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The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,678 ratings  ·  86 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 Tib
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published October 11th 2005 by Shambhala (first published 1976)
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Gabija Yes. I love it so far and I would say it teaches you how to meditate in a way that is helpful to someone with a little meditation experience. Someone…moreYes. I love it so far and I would say it teaches you how to meditate in a way that is helpful to someone with a little meditation experience. Someone who is about to start doing that may be perplexed as to what exactly the author meant by some of his more arcane suggestions but someone who's already meditated some will probably recognise a lot of the problems and states described. Helpful for improving your practice; and if you're not an experienced meditator, then still helpful in life, in general(less)

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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
Nov 12, 2008 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 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.
Steve Malley
Jul 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
" 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?
Mar 02, 2008 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
Dec 07, 2010 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.
Scott Ford
Nov 29, 2015 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!
Amy kohut
it's a it yourself.
Feb 03, 2017 added it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Read for class - not my thing?
Apr 20, 2009 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
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cynthia Egbert
Oct 19, 2016 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
Apr 09, 2016 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
Aug 19, 2014 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
William Berry
Jul 04, 2013 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
Feb 09, 2014 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
Jan 27, 2014 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
Sonja Reid
Jan 26, 2009 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
Chris Lemig
Aug 01, 2013 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
Jan 03, 2008 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
Jul 18, 2015 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 pe
Nov 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
After years of reading other Buddhist books, I was able to understand that this book too repeats the same Buddhist philosophy aligned with Chodron and Hann. I don't think he is saying freedom is a myth in a negative nihilistic way but actually, that our notion of freedom itself is clouded and unrefined.
Highly recommended.

been trying to read this book for two years now and just can't go on... I read it and nothing stays in my head so I give up. Maybe some da
May 04, 2008 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.
Sara Gray
Mar 21, 2012 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!
Feb 04, 2009 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.
Apr 11, 2007 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 13, 2008 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.

Odilia Rivera-santos
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Talbot Hook
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Michelle Devine-Traxler
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
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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 also trained in the Nyingma tradit ...more
“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.” 60 likes
“Becoming "awake" involves seeing our confusion more clearly.” 58 likes
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