Q&A with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

As a Tibetan Buddhist Sakyon Mipham Rinpoche leads the Shambhala: a worldwide network of meditation and retreat-centres. Shambhala-teaching is based on the principle that everybody is born with an enormous amount of goodness. His name, Sakyong, means ‘king’ or ‘protector of earth’. Rinpoche means ‘jewel’.
The Intelligent Optimist: You claim “human nature” and “human societies” are in principle good, amidst the unrest taking place from Europe to the Middle East. How do you reconcile your point of view with how many people view the world around us now?
Sakyon Mipham Rinpoche: ‘The disharmony we experience in the environment and the negativity we see in conflicts throughout the world are symptoms of a deeper issue. At a fundamental level, we are failing to recognize our own inherent goodness and worth. As a species on planet earth, our nature is dignity and strength. This is the core of who we are. When we forget this fact, we feel insecure. Anger arises, and we perpetuate a cycle of pain through harming others and ourselves. We ignore the environment and attempt to separate ourselves from society. In this way, remembering our intrinsic dignity is the most important issue of our time.
When we see that our nature is good and complete, we act with kindness and compassion. Then, we have the ability to appreciate others, and ourselves and we care for the environment. Imagine if this occurred on a global level.’

Rinpoche2
Photo courtesy of Breton Hoagland

TIO: If people are in principle good, how do we explain the desire for war and conflict? Similarly, how do we explain the desire to end war and conflict by violent means?
SR: ‘We will always make mistakes. And our differences will force us to grow strong together, which is a path fraught with difficulty. However, it is up to us to return to the focus of our lives—trust in our inherent kindness and strength. When we strip away the layers of our being, we find wisdom and vulnerability. Do we react by lashing out at the world? Or do we reach for the healthy relationships that make up a harmonious society?
It is much harder to build something than to tear it down. But we must take a long-term perspective. We should focus on creating the foundation of a stable and harmonious society for generations to come. How do we accomplish this? Through kindness, wisdom, and determination.’
TIO: How do you see the role of the media in reporting about what’s happening in the world, particularly in war zones?
SR: ‘Promoting awareness about suffering, despair, or inequality can be positive in that it allows for greater understanding, compassion, and hopefully action to occur. However, there must be reporting on human progress and triumphs as well.’
TIO: Can fundamental goodness be seen in the face of violence?
SR: ‘Every moment presents an opportunity to recognize the core of humanity—whether one is a bus driver, the president of a nation, or a murderer. In each instant, we can stop and reflect on who we are and what we are doing with our life. Even in the direst situations, when people are given the opportunity to discover their humanity, the possibility of it coming through can occur. By creating a global culture where humanity itself is respected, rather than simply our own agenda, we create a greater tendency for qualities such as empathy and wisdom to come about. The acts of aggression being experienced all over the world are not isolated occurrences. We all play a part in the health of our global community. We are in this together and we all have the opportunity to shift the degradation of our time to a stronger and brighter future.
I think this moment is an invitation for all of us to reflect on who we are and where we are headed as a species.’
Find out more about Rinpoche’s newest book: The Shambhala-Principle

Top photo by Christoph Schonherr

Solution News Source

Q&A with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

As a Tibetan Buddhist Sakyon Mipham Rinpoche leads the Shambhala: a worldwide network of meditation and retreat-centres. Shambhala-teaching is based on the principle that everybody is born with an enormous amount of goodness. His name, Sakyong, means ‘king’ or ‘protector of earth’. Rinpoche means ‘jewel’.
The Intelligent Optimist: You claim “human nature” and “human societies” are in principle good, amidst the unrest taking place from Europe to the Middle East. How do you reconcile your point of view with how many people view the world around us now?
Sakyon Mipham Rinpoche: ‘The disharmony we experience in the environment and the negativity we see in conflicts throughout the world are symptoms of a deeper issue. At a fundamental level, we are failing to recognize our own inherent goodness and worth. As a species on planet earth, our nature is dignity and strength. This is the core of who we are. When we forget this fact, we feel insecure. Anger arises, and we perpetuate a cycle of pain through harming others and ourselves. We ignore the environment and attempt to separate ourselves from society. In this way, remembering our intrinsic dignity is the most important issue of our time.
When we see that our nature is good and complete, we act with kindness and compassion. Then, we have the ability to appreciate others, and ourselves and we care for the environment. Imagine if this occurred on a global level.’

Rinpoche2
Photo courtesy of Breton Hoagland

TIO: If people are in principle good, how do we explain the desire for war and conflict? Similarly, how do we explain the desire to end war and conflict by violent means?
SR: ‘We will always make mistakes. And our differences will force us to grow strong together, which is a path fraught with difficulty. However, it is up to us to return to the focus of our lives—trust in our inherent kindness and strength. When we strip away the layers of our being, we find wisdom and vulnerability. Do we react by lashing out at the world? Or do we reach for the healthy relationships that make up a harmonious society?
It is much harder to build something than to tear it down. But we must take a long-term perspective. We should focus on creating the foundation of a stable and harmonious society for generations to come. How do we accomplish this? Through kindness, wisdom, and determination.’
TIO: How do you see the role of the media in reporting about what’s happening in the world, particularly in war zones?
SR: ‘Promoting awareness about suffering, despair, or inequality can be positive in that it allows for greater understanding, compassion, and hopefully action to occur. However, there must be reporting on human progress and triumphs as well.’
TIO: Can fundamental goodness be seen in the face of violence?
SR: ‘Every moment presents an opportunity to recognize the core of humanity—whether one is a bus driver, the president of a nation, or a murderer. In each instant, we can stop and reflect on who we are and what we are doing with our life. Even in the direst situations, when people are given the opportunity to discover their humanity, the possibility of it coming through can occur. By creating a global culture where humanity itself is respected, rather than simply our own agenda, we create a greater tendency for qualities such as empathy and wisdom to come about. The acts of aggression being experienced all over the world are not isolated occurrences. We all play a part in the health of our global community. We are in this together and we all have the opportunity to shift the degradation of our time to a stronger and brighter future.
I think this moment is an invitation for all of us to reflect on who we are and where we are headed as a species.’
Find out more about Rinpoche’s newest book: The Shambhala-Principle

Top photo by Christoph Schonherr

Solution News Source

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