Culture & Decorum
It is said that “Culture is the binding factor of a society, and reflects the embodiments of the Shambhala teachings in a community and a kingdom. Through shared rituals, symbols and experiences we become a people, give our children a rich sense of heritage, and invite others to share in celebration. This is how we invoke drala, infuse the community with authentic presence, and create an atmosphere that is conducive to practice and genuine communication.”
The decorum of Shambhala is a series of gestures and forms used to invoke wakefulness, to uplift ourselves, the environment, and therefore, other beings. All forms should be based on generosity, as well as put others at ease and create harmony with a bit of perky edge. It is essential that Shambhala forms always evolve and progress so as not to become a conventional system of rules. These forms should always serve as a setting within which the “jewel” of dharma can sparkle.”
The Shambhala community comes together in many ways – to practice, learn, serve others… and to celebrate! By joining spiritual practice with the practicalities, challenges and joys of everyday life, we aspire to create a society that expresses the dignity of human experience.
Over the years our community has adopted a tradition of celebrating the changes of the seasons. These are called “nyida” days from the Tibetan words nyima (sun) and dawa (moon), and they occur on or near the days of the equinoxes and solstices. Nyida days are family-oriented celebrations and occasions for local Shambhala communities to gather socially. We also celebrate the new year “losar”: based on the Tibetan calendar, referred to as Shambhala Day.
Nyida Days we celebrate:
- Shambhala Day – (Tibetan and Shambhala New Year)
- Shambhala Arts Day – (Spring Equinox)
- Midsummer’s Day – (Summer Solstice)
- Harvest of Peace – (Fall Equinox)
- Children’s Day – (Winter Solstice)
Shambhala Day marks the beginning of the New Year, and is the most important holiday of the Shambhala Mandala. 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.
Shambhala Day is a time for us to express the wealth and richness of our spiritual and cultural heritage through feasting, conviviality, and elegance. Many local Shambhala Centers plan activities throughout the week following the New Year’s Day. Each year, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche addresses the worldwide Shambhala Community through a phone hook-up with centers and groups in more than 25 countries around the world.
Shambhala Arts Day
Shambhala Arts Day, held near the spring equinox, brings together our community and friends to celebrate art forms and disciplines that embody the Dharma Art teachings of the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. These teachings encourage the creation and manifestation of art that wakes up the viewer as well as its maker to a sense of unconditional sacredness within the phenomenal world.
Midsummer Day is an opportunity for families and friends in Shambhala to enjoy summer fun together. The day might include picnics, swimming and boating, outdoor sports, and music and dance performances. It begins with a lhasang (a traditional offering of juniper smoke) that purifies the environment and empowers the space, the objects, and the beings within it by invoking awakened energy. Everyone is welcome to join in.
Harvest of Peace
Harvest of Peace, held around the time of the autumn equinox, is an opportunity for local communities to gather, hear teachings by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and celebrate the riches of our local cultures and heritage. The Sakyong addresses the international community through a live broadcast delivered through a telephone link with Shambhala Centers around the world.
Celebration of the winter solstice has its roots in many different cultures. The Shambhala community has drawn on traditional images associated with this time of year to create a distinctive and rich festival of our own. December 21st provides a special opportunity to express appreciation for and with our children. At a time when the weather begins to bear down upon us, we turn to family for celebration, creativity, and generosity. Because the solstice marks the time of year when the daylight has waned and the night is longest, light is a special characteristic of this holiday.