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Children in a Shambhala Household
Family Camp 2008 at Dorje Denma Ling

Family Camp 2008 at Dorje Denma Ling

This article touches on the richness of mixing meditation practice and Shambhala culture with the complexities of family life. It is an area where everyone has valuable experience. Continuing to build on materials and resources on this topic is a vital part of exploring the culture of a Shambhala household.

By Susan Williams

A Shambhala household is one that offers unconditional love during all the developmental stages of life, birth to old age. It is not just about looking after the children, adolescents, young adults or aging parents, but looking after ourselves as rulers joining heaven and earth and using the tools of benevolence, being true and genuine, fearlessness, being artful and rejoicing (Six Ways of Ruling).

A household imbued with the worldview of basic goodness can provide the experiential foundation that everything is workable while at the same time, recognizing the inevitability of the challenges.

The following suggestions are one way to think about how to integrate and nurture your family…

Shambhala Family Program 2009 in Prague

Shambhala Family Program 2009 in Prague

Children Eight and Under
Most importantly, but not exclusively, for children eight and under, stimulate the senses, and provide opportunities to experience and absorb the culture of Shambhala:

• Construct a ‘shrine shelf’ in your child’s room.
• Practice together and teach your child how to make tea and incense offerings.
• Attend or create community celebrations for the Nyida Days, particularly Children’s Day.
• Learn the new Shambhala Children’s song “We are the Warriors.”
• Plan to involve your family in the Protector Practices for Families, leading up to Shambhala Day.

Sun Camp 2009 in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Sun Camp 2009 in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

For Seven to Fourteen Year Olds
Particularly nurturing for seven to fourteen year olds are relationships:

• Make friends and build community within your local centre.
• Attend a Family Camp at one of the land centres, such as Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado, Dorje Denma Ling in Nova Scotia, Canada, Karme Choling in Vermont, or Dechen Choling in France.
• Check out programs at Karme Choling for teens. Build on their idea and create a program in your region.
• Encourage your child to attend a Sun Camp (ages 10 to 16).
• Learn about Rites of Passage for eight year olds.

Buddhist Youth Festival 2008 at Hotel Schloss Heinsheim in Germany

Buddhist Youth Festival 2008 at Hotel Schloss Heinsheim in Germany

Ages Fourteen to Twenty-One
During the ages of fourteen to twenty-one, the intellect is especially important:

• Learn about Cadet Command Workshop (14-16) and Rites of Warriorship for sixteen year olds.
• Attend a Shambhala Training program.
• Visit Gampo Abbey for the monastic youth dathun.
• Check out the Youth Leadership Program at Dechen Choling; email Sophie Maclaren <[email protected]>.
• Attend an audience for youth (no parents) with a visiting dharma teacher or acharya.
• Invite youth to take on challenges and responsibility at your local centre (teaching Bodhi School, coordinating a program or event).
• Attend the Buddhist Youth Festival (16-30) at the beautiful castle Schloss Heinsheim in Germany.

In March on the Shambhala Times, we will have more articles on this topic. Please send your stories, ideas, experience, and examples of what a Shambhala household means to you. Or add them in the comments section below.

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1 response to “ Children in a Shambhala Household ”
  1. At an audience with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche at the Boulder center in 2007 someone commented that their children, educated at a progressive school where children’s parents came from diverse spiritual disciplines, had recently found themselves debating, at the ripe age of 5 or 6, the nature of reality: emptiness, and etc. The questioner asked Sakyong Mipham what they should tell their children in the face of possible confusion.

    I am paraphrasing as I may remember incorrectly but the gist of it was this:

    Tell them this, in this order: I love you, you are beautiful, the world is made of basic goodness.

    If anyone wanted to dig up the tape it was a trifecta of audiences: shamatha, ngondro, sadhaka, followed by a werma feast, sometime in the warmer months, of 2007. The above came from the ngondro audience…


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