Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s Letter to Nelson Mandela’s Widow, Graca Machel

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I was very pleased to learn today that my teacher, Sakyong Mipham, has initiated practices in memory of Nelson Mandela and and wrote a beautiful letter to Madiba's widow, Graca Machel. The letter and update are here, via the Shambhala Times website. May the world know more and more bodhisattvas like Mandela in the 21st century and beyond. May all beings be free. Here's my favorite Mandela quote. What's Yours? "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies." (Note that a very similar quote about Anger is often falsely attributed to the Buddha.)

A Great Long-Form Interview with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

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I loved this hour long interview that Jonathan Fields recently did with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Long interviews like this are somewhat rare, and it allows the Sakyong to really get into some of the great themes of his new book The Shambhala Principle as well as for us to see a personal and intimate look at his life and teachings. I'm really excited to be on faculty for his teaching visit to NYC Nov 8-9!

The Shambhala Principle: WE Made This World, We Can Change It

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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has just published his fourth major book, The Shambhala Principle, and I've been lucky enough to spend a good deal of time reading and rereading my now-wrinkled advanced readers' copy over the past few months. I love it. It adds a needed volume to the growing canon of core Shambhala teachings available in print. It weaves together the view of contemplative practice  with a deeply societal message. (more…)

The Meaning of Contentment

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(follow Ethan on Facebook or Twitter) During my talk last night at the Shambhala Center of New York, we discussed the notion of how meditation and the Shambhala Buddhist teachings can affect our understanding of systems and culture. There is no escape from society; our practice eventually has to address cultural issues because our culture is literally sewn into the mind we encounter on the cushion. I even managed to work in a mention of the movie The Devil Wears Prada and actually made it relevant to this discussion of cultural and societal dharmic issues. So I was proud of that. :) (more…)

Captain America is Buddhist. But Who’s The Most Buddhist Superhero?

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(Follow Ethan on Facebook or Twitter) A few thought from the lighter side of everything… Apparent, Captain America is Buddhist. I saw The Avengers this week, which was about the best of what could be expected. Fluffy, superficial, and well-executed. The script writer in particular should be commended for taking multiple storylines that have absolute nothing to do with each other and somehow weaving them into a coherent and fun movie. It’s like an episode of the cooking show Iron Chef where the secret ingredients for each dish are Sea Urchin, Pickles, Limburger Cheese, Peach Sorbet, and Sriracha sauce. It was also possibly the most masculinized movie of all time (maximum SMASH, minimum Space), for which it should win some kind of Tantric Oscar.  (more…)

Every Muppet Needs To Go On Retreat!

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(Follow Ethan on Facebook or Twitter) OK, It's been a full year so far. The new book took a lot of work. Teaching is always a pleasure. It's been draining and exciting. Now I'm taking Kermit's lead and taking the next 9 days to deepen my practice. Partially, I have to, since I have certain practice requirements to attend annual group retreat with my teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche each year. As I discussed last night, having a teacher is a great thing, because they keep you honest and accountable for your practice. Partly, I want to go. My schedule will consist of two long meditation sessions each day, some shorter ones, a yoga practice, and reading. I will be leaving the social network behind. Retreat, especially a solitary one, is an amazing practice of self-care. I can't wait. Of course, if you haven't done a group intensive retreat, I'd start