Ray: Many people outside the Shambhala community will read your book Ruling Your World. Also, you mention in the book that there are Shambhalian Christians and Shambhalian Jews. When people from other religious or spiritual traditions encounter Shambhala, do they experience any tensions, and, if so, what are they?
Mipham: People sometimes don’t like organized situations. Sometimes people need to be left alone more. Sometimes people need environmental support.
Within our community, one of the things I try to encourage is the notion that we are a community in which everybody at the same time is somewhere along the path of life, and everyone still is doing their own thing.
A majority of people within our community are Buddhist. But the Shambhala vision respects all traditions and the ability for each individual to live a life built on basic goodness.
There are people who will say, “I feel like I have a solid spiritual practice in my Christianity that is good, and at the same time I like the principles of warriorship in Shambhala.” They try to mix the two.
It is very individual. You cannot dictate how people mix it.
So, when someone says to me, “There should be a lot more people who practice Shambhala and Christianity,” I say, “Well, it’s really up to them in terms of how they mix it.”
I also am very honest and clear in saying the tradition comes from a Buddhist tradition and approach, so people know what the source is.
My books definitely are ambassadors, as you called them earlier. They express what the vision is, what the purpose is.
For myself, it was interesting writing Ruling Your World, because I was writing the book for a broad audience to say what it is we do and how you can approach and utilize these teachings.
*Read about Sakyong Mipham and Shambhala Buddhism at his website, Mipham.com, and read this full interview at Hemachandra.com. I did the interview for New Age Retailer magazine.