Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project–Update

September 20, 2009 by     Print This Post Print This Post

Report by Andrew Safer

Carolyn GimianThe publication of On Different Views and Paths, an interview with Richard Reoch, President of Shambhala International, which appeared on both the Radio Free Shambhala and Shambhala Times Web sites in July, inspired a follow-up interview with Carolyn Gimian, Director of the Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project (CTLP).

The following exchange from On Differing Views and Paths prompted this writer to ask Ms. Gimian to provide an update on the mandate and activities of the Legacy Project:

Radio Free Shambhala: The real question is: how are the teaching stream and legacy of Trungpa Rinpoche going to continue?

Richard Reoch: I’ve been in discussions with Carolyn Gimian since the beginning of the Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project about the importance of that initiative. The analogy we have used is that the Legacy Project is like a presidential library, so things don’t end up moldering and being lost. I’ve had some initial conversations with some of the longer-term students and acharyas about how to create an identifiable and helpful framework so no one is seen as being on one track or the other, or as renegades which is antithetical to the long-term survival of the lineage.

The following Q’s and A’s are excerpted from interviews conducted with Ms. Gimian in late July and early August.

Vision and Mandate

Q: In 2007, the vision of the Legacy Project was to provide “a very large tent of dharma space as vast and open as Trungpa Rinpoche’s mind”. Is that still the case?

A: Almost without exception, all of Trungpa Rinpoche’s students and students of Shambhala internationally feel a tremendous connection to the Vidyadhara and his teachings, which leads to a sense of us being choicelessly a family and community. We are all united by our love for the Vidyadhara. Sometimes our connection also leads to people feeling either that they are being recognized for their connection or maybe they’re not, and conflict also arises out of that. I think the idea of a huge tent is that it transcends divisions as much as possible and provides a larger space for appreciating and propagating his teachings, which is in the spirit of how he taught.

Presidential Library

Q: Mr. Reoch spoke about a presidential library. What is meant by that?

A: In the United States, starting with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the presidential libraries provide a place where the vision of the president is kept intact. This is necessary because each administration goes in a new direction. For example, the Kennedy Library is extremely different from the Bush Library. Presidential libraries include museums, exhibits, audio-visual archives, programming, and extensive oral histories. You need a place where the vision of the president is kept intact. For example, there’s a huge oral history project at the Kennedy Library, which is a collection of taped memories of President Kennedy, based on interviews with his colleagues, family and friends.

If we had a physical location for an institute dedicated to the Vidyadhara’s vision, we would have a place where people could come and practice and study and experience the Vidyadhara’s teachings. We could have a shrine room because he was a great contemplative teacher. There should be a library of his own books, as well as books and texts he had a connection with, reading rooms, and a place where people could watch videos and listen to his talks. We would have a museum that would showcase some of the sacred objects he owned as well as show us something about his life from seeing his desk, his suits and ties, and many other things. In the case of the Kennedy Library, Kennedy had a connection with Hemingway so they have a Hemingway room at the Kennedy Library. We could have, say, the archives of Shibata Sensei, and his life would be celebrated in some way, as well as collections for other senior teachers who were contemporaries or students of the Vidyadhara, and archives and records of members of his family. It would give you a sense of the fullness of the world in which he was teaching.

Q: What are some of the projects that the Legacy Project is planning?

Comprehensive Virtual Archive

A: We would like to help develop a comprehensive virtual archive in partnership with the Shambhala Archives and the Chronicles of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The Archives has completed the digitization of almost all of the Vidyadhara’s teachings that exist in audio format, which is 3,000 talks. Libraries of about half that material have been supplied to a large number of Buddhist centers—mostly Shambhala Centers. Naropa University also has this library of close to 1,500 of the Vidyadhara’s seminars and talks, and Jamgon Kongtrul III’s monastery in Pullahari, Nepal has also participated. Thanks to donations from many centers, as well as several private donors and the Shambhala Trust, 25 centers on four continents have libraries in the form of CDs. All of the major land centers have this library

Now that we have the digital files, we can think about organizing the material and making it available online and in other ways. The centers that have CDs know the title of the seminars, where they took place, and when, but a lot of people can’t use this effectively without more information. They need to be able to search on keywords and to have a synopsis and indication of how to use the material. For example, there are a few seminars on the Battle of Ego…What are they about? We need a synopsis. We’re starting to do some work on this, thanks to a small donation to evaluate the project. To do it properly (to make the CDs keyword search-enabled) would require a budget of at least $25,000. That’s probably low. This doesn’t include the money for the programming, software, server, etc if we want people to be able to access material on-line.

I don’t think most people want the MP3s for 3,000 talks on their hard drives, but they’d like to have access to the material when they want it. Working with the Archives and the Chronicles, we’d like to form a library that would provide membership online, for a membership fee of something like $8 to $10 per month, or people would pay what they can. Members would access all this material on-line and pay a separate fee if they want the recording as an MP3. That way, you could take your MP3 to the gym!

Editorial Apprenticeships

Another important project that’s in the discussion phase is to develop a program to train young people as future editors. There are probably 40 to 50 more volumes of original material by the Vidyadhara that need to be edited and published. There’s a great deal of material on the great forefathers of the Kagyu lineage, for example. To start, we might invite a group of 25 or 30 young students to come together to study the Vidyadhara’s teachings for four to six weeks, possibly during the summer. Some of the instructors would be senior editors who had worked with him. They would present the material from their point of view so the young person could learn to approach it as an editor. Presenters might include Judy Lief, Sherab Chodzin, David Rome, Sarah Coleman, me and others—especially the editors of Rinpoche’s work during the last ten or fifteen years of his life. At the end of the period of time, we would elect a small group to become editorial apprentices (depending on the available funding). The Nalanda Translation Committee has a program where they fund several apprentices. We might model what we do on their approach. We would like to pay the young people a stipend, and they would work for a couple of years with the editors on books. We’re thinking of having up to six young people in the group. We might also have a dharma art apprentice or apprentices for other aspects of the Vidyadhara’s teachings. The point would be to enable the next generations to really begin to take responsibility for his teachings.

A lot of this is in the discussion phase. In fact, a lot of it is just in my head! We don’t have a formal endowment fund, which is really what’s needed to ensure the dharma legacy of Chögyam Trungpa remains available to the future. As it stands now, people can include the Legacy Project in their will, set up an endowment within their own estate planning, or set up their own trust.

There really should be an endowment fund to ensure future editorial work on the Vidyadhara’s books and other projects. There’s a gap between the funding that can come from sales of books and what’s necessary to raise so that people can continue to do this work for future generations. Trying to do it on a cost-recovery basis is nuts; well, it’s unlikely to succeed. Buddhists traditionally have a practice of funding the teachings as merit. Some communities—particularly in Asia—are able to produce books at no cost to the reader and give them away. I wish we could do that with the virtual library and some other projects. If there was a big donation, a really big donation, that would make this possible. Occasionally, we have had patrons who underwrite the cost of a specific publication…A donor paid for many copies of the Sadhana of Mahamudra to be placed in Shambhala Centers, for example.

Chögyam Trungpa Annual Lecture

We have also been discussing the idea of hosting a Chögyam Trungpa Annual Lecture. We were very fortunate to receive the teaching gift from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpooche’s visit to Halifax last year. Unexpectedly, he donated his whole teaching gift to the Legacy Project. The Chögyam Trungpa Annual Lecture would mark this generous gift. Someone who has a connection to Trungpa Rinpoche, such as another Buddhist teacher or a student of the Vidyadhara’s, would be invited to give the lecture about something related to his teachings, or something that came out of his work. We are asking Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to give the first lecture. This could start in 2010. By the way, I don’t think the Sakyong knows anything about this yet, so he may be a little surprised by this idea.

Root Text Project

We support the work of the Shambhala Archives in many ways, as well as the editorial efforts of the Vidyadhara’s senior editors. We have a fund to help support editorial work. Right now, we’re emphasizing donations to the Root Text Project—the amazing efforts Judy Lief is making to edit the Vidyadhara’s teachings at seminary, and condense and organize these in an appropriate way so these books can be published by Shambhala Publications, and made available to the public.

I am going to work with Judy for about six months next year, and I’m very excited to be able to contribute to this project in some direct way. I recently spent about a week working with her. I was absolutely stunned by the depth and the breadth of the material, which begins to shine through when the editing is polished and the various talks are merged. There are close to 400 talks that she is working with in the three volumes. It’s truly amazing work. I think the publication of this three-volume work will establish Chögyam Trungpa as one of the most important scholars of the Buddhist tradition in the 20th century. I think it will shock people who have viewed him as a great popularizer but haven’t understood that he was actually transmitting the heart of his tradition and many of its details as well. I’m so thrilled that Judy is doing this work She has such a thorough understanding of the material and she is such a highly trained editor. Many others are supporting her, especially Ellen Kearney. Shambhala Publications and Shambhala Media are supporting this work, as are many individual donors. But Judy really deserves our thanks for undertaking and persevering in this project.

What Activities are Outside the Mandate of the Legacy Project?

Q: When Mr. Reoch was asked how the teaching and practice streams of Chögyam Trungpa will be kept alive, he mentioned the Legacy Project. What aspects of the continuation of his teaching stream will NOT be covered by the Legacy Project?

A: I think the Legacy Project can support a lot of different efforts, but I don’t think it will be the vehicle for preserving the teaching stream and practice streams that you’re describing. I think the Vidyadhara was such a vast person who influenced so many people that I also don’t think any one institution is going to be able to lay claim to him completely. He empowered his son, the Sakyong, to continue to teach, obviously, and that sense of lineage is very important.

I firmly believe that many students of the Vidyadhara—disciples and other people he influenced—have received important transmissions from him and that all of us have a responsibility to carry that forward. Almost every senior student—and there are hundreds—have a very deeply felt sense of wanting to preserve the Vidyadhara’s legacy. In the Lojong teachings, there is a slogan that advises us to hold the principal witness. You have to trust your own integrity and sanity. In the last many years with the Archives and the Legacy Project, I’ve realized there are these jewels everywhere, which are the human beings who have extraordinary ideas about what it means to pass on Rinpoche’s teachings. Again, I don’t think any organization can contain all of that.

He gave so many teachings that were applicable to the time when he gave them. I really do believe that many were like terma—little time bombs going off as time goes on. None of them are trivial. Of all the talks he gave and all the times I heard him speaking about the dharma, I can’t think of one instance that was trivial. His contribution was so vast, it’s really important to try to be sure that the breadth of his work and the depth of it is available, both for us and the future. Rinpoche’s students were so fortunate, we’ve gotten so much…The big issue now is not so much do we have enough; it’s more, how can we share it with the world?

The Vidyadhara developed many important forms,dathun, for example. I don’t think it existed until he developed it. We have to be sure that these forms survive. How do people communicate what they actually know? For myself, I’ve been at times really lazy. I felt this stuff is all out there, we just have to keep the machine rolling. I don’t think that’s true anymore. Even if it were a terribly well oiled machine, I would still have the responsibility to work with the teachings he gave me and communicate whatever I understand. There’s always a danger a lot could be lost if people don’t step up. It’s a big wake-up call.

I was recently reading a seminar given in 1974 by the Vidyadhara on Jamgon Kongtrul, about what is the genuine contemplative approach: bringing the teachings together with experience. If we don’t do that continually, we can have something that looks good but actually has no depth to it: there’s no there there. Jamgon Kongtrul said if you approach sharing the teachings with others like being a milkman, you’re really missing the point. If you just take the bottles of milk and sell them, you haven’t actually milked the cow yourself. You haven’t drunk the milk.


Q: These are very ambitious projects! What sort of budget is the Legacy Project working with?

A: The unaudited budget for 2008 was $43,000, which was huge for us. More than one-third came from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s gift. The ongoing donations we can count on are between $12,000 and $15,000 a year. This year total revenue will be closer to $25,000. Obviously, to fulfill our big plans, we will need more than this on an annual basis.

Q: Does Shambhala International donate to the Legacy Project?

A: There are no direct donations, but there’s a lot of in-kind support—services we have access to.

Trungpa Teachers

Q: It seems that a big part of preserving the Vidyadhara’s teachings is to have teachers who teach what he taught. Can the Legacy Project assist with this work of training teachers?

A: The Legacy Project doesn’t necessarily have a direct role here. Yes, it’s a very important area. I feel that as a group all the senior students of the Vidyadhara need to be respected more than they are. As a mark of respect for the Vidyadhara, it’s important to respect all of the aspects of his teaching. That would include the Buddha, dharma, and sangha principles. Regarding the sangha—his senior students—I think we were incredibly well trained. Trungpa Rinpoche’s students had a very good education. He taught us to think as contemplative people, to apply the teachings to our experience, to understand what things meant, not just to memorize a lot of categories. He worked hard to make people think about how the dharma worked for them individually. That needs to be respected. Where that is not happening, it’s very sad.


Q: Another important element of keeping the Vidyadhara’s teachings alive has to do with having access to the texts (such as the sadhanas).

A: Access to the texts and similar materials does not fall under the purview of the Legacy Project. You’ll have to ask the Nalanda Translation Committee about that.


Q: It would seem that preserving the unique way that the Vidyadhara gave actual teaching transmissions, such as pointing out instructions, is another key element of keeping the his teachings alive…

A: The Vidyadhara gave teachings that were very important to different lineages, to different Buddhist teachers and their students. For example, his teachings on Zen and Tantra have been well received in the Zen world through the recent book The Teacup and the Skullcup. One reason it’s important for the Legacy Project to be involved in seeing that this root material is preserved is so that many people can benefit from his teachings. However, we’re not in the business of giving pointing out instructions, abhishekas or distributing restricted materials. Traditionally that has to come from an association with a root teacher.

Most Concerned to Protect

Q: What is the aspect of the Vidyadhara’s work that you are most concerned to protect?

A: I’m greatly concerned that we don’t have everything he taught transcribed. At the same time, if we lose his voice, if we lose the audio recordings, we won’t have a total record. And then, in the long run, I’m concerned that he gave a lot of teachings on Mudra Space Awareness, Mudra Theatre, and Maitri and many other unique applications of the teachings to Western culture. A lot of the early material is not very available to people..

I’ve been listening to the Jamgon Kongtrul seminar I mentioned earlier, how Jamgon Kongtrul went around Tibet and received the transmissions and practices for something like 108 different contemplative schools. A lot of them were on the verge of going out of existence because nobody had practiced these teachings in so long. He kept the material from going out of existence by getting the transmissions himself, and practicing, and sharing with others. I believe that much of the Rinchen Terdzo is a reflection of his efforts.The Vidyadhara’s work is so vast that we are in danger of losing some of it. Some parts are hardly practiced anymore. Sometimes people think that, for the moment, a particular teaching is no longer relevant, but that’s really not the case. People have realized that the teachings he gave to Mudra Sapce Awareness, for example, are related to Dzogchen Ati teachings. And they may have much to offer to actors and others in the theatre. If we don’t keep them alive, we’ll lose that whole stream of teachings he gave.

Whither Independence?

Q: I understand the Legacy Project was planning to be independent from Shambhala International…

A: Yes, we had discussions with people within Shambhala International moving toward independence. The original reason for that, in part, was to have the Legacy Project reaching really out on a large scale. There are many people in the world—artists and others—and people from many different organizations who appreciate Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings. That includes people at Naropa Institute and many other Buddhist teachers, not just Tibetan Buddhists but Zen teachers and communities, Theravadin teachers, and many others. But it became clear that the Sakyong and his family and Shambhala International wanted to have the Legacy Project remain within Shambhala.


Q: What does it mean to “come under the protection and blessings of Kalapa”?

A: I don’t know entirely. Practically speaking, I’m working fairly closely with Richard Reoch, in the sense that he and I are working on a two-year plan. I’ve been talking with him about the Legacy Project for three or four years and he has shown an interest for a long time. As far as I can tell, Kalapa is still in the forming stages, so it’s hard to say. I hope it means that the Kalapa Council will lend their support to the efforts of the Legacy Project.

Protection and Change

Q: On Radio Free Shambhala, “Tsondru Garma” posted this comment: “Can the Legacy Project really be in danger of being changed while protected? That’s a scary prospect indeed.    I sincerely hope that the Project is not in any danger of revisionism. Too painful or difficult to even imagine.”

A: I think the best protection of the Vidyadhara’s legacy is to take the biggest view. That really can’t be corrupted because it’s beyond any individual interpretation. We need to remember that the Vidyadhara was Padmasambhava for our age. If you keep that in mind, that tells you that whenever people are trying to make a decision about what to do, it should be made from that highest viewpoint. Small mindedness is going to come from many corners. Whatever my role may be, I have to deal with my own small mindedness first, which is usually the bigger obstacle, rather than what anybody else is going to foist onto me.

Whatever may happen to the Legacy Project, the actual legacy of Chögyam Trungpa is incorruptible. I believe that with all my being, or non-being.

Thanks, Andrew, for this opportunity to say something about the Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project. Also, may I mention that we are in the process of redoing our Web site. Right now, it’s not much. But I hope the new site will be up in about a month. You can find the web site of the Legacy Project at

Carolyn Rose Gimian is a senior editor of the work of Chögyam Trungpa, as well as the director of the Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project and the Director Emeritus of the Shambhala Archives. She edited The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa and Shambhala The Sacred Path of the Warrior and other titles, including the forthcoming Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

*Photo of Carolyn Gimian by Marvin Moore


60 Responses to “Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project–Update”

  1. rita ashworth on October 6th, 2009 9:36 am

    “No, the senior students you are referring too, phenomenally failed in their first task, i.e. , to protect the teachings of CTR.” Chris

    The journalist in me is asking me what you mean concisely about the above quote. Are you saying specifically that the senior students were asked by Trungpa himself to protect the teachings – if they were who were they specifically or was it just a group audience that met with Trungpa. Or are you referring to something in writing that Trungpa wrote and his students interpreted in a certain manner.

    Re lineage and this is probably one of the last questions I ask on it for awhile what do you make of Rays statement that he is not self-proclaimed -that Trungpa did indeed want his older students to become lineage holders besides the Regent -how would you see that?

    As to Trungpa 12 -there has been a debate on this board about him – how would you recognise that he is a genuine emanation of Trungpa in the light of other comments on this board.

    Over to you – really would like to hear your comments on these questions.


    Rita Ashworth

  2. Chris on October 6th, 2009 10:52 am

    Dear Rita:
    Lineage, questions about lineage, protecting the teachings of CTR, are all about the same thing.

    Senior students , disciples protecting the purity of the teachings. their precious lineage, that they have a responsibility to continue. When you no longer see lineage as important, or you decide to make lineage expedient to the whims of a usurper, you have lost the view, the blessings dont come through and there is nothing but confusion. If you stay in a situation, and bystand lineage being destroyed, and your teachers stream of teachings tweaked and twisted, to the whims of a son , , , , and you stay in because of livelihood, or some mixed up view that you are still protecting the teachings, even though the lineage has been dismissed, and you stand by and let that happen, you are very confused and should not , I believe ,be continuously congratulated…It is how this whole mandala has been turned around .
    So the lineage questions and revealed confusion about lineage , and the lack of protecting the teachings of CTR, is really about the same thing. These are not separate issues. Protecting the teachings so that they remain pure in their transmission, i.e. clear and not confusing so that people can wake up not stay confused. is what lineage is. Anything else, is something else.. We have short memories, but it is when the lineage of CTR was dismissed , the pictures of CTR’s lineage taken off the shrine, that the real confusion in this mandala occurred, lest you think lineage is debatable. Even in the most radical Dzogchen teachings,lineage still matters..

    Just the way SMR has made lineage expedient, is the thing that should have placed all the senior students of CTR on alert. When even that was o.k. I, for one knew that all was lost in terms of finding the Genuine Trungpa Rinpoche in this mandala of expediency.

  3. rita ashworth on October 6th, 2009 11:23 am

    Dear Chris

    Thank you for your clarification on your last post.

    I will print it off and think about it for a while.

    I dont think lineage is debateable up to CTR – its after that that I have questions about the way things are progressing. I think I am prepared to live with that confusion for a while -perhaps older students can work with other Kagyu Lamas to manifest CTR’s teachings in the world -there might be a possibility in that area.

    Yes Ray is interesting I await further developments with him and perhaps others.

    So this is probably one of my last comments on the whole thing and I will think/practice around these questions for the near future.


    Rita Ashworth

  4. Suzanne Duarte on October 6th, 2009 11:42 am

    Rita: Not to pre-empt or answer for Chris, who can answer for herself, but my own view *used to be* that senior students’ “first task [was] to protect the teachings of CTR.” That is, I was one of the senior students who heard that command from CTR. Where did I hear it? Well, it may have been when I worked for and then managed Vajradhatu Recordings in Boulder, 1975-78.

    Vdh. Recordings was the first place where VCTR’s teachings were preserved and protected – in the original recordings from which all the transcripts and books of his seminars, talks and meetings were preserved. At Vdh. Recordings we believed we had a sacred duty to preserve, protect and disseminate his teachings for the benefit of future generations. I suppose that is where my own assumption came from, that all his “senior students” *should* understand that their samaya included the duty to protect and preserve and propagate VCTR’s teachings. But that assumption was reinforced in so many ways by the training programs he designed for us to become meditation instructors, teachers and directors of Shambhala Training. I never questioned my assumption that, as his students – and especially as MI’s, teachers, and directors of Shambhala Training – it was our duty to protect and propagate his teachings. Who else was going to do it? Why else would he have put so much blood, sweat and tears into training us???

    Well, that was my assumption until my vajra brothers and sisters, people who had taken samaya with VCTR, began demonstrating that they did not believe it was their duty to protect and preserve VCTR’s legacy. I began to realize that many of my old sangha friends did not see things the same way I did when the basic meditation instruction was changed, and seasoned MI’s were told by Dale Asrael, the representative of Sakyong Mipham, that we now had to teach meditation according to SMR’s instruction. Well, that jettisoned my own 20-yr. ‘career’ as an MI. I literally felt I’d be damned if I went along with changing VCTR’s meditation instruction, which I still believe in whole-heartedly.

    I was aghast that so many students of the Vidyadhara went along with the changes that SMR instituted. Each one made my blood boil: the name change from Vdh. to SI, and of dharmadhatus to Shambhala Centers, the removal of Vajradhara and lineage photos from shrines, the transformation of RMDC from a genuine practice retreat center soaked in lineage blessings and drala, to the new-age corporate resort called SMC, the merging of Shambhala Training with a Buddhist curriculum, etc., etc., etc. But many of my old friends rationalized these changes, which also made my blood boil. I wasn’t silent, I had arguments with my peers, but I seemed to have few allies. Even some former Vdh. directors went along with the changes. Nobody who had any influence within SI had any interest whatsoever in my objections, and some people insulted me and warned me that I was breaking samaya!

    This story is not over! When will “senior students” who now have oaths of loyalty to SMR wake up and confess?

  5. benny hana on October 6th, 2009 1:29 pm

    Here we go again… You people have bee so deluded by alien influences that you don’t know which way is up. You are like fish in a tank: ooh a castle, turn, ooh a castle, turn, ooh a castle. You wonder why no one responds to this crap. Ooh a Castle. Don’t worry, there are those of us commited to fighting the alien scourge. Hopefully we will be victorious in time to save you.

  6. Andrew Safer on October 6th, 2009 3:47 pm

    My last two posts seem to have stirred up a couple of hornet’s nests.

    First, re: the quote from the Vidyadhara about his reincarnation. I posted that as a point of information, certainly not as a conclusion.

    Second, re: “it’s up to us”…We can complain, we can equivocate, we can storm off, we can position ourself on the “right side” of the argument, whatever. In the end, *regardless,* are we doing everything we can to preserve and propagate these wonderful teachings we have been entrusted with–never mind the obstacles–or are we using one of the “good excuses” that are out there (and there are many) to shy away from the challenge?

    Even if there is little to no support from within SI, are we still doing whatever we can? There’s a real charnel ground quality to this. Have we have been eaten up by the charnel groundness, or is it “otherwise”?

  7. John Castlebury on October 18th, 2010 10:45 am

    Here is the current Ocean of Dharma Quote of the Week, same as the “ODQW” for November 6, 2008 [below], which is here again followed by the unexpurgated text of Rinpoche’s original poem, as commented upon earlier in this thread in September, 2009:

    Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 19:21:56 -0300
    > From:
    > To:
    > Subject: [OceanofDharma] Quotes of the Week: Fearlessness and Joy Are Truly Yours
    > Ocean of Dharma Quotes of the Week
    October 15, 2010
    > When a warrior king presents a gift,
    > It could be a naked flame, which consumes the jungle of ego,
    > Or an ice cold mountain range, which cools the heat of aggression.
    > On the other hand, it could be a parachute.
    > One wonders whether it will open or not.
    > There is a further choice—Thunderbolt:
    > Whether you are capable of holding it with your bare hand is up to you.
    > So, my heartfelt child, take these gifts and use them
    > In the way that past warriors have done.
    > From SMILE AT FEAR: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery.


    On September 26th, 2009 6:03 am John Castlebury wrote:

    Ocean of Dharma “Quotes” of the Week
    November 6, 2008


    When a warrior king presents a gift,
    It *{could} be *{a} naked flame, which consumes the jungle of ego,
    Or an ice cold mountain range, which cools the heat of aggression.
    On the other hand, it could be a parachute.
    *{One wonders whether it will open or not.}
    There is a further choice –Thunderbolt:
    Whether you are capable of holding it with *{your} bare hand is up to you.
    So, my heartfelt *{child}, take *{these gifts} and use them
    In the way that past warriors have done.

    Unpublished poem, from the manuscript of CONQUERING FEAR: THE HEART OF SHAMBHALA, forthcoming in 2009.

    *{Innovations of the editor}

    This is an excerpt, not a whole poem; it’s the first 11 lines of a poem with its dedication and final 9 lines missing. Why? To use a poem with the word “fearlessness” in its title to coordinate with the forthcoming book Conquering Fear?

    But this sort of tinkering, expunging half the poem and inventing new language actually misrepresents the true occasion of the poem, it misappropriates the poem, and it can no longer be called Rinpoche’s poem at all; it is someone’s *version* of Rinpoche’s poem.
    Compare and contrast…

  8. John Castlebury on October 18th, 2010 10:52 am

    From Rinpoche’s unpublished poetry, raw and unabridged, with its dedication and its final 9 lines restored:

    Fearlessness and Joy Are Truly Yours:
    For the Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin

    When a warrior king presents a gift,
    It should be naked flame
    Which consumes the jungle of ego,
    Or ice cold mountain range
    Which cools the heat of aggression.
    On the other hand, it could be a parachute,
    Which questionably will open or not.
    There is a further choice – thunderbolt:
    Whether you are capable of holding it with a bare hand is up to you.
    So, my heartfelt son, take them and use them
    In the way that the past warriors have done.
    You have the strength and capability as well as careful training.
    Please cherish this standard of mine, the Tiger Lion Garuda Dragon dignity flag.
    So you will accomplish maitri, karuna, joy and greater vision.
    With the work that you have performed and lots of sacrifice for the sake of greater sangha,
    And bringing about Great Eastern Sun for the enlightened society,
    You deserve to live a thousand years –
    Whether you like it or not.
    You have learned a lot, performed magnificently.
    I the humble Vajracarya, along with my wife, would like to wish cheerful birthday to you, my lord.

    [Kalapa Court, 21 August 1981]

    [I was once told that because Rinpoche is no longer here to authorise changes, it is vital to edit as verbatim as possible, excepting pidgin English. That would be a sound theory, if only it were the practice.

    The translators have a committee and arrive at some degree of consensus. The editors could benefit from having a similar style of committee to offer honest advice such as Mr. McLeod’s.

    Otherwise the next-generation of editor/interns may be taught that the literary legacy is plastic to be molded at their discretion – when the only real discretion editors have is to faithful accuracy.

    Why change a word if a footnote will do?]

  9. Edward on October 18th, 2010 3:19 pm

    Normally I love Carolyn Gimian’s work, and all the books she has published.

    But I agree, rewriting CTR’s poems seems a bit odd. It’s like taking Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter, and just swapping in some words with a different meter and meaning, but publishing it as if it were the original.

    When a warrior king presents a gift,
    It should be naked flame
    Which consumes the jungle of ego

    With my own teacher, he often said that we were determined to change his message, so that we could turn him into a marketable product, instead of a fire. He said we were afraid to present him as he is to people, because we’re afraid people won’t be interested. We’re too concerned with being liked, and bargaining with people.

    On the other hand, there is a need for editors to review things, and to consider how to present things to an audience.

    It’s all a very artful matter, isn’t it?

    It could be a naked flame
    this revision seems not so good.

  10. Blondy on August 18th, 2014 5:03 pm

    That hits the target peyefctlr. Thanks!