The Genuine Chögyam Trungpa

March 25, 2009

Commentary by Bernie Weitzman

I address what follows to students of the Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche.

The years since Rinpoche’s parinirvana have been uncomfortable for many of his students.  Many of us have felt alienated from the community and from the Sakyong’s teachings.  We have, of course, dealt with the situation in individual ways. There are, though, commonalities.  Some of us have continued to participate fully, some of us have withdrawn, and others of us have continued to teach but have kept ourselves otherwise distant.

A concern that has become increasingly acute for me personally is that Rinpoche’s unique vision, the world altering presentation of the dharma that was my gateway, my access to sanity, is in danger of being lost.  I heard many teachers before him, during his time with us and have heard many teachers since Rinpoche’s death.  It is clear to me that, if not for him. I would still be wandering in search of a teacher.

I have recently found a significant level of comfort with and confidence in the path the Sakyong is developing.  The new format for Shambhala training will, in my view, be a truly fruitional movement in the direction of Trungpa, Rinpoche’s vision.  The retreat sequence, climaxing in the Scorpion Seal Retreat, moves Shambhala training and the Kagyu and Nyingma practices into a potentially enriching dialogue — but it’s a step towards that dialogue.

In order for that dialogue to unfold, we students of the Vidyadhara need to enter the discussion.  The way is open.  We are free to teach within the community.  Frank Berliner has coined the topic heading that I feel we all might use: “The Essential Chögyam Trungpa.”

H.H. Karmapa once said to a group of tantrikas, “Your teachers plant yeast in you.  It grows and expands in you.  Pass it on to your students.”  Each of us is yeasted.  Each of us has a unique “Essential Chögyam Trungpa.”  Let’s pass it on to the current generation and join the Sakyong in fulfilling his father’s vision.

Bernie Weitzman is in private practice as a psychotherapist in NYC. He became a student of Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche in 1972, and has taught at Karme Choling and at the NY and Philadelphia Shambhala Centers.