Welcome spring, welcome new beginnings – A Mesage from Lama Surya Das

Spring greetings from the fragrant hills overlooking Malibu, where we’ve just completed our annual spring Dzogchen Center’s weeklong Southern California retreat. The Franciscan mission-style Serra Retreat Center– built long ago on the burned out ruins of an original hilltop mansion here, called “The Castle of Emptiness”, created a perfect atmosphere of gentle quietude for our week of Dzogchen practice, sangha friendships old and new, and “koinonia” (spiritual communion and transformation). Their lovely meditation hall, complete with huge panoramic windows, coupled with vast ocean and mountain views, made skygazing meditations and prayerful devotions, along with daily mindful nature walks, all the more satisfying, especially in these tumultuous times. A new retreatant said she felt as if she’d “landed here at a retreat for angels.” Another told me, in a private guidance-interview: “I lived in a beautiful ice palace. This practice has really opened my heart, melted the frozenness, and almost ripped my guts out. I go home transformed and curious to see what’s next on this path.”

It was hard to beat the mid-March blizzard and get out of Boston by plane two weeks ago as I headed to Boulder, CO, where I was honored to give Naropa University’s Distinguished Lecture sponsored by the Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism. My visit allowed for time to visit with students and staff as well as teach a few classes. How wonderful to see so many avid young folks, and dedicated faculty and staff too. It was refreshing, inspiring, thought-provoking, and a bit challenging as well. Each and every Buddhist community is somewhat different. I finished my time in Boulder at Ken Wilber’s Integral Center, where our dedicated Boulder sangha held a day-long Saturday meditation retreat– the perfect way to end my stay!

This being my first travel in almost five months, unusual for me; it feels so good to be back in the saddle again. I’ve missed communing with my students and teaching actual meditation. And while my hip recuperation period is almost over, I’ll continue on with a bit more physical therapy and exercise, longevity practice, and chanting for a better world and more peace, harmony, mutual understanding, loving-kindness and cooperation. I hope to see ya in July for our next Dzogchen Center meditation retreat in Garrison, NY.

Welcome spring, welcome new beginnings!

With love and blessings,
Lama Surya Das

For more details about Lama Surya Das feel free to visit: https://lamasuryadasmarried.tumblr.com

Advertisements

Love Comes From Loving, Not From Outside

EJ valentine's day piece

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite times of year. The Tibetan New Year is also a favorite, and because the two often fall around the same time, I make a practice of reflecting upon New Year’s resolutions relating to my loved ones, and renewing my commitment to cultivating altruistic compassion and an unselfish open heart—the very essence of authentic love.

These resolutions encompass opening both my heart and mind; listening better; learning to forgive and love even those I dislike; and accepting and blessing the world, rather than fighting or feeing it. Through “co-meditating” with everything as it appears; through “inter-meditation” and interbeing with it—rather than against or apart from “it”—I am able to see through the illusion of separateness. I also remember those who may not feel included in this so-called day for lovers. As Zen Master Dogen says:
To study the Buddha Way is to be intimate with all things.” This is true love.

How can we love and accept others if we don’t have compassion and love for ourselves? Some say we are here in this world to learn and to evolve in consciousness and open our heart as wide as the world. If we are open to this panacean medicine, among life’s greatest lessons is how to love and to love well, and as Ram Dass often says—be love, in addition to giving and receiving it. The answer is learning how to breathe love in and breathe it out, giving and receiving both, while cultivating loving awareness in action. I believe love is the magic ingredient for happiness, growth, harmony and fulfillment.

Many people have asked me, “How would Buddha love?” The Buddha saw every being, human and otherwise, as fundamentally like himself, and was thus able to treat and love them in the way all beings should be treated. We call this infinitely benevolent, selfless love the invaluable bodhichitta or the awakened heart, the very spirit and soul of enlightenment. One can find this taught elegantly in the Loving-Kindness Sutra, in Shantideva’s classic, The Way of the Bodhisattva, and in Atisha’s, Seven Points of Mind-Training and Attitude Transformation.

Through the transformative magic of bodhichitta, each relationship and every single encounter can be a vehicle for meaningful spiritual connection. Buddha taught that this altruistic bodhichitta, or spiritual love, has four active arms, known as the Four Boundless Heartitudes, or the Four Faces of Compassion.

So how can we love Buddha-style? By practicing impartiality to all, freeing ourselves from excessive attachment or false hope and expectation, and accepting, tolerating, and forgiving those around us.

Buddhist love is based on recognizing our fundamental interconnectedness and understanding that all beings are like ourselves in wanting and needing happiness, safety, fulfillment, meaning and connection—and not wanting pain, suffering and misery. The Dalai Lama says, “If you want to be wisely selfish, care for others.” All the happiness and virtue in this world comes from selflessness and generosity; all the sorrow from egotism, selfishness, hatred and greed.

The essence of Buddhist relationship is to cultivate the cling-free relationship, enriched with both warm caring and impartial equanimity. It is essential in intimate relationships to communicate honestly, stay present, tell the truth of your experience using I-statements (rather than accusations and judgments), and honor the other enough to show up with an open heart-mind ready to really listen, feel, and mutually interconnect.

Heated passion becomes warm, empathic compassion when we bring it into the sacred path, when we recognize every moment in life as a possibility of awakening and intimately embrace whatever arises in our field of experience. In that sense, human love and sexual consummation are like the tip of the iceberg of divine love, an ecstatic intimation of eternity, a portal to infinite depths of the groundlessness and limitless space that transports us beyond our limited, egoic selves, to bliss and oneness with all that lives.

People often ask me how to find their “soul mate,” or even if I believe in such a concept. I think that rather than focusing on finding the perfect mate in this world, we would generally do better to work on refining and developing ourselves. Make yourself the “perfect” mate, without being too perfectionistic about it, and you will be a good mate with almost anyone. When your heart is pure, your life and the entire world is pure.

We all feel the desire to possess and be possessed, to love and be loved, to connect and be seen, embraced, and belong. However, I think that the most important thing in being together is the tenderness of a good heart. If our relationships aren’t nurturing the growth and development of goodness of heart, openness, generosity, authenticity and intimate connection, they are not serving us or furthering a better world.

I have learned that to truly love people I need to let them be, and to love, accept and appreciate them as they are—free of my projections, expectations and illusions. This is equally true for loving and accepting oneself. When I peer deeply enough into someone’s heart and see the baby Buddha or innocent, inner child their grandparents and parents cradled oh-so-lovingly in their arms—and how, in that way, that are just like me—who would I harm, fear, resent, put down, persecute or exploit?

I notice that children let go of anger and would rather be happy than right, unlike so many of us adults. Staying present in this very moment, through mindful awareness and paying attention to what is—rather than dwelling on the past or future, or on who I think I am or imagine others to be—helps free me from excess baggage, anxiety and neurosis. This opens me to true love, Buddha’s love, Christ’s love.

For more details about Lama Surya Das feel free to visit: http://www.surya.org/love-comes-from-loving-not-from-outside/

Newness-Awareness for a New Year

As I start to emerge from hip surgery fog of the last few weeks, I am overwhelmed and heartened by the outpouring of loving-kindness, compassion, caring and generosity shared by so many of you, my beloved community. I must admit, being out of it for several days was an interesting and fruitful sort of imposed vacation, although the circumstances weren’t ideal. But, as I’ve continued this personal health and healing retreat at home, by my tree-lined pond, I’ve had the time to reflect on many things, most importantly, the great gift of weakness and dependence—not an easy thing for someone of my age, a helper and caregiver (if not a caretaker), but invaluable as a “late” life lesson. I’m used to helping and being a strong and independent man! Helplessness is much harder to receive, to accept, to allow, to be with things as they are without much control or power of interference. One could almost live like this rather than against it!

Temporary feelings of imbalance and dependence have spurred a new-found level of gratitude and appreciation, for those around me as well as those who are similarly affected, and has forced me to let go in ways I never actually experienced as possible. Genuinely letting go and letting be, melting into the ground of being via surrender and acceptance, trust, vulnerability and openness: the essence of true inner freedom. For this, I am profoundly grateful.

I am also grateful for all of you; those who open my emails, attend my retreats, workshops, and dharma talks, as well as those who take the time to read my books and blogs, listen to my interviews and podcasts, and follow me on social media. While I have always said that my mission is transmission, maybe it’s really been simply to pay attention and maintain positive intention, and share with others how to do the same– because the amount and quality of attention we genuinely bring to bear here and now is what really counts. This is wisdom’s timeless, evergreen secret. Though you may feel far from it yourself, it is never far from you.

Many people are relieved to see this year come to an end, and look ahead to new-found resolve, turning over a new leaf, or even a fresh start. Yet some are simply dreading more of the same spilling over into a new year, fearing that nothing will change for the better because the forces of greed, hatred, intolerance and illusion are simply too entrenched. Many despair of being too ineffectual to make a difference in the face of our massive challenges. So I ask you, how can we each contribute toward building a more harmonious community and world? Let’s be the changes we wish to see in the world, and do something extraordinary by joining hands toward a less divided, more equitable and sustainable world that works for all.

Let’s start by considering how and when to forgive each other and ourselves for whatever missteps may have been made. It’s nearly impossible to move forward and meaningfully evolve if negative energies such as resentment and regrets are still holding us back, weighing one down like old, excess baggage. Gratitude brings in more of the natural good, positive and healing forces; forgiving lets you release what is not healthy. Forgive and remember; learn the lessons so it doesn’t happen again. If you don’t learn now, you might get left back and have to go through very similar experiences again until you do, and can move on.

May peace, wellness and buoyant newness-awareness be with you and your families as we enter a new year!

With love and blessings,

Lama Surya Das

For more details about Lama Surya Das feel free to visit: https://www.tumblr.com/search/lama%20surya%20divorce

Prayers for Belgium

1.jpg

Please open your heart and join me in sending loving thoughts and prayers to our brothers and sisters in Belgium as they try to navigate a path thru this hideous day.

We stand with you, we embrace you, we pray for peace in our troubled world.

Let peace begin with Lama Surya Das.

One Day Retreat – Make Me One with Everything

Date and Time – 16 April at 09:00–16:00 in CDT

Location – Highland Park Country Club
1201 Park Ave W, Highland Park, Illinois 60035

Ticket availablehttp://infinityfoundation.org/courses/spiritual-inquiry-practice/make-me-one-with-everything.aspx#register

1]
Lama Surya Das

Join Lama Surya Das, bestselling author and recipient of the 2003 Infinity Foundation Spirit Award, in his newest work from his most recent release “Make Me One with Everything: Buddhist Meditations to Awaken from the Illusion of Separation”.

Lama Surya Das is one of the most learned and respected Buddhist teachers in the West and he invites you to experience a remarkable integration of traditional and original inter-meditation practices that allow you to see through the illusion of separation. If you have ever felt ‘at one’ with something—your beloved or your child, a forest trail, or a favorite song—then you have experienced inter-meditation.

Open to all levels of meditators

Ram Dass & Lama Surya Das – What is the Way?

Watch Ram Dass and his longtime brother Lama Surya Das playfully explore the meaning of Sadhana (daily spiritual practice) in their lives. Join them from May 4-9th on the healing island of Maui for a transformational retreat, accompanied by daily yoga, chant, meditation and spiritual talks at an exotic beachfront paradise.

The How To of “Make Me One with Everything”

Date and Time
19 February – 21 February
19 February at 17:00 to 21 February at 15:00 in EST
Location
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
57 Interlaken Rd, Stockbridge, Massachusetts 01266

In these disconnected, plugged-in yet tuned-out times, this unity-yoga of converge-itation, inter-meditative interbeing– which Lama Surya calls co-meditation, or inter-meditation—The We Meditation, or We-ditation (not Me-ditation) is a simple joyful path to see thru the illusion of separation and experience meaningful connectedness and the renowned one-taste of tantric Mahamudra and Dzogchen, the natural Great Perfection.

These practical inter-meditations and tantric exercises open portals to oneness in nature, with others, with your higher deepest power, and beyond notions such as distraction and concentration or the conceptual separation between the sacred and the mundane.

“Everything can be meditated. It’s all grist for the mill, worthy of appreciation in its own way. Integrating the View, the bigger picture, the great perspective, with daily life is the Way, not seclusion or getting away from it all.” ― Lama Surya Das

For more details visit here – https://kripalu.org/presenters-programs/make-me-one-everything-buddhist-meditations-awaken-illusion-separation