Greetings and good morning to everyone. I’m addressing you today from Berlin. It has been an amazing summer for myself: Being able to travel and teach. And many of you will have been to some of the programs that I was teaching over the summer. And it feels like an appropriate time for me to share some thoughts about this particular Harvest of Peace day.
I personally just want to make a connection with all of you at your centres and where you may be viewing this.
It is really wonderful that everybody has gathered. And I’m personally delighted to be able to communicate some ideas and experiences that hopefully will be meaningful to you. And before we do that, I would like to send the warmest greetings from the Sakyong Wangmo Jetsun Drukmo, and Jetsun Yudra and our newest one, Jetsun Zedron. They are all doing well.
And last year at the same time, I had more family around me.
But today you just get me! I would like to address you about the notion of household and how we live. And so, even if we live in a very simple accomodation and if we’re living in a more busy and more, sort of, expended lifestyle..
. No matter how we are living, the basic notion of household is something that is, I believe, a very core message of Shambhala. Traditionally, the kingdom of Shambhala, as it is depicted in many thankas that are centuries old, depict many households and many small houses that surround the Rigden.
And the Rigden as being a sense of enlightened rulership and living. And the Rigden himself manifests with the Rigden Queen and family.
And so, at the very heart of Shambhala is very much this notion of household. So the notion of household may seem very far from our everyday life and, especially, when you look at the world, there are many sort of heartbreaking and challenging issues going on, whether in the environment, in the political world, and in…
Health, education, and many areas of the world.
And so, I think, one of the things that, as Shambhala over the years, we’ve been slowly involving ourselves in those sort of global issues. And even though that is incredibly important and something that, in a sense, we have to be part of and cannot avoid, I also feel like at the immediate level, sometimes we do become overwhelmed by what is happening in the world.
And sometimes we feel helpless in terms of what we can do. And sometimes we do participate in different activities and ways of engaging. But at the same time I feel like household is a way that all of us can participate.
And in particular, I think the notion of household is not so much sort of our…. exactly how we manage just our personal life and that is separated from the world, but the notion of, actually, as Shambhala, the notion of household is very much connected with the power and confidence we feel in the very principal of basic goodness, human dignity, and that how we live our life day to day is an expression of a cultural confidence.
So for all of us, right now, I feel like, as…. practitioners and warriors, within the Shambhala tradition, we want to really look at how we can actually investigate and.
.. examine really how we are living.
So one of the most powerful things about household is that how we live within our home, and the attitude by which we live is very powerful. And therefore, the home becomes really an expression of who we are and what we are.
And so, it is not just about the details of how we arrange our life, eventhough that is important, but it is very much that relating to how we relate to our home, the rooms in our home, how we relate to food, how we relate to conversation, how we relate to all these elements, are actually building an invisible environment, by which we are swimming in, engaged in. And all these elements, which we may think of as mundane or worldly, are actually very powerful generators of energy. And so how we relate to our dressing process and how we relate to the food, and the whole thing, is very much creating a culture.
Creating a culture of how we participate. And obviously, in the modern world, everything is very quick, efficient, and there is always a sense of rushing and getting to the next thing.
But through practice, and through the notion of mindfulness through the notion of awareness and the notion of lungta, we realize that it’s very important to be present. Can’t always be just planing for the next thing. And so culture is really about, in our home, it’s about how we actually manifest, how we live.
And, obviously for us, there is a sense of renewal, in terms of rest and relaxation; there is a notion of entertainment, how we enjoy; there is also a notion of sharing what we would like to express; there is a notion of deepening, in terms of our own spiritual path and meditation; there is also the notion of imagination, how we come with new ideas, and themes. So all these are very important and we need to balance them.
And from this point of view, if we are not trying to move the culture, our own culture, in a particular direction, then naturally how we live is just a reaction to everything else going on on the outside.
So our home never feels like we are really moving forward, but always just reacting. So as a culture that is relating to basic goodness, basic goodness of ourselves, basic goodness of others, the notion of basic goodness of society, how can we actually use the home–our own living situation– as the progenitor and the basis of this kind of culture? And how do you actually relate to space and relate to the environment from the point of view of basic goodness? So I think these elements are already existing, and we are very much at a whim where people are trying to live a good life, as much as possible.
And we are very much engaged in that, generally. And for most of us, obviously, we sometimes feel like things are going well sometimes things are not going well, but regardless of the whole ups and downs of life, which are a natural part of our existence, how can we have an underlying theme of journey, of vision, of meaning, of principle, and how can we take these principle and actually engage in them.
So naturally, I think it’s a balance between discipline and relaxation. We have to have a sense of the discipline of living. When I asked my father what his favorite word was?
He said: “Discipline.” And so, I think, it’s not just a matter of being narrow-minded or uptight… But the notion of actually engaging in things that are actually raising our energy and lungta, as opposed to just thinking that we can sort of get by, without putting any energy or effort.
And, at the same time, how do you overcome this notion of perpetually engaging in over-working, or over exhausting oureselves. So those are elements that we have to balance. And so some of these themes are very much what we’ll be exploring for the rest of our lives, but it’s something that, I feel like, within the Shambhala centre, within our home situation, we can discuss.
And I’m especially happy this year that, at Enlightened Society and many of the other programs, that we actually have the Shambhala Household text and ways of working with this. So these are themes that are essential in terms of how we embody these principles.
So, in this way, another element of household is, very much, the notion of balance. How do we have balance in our life? And this is something, I think, that is challenging everyone, in terms of our own practice, our own work, how we relate with inner development of our personal sense of purpose, and how we relate to externally.
So this is very much something that I feel like is one of the primary challenges of modern living is balancing. Once we are out of balance, we are continuously trying to make up for the balance.
And I believe there has to be balance of how we relate to our own self, our own self identity, who we think we are and how we manage ourselves; how we relate to other, the balance of self and other; There is a balance of practice and living.
There is a balance of view and action. Then there is literally the balance throughout the day. So one of the tools that we have in the Shambhala tradition is we have the principles of what we do in the morning, in terms of vision, what we do in the afternoon, what we do in the evening. So the days are divided up according to our own sense of how we live.
So there is a sense of vision in the morning, a sense of engagement in the afternoon, and a sense of rest and renew in the evening. As well, how we relate to all the aspects of our rooms in our house, how we relate to the different activities that we do. So all of these can be actually imbued and engaged in with the principles that we have. And so this is something that is essential for all of us. And I believe that balance is something that has to happen on a daily basis.
It’s not a trick that we discover once and are able to apply to everything. There is the balance of how we relate to the week, how we relate to month, how we relate to the year.
There is a balance of how we are relating to our food, how we are relating to conversation, all of these elements. And so, generally speaking, with balance there is some kind of harmony. And harmony has to do with a sense of strength and renewal, and very much a sense of windhorse.
And so, whether we’re in a leadership position whether we are just engaging in practice, we can try to look at how we are balancing all of these principles. And at the heart of it is very much the notion of energy, lungta and spirit. So this is an element that is hopefully something that everybody can look at, and engage in. And so these elements of culture, how we manifest personally and the confidence that we have in order to how to live.
So it doesn’t just stay in our head, in our heart just internally, but how we actually manifest.
And this is actually “household.” And for myself, household is really the seed of creating enlightened society. If we, as Shambhalaians, can carry the culture of basic goodness in our homes, then each of us creates that energy, as opposed to just being at the Shambhala Center, or just in our meditation. But actually, our living becomes an example of it. And so, for most of us, we are challenged by our life, and so this is an opportunity for us to be able to reverse that process.
So these are some of the thoughts and themes that I wanted to share today and hopefully have you contemplate it. And so if you have a discussion, and able to share these experiences of your life where you feel like it’s in balance or out of balance. How the elements can be engaged in.
And how we have an opportunity to actually lead lives with inherent principles that we are so enriched by, within the Shambhala wisdom. So, please, enjoy this day, and this transition.
And it’s an excellent time to reflect on how you are going forward. This has been a wonderful opportunity for me to address all of you, and to send my love and blessings. And I know many of you are engaged in many positive things, and some of you are very much challenged by what is happening in your life, So I hope some of these principles I talked about are helpful to you. And so, on that note, good morning! And.
.. I look forward to seeing soon, and I will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers..