Okay, “Enlightenment or bust” might be a bit dramatic, but…

"Dang Zang" is an empty name. The blog has to do with the dharma; material related to Buddhist teachings (Tibetan style in particular, Kagyu in even more particular), meditation, gurus and lamas be they genuine or flaky, books and events. I do have a more personal blog, Pica Pica, and a site for my work.

Oh yes, it's by Alex Wilding


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Wednesday May 23rd, 2012. Posted by Alex W:

A lion has been swallowed

Sad news. Two weeks ago the best bookshop in the world (OK, I’m biased), Snow Lion Publications, was taken over by Shambhala.
They say that much of the spirit of Snow Lion, and much of its range of books, will be continued. I hope so. At the first glance, things don’t look good. Go to Shambhala, and under “Books” you will see a section on “Buddhism” divided into seven subsections, including one on Chogyam Trungpa, one on his leading apologist, Pema Chodron, and one on Tibetan / Vajrayana Buddhism.
Under the last, search, for instance for Mahamudra and you are shown 29 items, of which 5 are from Chogyam Trungpa, including various versions and extracts of his collected works.

Well good grief! I know the man has his enthusiasts even now, and as I frequently stress I am grateful myself for the content of one or two of his earlier books and for a couple of wonderful translations that he oversaw. But as we all know he set an extremely bad example, and I’m afraid that “Do as I say, not do as I do” just doesn’t cut it. There is much more material of a much more interesting nature available nowadays. Chogyam Trungpa is, quite simply, not very important anymore.

But it’s early days. Perhaps it is too soon to judge. I shall be watching with great interest and wishing them all the best in this new direction.

5 comments to A lion has been swallowed

  • idiot buster

    E33Ybasically write a lot of general blurb type stuff which shows a waste of a life with no expertise or spiritual attainments after so many years. Your rants against Trungpa show you dismiss the sixteenth Karmapa who endorsed him. As well as Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche who took over after his death as effective leader of Shambhala sangha. Your nature of hatred towards various dharma and secular entities is prevalent and shows your hate filled ignorance. Shambhala publications has a different founder who met Trungpa and they both realized they coincidentally were about to launch two different organizations under the same name and laughed about it in astonishment. Shambhala publishing house founder quickly became a disciple of the late Thinly Norbu Rinpoche in the eighties till Rinpoche died last year. They are separate entities. The publishing house founder is in effect retired from the house with no executive position but an honorary one as the major shareholder and founder. I have no connection to any of the above and never met any of them and am not a Kagyu or connected to any of those people or entities even indirectly. Ignorant people ranting in hatred falsehoods at the level of tiresome generality and stupidity is one thing but when they attack a Terton then they have opened an account with Ekajati. I just did you a favor.

  • Alex W

    Dear “Idiot Buster”,
    Gosh, I seem to have annoyed you somehow, for which I suppose I should apologise, although your charges are rather general.

    I don’t know about you, but I was and am well aware of the fact that the Shambhala organisation descended from Trungpa and the Shambhala publishers who have taken over Snow Lion are two quite separate entities.

    Thank you for your views, all the same.

  • idiot buster

    You serially attack Trungpa but I think the Dalai lama, the sixteenth karmapa, Dilgo Khyentse Ricochet etc. were not wrong to to approve that terton as a major realized rare teacher as you try to slander his sangs and supporters. I also don’t believe you are telling the truth as you’re piece above on the merger is more about Trungpa and attacking him and students by name. Finally I am not annoyed but merely pointed out since you do not seem to have any insight or expertise to realize what you are doing primarily to yourself plus the fact that your site I’d basically generality and waffle.

  • Alex W

    Dear “Idiot Buster”,
    Did you choose that name because you are “Buster the Idiot” or because you see yourself as a buster of idiots?
    Since you have come back for a second round, it is clear that something is definitely bugging you about this, so I thought that perhaps I should give you a fuller answer.
    To begin with, do not fear that I take your comments particularly personally – I don’t know how long you have been around the Internet, but perhaps you will realise that ad hominem attacks from people who do not even have the balls to even say who they are, but who imagine that they have direct insight into the personality, mind and life of their target are just part of what is out there.
    As far as I know, we have never met, although since you don’t say who you are, I can’t be quite sure. It is not, I believe, difficult to see that I myself, my friends and people who know me, and my own teachers probably have more insight into whether or not I have, as you suggest, wasted my life and achieved no expertise or spiritual attainment. Perhaps I have, perhaps I haven’t, but in spite of my words in my first response, I see no reason to take advice from you.
    You would have to explain what you mean by “serially attacking” Trungpa. A search of this blog tells me that I mentioned him once before, about three and a half years ago. Admittedly, there were critical words there, but I am pleased to see that I did indeed do what I always try to do, which is to stress that I also value some of the positive things that he did.
    I would repeat that I am well aware that Shambhala publishers and Trungpa’s Shambhala organisation are two separate entities. You refer to the publisher’s founder, Sam Bercholz; I met him, nice chap. I’m not quite sure why you think I was mixed up between the two. I was also privileged to meet the 16th Karmapa and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (you might like to take note of the usual spelling), but never heard them comment on Trungpa. I am not sure how long you have been around Tibetan Buddhism, so I do wonder if you realise how remote is the possibility that major figures in the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy would ever break ranks. It doesn’t happen.
    You criticise this blog as being “generality and waffle”. Fair enough. The blog does not have any particularly strong focus, I do not put a great deal of effort into it, and I do not have an axe to grind with it. If you find it boring, that’s fine – it doesn’t have a lot of readers, so there are probably plenty of people who share your view. The Internet is a big place, I’m sure you’ll find something you like out there.
    The main point I want to make, however, is this: I have no problem with you or anybody else being a fan of Trungpa. Some of my friends are, for that matter. What I really do object to is the suggestion that speaking as we find is somehow “unspiritual”, and that anyone who criticises Trungpa or refers to his severe personality faults is proving themselves to be lacking in insight, spiritual capacity, or whatever it is. As for threatening me with the wrath of Ekajati – that is just laughable. I wonder how old you are.

  • Alex W

    Dear Idiot Buster,
    Your third message was somewhat disjointed. I could not follow it, and have not published it. The case is now closed, unless you choose to come out from your anonymous status, when we could continue by e-mail.

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