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Author: Alex Van Gils

Number of entries: 55
Email: [email protected]

Jan 24
Friday

Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit

Filed underbook reviews, Favorite Books

A review and reflection by Christine Heming

I recently had a conversation with my friend Irene about her activism: how to view activism from a buddhist perspective, how not to get caught in the “us verses them” narrative, and what guides her decisions about what to do and how to do it.  As conversations often do, it got me thinking.   It called to mind a favorite book of mine, Hope in the Dark.  This is a book about activism.  Solnit, a social and environmental activist, wants “to throw out the crippling assumptions that keep many from being a voice in the world.”

One of my favorite quotes in the book is from Eduardo Galeano, a committed leftist Uruguayan writer.  Galeano describes his understanding of activism.  He says it is not about reaching some final utopia but “Utopia is on the horizon.  When I walk two steps, it takes two steps back.  I walk ten steps, and it is ten steps further away.  What is utopia for?  It is for this, for walking.”

This always struck me as a metaphor for warriorship. It is how we create enlightened society.  It’s the walking that matters – the path is the goal.   When the Sakyong asked his father if society will ever become enlightened, his father replied, “That’s not really the point.”   The Sakyong realized his question was rooted in doubt and that the real question was, “When is enlightened society not possible?”  Continue…

Author Archive


Letter from Ani Pema Chödrön
Letter from Ani Pema Chödrön – HIGHLIGHT
190 responses - Posted 01.16.20
Dear Shambhala Community- This is a letter that Ani Pema Chödrön sent recently to the Shambhala Board and the Acharyas and now wishes to share it with the community.  Warmest best wishes, Glenna Olmsted, Executive Assistant to Pema Chödrön January 14, 2020 Dear Acharyas and Shambhala Board Members: I send New Year’s ...continue
David Schneider Steps Back from the role of Acharya – HIGHLIGHT
11 responses - Posted 01.14.20
Former acharya David Schneider has requested the Shambhala Times to publish his letter describing why he has given back the title of acharya. Per leggere questo articolo in italiano, per favore clicca qui. Pour lire cet article en français, cliquez ici.  Este artículo ha sido traducido al español aquí. To ...continue
David Schneider deja su puesto de acharya
no responses - Posted 01.14.20
Queridos/as amigos/as de la sangha noble y comunidad Shambhala: Esta carta es para decir que, tras reflexionar seriamente, tengo pensado dejar el papel de acharya. Intento hacer las cosas de forma adecuada, así que he escrito una carta al Sákyong, porque fue la persona que me nombró. ...continue
David Schneider quitte sa fonction d’Acharya
no responses - Posted 01.14.20
Chers amis, chères amies de la noble sangha et communauté Shambhala, J’écris ici pour vous dire qu’après mûre réflexion, j’ai l’intention de me retirer de mes fonctions d’acharya. Souhaitant faire les choses correctement, j’ai écrit une lettre au Sakyong, du fait que c’est lui qui m’a nommé à ce ...continue
David Schneider tritt als Acharya zurück
no responses - Posted 01.14.20
Liebe Freundinnen und Freunde im noblen Sangha und in der Shambhala- Gemeinschaft, nach gründlicher Überlegung beabsichtige ich, als Acharya zurückzutreten. Um dies in aller Form zu tun, habe ich dem Sakyong einen Brief geschrieben, denn er war die Person, die mich zum Acharya ernannt hatte. Dieser Brief wie auch der ...continue
David Schneider si ritira dal ruolo di Acharya
no responses - Posted 01.14.20
Cari amici nella nobile sangha e comunità Shambhala, Devo dire che dopo seria considerazione, intendo ritirarmi dal ruolo di acharya. Cercando di farlo in maniera adeguata, ho scritto una lettera al Sakyong, visto che è stato la persona che mi ha nominato. Quella lettera, come la decisione, ...continue
Celebrating Your Wedding Anniversary with Shambhala Ideas and Practice
Celebrating Your Wedding Anniversary with Shambhala Ideas and Practice – HIGHLIGHT
no responses - Posted 01.07.20
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash By “Jackie Writing Jackie” The idea of loving one’s romantic partner and celebrating their individuality can be an important component of a Shambhala life, and connected to what Yale Professor Dr. Nicholas Christakis calls the ‘social suite’. These two considerations work well together, ...continue
Love from Auschwitz: A Bearing-Witness Retreat with the Zen Peacemakers
Love from Auschwitz: A Bearing-Witness Retreat with the Zen Peacemakers – HIGHLIGHT
5 responses - Posted 12.30.19
By Sophie Leger What an amazing experience this Bearing-Witness Retreat with the Zen Peacemakers turned out to be: Ninety participants from many different countries and religious backgrounds, speaking different languages – people from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Canada, US, Israel, Brazil, Columbia, Belgium, England. Some ...continue
McMindfulness:  How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality
McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality – HIGHLIGHT
4 responses - Posted 12.22.19
Christine Heming reviews the book by Ronald E. Purser McMindfulness occurs when mindfulness is used, with intention or unwittingly, for self-serving and ego-enhancing purposes that run counter to both Buddhist and Abrahamic prophetic teachings to let go of ego-attachment and enact skillful compassion for everyone. David Forbes, The ...continue
Translating For Burma
Translating For Burma
1 response - Posted 12.14.19
Alinsek IR working in exile “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” — The Buddha “There is no religion higher than the Truth.” — H Hahn Blavatsky “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness” — Chinese Proverb by Larry Steele I have a ...continue
Mother Burma, What is the Truth?
Mother Burma, What is the Truth? – HIGHLIGHT
3 responses - Posted 12.14.19
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons By Larry Steele This week, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the heroine of Burmese democracy and leader of her multi-ethnic but majority-Buddhist nation, stood before the United Nations’ International Court of Justice to defend her country, now called Myanmar, against charges of genocide. Around ...continue
Outer, Inner and Secret Levels Of Shambhala Center Design
Outer, Inner and Secret Levels Of Shambhala Center Design – HIGHLIGHT
4 responses - Posted 12.06.19
Community Room in the Los Angeles Shambhala Center By Shastri Russell Rodgers A few years ago, the Kootenay Shambhala Centre in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, purchased a building. Because we had to acquire the services of a non-sangha architect for the renovations, it seemed like a good idea ...continue
Creating A Safe And Serene Home Environment For Children
Creating A Safe And Serene Home Environment For Children – HIGHLIGHT
1 response - Posted 11.29.19
By “Jackie Writing Jackie” Every year in the United States, over three and a half million children experience injuries that commonly occur in homes. The teachings of Shambhala inspire compassionate care, and we all want to create a space for our children where they are safe to grow ...continue
Good Society Part II: Feeling the Goodness
Good Society Part II: Feeling the Goodness – HIGHLIGHT
2 responses - Posted 11.15.19
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash The second part of a two-part series by Shastri Russell Rodgers. For part one, click here. In Part I of this two-part essay, we looked at the genetics behind the universal human impulse to create good society. The logic was this: everywhere ...continue


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