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Lions Roar : March 2013
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2013 11 A Magazine for Everyone THE BUDDHA WAS A very practical person. He wasn’t attached to labels, belief systems, or institu- tions. The very religion he founded was only a means to an end, a raft to be left behind when the other shore was reached. Beings suffer. All the Buddha cared about was helping them. Seven years ago, Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), visited the Shambhala Sun Foundation’s office in Halifax after doing Grand Rounds at the local hospital. What he talked about was something inspiring, practical, and very helpful. Perhaps historically so. It was a way to make the benefits of meditative practice univer- sally available. All spiritual traditions teach some form of mind- fulness practice, some way to cultivate presence, focus, openness, and heart. Yet mindfulness is not inherently religious. It is about expressing the best of who we are as human beings. It does not depend on any belief or philosophy. All it requires is our basic human ability to pay attention and care. That day Jon talked with us about the basic prin- ciples of MBSR and the broader mindfulness move- ment of which he is considered the founder. There were three, all beautifully conceived to remove barriers and make meditative practice as accepted, universal, and helpful as possible. Mindfulness was presented as: secular (available to all, regardless of belief ); evidence based (validated by personal experience and sound science); and beneficial to our lives right now (to our health, happiness, families, society, etc.). This conversation reinforced our own long-held belief that the presentation of mindfulness practice in a secular context could be a powerful force for personal and social transformation. It began a seven- year journey we called our Mindfulness Initiative. We started with extensive coverage of the mindful- ness movement in the Shambhala Sun, spearheaded by senior writer Barry Boyce. Barry and publisher Jim Gimian consulted with leading figures and orga- nizations about the best ways we could support the movement, and that resulted in the creation of a sep- arate new nonprofit, the Foundation for a Mindful Society. Today, in partnership with the Hemera Foun- dation, the FMS is the publisher of Mindful.org and of the new bimonthly magazine, Mindful, whose first issue appears in February with Barry Boyce as editor-in-chief. I couldn’t be more hopeful about Mindful, nor more appreciative of the hard work of the talented people that has gone into it. I think it is the right magazine at the right time. It will be helpful to many, many people. And while Mindful reports on all the great work being done in the emerging mindfulness field—the people, the practices, the science, and the benefits— the Shambhala Sun continues its mission to bring you the best of Buddhism today. The Shambhala Sun will continue to offer you teachings, practices, stories, koans, and art drawn from Buddhism’s rich 2,500-year history and feature the most vital teachers, writers, and thinkers of twenty- first-century Buddhism. From the arts and politics to psychology and relationships, the Shambhala Sun explores all the ways that Buddhist practice, insight, and tradition can benefit our lives and our society today. The intersection between dharma and mod- ern culture is rich, innovative, and exciting, and the Shambhala Sun is there. Finally, the Shambhala Sun Foundation pub- lishes Buddhadharma for committed Buddhists who want to deepen their practice and study. With the motto “Many Buddhists, One Buddhadharma,” it’s the meeting place for Buddhists of all traditions. Buddhadharma offers in-depth teachings, reviews, discussion, and news for anyone who wants to know more about Buddhist thought and practice. Who does not feel the world faces an uncertain future? Our hope lies in who we are—in recogniz- ing and cultivating the best of the human mind and heart. We can celebrate the different paths—their skill, their beauty, their depth—and recognize that in the end they take us to the same place: to who we truly are as human beings. That is the help we need. —ME LVIN MCLEOD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF PHOTOBYMEGUMIYOSHIDA