Shambhala Day Celebration

Last Sunday, about fifty of us gathered to celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Wood Horse.  As you can see in the pictures, we took to heart the Sakyong’s theme of food, conversation, and meditation.  After beginning the day with the Elixir of Life Sadhana, our Center Director Richard Does used his address to express appreciation for all the work sangha members do in their various volunteer roles.  I personally appreciated the conversational style and light touch in which he did this.  He could have easily given a brilliant dharma talk, but instead he created a heartfelt collective reflection on the many ways in which our care, time, and energy keeps the Center running.

We continued the conversation first in small groups and then in a big circle, contemplating the questions “How do you experience a culture of kindness in your daily life, including in your relationship to yourself?” and “How do you experience a culture of kindness in our Burlington Shambhala community?”

The Sakyong’s remarks and the I Ching reading for our Center (a summary of which is provided by Charlotte Brodie below) made for a perfect and auspicious context for these conversations.
































Summary of the I Ching reading:

Collective Force, a.k.a., “The Army”

* The forceful law of gravity and masses, effective throughout all the cosmos, is significantly effective among large masses of people as they focus the awesome strength of their Collective Force.

*  While it is necessary to organize and experience the Collective Force, we are warned not to use it for dangerous, warlike purposes unless there exists no other alternative.

*  This time of collective force requires great discipline, organization, and righteous aims.  Those in authority must have confidence in us, and we must gain support from the people around us as we continue in our endeavors.  This energy of mass support can be tapped now if we are communicating effectively and if our goals are in accordance with the sentiments of society.

*  Supportiveness and generosity toward others can accomplish the difficult task of uniting the masses.  People can now be most effectively led through education, generosity and leniency.  At the same time they must be inspired by a noble vision and impressed by firm principles.

*  Ultimately, in matters of our external relationships, we must always return to the center of our selves for orientation and processing.  This is a fine time to broaden our ideals to encompass larger goals– the goals of all mankind.  This will eventually strengthen our ability to call upon the Collective Force in dangerous times.  Concurrently, we will also hear the call of this force as it grows, changes and informs.

Because the I Ching had only one hexagram, it is considered static, for which the following admonition applies:

*  We are at a plateau in our development.  Before we can continue to progress, we must aquaint ourselves with the goals of humanity, for they, in fact, affect our own aims.  Profundity in human affairs affects the course of cosmic affairs, which are responsive and receptive.