Saturday is Shambhala Day, Losar, the Tibetan and Tibetan Buddhist New Year of the Iron Rabbit.
Happy New Year?
What’s that? Yup: it’s the Tibetan New Year, today, the year of the Iron Wabbit. Which means: less suffering. Last year was rough, transformative stuff. This year: clear skies.
I wrote a bunch of stuff here, but then it all got deleted somehow. So I’ll just say for the complete story on what the year of the Rabbit means for you, your health, family, happiness, career…click here.
...The Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. It is a time for negotiation. Don’t try to force issues, because if you do you will ultimately fail. To gain the greatest benefits from this time, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children. Make it a goal to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle, so you will be able to calmly deal with any problem that may arise.
Thank god…er, you know…that it’s finally the Buddhist New Year. Last year might have been transformative, but I wouldn’t want to have to live it over again—and I know much of the US feels the same way.
Click here for an address by Chogyam Trungpa from 1982, courtesy Chronicle Project. For 1984, click here. Click here for a Unborn, Unborn, a song I grew up singing as a Shambhala child. Click here for Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s 2006 talk.
Last year, I invited Congressman Polis. That was exciting [photos heah]. This year, an even greater guest (well, personally speaking) is coming—my papa, David Lewis, a journalist, editor, and supreme fan of the Beatles, baseball and opera.
What it is: Shambhala Day, more commonly known as Losar or the Tibetan New Year. A day so sweet by any other name: thousands of American Buddhists gathered, meditated, chanted in the New Year, celebrated, danced…the usual for any New Year, really. To grock the deeper meaning behind the year, check out my teacher Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s talk.
More: “Shambhala Day is a time for us to express the wealth and richness of our spiritual and cultural heritage through feasting, conviviality, and elegance. Many local Shambhala Centers plan activities throughout the week following the New Year’s Day. Each year, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche addresses the worldwide Shambhala Community through a phone hook-up with centres and groups in more than 25 countries around the world.”
More: Every year since I was a child, New Year’s Eve was special, but little more than a lead up to Shambhala Day, when my American Buddhist community gathered, pulled our “Sunday best” out of storage, meditated, chanted, burned damp juniper in a sort of purification blessing and drala-magnetizing ritual, danced in a full-on fancy British-style Ball, listened to an international Dharma address by our guru (with funny commentary preceding by our own resident comedian, Marty Janowitz), attended brunches at households all over whatever town I happened to live in…it was a full, special, helpful week of celebrations.
Shambhala Day marks the beginning of the New Year, and is the most important holiday of the Shambhala Mandala. Based on the traditional Tibetan new year’s celebration of Losar, the day is calculated astrologically according to the Tibetan lunar calendar, and changes every year to coincide with the annual lunar cycles.
Much more: an old Shambhala Day talk by Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche:
For old times’ sake, here’s Trungpa Rinpoche’s 1984 talk. Remember specifics about the year may not apply, but the general spirit was so touching I had to put this in. Again, courtesy the Chronicle Project, a site worth supporting (it’s working to preserve history and teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche in the West:
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche: Cheerful Shambhala Day.
Students: Cheerful Shambhala Day Sir.
CTR: It is a great pleasure for me to talk to you all. Not only in this room alone, but overseas and students of Vajradhatu. I hope that we all will have good time and good year, particularly good practice. We had a very positive year, and no doubt we will have also positive year in this year.
It is particularly year for us to develop sense of humor. Particularly it is year for [us to] express non-theism, and no doubt that it is year for further cheering up. It is year of experiencing interesting gap in our lives. Some people might feel that there is a sense of loss, confusion, and some people might experience year of making decisions of our lives. But we shouldn’t be afraid of those problems.
The reality, strangely enough, has four legs and it’s hairy [laughter]. Occasionally it has two wings. Sometimes it is ornamented with two horns. Life is not all that bad. It has enormous cheerful possibilities. Wherever you are, you will find great smile. One never knows who is smiling, or for that matter, what we are smiling for. In short, please make sure that there is no frivolity, and make your decisions [in] accordance with the practice of meditation, and with sense of humor. This is year of making decisions: economic, social, education, and so forth.
As far as the Vajradhatu is concerned, we are grown up, growing further. We are learning more. We have learned from both mistakes and wisdom. It is year for us to not panic, and develop sense of humor.
I am very pleased with all the students — how much exertion they put in their practice, and effort. It will cause longevity for me, and therefore I would like to thank all of you. But let us continue, let us go on. Let us expand. Cheerful Shambhala Day to all of you with lots of love. Let us play together.
Thank all of you. Please enjoy today, and rest of the year. Don’t give up. Continue. Thank you.
© 2008 Diana J. Mukpo
By this merit
May all attain peace
May it defeat the enemy, mistaken thinking and harmful actions
From the stormy waves of being born, aging and dying
From the ocean of suffering and confusion may it be of benefit!