Read an Excerpt
The Heart of the Buddha
Here is the really good news: We are intrinsically buddha, or intrinsically awake, and we are intrinsically good. Without exception, and without the need for analytical studies, we can say that we automatically have buddha within us. That is known as buddha-nature or bodhichitta, the heart of the Buddha.
Going Beyond Fear
True fearlessness is not the reduction of fear, but going beyond fear. Unfortunately, in the English language, we don’t have one word that means that. Fearlessness is the closest term, but by fearless we don’t mean “less fear,” but “beyond fear.” Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness. If we look into our fear, if we look beneath its veneer, the first thing we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness. Nervousness is cranking up, vibrating, all the time. When we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle. Sadness hits you in your heart, and your body produces a tear. Before you cry, there is a feeling in your chest and then, after that, you produce tears in your eyes. You are about to produce rain or a waterfall in your eyes, and you feel sad and lonely, and perhaps romantic at the same time. That is the first tip of fearlessness and the first sign of real warriorship. You might think that when you experience fearlessness you will hear the opening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or see a great explosion in the sky, but it doesn’t happen that way. In the Shambhala tradition, discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart.
The Warrior Is Not Afraid of Space
The coward lives in constant terror of space: Afraid of darkness because he can’t see anything, afraid of silence because he can’t hear anything. The setting-sun world teaches you to wear a suit of armor to protect yourself. But what are you protecting yourself from? Space. The challenge of warriorship is to step out of the cocoon, to step out into space, by being brave and at the same time gentle.
Bravery Invokes Magic
The best and only way to invoke drala, or magic, is by creating an atmosphere of bravery. The fundamental aspect of bravery is being without deception. Deception in this case is self-deception, doubting yourself. Usually if we say someone is brave, we mean that he is not afraid of any enemy or he is willing to die for a cause or he is never intimidated. The Shambhala understanding of bravery is quite different. Here bravery is the courage to be—to live in the world without any deception and with tremendous kindness and caring for others. You might wonder how this can bring magic into your life. The ordinary idea of magic is that you can conquer the elements, so that you can turn earth into fire or fire into water or ignore the law of gravity and fly. But true magic is the magic of reality, as it is: The earth of earth, the water of water—communicating with the elements so that, in some sense, they become one with you. When you develop bravery, you make a connection with the elemental quality of existence. Bravery begins to heighten your existence, that is, to bring out the brilliant and genuine qualities of your environment and of your being.