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Feb 20
Dharma Teachings, Sakyong and Family
Bravery without Deception

By Sakyong Mipham

Gesar Norbu Dradul, an embodiment of Shambhala warriorship.

Gesar Norbu Dradul, an embodiment of Shambhala warriorship.

My father, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, introduced the teachings of Shambhala to the West. These teachings are called “the sacred path of the warrior,” for they emphasize bravery as an important factor in determining the outcome of our personal future and that of the world.

Bravery is defined as “the act of both personally and socially manifesting.” If we manifest our potential, liberation will arise. If we do not manifest, confusion arises. Bravery is that moment when we manifest 110 percent. It is the act of wholeheartedly having the courage, relaxation, and insight simply to be. We arrive at this ability to be by cultivating a steady and forthright attitude toward the present moment.

To be a warrior is to experience life on our own two feet, without the companionship of habitual patterns. In order to engage in bravery, we must be willing to be free of deception. The Shambhala tradition regards any aspect of life as a potential path of warriorship. But if we use our activities as a buffer that prevents us from being, those same activities become a nesting ground for habitual patterns and cowardly traits—elements of deception that allow us not to be fully present.

If our lives are based on deception, they are rooted in a serious fabrication. To equate deception with riding posture, we are slightly askew. In a jousting match with an oncoming rider—who we could equate with genuineness, egolessness, and cheerfulness—we would fall out of the saddle. If we are to face these principles and incorporate them, we must be properly mounted in our minds and in our lives.

The self-deception that prevents our being brave is based on not living wakefully, in the moment. It is the result of avoiding relative virtue and absolute virtue. At the relative level, because we cannot be strong in our social and personal situation, we deceive our spouse, children, or friends. Then, at the ultimate level, when it comes to following a spiritual path, we are already accustomed to a somewhat deceptive momentum. It is hard to be totally honest, and difficult to follow the instructions.

It makes sense that the prerequisite for facing the facts is known as bravery, for to face the facts is brave. We cannot continuously hide in excuses. The excuses we use fall into three categories. First, there is the deception of a double tongue. Click here to continue reading February’s monthly dharma teaching on Sakyong.com.

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