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

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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/

Prayers for Belgium

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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

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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

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

The Gift of Self Compassion By Lama Surya Das

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How to Go Beyond Mindfulness

These are not easy times. Nor should they be, necessarily. Yet, is this to be merely the winter of our discontent, or shall we gather our wits and best selves and strive together to do something meaningful and effective about it –with local (US) election cycles impending while environmental degradation threatens and fear of violence hounds us at home and abroad.

Life isn’t easy, as Buddha himself said way back then and still gently reminds us. I’m not sure it’s worse now than ever before, as some people like to say. In fact, I find it’s not that hard to notice the plenitude of miracles not to mention progress around us, visible to the discerning iye, and I’m grateful and even reverent before it and all to those who’ve worked hard to contribute to that. May we all join skilled hands and altruistic hearts in furthering that e-motion.

When people write me of their struggles to lead a more fulfilled life, I often see that many are very hard on themselves, prompting me to remind them to lighten up, enlighten up a little and give themselves a break. Self-compassion is an important part of cultivating lovingkindness and warm empathic compassion which feels what others are feeling and resonates with them.

When you learn to better love and accept yourself, the world follows suit; this is ancient, timeless wisdom. So much is subjective. But don’t take my word for it–check it out.

Most of us strive to do the best we can amidst life’s inevitable challenges, obstacles, and surprises. If you are in this seat, remember to pay homage to the Buddha sitting in your seat: please don’t overlook her!

American Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, spiritual heroes, truth-seekers and sojourners: Throw off your chains, your hang-ups and neurosis. Open those great big eyes, blue as an orange. Let’s occupy the best of spirit, and not leave it to the upper one per cent. Today is our day. This is our world.
Who’s ready?
With love & blessings,

Intermeditation – Lama Surya Das (Part 1 of 3)

Learn why the Dali Lama stresses this Buddhist teaching and these meditations above all other. Lama Surya Das shares the art of “inter-meditating” and two powerful Tonglen meditations from his book “Make Me One with Everything” and shows how we can we transcend the mundane into the sacred. Learn how to inter-meditate and see the world through someone else’s eyes. For more details visit here – http://www.fireitupwithcj.com/bodhichitta-tonglen-meditations-with-lama-surya-das/