Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

The Shambhala Warriors' Weapons

--by Dugu Choegyal (Jun 03, 2013)

There comes a time when all life on Earth is in danger. Great barbarian powers have arisen.

Although these powers spend their wealth in preparations to annihilate one another, they have much in common: weapons of unfathomable destructive power, and technologies that lay waste our world. In this era, when the future of sentient life hangs by the frailest of threads, the Shambhala warriors appear.

The warriors have no home. They move on the terrain of the barbarian powers. Great courage is required, both moral and physical, for they must go into the heart of the barbarian powers to dismantle their weapons, into the places where the weapons are created, into the corridors of power where decisions are made.

The Shambhala warriors are armed only with the weapons of compassion and insight. Both are necessary. Compassion gives them the energy to move forward, not to be afraid of the pain of the world. Fueled by compassion, warriors engage with the world, step forward and act. But by itself compassion burns with too much passion and exhausts us, so the second weapon is needed -- insight into the interdependence of all phenomena.

With that wisdom we see that the battle is not between "good guys" and "bad guys," because the line between good and evil runs through every human heart. And with insight into our profound interrelatedness, we discern right action, knowing that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what can be measure or discerned.

Together these two weapons sustain the warriors: the recognition and experience of our pain for the world and the recognition and experience of our radical interconnectedness with all life.

-Adapted from Dugu Choegyal, as recounted by Joanna Macy

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On May 31, 2013 T wrote:

At first sight, the author's extraordinarily civilized  weapons, compassion and insight, seem pathetically frail, laughably so, seen from the perspective of the barbarian powers. Those powers do not claim to be barbarian as such. They do not see themselves as malevolent and more often than not claim that their point of view is that of reality, of the inherent competitiveness of life itself. Although they have assimilated the concept of evolution, they think in terms of 'mechanical' darwinian evolution only and do not see that further evolution on this planet will be determined by man's conscious evolution. Even faced with the announced planetary disaster they will affirm, with a very  strange sort of faith, that life on earth will go on and that man's inventiveness alone is capable to work out miracles. This view point, although it manifests some spirit, is limited and geared to short term  action. These barbarian powers are not only found in the elites but also in the great number of so called simple people who rather thoughtlessly share these views. So at first sight it would seem that civilisation, in the highest sense, stands defeated.
 On second thought I think of the tremendous impact a few very determined spiritual activists have had in olden and  recent times and also in the present time, if one considers the Dalai Lama's extraordinary moral and spiritual combat, fought with the apparently frail weapons of compassion and insight. The key, I believe, is for such activists to be free of either hope or despair.   

On May 31, 2013 Conrad P Pritscher wrote:

I do not know how I relate to the interplay of compassion and insight into the interrelatedness of all phenomena.  I do not know how I process the notion of both good and bad existing in my heart.  The only story I can share at this moment about when compassion and insight balanced each other in my life is this moment as I write this.  I find "not knowing" to be very helpful in my life it to find balance in all matters.  It is easier for me to find balance when I cherish not knowing.. If I knew, it probably could be said, and I am a firm believer in Lao-tzu's notion that the way that can be said is not the way.  It is interesting for me to notice that the notion of good and bad is probably different from spontaneous un- notions (actions) of good and bad.  I am reminded that "we can know what is good and what is not good, and we do not need others to tell us these things." Thanks for the opportunity to respond.  Warm and kind regards to everyone.

On May 31, 2013 amy wrote:

Seed question:
1 ~ I struggle with heightened/ hyper awareness of people and feelings around me.  I have the tendency to feel other people's pain and can sometimes hear what people do not say (real or imagined).  My compassion is rooted in what I "perceptive" (right or wrong).  Insight and wisdom balance me out.  Too much compassion can consume a person.   Knowledge keeps us from unhealthy imbalance.  Moderation in compassion (like all things) key.

2 ~ Both good and bad exist in hearts of ALL God created.  This is a good thing in that . . .  NO person can boast (either thinking/saying they are better/more pure than another).  We are all in this life boat together!  I am thankful, I know One who saves  . . . Heaven just a prayer away.    
3 ~ My dad would often quote, "God helps those who help themselves".  Dad's insight helped me to help myself that I may help others help themselves.

Thankful for you . . . lfm  

On Jun 1, 2013 david doane wrote:

 Such a wonderful story about and for this time in history, when all life is hanging by frail threads.  My understanding is that compassion and the right action are necessary to save life.  What the author calls insight I think of as part of compassion, that is, compassion is a deep genuine caring based on knowing that we are all one, all interrelated and interdependent, and fueled by compassion it is necessary that "warriors" courageously step forward and put compassion into compassionate action, speaking and doing what promotes life.  Both compassion and right action are needed.  Either by itself falls short.  I believe that what we call good and bad exists in every heart -- good and bad are also one, interrelated and interdependent, and we try to separate from what we call bad both within us and among us, and then call what we pretend to have separated from bad and enemy.  Again, it is important for us to realize that we are one, even the parts of ourselves and other people that we don't like, and get to know those parts and people rather than try to deny and destroy them.  They are us.  As someone said, "there's something about that guy I just can't stand in myself."  A mentor once told me, "I look across the room and see me."  I know that, I have some of that compassion -- what I'm short on is stories to share of when I put it into action.

On Jun 5, 2013 swara wrote:

 I am really trying to understand what is Compassion?

On Jun 6, 2013 Conrad P. Pritscher wrote:

 Dear Swara,
An easy way to see compassion is to notice it as being kind to others and yourself.  It is like treating others and yourself the way you would like to be treated considering the long term and short term.  it is much like love.Warm and kind regards.


On Jun 6, 2013 Thierry wrote:

I hear your question which is mine as well. It has been with me from the time I stumbled upon a truly intelligent and compassionate being, a great being. To such a man compassion means passion for all. As the word 'passion' implies, it is not something meek at all but something rather fierce like a fire within.  It has great inner strength and endures in the face of tremendous adversity. And through such a being you see  compassion walking hand in hand with intelligence, an intelligence far beyond the personal, an intelligence that perceives the cause of  suffering, that has insight into the very root of problems and is tremendously creative .   

On Jun 6, 2013 j wrote:


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