Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinp

Postby admin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:39 pm

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Jim Gimian, Publisher, Shambhala Sun

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Ram Dass & Chogyam Trungpa

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Ram Dass & Chogyam Trungpa

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Ram Dass & Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Rigdzin Shikpo

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa

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16th Karmapa & Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa: We need someone to help light the candles immediately.

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Pema Chodron, Author/Senior Teacher

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16th Karmapa & Chogyam Trungpa

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The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Heady of the Kagyu Lineage, 1974

As the summer progressed, Rinpoche began to focus on the next big event. He had invited the head of his lineage, His Holiness the Karmapa, to come to America in the fall to visit Rinpoche, to see his students, and to make his first teaching tour in America. His Holiness was due to arrive in September. They had not seen each other since 1968, when Rinpoche briefly visited His Holiness's monastery in Sikkim. Rinpoche was nervous about the visit because he knew that His Holiness had heard stories about what Rinpoche was up to, and the version he had been told had been heavy on the outrageous, wild side and light on the "working for the dharma" side. Rinpoche did not know whether His Holiness would fully appreciate what he was trying to do in America.

Lecturing to more than a thousand scantily garbed hippies at Naropa that summer gave him pause as to how to present his students to His Holiness. Rinpoche might be able to see past the long beards, cutoff jeans, and tank tops, but this was not the image he wanted to present to his lineage. He wanted His Holiness to be able to appreciate the mind and heart connection he had made with all these Westerners. He feared that His Holiness would think that Rinpoche was consorting with barbarians, somewhat like having moved into the zoo with a bunch of jungle animals. Sometimes, if you looked around the room when Rinpoche was lecturing that first summer at Naropa, especially with the influx of Ramdassians at the beginning, you would see a menagerie of topless men with matted hair and long beards and long-haired girls sporting white robes or showing lots of cleavage. What to do?

In addition to concerns about their appearance, Rinpoche was faced with the challenge of introducing decorum to his students, in terms of how they would behave around the Karmapa. When Rinpoche first came to America, he was careful not to create a barrier between himself and others. He wanted to experience fully the world he was entering and meet people at eye level. He gave up his robes because he did not want to create an exotic impression where people would indulge their fantasies about him. He wanted them to see him not as a mystery man from Tibet but as a human being.

Rinpoche had grown up with attendants who treated him as a spiritual prince, but when he came to the West, he let all of that go. He didn't demand or expect special treatment. For one thing, there was no cultural reference point for the Western students to provide service to him. However, what he accepted for himself was not what he wanted to present to His Holiness. In preparation for His Holiness's visit, Rinpoche made it clear to his students how he himself wanted to receive the Karmapa and how he expected them to treat His Holiness as well. He described this later as follows:

In 1974, His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Buddhism to which I belong, was to arrive for his first visit to North America. A group of us had a meeting, and we talked about protocol and other arrangements. Quite a number of people said, "Couldn't we just take His Holiness to a disco and feed him a steak? Do we really have to vacuum the floor? Maybe he should sleep on a waterbed. Couldn't he just come along and see what America is like?" In the end, that wasn't the approach we decided to take! ... That approach is bloated with arrogance.1


The previous year, Karma Dzong had moved into a much larger shrine room in the back of the building at 1111 Pearl Street in Boulder. The new meditation hall was a large room with a balcony above the main floor and could hold up to three hundred people. For His Holiness's visit, the room was completely redone. At Rinpoche's direction, walls were painted, floors were sanded, windows scrubbed spotless. Around the edges of the room, Rinpoche had the students paint the mantra from the Heart Sutra (one of the essential teachings of the Buddha) in gold letters. Rinpoche insisted that they build traditional Tibetan thrones, covered in brocade, for His Holiness to use when he presented teachings or held audiences, whether in the main shrine hall or at his residence. At the house rented for His Holiness in Boulder, Rinpoche had the walls draped in satin and brocade. For weeks before His Holiness arrived, he stayed up all night. He actually didn't sleep for days at a time because he wouldn't stop working on the preparations. Everyone was going full-out, turning themselves into seamstresses, carpenters, secretaries, housekeepers, cooks, administrators-he pushed people as far as they could possibly go. He asked Tom Rich and Ken Green (aka Narayana and Krishna) to take charge of the visit preparations along with Karl Springer, another student from the early days at Tail, and they worked around the clock as he did, both in Boulder and also traveling as the advance parties to both the East and the West coasts, wherever His Holiness would be traveling. Rinpoche asked all of his male students to wear a suit jacket and a tie during the visit, and women wore conservative skirts and blouses or suits.

Rinpoche also emphasized the style in which His Holiness should be served, explaining that the Karmapa was truly a spiritual monarch and that by treating him as such, the students would be able to appreciate the depth of the wisdom he embodied. People learned how to serve in both the Western and the Tibetan style. It was a crash course in table manners and etiquette for all of us. For some, it was reminding us of what we knew from our upbringing. For others, it was a completely new experience.

Rinpoche asked another group of his students to accompany His Holiness wherever he traveled, providing security and logistical support for the visit. The Karmapa arrived first in New York. He was given diplomatic status by the State Department in the United States. Therefore, he received police escorts in major cities and was accorded official recognition in other ways. Rinpoche's students organized a motorcade in every major city His Holiness visited, which included advance cars, a limousine for His Holiness, and vans following behind for the other members of his party, including the translator and the monks. The students who trained to be the drivers for His Holiness and his party also worked with local law enforcement wherever he went. They provided security for the high-profile parts of the visit.

At the household, a group of senior male students was trained to be personal attendants to His Holiness, in somewhat traditional Tibetan style. Because His Holiness was very strict about his monastic vows, he would not allow women attendants in his personal quarters. However, women were involved in many other aspects of the tour and the household.

While His Holiness was in Boulder, Rinpoche invited him to have tea at our home in Pine Brook Hills. While he was at the house, I noticed that the Karmapa wouldn't make eye contact with me. I felt badly about this, and later I asked Rinpoche why His Holiness wouldn't look at me. Rinpoche said, "He's very uncomfortable around you." And I said, "Why on earth would that be?" He said, "Because if you had the power to seduce me, you must be a very dangerous woman." After the first time he came to the house, Rinpoche talked with him about our marriage, and explained that I was not a seductress. Then, His Holiness seemed more comfortable around me, and in fact we had a very close, wonderful relationship. But that first encounter was very disconcerting.

Rinpoche also asked me to take a drive around Boulder with His Holiness and show him various local landmarks. Rinpoche instructed me that whenever His Holiness admired a building or noted that it was impressive or anything like that, I was to tell the Karmapa that the building belonged to us. I thought this was ridiculous, but Rinpoche insisted. I suppose it was some sort of macho Tibetan thing. His Holiness and I drove all over town, with me telling him that every large building in town, including the Harvest House Hotel and the entire University of Colorado, belonged to Rinpoche and his students. I'm sure His Holiness checked later and learned that we had considerably fewer real estate holdings than I had suggested.

While he was in Boulder, the Karmapa especially wanted to spend time with Taggie, who was the reincarnation of one of His Holiness's own teachers in Tibet. He brought a number of gifts for Taggie, precious items that had belonged to the former Tenga Rinpoche. It was now obvious to everyone who spent time around Taggie that he was not developing normally. His Holiness felt that this was because Taggie needed to be raised in a monastic situation. He suggested that we send Taggie to Sikkim as soon as possible to study and receive training from His Holiness and to have a formal enthronement ceremony there. We took this under advisement, but Rinpoche still did not want to give in to this traditional approach. He felt that we should work with Taggie at home and also begin to investigate what Western doctors would say about his condition.

Traditionally, the veneration or respect that one shows a teacher is considered part of making an offering in order to receive the teachings. In medieval Tibetan times, students would travel to India to study with the great Buddhist teachers there. It was a long and truly perilous journey, not unlike the one my husband made when he escaped from Tibet in 1959. Practitioners traveling to India would amass a quantity of gold, which they used to cover their expenses, with the remainder being offered to the teachers they studied with. On the one hand, this was simply tuition. On another level, the point of the teaching gift was to give or surrender something in appreciation of the value of the teaching. It wasn't that the teachers wanted to get rich.

There is a well-known story about one figure in my husband's lineage, Marpa, who gathered together a great deal of gold dust to finance his three trips to India. Marpa later became Milarepa's root guru, or main teacher. When Marpa made his second trip to India, he returned there to study with Naropa, the great Indian teacher who was one of his main gurus, his root guru in fact. Marpa offered Naropa a portion of his gold but held some back for the trip home. Naropa demanded that Marpa give him all the gold. Marpa hesitated but Naropa insisted, saying, "Do you think you can buy my teaching with your deception?" When Marpa finally gave in, Naropa threw the gold dust into the air, scattering it everywhere, crying, "Gold, gold. What is gold to me? All the world is gold to me."

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian
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Re: Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinp

Postby admin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:40 pm

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Gina Stick, Architect

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16th Karmapa

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16th Karmapa

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July 4, 1974

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Domchon Rinpoche, Trungpa's Brother

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Domchon Rinpoche, Trungpa's Brother

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Domchon Rinpoche, Trungpa's Brother: the opposite of what people think is appropriate

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Chogyam Trungpa
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Re: Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinp

Postby admin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:40 pm

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Peter Volz, Farmer

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Walter Fordham, Former Head of Trungpa's Household

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Walter Fordham, Former Head of Trungpa's Household

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Beverley Webster, Secretary

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Chogyam Trungpa: Not giving up on anything

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Robert Thurman, Buddhist Scholar

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Kwong Roshi, Roshi of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

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Kwong Roshi, Roshi of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

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Kwong Roshi, Roshi of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

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Kwong Roshi, Roshi of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

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Kwong Roshi, Roshi of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

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Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Zen Master

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Re: Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinp

Postby admin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:41 pm

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Carolyn Rose Gimian, Director, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche Legacy Project

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Boulder, Colorado

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Chogyam Trungpa & Diana Mukpo

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa & Kimiko Snyder

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Kimiko Snyder, Former International Co-Director, Dharma Art

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Jack Niland, Artist

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Dharma Art Show, LAICA Gallery Los Angeles, 1980

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Re: Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinp

Postby admin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:42 pm

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Lee Weingrad, CEO, Surmang Foundation

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Dorje Kasung

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Dorje Kasung

One of the most notable religious leaders of India about 1500 A.D. was Kabir. In his system Hinduism and Islam mingle. Nanak, who founded the religion of the Sikhs, is only one of a number of teachers who drew their inspiration from him. Kabir vigorously condemned both idolatory and caste; and he had great influence all over North India. In the Bijak, a volume of his religious verse, there is a poem which pictures the fighting yogi and his irregularities very vividly:-- [23]

1. O brother, never have I seen yogi like this: puffed up with pride he walks, caring for nothing.

2. He teaches the religion of Mahadeva (i.e. Siva) and therefore is called a Mahant.

3. In market and street he sits in the posture of a yogi; he is an imperfect Siddha (saint) a lover of Maya (the illusion of the world).

4. When did Dattatreya [24] attack his enemies? when did Sukadeva [24] lay a cannon?

5. When did Narada [24] fire a gun, or Vyasadeva [24] sound a horn?

6. They who fight are of little wisdom; shall I call such men ascetics or bandits?


-- The Fighting Ascetics of India, by J.N. Farquhar, M.A., D. Litt. (Oxon.)


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Dorje Kasung

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Marty Janowitz, Chair of Naropa University

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Dorje Kasung

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Chogyam Trungpa & Richard Arthure (Kunga Dawa)

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Lee Weingrad, CEO Surmang Foundation

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa & Agnes Au, Senior Teacher

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Chogyam Trungpa & Agnes Au, Senior Teacher

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Agnes Au, Senior Teacher

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Agnes Au, Senior Teacher

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Wendy Roshi, Roshi of Los Angeles Zen Center

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Chogyam Trungpa & Kimiko Snyder. Chogyam Trungpa: How do you say Sweetheart in Japanese?
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Re: Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinp

Postby admin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:42 pm

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Kimiko Snyder: I don't know.

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Kimiko Snyder

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Chogyam Trungpa & Diana Mukpo

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Chogyam Trungpa & Diana Mukpo

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Chogyam Trungpa & Diana Mukpo

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Valerie Lorig, Therapist

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Valerie Lorig, Therapist & Chogyam Trungpa

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Valerie Lorig, Therapist & Chogyam Trungpa

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Adana Barbieri, Buddhist Practitioner

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Jonathan Barbieri, Executive Director, Shambhala Mountain Center

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Chogyam Trungpa & Adana Barbieri, Buddhist Practitioner

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Chogyam Trungpa & Adana Barbieri, Buddhist Practitioner

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Peter Volz, Farmer

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Chogyam Trungpa, Sun God

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Chogyam Trungpa & Diana Mukpo

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Gesar Mukpo, Filmmaker/Second Son

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Chogyam Trungpa & Gesar Mukpo

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Gesar Mukpo, Filmmaker/Second Son

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Gesar Mukpo, Filmmaker/Second Son

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Gesar Mukpo, Filmmaker/Second Son

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Chogyam Trungpa, Taggie Mukpo, Gesar Mukpo

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Chogyam Trungpa

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When I Ride a Horse, Poem by Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Traleg Rinpoche, Master Teacher
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Re: Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinp

Postby admin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:43 pm

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Head of Shambhala International/Eldest Son

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Kimiko Snyder

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Valerie Lorig, Halifax, April 1987

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa

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Chogyam Trungpa dies in Halifax, Nova Scotia April 4, 1987

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Barnet, Vermont

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Scottish Bagpipes

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Scottish Bagpipes

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Scottish Bagpipes

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3,000 people gather for the cremation of Chogyam Trungpa

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His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche arrives from India to lead the cremation ceremony

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The Princes of the Kagyu Lineage arrive from Sikkim.

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Re: Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinp

Postby admin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:44 pm

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Diana Mukpo

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Sakyong Mipham

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Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

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Re: Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinp

Postby admin » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:46 pm

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Tibetan Buddhism lives on in the West. Trungpa's books sell in the millions. And 214 Shambhala meditation centers, led by his eldest son, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, carry on the vision of an enlightened society.
Can it ever be?

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Tibetan Buddhism lives on in the West. Trungpa's books sell in the millions. And 214 Shambhala meditation centers, led by his eldest son, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, carry on the vision of an enlightened society.
Can it ever be?

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Produced and directed by Johanna Demetrakas

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Produced by Lisa Leeman
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