How To Meditate: Tips From Lama Surya Das, The ‘Buddha From Brooklyn’ - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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How To Meditate: Tips From Lama Surya Das, The ‘Buddha From Brooklyn’


Lama Surya Das, the “Buddha from Brooklyn,” is one of the handful of Westerners who have been teaching meditation for decades. And yet, he says we’re doing it wrong. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How To Meditate: Tips From Lama Surya Das, The ‘Buddha From Brooklyn’

How To Meditate Tips From Lama Surya Das, The
Buddha From Brooklyn
  • (RNS) Lama Surya Das, the Buddha from Brooklyn,
    is one of the handful of Westerners who have been
    teaching meditation for decades. And yet, he says
    were doing it wrong.
  • So many people seem to be moving
    narcissistically conditioned by our culture,
    doubtless into self-centered happiness-seeking
    and quietism, not to mention the use of
    mindfulness for mere effectiveness, he said.
    True meditation, he said, generates wisdom and
    compassion, which may be very disquieting, at
    least in the short term.

Born Jeffrey Miller, Surya Das has had a
spiritual journey that is remarkable in its
breadth. He was given the name Surya Das by the
Indian guru Neem Karoli Baba, made famous by Ram
Dass more than 40 years ago. But Surya Das
shifted gears in the early 1970s to Tibetan
Buddhism, subsequently completing two three-year
silent meditation retreats and becoming one of
the first Westerners to be authorized as a
Tibetan lama. At the time, meditation was still
considered pretty weird foreign, exotic,
hippie-ish. Now its everywhere. Meditation
especially mindfulness, which trains the mind to
observe nonjudgmentally and attentively has
gone mainstream. In secular forms, its now
widespread in health care, education, the
corporate world, even the military. Each year, 1
million Americans take up the practice for the
first time. Surya Das is not entirely happy about
that. Mindful divorce, mindful parenting,
mindful TV, he complained. Why not mindful
sniping, poaching, or mindful waiting to find the
opportunity to take advantage of and exploit
someone when theres a chink in their armor?
Moreover, he said, because of the way meditation
is taught, many people think they cant do it.
Quiet your mind or calm and clear your mind
are instructions I hear way too much. Some
teachers actually encourage people to try to stop
thinking, when in fact meditative awareness means
being mindful of thoughts and feelings, not
simply trying to reduce, alter or white them out
and achieve some kind of oblivion. Whats
missing? In his new book, Make Me One With
Everything (the answer to a well-worn Buddhist
joke What did the Zen monk say to the hot dog
vendor?), Surya Das argues for a return to the
original purpose of Buddhist meditation not
relaxation, but liberation. The goal, he said, is
to genuinely learn how to gain direct access to
Oneness, wholeness, completeness, integration
with all the parts of themselves and life.
All the parts is a crucial ingredient. In Make
Me One, he proposes what he calls
co-meditation not trying to find a quiet
moment of Zen apart from the messy, noisy world
of work, family and children, but inviting all of
the noise into meditation. That is indeed
unorthodox in a contemporary context. But it is
also part of the ancient Tibetan tradition known
as Lojong, which often features elaborate
visualizations not quieting down and following
the breath. Indeed, many of the books unusual
meditation practices sky-gazing, gardening,
meditation for couples, and wild neologisms
including Presencing, Convergitation and
Momitation are based on Surya Das years of
studying and translating esoteric Tibetan
teaching tales. Its the same transformative
and liberating essence, yet I think its pretty
new for almost everyone today, he said.
The anti-intellectual meditators,
thought-swatters and imagination-suppressors have
long ruled meditation-oriented circles in the
West. But authentic meditative practices can
enhance and even unleash the creativity and
imagination. Still, bringing more noise into
ones meditation practice is diametrically
opposed to the popular conception of meditation
as calming and quieting. Surya Das calls that
the old New Age, self-growth, self-development,
self-improvement emphasis trying to use
meditation to get away from it all. We need to
erode the Grand Canyon-like gulf we see today
between self and other, us and them, inner and
outer, and even body and mind, body and soul,
heaven and hell, liking and disliking, to realize
the great equanimity of what is called in Tibetan
Buddhism One Taste, and what others call unity
vision, oneness, third-eye vision and the like.
You may have already noticed that Surya Das
speaks in long, often hilarious sentences, filled
with puns and jokes. This rhetorical style is of
a piece with his conceptual point that
awakening isnt some calm, blissed-out state but
is being at home with every state of mind,
including the rapid-fire speech of a
born-and-bred New Yorker. For example, heres
how he summarizes the key teaching of the book,
complete with 13 adjectives, 10 nouns and 11
verbs Can I say that this book presents,
elucidates, rationalizes and instructs, in the
extraordinary American-Buddhisms fresh and newly
minted, jargon-free, straight talkin, practical
and flexible, adaptable, personal and
integratable, nonsectarian organic ways for a
whole new way of meditating, with tips and
pointers to find your own way and authentic
practice style, thus avoiding many, if not most,
of the obstacles and hindrances, doubts and
distractions practitioners so often face and
stumble upon? Sure you can.
Theres a refreshing honesty in this iconoclastic
approach. Whatever awakening is, surely it has
something to do with authenticity. And for some
of us, authenticity is fast-talking,
free-associating and full of sound and fury. Or
as Surya Das himself put it, It can become
obnoxious, I know, but Im a folksy, campy,
backyard bodhisattva-from-Brooklyn kinda guy,
what can I say? Article Source