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Lions Roar : November 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2009 55 The Path of the Warrior From 1976 to his death in 1987, the renowned tibetan buddhist teacher chögyam trungpa rinpoche devoted most of his time and effort to what he called the “shambhala teachings,” or “shambhala vision.” during his time in the West, trungpa rinpoche had become intensely aware of and touched by the suffering caused by discord, war, and materialism. he wanted to address these issues from a per- spective that was broader than the buddhist teachings alone and would reach an audience beyond committed buddhist practitioners. the body of teachings he presented was inspired by his understanding of the kingdom of shambhala, a society in central asian legend that he said was “governed by wise and compassionate rulers” and offered a model for an enlightened society. he introduced the shambhala teachings because he felt they were “what the world needs and what the world is starved for,” and reflected a kind of universal wisdom that could be found in traditions in many cultures. the shambhala teachings present a secular approach to the path of enlightenment, offering the insight of meditation practice to people of all spiritual paths, or none at all. Prac- ticed by those living and working in the world, the teach- ings place great emphasis on how our everyday experiences in the societal, and even political, world can provide a path to awakening. the ideal on the path of shambhala is warriorship, living in such a way that one bravely faces all that arises within oneself— most especially fear—and all that one encounters in the world. genuine bravery exposes our fundamental goodness, trungpa rinpoche taught. It transcends the aggressive approach of try- ing to make ourselves and our world into something other than what it is. the warrior discovers a fearlessness that is also gentle. trungpa rinpoche developed these teachings into a series of weekend programs of practice and study called shambhala training. some of the many talks he gave on the shambhala teachings were presented in the books Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior and great eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala. the newly published Smile at Fear: awakening the True heart of Bravery, excerpted here, completes the trilogy of these books. It focuses on how the shambhala warrior works with the fundamental dynamic of fear and fearlessness. the shambhala training program continues to be offered by shambhala International, under the direction of trungpa rinpoche’s son, sakyong mipham rinpoche, who has inte- grated the shambhala teachings with buddhism as the path of shambhala buddhism. ♦ sanskrit, buddhanature is tathagatagarbha, which means that the essence of the tathagatas, the buddhas who have already gone beyond, exists in us. We are fundamentally awake. We ourselves are already good. It’s not just a potential. It’s more than potential. of course, we will have hesitation again and again in believing that. you might think this goodness is just an old myth, another trick to cheer us up. but no! It is real and good. buddhanature exists in us, and because of that, we are here. your basic buddhanature brought you here. the heart of the matter, the technique that seems to be the only way to realize this, is the sitting practice of meditation. meditation is the key to seeing yourself as well as to seeing be- yond yourself. seeing yourself is the first aspect, discovering all sorts of terrible things going on in you. Facing the possibilities and the realities of that is not all that bad. If you begin to do that, you are being an honest person. then, beyond that, you have to have further vision. your honesty allows you to realize your goodness. you do possess buddha in your heart. ♦ From smile at Fear: awakening the true heart of bravery, by Chögyam Trungpa. © 2009 by Diana J. mukpo. reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications.