Have you ever read a book and felt it was written just for you? I was first attracted to Rebel Buddha by the title alone, which combines two concepts that are central to my own nature. I have devoted much of my life to rebellion in many forms, and Buddha has been an important teacher and guide in my life. Basically, there was no way I was not going to read it.
I’m so glad I did. Rebel Buddha takes traditional Buddhist thought into a contemporary context, easily relating concepts like dharma and emptiness to the peculiarities of modern life. I find myself wrestling with these concepts from time to time, and the author’s voice spoke to me in a way that was deeply personal, and at the same time universal. As I read, it occurred to me that in some ways I have been attempting to build a company around these same principles.
In fact, I was prompted to adapt a portion from Chapter 1 as a sort of battle cry for myself, for Rebel Industries, and for those who would join our cause:
You could say we all live with a rebel within.
When we think of rebels, historical or contemporary, well-known or forgotten, people who fight the status quo, we think of them as heroes. From Abraham Lincoln to Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Bob Marley, Bono, and Eazy-E.
We stand in awe of their courage, compassion and remarkable achievements. However, such idealists and reformers are always regarded as troublemakers by those they challenge. Their ideas and intentions may seem threatening, and are not always welcome. 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 conventional wisdom simply because it’s convenient.
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. This rebel is the voice of your own awakened mind. It is the sharp, clear intelligence that resists the status quo of confusion and waste. What is this rebel like? A troublemaker of heroic proportions. Rebel 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 yourself. You are the champion of your own freedom. Ultimately, the mission of the Rebel is to instigate a revolution of your mind.
– Adapted with the author's permission from Rebel Buddha, by Dzogchen Ponlop http://www.rebelbuddha.com/. I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself.
Have you read Rebel Buddha? Leave a comment here and tell us what you think. Or share your thoughts on who inspires you to wake up. Who are the rebels that instigate you?