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Sunshine and Delight at Great Mandala Offering
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche leads the Great Mandala Offering at Shambhala Mountain Center, photo courtesy of Mark O'Donoghue

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche leads the Great Mandala Offering at Shambhala Mountain Center, photo courtesy of Mark O'Donoghue

The sun blazed at Shambhala Mountain Center on the morning of the Great Mandala Offering, the first of its kind, held on Saturday, July 17th. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche led the mandala practice and spoke of the importance of generosity and accumulating virtue. The event coincided with the last day of a joyful and heartfelt Vajrayana Seminary, and the shrine tent exuded a sense of celebration, culminating in a Padmasambhava Feast that evening. Shambhala Centres around the world participated in the Great Mandala Offering via Shambhala Online.

Below is a short excerpt from the Sakyong’s talk. A full recording will be available to tantrikas in the Shambhala community tomorrow. Look for an email from the Office of Practice and Education.

The notion of offering is not necessarily how much we offer, but the intention behind it. In terms of the mahayana, this is essentially the reason why the first paramita is generosity. Generosity is the basis by which we gain tremendous merit to practice the other paramitas in order to sustain the path.

The practice of generosity is first because without offering, we are often in very difficult situations karmically. Traditionally, what we have in this life—and in future births—is dependent on generosity in our past lives. Some generosity manifests immediately in this life, and some in the next life. But in either case, it is generated by a sense of offering.

Offering is an essential aspect of the path. Now, as we go forward in our own personal lives, if we can gather annually to do this, we can create a sense of magnanimity, openness, and freshness. One of the great things about offering and generosity is that once we begin doing it, we begin to enjoy it. We need to actually give from the heart and mind in a delightful way.

Therefore offering like this alleviates the mind; the mind becomes happier. As we know, when we offer and help others, we feel better.

– Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

This is how the Sakyong started his talk to tantrikas on Saturday. During this brief and precious window in his year of retreat, Sakyong Mipham inaugurated the Great Mandala Offering. Long held in his mind, this is now a day annually when all tantrikas across our mandala will gather to practice and make offerings—both symbolic and material. Shambhala’s great desire for growth and the recent transformation of our community made this time ripe for holding an annual day for offerings.

As the Sakyong pointed out, heartfelt offerings can help accumulate the tremendous merit needed to attain enlightenment. Generosity, he said, opens our hearts and minds—making the entire path possible. Beyond that, if we want to build more centers and raise money to sponsor projects, we need to give and give delightfully. Only then are we open to receive blessings.

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