In these days of bitter partisan politics and a war on terror, which is itself a bit terrifying; I feel greatly inspired by spiritual activists such as Aung San Su Kyii of Burma, the Dalai Lama of Tibet, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai of Kenya, whom I had the privilege of joining on a September 11 panel at a church in Harvard Square a few years back. These are individuals we could do well to learn more about and hear more from.
Like Nelson Mandela said in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, I think...
One day The Dalai Lama was invited to Yale University. That evening, the formal hosts’ pedagogues all went to get him. After knocking on the Nobel Laureates door, they were greeted by a man in maroon lama robes wearing a Groucho Marx mask: eyeglasses, nose and moustache. It was His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet himself, having a bit of fun. A jolly lama, indeed.
This is a true story.
I think we often take religion, and ourselves, far too seriously. Life ain’t much fun if we take ourselves too seriously, is it? The sacred realm is not meant to be a grim affair...
I was very moved by the recent new film "Hotel Rwanda", about the genocide
of the Tutsi people ten years ago while the world stood aside. I recommend
this new film to you. It follows along with other Downtown Lama pics
including "Dead Man Walking" and "Schindler’s List", fine examples of art
that raises social conscience and consciousness and can move us to
However, I am tired of seeing these things a decade after the fact. When
can we see something like this while it is happening, given our modern
Six Steps to Anger Management
Instead of reacting with rage, Buddhist teacher Lama Surya Das says to take a sacred pause and transform your life.
By Lama Surya Das
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Excerpted from "Buddha Is As Buddha Does; The Ten Original Practices for Enlightened Living," (HarperSanFrancisco, 2007). Reprinted with permission.
Patience means not retaliating with anger for anger, or harm for harm, and voluntarily bearing up under difficulties in order to progress on the path of spiritual awakening. How do we actually do this? How do we slow down our conditioned,...
A Little Song of Self-Inquiry
What is the most important question for our time?
(Einstein said it was, in his:
Is this a friendly universe or not?)
My childhood Jeff Lowe, whom we called Coconut due to the feeling of hollowness inside his skull, in fifth grade transmitted to me my first Zen koan (existential conundrum), which I have never really satisfactorily answered:
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
What is authenticity, really, and what is true and real?
What do I really want and need?
Am I lacking anything?
Numbers don’t lie, people do.
Pictures don’t lie, those using them do.
The problem is that our perceptions and interpretations
Who knows the truth?
It is the mind that lies
Due to its internal distortions;
Being bent out of shape
Is the main problem.
Knowledge as we know it
Gets in the way.
Of clear vision.
Who can see things just
As they are,
Rather than as we’d like
Them to be?
The masters say that not seeing
Is true seeing, not knowing
Is authentic knowledge;
Is finding. I
I have been transported, even if only temporarily; and seen that another world, another way of life is possible. There is another, better world and another life, and it is here-we are living in it. We may feel far from it, but rest assured: it is never far from us. You may sometimes feel out of the flow, but the flow goes right through you: thus speak Surya.
Around that time, I wrote:
"This is the pure land. Why wait?
Everything is already perfectly one and at peace,
Just as it is.
I have had transformational experiences, growthful experiences,...
The politics this century leaves me cold. It fails to touch my heart. I was mad and saddened about the outcome of the Florida elections three years ago, but I got over it. Like so many, I have been alarmed by our current regime's weapons of mass distraction and its unconscious, uncompassionate conservatism; however, I am trying to take a more long term view. The truth is I feel I can’t trust these people, can’t seem to find much truth-telling amidst all the spin and media, and that our leaders fail to touch my heart.
Decades ago, RFK said that politics is a noble...
The search for God, peace, love or enlightenment may be a serious business,
but we have to lighten up as well as enlighten up along this great way of
awakening. Joy is an important part of life and necessary component of spirit.
If we take ourselves too seriously, life ain’t much fun. My old girlfriend
used to call me Serious Das, but I was older then. That was in the Seventies.
A laugh closes the distance between a speaker and an audience. A smile is
the shortest distance between two strangers. I have found that humor is one
of the best teaching...
Pure Vision, Buddha Vision: Turning the Spotlight Inward
I have noticed that if I can change the frame, the picture always looks quite different. I wonder what new and high tech specs or special eyewear can provide us with Buddha Vision. And more importantly, as my wife would want to know: How do they look on me?!
How would Buddha see this is a good question to ask. Buddhism actually has some practices to help us see things through such a divine iye.
My favorite practice of this kind is called Pure Perceptions. Cultivating this kind...