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The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  1,273 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Freedom is generally thought of as the ability to achieve goals and satisfy desires. But what are the sources of these goals and desires? If they arise from ignorance, habitual patterns, and negative emotions, is the freedom to pursue these goals true freedom—or is it just a myth?

In this book, Chögyam Trungpa explores the meaning of freedom in the profound context of Tibe
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published October 11th 2005 by Shambhala (first published 1976)
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For starters, this is not a book for reading only; instead, it is a companion to regular contemplative practice (albeit not necessarily one that is "Buddhist").

I was "forced" to read this book as a graduate student at The Naropa Institute (in the same way that all students are "forced" to read textbooks) and found that I got very little out of the book. While at times his presentation was incredibly lucid, at other times Trungpa's turns of phrase made little sense, leading our circle of student
Basis of Buddhist 'crazy thought' meditation. Interesting, although the author has some very dubious flaws of his own. I'm not going to totally dismiss it, though.
May 10, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jennifer by: My friend Helen Matzger--I miss her! She gave me a copy.
This is a great book for newbie American meditators and those interested in non-dualism. Among other things, it clearly describes many of the common reactions people can have when they begin and continue a meditation practice and learn about Buddhism/Eastern Spirituality. For example, the boredom one can experience when beginning to meditate. And why to keep pushing "forward" with the practice anyway. The book also spoke a bit to a question I've had recently about the suffering of others in that ...more
Nov 23, 2008 Charlie rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
I suppose this book was planted one of the first seeds in my heart that I had run out of religions I could trust. The prospect was once a bit discouraging but it's okay now. It was from Trungpa that I learned to wrestle with such notions as "Enlightment" being the ulitmate disappointment. The title says it all, a "Myth of Freedom". I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it because you already know who you are. Once again it's a great day to lose your mind but you don't need a my ...more
Apr 20, 2011 Travis rated it it was amazing
This book is freaking ridiculous. After reading this book I knew immediately where Pema Chodron got her wisdom and brilliance from. I loved this book because it is some of the same insights that Chodron shares, but it is from a harsher tongue, whereas Chodron is more kind. I really loved this book. I lent it out immediately after finishing it because I think it is so worthwhile.
Sep 19, 2008 Amy added it
it's a it yourself.
Cynthia Egbert
Oct 19, 2016 Cynthia Egbert rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I have written before of my intense appreciation for Chögyam Trungpa and this is another winner for me. This really fleshed out some of my remaining questions about how to approach meditation and gave me a better overview of Buddhism. It was a nice compilation of his teachings. I have to record some quotations from this one for future reference!

"Mediation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss, or tranquility, nor is it attempting to become a better person. It is simply th
Apr 20, 2009 Georgeta rated it it was amazing
LOVE - is a vast store of energy which is not centered, which is not ego's energy at all. It is this energy which is the centerless dance of phenomena, the universe interpenetrating and making love to itself. It has two characteristics: a fire quality of warmth and a tendency to flow in a particular pattern, in the same way in which fire contains a spark as well as the air which directs the spark. And this energy is always on-going, whether or not it is seen through the confused filter of ego. ...more
Robert Chamberlin
Dec 10, 2016 Robert Chamberlin rated it really liked it
Very well-written, grounded and challenging for a beginner.
Dec 14, 2016 Hollis rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual
previous - nov 2016?
understood more this time
Katie Daniels
Sep 18, 2016 Katie Daniels rated it liked it
Very thorough and well-written overview of Buddhist meditation for a contemporary, western audience. I am one step closer to understanding.
Apr 21, 2016 Ellie added it
Shelves: 2016
Very challenging book on the mindset needed for the "journey". Meditation is part of the practice needed, but this book went much deeper. Good but he referenced many other paths and practices that I could not understand/needed more background on.

"First we must learn how not to make a nuisance of ourselves. If we can make friends with ourselves, if we are wiling to be what we are, without hating parts of ourselves and trying to hide them, then we can begin to open to others. And if we can begin t
Jun 22, 2015 Ellery rated it it was amazing
This collection of talks is a staple for any Shambhalian and is one of Chogyam Trungpa's most famous books. For those familiar with Pema Chodron, you can tell where she gets her wisdom. She herself has said she has read this book over 25 times or so. Upon finishing it for the first of what will probably be many, many times, I can see why. It is incredibly rich with wisdom. I took about 5 months to get through this very short set of teachings. After finishing reading a few pages you have to conte ...more
Jun 15, 2014 Katie rated it really liked it
The first mention of “filmmaking” I’ve seen in Trungpa Rinpoche’s writing addresses a very modern predicament: “We had a film workshop in Colorado in which we discussed whether it was important to entertain people or make a good film. And what I said was that perhaps the audience might be bored with what we have to present, but we must raise the intelligence, the standards of the audience, up to the level of what we are presenting, rather than trying to constantly match their expectations, their ...more
William Berry
Jul 20, 2013 William Berry rated it really liked it
I purchased this book while perusing a Borders that was going out of business, and strictly because of the title. As a therapist and a practitioner of Eastern philosophy I am aware of how although we believe we have the freedom of choice, quite often our choices are made out of our conditioning. I fully expected this book to reaffirm that thinking, and to discuss how to overcome it. The book met and surpassed this expectation.

Some books create a peace in me by just catching a glimpse of them. Th
Feb 26, 2014 Nancy rated it liked it
I had a hard time getting into the book, so it sat on my shelf for a couple of years before I finally decided I was up to getting through it. I always want to temper my "rating" of spiritual books with the concept that different things and ways of putting things speak to some people in helpful ways and to others in not as helpful ways. While I find the writings of Bhante Henepola Gunaratana extremely helpful, other Buddhist writers, such as Chogyam Trungpa, are less helpful to me. To someone who ...more
Chris Lemig
Aug 20, 2013 Chris Lemig rated it really liked it
I read Rinpoche's Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism a few years ago when I first became interested in the Dharma. It was way over my head (and still is) but I was struck by its clarity and Trungpa's straightforward presentation of the path. The Myth of Freedom is no different except for the fact that it is even more concise and to the point. After accumulating a tiny bit of knowledge about Buddhism, I see that this book is a brilliant synopsis of the entire path to enlightenment, from cultiv ...more
Sonja Reid
Mar 04, 2009 Sonja Reid rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhist-topics
I'm only reading a few pages a day, getting through this pretty slowly. But that's by choice. I like the set-up of this book better than that of "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism". That book was set up as transcriptions of his talks, including the Q & A sections, which sometimes veered off the topic a bit. This book has been edited in a way that is a little clearer to me. While probably also drawn from his talks, each short "chapter" has been edited so that you have more focus on a smal ...more
Dec 14, 2008 Leif rated it liked it
Shelves: zen
This is one of the most illuminating books on traditional Buddhism that I've encountered so far. It describes both the ideological underpinnings of Buddhism, including the "rationale" for the use of meditation as a tool for relating to struggles in the world, but also gets into Buddhism as a formal spiritual practice. I honestly found the end of this book to be a bit frightening, since the author holds nothing back from the reader in terms of the level of commitment required for any truly spirit ...more
Jan 07, 2008 Carter rated it liked it
I liked this book and would have given it 3.5 stars if Goodreads had half stars. As it stands, I'll go with 3.

With subsequent readings, I'm sure I would have a better understanding of what Trungpa is saying here, but I just found the first read a little difficult to follow at times, especially in comparison to his son's book "Turning the Mind into an Ally." I kept waiting for Trungpa to translate all of the text into a more straightforward description, but it never really came. That said, I do
Erik Akre
Jan 10, 2016 Erik Akre rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the Buddhist-minded who need to be challenged
Shelves: buddhism
This is among the most challenging books I have read. It induces a great deal of insecurity; it forced me to look at my own habits and mind-sets with more awareness and detachment. It really kicked me hard, and over time I have come to appreciate that.

Trungpa spins an elaborate web of observations about the human condition, and then he presents meditation, as an insulting, boring, and meaningless activity: the only way out of ignorance. Don't meditate because you want to grow as a person; medita
May 20, 2008 Cathleen rated it really liked it
There were things I didn't understand in this book, which is okay...probably partially the point. I always feel adrift a bit when I'm reading Buddhist teachings. Alternately, I feel a home in them and then just as easily, I feel like the biggest fool who doesn't understand anything. Overall, though, this book was helpful and moving. It made me realize how much I'd like to talk about these teachings with other people to help me integrate my understanding.
Jan 31, 2012 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dharma
wowzers. some of this i really relate to and some is beyond where i am at and read and re-read as i get more meditation under my belt, would love to read this with a group or teacher. his razor sharp wisdom and truthfulness is inspiring and scary sometimes. i love all Chogyam Trungpa's writing because it has that quality of transmission into direct experience through the awareness and presence with which it was written.
Sara Gray
Mar 26, 2012 Sara Gray rated it liked it
I'm hitting Buddhist book fatigue, I think, as I didn't get a whole lot out of most of this one. There was a lot about working with emotions and with people that was very insightful, but there was an equal amount of stuff about more obscure Tibetan/Sanskrit stuff that made my brain get mushy. Gotta take a break and read some other stuff!
Jul 09, 2008 jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book falls into the category of books that concern how to live a full life on this planet in these times. the wisdom and insight contained has been passed down through many generations.

it will give your silly, preoccupied-with-itself ego a big smack in the face.

and that is something that all egos need.

Scott Ford
Nov 29, 2015 Scott Ford rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
A companion piece to Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, The Myth of Freedom and The Way of Meditation widens, deepens and expands on information regarding Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. As always, Trungpa Rinpoche's style is patient, clear and concise. Never a bad read, no matter which book you pick up. Great stuff!
Apr 11, 2007 Jenny rated it really liked it
this book is surprisingly easy to read. trungpa uses lots of buddhist terms and ideas, but describes them in very accessible ways. my favorite sections are on boredom, anger, and patience. this is definitely not a light read, but it is very rewarding. trungpa makes alot of very insightful observations in this book, but he doesn't seem preachy or arrogant.
Feb 04, 2009 j.marvin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After reading this I couldn't've hated that womanizing jerk more.
Turns out he was right about me,
shook me out of a spot that, five years on, I'm still confused about.
It really is a great and important book,
but no one should read it.

So two stars is all you get Chogyam.
Two stars and death.
no more women.
no more drink.
Jun 06, 2015 Adi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is brilliant. I need to read it again as almost every sentence is impeccable and has the potential for great impact. I love the warrior of words approach of the writing style. Very clear and precise.
Oct 31, 2008 William rated it it was amazing
Only easterner I have ever read who took the time to really understand the mind of the western mental operating system.
Who also shows us how to zap our hard drive, after identifying our bugged programming.

See you for you, and how to kill it.

Keep the body.

Know truth.

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Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (Tibetan: ཆོས་ རྒྱམ་ དྲུང་པ་ Wylie: Chos rgyam Drung pa; also known as Dorje Dradul of Mukpo, Surmang Trungpa, after his monastery, or Chökyi Gyatso, of which Chögyam is an abbreviation) was a Buddhist meditation master, scholar, teacher, poet, and artist. He was the 11th descendent in the line of Trungpa tulkus of the Kagyü school of Tibetan Buddhism. He was al ...more
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“When you relate to thoughts obsessively, you are actually feeding them because thoughts need your attention to survive. Once you begin to pay attention to them and categorize them, then they become very powerful. You are feeding them energy because you are not seeing them as simple phenomena. If one tries to quiet them down, that is another way of feeding them.” 43 likes
“Becoming "awake" involves seeing our confusion more clearly.” 43 likes
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