Quote of the Week 378 - Core Teaching of Buddhism
The core teaching of Buddhism is to help people become less self-centered and learn how to give love to others.
--Lama Surya Dass, as quoted in Spirituality and Health magazine, September/October 2017 issue
Meditation (Click your selection, scroll down to view it)
- Audio Link: A Foundation for a Fruitful Meditation Practice: Science of Breath/Pranayama/Relaxation - Theory and Practice
- Meditation Basics - Expanded Version
- Meditation Basics - Condensed Version
- Mantra Meditation Basics
- Nada Meditation - Anahata/The Unstruck Sound
- Jewish Yoga Meditation
- Hebrew Mantras
- Hebrew Mantras, Part Two
- Hebrew Mantras, Part Three
- Hebrew Mantras - Adonai Hineni
- Healing Meditation: Ruach El Shaddai/Breath of Balance
- Meditating, Eating and Sleeping
- Shortcuts to Spiritual Development?
- Audio Link: Guided Meditation - I Am and Empty Shell, Therefore I Am Full; A Meditation on Emptiness and Dark Luminescence Based on the Opening Lines of Genesis
- Guided Meditation: The Stage
- Guided Meditation: I Am an Empty Shell, Therefore I Am Full; A Meditation on Emptiness and Dark Luminescence Based on the Opening Lines of Genesis
- Guided Meditation: The Rod, The Staff, and The Star
- Torah-Veda Meditation Class Site
- Interspiritual Contemplative Group
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Bibliography/Book Review; Dass, Ram aka Alpert, Richard; Be Here Now, The Only Dance There Is, Grist for the Mill, et al
Dass, Ram aka Alpert, Richard; Be Here Now, The Only Dance There Is, Grist for the Mill, Miracle of Love, et al.
There are many who have contributed to the communication of Eastern spirituality to the Western world. Early on, there were visits to the West by Swami Vivekenanda and Swami Rama Tirtha. Others who added to this dialogue were Madam Blavatsky and her Theosophical Society, Nicholas and Helena Roerich and their Agni Yoga Society, Sir John Woodruff (an Englishman who studied with my spiritual mentor’s master and authored such books as The Serpent Power), Paul Brunton (whose encounter with Ramana Maharshi was the pinnacle to his trip to India as chronicled in his book, A Search in Secret India), Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi) and Allen Ginsberg, among others. They were all precursors to the tremendous influx that occurred in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, which continues to this day. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his TM movement, Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupad and his Hare Krishna movement, Swami Satchidinanda with his memorable appearance at Woodstock, and my spiritual mentor, Swami Rama and The Himalayan Institute he founded, were all part of that influx. But I don’t think there was anyone who had as much influence and impact on the broadest audience as did Richard Alpert, a nice Jewish boy who was a Harvard psychology professor and early LSD researcher. He became transformed into Ram Dass as a result of his experiences in India, as chronicled in his benchmark book, Be Here Now.
When I transferred from staid Lafayette College to unstaid Antioch College after my college freshman year in 1970, I became exposed to and bombarded by an incredible variety of new experiences, ideas and challenges. The little bit of Eastern spirituality that I had experienced reading Hesse in high school and studying Eastern religions at Lafayette now expanded into hands-on experiential experimentation at Antioch. I was fortunate enough to have a room-mate who was ahead of the curve on all of this, and acted as my first mundane-level spiritual guide. He led me to Be Here Now and TM, among other things, and I also took up Hatha Yoga, with classes offered for free by an advanced student at Antioch.
Be Here Now is a collage-style book. It contains an inspiring autobiography of the spiritual quest, development and transformation of Richard Alpert into Ram Dass, a flowing, stream-of-consciousness type of narrative communicated from a higher state of spiritual consciousness (similar to the type of darshan/talks/happenings he used to stage on various tours around the country), and also a kind of resource manual into many aspects of Eastern spirituality, particularly yoga and Buddhism. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Eastern spirituality, their own spiritual development, and also to provide insight into the spiritual side of the cultural revolution of the 60’s and 70’s.
I had the pleasure of attending one of Ram Dass’ “happenings” in the mid-70’s in Portland, Oregon, and actually had a brief one-on-one encounter with him afterwards. I sort of just lingered about, and he came outside all alone, where we met and had a nice little exchange. He then walked off to a beat-up old VW bug and drove away.
He has written many other books in the ensuing years and has been a sort of celebrity on the American spiritual scene. Throughout various ups and downs and controversies along the way, he has pretty much remained true to his calling, and humble and giving in nature. Sometime a few years back, he had a major devastating stroke, and has struggled for years to slowly regain his physical functionality. There is a very beautiful and moving video called “Fierce Grace” that I also highly recommend. Its focus is on his struggles after the stroke, but also contains a good overview of his past and spiritual history. It is worth tracking down. (We were able to order it through NetFlix).
I would be remiss if I did not mention a particularly special volume compiled and edited by him: Miracle of Love, which is a collection of reminisces from various people who had experiences with Neem Karoli Baba, Ram Dass' guru.
"The best form in which to worship God is every form." -- Neem Karoli Baba