of the most acclaimed. Below you will find a short description of each of these translations, organized by translator, and also a short guide to additional recommendations for further reading. Each brings out something unique and beautiful, and we hope that you enjoy them.


    John C. H. Wu

    Many people call the translation from John C. H. Wu their go-to favorite, and since its original publication in 1961 it has been an enduring classic—for good reason. Wu was a hugely important figure in his age, serving as ambassador from China to the Vatican in the late 1940s and having a pivotal role in the drafting of the constitution of Taiwan. Equally at home in both Eastern and Western cultures and languages, his monumental translation of Lao Tzu’s philosophy is a reflection of his mastery of both worlds. As Thomas Merton, his contemporary, exclaimed, “No better choice of translator could be made for the Tao Teh Ching than Dr. C. H. Wu.” His stunning diction has a much-deserved reputation for resonating deeply with the minds and hearts of English speakers, and the clarity of his language makes comprehensible what could otherwise be a daunting read. If you want to learn about this great classic of world literature and aren’t sure where to turn, the Wu translation is a perfect starting point.

    Ursula K. Le Guin

    Most people know Ursula K. Le Guin for her extraordinary science fiction. Fewer know just how pervasive Taoist themes are to so much of her work. Here we are treated to Le Guin’s unique take on Taoist philosophy’s founding classic. Full of mystery, wonder, and awe-inspiring power, Le Guin’s Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching is a testament to her deep-seated understanding of Taoist principles and their value for our troubled world today and for the future of humanity. If you’ve enjoyed Le Guin’s writing and yearn for a deeper window into her mind—or if you simply wish to explore the philosophical bedrock that shaped an incredible, historically significant feminist author—you will surely find an incomparable treasure in this book. Also of note, the audio edition is read by Le Guin herself (a real treat).

    William Scott Wilson

    Few translators are as adept and rigorous as William Scott Wilson, especially acclaimed for his translations of great Japanese classics of the samurai age—among them, Hagakure, The Book of Five Rings, and The Unfettered Mind. Here he lends his acumen to the Tao Te Ching by bringing to bear two key sources, a commonly used ancient text from about 200 BCE and a still more ancient, lesser known text written in the Great Seal script of Lao Tzu’s age. The translation alone is unparalleled in its worth. But beyond the translation, Wilson’s Tao Te Ching also offers a wide range of supplements for deeper enrichment: an introduction to the history and philosophy of the text to ground one’s reading, an exploration of Taoist influence on the Zen tradition (a topic of huge significance), reflections on the role of the Tao Te Ching in the development of the martial arts in China and Japan, and extensive notes to clarify the text and demonstrate resonances with related Taoist authors.

    Sam Hamill

    Sam Hamill is a literary giant—the creator of dozens of acclaimed translations from Chinese, Japanese, Greek, and Latin, and the recipient of countless awards for his outstanding poetry. In this, his majestically sparse and evocative translation of the Tao Te Ching, he weaves together the enigmatic language of the text in a way that captures the imagination and compels the reader to deep meditation. Also included are original calligraphies from acclaimed Zen teacher and artist Kazuaki Tanahashi, which serve to further enrapture the reader to contemplation. This is a true poet’s translation. There’s nothing else like it.

    Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo

    Prolific authors and translators Stephen Addiss (The Art of Haiku) and Stanley Lombardo (Iliad, Odyssey) need little introduction. And seeing these two names attached to the Tao Te Ching should readily get one’s attention. In their rendition of the text, Addiss and Lombardo sought to achieve four key goals: (1) to let the original enigmatic nature of the text speak for itself as much as possible without explanation and personal interpretation, (2) to be true to the compact pithiness of the text, (3) to avoid illusory gendered language that has no relation to the neutrality of the Chinese, and (4) to offer a glimpse at the Chinese text of each chapter so as to supply a clearer window into the original. Coupled with stunningly gorgeous ink paintings by Addiss at the beginning of each chapter, what you get is an amazingly artful and startlingly relatable Tao Te Ching that will surely stand the test of time as indispensable. As Beat author Gary Snyder once remarked, “Of the many translations I have read in English, this is unquestionably the best.” It’s that good.


    For Further Exploration

    Tao Te Ching: Zen Teachings on the Taoist Classic

    Interested in Zen? Keen to learn more about how Taoist philosophy influenced and informed the tradition? Then this book isn’t to be missed. Written by famed Japanese Zen teacher Takuan Soho, Tao Te Ching: Zen Teachings on the Taoist Classic is a Zen commentary on the entirety of the Tao Te Ching text (here included in its entirety as well). Translated by the masterful Thomas Cleary, Takuan’s Zen commentary is a fascinating exploration of the intersection of Tao and Dharma. And it really helps to show how Zen inherited, synthesized, and carried forward Lao Tzu’s wisdom.

    Hua Hu Ching: The Later Teachings of Lao Tzu

    Though tradition has it that the Tao Te Ching is the only written record of Lao Tzu’s teachings, there are nevertheless other traditions that purport to carry further teachings of the great Old Master. The Hua Hu Ching is one of them, a compilation of stories about Lao Tzu and his teaching activity from his elder years beyond the borders of China. Thought to have been suppressed for centuries, this rare text has been translated by contemporary Taoist teacher Hua-Ching Ni and serves as a thought-provoking companion volume to the Tao Te Ching.

    Wen-Tzu: Understanding the Mysteries (Further Teachings of Lao-tzu)

    The Wen-tzu is a second book that is said to contain orally transmitted teachings from the life of Lao Tzu. Whether or not that’s true, it’s a riveting read—and really helps a lot to flesh out the core Taoist concepts found in the Tao Te Ching. Translated by Thomas Cleary, it’s not to be missed.

    The Essential Chuang Tzu

    Usually when one speaks about essential reading for Taoism, the Tao Te Ching comes up first and the Chuang Tzu second. In many ways, they are the pillars on which the Taoist tradition is based. These teachings from an early Taoist sage are written in the form is easily relatable stories—fables, poetic verses, meandering conversations, and anecdotal wisdom. If you’re interested in Taoism, the Chuang Tzu will make its way onto your reading list sooner or later. This translation from Sam Hamill and J. P. Seaton is joyful, witty, and a delight to contemplate, as any good rendition of the Chuang Tzu should be.

    The Taoist Classics

    Over the course of his career as a professional scholar and translator, Thomas Cleary has produced dozens of translations of traditional Taoist texts. And the transmission of Taoism to the Western world owes much to Cleary for his decades of effort. This series collects his numerous translations into four extensive volumes. The first volume contains his full translation of the Tao Te Ching along with the Chuang-tzu, Wen-tzu, and others. Subsequent volumes go even deeper into the tradition and shed light on many centuries of Taoist development.

    The Taoism Reader

    To get a taste of a variety of Taoist texts, The Taoism Reader from Thomas Cleary offers excerpts from many of the books included in The Taoist Classics. It’s a very good starting point for anyone who wants to learn the basics of Taoism—and also makes a great gift for anyone in your life who might have a burgeoning interest in Eastern philosophy.

    Taoism: An Essential Guide

    Eva Wong is one of the world’s greatest contemporary Taoist expositors—and this, her introduction to the broader Taoist tradition, is immensely helpful. Whether you’ve read the Tao Te Ching and want to learn more about the history of Taoist thought or you’re preparing to read the Tao Te Ching and want to get some context before digging in, this is the book for the job. Highly recommended for anyone looking to learn the heart of the tradition.

  • The Future of Religion: A Reader's Guide

    In the world of religion, some things stay the same, while many are constantly adapting to meet our new world of the internet and cell phones, scientific discovery, increasing awareness of gender and race dynamics, multiculturalism, the numbers of people identifying their religion as “none” or “spiritual but not religious,” and so much more.

    We have chosen a few books below that address these issues, each in its own way.

    “Rita Gross offers readers an amazing example of a lifelong, ongoing commitment to feminist thinking and practice. Her visionary insistence that the path to ending patriarchal domination must lead us beyond gender is a revolutionary paradigm shift, one that can lead to greater freedom for everyone.”
    —bell hooks

    What might religion look like in the future? Using Buddhism to explore this question, Ken Wilber offers insights that are relevant to all of the great traditions. He shows that traditional Buddhist teachings suggest an ongoing evolution leading toward a more unified, holistic, and interconnected spirituality. Touching on all of the key turning points in the history of Buddhism, Wilber describes the ways in which the tradition has been open to the continuing expansion of its teachings, and he suggests possible paths toward an ever more Integral approach. This work is a precursor to and condensed version of Wilber’s The Religion of Tomorrow.

    If you’ve heard about the many benefits of mindfulness practice but think you don’t have time for it in your busy life, prepare to be proven delightfully wrong. Mindfulness is available every moment, including right now, as Zen teacher Jan Chozen Bays shows with these twenty-five mindfulness exercises that can be done anywhere. Use them to cultivate the gratitude and insight that come from paying attention with body, heart, and mind to life’s many small moments.

    It’s been said that Jack Kerouac made it cool to be a thinking person seeking a spiritual experience. And there is no doubt that the writers he knew and inspired—Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Gary Snyder, and others—were thinkers seeking exactly that. In this re-claiming of their vision, Robert Inchausti explores the Beat canon to reveal that the movement was at heart a spiritual one. It’s about their shared perception of an existence in which the Divine reveals itself in the ordinary.

  • Book Club Discussion | Wild Comfort

    “This is something that needs explaining, how light emerges from darkness, how comfort wells up from sorrow. The Earth holds every possibility inside it, and the mystery of transformation, one thing into another. This is the wildest comfort. That's what this book is about.” (xi)

    In an effort to make sense of the deaths in quick succession of several loved ones, Kathleen Dean Moore turned to the comfort of the wild, making a series of solitary excursions into ancient forests, wild rivers, remote deserts, and windswept islands to learn what the environment could teach her in her time of pain. This book is the record of her experiences. It’s a stunning collection of carefully observed accounts of her life—tracking otters on the beach, cooking breakfast in the desert, canoeing in a snow squall, wading among migrating salmon in the dark—but it is also a profound meditation on the healing power of nature.

    If you’re reading along, please comment at the bottom of this guide and let us know how you connected to Wild Comfort.

    Wild Comfort

    Questions for Discussion

    • Have you had similar experiences of finding lessons and comfort in the natural world?
    • Favorite anecdote from the book?
    • What do you think of the idea of the “secular sacred”?

    Notable Quotes

    Part I: Gladness

    “You once were as wise as a snake. You have forgotten so much more than you know.

    But the cells hold their memories.

    Do not be surprised that the return of the light lifts your spirits. Do not be surprised that warmth on your back calms you and makes you glad. Feel your spirits lift as the sun rises higher in the sky: this is part of you, this snaky gladness, part of who you have been for a million years. Find the warm places; do not expect them to come to you. When you find them, stay there and be still. Be still and watchful. In this quiet, taste the air. Lick up the taste of it. Listen. Listen with the full length of your body against the ground.” (9, “The Solace of Snakes”)

    “In my notes, there’s an odd relationship between happiness and sadness, which makes me wonder if these are opposing emotions after all, or if the opposite of happiness might be something else—meaninglessness, maybe, or emptiness.” (29, “The Happy Basket”)

    “But what if I could see the familiar world as if I had never seen it before, even if I see it every day—with that wonderment and surprise? Or see it as if I would never see it again? Then imagine the glory. [...]

    To be worthy of the astonishing world, a sense of wonder will be a way of life, in every place and time, no matter how familiar: to listen in the dark of every night, to praise the mystery of every returning day, to be astonished again and again, to be grateful with an intensity that cannot be distinguished from joy.” (36, “Suddenly, There Was with the Angel”)

    Part II: Solace

    “Rivers flow downhill. Rivers fall off cliffs. You cannot trust them. This is the way the world is. Life is a joke—exactly that joke, all of us falling to our deaths from the moment we are born. Where is meaning to be found in such a world—this world, this black rock, rock wren, heartrending world?” (79, “A Joke My Father Liked to Tell”)

    “We all in our own ways catch the light of the world and reflect it back, and this is what is bright and surprising about a person, this rainbow shimmer created from colorless structure. Maybe there is no meaning in the world itself—no sorrow. In fact, no good or bad, beginning or end. Maybe what there is, is the individual way each of us has of transforming the world, ways to refract it, to create of it something that shimmers from our spread wings. This is our work, creating these wings and giving them color.” (82, “A Joke My Father Liked to Tell”)

    “But I believe hope is not a gallows screen. Hope is what keeps us climbing the stairs toward gallows we know full well await us, which is what we do so nobly and what has become our art, our beauty, our cause for celebration.

    To carry on, to continue, to make or find what gentle beauty we can before our lives end—this is the thing with feathers even when its head falls off.” (99, “Things with Feathers”)

    “No measure of human grief can stop Earth in its tracks. Earth rolls into sunlight and rolls away again, continents glowing green and gold under the clouds. Trust this, and there will come a time when dogged, desperate trust in the world will break open into wonder. Wonder leads to gratitude. Gratitude opens onto peace.” (103, “Morning in Romero Canyon”)

    “For how smart we think we are, how facile with words, we don’t have a word for this feeling, the feeling of being blessed by belonging. If the universe is an unfolding bud, then I am a part of its creative surge, along with the flowing of water and the growing of pines. I can find a kind of camaraderie in this universe, once I recover from the astonishment of it. Or maybe not camaraderie exactly. What is the opposite of loneliness?” (147, “The Possum in the Plum Tree”)

    “The secular sacred. Secular: living in the world. Sacred: worthy of reverence and awe. Reverence: profound respect mixed with love and awe. Awe: fear and admiration.” (153, “The Time for the Singing of Birds”)

    Part III: Courage

    “Would we be so afraid of our own deaths if we didn’t love life so urgently? If there were no love, there would be no loss. I am quite sure about this. But I wonder if it has to work the other way too. If we did not fear or suffer loss, could we claim to feel love?” (179, “How Can I Keep from Singing?”)

    Book Recommendations

    Related Books

  • Chögyam Trungpa: A Reader’s Guide

    Chögyam Trungpa's legacy is nearly impossible to measure, but one gauge is his literary output.ögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s impact on the transmission of Buddhism to the West cannot be overstated. In the quarter century he spent in the West, he taught tens of thousands of students, in many cases introducing them to Buddhism for the first time. His legacy is nearly impossible to measure, but one gauge is his literary output. Shambhala has published about three dozen unique books by, about, and based on talks given by Chögyam Trungpa, with that number growing still as some of his personal editors, in particular Carolyn Rose Gimian and Judy Lief, continue to take the original audio and transcripts of his teachings and edit them for publication as books.  Amazingly, some of his earliest teachings are still those that resonate most strongly and seem the most fresh and up-to-date.

    Vast corpus of work

    It can be daunting deciding where to start with his corpus of work—not just because of the prolificacy of titles, but because they span so many subjects. Of course, Rinpoche predominantly taught on the three vehicles of Buddhism with a fresh, modern presentation. But beginning in 1976, he also presented a secular set of teachings known as the Shambhala teachings (more about this below). He also taught extensively on art, poetry, psychology, death and dying, and many more topics, both within the scope of Buddhism but also in the context of the Shambhala teachings. [Note: The shared name between Shambhala Publications and these teachings is a curiosity of history—Shambhala Publications actually had the name  before Trungpa Rinpoche had even come to the West. ”Shambhala” is an ancient name referring to a mythical kingdom in Asia whose inhabitants enjoy an enlightened society.]

    Chogyam 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


    Reader’s Guide

    Here you will find a guide to his works, loosely categorized and with recommendations on where to start. You are always welcome to skip ahead to any section that most interests you.

    General Introductions

    Mindfulness & Psychology


    Hinayana: The “Lesser” Vehicle
    Mahayana: The Great Vehicle
    Vajrayana: The Diamond Vehicle

    Arts & Poetry

    Shambhala Teachings

    Death, Dying, and the Bardos

    Chögyam Trungpa’s Life and Legacy

    Collected Works

    General Introduction

    All of the books in this first section are great “starter” books, providing excellent entryways into Chögyam Trungpa’s voice, philosophy, and teachings.

    1. Cutting Through Spiritual MaterialismWe will start with one book that in many ways defies categorization and is considered by many Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike as a spiritual classic. In Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Trungpa Rinpoche highlights the most common pitfall to which almost every aspirant on the spiritual path falls prey: what he calls spiritual materialism. The universal tendency, he shows, is to see spirituality as a process of self-improvement—the impulse to develop and refine the ego when the ego is, by nature, essentially empty. “The problem is that ego can convert anything to its own use,” he said, “even spirituality.” His incisive, compassionate teachings serve to wake us up from this trick we all play on ourselves, and to offer us a far brighter reality: the true and joyous liberation that inevitably involves letting go of the self rather than working to improve it. It is a message that has resonated with students for nearly thirty years and remains fresh as ever today.
    2. The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation: Chögyam Trungpa’s unique ability to express the essence of Buddhist teachings in the language and imagery of modern American culture makes his books among the most accessible works of Buddhist philosophy. Here Trungpa Rinpoche explores the true meaning of freedom, showing us how our preconceptions, attitudes, and even our spiritual practices can become chains that bind us to repetitive patterns of frustration and despair.
    3. Not only was Meditation in Action the first book Trungpa Rinpoche wrote, it was also the first book Shambhala Publications ever published. In this work, he shows that meditation extends beyond the formal practice of sitting to build the foundation for compassion, awareness, and creativity in all aspects of life. He explores the six activities associated with meditation in action—generosity, discipline, patience, energy, clarity, and wisdom—revealing that through simple, direct experience, one can attain real wisdom: the ability to see clearly into situations and deal with them skillfully, without the self-consciousness connected with ego.
    4. The Essential Chögyam Trungpa is an excellent starting point for those who wish to have a taste of the breadth of his work. It weaves excerpts from best sellers such as Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Meditation in Action, and other titles into a concise overview of his teachings. Forty selections from fourteen different books articulate the secular path of the Shambhala warrior as well as the Buddhist path of meditation and awakening. This “new classic” vividly demonstrates Trungpa Rinpoche’s great appreciation of Western culture that, combined with his deep understanding of the Tibetan tradition, makes these teachings uniquely accessible to contemporary readers. It will appeal to beginning students of meditation as well as those interested in Eastern religion.
    5. The Path is the Goal. The Buddha taught meditation as the essential spiritual practice. Nothing else is more important. These classic teachings on the outlook and technique of meditation provide the foundation that every practitioner needs to awaken as the Buddha did. Chögyam Trungpa here reveals how the deliberate practice of mindfulness develops into awareness, insight, and openness. He also guides us away from the ego’s trap: the urge to make meditation serve our ambition.
    6. The Pocket Chögyam Trungpa.  Trungpa Rinpooche used to say that wisdom can be taught only in the form of a hint—a hint that inclines us to recognize the wisdom in us all along. Here are 108 marvelous hints from the renowned teacher so supremely skilled at dropping them. This small book will serve as a compact introduction to his teachings for those not yet familiar with him—and as a wonderful source of daily inspiration for those who are.

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    Related Books

    Mindfulness & Psychology

    Chogyam Trungpa was one of the first teachers in the West to use the terms mindfulness and awareness to talk about the practice of meditation and the states of mind that are associated with meditation. He was a pioneer in this area and many regard him as one of the fathers of the mindfulness movement. Today, mindfulness is being used as a helpful technique in education, health, working with pain, business, and many other fields. Chogyam Trungpa’s teachings are still fresh and relevant to the understanding of the power of mindfulness in working with the challenges of everyday life.

    1. Mindfulness in Action: Making Friends with Yourself through Meditation and Everyday Awareness. The rewards of mindfulness practice are well proven: reduced stress, improved concentration, and an overall sense of well-being. But those benefits are just the beginning; it can also help us work more effectively with life’s challenges, expanding our appreciation and potential for creative engagement. This book provides all the basics to get you started, but also goes deeper to address the questions that naturally arise as your practice matures and further insight arises. A distillation of teachings on the subject by one of the great meditation masters of our time, this book serves as an introduction to the practice as well as a guide to the ongoing mindful journey.
    2. Mindfulness in Action Making Friends with Yourself through Meditation and Everyday Awareness Taught by Carolyn Rose GimianMindfulness in Action: Making Friends with Yourself through Meditation and Everyday Awareness We are so pleased to also offer an online course on this material, available on-demand, presented by one of Trungpa Rinpoche’s main students and editors, Carolyn Rose Gimian.
    3. Work, Sex, Money: Real Life on the Path of Mindfulness. We all hope that these aspects of our life will be a source of fulfillment and pleasure, and they often are. Yet they are also always sources of problems for which we seek practical advice and solutions. The best prescription, according to Chögyam Trungpa, is a dose of reality and also a dose of respect for ourselves and our world. His profound teachings on work, sex, and money celebrate the sacredness of life and our ability to cope with its twists and turns with dignity, humor, and even joy.He begins by breaking down the barrier between the spiritual and the mundane, showing that work, sex, and money are just as much a part of our spiritual life as they are a part of our everyday existence. He then discusses these subjects in relation to ego and self-image, karma, mindfulness, and meditation. “Work” includes general principles of mindfulness and awareness in how we conduct everyday life as well as discussion of ethics in business and the workplace. “Sex” is about relationships and communication as a whole. “Money” looks at how we view the economics of livelihood and money as “green energy” that affects our lives. The result is an inclusive vision of life, one that encompasses the biggest issues and the smallest details of every day.
    4. The Sanity We Are Born With: A Buddhist Approach to Psychology describes how anyone can strengthen their mental health, and it also addresses the specific problems and needs of people in profound psychological distress. Additionally, Rinpoche speaks to the concerns of psychotherapists and other health care professionals who work with their patients’ states of mind. The collection includes teachings on:
          • Buddhist concepts of mind, ego, and intelligence and how these ideas can be employed in working on oneself and with others
          • Meditation as a way of training the mind and cultivating mindfulness
          • Nurturing our intrinsic health and basic sanity
          • Guidance for psychotherapists and health professionals

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    For the full overview of the three yanas (or vehicles of Buddhism), it would be difficult to dive deeper than the three-volume Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma. In many ways Trungpa Rinpoche’s magnum opus, this set forms the complete overview of the Buddhist path. Edited by Judy Lief from many talks and seminar, this represents the most comprehensive presentation of the Buddhist path generally and the three yanas specifically.

    As Judy Lief summarized, "the hinayana refers to individual development and the path of the arhat ('worthy one'); the mahayana refers to the joining of wisdom and compassionate action and the path of the bodhisattva ('awake being'); and the vajrayana refers to fearless engagement and spiritual daring and the path of the siddha ('holder of spiritual power'). The three-yana approach presents a map of the path based on a student’s  natural, developmental progression."

    We will look at each volume more closely in the sections below.

    In The Heart of the Buddha, Chögyam Trungpa presents the basic teachings of Buddhism as they relate to everyday life. The book is divided into three parts. In “Personal Journey,” he discusses the open, inquisitive, and good-humored qualities of the “heart of the Buddha,” an “enlightened gene” that everyone possesses. In “Stages on the Path,” he presents the three vehicles—Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana—that carry the Buddhist practitioner toward enlightenment. And in “Working with Others,” he describes the direct application of Buddhist teachings to topics as varied as relationships, drinking, children, and money. The Heart of the Buddha reflects Trungpa Rinpoche’s great appreciation for Western culture and deep understanding of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, which enabled him to teach Westerners in an effective, contemporary way.

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    The Hinayana path is based on training in mindfulness and awareness, cultivating virtue, and cutting grasping.  While the presentation of the three yanas often gives one the sense that the “higher” yanas supersede the one before it, Trungpa Rinpoche was adamant that his students “don’t forget the Hinayana!” and presented each one as something that must be fully integrated if one wishes to truly progress on the path.  Describing the Hinayana, he said, "The hinayana is called the smaller vehicle, not because it is simpleminded or lacking in vision, but because it is a pragmatic, deep-rooted approach".

    His teachings on the Hinayana are very deep and practical—in no way something to skip or gloss over on the way to learning the practices of the Mahayana and Vajrayana.

    1. The first volume of the Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma is The Path of Individual Liberation and is an excellent place to start. It covers in great detail topics such as the Four Noble Truths, karma, the four foundations of mindfulness, meditation, the refuge vows, the three jewels, the five skandhas, and more.
    2. PEntering the Path The Hinayana Teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Taught by Judith L. Liefrajna Studios, our education and multimedia branch, also offers an immersive online course based on this book and taught by Judy Lief, Entering the Path: The Hinayana Teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, which consists of nine downloadable video talks along with archive video footage, meditation instructions, contemplations, and lots more. This course is designed for you to learn at your own pace, wherever and whenever works best for you.
    3. The Truth of Suffering and the Path of Liberation is Chögyam Trungpa’s in-depth exploration of the Four Noble Truths—the foundational Buddhist teaching about the origin of suffering and its cessation. It emphasizes their profound relevance not just as an inspiration when we set out on the path but at every other moment of our lives as well, showing how we can join the view—an intellectual understanding—of the teaching with practical applications in order to interrupt suffering before it arises.
    4. Glimpses of Abhidharma explains the Abhidharma, a collection of Buddhist scriptures that investigate the workings of the mind and the states of human consciousness. In this book, Chögyam Trungpa shows how an examination of the formation of the ego provides us with an opportunity to develop real intelligence. Trungpa also presents the practice of meditation as the means that enables us to see our psychological situation clearly and directly.


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    1. The second volume of The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma is called The Bodhisattva Path of Wisdom and Compassion. This is a complete overview of the Mahayana path and covers topics such as buddha nature, emptiness and compassion, the activity of a Bodhisattva, mind training (or lojong), and more.
    2. We also offer an immersive online course, The Bodhisattva Path of Wisdom and Compassion: The Mahayana Teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, which presents this work for you to access at your own pace with seven downloadable video talks, meditation instructions, contemplations, and lots more with one of his personal students and editors, Judy Lief.
    3. Lojong is a particular set of practices meant to accelerate progress on the Bodhisattva path. Feel free to take a look at our Reader’s Guide on this topic to learn more. Trungpa Rinpoche’s book on this essential set of mind-training techniques is called Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness. The fifty-nine provocative slogans have been used by Tibetan Buddhists for eight centuries to help meditation students remember and focus on important principles and practices of mind training. The slogans emphasize meeting the ordinary situations of life with intelligence and compassion under all circumstances.
    4. Glimpses of the Profound is a collection of four Mahayana-centric teachings on the discovery and characteristics of buddha nature, emptiness, the inseparability of the vastness of the feminine principle and the dynamism of the masculine principle, and the three bodies of enlightenment (dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, nirmanakaya).

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    Vajrayana (or Tantra)

    Tantra (Vajrayana) is a vast and often misunderstood subject that Trungpa Rinpoche taught on extensively. And his presentation was quite unique—really explaining it in the context of Western culture and beliefs. It is traditionally explained that it is not a system to embark on without a fully qualified teacher, both because of possible misunderstandings but—crucially—because progress cannot be made without the direct access and transmission of the lineage.

    1. Journey without Goal: The Tantric Wisdom of the Buddha is based on the author’s talks at Naropa University. This volume introduces the reader to the principles of tantra based on the practice of meditation, leading to the discovery of egolessness. Trungpa Rinpoche provides a direct and experiential picture of the tantric world, explaining the importance of self-existing energy, the mandala principle, the role of the teacher, the meaning of tantric transmission, and the difference between Buddhist and Hindu tantra—stressing the nontheistic foundation of Buddhism. In the process, he demystifies the Vajrayana and, at the same time, affirms the power and sacredness of its ancient teaching.
    2. The third and final volume of The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma is The Tantric Path of Indestructible Wakefulness. The Vajrayana, or “diamond vehicle,” also referred to as tantra, draws upon and extends the teachings of the Hinayana and Mahayana. As with the Hinayana and the Mahayana, the formal acceptance into the Vajrayana is marked by a vow—in this case the samaya vow. There is an emphasis at this stage on the student-teacher relationship and on the quality of devotion. Generally, students must complete preliminary practices, called ngöndro, to prepare themselves for initiation into the Vajrayana path before going further. Having done so, they then receive the appropriate empowerments to begin tantric practices. Empowerment ceremonies are called abhishekas. The Vajrayana includes both form practices, such as visualizations and sadhanas (ritual liturgies), and formless practices based on allowing the mind to rest naturally in its inherent clarity and emptiness. Although on the surface there is much greater complexity in tantric practices, the principles of mindfulness and awareness and the cultivation of compassion and skillful action continue to be of central importance.The tantric path requires complete engagement and fierce dedication. It is said to be a more rapid path, but it is also more dangerous. There is a quality of directness, abruptness, and wholeheartedness. Tantrikas, or Vajrayana practitioners, recognize that the most challenging aspects of life—the energies and play of confused emotions and frightening obstacles—can be worked with as gateways to freedom and realization. Other topics covered in detail in this volume include the four reminders, the mandala principle, mahamudra, atiyoga, and more.
    3. Glimpses of Vajrayana The Tantric Teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Taught by Judith L. LiefWe also have an online course that walks you through this work, Glimpses of Vajrayana: The Tantric Teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, which consists of seven downloadable video talks along with archive video footage, meditation instructions, contemplations, and lots more.
    4. Milarepa: Lessons from the Life and Songs of Tibet’s Great Yogi: Milarepa is a central figure in Tibet, and in particular in the Kagyü tradition with Trungpa Rinpoche is so closely connected. The story of Milarepa is a tale of such extreme and powerful transformation that it might be thought not to have much direct application to our own less dramatic lives—but Chögyam Trungpa shows otherwise. This collection of his teachings on the life and songs of the great Tibetan Buddhist poet-saint reveals how Milarepa’s difficulties can be a source of guidance and inspiration for anyone. His struggles, his awakening, and the teachings from his remarkable songs provide precious wisdom for all us practitioners and show what devoted and diligent practice can achieve.
    5. Crazy Wisdom is what Chögyam Trungpa describes “as an innocent state of mind that has the quality of early morning—fresh, sparkling, and completely awake.” This fascinating book examines the life of Padmasambhava—the revered Indian teacher who brought Buddhism to Tibet—to illustrate the principle of crazy wisdom. From this profound point of view, spiritual practice does not provide comfortable answers to pain or confusion. On the contrary, painful emotions can be appreciated as a challenging opportunity for new discovery. In particular, Trungpa Rinpoche discusses meditation as a practical way to uncover one’s own innate wisdom.
    6. Orderly Chaos: The Mandala Principle explains how all phenomena are part of one reality. Whether good or bad, happy or sad, clear or obscure, everything is interrelated and reflects a single totality. As Chögyam Trungpa explains, from the perspective of the mandala principle, existence is orderly chaos. There is chaos and confusion because everything happens by itself, without any external ordering principle. At the same time, whatever happens expresses order and intelligence, wakeful energy and precision. Through meditative practices associated with the mandala principle, the opposites of experience—confusion and enlightenment, chaos and order, pain and pleasure—are revealed as inseparable parts of a total vision of reality.
    7. The Mandala Principle Chögyam Trungpa’s Teachings on Transforming Confusion into Wisdom Taught by Judith L. LiefThere is also an excellent online course elaborating on this topic called The Mandala Principle taught by Judy Lief, available on-demand. It includes six downloadable video talks along with additional videos of meditation instruction, contemplations, assessment questions, and more.
    8. Illusion’s Game: The Life and Teaching of Naropa is a “200 percent potent” teaching according to Trungpa Rinpoche, who reveals how the spiritual path is a raw and rugged “unlearning” process that draws us away from the comfort of conventional expectations and conceptual attitudes toward a naked encounter with reality. The tantric paradigm for this process is the story of the Indian master Naropa (1016–1100), who is among the enlightened teachers of the Kagyü lineage of the Tibetan Buddhism. Naropa was the leading scholar at Nalanda, the Buddhist monastic university, when he embarked upon the lonely and arduous path to enlightenment. After a series of daunting trials, he was prepared to receive the direct transmission of the awakened state of mind from his guru, Tilopa. Teachings that he received, including those known as the six doctrines of Naropa, have been passed down in the lineages of Tibetan Buddhism for a millennium. Trungpa Rinpoche’s commentary shows the relevance of Naropa’s extraordinary journey for today’s practitioners who seek to follow the spiritual path. Naropa’s story makes it possible to delineate in very concrete terms the various levels of spiritual development that lead to the student’s readiness to meet the teacher’s mind. Trungpa Rinpoche thus opens to Western students of Buddhism the path of devotion and surrenders to the guru as the embodiment and representative of reality.
    9. The Lion’s Roar: An Introduction to Tantra is based on two historic seminars of the 1970s in which Chögyam Trungpa introduced the tantric teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to Western students for the first time. Each seminar bore the title “The Nine Yanas.” Yana, a Sanskrit word meaning “vehicle,” refers to a body of doctrine and practical instruction that enables students to advance spiritually on the path of Buddhadharma. Nine vehicles arranged in successive levels make up the whole path of Buddhist practice. Teaching all nine means giving a total picture of the spiritual journey. Chögyam Trungpa’s nontheoretical, experiential approach opens up a world of fundamental psychological insights and subtleties. He speaks directly to a contemporary Western audience, using contemporary analogies that place the ancient teachings in the midst of ordinary life.
    10. Chogyam 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 programTrungpa Rinpoche had a particular connection to Japanese culture generally and Zen specifically. He introduced many rituals and ceremonies from Japan to his students including ikebana, oroyoki, the tea ceremony, and more. In The Teacup and the Skullcup: Where Zen and Tantra Meet, Rinpoche presents the strength and discipline gained from Zen. Through these talks you can see his respect for the Zen tradition and how it led to his using certain Zen forms for his public meditation hall rituals. He discusses the differences in style, feeling, and emphasis that distinguish the two paths and shows what each one might learn from the other. Also included are Trungpa Rinpoche’s commentary on the Ten Oxherding Pictures and an essay he composed in memory of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, a close friend with whom he continually exchanged ideas for furthering buddhadharma in America.
    11. The Dawn of Tantra: A collaboration between Trungpa Rinpoche and Professor Herbert Guenther, this book was a major milestone in presenting tantra to Westerners when first published in 1975. Tibet has been shrouded in mystery, and “tantra” has been called upon to name every kind of esoteric fantasy. In The Dawn of Tantra, the reader meets a Tibetan meditation master and a Western scholar, each having a grasp of Buddhist tantra that is real and unquestionable. This collaboration is both true to the intent of the ancient Tibetan teachings and relevant to contemporary Western life.
    12. Glimpses of Mahamudra: An Online Course Glimpses of Mahamudra The Tantric Teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Taught by Judith L. Lief

    Mahamudra is a meditation tradition within tantric Buddhism that points to the nature of awareness itself, elevating our ordinary perception to the level of the sacred. In this view, all experiences arise from a mind that is naturally vast, empty, and luminous. In this online course, esteemed Buddhist teacher and editor Judith Lief takes us on a journey through the mahamudra teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche as presented in his Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma.

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    Arts & Poetry

    1. True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art starts with the premise that art has the power to awaken and liberate. Trungpa Rinpoche called this type of art “dharma art”—any creative work that springs from an awakened state of mind, characterized by directness, unselfconsciousness, and nonaggression. Dharma art provides a vehicle to appreciate the nature of things as they are and express it without any struggle or desire to achieve. A work of dharma art brings out the goodness and dignity of the situation it reflects—dignity that comes from the artist’s interest in the details of life and sense of appreciation for experience. He shows how the principles of dharma art extend to everyday life: any activity can provide an opportunity to relax and open our senses to the phenomenal world.
    2. Mudra: Early Poems and Songs: A mudra is a symbolic gesture or action that gives physical expression to an inner state. This book of poetry and songs of devotion, written by Chögyam Trungpa between 1959 and 1971, is spontaneous and celebratory. This volume also includes the ten traditional Zen oxherding pictures accompanied by a unique commentary that offers an unmistakably Tibetan flavor. Fans of this renowned teacher will enjoy the heartfelt devotional quality of this early work.
    3. First Thought Best Thought: 108 Poems contains both poems and songs—most of which were written since Chögyam Trungpa’s arrival in the United States in 1970—that combine a background in classical Tibetan poetry with Rinpoche’s intuitive insight into the spirit of America, a spirit that is powerfully evoked in his use of colloquial metaphors and contemporary imagery. Most of the poems were originally written in English—clearly the result of his own perceptions of new forms and media offered to him by a different culture. Each poem has its own insight and power, which come from a skillful blend of traditional Asian subtlety and precision combined with a thoroughly modern vernacular. Several of Chögyam Trungpa’s calligraphies also accompany the collection.  Edited by Trungpa Rinpoche's private secretary and author David Rome.
    4. Newly selected poetry from previously published and unpublished works, Timely Rain is the definitive edition of poems and sacred songs of the renowned Tibetan meditation master. It contains some poems from the works above as well as other sources. Edited by Trungpa Rinpoche's private secretary and author David Rome.



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    Shambhala Teachings

    Chogyam 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 programAs explained above, the Shambhala teachings, a complement to the Buddhist teachings, are a set of secular instructions which give the reader an idea of what an enlightened society could be.  It introduces meditation from the point of view of basic human goodness and bravery.

    1. Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior is the foundation of the Shambhala teachings. To begin,  there is a basic human wisdom that can help solve the world’s problems. It doesn’t belong to any one culture or region or religious tradition—though it can be found in many of them throughout history. It’s what Chögyam Trungpa called the sacred path of the warrior. The sacred warrior conquers the world not through violence or aggression but through gentleness, courage, and self-knowledge. The warrior discovers the basic goodness of human life and radiates that goodness out into the world for the peace and sanity of others. That’s what the Shambhala teachings are all about, and this is the book that has been presenting them to a wide and appreciative audience for more than thirty years.
    2. Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala is a continuation of what is presented in Shambhala: The Sacred Path.  While Shambhala was an exploration of human goodness and its potential to create an enlightened society—a state that the author calls “nowness,” Great Eastern Sun—which is accessible to meditators and nonmeditators alike—centers on the question, “Since we’re here, how are we going to live from now on?”  The main themes are trust, renunciation and letting go, reiterated in many different forms, with an emphasis on how the Shambhala warrior works with these aspects of their path, in order to help others.
    3. In Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery, Chögyam Trungpa offers the insights and strategies to make friends with and tame fear. Many of us, without even realizing it, are dominated by fear. We might be aware of some of our fears—perhaps we are afraid of public speaking, of financial hardship, or of losing a loved one. Chögyam Trungpa shows that most of us suffer from a far more pervasive fearfulness: fear of ourselves. We feel ashamed and embarrassed to look at our feelings or acknowledge our styles of thinking and acting; we might turn away from the reality of our moment-to-moment experience. It is this fear that keeps us trapped in cycles of suffering, despair, and distress. Chögyam Trungpa offers us a vision of moving beyond fear to discover the innate bravery, trust, and delight in life that lies at the core of our being. Drawing on the Shambhala teachings, he explains how we can each become a spiritual warrior: a person who faces each moment of life with openness and fearlessness. Afer all, “The ultimate definition of bravery is not being afraid of who you are,” writes Chögyam Trungpa. In Smile at Fear, he also looks at how to work with real obstacles in life, not just our psychological state of mind.

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    Chögyam Trungpa’s Life and Legacy

    Chogyam 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

    There are many accounts of Trungpa Rinpoche’s life, and we are honored to have published the following:

        1. Born in Tibet is Trungpa Rinpoche’s own account of his life up through coming to the West. As the eleventh in the teaching lineage known as the Trungpa tulkus, he underwent a period of intensive training in meditation, philosophy, and fine arts, receiving full ordination as a monk in 1958 at the age of eighteen. The following year, the Chinese Communists invaded Tibet, and the young Chögyam Trungpa spent many harrowing months trekking over the Himalayas, narrowly escaping capture.Trungpa Rinpoche’s account of his experiences as a young monk, his duties as the abbot and spiritual head of a great monastery, and his moving relationships with his teachers offers a rare and intimate glimpse into the life of a Tibetan lama. The memoir concludes with his daring escape from Tibet to India. In an epilogue, he describes his emigration to the West, where he encountered many people eager to learn about the ancient wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism.
        2. The Mishap Lineage: Transforming Confusion into Wisdom is not specifically biographical, but still illustrates the transformative principle of using obstacles and challenges as fuel for the spiritual path through telling the lively history of the Trungpa tulkus (a lineage within the Kagyü tradition of Tibetan Buddhism) of which he was the eleventh incarnation. Trungpa Rinpoche referred to his lineage as the “Mishap Lineage” because of the ups and downs and colorful lives that were typical of his predecessors—and true of his own life as well. The stories of the Trungpas are seen as a guide for the practitioner’s journey and help us to understand how important lineage and community remain for us today.
        3. Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chögyam Trungpa is Diana Mukpo’s account of her life with Rinpoche. Diana, Rinpoche's wife, led an extraordinary and unusual life as the “first lady” of a burgeoning Buddhist community in the American 1970s and ’80s. She gave birth to four sons, three of whom were recognized as reincarnations of high Tibetan lamas. It is not a simple matter to be a modern Western woman married to a Tibetan Buddhist master, let alone to a public figure who is sought out and adored by thousands of eager students. Surprising events and colorful people fill the narrative as Diana seeks to understand the dynamic, puzzling, and larger-than-life man she married—and to find a place for herself in his unusual world.Rich in ambiguity, Dragon Thunder is the story of an uncommon marriage and also a stirring evocation of the poignancy of life and relationships—from a woman who has lived boldly and with originality.
        4. Recalling Chögyam Trungpa contains a wide-range of essays and interviews from contributors in the fields of Buddhist practice and scholarship, philosophy, the arts, and literature examining the work of Trungpa Rinpoche. Rinpoche had a distinct knack for breaking down the cultural, historical, and ideological barriers that made the transmission so difficult. His skill at communicating in a living language to Western students, while remaining faithful to the traditional origins of Buddhism, was paired with an understanding of the modern world with unusual relevance. As a result, his activities in a wide range of areas—including psychology, education, theater, poetry, visual arts, translation, publishing, interreligious dialogue, the creation of a path of spiritual warriorship, and the founding of the first Buddhist university in North America—offer penetrating insights into the meaning of Buddhism for our world and our culture. This anthology is a testimony to the continuing influence of his unique qualities and work as a revitalizing force in spheres both spiritual and secular.
        5. Chögyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision by Fabrice Midal is a comprehensive and gripping account of the many dimensions of Chögyam Trungpa’s life and legacy. Covering a broad range of his activities and including a full history of his life and teachings, it is a superb account revealing a clear view of Rinpoche’s legacy.

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    Death, Dying, and the Bardos

    Buddhists are experts on death and dying—reflecting on it is entwined with every moment of a practitioner’s reflections. The Tibetan tradition has a highly evolved body of teachings on death and the dying process—and how it relates to life here and now. Two of Trungpa Rinpoche’s books are devoted to the two sides of this coin.

      1. The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo emphasizes the practical advice that the book offers to the living. The insightful commentary by Chögyam Trungpa, written in clear, concise language, explains what the text teaches us about human psychology. This book will be of interest to people concerned with death and dying, as well as those who seek greater spiritual understanding in everyday life.  Rinpoche worked closely on this translation with Francesca Fremantle, who also wrote am extraordinary commentary on this called Luminous Emptiness.
      2. Transcending Madness: The Experience of the Six Bardos. The Tibetan word bardo is usually associated with life after death. Here, Chögyam Trungpa discusses bardo in a very different sense: as the peak experience of any given moment. Our experience of the present moment is always colored by one of six psychological states: the god realm (bliss), the jealous god realm (jealousy and lust for entertainment), the human realm (passion and desire), the animal realm (ignorance), the hungry ghost realm (poverty and possessiveness), and the hell realm (aggression and hatred). In relating these realms to the six traditional Buddhist bardo experiences, Trungpa Rinpoche provides an insightful look at the “madness” of our familiar psychological patterns and shows how they present an opportunity to transmute daily experience into freedom.


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    Collected Works ten volumes of Trungpa Rinpoche’s Collected Works Shambhala

    To date, there are ten volumes of Trungpa Rinpoche’s Collected Works, and all of them contain material not previously published in book form.

    1. Volume One contains Trungpa Rinpoche’s early writings in Great Britain, including Born in Tibet (1966); Meditation in Action (1969), and Mudra (1972).  Among the selected articles from the 1960s and ’70s are early teachings on compassion and the Bodhisattva path. Other articles contain unique information on the history of Buddhism in Tibet; an exposition of teachings of Dzogchen with the earliest meditation instruction by Trungpa Rinpoche ever to appear in print; and an intriguing discussion of society and politics, which may be the first recorded germ of the Shambhala teachings.
    2. Volume Two examines meditation, mind, and Mahayana, the “great vehicle” for the development of compassion and the means to help others. Chögyam Trungpa introduced a new psychological language and way of looking at the Buddhist teachings in the West. His teachings on human psychology and the human mind are included in this volume. It includes The Path Is the GoalTraining the MindGlimpses of AbhidharmaGlimpses of ShunyataGlimpses of Mahayana; and other selected writing.
    3. Volume Three captures the distinctive voice that Chögyam Trungpa developed in North America in the 1970s and reflects the preoccupations among Western students of that era. It includes Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism and The Myth of Freedom, the two books that put Chögyam Trungpa on the map of the American spiritual scene. The Heart of the Buddha and sixteen articles and forewords complete this volume.
    4. Volume Four presents introductory writings on the Vajrayana tantric teachings, clearing up Western misconceptions about Buddhist tantra. It includes three full-length books and a 1976 interview in which Chögyam Trungpa offers penetrating comments on the challenge of bringing the Vajrayana teachings to America. It includes Journey without GoalThe Lion’s RoarThe Dawn of Tantra; and an interview with Chögyam Trungpa.
    5. Volume Five focuses on the lineages of great teachers who have transmitted the Tibetan Buddhist teachings and on the practice of devotion to the spiritual teacher. It includes inspirational commentaries by Chögyam Trungpa on the lives of famous masters such as Padmasambhava, Naropa, Milarepa, Marpa, and Tilopa, as well as an excerpt from The Sadhana of Mahamudra, a tantric text that Chögyam Trungpa received as terma in 1968. It includes Crazy Wisdom and Illusion’s Game, as well as excerpts from The Life of Marpa, The Rain of Wisdom and The Sadhana of Mahamudra. The selected writings  also include “Explanation of the Vajra Guru Mantra,” an article never before published, which deals with the mantra that invokes Guru Rinpoche; seminar talks available in book form for the first time; and previously unpublished articles on Milarepa.
    6. Volume Six contains advanced teachings on the nature of mind and tantric experiences. Chögyam Trungpa’s commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Dead explains what this classic text teaches about human psychology. Transcending Madness presents a unique view of the Tibetan concept of bardo. Orderly Chaos explains the inner meaning of the mandala. Secret Beyond Thought presents teachings on the five chakras and the four karmas. Glimpses of Space consists of two seminars: “The Feminine Principle” and “Evam.” In the article “Femininity,” Chögyam Trungpa presents a playful look at the role of feminine energy in Buddhist teachings. And “The Bardo,” based on teachings given in England in the 1960s, had not been available in published form for many years.
    7. Volume Seven features the work of Chögyam Trungpa as a poet, playwright, and visual artist and his teachings on art and the creative process, which are among the most innovative and provocative aspects of his activities in the West. While it includes material in which Trungpa Rinpoche shares his knowledge of the symbolism and iconography of traditional Buddhist arts (in Visual Dharma), this richly varied volume primarily focuses on his own, often radical creative expressions. The Art of Calligraphy is a wonderful showcase for his calligraphy, and Dharma Art brings together his ideas on art, the artistic process, and aesthetics. Tibetan poetics, filmmaking, theater, and art and education are among the topics of the selected writings.  All of CTR’s published poetry is included in this volume, including many poems published in small journals and never before compiled into a book.
    8. Volume Eight covers matters of culture, state, and society. The two complete books reprinted here—Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior and Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala—explore the vision of an ancient legendary kingdom in Central Asia that is viewed as a model for enlightened society and as the ground of wakefulness and sanity that exists as a potential within every human being. The selected writings include discussions of political consciousness, the martial arts, and the true meaning of warriorship. Two of the many previously unpublished articles are “The Martial Arts and the Art of War,” on the place of warriorship in the Buddhist teachings, and “The Seven Treasures of the Universal Monarch,” a little gem describing the world of the Shambhala monarch.
    9. Volume Nine contains an extremely diverse group of teachings from True Command; Glimpses of Realization; the Shambhala Warrior Slogans; The Teacup and the Skullcup; Smile at Fear; The Mishap Lineage; and other selected writings. This collection includes both early and later talks—from an article published in 1966 in India to books published in the new millennium to material from a set of cards that present the Shambhala warrior slogans. The subject matter ranges from Zen to dharma art, from Shambhala politics to Vajrayana buddhadharma. The selected writings in this book are articles from before Chögyam Trungpa’s death in 1987 and include two interviews and several previously unpublished pieces.
    10.  Volume Ten begins with Chögyam Trungpa’s three most recent books: Work, Sex, MoneyMindfulness in Action; and Devotion and Crazy Wisdom (published by Kalapa Media). The first two books in the volume emphasize the importance of meditation in action and bringing awareness, mindfulness, intentionality, and a sense of the sacred into everyday life. The third book explores devotion and discusses mutual commitment and surrendering between teacher and student. The selected writings in this volume range from older articles originally published in the Vajradhatu Sun to recently edited articles, including several that have not yet appeared in print. Overall, these articles show us how Trungpa Rinpoche worked deeply and directly with many interest groups and subsections of the community, and how he infused each situation with dharma, taking every opportunity to present essential teachings.

    Chogyam 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 programThere are plenty more books from Trungpa Rinpoche coming.

    The editors he trained are now training a new generation of editors to work on the vast amount of material ready to be mined for publication. Stay tuned!

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    Chogyam Trungpa

    Chogyam 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.


  • Book Club Discussion | Wave in the Mind

    Each month, the Shambhala employees gather to discuss a new book as part of our Shambhala Publications Book Club. After each meeting, we will be sharing the notes from our discussion with you to spark your own thoughts and conversations, which you can share in the comments below.

    Our January pick was The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination by Ursula K. Le Guin.

    Book Description

    The Wave in the Mind presents a collection of short writings by widely loved author, Ursula K. Le Guin. While Le Guin is most recognized for her fiction work, this anthology reveals that her wit and talent are not limited to that realm. Included are autobiographical reflections, literary criticism, performance art pieces, and essays exploring the roles of fiction and the imagination, the writer, and the reader. As publishers and ravenous readers, the Shambhala staff enjoyed exploring these topics in depth.

    Questions for Discussion

    • For those familiar with Le Guin’s fiction, is your perspective on her work influenced by reading her literary criticism and reflections?
    • In reading Le Guin’s analysis of the gender disparity in major literary award winners, are you surprised by what she found? Do you think that this disparity has improved or worsened over the fourteen years since this was published, or is it the same?
    • Do you agree with Le Guin’s assertion of the importance of the realm of fantasy? How has your experience of reading fantasy, fairytale, or science fiction differed from your experience of other forms of fiction?
    • How would you define “beauty”? How does your idea of beauty compare to Le Guin’s?
    • Do you think Le Guin’s observations of other species appreciating beauty are simply an act of anthropomorphizing, or do you think that beauty is a virtue enjoyed by more than just humans?

    Notable Quotes

    In the first section, “Personal Matters,” Le Guin presents a self-portrait primarily through describing major influences—libraries she practically lived in, family, her imagination, and how she sees others seeing her.

    On the universal quality of fantasy literature:

    “But the nameless being given life by Frankenstein’s or Mary Shelley’s arts and machineries is neither ghost nor fairy; science fictional he may be; stuff and nonsense he is not. He is a creature of fantasy, archetypal, deathless. Once raised he will not sleep again, for his pain will not let him sleep, the unanswered moral questions that woke with him will not let him rest in peace.” (pg. 41, “Things Not Actually Present”)

    “Fantasies are often set in ordinary life, but the material of fantasy is a more permanent, universal reality than the social customs realism deals with. The substance of fantasy is psychic stuff, human constants: situations and imageries we recognise without having to learn or know anything at all about New York now, or London in 1850, or China three thousand years ago.” (pg. 43, “Things Not Actually Present”)

    “That the accepted (male) notion of literary influence is appallingly simplistic is shown (first—not last, but first) by the fact that it overlooks, ignores, disdains the effect of ‘preliterature’—oral stories, folktales, fairy tales, picture books—on the tender mind of the prewriter.” (pg. 109, “The Wilderness Within: The Sleeping Beauty and ‘The Poacher’”)

    On the writer:

    “All their admirers can meet is the person—who has a lot in common with, but is not, the writer. Maybe nicer, maybe duller, maybe older, maybe meaner; but the main difference is, the person lives in this world, but writers live in their imagination, and/or in the public imagination, which creates a public figure that lives only in the public imagination. So the pen name, hiding the person behind the writer, may be essentially a protective and enabling device . . .” (pg. 58, “Thinking about Cordwainer Smith”)

    On beauty:

    “So: What is beauty? Beauty is small, shapely, shiny things, like silver buttons, which you can carry home and keep in your nest/box.” (pg. 174, “Collectors, Rhymesters, and Drummers”)

    On injustice:

    “The shift from denial of injustice to recognition of injustice can’t be unmade. What your eyes have seen they have seen. Once you see the injustice, you can never again in good faith deny the oppression and defend the oppressor. What was loyalty is now betrayal. From now on, if you don’t resist, you collude. But there is a middle ground between defense and attack, a ground of flexible resistance, a space opened for change. It is not an easy place to find or live in.” (pg. 216, “A War without End”)

    Book Recommendations

    Related Books

  • Book Club Discussion | Single White Monk

    Single White Monk by Shozan Jack Haubner is a prescient book—not only for its teachings, which are deeply rooted in real-life stories and the humble wisdom that comes from making mistakes and learning to face them, but for its lack of pretension around issues involving sexual abuse and all the opinions, hurt, and life-changing consequences that can, and do, go on because of a scandal. As this is something that is highly relevant in our current socio-political climate, this book has a lot to offer.

    If you’re reading along, please comment at the bottom of this guide and let us know how you connected to Single White Monk.

    Questions for Discussion

    • Two main themes of the book: the coexisting of opposite forces—how good and bad can and do exist together in one world—and death as an integral part of life we can’t and shouldn’t ignore.
    • What is the meaning of truth? Can there be an objective truth? In the intro, he calls the book “personal mythology.” How does that filter your perception of the events in the book?
    • Is the author a likable character in his own book?
    • How do you understand the idea of True Love?
    • Which of the stories stood out to you or connected to you? Why?
    • The author mixes humor and absurdity with the serious. How did his writing style work for you?
    • The sexual harassment and abuse aspect is very socially relevant right now. Everyone seemed to have a different view of Roshi and his actions, some wanting to condemn him completely, some just wanting an apology, some saying that the apology made them feel invalidated.
      • Haubner thinks that Roshi’s actions were completely wrong, but he loves and respects his teacher. He takes in every part of Roshi as a person, a human, showing he may not be perfect and we might not like or agree with every part of him, but he can still be influential and worth listening to. Do you identify with the author’s view on this? Or have a different reading?

    Notable Quotes

    “Why is there something rather than nothing? Nothingness makes so much more sense.” (2)

    The concept of True Love: “a new self is being conceived, arising, and passing away every instant.” (2)

    “Zen practice however, teaches you to completely be yourself—if you don’t who will? Someone’s got to hold down your corner of the universe, and no one else is qualified.” (14)

    “Underneath all carnal desire is a wish to know the world, to claim it not for yourself, but as yourself. Sometimes, a bad mistake, consciously made, can teach you this better than a good rule unconsciously followed.” (64–65)

    “There’s a natural balance, a dance, between embracing and releasing: turning your surroundings into yourself, like the tree that absorbs carbon dioxide, and turning yourself into your surroundings, like the same tree releasing oxygen. This is what Buddhists call the Middle Way.” (69)

    “We are never more than a breath away from the home we share with the entire universe.” (70)

    “When there is no death (and there is nowhere where there is no death, except maybe vampire novels), there are no risks, and life is utterly meaningless.” (74)

    “But if something can be taken from you, was it ever truly yours to begin with? It occurred to me that the harder we search for something permanent in this world, the more ephemeral and disposable are the things we find, and the more we find ourselves simply searching for the sake of searching, moving for the sake of moving. We are a culture running away from death.” (103)

    “He taught me that you cannot be something other than yourself, no matter how enlightened you pretend to be, and so you must manifest yourself fully, each and every moment; you must bring all your subterranean selves, all your thoughts and feelings, no matter how grim and unbearable, to the surface, and to completion—dissolving them through your connection to the world around you so that a new pure self, and a new world along with it, can arise the next instant.” (111)

    “If no one talks about something that everyone knows is happening, then each and every person must bear the whole burden of the collective secret him- or herself. What began as a problem becomes nightmare that turns, without outside intervention, into a demon.” (143)

    “The inhale and the exhale are opposites working in harmony to complete each other—like man and woman, birth and death, darkness and light. Together they make up the breath of life.” (196)


    “You don’t need to be great. You need to be complete. You can be complete whether you are working a shitty job at Walmart or you are a world-famous writer. Just walk the path of True Love. When you grapple with life’s deepest problems openly and honestly, the ego melts. It dies. There is no such thing as a fixed state of happiness. We face challenges, and in order to pass through them we must die a little, or a lot, and be reborn.” (206)

    “Old age, sickness, and death. Our lot, as individuals and a species. If everyone will one day be no one, then we are only temporarily separated right now. Our true home is no home, together. The Zen master Rinzai said, ‘Before brightness is manifest, darkness is bright.’ Everything contains its opposite. Nothing exists apart from anything else.” (208)

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  • Kalu Rinpoche and the Translation of The Treasury of Knowledge

    From Sarah Harding's preface to Book 8, Part 4.

    Khyabjé Kalu Rinpoché visited Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1986 to consecrate the Bodhi Stupa that had been constructed at his dharma center. Many of his lamas and students were gathered for the occasion, as well as visiting teachers and the general public. It was a joyful reunion for many of us who were scattered in the ten directions and rarely had the opportunity to come together.

    Although in no position to represent anyone, I nevertheless found myself inspired by the auspicious occasion to off er “our” everlasting translation service in whatever way he saw fit. I felt that much of the talent that Kalu Rinpoché himself had fostered in his students was not being put to use, and that naturally they were looking elsewhere for ways to be of service. But, I said, “we” would rather work for him, even—or especially—after he was gone. He simply nodded. I thought, how easy it is to express my deep gratitude in this way. Later during that same tour, Rinpoché did a radio interview in San Francisco in which he announced that he had formed a committee to translate the entire Buddhist canon! When he returned to the dharma center his eyes were sparkling with mischief and he demanded, “Now how many people know?”

    That was how it began. Rinpoché bestowed the ambitious name of “The International Buddhist Translation Committee” (Dragyur Dzamling Kunkhyab) and sought to gather translators, scholars, and meditation masters of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions to work together. Luckily, he was talked down from the original idea of translating the Buddhist Canon, and chose instead the masterpiece by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Tayé, The Treasury of Knowledge.

    Hardly less daunting, it has taken many translators many years to begin to present an approximation of this great work. It started in Bodhgaya, the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment, with three-month translation conferences in 1987 and again in 1988. After that, Rinpoché decided to have the work continue throughout the year at his monastery in Sonada, Darjeeling. There, people were to “translate during the day and meditate on the nature of mind at night.”

    After some years only the hardiest remained, eventually producing the first three books in the series. Kalu Rinpoché passed away in 1989 without seeing the fulfillment of his wish, just as he had warned on many, many occasions. Now the time frame seemed to stretch infi nitely into the future, and most of us had other lives to lead in order to survive. Then Kalu Rinpoché’s worthy lineage successor, Bokar Rinpoché, Karma Ngedon Chokyi Lodrö, took up the cause. He hesitated to change Kalu Rinpoché’s game plan in any way, but the urgency called for practicality.

    At a gathering in his monastery in Mirik, on the occasion of conferring the Shangpa Kagyu transmissions at the request of the young incarnation of Kalu Rinpoché, Bokar Rinpoché urged the translators to complete this work that had been so dear to his guru. He feared that at this rate it might not even be completed within the lifetimes of the very translators to whom it had been entrusted by Kalu Rinpoché.

    With the generous and timely support of the Tsadra Foundation, a new phase of work began, with individual translators working on individual sections of the Treasury in their own homes and with all the amenities (such as electricity). Now with new direction, the remaining sections have been adopted by able translators and are well under way.

    With Bokar Rinpoché all but insisting, and dear friends at Tsadra Foundation pointedly encouraging, I rejoined the Treasury project after many years of other work. Of the available sections, I chose the fourth part of Book Eight in the meditation section: the esoteric instructions of the eight (and counting) practice lineages of Tibet. For obvious reasons I thought this would be the most interesting and exciting. It serves me right, succumbing to the lure of the mystical. It might as well have been the Buddhist canon.

    It was too easy to underestimate how much information Jamgön Kongtrul could pack into 189 pages, and to underestimate the depth and breadth of these esoteric practices. In truth, each of the sections in this current book deserves a separate treatment by a scholar-practitioner specialized in the particular lineage, with years of practice and study behind her. To accurately portray all the practice traditions in a way that does justice to Kongtrul’s presentation of them has stretched my abilities to the limit, though being thus stretched, I feel tremendously enriched and further enraptured. In any case, it was with the help and support of many others that I can now off er this eff ort, with the hopes that it will at least be a glimpse into the awesome inner world of these ancient traditions.

  • A Readers Guide to the Sakya Master Chogyal Phakpa

    Chogyal Phagpa

    Drogon Chogyal Phagpa, better known to the world as Chogyal Phagpa (or Phakpa) is one of the five great founding masters from the Sakya tradition in Tibet. This 13th century master was the nephew of Sakya Pandita.

    Before going into the various resources in print and online, included below is his biography of Lama Migmar Tseten's Treasures of the Sakya Lineage.

    "Drogon Chogyal Phagpa was born amid excellent signs to Sakya Pandita’s younger brother, Zangtsa Sonam Gyaltsen (1184‒1239), and his wife, Machig Kunkyi, during the wood female sheep year, when his father was fifty-two years old. He recalled his past lives as Saton Riwa, Langriwa, and others.Chogyal Phagpa was taught the Saroruhavajra sadhana when he was three, and the Jatakas when he was eight; when he was nine, Sakya Pandita taught him the Hevajra-tantra. To everyone’s amazement, Phagpa gave an explanation of The Advice for Gathering Accumulations (Sambharaparikatha) by master Vasubandhu that same year, and the pride of scholars was diminished when they heard this explanation from a child. Thinking that an ordinary person could not have such wisdom, they considered him to be an Arya. Thus, he became known to all as Phagpa, which means “Arya.”

    At nine he traveled north to attend Sakya Pandita. While in Lhasa, Chogyal Phagpa received novice ordination in front of the Jowo statue, and in Kyormo Lung, he received the Getsul vow from Sherab Pal.

    He spent all his time attending Sakya Pandita during his travels and residence in China, until at seventeen Chogyal Phagpa left for Mongolia. Sakya Pandita was very pleased with him for having mastered the outer teachings and the inner Vajrayana teachings, and gave him a white conch to proclaim the Dharma and a begging bowl. Having entrusted his students to him, the master said, “The time has come for you to teach, to benefit many sentient beings, and to recall your promise.” Then Sakya Pandita passed away, having accomplished all he had intended to do.

    Having been invited by the Mongolian Khan, Phagpa established the Khan’s faith by performing miracles, such as showing each of the five Buddha families separately by cutting open the five limbs of his body with a sharp sword. Beginning with the Khan, Chogyal Phagpa bestowed the empowerment of Hevajra on twenty-five disciples and brought Vajrayana to the kingdom of Mongolia. The Khan gave Chogyal Phagpa the title of Tishri and thirteen surrounding regions of Tibet as his offering for the empowerment.

    At twenty-one, Chogyal Phagpa received full ordination on the border of China and Mongolia from the abbot of Nyethang, Dragpa Senge; the master of ceremonies was Jodan Sonam Gyaltsen. Phagpa received teachings on Abhisamayalankara and other texts from the abbot and on Vinaya from the master of ceremonies.

    Two years later, he accepted an invitation to the five-peaked mountain and received many teachings on Yamari from Tong Ton. After that, he returned to the Khan’s palace, and when a Dharma assembly was convened, he defeated twenty-three Chinese teachers in debates and showed them correct view.

    When he was thirty, he returned to the seat of Sakya, having been absent from Tibet since he was nine. He gave many teachings there; he also received many teachings on the outer and inner sciences and an ocean of transmissions and instructions from Nyan Wod Srung, the siddha Yontan Pal, Chim Namkhai Drag, Tsog Gom Kunga Pal, Lowo Lotsawa, Chiwo Lheypa Jowo Sey, and others.

    After this, he was again summoned to China by the Khan and arrived there when he was thirty-three. He appointed thirteen positions to manage different responsibilities and was offered the rest of the three provinces of Tibet as an offering for empowerments.

    At forty-two, having been in China the second time for nine years, he returned to Sakya. He taught a large Dharma festival and used all of his wealth for this event, holding nothing back. He established the basis for a Dharma college and built shrines for the body, speech, and mind of the Buddhas. He gave donations to all the poor people of the region and demonstrated only positive activities toward sentient beings. He spread the Dharma to Tibet, China, and Mongolia; ordained 450,000 novices and fully ordained monks; and bestowed Vajrayana empowerments on people of fourteen different languages. Moreover, he established countless disciples in ripening and liberation through the blessings of transmission and instruction. He gave commentaries on sutras, treatises, and the stages of practice in Hinayana and Mahayana; answered questions; and wrote many texts that are easy to understand.

    In the early morning of the eleventh month of the iron male dragon year, when he was forty-six, having endeavored greatly to benefit others, Chogyal Phagpa sat cross-legged, holding his vajra and bell. He crossed his arms, and amid sounds, amazing scents, and a shower of flowers, he passed away.

    Chogyal Phagpa was the last of the five founding masters of the Sakya school. Thanks to his efforts, the school ruled Tibet for close to a century; expanded widely; and became the country’s dominant institution of learning for the next two hundred years, producing the most famous scholars in Tibetan history, such as Buton, Dolbuwa, Longchenpa, Rendawa, Tagtsang Lotsawa, Tsongkhapa and his two chief disciples, Rongton, Dagpo Tashi Namgyal, Gorampa, and Shakya Chogden.

    Of the five masters, Sachen was considered to be the emanation of Avalokiteshvara; Lopon Rinpoche, Jetsun Rinpoche, and Sapan were regarded as emanations of Manjushri; and Chogyal Phagpa was considered to be an emanation of Vajrapani."

    A shorter but complementary biography appears in Ringu Tulku's The Ri-Me Philosophy of Jamgön Kongtrul the Great.

    In addition to the main biography above, Treasures of the Sakya Lineage. contains a translation of his short piece of advice, The Gift of the Dharma to Kublai Khan. This text encapsulates all the Hinayana and Mahayana teachings of the Buddha. It begins with a discussion of civil law and then goes to a discussion of Dharma, covering all the topics of the four tenet systems, as well as the ground, path, and fruit, and ends with a brief discussion of the three kayas.

    In the Nyingma tradition he continues to be revered as a previous birth of Dudjom Rinpoche. The previous Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdral Yeshe Dorje, includes him in the famous Pearl Necklace prayer, a supplication he was asked to compose to his thread of previous lives, that appear in Wisdom Nectar. This is also related, along with a shorty biography, in the Light of Fearless Indestructible Wisdom, the biography of Dudjom RInpoche by Khenpo Tswang Dongyal.

    Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in his masterpiece of the Teacher-Disciple relationship, The Guru Drinks Bourbon, recounts this story:

    "There is a folktale of a Chinese emperor who never managed to receive proper teachings from Sakya Pandita because he was testing Sakya Pandita again and again. Even though Sakya Pandita proved to be a great master, the emperor’s skeptical habit was ceaseless. Eventually the intended guru, Sakya Pandita, died, and they say that because of this, the people of the Yuan dynasty had to receive the teachings from Sakya Pandita’s nephew, Drogon Chogyal Phakpa.

    If you are genuinely seeking the truth, you have to come to a conclusion at some point. Otherwise, like the Chinese emperor, you’ll end up wasting your time. If you keep on analyzing somebody, you will always find faults."

    An example of the Nepalese influence on Chinese art that Chogyal Phagpa introduced to the court in China. From The Art of Buddhism.

    Chogyal Phagpa's legacy extends into the artistic realm as well. The Art of Buddhism tells how he invited the Nepalese artist Aniga along with a group of others to Beijing where they profoundly influenced Chinese Buddhist art from then on.

    There are a couple other excellent resources we should mention.

    The first is the biography on the Treasury of Lives site.

    The other is The Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism by Dhongtong RInpoche, published by Wisdom.


  • Readers’ Picks

    In thinking about year-end gifts, we want to share what YOU have to say.

    Below are some lovely quotations from readers on their favorite Shambhala books.

    Do you have one to add? Please comment at the bottom!

    “This book showed me a different way, a way to devote discipline of both my body and mind.”


    “As a therapist, I recommend this to anyone seeking permanent life change realistically.”


    “If there is one book in my collection that I could give away to everyone, it would be this book.”


    “This book changed my life as a writer, a teacher of writing, and as an individual!”


    “This is a foundational book for anyone interested in delving deeper into the richness of martial arts philosophy.”


    “This book set me on a path of healing that has continued to the present day.”


    “This is, plain and simply, an astonishing book.”


    “Pure, melodic, poetic, this book should be one of the first ones on the list for every serious reader.”


    “Every time I read Tao Te Ching, the book feels new again, fresh, as if only just discovered.”


    “Makes you really appreciate the ideas of strength and courage and the power of emotions and desire in overcoming any obstacle you face.”


    “There is playfulness and joy on every page of this book, with a unique tone that has a distinctive voice and is full of heart.”


    “You will smile, cry, and be moved by the writings of a master storyteller.”


    “Filled with beautiful photos, delightful recipes, and creative picnic themes, each page gives inspiration to get outdoors!”


    “This one hits the sweet spot for our busy lives with wonderful recipes of vegetarian dinners!”


    “Kino will motivate you to stick to the practice and walk the yogi path.”


    “A remarkable vision and an inspiring perspective of the challenges and opportunities in the chaotic, divisive, and evolving global cultures.”


    “I think this is a great way for beginners to get started in mindfulness without feeling overwhelmed.”


    “Brilliant. Life-changing. Psycho-active. Very enlightening.”


    “Beautiful artwork that is cohesive and inspiring, high-quality construction, and an informative and well-written manual.”


    “Beautiful blend of memoir, cookbook, and reflections on living a thoughtful, food-enhanced life.”


  • Book Club Discussion | The Buddha Walks into the Office

    The Buddha Walks into the Office seemed a particularly apt choice for our Shambhala office book club. After all, if anyone should aspire to an awake, uplifted workplace, it should be us. We dove in to see if Lodro Rinzler, teacher in the Shambhala tradition and founder of MNDFL meditation studios in New York, had any tips for us.

    If you’re reading along, please comment at the bottom of this guide and let us know if The Buddha Walks into the Office was helpful to you, whether or not you work in an office.

    Questions for Discussion

    • How do you envision applying these teachings in your workplace every day? What are the ways we can collectively support each other to continue practicing these lessons after we’ve finished reading? How do we take the teachings off the page and cultivate a work environment rooted in mindfulness and compassion?
    • The Buddha said, “Come and see for yourself,” meaning that we don’t have to take Buddhist teachings on faith but should actively investigate whether they hold true in our lives. Which teachings from this book resonate with your own experience? Which contradict it? Which do you feel require further investigation?
    • Since Lodro is part of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, this book touches on a lot of the same principles that we read about in Trungpa’s Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior. How do their presentations of similar topics compare? Which do you find more accessible and why?
    • This book is full of all sorts of sensational anecdotes, metaphors, and pop culture references. Do you have any favorites that stand out to you or that illustrate a difficult concept in a particularly helpful way?

    Notable Quotes

    • “When it comes to figuring out a career path, knowing your intention may be the most basic and most helpful step on the journey that links your work with your spiritual path.” (6)
    • “It occurred to me that given the current educational and economic situation in the United States, maybe the question of what you want to be when you grow up is outdated. This conversation steered me toward what is perhaps a better question for the thoughtful young person today: ‘Who do you want to be when you grow up?’” (26)
    • “Your job is not your life. If you think your life is your job, you should be concerned. Your life is what you make of it and what qualities you want to cultivate during your time here on earth.” (30)
    • “Sometimes we need to create space around difficulty in order for solutions to arise. When we take a step back from a problem, that simple mind that arises can unravel the complicated situation. The more space we create for ourselves and others, the more clearly we are able to see a situation.” (46)
    • “We all suffer. The fact that you see more clearly how you get hooked by suffering only highlights how your friends and coworkers are going through the exact same thing.” (62)

    Social change through inner change:

    • “By continuously coming back to the present, we are learning to free ourselves from fixed points of view. That is an important first step in creating change, at work and in society.” (106)
    • “The more we can empathize with coworkers, clients, and even superiors, the better we will be able to understand them. Having understood them and seen them for who they are, we will be able to figure out how best to engage in compassionate activity and create change based on what needs to happen, as opposed to our ideas about what needs to happen.” (108)
    • “Instead of trying to yell our ideas for societal change into existence, we have the opportunity to infiltrate the same organizations we seek to transform and create the change from within. . . . We can maintain an open heart, even in tough corporate settings, and let our compassion touch others.” (108-109)
    • “We can use our work situation as a jumping-off point for sharing our heart more widely with everyone we encounter. We can reflect each day on whether what we have done has helped others or created positive change in the world. Through this gradual process, we can build a society that is based in empathy and compassion.” (110)

    Compassionate Leadership:

    • “A fundamental principle of leadership is that we need to engage others, work with their skill sets, and encourage the people with whom we collaborate.” (122)
    • “Take a moment to recognize that all parties concerned have at least one thing in common: basic goodness. . . . Instead of meeting someone on the battlefield of aggression, you can meet them in the spacious playground of shared innate wisdom.” (130)
    • “Power is best used when everyone profits from it—when we share it and empower others.” (136)
    • “Fearlessness is about looking at our fear, learning it well, and seeing our way through it.” (148)
    • “An artful leader is one who gives others the space to discover their own wisdom.” (158)
    • “With the view that everyone and everything we encounter is rooted in basic goodness, we can find magic in any situation.” (163)
    • “If we recognize obstacles as merely part of the display of our world, then we realize we don’t have to take them—or ourselves—so seriously. You are not this heavy, solid thing but a vast conglomeration of knowledge and experience that is ever-changing. Similarly, when you face an obstacle, you should think of it in the same impermanent, fluid way.” (176)

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