The Shambhala community in Orange County has a uniqueness…

An interview with Shastri Marilyn Moore

shastri marilyn moore

Shastri Marilyn Moore

“In her recent visit to Southern California, Minister Jane Arthur pointed out that each of our centers has a unique flavor, a quality all its own. In that spirit, she shared that her experience of our Orange County community was a sense of family, a feeling that people truly enjoy being together both on and off the meditation cushion. From within our community, and to those visiting us for the first time, the sense that people support each other in both practice and in everyday life is palpable. Currently, we average twenty-five people at our open sittings. There are always a few who are new to meditation, and many who have been returning time and time again for years. ‘I no longer think about whether to come to meditation,’ one woman recently told me with a smile, ‘if it is Wednesday evening, where else would I want to be?’”

I certainly hope that you are able to participate…in these foundational elements of our enlightened society: the richness of nutrition, food, and communication as we connect with each other through conversation, and by strengthening our minds through the practice of meditation. ~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Harvest of Peace, 2013

“At our previous location at the Center for Living Peace in Irvine, we began a tradition of going out for food and drink after meditation on both Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Meditators were eager to discuss their practice and the Shambhala teachings as well as to “hang out” with like-minded people. There was a sense of mutually supporting and encouraging each other along the path. At our current location in Costa Mesa, we have continued this tradition by going out to lunch after every Sunday meditation. Everyone is invited to join in–especially newcomers. This sharing of food and conversation definitely contributes to the sense of family mentioned by Minister Arthur.”

”Our public meditation has always ended with a ‘reflection circle’— a safe space for people to express their understanding of the teachings and how these teachings apply to what is going on in their lives, their own unique paths, with the growing awareness gained by sitting on the cushion again and again. Each person can simply say their name and listen, or are welcome to participate. Even those who might at first be skeptical about the reflection circle often see their experience change when they hear the fearlessness, acceptance and non-judgmental welcoming that takes place here. And they, too, begin to experience the courage and inspiration to share themselves. I feel that each person’s contribution is like one facet of a jewel that shines brilliant and complete at the end of the circle – at the conclusion of sharing. When talking about Enlightened Society, the experience of this circle is often mentioned as someone’s first understanding of what that might mean.”

 

Real people. Real Lives.

When we as warriors of Shambhala maintain our loyalty to basic goodness, that becomes a foundation of how we can sustain ourselves, build community, and also help others.

~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Harvest of Peace 2016

“When people have connected with their own basic goodness, it seems to extend naturally into all aspects of their lives. One of our SMCLA members, CJ Amin, has been coming to meditation in OC for several years. He recently let me know that the following Wednesday was his birthday and he had invited some family members to celebrate by joining him for meditation that evening. I was very touched by this sweet gesture of wanting to join his birth family with his Shambhala family but didn’t expect that six people would show up. Brothers, sisters and father stayed through the sitting, the walking, the reading and reflection circle. Afterwards, his sister surprised us with delicious, homemade vegan chocolate chip cookies in the shape of CJ’s name. Munching on cookies, a large number of meditators lingered at the center for another hour of laughter and conversation.”

“This is just one of many stories that demonstrate that people feel a sense of belonging. The Sakyong has talked about how our Shambhala Centers are not just places for meditation. They are places for community, for gathering to share food and conversation, creating a culture of kindness. This is what we are experiencing in Orange County.”

 

Where are we going from here? An act of kindness…

Let us create a culture of kindness. In that moment, we are determining the outcome of the world. ~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche from The Shambhala Principle

“This quote by the Sakyong was the contemplation offered at our very first meditation session in Costa Mesa almost a year ago. Simply framed, it sits at the front desk as a constant reminder of what we are doing. It is happy “coincidence” that the current fund-raising efforts took on the theme of Everyday Kindness.”  

“After the recent Harvest of Peace celebration, our community members from Orange County were amazed and so grateful to discover that Shambhalians throughout the Los Angeles area were eager to help fund a much-needed larger space in OC. It definitely has helped them feel a part of the larger vision of the Great Eastern Sun.”

“When Minister Arthur visited us, she commented that OC Shambhala inhabits a very beautiful ‘box!’ It has been made elegant with the Rigden thangka, purple cushions, shrine and banners, but it is indeed a box — using shoji screens instead of walls. Still we are so grateful to have our own ‘box,’ our own space, where we can offer classes and programs. Over the past six years, many inspired warriors, drove fifty miles to Los Angeles to take classes and programs. Now, those very same people have become leaders of our OC community. It is an act of kindness to our entire community, as well as to new people who walk into our doors for the first time, to offer sufficient space for the teachings and instruction much closer to home.”

“But, with only one big room, when we do have a weekend Training Level, we have to cancel Sunday meditation, often reschedule other programs such as the Healing Circle, and rent a dance studio next door because there is no private place for interviews, staff meetings and discussion groups. Also, because there is no other choice, new people coming through the door for the first time on Sunday mornings are offered meditation instruction on the sidewalk in front. Though not ideal, our balmy California weather has made this workable — so far.”

“There already is an energized and vibrant community in Orange County. We need a proper space to grow– a place for families and children, a place where multiple programs can be held, a place to accommodate many more meditators in our shrine room and a large and welcoming community room. We have tilled the ground, planted the banner of basic goodness and now we are ready to radiate more fully the golden rays of the Great Eastern Sun.”

If you would like to volunteer or donate to our fund-raising campaign, contact la@shambhala.org or click here https://la.shambhala.org/donate