The Essential Chögyam Trungpa

An eleven-class course on the essential teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche


Syllabus and Audio for An Introduction to the Essential Teachings of Chogyam Trungpa

Class 1: “Introduction – Who, What, How, When, Where of Vidyadhara the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.”


Class 2: “Spiritual Materialism”
Reading: CTSM: Introduction and “Spiritual Materialism”


Class 3: “Lineage & Non-Theistic Devotion”
Reading: CTSM: “Surrendering”; “The Guru”; “Self-Deception”


Class 4: “Mindfulness & Awareness”
Reading: CTSM: “The Hard Way” and “The Four Noble Truths”


Class 5: “The Battle of Ego – Imprisonment in the Six Realms”
Reading: CTSM: “Sense of Humor”; “The Development of Ego”; and “The Six Realms”


Class 6: Meditation in the Fourth Moment with Trungpa Rinpoche


Class 7: Buddha Nature and the Six Paramitas
Reading: CTSM: “The Bodhisattva Path”


Class 8: “Emptiness, Wisdom, and Seeing Things as They Are”
Reading: CTSM: “Sunyata”


Class 9: Working with Emotions: Work, Sex & Money, Sherab Chodzin
Reading: To be announced


Class 10: “Sacred World” with Robert Spellman
Reading: to be announced


Class 11: Crazy Wisdom, Sherab Chodzin
Reading: CTSM: “Tantra” or other source? From Crazy Wisdom?


Clarke Warren has taught within the Buddhist community since the mid-1970’s. He was a core faculty for the Nge-Don School of Higher Learning for over fifteen years, and has also been a member of the Nalanda Translation Committee. Clarke directed and taught for the Naropa University Study Abroad Program, centered on Buddhist Studies, in Nepal, then Sikkim, India, for thirteen years. He has been an expert guide for journeys to Nepal, Sikkim, India, Bhutan, and Tibet.

Peter Volz served within the Vajradhatu Office of External Affairs starting in 1979, and continued as the Director of the Shambhala Office of International Affairs through 2008. He was also the Director of International and Intercultural Education for Naropa University for nine years, until leaving Naropa in February 2007 to begin a new career as a farmer. Peter operates Oxford Gardens, a four-acre market farm, and sells at the Boulder Farmers’ Market and to local restaurants and CSA’s.

Sherab Chodzin“author, translator, and editor€”has been a close student of Chögyam Trungpa since the early 1970s. He has served as one of Rinpoche’s principal editors (His editing credits include Garuda I and II, and several of Rinpoche’s books.), as Ambassador (Rinpoche’s representative) to Europe (1978-1983), and as the head of the College of the Ashe Prince. Sherab continues his editorial and writing work from his home in Boulder, Colorado.

Robert Spellman has been a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche since the late 1970s. He served for many years as director of Dorje Khyung Dzong in southern Colorado along with his wife Joan Anderson. Later he began teaching at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, serving as head of the visual arts department. Robert is also an accomplished painter. Visit his website at

This series of classes is sponsored by the Boulder Shambhala Center, and supported in part by a grant from the Chogyam Trungpa Legacy Project.

Thank you to Marvin Ross for audio recording and post production audio editing.

Meditation in the 4th Moment is Talk 11 from the Tibetan Buddhist Path course at Naropa Institute; Boulder, Colorado, July 5, 1974. (c)2009 by Diana J. Mukpo. Used here by arrangement with Lady Diana and the Shambhala archives.


Thank you very much for these excellent talks.

Cheryl Foltos


Dear Chronicles,

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to listen to the talks about CTR in this program and for all of the other materials that you offer about CTR. I have been practicing meditation with some of his students for the past 7 years and unfortunately did not have the opportunity to meet him personally. I feel that the teachings in this program are so fresh and alive and I feel more connected to CTR as a result. I have forwarded the information about the program and about the Chronicle Project to folks who are a part of a group with whom I meditate in Chicago. I regret that the recording for class seven did not work out. Is there any way of rerecording that talk? I would hope one day to be able to have a CTR discussion group and to use the recordings as the primary resource. If not can I get a copy of the presenters notes or outline? Are there any recordings of CTR teaching about the six paramitas and Buddhanature that we could use instead.

Thanks again for your wonderful work.

Fred Lieb


Dear Peter,

The quote of the Buddha concerning blind faith you asked for in your first talk is from the Tattva-sangraha vs.3587, 3588:

“Just as a wise man tests (ostensible) gold, by burning, cutting and rubbing (on a touchstone), my statements, o monks, should be accepted after examination and not out of respect for me.”

In the Anugattara Nikaya (I 189 and II 191-3) the Buddha lists 10 traditional reasons a person follows a teaching or a teacher and why they could all be questionable. They should not be accepted blindly just because of their reputation, prestige, lineage, because they are cited in the scriptures, are appealing to your personal opinions, are retold for many generations and become traditional, agree with common logic, or are well known, etc.

The Buddha was also skeptical about divine revelation or anyone claiming omniscience and discouraged his students from considering him that way. “Those who say that the Recluse Gotama is omniscient and all-seeing and professes to have an infinite knowledge and insight, which is constantly and at all times present to him, when he walks or stands, sleeps or keeps awake are not reporting him properly and misrepresent him (as claiming) what is false and untrue.” Asked how he should be correctly reported the answer was “In proclaiming that the Recluse Gotama has a three-fold knowledge, one would report him properly and not misrepresent him” (Majjhima Nikaya I 482). Also “When a fellow monk claims the highest knowledge, one should neither accept nor reject it but without acceptance or rejection should question him.” (MN III 29)

In the same sutra (I 319) he suggests that a new student should examine if the teacher and Sangha have proper intentions and if their actions are consistent with what they preach. As the student gradually progresses “…he understands with his own higher knowledge some of the teachings, concluding they are true and then reposes faith in the teacher, trusting the Tathagata is actually awake, his Dharma well taught and the Sangha engaged in good conduct, and the faith of him, which is thus fixed, rooted and established on these reasons, grounds and features is said to be a rational faith, rooted in insight, firm and irremovable by recluse or Brahmin, a god, Mara or Brahma or anyone in the world.”

Elsewhere (I 36) in the sutra the Buddha says that when klesas have been controlled the monk is said to be endowed with faith based on understanding and that “the Dharma when put into practice gives results in this life itself and is to be personally verified by the wise.”

Thus have I heard.

Thank you very much for the genuineness and heart coming out of your talks,
Ravinder Rai


Thank you Clarke for the refreshing talk and anecdotes about the VCTR.

As you said spiritual materialism accompanies us throughout the journey, consequently understanding it is still relevant now. More specifically 33 years ago VCTR pleaded his senior students not to succumb to 3 pitfalls, all directly linked to spiritual materialism, that might occur in the future. These seem to be an accurate description of what is spreading now. I was therefore rather disappointed there was no discussion at all about the current forms of distortion we are involved with. Here are the VCTR’s words:

“We have three problems, as far as the future student’s sanity is concerned. One is that you get carried away by the culture of Tibetan-ness or the Sanskritness or the Buddhistness of India, of the East. You can get completely carried away. You would like to become Tibetifiers in the future. That’s the biggest problem. The second problem is that quite possibly you will feel you have done enough tantric practice, that you don’t have to work with Hinayana and Mahayana anymore. And the third problem is that when meditation students come to you and want to receive instruction, you give purely cryptic answers to them and don’t want to work with them from the bottom up completely. Those could possibly be problems, since most of you are teachers, or if not, you are teachers on the spot, you are would-be teachers in any case. So (avoid those) for the sake of the lineage and also for the sake of my effort I have put on you.” (Collected Vajra Assemblies, Vol I pp.83. August 1976).

Since he considered this so vital for the continuity of the lineage, perhaps the topic should be addressed with more attention and urgency.

-Ravi (Ravinder Rai)



Thankyou so much for your presentations about Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings. This is a great service to enable a wide audience to benefit from these teachings.

I am not a Buddhist but was drawn to these teachings through Ani Pema Chodron during my search for the true nature of reality. I have for a long time believed that the answers lie in the field of physics and Buddhism seems the most closely related to the possibilities I encountered there. I really don’t know what I’m trying to say – but thank you for the opportunity to listen and learn. I am looking forward to the next presentation on the 28th!

Warmest Regards

Julie Koehler


Thank you for your presentation. I have just finished listening to Class 1 and have a response to the question that was asked at the end about where or what is Chogyam Trungpa now that he has passed on. I was reminded of a line from a poem by Rick Fields that said, if my memory serves me here, “you left us holding the diamond space of your heart.” As far as I can tell, that is where is he is. It comes through quite clearly in his students. I never actually met Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche but I was in his presence twice. For that I am grateful. Thanks again. -Cheryl Foltos, 20 Oct 09


Thank you Cheryl. Does anyone have this poem by Rick Fields? Maybe we could post it here. -Chroniclers


CTR, April 4, 1987

for Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

April rain,
Cold April rain.
Tibetan fog horns thunder
in Halifax harbor.

The Buddha said,
The Buddha says,
“Everything that’s put together
Falls apart.”

You caused more trouble
And did more good
Than anyone I’ll ever know.

And now you’ve gone across
And left us holding
The diamond space of your heart
In our folded hands.

— Rick Fields
from “Fuck You, Cancer”

Sent in by Chris Keyser. -Thank you Chris.