About Chögyam Trungpa and His Collected Works:
Chögyam Trungpa (1939 - 1987), a Tibetan meditation master, teacher, and artist is widely known as one of the pioneers in bringing Buddhism to the West. He was born in eastern Tibet and was identified as the eleventh descendent in the line of Trungpa tulkus (incarnations of teachers). At age 18, this scholar was Supreme Abbot of the Surmang Monasteries. He fled to India when the Chinese invaded his homeland in 1959. In 1963, Chögyam Trungpa traveled to England where he attended Oxford University as a Spaulding Fellow, studying Western philosophy, religion, art, and language. He established the first Tibetan Buddhist center in Scotland in 1967.

In 1970, he was invited to teach in the United States; he settled down in Boulder, Colorado. Over the years, he established over 100 meditation centers in America, Canada, and Europe. Trungpa Rinpoche set up Shambhala International in 1973 to coordinate the activities of these centers. He also founded Naropa Institute (now Naropa University), an innovative college that combines contemplative studies with a liberal arts curriculum. A secular program for meditation called Shambhala Training was established in 1976. In 1986, Trungpa Rinpoche moved the center of his activities from Boulder to Halifax, Canada, where he died the following year.

Carolyn Rose Gimian, editor of The Essential Chögyam Trungpa (1999), is the compiler and editor of The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa. In each of these eight volumes, she provides an overview of the material.

About This Volume:
In our opinion, Volume Seven is the best in The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa because it highlights the incredible gifts of this meditation master as a poet, playwright, and visual artist. Although he was very knowledgeable about the symbolism and iconography of traditional Buddhist arts, his major contribution was relating dharma to the creative process. Or as editor Carolyn Rose Gimian puts it: "In a sense, Chögyam Trungpa's work as an artist was among the most revolutionary parts of his teaching. He truly believed that art can change the world. In this belief, he was focused not only on the content of art but on how art can alter perception."

The awareness practice of this meditation master prepared him for the unfolding of what he called "dharma art." In many of the essays in this first section of this volume, Chögyam Trunga relates the artistic process to elegance, new sight, perception, and non-aggression. Whether writing about the art of calligraphy, the Buddhist art of Tibet, or film-making; he opens up new avenues of meaning.

His poetry reveals an appreciation of different styles of expression. His favorite slogan "First Thought Best Thought" has helped many writers stay in the present moment and follow their intuition. In an interview about one of his dharma art installations, he stated: "Dharma art is the principle way we are trying to create enlightened society, which is a society where there is no aggression, and where people could discover their innate basic goodness and enlightened existence, whether it is in a domestic or political or social situation." This statement also provides an ideal introduction to Volume Eight, which focuses on matters of culture, state, and society.