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Lions Roar : July 2012
PHOTO©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/LEONTURA MY FATHER, CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA RINPOCHE, was one of the last great Buddhist teachers to be trained fully in Tibet while it was still a spiritual kingdom. When he had to escape, leading three hundred people through the Himalayas in 1959, there was a point when he asked himself, “What am I going to do now?” He was holder of a vital spiritual legacy, but at the same time he had experienced incredible savagery—in a sense, the worst of humanity. At that moment, he decided he still believed in the inherent goodness of humanity. For the rest of his life, until he died twenty-five years ago this year, he taught about basic goodness. Because of his bravery and determination, many people have learned about meditation and Buddhism. When my father first came to the West almost fifty years ago, meditation was still very much a New Age phenomenon, and many people were skeptical about it. No one understood that practical people like Tibetans, whose environment is such a challenge to survival, would hardly have kept meditating if it hadn’t worked. However, now that science is validating the benefits of medi- tation, we have entered an age when the teachings of science and spirituality are intersecting. Because of that, humanity has a rare opportunity. At only a few other moments in history—the time of the Buddha, the age of Socrates—has the moment been so ripe for us to reflect on our future. It is hard to ignore the distrust and aggression of the world we are living in. What are we going to do about it? A critical element in pondering such a question is to look deeply at human nature—not in the context of a particular reli- gion or science, but in terms of how we feel about ourselves. This may be our most important global issue. I have contemplated The Power of Self-Reflection Transforming society, says SAKYONG MIPHAM, begins with the simple act of contemplating our basic goodness and reflecting on how we really feel about ourselves. 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, Ruling Your World, and the newly released Running With the Mind of Meditation. SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2012 13