Scott Kroeker

Chogyam and Jesus It is Holy week and I am thinking about Trungpa Rinpoche. As a Christian who practices Buddhist meditation, I have spent much time reflecting on the confluence of different religious traditions. In a culture where Christian faith is often associated with political views and lifestyles that make me bristle, I am perennially tempted to jettison what is left of it and start over. But it's not so easy. The symbols and practices of the church still have currency for me and stir my soul. I am still drawn to the deep waters of Christian faith. So it seems ironic that this week, Jesus' Passion is overshadowed by the passion of the Vidyadhara. And yet, maybe less an irony than a sign. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche had a lot in common with Jesus, the Christ. - Both had a vivid sense of a living spiritual tradition. - Both were descended of and devoted to a lineage. - Both revolutionized traditional teachings for a new generation, and brought them to life for a new people. - Both invited students and disciples into their intimate presence, where they learned by word and deed. - Both preached peace, and modeled deep commitment to being of benefit to society. - Both surprised their followers: they weren't the type of leaders expected by early adherents. They did unexpected things that shocked both the orthodox and the followers. - Both attracted a lot of attention, and yet many people turned away because the teachings were too radical, or too demanding. - Both were prepared for and unafraid of their deaths, while their students denied and resisted. - Both instituted a new community which carried on after their passing. - Both had students who recorded their words and actions for the benefit of many: the Shambhala teachings may be likened to the New Testament, an expansion of the tradition based on the existing canon. But Rinpoche did not rise from the grave on the third day to walk among his disciples, so maybe the Easter narrative is where this analogy breaks down. Or maybe not. Many of us reflect daily on his life and teachings. And the spirit of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche surely dwells within the Shambhala community and continues to reveal basic goodness and propagate authentic presence in this world. On this 20th anniversary of the Vidyadhara's parinirvana during Holy week, we all have much to celebrate. Scott Kroeker Maundy Thursday, 2007 Winnipeg, Manitoba