The Power of An Open Question: The Buddha’s Path to Freedom

©2010 Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel. Published by Shambhala Publications.

Life is uncertain. We never know what happens next. And yet, despite uncertainty, we continue to search for a place to rest. Trying to find security in a fluid and changing world defines our struggle as human beings—our predicament.

In her book, The Power of an Open Question, author Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel takes this predicament by the horns and turns it into an inquiry…and she invites us to join her. Uncertainty, she suggests, can haunt us if we are looking for security. But Namgyel challenges us to see uncertainty in another way: “Wonder, amazement, creativity, our sense of adventure, we would have none of this if we had all the answers we’re looking for.” This spirit of wonderment is what she calls “open questioning”.

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel has written a bold, playful and invigorating book about the Buddha’s most important and subtle teachings—the teachings on emptiness. As we read, we walk with her through the world of experience, looking clearly without reaching conclusions. We understand emptiness as a continuous discovery; we see life full of possibility for liberation. The Power of an Open Question is an important contribution to Buddhist literature of our times.
— Ani Pema Chodron

Power of an Open Question Tricycle magazine retreat teachings

Living in the Center of the Human Predicament

Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel has studied and practiced the Buddhadharma for 25 years under the guidance of her teacher and husband, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. After meeting Rinpoche in Nepal, she became his first Western student. She has been intimately involved with Rinpoche’s work in bringing Buddhist wisdom to the West, in particular to the development of Mangala Shri Bhuti, an organization dedicated to the study and practice of the Longchen Nyingthig lineage. Elizabeth has an academic backround in both Anthropology and Buddhist Studies, but her learning is also grounded in practice. After many years of solitary retreat, Rinpoche appointed Elizabeth as Retreat Master at Longchen Jigme Samten Ling, Mangala Shri Bhuti’s retreat center in southern Colorado. She has edited Rinpoche’s two books, It’s Up to You and Light Comes Through and is presently working on a book of her own, The Power of an Open Question, and teaching the Buddhadharma in the United States and Europe.

Elizabeth delights in wrestling with difficult and juicy ‘koans’ that tend to plague modern day practitioners, while maintaining a deep respect for the tradition she comes from.

 Elizabeth teaching an  online retreat for Tricycle Magazine

You may also be interested in Elizabeth's new book: The Logic Of Faith


For more recordings of Elizabeth's teachings, please visit the Mangala Shri Bhuti store.