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Jun 23
Dharma Teachings, Pacific Northwest
The Six Ways of Ruling

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Compiled by the Governance as Path Working Group, Third Shambhala Congress, and available from Shambhala Media, the book The Six Ways of Ruling: A Resource for Leaders contains commentaries and contemplations on the six ways of ruling, a key principle of Shambhala governance.

Presented below is the text from a corresponding wallet card file posted on Shambhala’s Governance as Path webpage.



Benevolence is rooted in patience. Our mind is spacious. We understand that people suffer. Our patience results in gentleness, absence of aggression. Benevolence requires the steadiness of an elephant―a sense of trusting ourselves and remembering the suffering of others. When others are acting out of aggression and speed, they can’t quite trust benevolence. The wisdom ruler often encounters blame and criticism. If we feel cornered in the hallway by irritation, it seems overwhelming, and we’re likely to react aggressively. Our mind becomes a little box. We begin to panic because we have no room for maneuver. At that point we don’t need to be less gentle―we need to be more gentle. Gentleness is always the best whip. It is devoted to the welfare of others.

Benevolence is infused with being true. Being true means possessing weightiness, a quality that is unyielding and at the same time very genuine. This is conviction grounded in confidence, like the force behind a strong breeze. Being true to the view of basic goodness gives us natural diplomacy. Having worked diligently with our own mind, we’re familiar with realms of anger, jealousy and ignorance, as well as those of generosity and joy. We no longer believe we can get what we want with negativity. We’re using different strategies. By resting in a big mind, we can conquer small mind.

Being benevolent and true is how to arrive at genuineness. The prince should not believe that what he is doing is right merely because he is the prince. He should know that what he is doing would be right whether he were prince or not―that is the way for him to be genuine. Being genuine also means being logical. This is not even our genuineness particularly. It is just a star in the sky that everyone can see. If we’re in doubt, we need to reconnect with being benevolent and true.


In order to be truly powerful, the prince must take a great leap and jump into the ocean of the Rigden father’s fearlessness. We are fearless because we are beyond doubt about basic goodness. We are not afraid of the power of windhorse. This fearlessness has a gently quality: it is rooted in unwavering compassion. Trying to rule our world single-handedly, we are not really ruling. We may believe independence is a sign of power, but not wanting to work with others is a sign we haven’t conquered self-absorption. The reality is that we can’t handle our anger, can’t develop our patience, and we can’t cultivate our wisdom without working with others.

Being artful means acting with great dignity. We continually examine the influences in our environment. If everyone in our circle flatters or agrees with us, our self-awareness will become cloudy like a faded mirror. Consideration of others is the root of being artful. With artfulness, we open up a situation with wisdom rather than close it down with our own negativity. We want to draw people out, not suppress them. Instead of forcing our opinion on them, we try to create space. The questions we ask are often as important as the answers we offer. In that space, they can learn to use discernment and discipline to discover their own wisdom.

When we communicate power artfully, everyone feels included. We have each person’s interests in mind. We have fearlessly rejected self-absorption, so joy and celebration arise. Celebration is an attitude. It is the ultimate appreciation of daily life. We’re not just in it for ourselves; we’re in it because we want to offer wisdom and compassion to others. They feel the power of our love and care. As we overcome fear and aggression, there is less bickering, jealousy and competition. Thus, as a group, we have strong windhorse, which makes us all-victorious.

From: Kootenay Shambhala Blog

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