Chögyam Trungpa

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Chögyam Trungpa
Trungpa from Khenpo gangshar2 cropped image.jpg
Chögyam Trungpa before 1959
Religion Buddhism
School Vajrayana
Lineage Kagyu and Nyingma
Nationality Tibetan
Born (1939-03-05)March 5, 1939
Nangchen, Kham region, Tibet
Died April 4, 1987(1987-04-04) (aged 48)
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Spouse Lady Diana Mukpo
Children Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Tagtrug (Taggie) Mukpo, Gesar Mukpo
Senior posting
Title Tulku
Predecessor Chökyi Nyinche
Successor Choseng Trungpa
Religious career
Teacher Jamgon Kongtrul of Sechen
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Khenpo Gangshar
Reincarnation Trungpa Tulku
Students Pema Chödrön, Allen Ginsberg, Reginald Ray, Anne Waldman, Diane di Prima, Peter Lieberson, David Nichtern, José Argüelles, Francisco Varela, and Joseph Goguen
Stupa of Enlightenment housing some relics of Chögyam Trungpa, Gampo Abbey, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Chögyam Trungpa (Wylie: Chos rgyam Drung pa; March 5, 1939 – April 4, 1987) was a Buddhist meditation master and holder of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, the eleventh Trungpa tülku, a tertön, supreme abbot of the Surmang monasteries, scholar, teacher, poet, artist, and originator of a radical re-presentation of Shambhala vision.

Recognized both by Tibetan Buddhists and by other spiritual practitioners and scholars[1][2] as an authentic teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, he was a major figure in the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism to the West,[3] founding Vajradhatu and Naropa University and establishing the Shambhala Training method.

Among his contributions are the translation of numerous Tibetan texts,[4] the introduction of the Vajrayana teachings to the West, and a presentation of the Buddhadharma largely devoid of ethnic trappings. Trungpa coined the term crazy wisdom.[5] Some of his teaching methods and actions were the topic of controversy during his lifetime and afterwards.

He died in Halifax in 1987; cremated May 26 at Karmê Chöling. (His followers have constructed a chorten or stupa, The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, located near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, for his remains.)

The child recognized as his reincarnation, Chokyi Sengay, was born in Derge, Tibet in 1989; recognized two years later by Tai Situ Rinpoche.


  • Born in Tibet (1966), autobiography, story of escaping from Tibet.
  • Meditation in Action (1969)
  • Mudra (1972)
  • Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism (1973)
  • The Dawn of Tantra, by Herbert V. Guenther and Chögyam Trungpa (1975)
  • Glimpses of Abhidharma (1975)
  • The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo, translated with commentary by Francesca Fremantle and Chögyam Trungpa (1975)
  • Visual Dharma: The Buddhist Art of Tibet (1975)
  • The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation (1976)
  • The Rain of Wisdom (1980)
  • Journey without Goal: The Tantric Wisdom of the Buddha (1981)
  • The Life of Marpa the Translator (1982)
  • First Thought Best Thought: 108 Poems (1983)
  • Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior (1984)
  • Crazy Wisdom (1991)
  • The Heart of the Buddha (1991)
  • Orderly Chaos: The Mandala Principle (1991)
  • Secret Beyond Thought: The Five Chakras and the Four Karmas (1991)
  • The Lion's Roar: An Introduction to Tantra (1992)
  • Transcending Madness: The Experience of the Six Bardos (1992)
  • Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving Kindness (1993)
  • Glimpses of Shunyata (1993)
  • The Art of Calligraphy: Joining Heaven and Earth (1994)
  • Illusion's Game: The Life and Teaching of Naropa (1994)
  • The Path Is the Goal: A Basic Handbook of Buddhist Meditation (1995)
  • Dharma Art (1996)
  • Timely Rain: Selected Poetry of Chögyam Trungpa (1998)
  • Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala (1999)
  • Glimpses of Space: The Feminine Principle and Evam (1999)
  • The Essential Chögyam Trungpa (2000)
  • Glimpses of Mahayana (2001)
  • Glimpses of Realization (2003)
  • The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volumes One through Eight (2003)
  • True Command: The Teachings of the Dorje Kasung, Volume I, The Town Talks (2004)
  • The Sanity We Are Born With: A Buddhist Approach to Psychology (2005)
  • The Teacup & the Skullcup: Chogyam Trungpa on Zen and Tantra (2007)
  • Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery (2010)
  • The Truth of Suffering and the Path of Liberation (2010)
  • Work, Sex, Money. Real Life on the Path of Mindfulness (2011)
  • The Mishap Lineage: Transforming Confusion into Wisdom (2011)
  • The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma (2013)
  • The Path of Individual Liberation (volume 1) (2013)
  • The Bodhisattava Path of Wisdom and Compassion (volume 2) (2013)
  • The Tantric Path of Indestructible Wakefulness (volume 3) (2013)
  • Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness (2013)
  • Devotion and Crazy Wisdom: Teachings on the Sadhana of Mahamudra (2015)
  • Glimpses of the Profound: Four Short Works (2016)
  • Mindfulness in Action: Making Friends with Yourself through Meditation and Everyday Awareness (2016)
  • Milarepa: Lessons from the Life and Songs of Tibet's Great Yogi (2017)

See also


  1. Midal, 2005
  2. Luminous passage: the practice and study of Buddhism in America By Charles S. Prebish; p44
  3. "Exceptional as one of the first Tibetan lamas to become fully assimilated into Western culture, he made a powerful contribution in revealing the Tibetan approach to inner peace in the West." The Dalai Lama, "A message from his Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama" in Recalling Chogyam Trungpa Ed. Fabrice Midal; pp ix–x
  4. Chögyam The Translator Archived 2008-08-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. Divalerio, David (2015). The Holy Madmen of Tibet. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 239. 


  • Butterfield, Stephen T. The Double Mirror: A Skeptical Journey into Buddhist Tantra. North Atlantic Books, 1994. ISBN 1-55643-176-7
  • Chadwick, David (1999). Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teachings of Shunryu Suzuki. ISBN 0-7679-0104-5
  • Clark, Tom (1980). The Great Naropa Poetry Wars. ISBN 0-932274-06-4
  • Coleman, James William. The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition (2001) Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-513162-2
  • Das, Bhagavan (1997). It's Here Now (Are You?) Broadway. ISBN 0-7679-0008-1
  • Eldershaw, Lynn P. "Collective identity and the post-charismatic fate of Shambhala International" 2004 Ph.D. thesis, University of Waterloo; an article drawn from this thesis was published in Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, (2007) Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 72–102, ISSN 1092-6690
  • Fields, Rick (3rd ed., 1992). How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America. ISBN 0-87773-631-6
  • Hayward, Jeremy (2008). Warrior-King of Shambhala: Remembering Chögyam Trungpa. ISBN 0-86171-546-2
  • Kashner, Sam. When I Was Cool: My Life at the Jack Kerouac School. HarperCollins, 2004. ISBN 0-06-000566-1.
  • Mackenzie, Vicki (1999). Cave in the Snow: Tenzin Palmo's Quest for Enlightenment. ISBN 978-1-58234-045-6
  • MacLean, Grant (2016). "From Lion's Jaws: Chögyam Trungpa's Epic Escape To The West". ISBN 978-0-9950293-0-9
  • Marin, Peter. "Spiritual Obedience: The Transcendental Game of Follow the Leader." In Harpers Magazine. February 1979.
  • Midal, Fabrice (2001). Chögyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision. ISBN 1-59030-098-X
  • Midal, Fabrice (2005). Recalling Chögyam Trungpa. ISBN 1-59030-207-9
  • Miles, Barry (1989). Ginsberg: A Biography. ISBN 0-671-50713-3
  • Paine, Jeffery (2004) Re-Enchantment: Tibetan Buddhism Comes to the West ISBN 0-393-01968-3
  • Rigdzin Shikpo (2007). Never Turn Away. ISBN 0-86171-488-1
  • Sanders, Ed (ed.) (1977). The Party: A Chronological Perspective on a Confrontation at a Buddhist Seminary. (no ISBN)
  • Steinbeck, John Steinbeck IV and Nancy (2001). The Other Side of Eden: Life with John Steinbeck Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-858-5
  • Trungpa, Chogyam (2004). "The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume Eight". ISBN 1-59030-032-7
  • Weinberger, Eliot (1986). Works on Paper. ISBN 0-8112-1001-4
  • Zweig, Connie; Jeremiah Abrams (eds.) (1991). Meeting the Shadow. ISBN 0-87477-618-X

Further reading

  • Feuerstein, Georg. Holy Madness: The Shock Tactics and Radical Teachings of Crazy-Wise Adepts, Holy Fools, and Rascal Gurus. Paragon House, 1991. ISBN 1-55778-250-4
  • Feuerstein, Georg. Holy Madness: Spirituality, Crazy-Wise Teachers, And Enlightenment (revised and expanded edition of Feuerstein, 1991). Hohm Press, 2006. ISBN 1-890772-54-2
  • Marin, Peter. "Spiritual Obedience" in Freedom & Its Discontents, Steerforth Press, 1995, ISBN 1-883642-24-8
  • Midal, Fabrice. Chögyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision. Shambhala, 2004. ISBN 1-59030-098-X
  • Mukpo, Diana J. Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chögyam Trungpa. Shambhala, 2006. ISBN 1-59030-256-7
  • Perks, John. The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant. Crazy Heart Publishers. ISBN 9780975383605
  • Chögyam Trungpa/Dorje Dradül of Mukpo: Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala (1999), 2nd edition 2001, [1], Shambhala Root Text.

External links


Search for videos:

Selected videos:

  • Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche About Tibet, Materialism and Openness
    Description: In this short video we hear Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche talk about Tibet. This is an excerpt from a much longer talk Rinpoche gave about meditation (the links to the source material are at the bottom of this description).

    "...The Tibet as I saw it was gradually going to a process of degenertion. Particularly as far as the meditation practice is concerned. ... Monasteries involved building great temples, building multiple stories, golden roofs, brocade ropes and all sort of things have developed. That is more the attitude of grandeur than of simplicity. ...Whenever there is a kind of dogmatic church, the church becomes more important than the teachings, a similar things could have happened in Tibet and it did happen. ... When discipline becomes less important and when a person begins to relax, that relaxation rather becomes wild than openness. And I think a lot of Tibetans also experienced the same thing. ... If this situation would not have happened in Tibet, it would have gone through slow death, because of the invasion of materialism. Sooner or later hundreds of tourist would have come to Tibet if Tibet wasn't invaded by communist China." audio is extract from: Talk on Meditation By Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche - May 10, 1971 and video material from National Archives
  • Chögyam Trungpa: Complete speech from Zeitgeist: The Movie
    Description: As featured in the edited opening of Zeitgeist: The Movie
  • Surrendering Your Aggression -Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche --Shambhala
    Description: Aggression not in the sense of that you're angry, you keep on loosing temper. But aggression in the sense of fundamental obstacle. ...surrendering, seems to be the only way to overcome aggression. Naropa University 1975 ©1975 by Diana J. Mukpo.
  • The Teacher. Guru - Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Shambhala
    Description: In relating with the teacher, your critical input and your surrendering work together at the same time. They’re not working against each other. The more you get input from the teacher and the phenomenal world and the more you develop, at the same time the more you question. So there is some kind of dance taking place between the teacher and yourself. You are not particularly trying to switch off your questioning intelligence and switch on some sort of mindless devotion. Rather, the two — cynicism and devotion — are synchronized together.
  • Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo on Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
    Description: Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo discusses her first encounters with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in England. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was later known as the brilliant "bad boy of Buddhism," and was pivotal in bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West
  • Meditation Instruction -How to meditate. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Shambhala
    Description: Chögyam Trungpa gives a general orientation to meditation in the Buddhist tradition and gives meditation instruction. This is essentially the same basic instruction that he gave throughout the time he was in the United States. It is also virtually identical with the meditation instruction that was the basis of Shambhala Training and is still used extensively, along with other approaches. This approach is meditation as a way of life rather than purely as a practice. We can't reject ourselves before we know what we are. Meditation allows us to realize and understand ourselves, without either chickening out—rejecting ourselves—or congratulating ourselves. This requires a sort of heroism. This approach to meditation is based on bhavana, a Sanskrit term that means exertion or discipline. Unless you are willing to discipline yourself through practice, you are in a hopeless situation. Through practice, you see the colours of your own existence in a very down to earth way. Chögyam Trungpa speaks about how he has personally gained wisdom and clarity from practicing meditation in this way. June 12, 1974
Description Rigdzin Shikpo (formerly MIchael Hookham) was one of Trungpa Rinpoche's first western students. In this short audio recording from 2007, he talks about his training with Trungpa Rinpoche in the 1960s, beginning while Rinpoche was studying at Oxford.

See also

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