“Timeless wisdom is an endangered natural resource.”Lama Surya Das
Lama Surya Das, beloved meditation teacher, scholar, pioneer of bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West, and author of the bestseller Awakening the Buddha Within among many more, shares bright gems of wisdom from his extensive experience practicing Dzogchen, his long immersion in meditation retreats, and studying in person with the great spiritual teachers of Asia. Lama Surya is dedicated to getting the word out, and to young people especially, that the timeless teachings of the great masters are every bit as important and transformative in today’s modern world as they ever were. One doesn’t need to go on retreat to come to a place of wonder, understanding, and appreciation for life; Lama Surya assures us that daily practice of attentive awareness on the path of “awakefulness” is doable and effective in today’s world. This is the path that leads to self-knowledge, and we just need to explore and investigate to discover for ourselves that realization of the Great Perfection, of oneness, is never far away.
Lama Surya embellishes his teachings with humorous tales of his early explorations with psychedelics, his spiritual adventures in India, how he came to undertaking not one but two 3-year silent retreats in the great Tibetan Buddhist tradition of Dzogchen, and coming home afterwards with a mission for transmission. He talks about divine love and how amazing and influential it was to hang out with spiritual teachers who actually practice unconditional love, here and now. Lama Surya Das’ own deep caring and compassion shine through his words, and his well-known “jolly lama” humor often elicits laughter from Roger and John. “There are a lot of lanes on the highway of awakening, you just want to watch you don’t go off into the ditch.” His authentic, endearing humility shines through as well. He is certain that “if I can do it, you can do it, anyone can do it.”
Recorded September 7, 2022.
Topics & Timestamps: Part 1
- Introducing Lama Surya Das, dedicated practitioner, spiritual teacher, pioneer of bringing the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism to the West (01:09)
- How Lama Surya Das got to where he is now: his humor, his education, going to India and meeting his guru (03:57)
- Spiritual elixir is the greatest panacea for our mind, body, heart & soul (07:32)
- A core theme of Buddhist teaching: check it out for yourself (09:16)
- Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, the height of Tibetan Buddhism: awakefulness is the way (10:32)
- Mahamudra evergreen teachings of nondual awareness: we’re all buddhas by nature (15:52)
- If everything is perfect as it is, how come we feel like crap? (18:08)
- Self-knowledge is the way to wisdom: growing up to be a true mensch (18:45)
- The five wisdoms (gnoses), mirror-like wisdom, discriminating wisdom, and how they apply to now (21:20)
- Lucid faith, unshakeable realization (22:57)
- Lama Surya Das’ first vision of God, “beyond oneness or noneness” (24:28)
- Who are we really? Are we consciousness? What about the unconscious, the subconscious? (32:22)
- Replicating ego death in meditation, sensing Presence, experiencing beingness (33:33)
- “If I can do it, you can do it, anyone can do it.” (34:49)
- The middle way, moderation in moderation: there are a lot of lanes on the highway of awakening (36:50)
- Questioning and investigation are an important part of the spiritual path (37:57)
- Timeless wisdom is an endangered natural resource (39:10)
- A story of Lama Surya Das’ first 3-year Tibetan retreat, as told by Roger (40:06)
Topics & Timestamps: Part 2
- Going to India, discovering the practice of of Vipassana and the cave retreat yogi tradition of Tibet (01:31)
- What timeless teachings did Lama Surya Das discover in his 3-year Dzogchen retreat? Love is not the same thing as light (05:21)
- Mother Teresa on loneliness and love, and meeting spiritual teachers who really lived the talk (07:44)
- Living, practicing, surrendering: learning that love is greater than any dichotomy of like or dislike (08:36)
- Teaching of Pema Wangyal Rinpoche: “Don’t expect the struggle to end.” (10:45)
- Coming back after the long retreat (11:47)
- We need an applied dharma that works for the postmodern world today (13:08)
- Continuing the practice with a second 3-year Dzogchen retreat (14:04)
- How Lama Surya Das became a Dzogchen teacher and started the Dzogchen centers (16:57)
- The importance of spending more time with daily practice and integrating it into your life: retreats are not for everyone (18:21)
- How long does it take to awaken? Awakening is very personal (21:08)
- Pointing towards awakening: absolute truth and relative truth, the middle way (23:44)
- What’s next for Lama Surya Das? The 3 H’s: healthy, harmonious & helpful—teaching young people, spiritual activism (26:46)
- Epistemological or logical debate: clarifying the meaning of how we know what we know (28:30)
- Cherishing life: cockroaches in the monastery (30:40)
- The timeless question: How should we live? (33:01)
- We have to accept the implications of our actions and the law of karma (35:32)
- Moving towards interdependence, interconnectedness (37:00)
- What are Lama Surya Das’ practices today? The joy of meditation: catching the updrift (38:51)
- A poem and a prayer (42:54)
Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos
Image created via MidJourney
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About Lama Surya Das
Lama Surya Das is one of the foremost Western Buddhist meditation teachers and scholars. Surya Das teaches and lectures around the world, conducting dozens of meditation retreats and workshops each year.
About Roger Walsh
Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., has spent nearly a quarter century researching and practicing in the world's great spiritual traditions. His critically acclaimed book, Essential Spirituality, is a summary of that wisdom, outlining the seven spiritual practices common to the world's major religions.
About John Dupuy
John Dupuy is co-founder and CEO of iAwake Technologies, a company that creates cutting-edge, high-tech brainwave entrainment soundtracks that support the healing of emotional/shadow issues, deepen meditation, mental focus, creativity, and flow states, and enhance a daily integral transformative practice. John has been working personally and professionally with brainwave entrainment technology since 2004, and travels internationally to teach and inspire on the subjects of Integral Transformative Practice and Integral Recovery®. John is also the author of Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction (SUNY Press, 2013), winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Award, and co-host of the popular Journey of Integral Recovery podcast. John also hosts the online series Spiritual Tech Talks 2.0, in which he converses with leaders, pioneers, and inventors on the current wave of emerging spiritual technologies.