tibetan new year 2017:
year of the firebird
February 27, 2017 — Happy Tibetan New Year! Today, my Shambhala Buddhist community has been celebrating Losar, the lunar New Year according to Tibetan Astrology. Beginning the year of the firebird with a Solar Eclipse, we now have an epic opportunity to rouse our energies, no matter what we’re feeling, and to set intentions for the coming year. Today is a reset, a fresh start, when we can release anguish, forgive ourselves, and begin again.
The firebird is similar to the phoenix—a bird who regenerates and rises from the ashes of fiery destruction. In Tibetan Buddhism, the firebird is also known as the garuda, a mythological bird who represents outrageousness. This is a quality we might consider throughout the year. As Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche described:
Outrageousness is symbolized by the garuda, a legendary Tibetan bird who is traditionally referred to as the king of birds. The garuda hatches full-grown from its egg and soars into outer space, expanding and stretching its wings, beyond any limits. Likewise, having overcome hope and fear, the warrior of outrageous develops a sense of great freedom. So the state of mind of outrageousness is very vast. Your mind fathoms the whole of space. You go beyond any possibilities of holding back at all. You just go, and go, and go, completely expanding yourself, and like the garuda king, the warrior of outrageous finds nothing to obstruct his vast mind.
We can move beyond hope and fear as we face this time of great uncertainty and chaos. While many of us are struggling with fear, this chaos also presents an opportunity to rebuild our culture and society with the knowledge that our future is only limited by the vastness of our minds.
As we set our intentions for the coming year, we might consider that this is an epic moment of manifestation when we can bring our inner work back into the world, demonstrating magnanimity toward ourselves and each other. As we extend our generosity and kindness to our families and communities, we are creating concentric circles of enlightenment that begin with self-love and expand to include the whole world.
May we enter the new year as spiritual warriors—tender, dignified, and courageous.