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Dec 21
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No Shortage of Light

candle lightCOLUMN: Youth and Family
Celebrating Children’s Day

by Leslie Gossett and Richard Vogler, Northern California
photos by Leslie Gossett

“People of Shambhala, this is a wonderful day. We have rediscovered the indestructible goodness of life. Let us celebrate this goodness now, on this very day. Even if the days are short, we can have enormous cheerfulness within. Even if the nights are long, there is no shortage of light. Let candles burn in every window for this shall be a festival of light in the time of darkness. Decorate your homes with boughs of evergreen, for they are a symbol of life in the dead of winter.”
~ from Iliana

In Shambhala, we celebrate and honor the turning of the year. We embrace the various qualities and energies of each season. We mark the passage of time with ceremony and joyfulness. The Winter Solstice is particularly special to me. It is a day I feel most connected to the earth, to my human life (and death), to the quiet space within, and to the brilliance of light.

The Shambhala tradition of Children’s Day has been a wonder and delight for me. This holiday, established by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1978 contains all the elements of magic one could wish for in a holiday. It is appropriate to honor our children at this particular time of year. Much like in the myth of the Holly King and the Oak King from pagan lore, the play of youth, old age, and light versus dark is particularly visible as the trees lose their leaves, days grow shorter, and the land seems closer to death and darkness. We remember life is a cycle, and Earth moves through her seasons just as our human bodies do. We celebrate the vibrancy, curiosity, and buoyancy of youth amidst the reality of old age, sickness, and death. We remember the brightness of our hearts never dims.

ST-PicWe must recognize the bravery, gentleness, purity, and curiosity of our children. Much like Iliana, the heroine in the Children’s Day Story, we all have this capacity to seek out the sun, to face obstacles with resilience, and to act for the good of our people. It is important to honor and celebrate confidence in our children. How we relate to our children determines how they relate to the world.

Richard Vogler recounted his memories of celebrating Children’s Day with Trungpa Rinpoche and Lady Diana as a child.

Vogler said, “As a little kid, I remember the family putting the Children’s Day shrine together. There was so much ceremony involved in the decoration process, but it never felt like a ritual. That is where the preciousness really was- the ultimate joy we experienced together in creating our shrine. Our family being together in a very close and very beautiful way was very precise. That something coming from Trungpa Rinpoche’s heart.”

Vogler continues, “I remember going to the Shambhala Center and being with Trungpa Rinpoche and Lady Diana. They were the king and queen, and they were excited to be with everybody. How happy everybody was!  I never sensed any seperation from the King and Queen of Shambhala. I like to think that 2500 years ago the Kingdom of Shambhala was doing the very same thing, celebrating in their homes together.”

Children’s Day celebrates and acknowledges the young people in our community. This celebration honors the idea  we have as much to offer as everyone else. There is so much joy and richness in these moments with each other.

photo 2The Winter Solstice and Children’s Day is more than being the darkest night of the year. It’s about incredible brightness. It is about settling, being  at home, and resting with the people you love. It is about the quality of being.

This Children’s Day, as we celebrate with our families and our communities, let us be settled and at home in the brilliance of our own hearts.

~~
To read more about Children’s Day, check the following archives on the Chronicle Project:
A Talk to Sangha Children by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, 1978
Children’s Day at the Kalapa Court
A Children’s Day Story

<em>Check with your local center for details on your community’s Children’s Day celebration.

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