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Lions Roar : March 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2007 15 HIGHER EDUCATION I am writing to express my sin- cere appreciation for the January issue on “Educating the Heart.” Although I always enjoy receiv- ing and reading your magazine, I found this issue especially im- portant. In particular, the articles on the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Vancouver (“Educating the Heart”) and education (“Please Help Me Learn Who I Am”) speak to the value of engaging and assisting children and youth in the de- velopment of what mental health professionals refer to as self-regulative abilities. As a social work practitioner, researcher, teacher, and parent, I see the validation and enhancement of theses skills as essential on individ- ual, societal, and global levels (and so too, no doubt, does the Dalai Lama). The coming together of mental health and contemplative practices, although not new, may be able to facilitate the next quantum leap in what Ken Wilber refers to as world-centric growth. Thank you, Shambhala Sun for drawing our atten- tion to the possibility of helping our next generation to not just survive in our troubled global village, but to learn how to take better care of themselves, one another, and the world at large. Brian Beech, Ph.D., RSW Mount Albert, Ontario RISKY BUSINESS The two negative letters you published regarding Di- ana Mukpo’s recounting of her life with Chögyam Trungpa (“Married to the Guru,” November 2006) illustrate the risks and challenges involved in re- vealing the intimate details of life around someone like Trungpa. How do you talk about the intentions and activities of someone whose whole teaching was about upsetting the applecart of conceptual fixation and whose methods deliberately embraced those aspects of our lives we are taught to fear—alcohol, military forms, sexuality, to name a few? Following Diana Mukpo’s example, I suppose you just do it and deal with the predictable responses that reflect the prevailing conceptual notions of right and wrong and how spiritual teachers are supposed to behave. On the other hand, it does raise the question of whether such recounting is worth the effort. To be fair, I don’t know how many Buddhists, never mind non- Buddhists, could be expected to find in- spiration in stories about Trungpa being falling-down drunk and sleeping with many of his female students. There is surely greater risk of provoking dismay. I think, however, that it was brave—and gener- ous—of Diana Mukpo to share her life with Trungpa in a book. Beyond its historical value, what she de- scribes clearly was, and is, her path with her teacher in all its rawness; if it looks challenging and disori- enting, then it is an honest look at what the path of dismantling ego and liberating the genuine spiritual warrior within is all about. Everyone will receive her story according to their preconceptions and their possibilities of being open beyond preconception. To the extent that openness prevails, the book can be a transmission. Nick Wright Toronto, Ontario Diana Mukpo’s book Dragon Thunder is an extraor- dinary biography of a teacher and an autobiography of his most intimate disciple. Often, devoted students feel the need to touch up and prettify the portraits of their teachers. In the process, they turn them into Madame Tussaud’s wax- works, recognizable but lifeless. The unintended but underlying message is that the teacher is somehow not quite good enough. He or she could use a little help. It shows stronger love to see teachers clearly, ac- cept them in all their human complexity, and to have the courage to portray them that way. Diana Mukpo has done just that in Dragon Thunder. The writing reflects the content. It is admirably clear, simple, and accessible. Diana Mukpo and Carolyn Rose Gimian deserve the highest praise. Anna Taylor Blockhouse, Nova Scotia Letters to the Editor