March 18, 2011

This is “the Darkest Hour of the Dark Ages.”

In a good way.

Egypt. Bahrain. Libya. Japan. Murder & sexual assault at a Lululemon store. Last night, murder of 20-year-old innocent three blocks from my home.

“This is the darkest hour of the dark ages.Disease, famine and warfare are raging like the fierce north wind.The Buddha’s teaching has waned in strength.The various schools of the sangha are fighting amongst themselves with sectarian bitterness; and although the Buddha’s teaching was perfectly expounded and there have been many reliable teachings since then from other great gurus, yet they pursue intellectual speculations.The sacred mantra has strayed into Pon, and the yogis of tantra are losing the insight of meditationThey spend their whole time going through villages and performing little ceremonies for material gain.”

~ The opening lines of the Sadhana of Mahamudra, via Buddhist meditation teacher Chögyam Trungpa.

Lately, it seems, suffering is everywhere—even more than usual. Tragedies, both large and small, trouble our vulnerable hearts. One after the other. It’s in my news each morning. A few off the top of my head, lately:

> Egypt. Hugely inspiring, though traumatic, and not without tragedy.

> Japan: nuclear meltdown follows tsunami follows earthquake. And, yet, there’s no looting, as in many other countries at such times, and the people of Japan continue to inspire the world.

> Libya: bombing its own inspired, democracy-yearning citizens. And yet, hearteningly, the UN hast just threatened to intervene. Qudaffi promises cease-fire…we’ll see.

> Razing and repression in Bahrain.

> Tragedy at a Lululemon store, of all places.

And now, just last night, it was all brought home to my generally safe hometown by a gun-happy murder a few blocks from my house on St. Paddy’s Day.

I had a little bad dream last night at 2:30 am that someone trying to get into my home. This morning, on my way to work at a cafe, I biked around four cordoned-off blocks, only three blocks from my house. What’s going on, I asked? Lindsey, of elephant, said: someone was killed last night.

I clicked over to The Daily Camera. A 20 year old young man who had “loved life and lived it to the fullest” had been murdered after he and a young lady ran into a robbery in progress on St. Paddy’s day around 2 am..


So. These are dark times

As my Tibetan Buddhist tradition says, these are the darkest of the dark ages.

But not in a bad way, somehow.

As day follows night, dark times must provoke our renewed inspiration and commitment. Even 9/11 shook up many of us in benevolent ways—how many non-profits do we know that were inspired by that dark day?

This is a time, as Richard Freeman said years ago when I interviewed him, that’s simultaneously exciting and full of suffering, magical, speedy, deadly and sad, all at the same time.

It’s a time for everyday heroes to be of service to all sentient beings, helping us to wake up from our own daydreams and nightmares and deal with our own stress and pain and dedicate our every day to others, with joy.


A brief instant-message convo with Kasey Luber, of Big Happy Day, this morning:


and someone got killed at a lululemon this week!
the sky is falling

yah I wrote that up. Libya, Japan. Tough times.

it’s just one big bigcrappyday
more reason to spread light light light

yes. Inspiring in a weird way to work harder.
May we all be of benefit.

Yours in the Vision of Enlightened Society,

This is my weekly editor’s letter, an introduction to our Top 10 blogs of the week email newsletter—a great way to follow elephant without getting overwhelmed (as opposed to, say, twitter or Facebook, where we’re verrrrry active). ~ ed.

Read 11 Comments and Reply

Read 11 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Waylon Lewis  |  Contribution: 1,458,940