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Lions Roar : January 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2012 18 Belief in basic goodness doesn’t come from a convoluted moral position; rather, it arises from discovering a feeling that underlies everything. This inherent wakeful energy desires to communicate. It resides in our hearts, where we experience it as fresh, genuine, and delightful. Basic goodness sounds very simple. We are whole. When we wake up in the morning, we don’t have to address some elemental mistake in the depths of our being. However, if we contemplate this, we might see that we often don’t feel this way. We think we are basically bad, not basically good. Our life is an unfolding of the view we take, and our personal outlook has social ramifica- tions. At this time on earth, entire cultures are completely unsure about their own humanity because people do not feel basic goodness in themselves, and thus are unable to see it in others. In meditation, we discover basic goodness and practice relax- ing with this view. However, I’ve noticed that especially in the West, even meditators have difficulty believing in basic good- ness. Inevitably thoughts and emotions come up, and we should never feel bad about that. Thinking “I don’t know” is part of the process. Fortunately it is simple to return our mind to the basic goodness that is present in every moment, like the sun behind the clouds. However, it is also simple to take the other route, believing in the clouds and forgetting the sun. As part of my own contemplation on basic goodness, I reflected on my father’s life. He experienced the loss of his cul- ture, the destruction of his home, and the knowledge that his friends and family were being tortured. One of the most brilliant minds of his generation—the last to be fully trained in Tibet— he became a refugee in places where nobody understood who he was or what he knew. Of all people, he had the right to say, “I have been given this transmission of basic goodness, and I’m beginning to doubt it. People are not good.” Instead, he showed us basic goodness and urged us to create enlightened society. In fact, he asserted that society itself is the expression of basic goodness. Society is the relationship between two beings. We naturally come from a mother and a father, and when we are born, we cannot survive without the love of another. Our sense faculties themselves are society—here to communicate with the world, which is itself communicating through the power of the ele- ments. The constant interplay of communication in all our rela- tionships is the energetic expression of goodness. This radiant wish to communicate is known as lungta, “wind- horse.” It is the ability first to overcome doubt about our basic goodness, and then to connect with the natural longing of our hearts. Like the sun and the moon, basic goodness is perpetual. Somewhere along the line all of us touch that inner confidence, even if it’s just for a moment. When we have the bravery to stay with this primordial ground of goodness and the kindness that naturally arises from it, our relationships with others are marked by simplicity and warmth. Enlightened society is not a utopian view. When we are awake, we see clearly, and so we have insight. Therefore we don’t fall