Dedication to Nelson Mandela

Sakyong begins practices for Nelson Mandela, invites Shambhala community to join.
Article originally published on the Shambhala Times (

The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, has begun practices for Nelson Mandela, the historic leader who spearheaded the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and inspired the transformation of his country into the “rainbow nation.”

The Sakyong has invited members of the Shambhala community to dedicate their individual or community practice to the commemoration of “Madiba,” the name by which Mr. Mandela is affectionately known and honored throughout South Africa. Individuals can dedicate the benefit of their personal practice to Madiba, his family and all those who are experiencing loss and mourning in the wake of the announcement of his death. They may also wish to contemplate the historic role that Madiba played and the impact of his life and message on the world. Shambhala Centers and groups may similarly dedicate their practice to Madiba. His photo may be placed on the shrine for the occasion; people could be invited to speak from their heart about what his life means to them; there could be readings from his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”; there could be individual and group contemplation of his role in bringing about the end of apartheid and the contribution he has made to a more just world order.

In a letter to Mr Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, the Sakyong has written: “The whole world watched as Madiba emerged from 27 years in prison, a free man. He had devoted himself single-mindedly to breaking the shackles of apartheid, which had held his country and its people in its grip for decades. Through his deep inner work, his personal struggle and his vision for what the world now calls “the rainbow nation,” he came to a powerful and unshakeable awareness of the human dignity inherent in all people. This was the conviction that fueled him. It inspired his followers, and even his opponents. As he said: ‘I have never yet met an enemy whom I did not try to turn into a friend.’ What made him a giant of history is that he tried to do that not only for himself, but for his entire nation. In this way, his life has been an inspiration for all humanity. I bow to his courage, love, and vision.”