With a focus on the Tibetan, Nepalese, and Mongolian forms of Mahayana Buddhism
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This is from Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, son of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and current head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage.
Creating Peace the Shambhala Way
"It is absolutely possible to create a good human society here on earth. To do so, we need strong mindfulness and intention. As human beings, we are influenced by our environment. If we create an environment of aggression and disharmony, stress will become the norm. Conversely, if we create an environment of kindness, love, discipline, and generosity, we will all begin to feel a sense of peace.
One characteristic of this dark age is that we doubt our innate goodness. We look outside ourselves for fulfillment, which creates individualism, where we believe only in our own interests. We solidify our mind and consciousness— which are naturally fluid and harmonious— into material entities. We become hard individuals who communicate through anger and arrogance. We imagine that all that will satisfy us is material. With this view we create a hard, angry, and materialistic world.
At present, the world seems to be running on self-centeredness, speed, and aggression. As this pattern exacerbates, the possibility of peace, both personally and socially, will diminish. Materialism will never make us happy because it is of a different nature than consciousness. Even though material things are important, they are not fundamentally at the core of the human being. The antidote for this materialistic outlook is peace, the opposite of stress.
In creating peace, our relationship with the environment is critical, particularly our relationship with the inner environment— our consciousness. If we don’t have a peaceful and harmonious relationship with our own being, it will be impossible for us to create peace anywhere else. Without a personal experience of peace, we won’t even believe in the possibility. Therefore we must become mindful of peace.
Looking at modern champions of peace such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama, we see that as life put them to the test, they all came to the conclusion that peace is the way. How did they do it? As they developed mindfulness of peace, they identified it as their true state of being. Their example demonstrates that the discovery of inner peace does not belong to any one religion or belief system; it is a universal human potential.
To bring peace to the world, each of us must take on the responsibility of discovering inner peace. The first step in the process is to develop a meditative discipline. There is little possibility of discovering peace when we are caught up in the speed and stress of daily life. We all need to cultivate contemplative self-awareness in a period of daily introspection.
The benefit of such a discipline is that we become mindful. What is mindfulness? It is the ability to appreciate our own life, moment to moment, because we are able to access our own consciousness. There is the material world and there is the conscious world, and meditation deals with the conscious world. Reducing our activities for even ten minutes a day by sitting down to contemplate our lives leads to awareness that our situation is precious. At any moment that could change, but for now we have the ability to relax in peace, taking a break from the continual discursiveness in our mind.
It is understandable that our mind is busy: our whole life is very busy, and we have been training our mind in busy-ness. In the practice of meditation, we are reclaiming it. As we begin to relate with our mind, our alertness and mindfulness increase.
At first it's just a matter of trying to be present, so we connect with our breath. Then we have to remember to follow the breath, come back to the breath, and let the thoughts go. As our sense faculties—sight, sound, smell, taste, touch—begin to relax, we start noticing how we feel. Our consciousness has now become more subtle and soft. What we are feeling is the mindfulness of being alive.
How does this practice help us in daily life? As we do it, we begin to glimpse our own richness, which is peace and equanimity. This experience gradually makes us less aggressive. Our senses take on a richer quality, with a strong sense of appreciation. We have mindfulness of our feelings. We begin to feel how we feel. Then we are able to make intelligent decisions about what to do with it.
Sometimes people ask, “What do I do when I feel jealous?” or “How do I get less angry?” With consistent daily practice, we are calming the waves of our mind at a deep level. Then when a tsunami of emotion arises during the day, we can do what I call “situational contemplation,” looking at the arising emotion and slowly unraveling it, rather than throwing a tantrum or having another drink. Having learned to engage in mindfulness, we no longer struggle against the world so much. We can accomplish our activity fluidly, with ease.
Mindfulness teaches us to be aware of how we are manifesting and how we are relating to our mind. With space in the mind, we are able to appreciate simplicity and satisfaction. We also become aware that if we shift our attention by just a few degrees, it’s easy to fall into negativity. By the same token, it’s easy to go in a positive direction.
Mindfulness leads to gentleness. This frees us from the poison of individuality, which thinks that everything always has to be based upon “me.” Our gentleness towards ourselves translates into consideration for others. I define gentleness as not being rude. Rudeness is a failure to see our own worth, which leads to personal discomfort and outer displays of aggression and social indecency. Gentleness brings concern for our behavior and its environmental effect. As we develop proper conduct, our inner light shines forth. This is an outcome of mindfulness, because whatever the mind decides, the body will follow. That is why mindfulness is such a key element in creating peace.
Peace is not based on meditation alone. However, meditation is the best way to build mindfulness. Mindfulness fosters emotional alertness and clarity, which bring clear communication to any sphere of daily life. Mindfulness leads to consideration for others, which is the building block of a good society. It leads to decency.
Through mindfulness, we also begin to understand the principles of interdependence. Since we are no longer self-obsessed, we can see the connection between humans and the environment, and therefore nature itself. We see clearly how we could choose or not choose to pollute our own thoughts, our own being.
By understanding interdependence, we chip away at the concept of individualism. No matter how gifted we are, ultimately we are all part of society. That is why a good society is based on the principles of selflessness, mindfulness, and gentleness. These qualities are the ingredients of peace.
We are all here on earth to see what we can offer, as opposed to what we can take. A life based upon what we can take leads to promoting a society where the only barometer of success is materialism. Mindfulness leads to an attitude of wanting to serve the world, rather than expecting to be served. Only through the development of mindfulness— which leads to virtues like kindness and generosity— will we become truly peaceful."
~Sakyong Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche
Ah yes...that would be the same Mipham Rinpoche who together with his mother the aristocratic Lady Diane Mukpo, is engaged in a prolonged and hugely costly legal struggle to wrest his late father's estates in India from his fathers " Tulku "...The twelth Trungpa Rinpoche....a tulku recognised, ironically enough, by the Dalai Lama.... and which has resulted in several communities of monks being thrown out of his late fathers monasteries. Still, he is a nicely spoken lad. It reads well.
Karma Gedun August 2011
I still cannot make heads or tails of Tibetan tulku theories and rebirth related politics.
Seems that way. He sounds like the exact opposite of his Dad in some ways, closer to (shock, gasp) Thich Nhat Hanh. I'd have difficulty imagining him saying "then fuck off and do it"...
...but you never know.
There is no need to compare Mipham with his father in terms of one exchange with one student.
A reading of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's masterpiece " Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism "
will reveal a view of Dharma and of life which could not be further removed from the quoted passage ghost written for his son.
Which actually is an ad for Shambala and aimed at those who want Dharma-Lite..which is what Shambala became after the death of its founder.
Its soda pop to the pure malt Scotch of his dad's lineage.
The actual SPIRITUAL successor to CTR is Pema Chodren .
I haven't read " Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism " yet. Pema Chodren seems very wise. I started reading a book Srimala recommended "It's Up to You" by Chodren's present teacher Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. I don't think you'd like it, it too contains references to interdependence and creating inner peace, even the Buddha within - what you call "Dharma Lite"... Why you call this soda pop I still don't understand, to me its more like bottled water vs. malt Scotch...
It's rare anyway that people are drawn to the same beverages.
I have met Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche...he is a toughie.
There is often a huge difference between the way the way that teachers present to the public and what goes on between them and their students. This not dishonesty. Its skillful means.
I did not say that all of those concepts you list are Dharma Lite in context and subject to checks and balances.
I said Shambala has become Dharma--Lite.
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