Buddhism is “Non-Theistic.” So why is “Devotion” key to Enlightenment?

Via Linda Lewis
on Apr 24, 2012
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{A reflection for the 25th parinirvana of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.}

We walk over the same bark, rock, and soft needled earth

but we have transformed,

tamed by your smile

and the twinkle of your eyes over your glasses,

as you teach and tease “Is that so?”

This seminary world would not exist without you, the kingpin,

who points out that nothing exists absolutely,

while appearances continue to arise vividly.

How quickly individual karma ripens here

and how workable is that which was unworkable!

Even our children catch your bodhisattva fever to practice

and be kind.

Your vast mind, like the Rocky Mountain blue sky,

accommodates the boredom of suchness

as well as the fiery drama of storms at sunset.

Little details of life—

flags waving over red earth

and pale sage shining in the hot sun,

hummingbirds and swallows exploring the shrine tent

above our heads,

hawks swirling in the lavender evening light—

All these moments penetrate ignorance like your trident

or one movement of your right hand.

Now the shrine tent glows in the dark,

its stillness tangibly stopping the flow of karma inside,

even as the grass outside sways in the wind.

But we, like the pines, are still,


feeling the power of samadhi.


Written with heart-filled devotion to the root guru, the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, during the Mahayana section of RMDC Seminary 1985 by Linda V. Lewis

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Editor: Kate Bartolotta


About Linda Lewis

Linda Lewis met the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1972 and, following Rinpoche’s invitation, immediately moved to Boulder, Colorado to be a part of his young and vital sangha. The predominant themes in her life have been teaching in contemplative schools–Vidya, Naropa, and the Shambhala School in Halifax, Nova Scotia–and studying, practicing, or teaching his Shambhala Buddhadharma wherever she finds herself.


6 Responses to “Buddhism is “Non-Theistic.” So why is “Devotion” key to Enlightenment?”

  1. ValCarruthers says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  2. Joanne says:

    I love this…"tamed by your smile"….feel like I was there for a moment.

  3. Dale Hinchey says:

    Reading this, how can one keep tears of sadness/joy from sprinkling one's starched shirt? Why even try?

    You might even see him as you drink a glass of beer, or in a blade of grass.

    "Chogyam Trungpa is here all around you, in the air you breath, in the trees and in the grass." Address to the Arts Dathun, Shibata Sensei at Karme Choling, June 2009.

    Dale Hinchey, Shibata Meadows, New Brunswick,Canada

  4. Linda V Lewis says:

    I'm sure you have met his mind and his smile!

  5. Linda V Lewis says:


  6. […] Trungpa Rinpoche reminded us always to retain critical thinking, that our devotion can’t be theistic but has to retain a sense of inquisitveness and humor and that we actually have to all contribute […]