50 Best Quotes, Photos: Chögyam Trungpa, Buddhist meditation teacher.

Via on Oct 9, 2010

These quotes are taken from a community Facebook Page devoted to Chögyam Trungpa. Please fan it here if you like. All photos are from that page, too. We’ve included attribution in screen capture when there was such.

If you know a source, or there’s a mistake in a quote, please say so in comments.

“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.”

“There are times to cultivate and create, when you nurture your world and give birth to new ideas and ventures.

There are times of flourishing and abundance, when life feels in full bloom, energized and expanding.

And there are times of fruition, when things come to an end. They have reached their climax and must be harvested before they begin to fade.

And finally of course, there are times that are cold, and cutting and empty, times when the spring of new beginnings seems like a distant dream.

Those rhythms in life are natural events. They weave into one another as day follows night, bringing, not messages of hope and fear, but messages of how things are.”

“In the garden of gentle sanity,
May you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness”

“You have an inclination: In the flash of one second, you feel what needs to be done. It is not a product of your education; it is not scientific or logical; you simply pick up on the message. And then you just act: You just do it. That basic human quality of suddenly opening up is the best part of human instinct.”

Talking non-thinker, thinking non-talker.

Some kinds of understanding or realization are hard to take, but we need to push further, to take an immense leap all the time. We need very much to take that kind of leap. Sometimes, looking back, we wonder why we are doing all this, and s…ometimes we think, why not? Sometimes there is no choice, and sometimes there is a choice, but we would like to find some contrast to that choice. So we have all kinds of relationships to the spiritual path, almost love affairs.

~ Condensed from “Wise Fool,” in True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art

A true warrior is never at war with the world.

Enlightenment is the ego’s ultimate disappointment.

Q. Would you care to sum up the purpose of meditation?

A. Well, meditation is dealing with purpose itself… Generally we have a purpose for whatever we do: something is going to happen in the future, therefore, whatever I am doing now is important — everything is related to that. But the whole idea of meditation is to develop an entirely different way of dealing with things, where you have no purpose at all. In fact, meditation is dealing with the question of whether or not there is a such thing as ‘purpose.’ ~  Meditation in Action

“You cannot really eliminate pain through aggression. The more you kill, the more you strengthen the killer who will create new things to be killed. The aggression grows until finally there is no space: the whole environment has been solidified. There are not even gaps at which to look back or do to do a double take. The whole space has become completely filled with aggression. It is outrageous. There is no opportunity to create a watcher to testify to your destruction, no one to give you a report. But at the same time, the aggression grows. The more you destroy, the more you create.”

“Everybody loves something, even if it’s just tortillas.”

“Compassion is not having any hesitation to reflect your light on things”

“Too often, people think that solving the world’s problems is based on conquering the earth, rather than touching the earth, touching ground.”

December 23rd…Tsethar remarked that we would have to reach a village within a day or so, otherwise we would all die. A voice called out “Be a strong Khampa and don’t lose heart” and everyone laughed.
December 24…for the first time we saw banana trees, but did not know the fruit was edible and dared not experiment…
December 25…we stayed in the cave all day and kept our spirits up by chanting as we cooked our leather…”

~ Born In Tibet (they ate their own boiled leather bags, shoes, strips, etc. to survive during their escape from Tibet. No one in Tibet had seen bananas before so although they were surrounded by them at one point near the end of their escape, they didn’t know they could eat them)

“There is a children’s story about the sky falling, but we do not actually believe that such a thing could happen. The sky turns into a blue pancake and drops…on our head—nobody believes that. But in maha ati experience, it actually does happen. There is a new dimension of shock. A new dimension of logic. It is as though we were furiously calculating a mathematical problem in our notebook, and suddenly a new approach altogether dawned on us, stopping us in our tracks. Our perspective becomes completely different.”

The idea of a warrior is based on a sense of fundamental fearlessness. There is no reason why you should be a coward. It’s as simple as that. You are not being a warrior because a state of war exists in your country. We are not trying to win against the egohood people. We are not trying to fight with them. You are being a warrior because you are a warrior. If someone asks you, “Are you twenty-one years old?” you say, “Yes, I am.” They don’t ask you why you are twenty-one years old or how you have done this. You would have no answer for that. You are just twenty-one. Warriorship is a basic sense of unshakeability. It’s a sense of immovability and self-existing dignity rather than that you are trying to fight with something else.

Replying to the question why he was so late again, “What are you rushing toward? Your death?”

This aspect of taking refuge is particularly applicable in America, where it is quite fashionable to blame everything on others and to feel that all kinds of elements in one’s relationships or surroundings are unhealthy or polluted.

We react with resentment.

But once we begin to do that, there is no way. The world becomes divided into two sections: sacred and profane, or that which is good and proper and that which is regarded as a bad job or a necessary evil. Taking refuge in the Dharma, taking passionless approach, means that all life is regarded as a fertile situation and a learning situation, always.

Whatever occurs—is part of the learning process. So there is nothing to blame; everything is the path, everything is Dharma.
~ The Heart of the Buddha

“When you express gentleness and precision in your environment then real brilliance and power can descend into that situation.”

“Too often, people think that solving the word’s problems is based on conquering the earth,rather than touching the earth, touching ground.”

“When you are afraid of something, it might be a fear of darkness, a fear of knives, a fear of guns, or of anything. You can’t just have fear without fear of something. So what is that other? Who is the other? That’s yourself. There is a s…tory about a man who is locked in a room. He’s sitting in that room, a big room with lots of space and lots of possibilities of noise bouncing back. Things are getting cold and dark and darker. He hears something. So he says ‘Who dat?’?”? When there is no response, he says, “Who dat who said, ‘Who dat?’?” And then he says, “Who dat who said, ‘Who dat?’ when I said ‘Who dat?’?” The antidote to that echo chamber is to make friends with yourself.

“Sanity lies somewhere between the inhibitions of conventional morality and the looseness of the extreme impulse” ~ The Myth of Freedom

“We can change the world, definitely. The problem is that we don’t smile when chaos occurs to us. When chaos occurs, even within that chaos, we can smile which cures confusion and resentment. Do you understand?” ~ Great Eastern Sun

“This transmutation practice is specifically one of remaining open and receptive to your own energy when you are triggered. It has three steps. Step one. Acknowledge that you’re hooked. Step two. Pause, take three conscious breaths, and lean in. Lean in to the energy. Abide with it. Experience it fully. Taste it. Touch it. Smell it. Get curious about it. ” -excerpt from Pema’s Taking the Leap

“Things are there because they are not there, otherwise they could not exist” ~ excerpt from “Luminous Emptiness” with Francesca Fremantle

The clitoris of your heart gets stimulated and you either fall in love or you get pissed off.

Conquering fear is not based on blocking your sensitivity. Otherwise, you become a deaf and dumb monarch, a jellyfish king. Sitting on a horse requires balance, and as you acquire that balance in the saddle, you have more awareness of the horse. So when you sit in the saddle on your fickle horse, you feel completely exposed and gentle. If you feel aggressive, you don’t have a good seat. In fact, you are probably not even riding the horse. You don’t put your saddle on a fence railing. You have to saddle a real horse. In this case, riding the horse is riding somebody else’s mind. It requires a complete connection. In the Buddhist tradition, this is called compassion, or working with somebody else. You are completely exposed in this situation. Otherwise, it’s like a medieval knight encased in his armor. It’s so heavy that he has to be cranked up onto the horse. Then he rides off to battle and usually falls off. There’s something wrong with that technology.

You are sitting on the earth and you realize that this earth deserves you and you deserve this earth. You are there—fully, personally, genuinely.

“Helping others is a question of being genuine and projecting that genuineness to others. This way of being doesn’t have to have a title or a name particularly. It is just being ultimately decent.”

We’re a few short. What’s your favorite? Add it in comments, if it gets even one Second we’ll add it here.

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58 Responses to “50 Best Quotes, Photos: Chögyam Trungpa, Buddhist meditation teacher.”

  1. Zane Edwards says:

    “Never give up on anyone”

  2. Rick Gilbert says:

    There was a passage read at the dinner before the start of my dathun–a fairly long passage, followed by something like "the pain never ends; you'll never be happy! there's a mantra for you…" love that passage.
    he was simply the best. I never met him and yet I miss him so much.

  3. tom dolak says:

    chaos is good news.

  4. Neil "WWB" Sharma says:

    "I've traveled the world and never in my experience have I ever met such a biggity bitch as Tom Dolak."

    "It is the responsibility of every awakened being to take a shit on Tom's car."

  5. mareynolds says:

    In the practice of meditation, concentrating too heavily on the technique brings all kinds of mental activities, frustrations, and sexual and aggressive fantasies. So you keep just on the verge of your technique, with 25 percent of your attention. Another 25 percent is relaxing, a further 25 percent relates to making friends with oneself, and the last 25 percent connects with expectation — your mind is open to the possibility of something happening during this practice session.These four aspects of mindfulness have been referred to as the four wheels of a chariot.The ideal number of wheels we should have on our chariot is four, the four techniques of meditation: concentration, openness, awareness, and expectation. That leaves a lot of room for play. That is the approach in the buddhadharma, the Buddhist teachings. A lot of people in the lineage have practiced that way and have actually achieved a perfect state of enlightenment in one lifetime.

  6. elephant journal elephantjournal says:

    The ultimate definition of bravery is not being afraid of who you are. ~ Chögyam Trungpa

  7. elephant journal elephantjournal says:

    "You have wasted many lives in the past, and in the future you may not have the opportunity to practice." ~ Chögyam Trungpa

  8. elephant journal elephantjournal says:

    “When you express gentleness & precision in ur environment then real brilliance & power can descend into that situation.”~ Chogyam Trungpa

  9. elephant journal elephantjournal says:

    “Sanity lies somewhere between the inhibitions of conventional morality and the looseness of the extreme impulse.” -Chögyam Trungpa

  10. elephant journal elephantjournal says:

    Meditation is giving a huge meadow to a restless cow. ~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

  11. tom dolak says:

    this is going on my facebook like right now. excellent.

    i work with addicts at a restaurant. any type of boundary creates that ol' urge to gush liquid poop. that makes them superb teachers.

  12. "People are not really nuisances at all. They are just being themselves given their circumstances." —The Sanity We Are Born With

    "The emphasis on practice is because it is the only time in your life you can steer your karmic situation."—The Teacup & the Skullcup

  13. elephant journal elephantjournal says:

    Hope and fear cannot change the season." – Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

  14. elephant journal elephantjournal says:

    We always have a choice: we can limit our perception so that we close off vastness, or we can allow vastness to touch us. – Chögyam Trungpa

  15. Linda Lewis Linda says:

    "No guarantee," VCTR said many times. (The remark cut through spiritual materialistic hopes on the spot.) Usually accompanied with "It's up to you, sweetheart!"

  16. [...] Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche once described the energy that sustains the vow taken by a Bodhisattva as follows, “Taking the Bodhisattva vow implies that instead of holding onto our own individual territory and defending it tooth and nail, we become open to the world that we are living in… in fact, it means taking a big chance.” [...]

  17. [...] Buddhist concept of Idiot Compassion, first coined and made popular by the genius and controversial Chogyam Trungpa (who certainly abused his not-so-mindful liver during a brief but brilliant life). Which, in a [...]

  18. [...] Trungpa Rinpoche once said The arrival of chaos should be regarded as extremely good news. [...]

  19. [...] Materialism is a concept Chogyam Trungpa introduced to describe the contrived state of affairs produced by the ego kidnapping the spiritual [...]

  20. [...] “Meditation is about making friends with yourself.” [...]

  21. brad says:

    "Illusion is not to be looked down upon." in *The Path is the Goal* (i think…)

  22. [...] “Too often, people think that solving the word’s problems is based on conquering the earth,rather than touching the earth, touching ground.” ~Chögyam Trungpa [...]

  23. jay says:

    Hi and many thanks for these quotes !
    By the way, is there a third step in quote 24 ? I'm curious about it !

    • Changchub Sertso says:

      It's a tantric approach that only comes by following a certain sequence as you enter the path. This sequence begins with shamatha meditation. This is followed by shamatha-vipassana, the panoramic view that has awoken to the teachings of the dharma, insight into the nature of reality, with the blossoming of bodhicitta, loving kindness, holiness of ego, compassion, understanding and practice of the 6 Paramitas, the opening of the 6th paramita,the bodhisattva path and then….the tantric path.
      Although the entrance need not be so dramatic. It all comes through sitting meditation.
      Transmutation means actually dismantling the empire of ego, the slow and certain destruction of the various I's we hold dear, the various thick and tangled layers of so-called self. But at this point there is no need to do more than sitting meditation. Shamatha with support, support on the breath or an other object, later on, shamatha without support, resting in nowness, the present moment. Acknowledging you are hooked means understanding the truth of the Dharma enough to take Refuge and maybe Bodhisattva vows. After step #1 you would not understand, at this point. It's inconceivable to the rational mind at the point "pause, take three conscious breaths."
      As Trungpa said, "Sit, sit a lot."

      • Changchub sertso says:

        And most important, if your intention is there, you can find authentic teachers with a lineage of transmission.
        I don't know what to call it…juice? This is vajrayana though. First you sit, sit a lot. Same thing continues in vajrayana actually. A lot from ego's point of view. It's a process of realizing your true nature. Which can worry the ego a lot. There are good dharma teachers. Lots of genuine sanghas studying and practicing the dharma.

  24. M.Maurice says:

    I knew Trungpa fairly well and I did Buddhism for 25 years. You have to realise it's Gnosticism !!! Truth is not a state of being or non- being it's a person Yahshua Hamashiach

  25. Annette says:

    Can you tell me the source of "The clitoris of your heart gets stimulated and you either fall in love or you get pissed off." ? Thank you.

  26. [...] Shambhala can be fixed. While I may not have an accurate handle on the problems, or solutions, here’s my best shot. I invite you to offer your *constructive* evaluation of our challenges and solutions below in the comments section. Yours in the Great Eastern Sun, [...]

  27. [...] dialogue possible. And it’s always healthy, though not always easy or “neat.” Chaos, a wise man once said, should be regarded as extremely good [...]

  28. Fear comes from panic, the bewilderment of uncertainty. Uncertainty is related to distrust in yourself, feeling that you are inadequate to deal with that mysterious problem which is threatening you. There is no fear if you have a compassionate relationship with yourself, because then you know what you are doing. …

  29. Diane says:

    My favorite is: what are you rushing toward? Your death? It says it all.

  30. mommychick says:

    If you are willing to tolerate emptiness for a time, you allow new possibilities to sweep in and fill the void.

    ~Susan Page

    "Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice,
    and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."

    ~~ The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.

  31. Prabuddha says:

    'It's like being in the ocean when the waves are really rough and high. They knock you over and you find yourself on the floor of the ocean with your face in the sand. The sand is getting in your nose and your mouth and your eyes and the waves are holding you down. But then the wave recedes and you stand back up and you walk until the next wave comes in and knocks you down and the same thing keeps happening. And each time you just stand back up and after a while it seems to you that the waves are getting smaller and smaller.'
    Chogyam Trungpa

  32. [...] Chogyam Trungpa: ~~~Decency is Absence of Strategy~~~ [...]

  33. Great post.

    My favourite quote is – the truth is what you experience.

  34. Krupp says:

    Love this post! Full of inspirational quotes, my favorite would be "Whatever occurs—is part of the learning process. So there is nothing to blame; everything is the path, everything is Dharma." -By the heart of Buddha. I believe in this saying because every mistake that you did serves as a guide or a learning experience for us to become better individuals. Without this, we won't be able to find our true self. Thank you for sharing all of this.

  35. Wayne says:

    "Meditation is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes.

    Myth of Freedom

  36. john john says:

    Chogyam was in tune

  37. @ADK_Warlock says:

    “A path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you . . . Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself alone, one question . . . Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good

  38. Kristi H says:

    I’ve heard that VCTR said “Things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise”.

  39. elephant journal elephantjournal says:

    Love that. We made that into a cover of elephant magazine back in the day.

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