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Lions Roar : September 2009
aCross MuCh of the nation and the World, people have been losing their jobs and homes due to the global economic decline. everyone is asking: how much worse will it get; how soon before it gets better? the ghost of the great depression hangs over us like a bad dream that scares and fascinates at the same time. Meanwhile, the bickering of politicians entertains and annoys us nightly. We are clearly living through a time of great challenges, and yet Mother earth has witnessed the rise and fall of humanity’s fortunes many times over. i recall that during the Cold War years some- one once asked the sixteenth Karmapa, a great tibetan teacher, to comment on that time’s worst- case scenario. his holiness simply smiled and said, “the world has always been this way.” We’ve endured through cycles of prosperity and poverty, peace and war, confidence and doubt. life is a journey, and it is full of adventures. some of these may be hard to appreciate in the beginning, but they all contribute to the richness and depth of our journey—they offer the knowledge and vision that can transform our dreams and aspirations into reality. it is our basic instinct to search for happiness. everything we do is for that: we work, play, create art, join churches, wage wars, count our money, and occasionally make clowns of ourselves. the irony is that we often end up sacrificing our sense of joy in life in our pursuit of this happiness. since that is the case, we should ask ourselves, “What is this happiness to which i am so devoted that i am willing to sacrifice so much?” a greater mystery is that we do not seem greatly concerned to know what this happiness is. We think money, prestige, and relationships will bring us happiness, but time and again, we experience disappointment and boredom in the midst of having it all. Erring and Erring, We Walk the Unerring Path If we use them as opportunities to work with our mind, all our mistakes, confusion, and difficulties become an unerring path of awakening. This, says The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, is the essence of the Buddha’s wisdom for difficult times. paintings by ang tsherin sherpa 51 SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2009