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Recommended Readings

The following is a list of books and publications by the Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, published by Vajradhatu Publications in Halifax and Shambhala Publications in Boston, and a partial list of other reading references that are recommended. Many of these books are used as source material for our courses.

Born in Tibet

This is the autobiographical story of the life of Trungpa Rinpoche from his early childhood through his escape from Tibet in 1959. This edition includes an afterword that provides an update through 1976.

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

This book spans the gulf between the esoteric tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and the everyday joys, sorrows and questions of spirituality in everyday modern life. This presentation of the spiritual path focuses on the role of expectation and promise of reward.

Crazy Wisdom

In a series of talks on the life of Padmasambhava (the teacher who first brought the Buddhist teachings to Tibet), Rinpoche presents the notion of "crazy wisdom" -- a perspective of freshness and innocence that provides practitioners a means of discovering delight in the challenges of daily existence.

First Thought Best Thought

The Vidyadhara was an accomplished and renowned poet. This book is a collection of poetry written in the late sixties through the early eighties.

The Heart of the Buddha

This book is a series of talks and lectures which span Rinpoche's presentation of the essential buddhist teachings, as well as an overview of his teachings on a variety of other subjects.

Journey Without Goal: The Tantric Wisdom of the Buddha

Based on a course taught at The Naropa Institute in 1974, this book presents a comprehensive overview of the essential teachings on the Vajrayana.

Illusion's Game, The Life and Teaching of Naropa

This commentary on the life of the great Indian pandit Naropa examines an extraordinary journey away from conventional attitudes toward a naked encounter with reality, which still has significance for contemporary Western practitioners.

The Lion's Roar

An introduction to the vajrayana through an in-depth discussion of the nine yanas, or vehicles, relating ancient wisdom to modern life.

Meditation in Action

This is the first comprehensive book by Trungpa Rinpoche published in English. It remains one of the core sources of his teaching on the basic Buddhist journey.


A collection of early poetry and essays.

Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation

Our attitudes, preconceptions, and even our spiritual practices can become chains that bind us to repetitive patterns of frustration and despair. Trungpa Rinpoche explains the significant role that meditation plays in bringing into focus the causes of frustration and in allowing these negative forces to become aids in advancing towards true freedom.

Orderly Chaos: The Mandala Principle

According to the mandala principle, all phenomena are part of one's reality. Whether good or bad, happy or sad, everything is interrelated and reflects a single totality. From the perspective of the mandala principle, existence is orderly chaos.

Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

The quintessential teachings on Shambhala. "The Shambhala teachings are founded on the premise that there is basic human wisdom that can help to solve the world's problems. This wisdom does not belong to any one culture or religion, nor does it come only from the West or the East. Rather, it is a tradition of human warriorship that has existed in many cultures at many times throughout history" (Excerpt from Chapter One, Shambhala: the Sacred Path of the Warrior.)

Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving Kindness

The slogans ("pithy sayings") along with commentary by Trungpa Rinpoche contained in this book are designed to awaken the heart and cultivate love and kindness towards others. They are revolutionary in that practicing them fosters abandonment of personal territory in relating to others and in understanding the world as it is.

Glimpses of Shunyata

A very earthy description of the ground, path, and fruition of shunyata from a practitioner's perspective. Ground: being by not being, path: wisdom and compassion, and fruition: ultimate nonego. Ground is hopeless, path is confused and fruition is impossible. Lively and unsettling discussion periods evoking on the spot the experience being described. Based on 1972 Karmê-Chöling seminar.

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