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Jul 01
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Now is the Time

painting by Cynthia Moku

painting by Cynthia Moku

Shambhala Times Updates from the Inside Out
Editor’s Column

by Sarah Lipton
Shambhala Times Editor-in-Chief

On the Shambhala Times this month, you will see a broad range of topics covered, explored, chewed on, and presented. You will also see a lot of re-sounding as people like you respond to these topics in the comments fields within each article. The theme bringing all of this together? Yup, you guessed it: Creating Enlightened Society.

In the first paragraph of Sakyong Mipham’s latest public book, The Shambhala Principle, he says, “We humans have come to a crossroads in our history: we can either destroy the world or create a good future.” He supplicates us to look deeply into our own lives and examine our actions. It’s not about navel gazing, it’s about applying the deeply valuable tools of meditation and contemplation to the inquiry: “Who am I?” And, “How can I help?”

When we take the time to look deeply into our own minds, not only do we find out who we are, but we discover the innate freedom to examine and question our actions. How we get up off the cushion and enter the world around us is fully informed by our practice on the cushion. Embodying the principles of kindness and basic goodness, we are not wrapping ourselves in some sort of gauze so that the world cannot touch us. Far from it, in fact. We are actually pulling that gauze off, layer by layer, so that the simple but far-reaching effects of our practice touch our families, our colleagues, the communities we live in, and the wider world beyond.

Sakyong Mipham goes on to say that, “The Shambhala Principle offers the principle of basic goodness as a way of addressing the personal and social challenges that we face. Do we, as humans, have confidence in the basic goodness of humanity, as well as of society itself?” Urging us to question our motivations, he makes it very clear that now is the time for action, engagement, and response. It is, as Pema Chodron is so good at saying, “up to us” how we move forward.

The culture we are creating in Shambhala has profound implications for the future of humanity on this planet. There, we’ve said it, the cat is out of the bag. So it is time to get down to business. The business of presenting the widely varied activities and perspectives of the Shambhala community is the bread and butter of the Shambhala Times. The jam, as it were, is hearing from you in your responses to the articles. Society is built on those simple building blocks of communication. One conversation at a time, we share the seeds of basic goodness. One comment to an article with a response, question, or bravely presented differing perspective might just open the door for someone else who is wrestling with the removal of their own gauze. So be brave, step in, respond and share. We are all in this together, folks, and we’d like to hear what you feel.

This month we will accomplish the spreading of the butter and jam (or pickle and onions…) by examining a community building program called “time banking,” learning about the path and practice of serving at the Kalapa Court through a two-part interview with Mrs. Jeanine Greenleaf, and examining the creation of the new Institute for Compassionate Leadership. We’ll also be getting a spider’s eye view of the Ziji Collective and a momo’s perspective on a supermodel. Coming this month we will also offer a taste of tea, a scientific look at global warming (or something of that nature), an expose’ on the bridge between basic goodness and business, an artful history of Naropa University, a timely teaching from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and the usual dose of monthly featured columns: Snapshots of Basic Goodness, Youth & Family, Aging in Enlightened Society, Culture and Decorum, and Kitchen Wisdom. Added in to that mix will be fresh news articles streaming in to report on the doings and goings on in our community and beyond.

We truly are at a crossroads in our history, and whatever we are engaged in, we can bring these basic, good principles to bear on our engagement with the world. These little stories of beneficial action might just create large ripples on the world stage. So let’s do it. Let’s wake up together, with our diverse array of experience, expertise, wisdom, humor, and insights, and together transform our world. Then, let’s share that with each other through the Shambhala Times.

See you out there!

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dancing at G&C's wedding~~
Sarah Lipton has been the Shambhala Times Editor-in-Chief for two years. She plans to continue in this role for another bunch of years, even while traveling the world, attempting to write some books, pursuing the Shambhala path, and enjoying her beautiful marriage. See previous editorials here.

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