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Lions Roar : November 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2009 50 rinpoche presents is so helpful and relevant to these times. I find that his shambhala teachings, which are the core of this book, help us to open our hearts and to find real bravery, so that we can extend ourselves to others. this is based on being vulnerable yet strong. there is a great deal of strength in nonaggression, or peacefully abiding. this is what rinpoche means by being a sham- bhala warrior. I think it is something we all aspire to. as he invites us to do, let’s look honestly into ourselves, so that we can be fearless, gentle people. o ur subject matter is warriorship. anyone who is interested in hearing the truth, which in buddhism we call the dharma; anyone who is interested in finding out about him or herself; and anyone who is interested in practicing meditation is basically a warrior. many approaches to spirituality and to life in general are influenced by cowardice. If you are afraid of seeing yourself, you may use spirituality or religion as a way of looking at yourself with- out seeing anything about yourself at all. When people are embarrassed by themselves, there is no fearlessness involved. however, if someone is willing to look at himself or herself, to explore and practice wakefulness on the spot, he or she is a warrior. “Warrior” here is a translation of the tibetan word pawo. Pa means “brave,” and wo makes it “a person who is brave.” the warrior tradition we are discussing is a tradition of bravery. you might have the idea of a warrior as someone who wages war. but in this case, we are not talking about warriors as those who engage in warfare. Warriorship here refers to fundamental bravery and fearlessness. Warriorship is based on overcoming cowardice and our sense of being wounded. If we feel fundamentally wounded, we may be afraid that somebody is going to put stitches in us to heal our wound. or maybe we have already had the stitches put in, but we dare not let anyone take them out. the approach of the warrior is to face all those situations of fear or cowardice. the general goal of warriorship is to have no fear. but the ground of warriorship is fear itself. In order to be fearless, first we have to find out what fear is. Fear is nervousness; fear is anxiety; fear is a sense of inadequacy, a feeling that we may not be able to deal with the challenges of everyday life at all. We feel that life is overwhelming. People may use tranquilizers or yoga to suppress their fear: they just try to float through life. they may take occa- sional breaks to go to starbucks or the mall. We have all sorts of gimmicks and gadgets that we use in the hope that we might experience fearlessness simply by taking our minds off of our fear. Where does fear come from? It comes from basic bewilderment. Where does basic bewilder- ment come from? It comes from being unable to harmonize or synchronize mind and body. In the sitting practice of meditation, if you have a bad seat on the cushion, you are unable to syn- chronize your mind and body. you don’t have a sense of your place or your posture. this applies to the rest of life as well. When you don’t feel grounded or properly seated in your world, you cannot relate to your experience or to the rest of the world. * * *