Zen 101

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Trungpa

With palms together,


Good Morning All,

Awake late into the night I watched “Crazy Wisdom, the Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.” This is a documentary about that rascal within Tibetan Buddhism who founded Naropa University and rocked the Buddhist world with his behavior, behavior which some say was a teaching in its own right and others might say was a living, on-going, violation of the precepts we live by. Perhaps appropriately so, I followed the film by reciting the robe verse and sitting on my cushion in our residence’ Zendo. Wednesday I will drive over to Palomas, Mexico to be fitted for a new set of sorely needed dentures, and on Thursday Kathryn Shukke Shin will undergo Gall Bladder surgery. As if this were not enough, I found out yesterday that a noise which recently developed in my motorcycle’s engine may mean major surgery on the bike. So, yes, was awake late into the night.



Life can be a challenging, if not a disturbing teacher at times. Trungpa Rinpoche was an extraordinary teacher in my opinion. He was the sort of teacher whose very life itself was the teaching. Referred to sometimes as “the Bad Boy of Buddhism” Trungpa did what some early Zen in America pioneers did, made the teachings available and accessible to Americans. He lived out of the box upsetting the status quo and eschewing expectations of his students. In other words he was himself, an authentic self, who manifested through his teaching and behavior challenges to his students and the Buddhist community at large. While I don’t think his behavior was good for him and those around him in some ways, I do think if we had more teachers like him, perhaps we would be less arrogant with our convictions, convinced as we often are, that our way is the best way.



We will spend the next two or three weeks studying chapter 6 of our text, “Living by Vow.” This chapter is devoted to the central teaching of Zen Buddhism, the Great Heart of Wisdom Sutra. I can think of nothing, outside of practice itself that is more important to us than the Heart Sutra. Studying this sutra is a Dharma Gate. Please consider joining us this evening at 6:30 as we begin this study. As for Sunday, I will wait until Thursday afternoon to make a decision whether we will meet for Zazen or not. If everything goes well, we will likely meet, but I will let you know for sure by Friday morning.



By the way, today is the birthday of one of our most dedicated priests, Rev. Dai Shugyo. I will not reveal his age, but it is quite golden.



Be well

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