Shambhala Leadership – A Call to Kindness

Ani Pema Chodron and President Barack Obama

West meets East: Ani Pema Chodron and President Barack Obama

Any kind of leadership rests on the current established culture of its community. And our community in Denver has been developing an exemplary Shambhala culture over the last decade, the refinement of a genuine culture of kindness. This is a good ground for Shambhala leadership to take root. The important strategy about establishing this type of culture is our willingness to simply show up for one another. And from there we can open even further.

An example of this was at the beginning of this Year of the Wood Horse (March 2, 2014 according to the Tibetan lunar calendar). We started off the year with a heartfelt, collective offering to the center of the Shambhala mandala of approximately $9,000, which included a $3,000 donation from SMCD’s fiscal reserves.

Presently, we are establishing our connection with more opportunities for kindness in the Vanguard of Shambhala: Leadership Intensive program. Since each participant is allied with a mentor, they have the opportunity to train with engaged leaders at the center. Here, leadership is an expression of kindness and our connection with the inexhaustible spirit of basic goodness.

During this year’s Shambhala Day address, the Sakyong addressed the nuances of this human expression:

Kindness indicates an intelligent community. When you are kind, it means you are observant of another. And as soon as you see another and you are kind, you notice what? How you are similar. As soon as human beings realize they are similar, what happens? The tendency to help occurs. And in the Shambhala vernacular, what is the tendency to help? It’s called success. An unkind community is an unintelligent community where we simply notice the faults, the deficiencies. Then we abstain, and soon we become isolated.

So we need to become a kind community — not just a bunch of individuals together trying to be nice, but people who have the lungta, the vulnerability, and the bravery to actually extend. The moment you notice somebody and extend kindness, that’s brave. When that happens between two people, a culture of kindness is instantly created.

~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Boulder, CO, Shambhala Day 2014

Link to the entire transcript: Part 1 and Part 2
Link to the video

Everyone is participating in our steps forward, and at times it may feel that we are stepping backwards, but our natural instinct moves us toward this warm-hearted intelligence. This is evident at the Shambhala Meditation Center of Denver, where we continue to practice powerful and kind community.