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Lions Roar : January 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2012 19 into the trap of simply highlighting the positive and ignoring the negative. As the word enlightened indicates, the totality is illuminated. What keeps the illumination bright? Having knowledge about basic good- ness. With such knowledge we contact the sacred, the whole—that which can- not be transgressed, violated, or divided. As people embody it, kindness, wisdom, and strength reverberate, and society is in a perpetually awakening state. Thus enlightened society is character- ized by constantly maintaining the ethos of awake, inherently acknowledging that if we do not maintain “awake,” we will be asleep. Sleep takes place when people either for- get or ignore basic goodness. Then, acting on the insecurity, guilt, and fear that arise, people do horrendous things. We see in Mahayana Buddhism that the power of raising the supreme thought to benefit others created a flourishing culture that celebrated human goodness. This changed Buddhism from an individ- ual pursuit to a cultural pursuit. It hap- pened through the power of bodhisattva warriors turning the mind toward others and focusing above all on their happiness. Like the Mahayana bodhisattva, the Shambhala warrior has the bravery to take on hardship because of conviction in a superior and universal principle. This makes us completely simple, which empowers our intention to awaken others. Simplicity is not a lack of understanding, but intelligence and profound heart based on experiencing basic goodness. “Com- plicated” cannot understand simple, but simple can understand complicated. Enlightened society can happen in any culture. The past offers examples. The future depends on our view. When we recognize basic goodness, the world is a constant sup- port for awakening, and there is no limit to society’s enlightenment. ♦ SAKYONG MIPHAM is the spiritual leader of Shambhala, an international network of Buddhist meditation and retreat centers. He is the author of Turning the Mind Into an Ally and Ruling Your World. His new book, Running With the Mind of Meditation, will be published this spring.