Inner Confidence, Outer Effectiveness

A Salon on Climate Change and Society,
Boulder Shambhala Center (September 26, 2015)

With Ms. Irene Woodard and Marty Janowitz

Background on the Eco-Forum

For many years members of the Shambhala community have stepped forward individually, within our local communities (both Shambhala and beyond) and through a host of international initiatives, all seeking to improve environmental health and sustainability. There have been formal initiatives such as the Shambhala Touching the Earth Working Group and many campaigns around climate, energy, forestry, healthy communities and…..beyond. We know that our Shambhala teachings and values emphasize efforts to benefit our world – in the environmental context reflecting a personal and collective sense of love and responsibility for the wellbeing of global humanity and for nature itself. We also understand that the paths of personal and social/environmental transformation are inextricably intertwined, a point that the Sakyong has been stressing in his current teachings on compassionate action arising from the Shambhala Principle of basic goodness.

In May, a group of 7 Shambhala practitioners met in Washington DC, joining a broader group of Buddhists from a variety of traditions and lineages at the first White House Buddhist Leadership Conference. At the White House the group of more than 100 attendees had a unique opportunity to be briefed and to be in dialogue with White House and State Department staff interested in finding Buddhist allies to work on issues of climate change, racial justice, and peacebuilding. Following the event the conversations and relationship building have continued. A few of us decided it was time to convene a broader conversation within Shambhala around ecological pathways and collective action. We think this is a potent moment, when the challenge of climate change is coming to a pivotal point at the December UN Climate Summit in Paris and a number of related ecological and social threats are at perilous levels.

On September 26, the inaugural online Eco-Forum was hosted by Acharya Marty Janowitz, Ms. Irene Woodard and the Boulder Shambhala Center’s Salon on Climate Change and Society. Remarks around the theme of “Exploring the View, Practice and Action of Warrior Eco-Activism” were made in hopes of stimulating discussion that explores our interest, readiness and approach to launching an ongoing Shambhala eco-initiative. This was the first of a periodic series of online seminars, workshops and discussions that will energize discussion and more importantly, action.