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The Warrior Tradition: Conquering Fear

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“Conquering Fear” is based on a seminar Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche conducted in 1979 for teachers in Shambhala Training on meditation and the view of warriorship. The 1979 seminar was about fearlessness, and as well, about how to recognize and conquer real enemies in the world outside. The material was controversial at the time, and the full transcript of the seminar was never edited. It just seemed too outrageous.

 
Chögyam Trungpa had a far-reaching sense of history, as well as a deeply held commitment to bringing the buddhadharma into Western society. So he was not  just addressing his immediate audience when he lectured. His life was  dedicated to helping others—and some of those others, he knew, would live in  difficult times to come, where they would need the “rock meets bone”  teachings that he specialized in. I think that he gave such teachings during  his lifetime knowing that they would be needed later, even though they seemed a bit extreme at the time. He didn’t present outrageous material to  shock people or to indulge himself. He knew that the world was a much more  difficult place than most of us, immersed in 20th-century North American  comfort, were willing to admit.

He had witnessed the destruction of the Tibetan culture and way of life by the Communist Chinese. When they invaded Tibet, they sacked its monasteries, destroyed priceless cultural treasures, and imprisoned, tortured and killed  many tens of thousands of his compatriots. Having gone through that kind of genocidal destruction, it was difficult and unnecessary for him to ignore  the extremes that reality can present.

When I dusted off the transcripts of these talks on fearlessness given in 1979, I found that they were full of penetrating and helpful advice. They are still provocative and somewhat outrageous. But in light of recent world events, they also seem compassionate and designed to make us more wakeful, so that we can find a sane and direct way to work with fear.

— Carolyn Rose Gimian



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