Chögyam Trungpa Quotes

Sanity lies somewhere between the inhibitions of conventional morality and the looseness of the extreme impulse.


In fact, a person always finds when he begins to practice meditation that all sorts of problems are brought out. Any hidden aspects of your personality are brought out into the open, for the simple reason that for the first time you are allowing yourself to see your state of mind as it is.


We must continue to be open in the face of great opposition. No one is encouraging us to be open and still we must peel away the layers of the heart.


The point is not to convert anyone to our view, but rather to help people wake to their own view, their own sanity.


The challenge of warriorship is to live fully in the world as it is and to find within this world, with all its paradoxes, the essence of nowness. If we open our eyes, if we open our minds, if we open our hearts, we will find that this world is a magical place.


Enlightenment is ego’s ultimate disappointment.

A Philosopher Asks Buddha

A philosopher asked Buddha: “Without words, without the wordless, will you tell me truth?”

The Buddha kept silence.

The philosopher bowed and thanked the Buddha, saying: “With your loving kindness I have cleared away my delusions and entered the true path.”

After the philosopher had gone, Ananda asked the Buddha what he had attained.

The Buddha replied: “A good horse runs even at the shadow of the whip.”

Mumon’s comment: Ananda was the disciple of the Buddha. Even so, his opinion did not surpass that of outsiders. I want to ask you monks: How much difference is there between disciples and outsiders?


To tread the sharp edge of a sword,

To run on smooth-frozen ice,

One needs no footsteps to follow.

Walk over the cliffs with hands free.


Excerpted from the Gateless Gate


The Four Planes of Liberation

This Excerpted from the Wikipedia page “The Four Stages of Enlightenment

(according to the Sutta Piaka[6])
until suffering’s end
stream-enterer 1. identity view (Anatman)
2. doubt in Buddha
3. ascetic or ritual rules
up to seven rebirths in
human or heavenly realms
once-returner[8] once more as
a human
non-returner 4. sensual desire
5. ill will
once more in
a heavenly realm
(Pure Abodes)
arahant 6. material-rebirth desire
7. immaterial-rebirth desire
8. conceit
9. restlessness
10. ignorance
no rebirth



Path and Fruit

A Stream-enterer (Sotapanna) is free from:

  • 1. Identity view
  • 2. Attachment to rites and rituals
  • 3. Doubt about the teachings

A Once-returner (Sakadagami) has greatly attenuated:

  • 4. Sensual desire
  • 5. Ill will

A Non-returner (Anāgāmi) is free from:

  • 4. Sensual desire
  • 5. Ill will

An Arahant is free from all of the five lower fetters and the five higher fetters, which are:

  • 6. Attachment to the four meditative absorptions having form (rupa jhana)
  • 7. Attachment to the four formless absorptions (ārupa jhana)
  • 8. Conceit
  • 9. Restlessness
  • 10. Ignorance

The Sutta Pitaka classifies the four levels according to the levels’ attainments. In the Sthaviravada and Theravada traditions, which teach that progress in understanding comes all at once, and that ‘insight’ (abhisamaya) does not come ‘gradually’ (successively – anapurva),”[4] this classification is further elaborated, with each of the four levels described as a path to be attained suddenly, followed by the realisation of the fruit of the path.

The process of becoming an Arahat is therefore characterized by four distinct and sudden changes, although in the sutras it says that the path has a gradual development, with gnosis only after a long stretch, just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual inclination with a sudden drop only after a long stretch. The Mahasanghika had the doctrine of ekaksana-citt, “according to which a Buddha knows everything in a single thought-instant” (Gomez 1991, p. 69). The same stance is taken in Chan Buddhism, although the Chán school harmonized this point of view with the need for gradual training after the initial insight.[citation needed] This “gradual training” is expressed in teachings as the Five ranks of enlightenment, Ten Ox-Herding Pictures which detail the steps on the Path, The Three mysterious Gates of Linji, and the Four Ways of Knowing of Hakuin. The same stance is taken in the contemporary Vipassana movement, especially the so-called “New Burmese Method”.[5]

Tozan’s Three Pounds

A monk asked Tozan when he was weighing some flax: “What is Buddha?”

Tozan said: “This flax weighs three pounds.”

Mumon’s comment: Old Tozan’s Zen is like a clam. The minute the shell opens you see the whole inside. However, I want to ask you: Do you see the real Tozan?

        Three pounds of flax in front of your nose,

        Close enough, and mind is still closer.

        Whoever talks about affirmation and negation

        Lives in the right and wrong region.


Excerpted from the Gateless Gate

Samsara and Nirvana

{Immortality does not mean never dying whilst in an incarnation, it means not ever incarnating again and thereby being subject to physical plane death.  My note.}

LOOK about and contemplate life! Everything is transient and nothing endures. There is birth and death, growth and decay; there is combination and separation. The glory of the world is like a flower: it stands in full bloom in the morning and fades in the heat of the day.

Wherever you look, there is a rushing and a struggling, and an eager pursuit of pleasure. There is a panic flight from pain and death, and hot are the flames of burning desires. The world is Vanity Fair, full of changes and transformations. All is Samsara, the turning Wheel of Existence.

Is there nothing permanent in the world? Is there in the universal turmoil no resting-place where our troubled heart can find peace? Is there nothing everlasting? Oh, that we could have cessation of anxiety, that our burning desires would be extinguished! When shall the mind become tranquil and composed?

The Buddha, our Lord, was grieved at the ills of life. He saw the vanity of worldly happiness and sought salvation in the one thing that will not fade or perish, but will abide for ever and ever.

You who long for life, learn that immortality is hidden in transiency. You who wish for happiness without the sting of regret, lead a life of righteousness. You who yearn for riches, receive treasures that are eternal. Truth is wealth, and a life of truth is happiness.

All compounds will be dissolved again, but the verities which determine all combinations and separations as laws of nature endure for ever and aye. Bodies fall to dust, but the truths of the mind will not be destroyed.

Truth knows neither birth nor death; it has no beginning and no end. Welcome the truth. The truth is the immortal part of mind. Establish the truth in your mind, for the truth is the image of the eternal; it portrays the immutable; it reveals the everlasting; the truth gives unto mortals the boon of immortality.

The Buddha has proclaimed the truth; let the truth of the Buddha dwell in your hearts. Extinguish in yourselves every desire that antagonizes the Buddha, and in the perfection of your spiritual growth you will become like unto him. That of your heart which cannot or will not develop into Buddha must perish, for it is mere illusion and unreal; it is the source of your error; it is the cause of your misery.

You attain to immortality by filling your minds with truth. Therefore, become like unto vessels fit to receive the Master’s words. Cleanse yourselves of evil and sanctify your lives. There is no other way of reaching truth.

Learn to distinguish between Self and Truth. Self is the cause of selfishness and the source of evil; truth cleaves to no self; it is universal and leads to justice and righteousness. Self, that which seems to those who love their self as their being, is not the eternal, the everlasting, the imperishable. Seek not self, but seek the truth.

If we liberate our souls from our petty selves, wish no ill to others, and become clear as a crystal diamond reflecting the light of truth, what a radiant picture will appear in us mirroring things as they are, without the admixture of burning desires, without the distortion of erroneous illusion, without the agitation of clinging and unrest.

Yet you love self and will not abandon self-love. So be it, but then, verily, you should learn to distinguish between the false self and the true self. The ego with all its egotism is the false self. It is an unreal illusion and a perishable combination. He only who identifies his self with the truth will attain Nirvana; and he who has entered Nirvana has attained Buddhahood; he has acquired the highest good; he has become eternal and immortal.

All compound things shall be dissolved again, worlds will break to pieces and our individualities will be scattered; but the words of Buddha will remain for ever.

The extinction of self is salvation; the annihilation of self is the condition of enlightenment; the blotting out of self is Nirvana.

Happy is he who has ceased to live for pleasure and rests in the truth. Verily his composure and tranquility of mind are the highest bliss.

Let us take our refuge in the Buddha, for he has found the everlasting in the transient. Let us take our refuge in that which is the immutable in the changes of existence. Let us take our refuge in the truth that is established through the enlightenment of the Buddha. Let us take our refuge in the community of those who seek the truth and endeavor to live in the truth.

By Paul Carus
Chicago, The Open Court Publishing Company,

Excerpted from Sacred Texts

What Are You Burdened With?

When I awoke this morning, I had this notion of suffering and burden in my consciousness. It seems to me that there is a lot of suffering and that many give off a very burdened vibe, they are weighed down by their life and their attitudes. People are generally heavy, not light and breezy. I typed “burdened” into a search engine and it pointed at this:

Matthew 11:28-30 King James Version (KJV)

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

When I first came upon Buddhist teachings the hardest thing to get my head around was this notion of suffering and it was only when I came upon suffering re-framed as dissatisfaction that I saw the truth of it. In addition to suffering because of ill-health, poverty and war, there is a whole lot of suffering which is “mind” generated. But most, like me, might be unwilling to frame it as suffering because it is “normal”. When I accepted the truth of suffering, a whole lot fell into place.

There is a great deal of dissatisfaction which is a milder statement than suffering but falls under the same umbrella. People are burdened with much, they are burdened with their emotions, their desires and their ambitions. They are burdened with expectations which do not fit reality. They are burdened with many unresolved things, there may be guilt, shame and a mass of things unrequited. And they are burdened with worry, lots of it. And there is a great mass of anger and resentment, which simmers away like lava in a volcano. Fear and anger are the dominant emotions on our planet. Many are burdened with fear and anxiety.

A glance at a tabloid newspaper will show how people cling on to the memories of dead people and let these dominate their lives. That theme of getting even and payback, can be found readily. And this kind of hard done by story, proliferates.

When we are burdened we might go to a priest for confession or a psychotherapist for counselling. These valves ease a little of the pressure though they may not get to the cause. The first step is to figure out what burdens you, to put a name to it and then figure out why it bugs you so very much.

Having cued this up and as an exercise:

What am I burdened with?

What am I dissatisfied with?

Make a list of all these things, all that stuff. Put a name to each of these.