“I would like to share this burden and delight with you…”


             I’ve been thinking that now is a good time to change our karmic tendencies. Constantly people are coming to me with different ideas and projects. They are all wonderful, and I do what I can to support them. But as we deepen our practice, I would like us to look at the body of the sangha to see how we can support our entire situation. This would be reaching a new level of maturity, instead of coming up with new gimmicks each year to support this and that. We need to think how we can support the whole thing.

              People have been generous. We need to continue to be generous. Generosity should be part of our entire growth. We need to manifest Shambhala culture in everything we do: our practice, our money, our lives, everything. A lot of you know how important this is, so I’ve been thinking about how we, as a group, can turn the energy around in this direction.

              We have to understand Shambhala culture more deeply. Those of you who have been to Tibetan communities will know that you never show up at a teaching empty handed. For example, when I go to any monastery, I always provide tea for all the monastics and make offerings to the monastery.

              I would like to share this delight and burden with you. I feel I can share this with you more deeply, since you have been through a lot in your practice, and I know that many of you contribute a lot to your own centres. But we also have to look at how we balance the whole energy of what we are doing. We are building a dharmic kingdom, a vajra kingdom, and in particular, a Shambhala kingdom.  One of the key points about Shambhala is that it becomes the actual container for preserving wisdom. I know that when the Vidhadyara left Tibet, he felt the dharma needed a protector, a culture that could protect the dharma. We are trying to create that protector, the container of Shambhala, so that these precious teachings can survive.

              I have just come from India where a lot of the old lamas have passed into the great dharmakaya. There is less and less of the environment in which these teachings can be preserved. We are now inheriting this responsibility. We are no longer children, or second-class citizens. The responsibility is shifting from Tibet to India to here.

              Environment is really important for these teachings to occur. You can’t just walk up to someone at a train station and say, “Hey, do you want to know the nature of your mind?”  These teachings have to take place in an environment. That kind of environment is hard to create. We need to fully empower our practice centres and our Shambhala centres so that they become strong, so that they powerfully draw us to practice. The speed of the world is so strong that we will remain stuck in our everyday life otherwise. We need to empower our centres so fully that when we are here, the energy is so positive that we can actually change our habitual tendencies.

              It is not just a question of keeping these places running. We are part of a great transference, a great transition. These teachings will have to be practiced by you, by all of us. Every single one of you has to have deep, meaningful, profound realization. That is what it is all about.

              Wherever it has travelled, the dharma has taken root because the great teachers could perform miracles. That is how it spread. The power the dharma is able to generate is fantastic. It can change the mind of the king of a whole country. At this time there is a great level of intellectual curiosity about the depth of Buddhist understanding. But that will fade away unless we attain enlightenment. We have to expand our vision. It is not just a matter of us using the dharma as an adornment, like a new pair of earrings or a neck-tie. We are not talking just about how to get by in this lifetime. We are freeing ourselves from the whole cycle. Longchenpa and the great practitioners suffered for years in difficult conditions so that these great teachings could be revealed.  What we are doing is protecting and preserving the heart-essence of what they have given to us.

- Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Dechen Chöling, May 2007