Week of

Presenting the Teachings in Eye-Level Situations

Laughing Man: In your book, Born in Tibet, you described how, when you made your cultural adaptation to the West, taking off the monastic robes and so forth, there were devastating effects in your own life, represented particularly by your severe automobile accident. Do you see any such liabilities in your continuing work?

Chogyam Trungpa: Tibetans have to break through the cultural fascinations and mechanized world of the twentieth century. Many Tibetans hold back completely or try to be extraordinarily cautious, not communicating anything at all. Sometimes they just pay lip-service to the modern world, making an ingratiating diplomatic approach to the West. The other temptation is to regard the new culture as a big joke and to play the game in terms of a conception of Western eccentricities. So we have to break through all of that.

I found within myself a need for more compassion for Western students. We Tibetans don’t need to create imposing images but to speak to them directly, to present the teachings in eye-level situations.

From “Things Get Very Clear when You’re Cornered: An Interview with Laughing Man Magazine,” in The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume Four, pages 423-429.

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