November 08, 2010

Rebel Buddha—A Troublemaker of Heroic Proportions

"When we think of political or social rebels—historical or contemporary, well-known or forgotten—people who fought and are fighting for the cause of liberty and justice, we think of them as heroes: from the fathers of the American Revolution to Harriet Tubman; Mohandas Gandhi; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Aung San Suu Kyi; and Nelson Mandela. Today, we stand in awe of their courage, compassion, and remarkable achievements. Yet such idealists and reformers are always regarded as troublemakers by those they challenge. Their ideas and intentions, and even their company, are not always welcome. Rebels are a mixed blessing it seems—good for the movie business, but in real life, they make people nervous. They're hard to push aside. They keep coming back with questions no one else will ask. They won't settle for partial truths or uncertain answers. They refuse to follow conventions that control or imprison them or the people in their society. Their path to victory runs through some rough territory. But their rebel character is not easily discouraged. Commitment to a cause—a greater vision of what might be—is the rebel's lifeblood.

On the spiritual path, this rebel is the voice of your own awakened mind. It is the sharp, clear intelligence that resists that status quo of your confusion and suffering. What is this rebel buddha like? A troublemaker 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 imposter that is pretending to be the real you. You have the means to break loose from whatever binds you to suffering and locks you in confusion. You are the champion of your own freedom. Ultimately, the mission of rebel buddha is to instigate a revolution of the mind."

—Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Rebel Buddha


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Images: left, Associated Press; right, American Stock/Getty Images (New York Times)

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