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The Shambhala Principle: Discovering Humanity's Hidden Treasure [Hardcover]

Sakyong Mipham
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 7 2013
One of Tibet's highest and most respected lamas elucidates for us the principles of Shambhala, or the path to happiness, set down by his legendary father, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Dear Reader,
We humans have come to a crossroads in our history: we can either destroy the world or create a good future. The Shambhala Principle offers the principle of basic goodness as a way of addressing the personal and social challenges that we face. Do we, as humans, have confidence in the basic goodness of humanity, as well as of society itself? As a Tibetan lama and spiritual leader, this strikes me as our most compelling global issue.

The book revolves around a dialogue with my father, the legendary Chögyam Trungpa. Whether his responses were direct or mystical, he continuously returned to the topics of basic goodness and enlightened society.  Not only did he show me how I could become confident in their existence through awareness and meditation, he also taught me how basic goodness is a socially viable standard that could stabilize and transform our world.

However, this book is not a memoir, or even a message. It is an invitation to readers to reflect on their own basic goodness and the basic goodness of society, and then contemplate the question, Can we rouse our energy and confidence to create a good world that is founded on this principle?

I encourage you to join me in this contemplation.
—Sakyong Mipham

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The Shambhala Principle: Discovering Humanity's Hidden Treasure + Turning the Mind Into an Ally + Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
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Review

“In this rich and touching book, Sakyong Mipham recounts his relationship with his father, Chögyam Trungpa, to illustrate his personal journey of discovering the Shambhala principle of basic goodness and enlightened society. His contemplation of humanity’s true nature invites us all to do the same: dig deep into our hearts and bring forth the jewel that will illuminate our own inherent worthiness and that of society—as well as the worthiness of the beautiful earth we inhabit.  This is the love that connects us all.
I hope everyone will join Sakyong Mipham in this global conversation. This is a pivotal book for our time.” —Pema Chödrön, author of When Things Fall Apart
 
"At a time when we can either destroy the world or create a good future, Sakyong Mipham proposes to use the power of goodness to solve our problems. In this surprising and inspiring book the author develops the view that humanity at the core is basically complete, good, and worthy. If you feel sometimes overwhelmed by the daily crimes and disasters, this is a healing book and a basis for hope, one that shows how basic goodness can begin to affect our homes, workplaces, hospitals, and schools, extending all the way to our economic and political systems." -- Lothar Schäfer, author of Infinite Potential: What Quantum Physics Reveals about How We Should Live
 
In The Shambhala Principle, Sakyong Mipham offers an inspiring vision of the fundamental wisdom, grace, and courage that resides in the heart of every human being. Rich in insight and practical detail, The Shambhala Principle is an indispensable guide to personal and societal transformation. It is at once a moving and deeply personal tribute to his father, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and a transmission of timeless principles presented in a manner uniquely suited to the challenges of the 21st century.” Eric Swanson – co-author of The Joy of Living and Open Heart, Open Mind

About the Author

SAKYONG MIPHAM is the head of the Shambhala lineage, which is grounded in the power of creating enlightened society in everyday life. With a unique blend of Eastern and Western perspectives, he teaches this way of social transformation throughout the world. In addition, he extends his vision to a number of humanitarian projects in Asia and the West. He is the author of the bestselling titles Running with the Mind of MeditationRuling Your World, and Turning the Mind into an Ally.
 
For more information, visit www.sakyong.com.


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5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for runners! Aug. 14 2014
Format:Paperback
Suprisingly simple and helpful. More about life and integration for contentment and joy than simply a self-help book.
Definately not just about running. More like a handbook for huma life planning
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5.0 out of 5 stars Age old wisdom in a new light :) June 24 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. Age old wisdom brought to new light. Thank you Sakyong, another treasure to add to your collection of dharma books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shambhala Principle June 8 2013
By Tepa
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent discussion of human nature and of how to build society based on recognizing the nature of all humans and of humanity to be basically worthy and good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  49 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Other-help is the best self-help May 21 2013
By Ira Abrams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Reading this book has given me the opportunity to examine some of the basic, subtle assumptions I make about others and the world we share, and in so doing to see options for living that aren't normally available to me. The Shambhala Principle targets the thinking behind the seemingly insignificant but ultimately life-controlling personal and social decisions we make throughout our days. Literally, after each chapter I find myself doing something differently--cleaning seemingly immovable piles of procrastinated work, having conversations that I thought were not possible, or taking action in situations in which I have long been stuck.

This book differs from self-help books because, while it is written in a straightforward style, it looks at things from the point of view of the Shambhala teachings which the author received from his father, a historically significant Tibetan Buddhist teacher. The premise of this perspective is a truth that is self-evident but rarely acknowledged in our culture--that things are basically good as they are. There are other books which make this point, of course, but I guess I am liking this one so much because of its focus on how the everyday decisions we make as individuals are actually the decisions that create the larger world. I will let others wax enthusiastic about saving the world, but I will say that the perspective put forward in this book rings true and points out a way to live one's life without ceaselessly fumbling with the twin snaps of self-doubt and self-promotion.

The book's format is delightful and appropriate to the importance attached to relationships and the elements of daily life. In each chapter the author reflects on a phrase or two spoken by his father--in once instance for example, he comes to see his father's invitation to a dinner party with "just you and me" as a teaching on how society is built of a web of one-on-one relationships. At the heart of this book is the notion of "ceremony"--which in another day might have been called ritual. In this perspective, ceremony conveys the idea that everything we do has a rippling significance, and the little things matter a lot. This is challenging but also quite exciting and brings the elusive possibility of making a difference in the world within our grasp.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Read May 7 2013
By Lodro - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is not just about meditation, like most Buddhist books I read. It's about how we can manifest our innate goodness and how that can have a positive impact on society. Sakyong Mipham has written a very intimate, personal book that also offers practical advice on how basic goodness can shift our culture in many positive ways. I particularly appreciated his chapters on health, education, the economy, and the environment as he has laid out in detail how the Shambhala principle can pragmatically help us help all beings. A great read; I highly recommend it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Manifesto for creating Enlightened Society Oct. 28 2013
By Timothy R.Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This text combines the intimate conversations of father and son/teacher and disciple with thirty years worth of contemplations on some of the key points transmitted. Shambhala Buddhism is a very unique manifestation of Tibetan wisdom teachings that have arisen in part, as a result of the Tibetan Diaspora and the Chinese invasion of Tibet. Chogyam Trungpa, the father, was deeply saddened but not ultimately discouraged by the near total destruction of a culture, a people and a vast and profound living wisdom tradition. As a child he had already become famous as a discoverer of sacred hidden treasure texts and had received several having to do with Shambhala and the mandate of creating enlightened society on this earth. As he escaped from Tibet, traveling over the Himalayas in the winter one step ahead of the Chinese, he again received Shambhala Terma (treasure teachings) and committed himself to this notion of creating a culture and social structure within which these precious teachings could flourish, spread and benefit the whole world. Beyond just "religion" or Yogic practices for cultivating individual enlightenment the Shambhala teachings are designed to bring about a social transformation based in this deceptively simple yet all encompassing principle of Basic Goodness.

Author, Sakyong (Earth-Protector) Mipham, the son, and the reincarnation of Mipham-the-Great of 19th centaury Tibet, also a channel for bringing Shambhala teachings into this world, muses in each chapter around a few simple words spoken to him directly by his father and then expands them to relate directly to our lives both as individuals and as a collective. In the chapter-Life is a Ceremony-for example he has us contemplate how our calendar, which originally had sacred meaning with a day set aside for family and one for spirituality has been almost totally co-opted by the predominant culture of materialism. "Within this system personal growth and spirituality are not priorities, because there is little room left in the calendar for examining the purpose of life and developing one's heart and mind. My father would always say 'Desire leads to more desire, it does not lead to satisfaction' what leads to satisfaction is appreciation."

As a psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher working in health care, the cancer field, and mental health, I am witness daily to tremendous suffering brought about by people’s deep doubts in their worthiness, and in their sense of belonging to something important, good and larger than themselves. The culture of materialism has sown deep doubts in humanities faith in their own goodness and potential and systematically cultivates a culture of inadequacy, fear, dissatisfaction, distraction and endless craving. I call these social mind viruses and The Shambhala Principle is a powerful and practical antidote to these viruses. I recommend it for your health and wellbeing and for the ultimate health and wellbeing of society at large for generations to come.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Insightful and Challenging May 15 2013
By Tamara - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book takes a deep look into our human society and the challenges that face our culture. Sakyong Mipham invites us to look at our lives and world from a different point of view; one of basic goodness. The Shambhala Principle offers us a choice and an opportunity to change the course of society; from one that is driven by fear, greed and aggression to a society that is based on the human qualities of kindness, generosity and trust. We are being asked to take part in a conversation regarding the future of our humanity. I am grateful for this invitation and this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can truly say my life has been bettered by reading this. July 9 2014
By Ryan J. Dejonghe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
500 words, are you kidding me? That’s the number of words I’m allowed to quote without needing special publisher permission. If I could, I’d quote for you most of chapters six, seven, eight, and eleven. I found those chapters the most profound and life changing. I’m not saying that lightly. Here’s one quote I put on Twitter while reading this book: “Every moment has its energy; either it will ride us, or we can ride it.”

Let’s start with some definitions. Shambhala is a word that means “source of happiness”. From my understanding, it was the area of Shangri-La, now obtainable through meditation. The author goes into much greater detail of this, some of which is abstract for folks like me, who come into this mostly uninitiated. The author’s title of Sakyong means to be “an earth protector, protecting the goodness by awakening other to it.” It is much like the Indian dharmaraja (dharma king), or the Chinese sheng huang (sage ruler). The author inherited the title from his father; this book describes much of that transition.

Now let’s get to the good stuff. “The principle of basic goodness is not particularly religious or secular. It is about how humanity at the core is complete, good, and worthy.” The author says THE SHAMBHALA PRINCIPLE moves “beyond the parameters of Buddhism” and goes to talk about supporting “the unique qualities of various traditions”. He says that everything boils down to this: “humanity is good, and good is the nature of society.”

It’s a lot to take in, but the process is a worthy endeavor. No matter your religious belief system, you have much to benefit from this book and its practices. Both Eastern and Western cultures are blended together to reveal the virtue of mankind. The author mentions Plato (virtue meaning humanity), Aristotle (virtue meaning “manifestation of the good”), Buddha (“Let whatever you are doing become your meditation, and your path will deepen”), and many others. The author states you become virtuous by “being mindful, feeling compassion, and exercising patience” which leads to “pleasure and lightness of mind.”

One of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s books comes to mind when the author states, “Appreciating where we are right now is a helpful antidote to depression.” That quote came spawned from the author’s father’s teaching of, “Be where you are and who you are. That’s how to cheer yourself up.” Furthermore, what I learned from another book called HARDWIRING HAPINESS was reflected in this statement by Mipham: “Even if it is only finding time to take a shower or to feel good that we made it to work after missing the bus, we need to find small victories in the day—and slow down enough to appreciate them.”

As with my review of THE FOUR AGREEMENTS, and as alluded to above, some thoughts may appear abstract to many. Such things include non-weaponed warriors with visions of the future and communicating through snapping fingers and touching chests. Also, the end-book applications to global economics and health were interesting, but a bit too far reaching for my understanding.

For what I gained from reading this, the value is immeasurable. Many ideas are gleaned from others; this is a nice crystallization that presents a new vision. My life is bettered for reading this.

Thanks to Harmony, Crown, and Random House for providing this book for me to review.

And one last quote, “The day does not have to be perfect in order for us to feel a sense of celebration.” Let us all go and enjoy our special day.
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