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Feb 22
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Enter the Dragon

Karme Choling dining room dragon

Crack-crash! Boom….boom….BOOM!
With the thick thwack-whack of thunder rolling in the hills and the flash-splash of lightning illuminating the sky, fat wet drops of rain and snow hurtle to the ground. Mist rises swirling from the valleys, gathering and dancing dragon-like above the fields and forests. The Year of the Water Dragon has arrived.

Creative, progressive, energetic,
the Water Dragon brings good fortune
while her tempers are cooled
by the flowing waters of change
~ reads a Shambhala Day greeting card from Naropa University

Cheerful Shambhala Day!

dragon drawn by Caitlin Heinz of Karme Choling

Shambhala Daymarks the beginning of the New Year, and represents one of the most important traditions of Shambhala Buddhism. Based on the traditional Tibetan New Year’s celebration of Losar, the day is calculated astrologically according to the Tibetan lunar calendar, and changes every year to coincide with the annual lunar cycles.

Shambhala Day is a time for us to express the wealth and richness of our spiritual and cultural heritage through feasting, conviviality, elegance and pomp. Accordingly, Centers and Groups all over the world plan activities throughout the week following Shambhala Day. As is customary, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche addresses the worldwide Shambhala community on Shambhala Day through an online hook-up, which includes centers and groups from six continents and over thirty countries around the world.

But before we move into the new year, let’s take a look at this past year of the Iron Hare:
(For information about how to use the closed caption function to see subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Russian, click here. Thanks to Hamish Maclaren for making the translations possible and accessible!)

dragon drawn by Lama Thubten Kunsal, courtesy of Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland

And coming up, it’s the Year of the Water Dragon!
The year of the Water Dragon occurs every 60 years. Historically, in Chinese element theory, water produces wood, which signifies growth and is the natural element of the dragon. The dragon governs the east and southeast, wealth accumulation and the hours of 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. Associated with thunder, lightning and arousal, the Water Dragon personifies creativity at its best. According to tradition the Dragon brings what are known as the Four Blessings of the East: wealth, virtue, harmony and longevity. Bigger than life is very much a Dragon thing.

Now is thus the time to take a chance, to reach for the proverbial brass ring, to not only dream but act on that impossible dream. The Dragon gives you the best chance to make it come true.


dragon from Gampo Abbey Shambhala Day card

As Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche states in his poem entitled TLGD:

My mind is Dragon,
Pervading all the skies.
Even heaven is consumed.
Fathomless perception guides me.

dragon glass, photo by Sarah Lipton

dragon ikebana by Lisa Stanley at Karme Choling

Thus, may you be guided into the playful, vivid dance of the water dragon in the coming year!
Look for more exciting Shambhala Day posts in the coming week!


…watch for dragons…

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