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Lions Roar : November 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2012 72 While building enlightened society requires us to overcome passion, aggression, and ignorance, the means to do this also requires a realization of joy, that you are not in a dungeon or the Black Hole of Calcutta. You get so resentful when you feel that someone or something in your life has imprisoned you in that way. You can’t even hear or talk properly. When you talk, you stutter with anger. When you hear, you only hear the destructive side of the argument. So there is need for a sense of humor. It is impossible to over- come passion, aggression, and ignorance with a long face. We have to cheer up. When you begin to see yourself fully and thor- oughly, then you discover your sense of humor. It is not the same as telling bad jokes. Humor here is natural joy, the joy of reality. The Shambhala tradition is very closely connected with the principles and vision of Buddhism. At the same time, this approach provides us with a secular view of how we can actu- ally commit ourselves to a world that is true and genuine and good for us. There is something about human nature that is good, excellent, and cheerful. We are not particularly talking on a religious level. We are just talking about being human beings and cheering ourselves up. If we smile genuinely each day, that is jolly good. Having smiled already, then we can help the rest of society, the rest of the world. Enlightened society has genuine- ness, gentleness, and honesty, and on the whole, it comes with tremendous joy. When you help the rest of the world, you don’t have to be solemn. There is always something in the situation that can cheer you up, but you have to discover and understand it yourself. There is no point in me telling you how to cheer up. It is up to you to find the intrinsic cheerfulness that exists in you. You have to actually experience it. If somebody simply puts an idea in your head, it is not good enough. You can cheer yourself up much better than somebody talking you into something. As you learn to cheer up, you will also see the problems in our society, but you can’t immediately criticize them or do anything about them right away. You have to develop yourself first. Then you can begin to work with others. In the Shambhala tradition, we don’t jump the gun, so to speak. If you are going into battle, you don’t put on your suit of armor hastily before you sit on the toilet. First you sit on the toilet and make sure your system’s clear. Then you put on the suit of armor. It could be a big prob- lem if you do it the other way around. So in order to help society, you need to work on yourself first. In the Shambhala tradition we talk about becoming a warrior. “Warrior” here is the English translation of the Tibetan word pawo. Pa means “brave.” When you add wo, it means “he or she It is impossible to overcome passion, aggression, and ignorance with a long face. We have to cheer up.