BOOK REVIEW: Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior


This book, by Tibetan Buddhist leader, Chogram Trungpa, came to me very magically.

I read Elizabeth Lesser's Broken Open, and in it she makes several references to Trungpa because he was her guru (which she says was the most difficult yet enlightening of relationships).

This picqued my interest, so I had decided to order some of Trungpa's books. The next instant after this decision I walked by my bookshelf and immediately zeroed in on Shambhala by Trungpa. I had no recollection of ever buying it, and I'm still stumped as to where it came from, yet there it was. I was obviously supposed to read it!

I'm on my second close reading of this remarkable little book. The Shambhala teachings are on the esoteric side in Tibetan Buddhism, said to have been passed down from the high beings in Shambhala, the mythical civilization that some believe still exists in some remote Himalayan valley.

In Trungpa's skillful hands, however, these teachings have given me a whole new take on what it means to be a warrior in life. He re-frames many concepts that we in the West have degraded into dirgeful mundanities--such as: Discipline (actions expressing Basic Goodness), Renunciation (renouncing the distance between self and others), Fearlessness (beyond fear), and many others.

This book is jammed packed with tons of useful and interesting ideas, such as the Four Dignities represented by four animal forms: The Meekness of the Tiger, the Perkiness of the Lion, the Outrageousness of the Garuda (mythical bird-man), and the Inscrutability of the Dragon. These all represent facets of the Warrior's behavior and how he is in the world.

"As a warrior, you are willing to take a chance: you are willing to expose yourself to the phenomenal world, and you trust that it will give you a message, either of success or failure. Those messages are regarded neither as punishment nor as congratulations. You trust, not in success, but in reality." --p. 71, Chogram Trungpa.

Check it out.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published