Join Lama Surya Das – Recognizing our collective interdependence.

Buddhist thought and practice has always emphasized nonviolence, especially protecting and cherishing of all forms of life. This is based on the interwoven interdependence of all things–all of us, and all creatures great and small. Today we celebrate Earth Day, and I ask you: What may inspire, motivate and sustain your feelings of connection and universal responsibility, intentional altruistic actions, and the recognition that we must move from me to we if we are to survive and flourish on this endangered planet?
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I find it by going mindfully outside, interbeing with the beauty and richness of nature, and observing directly the inseparable unity of doing and being in moments of inter-meditation, co-meditating with water, sky, wind and trees; and thru the inseparable unity of contemplation and action, faith and deeds, on the path of awakened living.
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Recognizing our interconnectedness and collective interdependence allows us to appreciate, respect and accept our undeniable responsibility to protect all the flora and fauna of this earth, and all the habitats, oceans and rivers too. Unfortunately, we seem unable to recognize the interdependence of all.
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A sage said: “The light by which we see is the one by which we are seen.” You can see this at many levels, human and divine. We do need genuine change and transformation, each and all of us. And our broken social systems also need transformation. I know now that we can’t just ask what needs changing without sincerely striving to know and transform ourselves.
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The future begins now, starting with one step. It’s time to open our wisdom eye and good heart, and grok this world, clear and open. Considering trends, problems, challenges and opportunities we face, I believe we must ask ourselves and each other: “What can we do to contribute to a better world and planet? What can we do individually and collectively toward alleviating suffering and edifying and awakening the world through our noble-hearted and compassionate, all-inclusive bodhichitta (innate enlightened mind), thru love in action, for the benefit of one and all?
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As a tantric Tibetan song of enlightenment goes:
“The whole universe is my body, all beings my heart & mind.”
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With Love and blessings,
Lama Surya Das

Original Source – http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Our-Collective-Interdependence-.html?soid=1103289318709&aid=H7sqwXMPkzo

Six Steps to Freedom and Intentional Responsiveness

I have found that fear, anger and irritation are like an affliction, and a serious impediment to open communication and healthy relationships of all kinds. Discovering methods to deal with these challenging emotions is essential in leading a healthy well-balanced, harmonious life. It is important to realize that anger has its own function, intelligence and logic and so we should not entirely try to eradicate it. After much trial and error, I have come up with my own practice for regulating strong emotions and being patient and more authentically responsive through these six steps to mindful anger management and intentional responsiveness. Spirituality can be the medicine for all that afflicts us.

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1. Recognizing: Notice with equanimity a familiar stimulus which habitually pushes your hot buttons and triggers an unfulfilling, retaliatory response such as harsh words or unfair treatment, which might very well provoke retaliation in kind. Stop for a moment, however brief, to breathe, reflect, and simply relax.

2. Recollecting: With remindfulness, remember the downsides and disadvantages of returning hatred with hatred, anger with anger, harm with harm. Buddha said, “Hatred is not appeased by hatred. Hatred is appeased only by love.” And recollect the upside—the significant advantages – of practicing patience, forbearance, tolerance and stoic acceptance of karma and its repercussions. In this second step, find and mine the sacred pause. Rest in it.

3. Refraining and restraining, through reframing: See things through the other’s eyes/point of view; cultivating feelings of genuine compassion for those who harm you, knowing that they are merely sowing the seeds of their own unhappiness and bad karma. Examine things from the others’ perspectives: turn this over like a stone to see all sides, recognizing others’ suffering. To take it one step further, practice recognizing the adversary or critic as a teacher, a friend, an ally in helping us develop patience and overcome unconscious, habitual, and unproductive reaction patterns. The most difficult person or situation can become our greatest teacher, our greatest opportunity.

4. Relinquishing: Give up habitual conditioned reactivity and let go of impulsive urges in favor of more consciously chosen intelligent responsiveness. Accept the fact that such urges arise, don’t suppress or indulge them. Let them be without acting on them and you will find that they ultimately dissolve.

5. Reconditioning and deconditioning habitual reactivity through remindfulness: Recall the entire situational dynamic you have now reviewed, while refraining, relinquishing and reflecting on how little it will matter in a few months and years; letting go of unwholesome reaction patterns.

6. Responding appropriately, intelligently, consciously, choicefully–proactively, rather than reactively: In some cases, this may translate into doing nothing or in other cases responding with equanimity; ultimately making wiser, more skillful decisions based on conscious awareness and experience.

Original Source – http://www.surya.org/six-steps-to-freedom-and-intentional-responsiveness/

The Essence of Spirituality by Lama Surya Das

Spirituality – Spirituality isn’t concerning convictions – it’s concerning the method we tend to live and direct our everyday lives. Spirituality is concerned with those qualities of the human soul – like love and sympathy, tolerance, forgiveness, enjoyment, a way of liability, a way of harmony – that brings happiness to both self as well as other people. Spirituality is an important part of faith. Spirituality is often outlined as the in progress endeavor to grow in our relationship with God.

Buddhism Spirituality – Buddhist spirituality is concerned with the top of suffering through the enlightened understanding of reality. The spiritual practices of the Buddhist tradition vary considerably among its many major varieties, however all of them are unit orientated towards final freedom from suffering and therefore the cultivation of insight and empathy.

The essence of spirituality

The essence of spirituality is one that permits the mind to be at oneness with all of creation. They are able to let go of judgments that make disharmony between beliefs, in this way permitting everyone to experience their true path while not battling negativity.

When one comes with pure source energy with true love vibrations they’re spiritually connected. They believe the divine power that lives inside all of creation. To completely perceive Spirituality one should become connected to the present pure source energy and inhale it in with each breath.

According to Lama Surya Das – The essence of spiritual healing is love. Surya Das believes we are able to heal ourselves through adoration and discover fulfillment in love. Which might not involve another person? It’s going to be between my true self and I or in the middle of me and God, to place it in theistic terms. Obviously, we are able to expertise by being transported by the excellence of nature or a sunset. I feel the arts are an extraordinary method of awakening the heart today. Service and generosity, giving of ourselves is one of the best ways, one of the high roads to Enlightenment. It always has been. Kabir, the poet saint of India sang “Try to live the Path of Love.”

The importance of spirituality –

Many people see spirituality as a good way of seeking solace and peace in their life. It will usually be practiced aboard things like meditation that ultimately specialize in stress relief and release of feeling.

Spirituality is used as some way of gaining perspective, recognizing that our role in life features a larger worth than simply what we have a tendency to do daily. It will separate a person from dependence on material things and establish a greater purpose. Some people also see spirituality as some way of managing modification or uncertainty.
Ten spiritual observations from Lama Surya Das –

1. Truth telling is a rigorous spiritual practice.

2. Buddha’s not imagining.

3. We have a tendency to can’t simply believe whatever we predict. We think, accordingly, we err.

4. That which we call “I” is simply impermanent, ownerless karma moving along. Don’t take it personally.

5. Everyone is a little crazy. Remembering this helps us lighten up.

6. We require a spiritual life, not simply special experiences.

7. Grasping fleeting things to tightly give us rope burn.

8. Mindfulness practice helps us become additional transparent to ourselves.

9. Resistance is another type of clinging.

10. Work on being there while getting there.

Article Source – http://www.surya.org/ten-spiritual-observations-from-lama-surya-das/

Spring on Maui Retreat with Ram Dass, Lama Surya Das, Mirabai Bush & Friends

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 – Monday, May 09, 2016
Napili Kai Beach Resort @ Napili Bay
5900 Lower Honoapiilani Rd
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761
United States
Map and Directions

Renew, Refresh and Revitalize with Ram Dass
in Natural Wonders & Beauty this Spring on Maui

Daily Meditation & Dharma Talks with Ram Dass, Lama Surya Das
and Mirabai Bush
Special LIVE podcast sessions with Duncan Trussell
and Raghu Markus
Nightly Kirtan with Nina Rao and her band; also, featuring a special evening of music with singer/songwriter Trevor Hall

Daily 90 minute “LIVE Music Hatha Yoga Experience”
Dr. Saraswati Markus of Dao Flow Yoga
with
Benjy & Heather Wertheimer

Sacred Music Mornings with Shantala

Sunrise Silent Sitting Meditation with Rameshwar Das
Enjoy Ceremony, Prayers and Blessings of Aloha with Lei’ohu Ryder and Maydeen Iao

Delicious, healthy meals, served buffet style, provided by the award winning
Sea House 
Restaurant and Monsoon Indian Restaurant
Gluten Free, non-dairy, vegan and vegetarian options available at each meal
Speedi Shuttle Ride Reservations from Kahului Airport (OGG) to / from Napili Kai Beach Resort
included with ON-SITE Registration

This picturesque ocean-front property with beautiful accommodations, stunning sunsets and sparkling beaches is ideal for relaxing, retreating, walking ocean front nature trails, ocean swimming and snorkeling with sea turtles.

For more details visit here – https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/default.aspx?EventID=1738269

Make Me One With Everything: Buddhist Meditations to Awaken from the Illusion of Separation

Sit happens.
Just do it!
Practice is perfect.
Being there while getting there,
every single step of the Way.
The joy of meditation.
Emaho!

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Join Lama Surya Das at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health for a weekend meditation retreat, February 19-21, and explore the simple joyful path of We Meditation, or We-ditation (not Me-ditation), to see thru the illusion of separation and experience meaningful connectedness and the renowned one-taste of Dzogchen, the natural Great Perfection. For more details visit here – http://kripalu.org/program/view/ABH-161/make_me_one_with_everything_buddhist_meditations

American-Born Lama Will Hold Talk for Students at UC Irvine

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Lama Surya Das

Students seeking to overcome stress and improve their overall academic and personal well-being have an opportunity to learn about meditation, yoga and other contemplative methods during an on-campus talk by Western Buddhist meditation teacher and author Lama Surya Das scheduled on Jan. 29.

“We know that university students are hungry and thirsty as they seek to discover more about the inner meaning and purpose of their lives, their studies, the current relational experiences in their lives and to their future careers,” said Manuel Gomez, Vice Chancellor-Emeritus of Student Affairs.

Lama Das will be speaking to the campus community about improving one’s relational awareness, or the association between the awareness of oneself and others, through relationship yoga, Pilates and meditation.

UCI Professor of Psychiatry Roger Walsh, also one of Lama Das’s students, invited Lama Das, who currently resides in Massachusetts, to campus during UC Irvine’s Peace Week, a campus-wide initiative for peace building and nonviolent practice which will held during the last week of January.

“For me [Lama Das] has been a repository and transmitter of deep, hard won wisdom and I have learned a great deal about meditation, the mind, how to train and heal it, it’s (and our) potentials, and the possibility of growing beyond conventional levels to awaken to our deeper, truer nature,” said Walsh. “Although I’m a trained psychiatrist, I’ve still learned much from Lama Surya about the mind and psychological well-being, which is not yet part of western mental health knowledge.”

For Lama Das, meditation is a great tool which helps a person attend to his mind, body, soul and spirit. It helps individuals develop self-knowledge and self-awareness through contemplation and inquiry, instead of blindly accepting beliefs inherited from parents or through a religious leader.

Born Jeffrey Miller, Lama Das became interested in Buddhism during college in the late 1960s as he searched for truth and peace. After completing college, he went to India to further pursue his search. Lama Das attended meditation retreats, practiced yoga and studied the writings of Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus and the Dalai Lama. He embraced Tibetan Buddhism in the 1970s.

“A vital component of Buddhism is to be mindful, compassionate, wise and loving, rather than being unhappy, depressed, anxious and alienated, which many people are falling into in these violent, volatile and insecure times,” said Lama Das during a telephone interview on Jan. 9. “We can learn not to just blindly react but respond mindfully as needed, and to use mindfulness and anger management to find inner peace, harmonious relations and unconditional love by treating others from the heart.”

According to Lama Das, because Buddhism is new to the western world, there are many misconceptions about Buddhism and meditation perpetuated today. Many people assume Buddhism is simply about world denial or introspection, but Lama Das stressed that very important components of the faith include “altruism, compassion, volunteering and community service.”

Moreover, Lama Das insisted that meditation is not about stopping thoughts as many tend to believe, but rather about thought awareness. The meditator should be relaxed and breathing, but also aware of his immediate thoughts and sensations.

Lama Das also discussed other practical benefits of meditation, including lowered blood pressure, increased creativity, sharpened focus and an enhanced attention span.

“When I become clearer, everything becomes clearer. That’s the secret of meditation,” said Lama Surya Das. “Whether the world changes or not — it’s hard to say — everything is changing anyway. Getting clear truth, being unselfish, objective, discerning, patient, compassionate and empathizing with others goes a long way in transforming all our relationships and the world.”

Lama Das mentioned that the families and friends of students who began meditation have described the students as becoming more “patient, peaceful, focused and less reactive.”

Lama Das emphasized that, although students may struggle with meditation at first, they should keep practicing it until it becomes habitual, as one of his first teachers in India taught him: “continuity is the secret of success.”

Lama Das has held several workshops for UC Irvine and the surrounding community in the past, transforming many UCI students and members of the community.

“The best research, much of it here at UCI, is re-confirming the ancient understanding of the body and the mind, and Lama Surya Das is an important teacher who has helped many individuals to become more aware of materials and methods to achieve inner peace,” said Gomez.

Lama Surya Das will speak and hold a book signing at the UCI Student Center on Jan. 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. A full day workshop of meditation techniques will be held on Jan. 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Neighborhood Congregational Church in Laguna Beach.

Article Source – http://www.newuniversity.org/2016/01/news/american-born-lama-will-hold-talk-for-students-at-uc-irvine/

Dzogchen Center Winter Retreat With Lama Surya Das

Join Lama Surya Das for his annual Dzogchen Center Winter Retreat at the beautiful Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY

Lama Surya Das  will teach throughout the week and offer lively Q&A sessions. In addition to guided and silent meditations, dharma talks, heart-opening chanting and private interviews, this retreat will also feature optional and uplifting Tibetan Energy Yoga each morning.

Outside of the teaching hall, the precious gift of Noble Silence is observed, allowing us the peace and spaciousness to explore the mind, as well as to rest and retreat from the busyness of everyday life & chatter.

To Register: http://registry.dzogchen.org/event-1982956 For more information or questions email Kathleen@surya.org