There are many different reasons why we might read a particular book. For example, it may have been recommended to us. We might have spotted it in a bookshop. It might have been required reading on a school or university course. We may have heard mention of it on the radio.
In the case of "Dragon Thunder: My Life With Chögyam Trungpa" I read it for one simple reason - namely that the author, Diana Mukpo, was born on the very same day as me in the very same year. I ordered the book via Amazon and it arrived three or four days later. The subject matter had some appeal for me as it concerned Buddhism and its establishment in The West.
Chögyam Trungpa or Ripoche as he is usually referred to in this tome was born in Tibet in 1939 and was heir to a line of Buddhist meditation masters. He was a special, chosen one but had to escape Tibet in 1959 when he was twenty years old. The Chinese were advancing. Eventually he made it to Great Britain where he studied at Oxford before establishing a Buddhist spiritual centre in south west Scotland.
He met his wife to be - Diana Pybus in London. She was a rebellious teenager and they married in January of 1970. Soon she was a vital player in his educational projects. It wasn't long before they moved to America where they had four sons together.
It was as if she was bewitched. Many people who came into contact with Ripoche found him magnetic and inspirational. As years went by the influence of his teachings and his very presence saw his movement flourish. He died in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1987 at the age of 48. For years his health had been troublesome - not helped by heavy drinking, a serious car accident and irregular hours.
Diana and Ripoche's boys lived rather strange lives - often separated from their parents for weeks or months on end - as for example during the long periods when Diana trained in Europe to be an expert in dressage. The Spanish Riding School in Vienna and all that.
Just as Ripoche had affairs with a string of his students so Diana Mukpo struck up with Mitchell Levy. a Jewish doctor who had attached himself to the Buddhist Shambhala International group. They even had a child together. Her marriage to Ripoche was unusual to say the least.
There is much more that I could say about this book that has lived we me for many weeks - always asking to be read. I felt rather distant and removed from the contents, not finding signals to the Buddhist equilibrium I had been hoping to sniff out.
Diana Pybus was born at the same time as me but the life she has lived has been very different. It was as if she joined a club all those years ago but I don't think that I ever did. I have always resisted the temptation to join anything and ultimately I am afraid that I would have probably viewed Chögyam Trungpa as a bit of a charlatan in spite of the fact that he undoubtedly played a large part in establishing Buddhism in The West.