first time I met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche—this was in 1980 in Sikkim
during the funeral ceremonies for the Sixteenth Karmapa—he said
something that changed my life. Describing his and his students’ work to
establish Buddhism in the West, he said simply, “We’re thinking of the
next five hundred years.”
until then, my commitment to Buddhism, although deep and sincere, was
purely personal. Trungpa Rinpoche showed me a bigger view. Our task is
the development of genuine dharma in the modern world, and because these
are still early days, the seeds we plant now are vitally important.
course, a greater goal doesn’t mean we sacrifice the personal. A longer
time frame doesn’t mean we ignore the present. That never works. The
mission of the Shambhala Sun Foundation has always been to do both: to
create benefit now and to plant seeds of benefit for the future.
So in every issue of our magazines—the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma—our
first goal is to help people’s lives today. We work to offer the best
of Buddhist wisdom, powerful meditation techniques, beautiful writing
and art, and a hopeful vision of a more enlightened society. It’s
certainly not like we have all the answers and you don’t. We are all on
the same path, facing the same challenges, and when we select material
to publish, it’s because we find it so helpful in our own lives. And
what we find most helpful is genuine dharma.
is true now; it will be true in the future. That is why it is so
important to do everything we can to plant those all-important seeds of a
genuine, complete, and sustainable Buddhism in the modern world.
the Shambhala Sun Foundation, we try to do that in many ways. Through
our magazines, books, websites, and conferences, we work to support
practitioners, teachers, and Buddhist communities. We launched Buddhadharma
for committed Buddhists who want to deepen their practice, study, and
sense of community, and our mindfulness initiative for those who want a
meditation practice but not necessarily a new spiritual path. In the
last twenty years, the Sun
itself has grown from a small community-oriented newspaper to the
largest Buddhist magazine in the English language. But with your help,
we’ll do much more.
just had my sixty-first birthday. It’s odd, but for me, as for many of
my colleagues here at the Shambhala Sun Foundation, it feels like a time
to look forward, not back. This is a good time for us to stop and
consider what the Shambhala Sun Foundation can do in the next decade to
make the most effective contribution to the future of Buddhism in the
modern world. We’d like your help doing that.
are the challenges and possibilities for Buddhism in the coming
decades? What’s your opinion of what the Shambhala Sun Foundation is
doing now, and what can we do better, or more of? How can we support
your practice, your community, your teacher or teaching? How, together,
can we help plant the seeds of a genuine, complete, sustainable, and
effective Buddhism in the modern world?
are the questions we’re going to be asking in the coming months. We’ll
be asking ourselves and we’ll be asking you. This is a crucial time.
These coming years are precious. Let’s all work together to use them
—MELVIN McLEOD, Editor-in-Chief