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Lions Roar : May 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN MAy 2011 17 This currenT dark age, to put it very simply, has come about by people not properly being on the spot. We have ended up in a distracted, mindless state, which meditation helps us to reverse. Bravery, a highlight of the shambhala teachings, is one of the unconditioned qualities that arises as we continue to prac- tice. On the sacred path of the warrior, which defines bravery as “the act of both personally and socially manifesting,” we com- bine meditative insight with social application. My father, chö- gyam Trungpa, who founded this lineage, explained it this way: “You might have shamatha–vipashyana awareness happening all the time. But on top of that, you have to keep up with your actual day-to-day life.” The first form of bravery is being free of deception. if we are engaged in deception, we are intentionally covering up a bit of nonvirtue. it is difficult to be forthright, open, and genuine. We just go through the motions, so much that we fool even our- selves. Perhaps we have been wearing the clothes of spiritual lifestyle, memorizing the words of spiritual speech, and having spiritual thoughts. Maybe we have even encountered brave in- dividuals on the path. But we have not had the bravery to truly manifest in our daily life. When we are free of deception, we are able to be fully present. Because we are not looking behind our back, there is a feeling of readiness. We feel immediate. Therefore, the second form of braveness is abruptness, the ability to suddenly jump. abrupt- ness indicates that bravery is not an indiscernible slow-swinging pendulum, where somehow we move seamlessly from deception to bravery. rather, abruptness is a sudden, immediate, and no- ticeable experience of true bravery. abruptness snaps our mind out of discursiveness and habit. coming face-to-face with our deception, there is a moment of challenging ourselves. To practice truly being present, we cannot vacillate in the moment of immediacy. We must leap if we are to overcome our mockery of awakenment. Whether we find ourselves suddenly returning to the breath in meditation, suddenly leaping beyond stinginess at work, or sud- denly manifesting courageousness at the time of death, having this level of bravery is a game-changer. The advantage has shifted from asleep to awake—in shambhala terms, from the setting sun to the great eastern sun. Leaping appears abrupt, in contrast to hesitant engagement. To a novice, the moves of a martial artist might also appear abrupt. But warriors of the martial arts are able to move sud- denly as a result of training—years of studying their own minds and bodies as well as simultaneously knowing their environ- ment. This is demonstrated in The Art of War, in which sun Tzu PhOTOBYiBaLacevedO/fLickr/geTTYiMages A key element of bravery, says Sakyong MiphaM, is abruptness—the ability to break free from hesitation and suddenly leap from our habitual patterns to the awake mind. SAkyong MiphAM is the spiritual leader of Shambhala, an interna- tional network of Buddhist meditation and retreat centers. he is the author of Turning the Mind into an ally and ruling Your World. Just Leap!