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Conference 2008
… what is it and how
to travel it wisely?
Barbara Märtens

Barbara Märtens

The Warrioress

… For the young wild woman she was, her restless search came to end when she opened that book in the hospital she had been submitted to because of the fall. “I hadn’t heard of Buddhism before, and all of a sudden, starting on Page 1, I found the answers to my burning questions.”

Since she was 14, Barbara’s life had been full of turbulence: going in and out of school, finally graduating at age 22, traveling to Greece, hopping islands, living a hippie life style, sitting on the beach with friends, looking for some idea of what she could do with her life. “But that wasn’t ‘it’, yet, before I went back home, I wanted to take one last walk through the beautiful mountains and monasteries of Eos.”

It happened that she got lost. Hit by sunstroke, a shepherd finally found her under a bush, and when they walked back together, he showed her a beautiful cave. “That’s where I spent the next four months. And although I had no idea of what meditation was, I got in touch with something without knowing what that something actually was.”

After returning to Germany, Barbara found refuge with some friends in a foreign city. She met a man who became the father of her children. “We fell madly in love. It was in his house where the book of Chögyam Trungpa fell into my hands and I knew, this is ‘it’. It was the beginning of the path for me. I think what a person needs is to have a burning question to which you can’t give the answer yourself. ”


Thursday, September 4th, 8.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m.
"The Path of Fearlessness"

Some words from Barbara Märtens

“It is important to have a living teacher in order to go beyond our limitations. It takes a lot to do that, and he or she can challenge us and at the same time be on our side.” It is also important to always check in: Is this what he or she is saying, is what I am learning truly that which brings me in touch with life?

You recognize the value your teacher when you start to have insights – things you are afraid of become clearer. That’s not always comfortable, but you learn to not avoid them anymore. Chögyam Trungpa says: ‘When you are able to not run away from your fear – that’s fearlessness.’. You invite the things that are in the way of enlightenment.

It doesn’t mean that you take kamikaze actions, and it also doesn’t mean that you get harder on yourself, but rather you let your fear be there without getting aggressive or manipulative. You just let it be there, with kindness and an open heart. You don’t contract when you feel your fear in your neck, when your stomach cramps or when your heart starts beating faster. You meet your fear by asking: Where does this take me?

The Buddha said that when something hurts us our tendency is to run away and search for pleasure instead. But the path of fearlessness goes exactly in the opposite direction.”

Short Biography

Barbara Martens has been a practitioner in the Buddhist Shambhala tradition for more than 30 years, which was brought to the West by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, one of the most skillful and realized Tibetan teachers of our time.

In 2005 Barbara was designated by Chögyam Trungpa’s son, the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, to pass down the Shambhala teachings as an acharya, or Senior Teacher. She is empowered to represent the Kagyu, Nyingma, and Shambhala lineages associated with Shambhala International.

She is trained in cultural pedagogy, Zen-arts and contemplative psychology. She pays tribute to her spiritual ancestors by delivering the teachings of Maitri Space Awareness practice and other contemplative approaches to art, work, and life in general. She is a member of the faculty Karuna/Upaya, an educational organization for contemplative practice, health and art. and has directed the Buddhist Gate of Shambhala Europe in Cologne.


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