Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind invites us into a life of personal accountability, and the notion of putting spirituality into practice amidst our modern world. It explores various facets of Buddhism and how they can be incorporated into every area of our life today for the most beneficial experience and practical spirituality.

Expanding, examining and enriching the mind is something that is always a positive asset for our lives. One way we can all do is, is by exposing ourselves to new material of value, which can stimulate our mind and thought patterns and awaken us to new views. In our society today, we are very fortunate to have many available options of such material whether books, videos or web sites. One such book that can help us expand our level of conscious awareness is Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind by Dzogchen Ponlop.

About the Author

Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind is written by Dzogchen Ponlop and was newly released in November of 2010.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche was born in India and trained by many great masters of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. Today he lives in the United States and is a teacher of Buddhism, spirituality, a poet, and a visual artist. He dedicates much of his life and work to developing a vision of a genuine Buddhism, free from cultural hang-ups that distract from Buddha’s original message.

Dzogchen is the author of several books aside from this latest one, including Mind Beyond Death. His writing has been featured in many various publications, including Buddhadharma: A Practitioner’s Quarterly, Shambhala Sun, Best Buddhist Writing and other anthologies.

For more information on Dzogchen and his work, please visit Dzogchen’s Official Web Site.

About the Format

Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind is almost 200 pages, composed of an introduction and 15 chapters, which are as follows:

  • Chapter 1 – Rebel Buddha
  • Chapter 2 – What You Should Know
  • Chapter 3 – Getting To Know Your Mind
  • Chapter 4 – Buddha on the Road
  • Chapter 5 – The Way To Go
  • Chapter 6 – Relating With Confusion
  • Chapter 7 – The Three Trainings
  • Chapter 8 – Untelling The Story
  • Chapter 9 – Beyond Self
  • Chapter 10 – The Altruistic Heart
  • Chapter 11 – What’s In Your Mouth
  • Chapter 12 – Turning Up The Heat
  • Chapter 13 – The Good Shepherd and The Outlaw
  • Chapter 14 – A Lineage of Awakening
  • Chapter 15 – Building Community: Heart Advice of the Buddha

The book also includes 2 special appendix sections. The first one includes instructions for meditation practice and the second one includes 3 poems written by Dzogchen.

Book Content & Personal Commentary

The Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”. It is this thought that ran through my mind, as I began to read Rebel Buddha.

We live at a time, where many of us have become very complacent about our minds, and further on our lives. We try to get through each day, causing as little disturbance in the comfortable, yet misaligned flow of our modern day society, as possible. This is why there has perhaps never before been a better time than now, to question and analyze modern life and ourselves. Things are greatly out of balance and the majority of us live in slavery, as slaves to our minds, and further on our religions, corporations, political leaders, etc.

It is about this idea, of breaking out of the status quo and getting ourselves onto the “road to freedom” that the Rebel Buddha is all about. Now don’t get me wrong, the author does not condone any kind of violent rebel behavior. On the contrary he is a master at teaching the peaceful way of life, while we seek freedom. What the author’s main message is in this book, is to examine our minds, look at what is really going on within them, free ourselves from the destructive thought patterns that control us, train our minds and live the freedom of being that is our birthright.

The point is that, spiritually, we’re responsible for ourselves. From the Buddhist point of view, you take this journey on your own, and the only person who can save you is you.

Dzogchen Ponlop, Rebel Buddha

The author addresses this aspect of the Egoic mind in a way that reminded me a bit of Eckhart Tolle’s work in the book A New Earth — Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. This book is like a continuation on understanding of the self, the Egoic mind, and our thought patterns, but with a twist of Buddhism.

In fact, the author’s second main goal for this book was to demystify Buddhism, by stripping away from it all the cultural baggage that has been attached to it over the years, and revive the Buddha’s original message. The author clearly states along the way, that Buddhism is not a religion. The Buddha’s message was simple, clear and very profound, yet over the centuries it has gotten diluted amidst the various cultures of our time, giving birth today to something that may resemble a religion. In fact, while many reviewers who read the book focused on how much and how well it “explains Buddhism for the West“, to me it was a book that was much more about the workings of the mind, than a specific philosophy.

The message in the Rebel Buddha is clear – examine your mind and train it, to free yourself from being a slave to your mind, where all suffering and misery originate. It may sound easy, but it is in truth a task, which very few of us are willing to take on. In many respects it is not easy work, as we have to strip away all of our cultural conditioning, but it is a highly rewarding task of true freedom.

We must see that, in the end, the root of all suffering, all our pain, all our confusion is our own self-clinging, our sense of self-importance.

Dzogchen Ponlop, Rebel Buddha

I appreciated and really liked two other things about this book. One was that whenever I had read books from authors of a certain “religion”, I have almost always felt an underlying message to ‘join that group’. With this book, even though it truly has nothing to do with religion, it was good to feel that Dzogchen wasn’t pushing Buddhism as a label on anyone. If anything, he was stripping Buddhism of the unnecessary and misrepresented teachings and cultural baggage, down to the pure mind training philosophy that it began as.

The other thing I found really valuable was that throughout the book, the author also does something very important and that is clearly define what he means by various common terms that we use each day. We all use common words, but much of modern day miscommunication comes from the fact that they do not all mean the same thing to each of us. Thus, Dzogchen does an exceptional job of explaining many ideologies and defining clearly some basic terms which we use daily. One of my most favorite examples in the book, was his explanation of the difference between mindfulness and awareness:

Awareness is our consciousness of being in the present. Mindfulness means “to remember” or “not to forget” to watch the mind and see when it drifts away from the present.

Dzogchen Ponlop, Rebel Buddha

To get the most from this book, the Rebel Buddha can be read in one of two ways. One can read it in one sitting and then go back to re-read it again with a slower pace of conscious intention and reflection, or read it slowly, digesting each chapter with serious reflection as one goes on. Either way it would be a waste to pick this book up, give it one quick read and forget about it. It is too rich in content and value for our lives, not to use this book as an invitation to go on a serious journey inward.

In the end, I highly recommend this book. I know not enough people who should read it and take it seriously probably will, but the more awareness that gets raised about it, the more likely it will get noticed.

Every person has the potential to achieve enlightenment.

Dzogchen Ponlop, Rebel Buddha

You can find Rebel Buddha in all major online stores like, (below).

Books by Dzogchen Ponlop