Bright Now in Retrospect

door Rianne Pelleboer

When the Sakyong published his latest book ‘The Shambhala Principle’ it was once again made clear in what direction we are heading. I read it, loved it but couldn’t stop myself from wondering: Is it really possible? Is enlightened society really possible? The Bright Now Festival hosted in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, at the end of September this year was one of the first big events exploring that question.

The festival was kickstarted by the Sakyong. Over 450 people gathered in the majestic Royal Tropical Institute. I entered through a big marble hall with breathtaking murals referring to the colonial history of the place. The building, the setting, it all seemed fitting for the event they were hosting. The Sakyong spoke while people in the audience, as well as many others from around the world, watched. Again he expressed his vision: Society, too, is basically good. No surprise there.

Over the next two days, hundreds of participants would be able to attend almost twenty talks or take part in any of the 47 workshops that were offered. A variety of subjects would make a connection between Shambhala vision and society. Mindfulness, education, psychology, health and economy were some of the leading subjects. Participants could learn new things, share their experience and experiment with new ideas. During lunch break there was room to explore some of the more ‘sexy’ activities like kyudo, dharma arts such as kado, miksang and poetry. For those who felt the need to sit back or socialize there was live music, a lounge and there was a park nearby for anyone who wanted to enjoy the weather, that seemed to be extraordinarily good for the time of year.

That Sunday when the festival was coming to an end, I could feel and see the excitement around me. Something had touched people. Many people who had nothing to do with Shambhala, who had never even heard of terms such as ‘Basic Goodness’, were already proclaiming it, doing it, making it happen. Many of them came to the festival and shared their experiences, shared their wisdom and motivated people to do the same.

After the Sakyong had left and people were making their way to the exit I found myself a seat on the marble stairs in front of the building. The sun was shining in my face and I smiled. A lady with half long grey hair and a purple shirt sat down next to me. We looked at each other and I asked: ‘And, did you like it?’ To which she replied that she had loved it. Not because she enjoyed the workshops all that much, not because the Sakyong had said something that flipped her world upside down, not because of anything in particular. It had made her smile because she had realized that so many people carry the same wish in their hearts, and with this fresh perspective she had realized that creating enlightened society really is possible

Deze blog is eerder gepubliceerd bij zijicollective.

Posted October 21, 2014 in: Harvest 2014