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Awakened Warriorship

In Chogyam Trungpa’s book, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, he articulates beautifully the Shambhala vision for how one becomes a warrior. There are three main sections of his book: 1) How to be a Warrior, 2) Sacredness: The Warrior’s World, and 3) Authentic Presence. In the first chapter, the author writes about how to create an enlightened society. In order to help the world, one must not be afraid of themselves. This is the first principle of Shambhala vision. The second significant component to creating an enlightened society is to discover one’s goodness and know what one has to offer the world. By discovering one’s goodness one can then help others discover their own goodness. Thus, the path of the warrior is to begin within oneself before one can move toward action in the world. Otherwise, that individual will create further chaos rather than creating an enlightened society.


In chapter two, the author discusses discovering basic goodness and an integral component in achieving this is gentleness with oneself and others. The warrior develops gentleness with oneself through the sitting practice of meditation, which allows for the body and mind to synchronize and create harmony. In chapter four, the author claims that the warrior must confront their fears in order to reach fearlessness. For example, the author states, “true fearlessness is not the reduction of fear, but going beyond fear” (p.35). Thus, transcending fear is critical on the path of becoming a warrior, and is accomplished through “working with a softness of the human heart” (p.36). With synchronizing the mind and body it is important to remove all doubt by being in true connection with oneself. Chapter six is devoted to the vision of the dawn of the great eastern sun. The great eastern sun vision is about taking care of our bodies, our minds, and taking care of the world we live in (p.45).

In the next chapter, the author discusses how the warrior must leave behind cowardice and move towards fearlessness by having sympathy for one’s own experiences of darkness as well as others experiences of darkness. By looking back with sympathy, one can move forward without returning to old habits that keep one inside the darkness of the cocoon. In the chapter discussing renunciation, the warrior renounces anything that is a barrier between oneself and others. The critical part here is the warrior has a sad and tender heart, that is, the warrior is gentle and vulnerable with themselves and others. Another critical component of the warrior’s path is that it is a continuous journey that requires meditative awareness in order to be vigilant and aware at all times.


In section two, the author examines the sacredness of the warrior’s world by first examining the idea of nowness. Nowness is really about having respect for their domestic situation, that is, the path of the warrior begins at home with the individuals one is surrounded on a daily basis, i.e., family. The other significant component that is shared in this section is magic or Drala. According to the author, “Drala is the unconditioned wisdom and power of the world that are beyond any dualism; therefore drala is above any enemy or conflict. It is wisdom beyond aggression” (p.109). This is the main point of this section of the book, that the warrior is steeped in primordial wisdom that reality is nondual. This allows the warrior to know there is no separation between oneself and the world and therefore no space for aggression. With this awareness the warrior knows that aggression towards others is only aggression towards oneself. However, in order to invoke drala the warrior must prepare a ground or space of gentleness. The author claims that the biggest obstacle to gentleness is arrogance, so it is the warrior’s responsibility to overcome arrogance, if one wants to invoke drala.


In the last part of the book the topic of authentic presence is discussed. The idea of authentic presence is that through merit or the virtue that one cultivates becomes part of one’s presence in the world. However, there is both an outer and inner authentic presence. Outer authentic presence is available to anyone who lives a decent life, but the inner authentic presence is what the Shambhala warrior is most concerned about. Inner authentic presence goes beyond the outer by transcending the ego, that is, by emptying oneself one is able see others as oneself. In order to sustain authentic presence, it is essential that one have a disciplined practice. The author states four components of this practice or process: meek, perky, outrageous, and inscrutable. Meekness is about being humble and having a gentleness with others. Perkiness has two parts: 1) having an uplifted and joyful energy and 2) removing doubt from the equation. Outrageousness is about achieving fearlessness, that is, going beyond fear. Inscrutability is the experience of fulfillment and spontaneous achievement. Finally, the author closes the book with a chapter on Shambhala lineage which articulates the need for a guru, teacher, or master warrior for any potential warrior that wishes to embark on this journey.

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