Mingling our intentions with those of the Sakyong, as he conducts year-end practices on behalf of the entire community
by Walker Blaine
As Shambhalians conclude the year of the Wood Sheep with practice to overcome obstacles that may have accumulated over the past twelve months, the Sakyong is also concluding the year with a period of intensive practice. This is culminating this year with a three-day traditional puja, or ritual practice intensive, performed by the Sakyong at Marpa House in Boulder, Colorado with Lama Pema Gyaltsen and Lama Gyurme Dorje. Like the yearly mamo chants being conducted at all Shambhala Centers at this time, the Sakyong’s puja specifically focuses on reconnecting with the wisdom of enlightened activity in the environment and purifying and dispersing any confusion so that it does not carry forward from the past.
The Sakyong’s puja is part of an ongoing cycle of intensive practices he does for the community throughout the year. This cycle includes pujas for health and healing, enrichment, expansion, and overcoming obstacles. We can connect to these pujas through our personal practice, and through offerings and requests made at the pujas themselves. Our own involvement in heart and mind strengthens the community through mutually sharing the Sakyong’s inspiration and vision. The connections we make to the Sakyong’s practice cycle during the year form a parallel to the connections we make with him during retreats and service in the community.
While our personal end-of-year practice usually concentrates on overcoming our own obstacles, as well as those of our local center and Shambhala, the Sakyong’s practice is unique because of his position in the community. There is tremendous power whenever the central figure of a group performs an action on behalf of that group. The Sakyong is practicing for his own household as well as for the Shambhala lineage and community as a whole. It is like the rivers that flow down from a mountain, benefiting the valleys, plains, and oceans below. We can dedicate the merit from our personal practice in a “like-minded” way, having the intention that whatever the Sakyong’s aspirations are for Shambhala and the world, may our dedication further that aspiration leading up to Shambhala Day. Making dedications in this way allows our own aspirations to mingle in the flow of the Sakyong’s and helps lay further support for a good start to the coming year.
Walker Blaine is Master of Liturgies to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and a Herald of the Kalapa Court. He has studied and practiced the dharma in Shambhala for more than 30 years. Walker lives with his wife Patricia in Halifax, Nova Scotia.