Dragon Thunder: my life with Chogyam Trungpa
"It was not always easy to be the guru’s wife,” writes Diana Mukpo. “But I must say, it was rarely boring.” At the age of sixteen, Diana Mukpo left school and broke with her upper-class English family to marry Chögyam Trungpa, a young Tibetan lama who would go on to become a major figure in the transmission of Buddhism to the West.
Trungpa attracted thousands of students in North America and is credited with introducing many key Buddhist concepts into the English language and psyche. During his lifetime he founded more than one hundred meditation centers and authored dozens of popular books on meditation, Buddhism, and the Shambhala path of warriorship.
Among Asian masters living and teaching in the West, Trungpa was known for having an unorthodox and unpredictable teaching style—and for leading an unconventional personal life. In Dragon Thunder, the reader gets an intimate look at this compelling and enigmatic figure through the eyes of his wife of seventeen years.
Diana herself led an extraordinary and unusual life as the “first lady” of a burgeoning Buddhist community in the American 1970s and ’80s. It is not a simple matter to be a modern Western woman married to a Tibetan lama, let alone to be married to a man who is adored and sought out by thousands of eager students. Surprising events and colorful people fill the narrative as Diana seeks to understand the dynamic, puzzling, and larger-than-life man she married—and to find a place for herself in his unusual world.
"A delightful and unusual book. Diana Mukpo offers readers new understandings of the life and teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a remarkable person and irreplaceable teacher."
—Pema Chödrön, author of When Things Fall Apart
“An intimate and frank telling of the life of one of the great spiritual teachers of the twentieth century. Diana Mukpo’s extraordinary story as wife, lover, and friend to Chögyam Trungpa reveals her to be a courageous, independent woman with a depth of understanding of her husband’s life and teaching. More than just a history, it is a timeless illumination of the genuine Buddhist path.”
—Melvin McLeod, editor of The Best Buddhist Writingseries
"Diana Mukpo has written a deeply intimate, insightful, raw, and moving account of her life with her late husband. I don't think it would be possible to capture the essence of Chögyam Trungpa more accurately and beautifully than she has done here."
—Dzigar Kongtrül, author of It's Up to You: The Practice of Self-Reflection on the Buddhist Path
"This candid and unsparing book offers up wisdom, courage, and compassion, but also engages the reader in a journey far beyond the normal frames of reference for what spiritual experience actually is. An extraordinary love story as well as a remarkable portrait of a great spiritual teacher."
—Rudy Wurlitzer, novelist and author of numerous screenplays including The Little Buddha
"Taking us into the heart of Chögyam Trungpa's crazy wisdom, exposing us to his genius and the 'craziness' which I at least was never sure was not his madness, Dragon Thunder is a wild and unfathomable story, as heartbreaking and irresistible as Don Quixote. As a dharma book, its mix of sadness and wisdom is so complete that reading it becomes a practice in itself."
—Lawrence Shainberg, author of Ambivalent Zen: One Man's Adventures on the Dharma Path