All is launderable

“The basis of Great Eastern Sun vision is realising that the world is clean and pure to begin with. There is no problem with cleaning things up, if we realise that we are just returning them to their natural, original state. It is like having your teeth cleaned. When you leave the dentist’s office, your teeth feel so good. You feel as though you had a new set of teeth. You realise they are basically good teeth.

In working with ourselves, cleaning up begins by telling the truth. We have to shed any hesitation about being honest with ourselves because it might be unpleasant. If you feel bad when you come home because you had a hard day at the office, you can tell the truth about that: you feel bad. Then you don’t have to try to shake off your pain by throwing it around your living room. Instead, you can start to relax; you can be genuine at home. You can take a shower and put on fresh clothes and take some refreshment. You can change your shoes, go outside, and walk in your garden. Then, you might feel better. In fact, when you get close to the truth, you can tell the truth and feel great.

In this world, there are always possibilities of original purity, because the world is clean to begin with. Dirt never comes first, at all. For example, when you buy new towels, they don’t have any dirt on them. Then, as you use them, they become dirty. But you can always wash them and return them to their original state. In the same way, our entire physical and psychological existence and the world that we know – our sky, our earth, our houses, everything we have – was and is originally clean. But then, we begin to smear the situation with our conflicting emotions. Still, fundamentally speaking, our existence is all good, and it is all launderable. That is what we mean by basic goodness: the pure ground that is always there, waiting to be cleaned by us. We can always return to that primordial ground. That is the logic of the Great Eastern Sun.”

~ Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chögyam Trungpa



10 thoughts on “All is launderable

  1. If the world is clean and pure to begin with, what is this dirt that Trungpa seeks to wash away and where does it go? Is there not a danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater?


      • Might he not be a little harsh on our innate sense of right and wrong and our fumbling attempts at discerning an underlying order in all things?


      • Harsh? He’s being compassionate saying this. He’s not talking about right and wrong, good and bad. You’re doing that. He’s talking about what’s real and what’s not real.


      • I see I shall have to consider more carefully what what he means by “conflicting emotions”, the dirt they smear on a pure world that needs to be laundered and that those emotions are, nevertheless, neither good nor bad nor right nor wrong.


      • OK. When you do, take off your lawyer’s hat. The hermeneutical approach the law relies on will take you away from what he’s saying. Considering it less carefully will take you closer.


  2. We will never be pure, never be clean, never be dirt-free….
    until the end…the last breath, the next journey.
    Narelle. you make me think. LOVE that! Your new format here is FABULOUS! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


    • It is a nice format, isn’t it? Simple and elegant. It’s free too. Plus I really like the new Twitter widget, how it shows the pics. I’m going to see if I can track down a twitter plugin which does the same thing on so I can use it on my business site. If I find it, I’ll let you know so you can use it on your blog too.

      Now my darling to the matter of dirt … I have a different view, or at least different when it comes to timing. I have it that we can be pure, clean, dirt-free at any moment. To say it another way, the Kingdom of Heaven is here, now, as a possibility. All is forgiveable, all launderable, right now. Is this not Christ’s central message? Faced with crucifixion, he declared “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. All the errors of thinking (the ancient meaning of the word “sin” is “error”), the errors that give rise to malice, domination, delusion; all is forgiveable, all launderable, all is capable of being restored to wholeness. xxx


    • Nicely said, Narelle, I just question whether it is so much of an error to be human. That, I suggest, is the meaning of that plea for forgiveness. Jesus also told us not to judge others, a constant challenge for a retired and grumpy old lawyer like me.


      • To err is human. Consider you’re listening to the word “error” as bad and wrong, judging it, assessing it.

        Think of a blind man in a room looking for the door. His hands are outstretched feeling for the door. He goes all over three walls and keeps neglecting the fourth wall where the door is. His “error” is that he’s not yet found the door.


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