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The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation

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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  831 ratings  ·  50 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
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Hardcover, 219 pages
Published October 11th 2005 by Shambhala (first published 1976)
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Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu SuzukiThe Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation by Chögyam TrungpaInstruction Manual for the 21st Century Samurai by Alexei Maxim RussellYoga and Vipassana by Amit RayNothing Special by Charlotte Joko Beck
Eastern Mindfulness comes West
2nd out of 78 books — 59 voters
The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thích Nhất HạnhZen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu SuzukiA Guide to the Present Moment by Noah ElkriefFROM BUDDHA TO JESUS by Steve CioccolantiOm Chanting and Meditation by Amit Ray
Zen Books for Beginners
17th out of 40 books — 46 voters


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Thom Foolery

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
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Charlie
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
Travis
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.
Amy
Sep 19, 2008 Amy added it
it's a doozie...read it yourself.
Nancy
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
Jennifer
May 10, 2008 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Georgeta
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
William Berry
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
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Katie
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
Sonja Reid
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
Chris Lemig
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
Leif
Dec 14, 2008 Leif rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Talbot Hook
This book is very poetic, and contains some aspect of what I consider to be the truth. That said, there are massive imperfections (not just within this book, but within Buddhism at large) that I cannot seem to reconcile with myself.
Tim
A clear, sharp, hard-hitting book. Not a book for those looking to find a quiet corner in which to escape and zone out. A great companion to Shambhala, Sacred Path of the Warrior.
Carter
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
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Cathleen
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.
Vanessa
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.
Jenny
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.
j.marvin
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.
bastard.
Sara Gray
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!
jessica
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.

William
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.

BE>
Angela Wade
I've been looking for a Buddhism-based
book like this for a long time. No focus on past lives and solid practical advice for daily life.
Michelle Devine
Brilliant - by exploring the myth of freedom that is halted by our repetitive patterns of destruction. Fear, anger, etc...
This book is a "bible" of sorts that explain WHY and HOW to meditate and push out the negative forces that prevent us from attaining "it" - true happiness.
Odilia Rivera-santos
This is a beautiful succint book explaining the merits of meditation, focus and of having a spiritual life. His comments on spiritual materialism are especially interesting as they relate to American tendencies toward gluttony
Steve Malley
"...one level of meditation is where we observe our thoughts... the next level is where we realize the observer does not exist!"

Really makes ya' think. Don't it?
Hadrian
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.
Brian Feldman
Fantastic introduction to Tibetan Buddhist goals and methodology. I found all of the clear examples to be very easy to relate to everyday life situations.
Carolyn
It's a bit uneven - sometimes muddled, like it is when a person is explaining off the cuff - and other times brilliant and wise and wonderfully perceptive.
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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.” 31 likes
“Becoming "awake" involves seeing our confusion more clearly.” 27 likes
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