Born in Tibet in 1939, recognised as an exceptional reincarnate lama and trained in the rigorous monastic tradition, Chögyam Trungpa fled his homeland during the Chinese Communist invasion.
After a period in India he arrived in the West on a scholarship to Oxford University at a time when the Beatles were No. 1, the Profumo Crisis was gathering pace, and the Vietnam War was always in the headlines.
The culture shock for the young monk must have been immense. Yet what disturbed him most was how uncomfortable we are in our skins and how we are continually focussed on self-improvement having rejected ourselves as not up to the mark.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Akong Tulku Rinpoche co-founded in 1967 the Samye Ling Meditation Center in Dumfrieshire (Scotland), the first Tibetan centre in the West. While in Scotland he married his wife Diane Mukpo in Edinburgh.
In 1970 he moved to USA and set out to make the traditional Buddhist teachings directly relevant to people in the West and founded the Shambhala International network of meditation centres.
Initially judged harshly by the Tibetan establishment, Chögyam Trungpa’s teachings are now recognised by Western philosophers and spiritual leaders, including the Dalai Lama, as authentic and profound.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche died on April 4, 1987, in Halifax, Canada.
You can read a comprehensive biography here.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche is the author of numerous books including Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior, a guide to developing bravery so that we aren’t afraid of being ourselves.
In Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism Chögyam Trungpa highlights the universal tendency to see spirituality as a process of self-improvement which only reinforces the ego, rather than relaxing into our inherent wisdom.
In The Myth of Freedom Chögyam Trungpa shows how our attitudes, preconceptions, and even our spiritual practices can become chains that bind us to repetitive patterns of frustration and despair.
Many books of his writings and transcriptions of his oral teachings have been published, see our books page for many of them.