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Sakyong and Family
Sakyong’s Shambhala Day Address

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on Shambhala Day 2013, photo by BHH Studios

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on Shambhala Day 2013, photo by BHH Studios

Transcript of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s
Shambhala Day Address
Year of the Water Snake
11 February 2013, Halifax, N.S.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche: So let us begin this New Year with a global bow, where we all in our hearts connect worldwide. So from the center here in Kalapa, in Halifax, to around the world — in spirit and in heart and mind — please join me as we invoke the auspicious energy of this upcoming year. Whatever your aspirations are, may it be so. [All bow]

So, good morning everyone.

Students: Good morning.

SMR: And a very cheerful Shambhala Day to all of you! I’m particularly delighted to be addressing everyone on Shambhala Day because over the last few years I have presented a vision and an inspiration — that as a community, we have within our own heart, mind, and literally, our hands, the wisdom and the teachings to benefit and help the world at this particular time. I’ve talked about this in many ways over this last period of time. For example, I presented “Being Brave” as we gathered in North America and in Europe, expressing that we have something that the world needs. At this point I think we are all quite familiar with it.

But this particular year I would like to highlight this vision because it is the fiftieth year since the Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the Dorje Dradul of Mukpo, brought these particular teachings of social transformation to the West. In particular, as we are gathered here, in Nova Scotia, and as we are gathered around the world at our Shambhala Centres — we are, in a sense, the legacy and aspiration of this one human being who wanted to help and offer to the world. For myself, as you can imagine, it has been a very personal journey of reflecting on the themes he introduced.

As a result, I have written a book entitled The Shambhala Principle — to be released this year — which centers on the topics of basic goodness and enlightened society. And I decided to do it in the format of a dialogue I had with my father on this subject. So in terms of the structure, it’s a first person narrative. And the reason that I’m mentioning this today is not because I’m trying to promote my book, but because I feel like this book is our book. In some ways, it is our public expression of Shambhala vision.

I am aware that we all have many personal responsibilities in our own lives, and at the same time, there is a common vision and inspiration that gathers us today. For myself — leading and teaching and trying to inspire in terms of what we are doing — I felt that trying to share this journey was important. It will be an interesting book and message for all of us, because the theme of the book is that this one human being made an incredible journey, venturing forth to teach and express — for what reason? I feel like it was not simply just the teaching; rather, the reason he was forging ahead was his commitment to humanity.

Globally, right now we are at a time when many of us are wondering about our own society and what will come about. Having known the notion of basic goodness as Shambhalians, it may be familiar — even old hat — at this point. But it is interesting to look at this principle because all of humanity has basic goodness. This principle is not just a spiritual experience; I believe, and my father believed, that the principle of basic goodness can be a dynamic and socially transformative principle. From that arises all the Shambhala teachings, and all of what we are doing. It affects all of us — directly and indirectly.

In fact, I feel that the question of human nature is the most important global issue right now, and I feel like that is what the Vidyadhara was trying to present. We may consider the notion of human nature a spiritual quest or a deep form of meditation, but in the bigger picture it is relevant right now because essentially we are all wondering if people are good. Is our future — the way we work together in society— going to be good?

As our world shrinks and we are more interconnected, we are at a very interesting crossroads. Therefore, the message of basic goodness is not simply applicable to us as individuals; rather, it becomes a social message. For myself, as you can imagine (I don’t know if you can, but please play along today), from when I was first, to put it politely, asked to be the Sakyong — through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood — I’ve worked with this issue. I actually start the book off by recalling the morning when my father called me into his bedroom and said, “You will be the next Sakyong.” That was more than thirty years ago, if you’re still counting.

The position of Sakyong is the notion of “earth protector,” and even though I hold the position, I feel like this responsibility is not solely mine. However, in the transference of the teachings of warriorship, the earth protector protects what is most sacred. As we move into a New Year, when we self-reflect in terms of how our last year has been, and as we think about what brings us forward, it is very much about now. Shambhala Day is very much about now, and Shambhala is very much a culture of nowness. As we gather here and go forward, my responsibility is to bring this message out. But now it is very much all of your responsibility, too, to bring the message of basic goodness out as we go forward.

In this way, for me personally, the publication of The Shambhala Principle marks a transition. It has come about because I have contemplated and cared about my responsibilities as Sakyong. And I feel like, in the same way, that’s how the Vidyadhara’s vision and inspiration will continue — by all of us caring about it and contemplating it. If we do not, it will literally not continue. That is definitely the crossroads where we stand. I also feel like that the Shambhala vision is not simply a utopian idea of society. Rather, it has very much to do with how we as human beings can bring about the profound and strong theme of basic goodness.

To be continued…

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1 response to “ Sakyong’s Shambhala Day Address ”
  1. Sarah Lipton
    Mar 19, 2013

    To view the video of this address with closed caption subtitles in English, Portuguese and Spanish, view it here:

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