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Sakyong and Family
Sakyong’s Shambhala Day Address, part 2

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

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, 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.

Read part 1 here.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche: 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.

In that light, I would like to express three areas in particular in which we can work to make the Shambhala principle of basic goodness socially viable. Obviously, we are already engaging in these and will continue to do so. At a personal level, it is experiencing innate confidence, which manifests as the Ashe. That notion of personal truth — and how we reflect on it — has been expressed and presented in the Shambhala vow and the enlightened society vow. Social transformation is very much about how we personally deal with basic goodness, which is why I brought in my own personal story. Day-to-day we can easily become overwhelmed, but how we think about ourselves and who we are at heart — that reflection — is the basis of our experience. Whether we are overwhelmed by the world or whether we are inspired, how we feel about ourselves is an important personal link. In that light, through Shambhala meditation, we gain the ability to touch our basic goodness.

The next way to make it socially viable is how we live basic goodness. That is very much to do with household, and our personal culture. Speaking for myself, basic goodness is essentially an inexpressible and intangible experience, but its effect can be felt. I believe that as a global community — and especially with the heavy influence of materialism and capitalism — we are currently thinking that human nature is innately selfish, and that our whole structure is based upon this premise. By reflecting on humanity actually being good, complete, and worthy, we are actually challenging the very basic foundation by which we live.

So much of what we assume is based upon how we self-reflect, which begins to affect our culture. Culture is really the sharing of principles. Simply how we look at each other and how we talk — what we eat and do, and literally, how we relate to the planet and the environment — is an extension of our self-reflection. That is the culture we are creating. So for us Shambhalians, what kind of culture are we creating in our household, our living, and our centers? If we are going to continue, the deep spiritual tradition that we personally inherit and practice, as well as our community, will manifest in our culture. Therefore, the strength of our community will depend upon the strength of the principles that we adhere to and foster. The future of our community will depend on this.

The next basic level is the social level. When I introduce this principle of social transformation and social action, this part — which gets into economics, politics, the environment, and so forth — is what inspires and engages many people.

So, right now we are engaged in how we can relate with these three spheres — personally, culturally — in terms of how we live it — and socially. This book (The Shambhala Principle) is an invitation for all of us to contemplate this. We can do it not only as Shambhalians, but also by inviting in others who would like to have this discussion. At the social level, I myself have been working on particular texts and teachings, and also I will be conducting a series of dialogues and public forums this next year. People in Chicago, San Francisco in the Bay Area, New York, and London are working on these. Many things that we have started here in Nova Scotia, and at our major practice centers, are opportunities to learn how we go about doing this. This is very much an opportunity for us.

Of course, I always wish wealth for all of you, and now that I also am a family man who has a beautiful family, I think about the future. What is it that we are presenting? What is it that we are trying to transmit? I myself feel that we as a Shambhala community have this opportunity. Right now, in many ways we take many of these teachings for granted. But it is not for us to look at them as simply medicine for ourselves. We must also look at them as principles that can be applied to the social mosaic and the world we are living in. This larger journey does not jeopardize our own personal journey, which is essential. But at the same time, we have to realize what was behind the Vidyadhara, this great being, persevering and presenting these particular teachings. It is a very interesting time that we are engaged in.

Many of us who have been Shambhalians for a long time feel like we are constantly developing the base, and there are many changes occurring. But I feel like the job of our generation is to provide a good base and foundation, much of which we have now built. I feel like this next year, we will begin to see the fruits of that.

I also feel like this next period is very much a year of taking our principles and making them more practical. I know that many of us are doing this currently, so I would like to mix those streams of inspiration. The principle of basic goodness and the notion of enlightened society can apply to the worlds of medicine, economics, and the environment, so in my book I touch upon these. These chapters are for all of you — and they are short — so that you can begin to apply them to your life and use them to have discussions with friends.

In this way I invite you to work with language and culture. Here I feel like as I am speaking not only to the English speaking audience but to people who speak many different languages, and I invite all of you to please engender and feel these principles and begin to express them in your own languages. The culture of basic goodness is universal and now is a time for that. In this way, Shambhala is very much becoming a diverse and universal community, as I know and as I have experienced.

This last year has been tremendous and this next year will be, I believe, truly victorious and energizing. The basic notion of the water element that we are engaged in is very much taking the energy that has occurred during this last period — which can be very dynamic — and putting it into effect. I know that for many of you Shambhala Day is a family and social time, and in this light, I didn’t want to overwhelm you, but I did feel like today was an important moment for me to share this, and I’ve been wanting to share this. As we proceed, we should consider how we begin to release the deep potential that we have.

And so on this particular day, I’d like to again send my blessing to all of you in Europe. Since it is later for all of you, you’ve already had most of your Shambhala Day festivities — enjoy your evening. Those of you who are in a completely different hemisphere — obviously it is a different experience altogether, but I encourage you to enjoy this particular day and this particular week. And those of you who have gathered on the West coast and in the Front Range, I send my greetings and look forward to seeing you there. And especially along the Eastern seaboard, I know it’s been quite a last few days with the blizzard, and so I hope you’ve dug yourself out and have made it to a Shambhala Center. Those of you who are enjoying this broadcast from the other groups, I know many of you have a new space, so congratulations on that, and I very much hope that you enjoy the culture that we are creating. And I just want to remind you: food is important, so enjoy your food and drink — and as we tell our children, don’t forget to share. So please enjoy, please share.

I send you so much love and blessing, and I look forward to a wonderful year with everyone. On that note, we have a special greeting this year, from my daughter Jetsun Drukmo, who has a New Year’s greeting she would like to say. So hopefully that’s here…

[Recording is played.]

Jetsun Drukmo: Cheerful Shambhala Day! [Laughter]

SMR: DI YAR KYE! [Applause]

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1 response to “ Sakyong’s Shambhala Day Address, part 2 ”
  1. Sarah Lipton
    Mar 19, 2013

    You can view the video of this address online, with closed captions in English, Portuguese and Spanish here:

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