Amber Lotus Publishing is turning 30 this year. To celebrate, we thought we’d share a few stories from the people behind the scenes. Tim Campbell is our VP Director of Sales.
Thirty Years and Thirty One Words
Listen to what anyone says
as though it were the last words
of a father to his son.
Listen with that much compassion,
and you’ll never feel jealousy
or anger again.
This was the first quote* I ever chose for an Amber Lotus calendar, nearly 20 years ago. On the one hand, that means I can only speak to 20 of the 30 years of Amber Lotus’s history. On the other hand, the transformative power of that quote has never left my mind, and it has informed all my subsequent text choices. I use this quote as a guiding hand precisely because of the profound spiritual instruction that it offers in just 31 words. Reading this passage every day for one month can become the start of a revolution. Thanks to our beloved contributor, Jane English (Tao wall calendar), we refer to our calendars as a book you read one page per month. Through his modern-day interpreter Coleman Barks, Rumi also says, “Whenever someone asks what there is to do, light the candle in their hand.” Month by month our effort is to light that candle.
When drops of water fill a vase
it is neither the first drop that fills it
nor the last or any drop individually…
These verses from the famous Tibetan mind training text Wheel of Sharp Weapons describes the history of Amber Lotus. That history is continually made and remade drop by drop, action by action. Amber Lotus was founded in 1988 by western students of the Tibetan Lama Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche. While we are no longer focused exclusively on Tibetan Buddhist causes, we honor our origin with our efforts to practice Right Livelihood, which I interpret as doing the most good with the least harm. To that end, Amber Lotus has planted 750,000 trees since 2008, and we’re on our way to 1 million and beyond. I’m happy to say that Amber Lotus is carbon negative. Each year, the trees we have planted offset our carbon footprint more than 40 times. It doesn’t do to make too much of our present efforts, and it’s true to say we still have work to do in the environmental department. Internally, we are taking steps to become more and more paper-free.
As Amber Lotus enters its fourth decade, and I enter my sixth, we will strive to listen with compassion to our customers, authors, artists, reps, friends and each other, and to take mindful care of each drop we add to the vase that is our shared planet.
* Excerpt from “Dying” from The Hand of Poetry by Coleman Barks