Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shambhala Warriors in the Nuclear Age

[image from google]

Are you looking for warriors
who can change the world?
Don't look where there are weapons.
Look at good folk
who are kind,
changing the world
from the inside out,
one heart, one family,
one community
at a time.

If you want peace in the world,
dont look where there are wars.
Men shooting each other
in the mud,
or lobbing bombs back and forth,
can never bring about peace.

And those "modern" weapons
they show us on tv,
that look like computer games,
little arrows tracking across the screen,
and no footage of the effect on the ground:
the bombed buildings, the rubble,
the bleeding humans and screaming children;
one might forget it isnt a computer game at all.
They're just trying to make us think it is
a bloodless massacre,
so we'll keep on supporting their war games,
agreeing to the pouring
of money into Defense
instead of health care, education
and feeding the hungry peoples
of the world.

I started off writing about taking heart
because, with life at the
very lip of the precipice,
with arsenal enough to blow us all away,
either deliberately or through accident
and chain reaction,
it is prophesied that
the Shambhala warriors will come
to dismantle those weapons
of mass destruction.
It is said they will
infiltrate the corridors of power
and face down corporate might,
corruption and greed.
That the time of the Shambhalas
and boddhisattvas
is at hand, spiritual warriors,
to turn weapons into ploughshares
that will till the hearts of men
until peace is harvested,
no longer only a wish, a prayer
or a concept.

I just watched a movie about war.
It looked insane, soldiers ordered
to climb up
out of trenches on command,
to run straight into machine gun fire,
young men on both sides falling into the mud,
a horrifying hell
commandeered by men in boardrooms
far away.
How can fighting and dying
by the millions,
how can hating over perceived differences
(for we are all human beings)
ever accomplish peace?

So now I am writing a different poem,
a real poem,
not about what my soul wishes,
that those Shambhala warriors,
armed with compassion and insight,
would come in strength and glory
to tip over the long oaken tables
in all those corporate boardrooms,
scatter all the maps of all the hot spots
on this planet,
pour the cool air of their wisdom
on all the throbbing,
fiery, painful
pustulating pockets of war
on this over-stressed and falling apart
but heartbreakingly beautiful

Is that any more far fetched than thinking
everybody fighting,
everybody warring,
everybody outraged and suffering
and starving and killing
can ever "protect our freedom"
or give us the peaceful world
we all say we want?

Tonight I am thinking
we need a Kindness Revolution.
We need to heal this wounded earth
from the inside out,
one heart, one family,
one neighborhood,
one community,
one bleeding clearcut mountainside
or contaminated river,
one trapped whale
or starving polar bear
one province or state,
one country
at a time.

There is an ideological war
that must be won
before we can dismantle
the weapons of war,
dismantle the barricades,
dismantle the  death grip          
of the dictators, the  fundamentalists
and the corrupt leaders
on the necks of their people.

Then we need to dismantle
the weapons of mass destruction.
Does anyone in power realize
"mass destruction" means them, too?
Is it not insanity to think anything can be won
by annihilating the entire earth?

It is hard to hold onto hope
when you read, and understand,
that dark forces have
a death grip on this planet
and refuse to let go.
I tell myself, when it comes to
dark  and light,
that a fire burns brighter
when you try to extinguish it,
and so, light must ultimately triumph.

But I'm not a total birdbrain.
I read about the nuclear power plants
where the technicians know putting the rods
closer together to save money is dangerous,
but are told to do it anyway
because Cost is all that matters.
I read about Cousteau's disgust
at what we are doing to our oceans:
drifting garbage,oil spills, sludge,
plutonium, the dying of the very plankton
that provides us with oxygen.

Are we seriously stupid enough to continue
until we smother ourselves?
Deforestation and desertification,
famine, global warming.
Is this depressing you
as much as it does me?

Under the bodhi tree,
the Buddha woke up.
Can this whole world wake up, now, please?
Gandhi spoke of "the uplift of all".
In Sri Lanka, Buddhist activists speak of
everyone "waking up by working together".
It can be done. It is Possible.

All of the ills of this world
are man-made.
The solutions, the Buddhist teachers say,
are mind-made
and can be mind-solved.

Compassion and insight are the potent weapons
the Shambhala warriors will arm themselves
with to face and hopefully wake up
those in the corridors of power.
No one said it would be easy.
But, tonight, I am convinced
it needs to happen Now.

My friends, what world
shall we dream into being together?
Let us all become Shambhala warriors.
Let us pass the pipe of peace,
open our eyes and our dreams and our vision
to the web of life
to which we are all connected.
With all of the sorrow, and hope and
love in our hearts,
let us help our planet heal.

[Choegyal  Rinpoche, Tibetan sage, describes the competing nationalisms of our time as 

"a thousand thorns sprouting, each waving its own flag."]

Note: In no way is this meant to criticize those who join the military and fulfill their duties with courage and honor.  I am speaking of the military industrial complex, meeting in boardrooms far from the theatre ,  which needs war to continue to keep their coffers full, and who direct young men into the horrors of combat, but who never suffer war themselves. My prayer is that the money now spent on war could be directed into making lives livable all over the earth. If we could direct our energies towards free and clean sources of natural energy, we could create jobs all over the planet, as well as beginning to right the imbalances the industrial age has caused.

Sigh.Heavy stuff over morning coffee. Stay tuned.


  1. couldnt agree more with your sentiments and the passionate outpouring.if you, despite your age can keep faith, perhaps it is silly for us to be cynical.but then again, nothing much seems to change for better.but I do hope you are a hundred times right.

  2. Oh yes, indeed. We DO need a kindness revolution. The best KIND of revolution one can imagine.

  3. Wars can't solve our problems but peace and conversations and kindness can.

    Thanks for sharing your insights ~

  4. An epic poem; extremely vivid throughout and engaging.

    Here is my entry:

  5. These words couldn't be more true. We need a different kind of revolution. The Beatles have always said: All you need is love. Love. Not war. All you need is love in a turbulent world. Really well written work =]

  6. My Dear Sherry, Woman of Similiar Sentiment ~
    Nothing can be added to the wisdom shared here, except we must each act as individuals to create global change.

    I know with heart and soul that my personal role is one of love. Repeatedly, I have been shown, told, reminded that my only job, only responsibility, is to love. I am not to judge, to lash out in anger, to convince, cajole, connive or extol. I AM to love.
    This should be simple. It is not. I have so many human compulsions to overcome.

    My prayer is that each of us, individually, can discern what our role is, what job is ours to do, and then do it to the best of our abilities. Then will the world change. And it will...

  7. Peace begins first in each of us and spreads to those in our circle...may peace join all of us in one world without war...a marvelous poem...Three Dog Night's song "On The Road to Shambala keeps playing in my head after reading this...Everyone is helpful,everyone is kind on the road to Shambala
    Everyone is lucky, everyone is so kind On the road to Shambala

  8. "to turn weapons into ploughshares
    that will till the hearts of men
    until peace is harvested," well said Sherry!

    Susie, thanks for the tune reminder. I knew I had heard of Shambala somewhere, sometime. :)


  9. As for changing the world. I think we begin with ourselves, are we sick, do we hate, can we love everyone? Those are probably the questions we should ask ourselves, we are part of the world and how can the world heal, if we are still sick. No we don't control "the world." But where is "the world" we live in? It is here, right here, with the ones we come in contact with.

  10. "Kindness Revolution" -Run don't walk! I'm in.


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!