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Lions Roar : July 2012
the question of human nature to see if I really believe in the basic goodness my father taught. This basic goodness is not merely a sense of good versus bad— that’s why it is called basic. The Tibetan term, dömi-ne sangpo, means “primordially pure, full, or complete.” On a relative level, we experience this as a sense of worthiness. When we get up in the morning, do we feel worthy? When I am teaching in the West, people talk about self-loathing and self-aggression. Where is that coming from, this sense of unwor- thiness? Some philosophers long ago—or perhaps it was our church, school, or parents—said life is brutish and cruel. Others have said we are inherently selfish or bad. These thoughts domi- nate how we regard ourselves. It’s hard to step out of this mindset when our culture reinforces those influences. However, we can use our awareness to evolve. We can start by asking simply: How do I feel? Is it possible that humanity is good? Can we create a society that is decent? A moment of self-reflection has a dynamic and powerful influence on our day, one with social implications. Self-reflection is how we can transform society. Transforming society happens one person at a time, by our willingness to be kind to ourselves, and our willingness to be kind to one another. We are living in a culture where the words kindness and love seem futile. At this point it feels like aggression and greed are taking over, but recent events have awakened us to all kinds of realities, offering us an opportunity to ask: What kind of world are we creating? How are we regarding ourselves, and how are we regarding others? Are we worthy? The moment we ask these questions is a very important moment. It validates our own existence, but not necessarily in a self-centered or egotistical way. We feel more embodied, ready to engage. Feeling worthy allows us to be more magnanimous, and then feelings of kindness, love, and generosity come more easily. We have inherited quite a bit of wisdom, which is essential for how we are going to move forward. Throughout history, the great civilizations have been characterized by an inherent con- fidence: they feel good about themselves. In Tibet, we call this energy lungta, “windhorse.” It’s a sense of wanting to engage in life. It is equated with the sun rising, a sense of energy. We can all cultivate such confidence by learning to feel our goodness and reflecting on the worthiness of humanity. It is not that we have to be perfect. A society that honors a deep feeling of worthiness can accommodate mistakes, for love and kindness naturally extend from such awareness. A society that honors a deep feeling of mis- trust suppresses love and kindness, buying into anxiety and fear. Then, as the mistrust grows, animosity arises. To self-reflect, to feel worthy, to connect with human good- ness—these are brave things to do. Perhaps we can’t do it. A lot of us are fearful because we are not sure what is going to happen. So we’d rather just hunker down and ignore the mood of global despair. But there’s really no neutral stage. If we’re not engag- ing in progress or positivity, we’re participating in the negativity. The SOUL LAMA is back In 2008, Geshe Chongtul Rinpoche began the 3-year intensive Tibetan Bon soul healing course Tse Dup Yang Bod Tse Dup begins again in 2013 Details and upcoming teachings, visit: www.bonshenling.org/tsedup SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2012 14