Original sin takes one on the chin

Shambhala warrior philosophy

Train like an ancient warrior.

Today’s charm school break is sponsored by ancient Tibetan warriors.

In Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior, the Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa writes about the Tibetan concept of Shambhala and the importance of understanding your own basic goodness, so that you can in turn create peace and harmony in the world.

“When you experience the goodness of being alive,” Trungpa teaches, “you can respect who and what you are … Because we appreciate the world, we take better care of it and our fellow humans.”

There’s a basic assumption in his teachings that’s at the other end of the spectrum from that other religious concept of original sin. The Charm Marm loves reminding all the sweet chickadees in her class about original sin. The idea lurks on many pages of the Christian Charm Manual, including admonishments that the girls are members of the weaker sex, valuable only when pleasing others.

Instead, Trungpa keys into something much deeper. “When we feel that our lives are genuine and good,” he writes, “we do not have to deceive ourselves or other people. We can see our shortcomings without feeling guilty or inadequate, and at the same time, we can see our potential for extending goodness to others. We can tell the truth straightforwardly and be absolutely open, but steadfast at the same time.”

Trungpa emphasizes that this outlook provides the ground for helping yourself and others. He goes on in the book to teach more traits of the warrior, but a steady sense of one’s own goodness is at the core. He mentions a sudden whiff of fresh air or the clean feeling after a shower and says, “It is worthwhile to recognize and take advantage of these moments, because they are revealing basic nonaggression and freshness in our lives – basic goodness.”

Perhaps the Charm Marm would like to take a bubble bath now.


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