Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa
by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian


Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2006. ISBN 978-1-59030-534-8.
Reviewed by Rhonda Esakov
Posted on 03/17/2008

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Faith/Spirituality/Inspiration

From an early age, Diana Mukpo didn't feel that she really belonged in the life she was living as a privileged youth in England. When she saw Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche for the first time, she said to herself, "This is what I've been missing all my life..." And so begins the intimate account of Diana's life with a Buddhist teacher in the book, Dragon Thunder.

At first the subject of the story appears to be an account of the life of a womanizing drunk, told from the point of view of his wife, who was sixteen at the time of their marriage. But the insights you get into Buddhism, as presented by Chogyam Trungpa, are remarkable. This is a coming-of-age story and a spiritual autobiography that often reads close to fiction. You will learn interesting things about the origins and teachings of Shambhala Buddhism while following Diana's struggles in loving a man who is deeply spiritual but humanly flawed.

As much as I appreciated my husband, I wasn't always accepting of his behavior. When we were first married, Rinpoche told me that it was normal for Tibetan men to beat their wives. I told him this was barbaric, but he said that it was just common practice. In the first few months of our marriage, he tried—not very convincingly—to slap me a couple of times when we were arguing. I said to him, "What do you think you're doing?" And he said to me, "This is just what Tibetans do." I felt that this was definitely not okay. I waited until he was asleep one day, and I took his walking stick and began hitting him as hard as I could. He woke up, and he was quite shocked, and he said, "What are you doing?" I said, "This is just what Western women do." He got the message, and it was never an issue again.

Diana faces the challenges of dealing with a clash of culture, race and religion. She shares her love journey with us as she and her teacher-husband cross continents and years in this finely detailed story of her life with a powerful mystic whose teachings and writings have helped to introduce Buddhism to the West.


Diana J. Mukpo was the wife of the Tibetan Buddhist master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Now as the owner and director of Windhorse Dressage, she travels and teaches dressage clinics throughout the US and Canada.

Carolyn Rose Gimian has been editing the works of Chogyam Trungpa for more than twenty-five years and is the founding director of the Shambhala archives, the repository for Chogyam Trungpa's work in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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