We hope only that we have not obstructed or weakened the power of these teachings. May they help to liberate all beings from the warring evils of the setting sun.
Shambhala vision teaches that, in the face of the world’s great problems, we can be heroic and kind at the same time.
What is lacking is a sense of humor. Humor here does not mean telling jokes or being comical or criticizing others and laughing at them. A genuine sense of humor is having a light touch: not beating reality into the ground but appreciating reality with a light touch.
The essence of warriorship, or the essence of human bravery, is refusing to give up on anyone or anything. We can never say that we are simply falling to pieces or that anyone else is, and we can never say that about the world either.
The point of warriorship is to work personally with our situation now, as it is.
We should feel that it is wonderful to be in this world.
So through the practice of sitting still and following your breath as it goes out and dissolves, you are connecting with your heart. By simply letting yourself be, as you are, you develop genuine sympathy towards yourself.
Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.
Everything is compartmentalized, so you can never experience things completely. We are not talking purely about food; we are talking about everything that goes on in the setting-sun world: packaged food, packaged vacations, package deals of all kinds. There is no room to experience doubtlessness in that world; there is no room to be gentle; there is no room to experience reality fully and properly.
In fact, tenderness and sadness, as well as gentleness, actually produce a sense of interest. You are so vulnerable that you cannot help being touched by your world.
A warrior doesn’t need color television or video games. A warrior doesn’t need to read comic books to entertain himself or to be cheerful.
For the true warrior, there is no warfare. This is the idea of being all-victorious. When you are all-victorious, there is nothing to conquer, no fundamental problem or obstacle to overcome.
But if you look back and trace back through your life—who you are, what you are, and why you are in this world—if you look through that step-bystep, you won’t find any fundamental problems.
In meditation, when your thoughts go up, you don’t go up, and you don’t go down when your thoughts go down; you just watch as thoughts go up and thoughts go down. Whether your thoughts are good or bad, exciting or boring, blissful or miserable, you let them be. You don’t accept some and reject others. You have a sense of greater space that encompasses any thought that may arise.
Although the warrior’s life is dedicated to helping others, he realizes that he will never be able to completely share his experience with others. The fullness of his experience is his own, and he must live with his own truth. Yet he is more and more in love with the world. That combination of love affair and loneliness is what enables the warrior to constantly reach out to help others.
Why are you always joyful? Because you have witnessed your basic goodness, because you have nothing to hang on to, and because you have experienced the sense of renunciation that we discussed earlier. Therefore, your mind and body are continually synchronized and always joyful.
If you tell the truth to others, then they can also be open with you—maybe not immediately, but you are giving them the opportunity to express themselves honestly as well. When you do not say what you feel, you generate confusion for yourself and confusion for others.
It is like falling in love. When you are in love, being with your lover is both delightful and very painful. You feel both joy and sorrow. That is not a problem; in fact, it is wonderful. It is the ideal human emotion.
The most practical and immediate way to begin sharing with others and working for their benefit is to work with your own domestic situation and to expand from there. So an important step in becoming a warrior is to become a family person, someone who respects his or her everyday domestic life and is committed to uplifting that situation.
When we draw down the power and depth of vastness into a single perception, then we are discovering and invoking magic. By magic we do not mean unnatural power over the phenomenal world, but rather the discovery of innate or primordial wisdom in the world as it is.
However, for the warrior, gentleness is not just politeness. Gentleness is consideration: showing concern for others, all the time. A Shambhala gentlewoman or gentleman is a decent person, a genuine person. He or she is very gentle to himself and to others. The purpose of any protocol, or manners, or discipline that we are taught is to have concern for others.
When the environment is stuffy and full of arrogant, self-styled men and women, the dralas are repelled. But then, what happens if a warrior, someone who embodies nonaggression, freedom from arrogance, and humbleness, walks into that room? When such a person enters an intense situation full of arrogance and pollution, quite possibly the occupants of the room begin to feel funny. They feel that they can’t have any fun and games anymore, because someone who won’t collaborate in their deception has walked in.
The world is very interesting wherever you go, wherever you look.
Habitual patterns allow you to look no further than three steps ahead of you. You are always looking at the ground, and you never look up at the bright blue sky or the mountain peaks.
So you can’t be a warrior in the office and a tudro at home.
The former Secretary General of the United Nations, U Thant of Burma
You are not being blind to the setting-sun or degraded aspects of existence. In fact, you see them very precisely, because you are so alert. But you also see that every aspect of life has the potential of being upgraded, that there is the potential for sacredness in every situation. So you begin to view the universe as a sacred world.
Then there is the man principle, which is connected with simplicity, or living in harmony with heaven and earth. When human beings combine the freedom of heaven with the practicality of earth, they can live in a good human society with one another.
The challenge of warriorship is to live fully in the world as it is and to find within this world, with all its paradoxes, the essence of nowness. If we open our eyes, if we open our minds, if we open our hearts, we will find that this world is a magical place. It is not magical because it tricks us or changes unexpectedly into something else, but it is magical because it can be so vividly, so brilliantly.
We cannot change the way the world is, but by opening ourselves to the world as it is, we may find that gentleness, decency, and bravery are available—not only to us, but to all human beings.
That is the basic wisdom of Shambhala: that in this world, as it is, we can find a good and meaningful human life that will also serve others.
But if you do not start at home, then you have no hope of helping the world. So the first step in learning how to rule is learning to rule your household, your immediate world. There is no doubt that, if you do so, then the next step will come naturally. If you fail to do so, then your contribution to this world will be further chaos.
Raising windhorse is a way to cast out depression and doubt on the spot. It is not a form of exorcism but a cheering-up process. That is to say, raising windhorse invokes and actualizes the living aspect of fearlessness and bravery. It is a magical practice for transcending doubt and hesitation in order to invoke tremendous wakefulness in your state of mind.
The four dignities are meek, perky, outrageous, and inscrutable.
Just as the snow lion enjoys the refreshing air, the warrior of perky is constantly disciplined and continuously enjoys discipline. For him, discipline is not a demand but a pleasure.
Modesty here means feeling true and genuine. Therefore the warrior feels self-contained, with no need for external reference points to confirm him.
For the warrior of meek, confidence is a natural state of awareness and mindfulness in the way he conducts his affairs.
Rather, vastness comes from seeing the greatness of your own spot, your own particular place.
Like the tiger in the jungle, you are both relaxed and energized. You are constantly inquisitive but your awareness is also disciplined, so you accomplish every activity without difficulty, and you inspire those around you to do the same.
The first one is experiencing an uplifted and joyful mind. In this case, uplifted mind means a continual state of delight that is not caused by anything.
This warrior is always aware and never confused as to what to accept and what to reject.
The warrior of perky is never caught in the trap of doubt and is always joyful and artful.
Outrageousness is based on the achievement of fearlessness, which means going completely beyond fear. In order to overcome fear, it is also necessary to overcome hope. When you hope for something in your life, if it doesn’t happen, you are disappointed or upset. If it does happen, then you become elated and excited. You are constantly riding a roller coaster up and down.
The analogy for this is a good, self-existing sword—desire to sharpen it will make it dull. If you try to apply a competitive or comparative logic to the experience of vast mind, by trying to measure how much space you have fathomed, how much is left to fathom, or how much someone else has fathomed, you are just dulling your sword. It is futile and counterproductive. In contrast to that approach, outrageousness is accomplishment without a sense of accomplisher, without reference point.
Inscrutability is also the state of settling down in your confidence—remaining solid and relaxed at once. You are open and fearless, free from longing and doubt, but at the same time, you are very interested in the movements of the world.
The main point is being somewhat noncommittal, but at the same time seeing a project through to its end.
There is a need for discipline, and that discipline comes from realizing that such a world as this was created for you, that people expended energy to bring you up, that in your weak moments you were helped, and that, when you were ready for inspiration, you were inspired. So the discipline of genuinely working for others comes from appreciating hierarchy.