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BE GRATEFUL TO EVERYONE
Without this world we cannot attain enlightenment. There would be no journey. So
in a sense all the things taking place around the world, all the irritations and
all the problems, are crucial. In other words, we could say that if there is no
noise outside during our sitting practice, we cannot develop mindfulness. If we
do not have aches and pains in our body, we cannot attain mindfulness; we cannot
actually meditate. If everything were lovey-dovey, there would be nothing to
work with. Without others and the challenges they present, we would have no
chance at all to develop beyond ego. So the idea here is to feel grateful that
others are presenting us with tremendous obstacles. Without them, we could not
follow the path at all.
From "Transformation of Bad Circumstances," in TRAINING THE MIND and Cultivating
Loving-Kindness, compiled from pages 48-50 of the Shambhala Classic Edition.
25 Nov 2010 - Letter of the Morning Sun from the Sakyong to the Shambhala
Yesterday this message was sent from the Kalapa Council directed to all
Shambhala members. Apparently it did not reach everyone, and we are looking into
this. It is repeated here with a link to the Sakyong's letter.
Letter of the Morning Sun
from the Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche
Dear Shambhala Community Member,
During this year of retreat, the Sakyong has been contemplating the future of
Shambhala and the impact we can have on the world. He has written an
open-hearted letter to all of us, sharing his contemplation with us, and
inviting each of us to share ours with him. The Sakyong has been clear that he
very much wishes us all to share in the process of contemplation.
The link to his Letter of the Morning Sun is at the end of this message.
Translations into Spanish, German, Dutch, French, Italian, Swedish, Greek,
Polish, Ukrainian, Farsi, Russian, Chinese (Mandarin), and Czech are underway
and posted on that site as they become available.
The Sakyong has made it clear that the vision he sets forth in his letter -- and
the questions he raises -- are pivotal to our future. His hope is that all
members of Shambhala will feel inspired to mark the beginning of this next
period in the life of our mandala, and take time to contemplate and respond to
his message individually and collectively.
We are arranging multiple ways for everyone to receive, read, and respond to the
* You may read it online using the link at the end of this letter.
* There will be opportunities to gather at your local centre or group to hear a
reading of the letter and contemplate it as a community.
* You may also choose to gather together in smaller groups or circles anywhere
you wish to discuss the letter and respond to the Sakyong in whatever way
* You will be able to send in your response using an online service so that the
thousands of messages can be properly collated and presented to him.
Carolyn Mandelker, our Executive Director, is working closely with the Kalapa
Council on all these arrangements, and we will soon be sending you a second
letter with information about how to respond online to the three questions the
Sakyong poses in his letter. We will also be inviting you to send in your
suggestions for how people can discuss this letter fully and freely.
In the meantime, we invite you to choose a quiet space and time, if possible in
your shrine room or wherever you engage in regular meditation practice, to
recite the Shambhala Lineage Supplication, rest your mind, and then read the
Please visit this site for the letter:
We are delighted to send this to you on behalf of the Sakyong,
Richard Reoch, President of Shambhala,
Mitchell Levy, Lamen Kyi Khyap
Adam Lobel, Kalapa Acharya,
Jesse Grimes, Makpon,
Connie Brock, Chagdzo Kyi Khyap
Joshua Silberstein, Chief of Staff of the Sakyong Ladrang
24 November 2010
(This announcement was from the
Letter of the Morning Sun
A Retreat Message from the Sakyong
I send very warm greetings and love from retreat. This year of retreat
has been a very
powerful and pivotal time for the Sakyong Wangmo and me, and all of
the birth of our daughter, Jetsun Drukmo, as well as having had an
entire year to gather
strength, contemplate, and reflect on my life, the last twelve months
have been a personal
time of transformation and joy– a watershed.
The purpose of writing this letter is to express some of my inner
and intentions to you. After this year of retreat, I wish to have a more
open and direct
relationship with all of you as Shambhala warriors. Thus far, over the
last twenty years as
leader of Shambhala, I have refrained from expressing myself as fully as
because our community was going through a healing process, as well as a
maturing. At this point I feel we are all mature enough to take a deep
breath and reflect
on what Shambhala is, and more importantly, what its future will be.
In my mind, Shambhala is the heart essence of the Dorje Dradül. He
was an extremely
gifted individual, a teacher of unparalleled skill and bravery, and the
holder of many ancient traditions. Especially during the latter stages
of his life, he
expressed to me that his purpose in coming to this world was to plant
dharma. Shambhala was the culmination of everything he understood.
On several occasions, the Dorje Dradül emphatically but warmly
expressed to me his
wish and deep aspiration that the Shambhala dharma become my work and
life. We went
to great lengths so that I was educated in both the Eastern and Western
he felt this wisdom would be a powerful truth that could help transform
the world. In this
age of incredible aggression, fear, and materialism, these Shambhala
teachings could turn
the tide from the setting sun to the Great Eastern Sun. He saw that no
matter how much
spiritual insight we might have, we would also need bravery and courage:
each one of us
would have to manifest heroically. Therefore, we would have to be
Thus the Dorje Dradül emphasized the term warrior: above all, we must
If we are truly going to turn the tide, despite seemingly impossible
odds, we need
unequivocal confidence. Such confidence needs to be wholeheartedly and
rooted in the conviction of basic goodness. Thus, the warriors of
Shambhala draw their
strength from unequivocal conviction in goodness.
According to the Dorje Dradül, this goodness has no beginning, and
therefore will have
no end. When humans become fearful and doubt this goodness, we begin to
falling prey to our own thought patterns. Thus we become suspicious of
others. We stop
generating kindness and compassion and instead begin to focus intently
blaming it for all the world's woes. This mistrust begins to spiral
into fear and anger.
Such a cycle is not simply a psychological state: it begins to affect
Through a fundamental insecurity about our own worthiness, we begin to
The teachings of Shambhala attempt to bring the warrior gently but
confidently back to
the origin of time, where that primordial goodness can be rediscovered.
This the Dorje
Dradül called the Kalapayana. Kalapa was not only the ancient capital
of Shambhala, but
for the Dorje Dradül, it refers to a journey of time where the
warrior goes beyond the
three times—past, present, and future—and returns to the origin
of time to find basic
When such a journey occurs, a sense of overwhelming power, fluidity,
delight manifests. This is known in the Shambhala teachings as lungta,
When human beings discover genuine purpose, they become unstoppable.
Life is full; life
is beautiful. Life may be painful as well, but life is seen as fully
Discovering the power of thoroughly engaging in one's life is how we
in the world. We realize there is no need for dark shadows: if we allow
the sun of
goodness to shine, we can live our life fully, approach all aspects of
our life thoroughly,
and learn from them as well. The Shambhala teachings liberate us from
we must make up for some fundamental mistake. There is no mistake in the
universe as such—simply a lack of courageousness and acknowledgement
goodness. This is what the Dorje Dradül meant by Shambhala. He had
wisdom as a young man in Tibet, and he continued to unveil it as he
taught in the West.
Thus these treasures of Shambhala are the heart of the Shambhala
The history and legend of Shambhala is based upon a great community that
was able to
reach a higher level of consciousness. This community could occur
because its individual
members participated fully in creating a culture of kindness,
generosity, and courage.
Therefore, their innate good qualities were able to manifest.
The heart teachings of Shambhala would later be known as the Shambhala
Tibetan word meaning "treasures." Throughout the history of the
enlightened beings have discovered terma for the benefit of beings who
were living at
that particular age. It is said that such teachings materialize in the
mind of an appropriate
awakened being who can disseminate them, and that they are particularly
sentient beings living at that time. This was the case with the Dorje
Dradül, who even in
his own time was uniquely gifted at discovering terma. Thus he felt that
the stream of
Shambhala terma was flowing through him because it was needed at this
On several occasions he expressed that this terma holds the complete
enlightenment. As well, it addresses the current dilemma of how to live
in society with
decency, wakefulness, and precision. Thus, Shambhala was addressing the
realm of humanity—from how we live within a family, to how we
perform our work, to
how we engage in a journey of sacredness.
Thus the Dorje Dradül coined the term warriorship. As a reminder that
are trying to live their life courageously—not stuck in the past,
not fantasizing about the
future, but living now—we are known as warriors. The epitome of such
embodied in the Sakyong and the Sakyong Wangmo, male and female warriors
Shambhala. How men and women behave and conduct their lives, in
particular how they
relate to their children and future generations, has a profound effect
on the society itself.
The Dorje Dradül said that society cannot simply be run by
governments or conducted by
science. He felt that many social ills have come about because we have
forgotten that at the nucleus of all human relationships is the mother
and father principle.
We all need a beating heart of goodness, love, and courage.
Thus Shambhala is based on a mandala principle, where each man and woman
as the king and queen of their own domain: they must take their seat in
their life. When
this occurs, a natural rapport begins to take place. By manifesting
fully and respecting
each other, harmony ensues. The Shambhala teachings emphasize being in
because at this time we do not have the luxury of isolating ourselves
from the world.
They teach that true spirituality cannot be isolated in a
"spiritual," or "holy" quadrant of
our life. Rather, when we make a fundamental connection with basic
and lungta, our entire life can be used as a pathway for awakenment.
This profound and holistic approach is the legacy of the Dorje
Dradül. He felt that based
on these teachings, Shambhala could greatly help the world, and that
this tradition would
be its own lineage—the lineage of Shambhala—which would be held
by generations of
Sakyongs. Thus the Dorje Dradül handed this great responsibility on
to me. During this
year of retreat, as I reflected on how best to bring this vision
forward, it became evident
to me that we need to clearly understand the essence and purpose of
First and foremost, Shambhala is based upon a societal vision. Even
though it can be seen
as a path by which an individual can travel into the great depths of
journey has a greater purpose than that. Shambhala vision is changing
the whole social
paradigm. For humanity not only to survive, but to flourish and prosper,
question and purpose of social existence needs to be addressed. As human
beings we are
exceptionally vulnerable to our environment. Environment begins to color
as well as our thought patterns. Therefore environment needs to be
addressed, and in this
case, it is the social paradigm that we are addressing. If we only make
internal adjustments, then we are only addressing our personal dilemma,
the overall societal trend.
The teachings of the Dorje Dradül therefore look at all of society as
the basis of the
journey to awakenment, as opposed to a journey that encourages us to
fall asleep with the
passive hope that somehow things will get better. A sobering slogan of
his is that
Shambhala is not based on automation, but on manual labor. Hoping that
magically change will not change the world for the better. Changing the
world for the
better requires all of us to constantly apply the mindfulness of the
tiger. Our personal
involvement, our emotions, and our life as a whole are the ingredients
for creating magic.
The rich dharma of Shambhala has the ability to heal the world. As
need to be doctors instead of thinking we are patients. In this light,
the Dorje Dradül has
said, "The whole world is in absolute turmoil. Shambhala vision
teaches that in the face
of the world's great problems, we can be heroic and kind at the same
vision is the opposite of selfishness." Therefore, Shambhala
warriorship is a path to
social enlightenment. It transcends the path of individual enlightenment
and increases our
motivation so that we can apply it to the greater social prism.
We have these sublime teachings at our fingertips, but if they are to
results, our community must feel confident in its own teaching and its
Unless we ourselves know who we are and have a deep sense of
wonderment about the genuineness of the Dorje Dradül and the
teachings he has
entrusted to us, the world will neither pay heed nor respect us or our
conviction is not pride or misguidedness. Rather, it comes from a deep
sense of integrity
If the Shambhala teachings are to benefit the world, our very own
community must now
begin to embody these core principles: courageousness, kindness,
skillfulness, and confidence. I am touched as I see that we are
beginning to take on some
of these traits. Simply put, with such magical teachings as our legacy,
if our community
is not kind, cheerful, and confident, then the world should not pay us
heed; our arrogance
should be checked. If these teachings are to live up to their full
potential and make
headway in these critical times, we need to double the efforts to train
ourselves in them so we may truly benefit others by demonstrating an
alternate way of
Thus far, our community has healed and recovered, and it is growing. If
Shambhala as a
vision, a lineage, and a community is to have any real effect on the
world, the next ten
years are essential. We must now begin to organize, train, and develop
greater commitment and determination. Therefore, I ask all Shambhalians
to see the next
ten years as a time to truly challenge ourselves. If we can make
substantial progress over
this time, I believe we will have shifted the momentum of the lineage
and vision toward
being able to fulfill the Dorje Dradül's intentions.
We are only at the beginning stages of this vision, and there is much
generations to do, but if our generation does not make the valiant
effort, we will be
seriously jeopardizing the possibility of generations to come. In order
to effect this shift,
we will need to work together as never before. I feel that by the year
2020, we should
have made ample progress in a number of key areas.
The success of our community will depend on what kind of culture we
create. In that
light, the appeal of Shambhala and our ability to benefit, influence,
and inspire the world
will come directly from our ability to manifest kindness, embody
goodness, and create a
genuine feeling of delightfulness. Therefore, culture and decorum are
Ultimately, the greatest influence on us and the larger world is the
social culture we are
fostering. Again, I detect maturity in this area. We are definitely
kinder as a community.
In a recent conversation with Lady Diana Mukpo, she commented that the
as kind and as caring as she has ever experienced. I was encouraged by
We have to manifest the principles we are expounding, especially in a
world where there
is constant finger-pointing, complaint, and cynicism.
If we as practitioners participate in such animosity, we are neither
principles nor offering a solution. Our community must be optimistic.
become more difficult, we should become even stronger and more committed
valiant principles. It appears that materialism and the setting sun are
determined and onepointed
in their objective. If we ourselves, both personally and socially, do
these forces with equal intensity and resolve, we will find ourselves
slowly and aimlessly
seduced into a state of mind where we are unsure what we stand for. With
this kind of
doubt, life takes on a slightly meaningless quality, we pursue only
and the overall potential of humanity seems like a fading star.
Creating an awake culture is demanding. It requires us to participate
moment. That demanding feeling is actually arising from a perspective of
where we constantly want to fade away and fall asleep. This attitude is
not simply mental;
it begins to affect our body in the form of illness, and our environment
in the form of
accidents. From the perspective of awakenment, creating an awake culture
demanding, but energizing. Therefore let us gather as Shambhalians, wake
communally, and be unafraid of manifesting our capabilities.
If Shambhala is to have a global effect, two things need to
occur—one on an inner level,
one on an outer level. The power of Shambhala and the potency of our
message will be
determined by the heart strength of our mandala. Thus, at the inner
level, we must be
completely confident of our own lineage and teachings. At the core of
who we are, we
should have a feeling of deep connection and commitment to the teachings
and lineage of
Shambhala. To be thoroughly grounded in the Shambhala terma and the path
of the Great
Eastern Sun enables us to be strong at the core. When we as individuals
work with the
acharyas, the shastris, and the senior teachers, we should take the view
that we are
working under the guidance of the Sakyong and the Sakyong Wangmo. Thus,
at the inner
level we have one unifying dharma and path.
Such unity gives society a mutual sense of purpose, bonding, and
inspiration. The terma
itself contains the highest vajrayana teachings. This profound teaching,
rooted upon the
expansive vision of basic goodness, allows us to protect and practice
the various lineages
of tantra and sutra that are the heritage of the Mukpo lineage. Thus the
the central embodiment of awakenment, and as an enlightened universal
monarch, it has
the power and vision to protect all genuine wisdom traditions.
In order for this unity to occur, our own Shambhala leadership will have
The three pillars of Shambhala—practice and education, the
government, and the Dorje
Kasung—as well as those engaged in the arts, will have to work
collectively. If we are
able to do this, we can take the Shambhala teachings out to the greater
leadership, arts, business, social services, families, and households.
With a deep certainty
in who we are, we can extend our confidence and joy to others, which
allows us to
connect more easily with them. This is the external manifestation of our
we can interface with the world by offering myriad programs that connect
organizations, communities, businesses, and government agencies,
enabling healthy and
productive networking to occur. Such interface will foster the growth of
community of enlightened culture. However, others will not take us
seriously if they do
not see Shambhala as a unified community that is itself wholeheartedly
How can Shambhala extend into a global community? The Shambhala
teachings have the
potential to reach many millions of people, starting with our centres.
These may diversify
into satellite centres and neighborhood meditation groups that provide
meditation programs, and social and environmental engagement. Some will
come into the
centres, and at other times we will fan out into the greater community.
I also hope that
Shambhala will emerge as one of the most potent means by which to train
themselves are capable of transforming the world around them.
Individuals from all
walks of life and professions will come to Shambhala for this training.
Also, I hope
Shambhala can play a substantial role in bringing about peace. Whether
at a personal or
global level, at its heart, peace is the ability for humans to be
mindful of their thoughts
In any case, it is clear that Shambhala's main asset will be its
people. Therefore, I hope
that as a community we can work on our own culture and society. Can we
be truly kind
and generous with each other? We certainly are not bringing anything new
to the table by
just complaining about the world; we ourselves need to think of
alternatives. Each wrong we see should engender a deeper commitment to
Within my retreat, I have pondered three questions that have been very
illuminating. These questions have led me to write this letter. I would
like to ask each of
you as a Shambhalian to contemplate them and send me your answers before
conclusion of my retreat. Not only is this a very meaningful exercise,
it also allows me to
see your feelings, insights, and commitment to our vision. Thus, as we
enter into the next
era of Shambhala, we can begin with unity, rapport, and clarity.
1. What personal commitment will you make to practice and study?
Since personal training and transformation is a lifelong journey, it is
method by which we constantly remind ourselves that, as beings with
tremendous potential, it is up to us to constantly see each day as an
opportunity to deepen and grow—that in fact the journey itself is
the joy of
2. What will you offer to Shambhala?
Shambhala is a profound lineage, but its goodness and glory depends
on the commitment of its warrior students. This sublime wisdom is our
3. What do you aim to do in the world as a Shambhalian?
The ultimate purpose of Shambhala is to benefit the world, to reawaken
goodness in all of humanity. This is the way we can manifest fully as
and benefit the world.
If all Shambhalians can contemplate these three questions at this
critical juncture, it will
help clarify and strengthen who we are, what Shambhala means to us, and
Shambhala can actually manifest in the world. I feel that if we as a
community can take a
moment and separate ourselves from the current of our lives to
questions, such communal self-reflection could considerably help clarify
our entire mandala. This in turn will give us depth of mind and
character to take our
vision into the future.
These three questions have been incredibly beneficial for my own path.
contemplating them, I have realized that my clarity and commitment has
grown. As we
move forward as a community, and as our connection deepens as teacher
students—as well as warriors of awakenment and human beings—a
healthy, strong, and
more loving bond can occur. I feel pleased that I am able to communicate
this with all of
you; our rapport is healthier than ever before. For many years people
feelings to me, and now I feel like there is trust and love for me to
express my feelings to
you; certainly my love for all of you has grown tremendously.
What we are doing is not easy; we are all mutually coming out of our own
While that process can be quite intimidating, it is also a relief and a
joy. Now the
maturity of our community has begun to arise. Love and kindness is much
prevalent, as well as discipline, responsibility, and loyalty. I believe
that we now have the
fundamental basis of a strong relationship and society.
I am certainly willing to commit myself and my whole life to you and to
want to do that wholeheartedly. Life is precious, and none of us wants
to be wasting our
time with halfhearted effort, not knowing if others are sincere or not.
That is the heart of
warriorship: dedication to something bigger than ourselves. In this
world, Shambhala is
one of many admirable causes worthy of loyalty and dedication.
Therefore, I feel we have come to a crossroads. I understand that there
complicated emotions and feelings. However, at this time we must wade
feelings in order to reach some basic, fundamental conclusions about
what our life is, and
what we are committed to. Is Shambhala at the core of that commitment?
If we can participate fully as a community, when we look at each other
we can detect a
basic level of trust and love, even though there may be various feelings
and emotions. If
that is the case, I feel Shambhala will survive. Not only that, it will
grow from strength to
strength. However, if we do not make the effort to be honest and
emotionally at this crossroads, in ten years time we will have just
vacillation and encouraged another generation of vacillating minds.
At this particular time, we are challenged by the onslaught of
materialism, as well as a
barrage of psychological and emotional views and interpretations. The
predicted that in this dark age, gadgets and technology would entertain
and occupy the
mind, weaken the life-force energy, and confuse our intention. He
Shambhala offers the antidote of simplicity. Fundamentally, the warrior
has to be simple.
That simplicity brings strength, conviction,
and—surprisingly—joy and intelligence. As
Shambhalians, we must simplify and understand who and what is at the
core of our life.
As I reemerge from retreat, I very much look forward to establishing the
lineage and Shambhala dharma. I intend for the next period of my life to
be a time when I
can direct our energy toward the future instead of the past. I see it as
a time of fully
discovering who we are, being unashamed of it, and clearly and
it to the world. This I believe would most definitely bring a smile to
the Dorje Dradül's
Before he passed away, the Dorje Dradül told me, "I have done
what I can, now you must
do the rest." Doing the rest depends on my connection with all of
you, which is now good
and will only get better. It is better to try than to not try at all,
but it is even better to try
cheerfully and wholeheartedly. This is how I plan to move ahead. I
welcome all of you. I
thoroughly look forward to working with you in creating a golden dawn
With much love and blessings,
"The awake state is the ordinary of the ordinary - an absolutely
insignificant thing, completely insignificant. It's nothing, actually.
And if you see it that way, then with all the expectations it built up,
ego is really going to suffer and be irritated."
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
"Humility, very simply, is the absence of arrogance. When there is no
arrogance, you relate with your world as an eye-level situation, without
one-upmanship. Because of that, there can be a genuine interchange.
Nobody is using their message to put anybody else down, and nobody has
to come down or up to the other person's level. Every...thing is
Great Eastern Sun, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
We must never forget that it is through our actions, words, and thoughts that
we have a choice. And if we choose to do so, we can put an end to suffering and
the causes of suffering, and help our true potential, our buddha nature, to
awaken in us. Until this buddha nature is completely awakened and we are freed
from our ignorance and merge with the deathless, enlightened mind, there can be
no end to the round of life and death. So, the teachings tell us, if we do not
assume the fullest possible responsibility for ourselves now in this life, our
suffering will go on not only for a few lives but for thousands of lives.
It is this sobering knowledge that makes Buddhists consider that future lives
are more important even than this one, because there are many more that await us
in the future. This long-term vision governs how they live. They know if we were
to sacrifice the whole of eternity for this life, it would be like spending our
entire life savings on one drink, madly ignoring the consequences.
"The general idea is that if you open yourself to what the given
situation is, then you see its completely naked quality. You don't have to put
up a defense mechanism anymore, because you see through it and you know exactly
what to do. You just deal with things, rather than defending yourself."
-CTR, Transcending Madness
CLARITY ON THE SPOT
Perception can be categorized into three levels: experience, emptiness, and
luminosity. (We have discussed the first two in previous quotes.) The third
level of perception is luminosity. This has nothing to do with any visually
bright light, but it is a sense of sharp boundary and clarity that does not have
a theoretical or intellectualized reference point. It is realized on the spot,
within the spaciousness of experience. If there were no space, experience would
be unfocused; there would be no sharpness. In terms of our ordinary experience,
luminosity is that we have a sense of clarity and a sense of things as they are,
seen as they are, unmistakably.
>From "Nobody's World," in TRUE PERCEPTION: The Path of Dharma Art, page 106.
an excerpt from" The Manure of Experience and the Field of Bodhi" chapter
"It is said, I think in the Lankavatara Sutra, that unskilled farmers throw away
their rubbish and buy manure from other farmers, but those who are skilled go on
collecting their own rubbish, in spite of the bad smell and the unclean work,
and when it is ready to use they spread it on their land, and out of this they
grow their crops. That is the skilled way. In exactly the same way, the Buddha
says, those who are unskilled will divide clean from unclean and will try to
throw away samsara and search for nirvana, but those who are skilled
bodhisattvas will not throw away desire and the passions and so on, but will
first gather them together. That is to say, one should first recognize and
acknowledge them, and study them and bring them to realization. So the skilled
bodhisattvas will acknowledge and accept all these negative things. And this
time he really knows he has all these terrible things in him, and although it is
very difficult and unhygenic, as it were, to work on, that is the only way to
start. And then he will scatter them on the field of bodhi. Having studied all
of these concepts and negative things, when the time is right he does not keep
these anymore, but scatters them and uses them as manure. So out of these
unclean things comes the birth of the seed that is realization. That is how one
has to give birth. "
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
in Meditation In Action
NOBODY POLISHES THE SUN
We don't have to run away from this world. We don't have to feel harsh and
deprived. We can contribute a lot to the world, and we can raise ourselves up in
this world. We should feel so good. This world is the best world. If you drive
into the mountains, you may see the mountain deer. They are so well groomed,
although they don't live on a farm. They have tremendous head and shoulders, and
their horns are so beautiful. The birds who land on your porch are also well
groomed, because they are not conditioned by ordinary conditionality. They are
themselves. They are so good. Look at the sun. The sun is shining. Nobody
polishes the sun. The sun just shines. Look at the moon, the sky, the world at
Adopted from "Helping Others," in GREAT EASTERN SUN: The Wisdom of Shambhala.
Learning is the first step in making positive changes within yourself. Other
factors are conviction, determination, action and effort. Learning and education
help develop conviction about the need to change and increase your commitment.
Conviction then develops into determination. Next, strong determination leads to
action: a sustained effort to implement the changes. This final factor of effort
Realizing that you don't need any fresh, new, extraordinary things to entertain
you, you can be there on the spot and celebrate what you have. You don't need
new objects of appreciation. To witness and experience what you have is good
enough. In fact, it's wonderful. It's already a handful, so you don't need
anything extra. When you are not searching for a substitute or a better
alternative to what you have, you feel quite satisfied. Satisfaction is
appreciating ourselves and what we have already, naturally speaking. It is
respecting the sacredness and the beauty of the world.
>From "Sacredness: Natural Law and Order," in GREAT EASTERN SUN: The Wisdom of
"Awakeness is FOUND in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom.
It's available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary lives.
A POWERFUL SENSE OF PERCEPTION
Magic is the power within oneself. You have enough strength, exertion and energy
to view things as they are, personally, properly, and directly. You have the
chance to experience the brightness of life and the haziness of life, which is
also a source of power. The fantastically sharp-edged quality of life can be
experienced personally and directly. There is a powerful sense of perception
available to you.
"Choiceless Magic," in True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art, page 113.
"The enemy of kindness is our unseen passive aggression fed by fear."
Shambhala Community talk
YOU CANNOT DRIVE A CAMEL THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE
When we talk of "higher" things, we tend to think in terms of our own point of
view, a bigger version of ourselves, an expansion of ourselves. It is like
looking at ourselves in a magnifying mirror. When we speak of God or achieving
union with God, we are often merely trying to put that great thing into a small
container. One cannot drive a camel through the eye of a needle. So we have to
find some other means. The only way is to come back to the sheer simplicity of
examining ourselves. That brings us to the practice of meditation.
Ocean of Dharma
Venerable Tsering Phuntsok: A Cultural Exchange in Acadiana
Time Monday, 21 March • 6-8 pm
Tuesday and Wednesday Individual sessions if scheduled
Thursday, 24 March 6-8 pm
The Coffee Depot, 902 St. Mary, Scott, LA
Becca's home, 1107 Old Spanish Trail, Scott, LA
Bourque's, Corner of St Mary & Delhomme Sts, Scott, LA
Venerable Tsering Phuntsok, a practicing Buddhist monk in the Tantric tradition
for the last 22 years makes his home monastery in Bir, India. His efforts focus
on many health projects in India. He will be here to share about his culture and
serve in the following ways.
A presentation on Tibetan Culture in India. Monday 3/21/11 from 6-8 PM at the
Coffee Depot in Scott, LA-Donations welcome
Tibetan culture continues to flourish even while in exile. The rich tradition of
Tibet includes Cham dancing, chanting, mandalas, Thangkha painting and brightly
colored temples. Using slides of Temple painting and Thangkha painting Tsering
Phuntsok will introduce this rich and brightly colored heritage. Explaining its
history and its cultural importance to Tibetans.
Spiritual Dancing: the Traditional Practice of Tibetan Lama Dancing-Thursday
3/24/11 from 6-8 PM at Bourque's in Scott, LA- Donations welcome
According to Tibetan practice, spiritual development can come in many ways. It
can come from concentration, from seeing, from hearing and even from touching—as
in touching a prayer wheel. This means that dance can be a way of developing the
spiritual life. In Lama dancing, a monk's motion and body position hold a
meaning. Different dances have different meanings—in one type of dance the
connection to the ego is cut to free all sentient beings from the three
delusional poisons of ignorance, anger and attachment. Tsering Phuntsok a monk
of 20 plus years will help explain this practice for Western audiences and teach
them to appreciate this unique form of spiritual dancing.
Individual Meetings at 1107 Old Spanish Trail Scott, LA. Schedule your
appointment by calling Becca Begnaud at 230-8615 Donation accepted
Tsering Phuntsok is happy to meet individually with people to counsel them,
teach them and encourage them. Some rituals might be appropriate and will be
used to help solve problems and live more happily. Teachings offered include how
to be patient, how to forgive, how to develop spiritual practice in daily life,
how to be helpful for others in different ways, how to deal with problems.
Sometimes calming down people with cymbals, drums, bells, or chanting the
sessions should leave a person felling much better
Hope you can come meet this special guest so he can learn about our culture.
Call Becca at 230-8615 for more information or to schedule a meeting.
ALL YOUR POLARITIES ARE VALID
A critical attitude towards oneself doesn't mean that you have to be hateful of
yourself. The critical attitude can be accompanied by compassion and warmth. All
your polarities are equally valid, whether weakness or strength. There's no
point in splitting your basic being into several parts and trying to suppress
certain parts and cultivate others. If we don't have allegiance toward samsara
or nirvana, then we free ourselves from any dogma, any bondage. Some sense of
ultimate relaxation begins to occur.
CTR from Ocean of Dharma
AFTER THE TEACHER IS GONE
One of the Buddhist scriptures says: "Since Buddha-nature pervades all beings,
there is no such thing as an unsuitable candidate (for buddhahood or the
This scripture was composed after the death of Buddha, after the Parinirvana. In
the world of gods and humans, everyone began to doubt whether the teachings of
Buddha would remain, because it seemed that now the wonderful teacher was gone
and all that remained was a group of mendicant monks, and they did not seem to
do very much, or they were not able to do so. So one of the disciples was
lamenting and saying that, "Now the world of samsara, the confused world, will
go on and on, with its waves of passion, desire, hatred, and delusion. We will
never have the chance to hear the Buddha's teaching and instructions. We are
again plunged into darkness. So what shall we do?" As he lamented, the answer
came to his mind: that Buddha had never really died. The birth and death of
Buddha is merely a concept, an idea, and his teaching is always present. In
fact, no one is excluded and all beings—anyone who possesses consciousness,
anyone who possesses mind—all are candidates for bodhisattvahood. Anyone can
become an awakened person.
Teachings by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
What is Emptiness?
Emptiness is a mode of perception, a way of looking at experience. It adds
nothing to, and takes nothing away from, the raw data of physical and mental
events. You look at events in the mind and the senses with no thought of whether
there's anything lying behind them. This mode is called emptiness because it is
empty of the presuppositions we usually add to experience in order to make sense
of it: the stories and worldviews we fashion to explain who we are and the world
we live in. Although these stories and views have their uses, the Buddha found
that the questions they raiseof our true identity and the reality of the
world outsidepull attention away from a direct experience of how events
influence one another in the immediate present. Thus they get in the way when we
try to understand and solve the problem of suffering.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "What do Buddhists mean when they talk about emptiness?"
Read the entire article in the Tricycle Wisdom Collection
Meditation is never one thing; you'll experience moments of peace, moments of
sadness, moments of joy, moments of anger, moments of sleepiness. The terrain
changes constantly, but we tend to solidify it around the negative: This painful
experience is going to last the rest of my life. The tendency to fixate on the
negative is something we can approach mindfully; we can notice it, name it,
observe it, test it, and dispel it, using the skills we learn in practice.
- Sharon Salzberg, "Sticking with It"
Read the entire article in the Tricycle Wisdom Collection
It is not sufficient merely to see that sentient beings are suffering. You must
also develop a sense of closeness with them, a sense that they are dear. With
that combination of seeing that people suffer and thinking of them as dear to
you can develop compassion. So, after meditatively transforming your attitude
toward friends, enemies, and neutral persons such that you have gained progress
in becoming even-minded toward all of them, the next step is to meditate on
everyone as friends, to feel that they have been profoundly close.
- Jeffrey Hopkins, "Everyone as a Friend"
Read the entire article in the Tricycle Wisdom Collection
Meditation practice is largely about building capacity in attention, but what is
Is it how long you can rest in attention?
Is it how strong, or deep, or clear your attention is?
Is it well you can be in attention in different situations?
Is it how quickly you can bounce back from a problem or disturbance?
And the correct answer is? All of the above. Staying power, depth, versatility
and resilience, these are the four dimension of capacity.
The first is stability, or staying power. You develop this dimension by resting
in attention. In the context of meditation on the breath, you rest in the
experience of breathing. Whenever you recognize that you've been distracted, you
come back to the breath and rest. Many people try to develop stability by
holding their attention on the breath. This works in the short term, but creates
problems in the long term because it always involves a certain about of
suppression, of body sensations, emotional material, etc. It's better to rest
and let stuff bubble up and resolve itself, than try to hold attention steady.
Return and rest. Return and rest.
The second is clarity or depth. You develop this dimension by sharpening your
attention. As you rest, bring energy into your attention. When you do,
everything your experience becomes clearer and more vivid. Some people bring
more attention by focusing the attention on a particular sensation or other
object of attention, concentrating the attention in a way. Again, this works in
the short term. Over time, however, the narrowing of attention ballet couplecan
also result in suppression. You can use focusing to learn how to being energy
into attention, to generate that clarity and vividness, but it's better then to
let that clarity and vividness soak into every cell of your body. In other
words, combine it with resting.
Once you have experienced stable and clear attention, you can start to develop
versatility. If you are used to practicing inside, practice outside. Even on a
still day, you experience subtle breezes on your face and it's a new sensation.
Practice attention as you look over a field. Practice looking at a garden.
Practice looking at buildings, at a street scene. Practice with noise. Start
with the sounds of nature, the rustle of the wind in the trees, the bubbling
melody of a small creek, the chirping of birds or crickets. Practice with the
sounds of machines and of people. Learn how to rest in clear stable attention in
different settings. Then practice while you are walking. At first, practice
attention while you move and do things slowly. Then practice while you do the
same things quickly. Practice until you can drop into attention at will wherever
you are, whatever you are doing.
To develop resilience, make a point of alternating, pushing hard and then easing
off. Bring as much energy as you can into your attention and then rest in the
vivid clarity. Do this for just a few moments, 10-15 seconds. Then do it again.
And again. At some point, you will run out of juice, that is, you won't be able
to generate the clarity. Then just rest, or go and do something else. Learn also
to recognize the rhythms of practice, work deeply when conditions are right, and
take a break when you feel dull, brittle, or tired. You develop resilience by
making a strong effort and then taking a break before the effort creates
Balance is crucial here. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. If you just
develop staying power, you are likely to fall into trance states. If you just
develop depth or clarity, it's like trying to read a book by flashes of
lightening. If you try to develop versatility and resilience before you have
developed stability and clarity, your attention will be weak and unstable.
When you have all four dimensions, many problems just disappear. Teachings and
practices that you struggled to understand are now straightforward and clear.
You understand them now because you have the capacity to do them.
Everyone strives to be prepared to solve problems, but no one actually knows
how to cause problems not to arise. It is easier to cause problems not to arise
than it is to solve problems, yet no one actually knows how to work on this: so
you cannot talk to anyone about such arts.
-- The Book of Leadership and Strategy
Letting go of fixation is effectively a process of learning to be free, because
every time we let go of something, we become free of it. Whatever we fixate upon
limits us because fixation makes us dependent upon something other than
ourselves. Each time we let go of something, we experience another level of
- Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche, "Letting Go of Spiritual Experience"
Read the entire article in the Tricycle Wisdom Collection
Polishing Our Buddhanature
Selfless service brings balance to your practice. Since it engages the body, it
balances the tendency we have to think and theorize rather than act. By
channeling your energy into acts of service, you transform the ideal into the
real. So cleaning the inside of a temple, or picking up trash at a public park,
not only cleans the space used by others (this is where the selfless part comes
in); it figuratively polishes your buddhanature. It's palpable in the joy and
satisfaction you feel.
- Shinso Ito, Unconditional Service
FLAT TIRES ARE PART OF THE JOURNEY
There is a problem in thinking that you are supposed to be advancing in your
practice all the time. You don't have to constantly be on the road. If you have
a flat tire, that is also part of the journey. Ambition makes you feel that you
are not doing anything. There seems to be a hypnotic quality to ambition and
speed, so that you feel that you are standing still just because you want to go
so fast. You might actually be getting close to your goal.
June 27, 2012
HOW DO WE REACT?
When someone blames us, how do we react? When we've lost something, how do we
react? When we feel we've gained something, how do we react? When we feel
pleasure or pain, is it as simple as that? Do we just feel pleasure or pain? Or
is there a whole libretto that goes along with it?
When we become inquisitive about these things, look into them, see who we are
and what we do, with the curiosity of a young child, what might seem like a
problem becomes a source of wisdom. Oddly enough, this curiosity begins to
undercut what we call ego pain or self-centeredness, and we see more clearly.
--Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart:Heart Advice for Difficult Times, page
Acadiana Shambhala Meditation Group will hold public sitting at 6:30pm on Mon,
13 Aug at Greta's house. Contact me if you need directions. Final Moh Hardin
CD on Vipashyana and Egolessness will follow if you wish to stay.
To stay with that shakinessâ€"to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling
stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revengeâ€"that is
the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of
relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panicâ€"this is the spiritual
- Pema ChÃ¶drÃ¶n, "Stay with Your Broken Heart"
If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be. – Yogi Berra
Just address an email to AcadianaShambhala@yahoogroups.com
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