What is Shambhala Day?

Happy New Year!

Shambhala Day marks the beginning of the lunar New Year, and is one of the most important traditions of Shambhala Buddhism.  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. This year Shambhala Day is on February 13th (just in time for some valentine’s day cookies!)

Shambhala Day is a time for us to express the wealth and richness of our spiritual and cultural heritage through practicing together, performing a Lasang (smoke offering) sharing food and drink, and the opportunity to watch a video address by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.  Every Shambhala Day, Sakyong Mipham addresses the worldwide Shambhala community via an online feed, which includes centers and groups from six continents and over thirty countries around the world.

One tradition is for every group and center to record a short 6 second video greeting. All the greetings are then compiled together, for everyone to watch.  You can see the greeting we recorded right here! Hopefully next year we can plan in advance more so that all of us can be included in the video.

Shambhala Day will begin at 10 am with a Lasang ceremony in our shrine room.  Lasang is a traditional Tibetan purification ceremony that is a key ritual in Shambhala culture.  You may remember the lasang from our opening ceremony. This ceremony is performed to dispel neuroses and confusion and to invoke uplifted energy to a particular place or gathering of warriors.  The ceremony consists of burning juniper, offering the rising smoke as a connection between heaven and earth, and reciting particular chants.

Following the Lasang, we will all practice the Shambhala Sadhana. In January 2011, toward the end of his year in retreat, the Kongma Sakyong composed the Shambhala Sadhana as a way to celebrate and strengthen our understanding of basic goodness and enlightened society. This remarkable practice also serves as a way to bind the Shambhala community in kinship, vision, loyalty, and delight.

We will have copies of both the Lasang chant and the Shambhala Sadhana available.

The practice will be followed by a potluck lunch. Every time our community has a potluck, it’s more and more glorious! There are many amazing cooks in our sangha and potlucks are always a real feast.

After lunch we will return to the shrine room to watch the Sakyong’s address to the Shambhala worldwide community and the video feed of all the other Shambhala centers.

We hope you all are able to join us for our celebration of Shambhala Day!

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