Search This Blog


Buddhism in the News


Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Rebel Buddha" by Dzogchen Ponlop. Unleash the Rebel Within!!

When many of us think of a rebel we think of someone who challenges the status quo because of a feeling of confinement or discomfort with how society is unfolding. Buddhist master Dzogchen Penlop shows us in his book, Rebel Buddha that we all have a rebel within. It is the seed of awakening in our brain that was planted by our karma, which begins to grow and stretch against the confines of the ego-mind. It is our inherent Buddha nature or awakened essence that is reclaiming our mind bit by bit, which is why it's a process, or a practice.

In most Buddhist schools, we aren't relying upon a savior to pull us out of the muddy waters of samsara, (the world) and into the clear light of wakefulness, which infuses into us the ability to live with discomfort without suffering from it. We are aware that no one can do this for us, and that is why it is why its hard work to practice the Dharma. It's not just a matter of saying some prayers and having faith that you'll be saved from suffering:

If you're interested in "meeting the Buddha" and following the spiritual path he described, then there are a few things you should know before you begin. First, Buddhism is primarily a study of mind and a system of training the mind. It is spiritual in nature, not religious. It's goal is self-knowledge, not salvation; freedom, not heaven. It relies on reason and analysis, contemplation and meditation, to transform knowledge about something into knowledge that surpasses understanding. But without your curiosity and questions, there is no path, no journey to be taken, even if you adapt all the forms of the tradition.
James: We know that if we are to free ourselves from our situation that we have to lead the charge of the rebellion ourselves. We already tried putting the fate of our situation into the hands of another only to see it not come to pass, and while there are plenty of people along the route to walk with us and help us for a time; no one can do the final accent but ourselves. And while such an epiphany can be daunting it is refreshing to know that it has been done before; so why not us? We are just as capable of freeing ourselves as anyone else who has gone before us, but only if we have the courage to follow that rebel within.

It is that voice inside our head, which says, "Something is missing in my life. I am no longer satisfied with what the world tells defines as leading a fulfilling life. I am not happy and want to change my circumstances." This is the rebel within that Dzogchen Penlop teaches in this wonderfully timely book because it is going to take rebellion of the spirit to over-come the chaos of modern life:
On the spiritual path, this rebel is the voice of your own awakened mind. It is the sharp, clear, intelligence that resists the status quo of your confusion and suffering. What is this rebel Buddha like? A trouble-maker of heroic proportions. Rebel buddha is the renegade that gets you to switch your allegiance from sleep to the awakened state. This means you have the power to wake up your dreaming self, the impostor that is pretending to be the real you [...] You are the champion of your own freedom. Ultimately, the misson of the rebel buddha is to instigate a revolution of mind.
James: The life of the Buddha was one of rebellion. He rebelled against his father and the luxurious life granted him. He suspected there was more to life than the material pleasure that fulfilled his Earthly needs but left him spiritually hollow inside. He rebelled against the Brahman teachers of his day who told him there was nothing left to discover, spiritually. Still, the rebel inside himself told him that he must push forward, into the unknown. It is the rebels who find freedom because they keep trying to escape their prison of suffering regardless of the set-backs. It is the slaves who simply do not try or assume that there is no point to trying. They are frozen in stone.

All it takes to free oneself from the ropes of doubt that plague them is some wiggling. So, if you have the strength yet to break free once and for all from the confines of suffering then do what you can--wiggle. In other words, take baby steps. Read books like this one, take walks in nature and focus on the details around you. Contemplate on how you are interconnected and benefit from all that beauty around you. Ask and discuss questions that bind you down but don't rely upon any one person too much. Keep searching--always. Don't let others do the thinking for you--question everything.

Let go of expectations. listen to your heart and just be in the moment -- let it all soak into your ropes and soon you will have worked the ropes enough to begin unraveling the emotional bondage. But it takes time. This is the wisdom contained in Rebel Buddha -- So, will you answer the call from your inner-rebel buddha, crying to be unleashed?

The good people at Shambhala have graciously given me an opportunity to giveaway one copy of Rebel Buddha. To make this fair I have decided to draw names from a hat. So, if you're interested, just say so in the comments and I'll include your screen name in the hat. It will be open for a week. So, get your names in by this coming Thursday when I will draw the name of the recipient. Thanks, and good luck!!

~Peace to all beings~

Stumble Upon Toolbar


daphnepurpus said...

I am exploring both Buddhism and the concept of the rebel as I search for my true nature and so this book sounds wonderful. I'd really like to win a copy. I found your blog recently and follow it on Google Reader. Many thanks!

avadiax said...

Hi James, I will love to read this book. I really think this book helps to approach the path to enlightenment in a very practical perspective.

Carl said...

Hey James. Throw my name in the hat. Great blog, by the way! - Carl

Jaxel said...

Great Article. Im Super interested in this book being a natural rebel myself!

So put me in the hat =)

Wiseass Zen said...

Kindly throw my name in to the hat. I heard a lot of buzz about this book and am curious to see what it is all about.
PS: I tried to leave a comment before, using another browser, but kept getting an error message. I am not trying to stuff the ballot box, I ust want to make sure it went through. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Name for drawing Jason P. Reagan

goatman said...

As I sit around me is me
more so if it is alive and exuding
my breath.
When it is all over, it will never be over; we go beyond and forever in some form or another -- perhaps just molecule.

Hello again, nice addition to your blog set.

They call him James Ure said...

No worries Wise-ass Zen. I got you in the hat. :) I have the comments set to where I have to approve them before they post. I have gotten a lot of porn spam from anonymous commenters.

Being a Buddhist Blog I didn't want to subject my readers to such material. Nor have my blog used for free advertising.

So, I have resorted to approving each comment personally before it posts. Click on the box for email follow-up comments to your email address when posting a comment and you'll get a notice when replies happen.

fAb said...

Hi James! Always reading you though it's been a while since posting here... I liked the article so put my name in your hat too ;) hahaha

:D Have a very nice weekend and thank you for your words!
Fabiola B.

Renn said...

I feel inspired by the simple language and wisdom of the excerpt. It illustrates what I want to know and show to my peers about Buddhism without delving too deeply into foreign vocabulary, which tends to turn folks away.

Please add my name to the hat. Your posts are always so fascinating.

Jayarava said...

I'm amused by this rejection of Buddhism as a religion and revisionist interpretation of Buddhism as a rational system.

The fact is that Buddhism as far as we know has always been a religion. From the earliest times Buddhists have used the language of liberation [vimukti], salvation [parama, tāra] and freedom [mokṣa]. Buddhists the world over pray to this or that deity for their intervention, and to be reborn in a pureland. From the outset Buddhist texts are full of mystical events, magical displays, and mythical beings.

Buddhism has never only relied on reason and analysis, though these attributes are no doubt important. The earliest Buddhist texts also have stories about, and technical terms for, faith types (saddhānusārī/saddhā-vimutta), and about the power of cultivating loving kindness which leads to liberation of the heat (ceto-vimutti).

So who is this guy trying to kid? Himself?

Why is it that humanists seem to be so much in denial about the irrational, chthonic, emotional aspects of being human? Why are they so reluctant to address them on their own terms? I'm puzzled that the human being seems such a mystery to humanists! It's naive and probably a dead end. Does no one read Joseph Campbell these days?

I'm against superstition generally speaking, but I'm not interested in Buddhism for robots.

Bezerra said...

Hey James, put my name in the hat. Thanks! - Daniel Bezerra

They call him James Ure said...

@Jayarava...I should probably clarify a bit. Ponlop did say that he feels Buddhism can be practiced religiously or as spiritually. Religiously being focused primarily on the structure, ritual and organization.

And spiritual, focusing on direct experience mostly. So, he wasn't invalidating religiosity but rather saying that he doesn't see it as "wrong" to practice Buddhism from a less religious and formal spiritual perspective.

There are many traditionalists who see not practicing Buddhism in a formal setting as not valid Buddhism. I agree with Ponlop that one must start where ever they are psychologically. For example, it's probably not wise to drop a novice into a week-long, silent retreat right away.

He was saying that they are just as valid but he agrees that all of our practices evolve with experience. After reading the book, I didn't get the impression that he was saying one is better than the other.

Just that if one is to focus on the religious aspect that it is important to not become too attached to the formality of ritual. And that if you are coming first from a spiritual perspective to not ignore all the rituals and organization.

I personally don't have a problem with Buddhism as an organized religion OR as a personal, spiritual journey. I didn't get the impression from the book that he was saying Buddhism is only practiced out of reason and analysis.

I got out of the book that he was saying it's a diverse belief system with many tools that one can use. I didn't get the impression that he was saying "one or the other, but not both." Just my two cents..

By the way, I love Joseph Campbell.

michelle said...

Hi, put me in the hat please. Thanks.

Rachel C said...

Hey James, love the blog and this book looks great too. Please put me in the hat. :)

Doug said...

What you have recommended thus far (Peace is Every Step)has been very beneficial. I am studying "The Miracle of Mindfullness" also. There are a ton of useful meditations and subjects for contemplation in that one. I trust your recommendations.

Ami and Bebop said...

Pick me, pick me!

ShareThis Option