Chogyam Trungpa

Buddhism in Canada Montreal Teacher Stories Teachers Vajrayana

The first time I met Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was in the Montreal Zen Centre on Versailles Street in Pointe-St-Charles, in 1969.

Trungpa had just arrived from Samye Monastery in Scotland after having given up his vows. He wore a beige suit with a vest. He had a club foot, a squeaky voice and partial paralysis from an auto accident. Hardly what one would expect an enlightened being to look like in those days of eastern gurus in the western eye.

He sat on a folding chair in the bare room and spoke to about 20 assembled practitioners. I have no recollection of what he actually said.

I had the opportunity to meet Rinpoche several more times during the 1970s, at Tail of the Tiger in Vermont and at public events in Montreal. There was always a lot of ego in the room, generated by zealous practitioners of all traditions (myself included). With Trungpa, you either loved him or hated him. Either way, you could always count on penetrating insight, bizarre behaviour, and a circus.

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