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The Drala Principle

We may have been interested in our world when we were little children, but then we were taught how to handle it by our parents who had already developed a system to deal with the world and to shield themselves from it at the same time. As we accepted that system, we lost contact with the freshness and curiosity of experience.

Chögyam Trungpa.

Introduction to the Drala Principle

by Bill Scheffel

The “drala principle” refers to a body of teachings the Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Chögyam Trungpa presented in the last decade of his life, from 1978 to 1986. The roots of the drala principle precede the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet and are found in the indigenous traditions of that country - as they are in all countries. The drala principle is applicable, not to Buddhist practitioners alone, but to anyone. These teachings speak to the heart, whether one is, so to speak, religiously, artistically or politically motivated.

Drala is the elemental presence of the world that is available to us through sense perceptions. When we open to trees, flowers, a creek or clouds we encounter an actual wisdom, though one that is not separate from our own. Beholding a river is much more than merely looking at a river; potentially, we are meeting the dralas. A friend of mine was once with her family in upstate New York. It was winter and they had hiked into a forest. The landscape was one of cold and snow, whiteness and silence, birch trees. Astonished by the pristine beauty, my friend realized it was her duty - not just to notice this beauty - but to stop and linger with it. To let it penetrate her. To listen. We have failed to see our first responsibility to the world is an aesthetic one. ... (extract from the drala principle on

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