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The bravery of the Great Eastern Sun indicates that the warrior has abruptly come to this conclusion: life is a forward-moving endeavor. Closing our eyes to this fact is like shutting them to oncoming traffic: we are simply afraid to deal with life’s immediacy and brilliance. The reason we maintain a regular meditation practice is to open our eyes and have forward vision. Once we have confidence in the basic nature of things, we are more immediate in our life.

Having the vision that engages life with forwardness does not mean we swallow virtue and nonvirtue indiscriminately. If we engage in nonvirtue because we think engaging in life with forward vision means doing what is right in front of us, that is incorrect. Engaging in nonvirtue is putting on the brakes and grinding our gears into reverse. Great Eastern Sun vision is based on engaging in virtue. We understand that virtue is synonymous with the word forward.

Forward is East; East is richness; richness is virtue. The words Great, Eastern, and Sun hold all the golden virtues. Virtue helps us move forward, whether it manifests outwardly as generosity, or inwardly as patience. In the tremendous heat of the sun, nonvirtue withers and melts.

The path of the warrior is paved with virtue, and what allows us to follow it is the spontaneous insight of the Great Eastern Sun. This “brings about the understanding of what should be avoided and cultivated,” said my father, Chögyam Trungpa, who introduced these teachings to the West, “from how to brew tea to how to preside over a nation.” In this way our mind is both pragmatic and visionary.

Thus the Great Eastern Sun shines and influences both the emotional and intellectual workings of the mind. Intellectually we engage in East. Emotionally we engage in Sun. Thus we become Great. Ultimately this visionary principle gives us tremendous energy­—a battery that does not need recharging.

This vision occurs for three reasons.

First, we are confident and free from aggression and the self-centered struggle. That allows us to have spontaneous insight, which demonstrates itself as bravery in the form of gentle and unwavering steadiness. We become like a tiger, tantalized by every blade of grass, and by the dewdrop on each blade. Because we are not preoccupied with our self-centered doubts, life feels strong and full of possibility.

Second, engaging in life as a visionary eradicates confusion. We are no longer imprisoned by petty mind and cowardice. Because we are not hiding behind the veils of vacillation, we are not confined by narrow vision. Therefore we know clearly where we are: in the lineage of warriorship.

Third, the combination of steadiness, fortitude, and gentleness; the absence of petty mind; and the knowledge of what to cultivate and what to discard, allow us to unite the world of heaven, the world of earth, and the world of humanity. From resting in the primordial space of basic goodness to relating to our domestic world, our intention and activity are united and synchronized. This synchronicity increases our confidence further.

The notion of uniting heaven, earth, and humanity directly correlates to being brave in mind, body, and livelihood. The vision that arises when we engage in bravery allows us to have mastery over our minds—which should be doubtless; our bodies—which should be unwavering; and our livelihood—which should be free of cowardice. In this way, the Great Eastern Sun shines over us, allowing us to be brave in every realm and rule over our world.

From our original ground of basic goodness, the Great Eastern Sun appears. With basic goodness in our heart, we have a fresh start. Because we understand our ancestral heritage from beginningless time, this vision arises, which is Great—we are in a perpetual state of inspiration. Thus the Eastern Sun shines, a result of both logic and heart, perpetually allowing us to be warriors with vision.

Originally published in the July 2011 issue of the Shambhala Sun. Click here to browse the entire issue online.

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