Ray: Rinpoche, what is your intention for the Shambhala community?
Mipham: Right now the main theme is how Shambhala can be relevant in terms of what is going on in the world. A lot of these centers started with people just getting together and meditating.
I think Shambhala can be a very strong force as a social example of how you can try to live a life balanced in terms of both the spiritual and the secular. Not all people will do it, but at least we can strive for everyone to do it. Then we can ask, “How do we as a culture find that balance?”
Having that balance adds to the ability of people to live together.
I think there is a tendency for people to become more isolated as they move along a spiritual path. With more development, people get more isolated. Also, as they have more wealth, they get more isolated.
Clearly, that can’t keep happening in the world today. We have to have greater integration, and the teachings of Shambhala can help.
It’s a challenge. Right now, people tend to want to sink back and say, “The world is too much, so there’s very little we can do about it.” So, with Shambhala, and prefacing this with the fact we all have flaws, I hope we can set good examples for how people should be trying to live their lives.
I do feel like we can make tangible shifts. Meditation and certain Buddhist principles, themes, and words — all these things are becoming much more commonplace and mainstream. They are becoming normal.
We are just at the beginning of all this work taking effect in terms of actually shifting what the world needs.
What we are trying to do, and what is my great wish and intention, is to make a base of compassion and to encourage people to work to shift the energy.