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Lions Roar : May 2015
If we have the bravery to be fully present for life, says SAKYONG MIPHAM, we will discover the profound worthiness of being human. If we doubt humanity’s goodness, what future do we have? OONE CHARACTERISTIC OF THIS TROUBLED TIME is that we doubt our innate goodness. We look outside our- selves for fulfillment, and this creates individualism, in which we believe only in our own interests. We solidify our mind and consciousness—which are naturally fluid and harmoni- ous—into material entities. We become hard individuals who communicate through anger and arrogance. We believe that what will satisfy us is material, and with this view we create a hard, angry, and materialistic world. There is a not-so -subtle feeling that humanity is bad. At present, the world seems to be running on self-centeredness, speed, and aggression. If this pattern continues, the possibility of peace, both personal and social, will diminish. Materialism will never make us happy because it is of a different nature than consciousness. Even though material things are important, they are not fundamen- tal to human beings’ happiness. The antidote for this material- istic outlook is confidence in our basic goodness. Throughout history, the deepest minds have come to the conclusion that there is something profoundly worthy about being human. In the Shambhala tradition, we call this the sun of basic goodness. The sun is a symbol of life, warmth, and wholeness, like the wisdom that is naturally within the mind. Basic Goodness & Humanity’s Future When we practice the view of basic goodness, we enter the heart of being human by connecting to our inherent dignity. This basic goodness is intangible. On one hand, you could say it is the highest transmission in Buddhist tantra, which would be not untrue. On the other hand, you can see it in the smile or the cry of a baby. Basic goodness is the unconditional foun- dation of every experience. It is always available in the present moment, healthy, whole, and without fault. While living in stressful times does not ultimately affect our enlightened qualities, it does demand that we become more engaged in awakening them. On the ultimate level, en- lightenment is already here, but on the relative level we need to engineer its causes and conditions. Bravery is the key instruction in the Shambhala teachings. This is why these teachings use the image of a warrior: when confronted by great challenges, warriors rise to the occasion. When cowards are confronted by difficulties, they withdraw. The challenge of being brave points to one specific instruc- tion—that we stop cowering from our basic goodness. To be brave is to actualize our true nature as an offering to others. In paying attention to the details of our daily lives in relation to each other and the environment, we proclaim SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2015 46