TABLE OF CONTENTS
The path that is followed by most persons in the beginning of their spiritual search is the path of love. Love is the easiest and most effective way to begin our search for self-realization, for our selves. Love is the highest of all qualities that we can experience. The more we know about love, the more we experience love, the happier and more complete we are.
Love is, in its essence, a free, formless strand of luminosity. It is a light that uplifts our awareness, that transforms our consciousness, that kindles in us the flame of self-giving, knowledge and power. Love brings future into the present. It can cause us to take a quantum leap in our spiritual growth. It knits families together, friends, lovers, societies, nations and perhaps one day a world.
If we examine the essence of existence very closely, we’ll find that the essence of existence is love. There really is nothing that isn’t love. God is love. Truth is love. Beauty is love. Everything is a formation or an aggregate of love.
In more mature and advanced states of love, we love others, the world, God, eternity. In the most advanced state of love we don’t love for any reason or any purpose. We don’t even direct our love necessarily to an object. We just love for the sake of love. Love is beginningless and endless ecstasy. It’s an unfathomable mystery. It is the study of our lives.
In the fire of love we melt the ego down again and again and again. What is there when the ego is gone? Eternity, love…
If you love very, very deeply, if you love truth and God, your love will cause you to have a union. You’ll merge for a while, for a short time, with that truth. You’ll become it. Each time you merge with God in your meditation you’ll be freer and purer afterwards. It’s as if you’re going out into the sun, again and again.
So the light of eternity purifies, and it is only that real love of the infinite that will motivate you. Love is far superior as a spiritual device, as a spiritual vehicle, because when we follow the path of love we go higher and higher and higher. Our velocity actually increases as we go on, rather than decreases as with aversion, because our love grows and becomes more strong and more perfect.
Love is the strongest force in the universe. Once we harness ourselves to that force, it carries us to eternity. Yet at the same time, love is visceral and real. Love is physical. It embraces all things, all creatures and all beings. Love doesn’t space you out or take you out of this world, it makes you conscious of your own immortality. But love also teaches you to love your own mortality; to love this body that’s only here for a little while, just as we love the flowers that bloom for a short time and pass on; to love the skies and the scenes; to love all things in this world and all things beyond this world. As you do this more and more, you will move rapidly towards liberation.
Love leads us to ourselves – this is the mystery of love–what love does and why it does it. These questions can only be answered in your deep meditation.
Love is the shortcut to higher meditation. Above thought is love, and within and below thought is love. Love is a ladder that we can climb through thought. It’s very hard to stop thought. Try with your willpower – it’s very difficult. But if instead of trying to stop thought when you meditate you focus your attention on love – meditate on the heart center and just let that love grow and increase, more and more – then suddenly you’ll find, guess what? Your thoughts are slacking, you’re moving into a higher field of awareness, you’re feeling wonderful. Light is everywhere and suddenly there’s no thought. This is why love is said to be such an easy way to learn to meditate.
The secret of love is acceptance, acceptance of our finite self, of our life, our birth, our growth, our decay and our death; acceptance of the world around us, of eternity. The message of love is acceptance–self-acceptance in the smaller sense, of the individual personal self, and self-acceptance in the larger sense, of the self as eternity.
So practice love and self-acceptance and you’ll see you’ll have a beautiful life, an absolutely beautiful life.
It’s presumptuous for me or anyone to talk about Buddhism because it is so vast, it’s so complete, and there are so many aspects of it. So without being presumptuous, I’ll talk about Buddhism.
I’m an enlightened teacher and my name is Rama. I’ve been teaching Buddhism for lots of incarnations, and I teach it in this incarnation. But none of us really teach Buddhism. Buddhism is a way of life. It’s yoga. And we practice it. People can watch us practice it; they can learn how to practice it by watching, by observing, by listening, by becoming sensitive. But I think it’s something that life teaches us. We are teachers. We are necessary, but life is the real teacher and always remember that.
Buddhism is the enlightenment cycle, and there are different types of it. Principally there is short path and long path Buddhism. The long path is more of the religious aspect, that is to say, the church aspect, the practice of reading sutras, healthy ways of living, things like that – a certain amount of prayer, a little meditation. The esoteric aspect of Buddhism, which is short path Buddhism, is meditation. And I am a teacher of Zen and Vajrayana Buddhism primarily, which are the two primary short path forms of Buddhism.
The short path of Buddhism, which is kundalini yoga, involves the release of the kundalini energy through the chakras or energy centers to create very rapid enlightenment. It is also taught with empowerments from a teacher, someone who is enlightened, who has experienced paranirvana and gone through the gradated stations and stages of enlightenment and has the siddhas and powers necessary to utilize in the teaching process. It’s a very complicated process.
The short path, of course, is the silly path. It’s the path with the smiles. Because you have to be funny or you won’t last long. It’s about releasing energy. It’s about being enthusiastic, overcoming all fears, doubts, worries and anxieties – basically being perfect all the time and knowing that you’re not. That’s Buddhism, the short path. The colophon is getting shorter all the time. Please put on a smile and a sense of humor if you’re going to continue listening.
Buddhism is the enlightenment cycle, as I said before. It’s about becoming enlightened. The essential premise of Buddhism is that there is enlightenment. There is nirvana. Beyond this world, beyond all worlds, there is something radiant, perfect and eternal. It creates these worlds and all aggregate formations. At the same time, it is beyond them. We call it nirvana. You could call it anything you wanted to – God, the Tao, Brahma, whatever you prefer –the names don’t matter. It’s that eternal reality which nothing can describe. It’s beyond words.
The essential practice in short path Buddhism is meditation. Meditation is a process in which you stop thought, transcend dimensionality and merge with a perfect light… As you go into light for longer and longer periods, as you progress in your meditation practice, you transform. You become illumined. You overcome all limitation, all sorrow, all pain. You learn not to be bound by desire, and eventually you transcend death itself. This is the enlightenment cycle. It’s the process of uniting your consciousness with eternity, of being eternal, eternally aware, and at the same time being poised, graceful, balanced and having a most excellent sense of humor.
What matters is the pathway. What matters is that you walk down it and enjoy it. If you are practicing Buddhism, if it’s real yoga, then your life is better every day. That doesn’t mean that better things happen to you. That’s just life. Who knows what’ll happen? It’s an adventure. But if you are really practicing correctly, the litmus test to true practice is that you like yourself better. You like your life better. You feel better. You can see every month, every week, every year, an improvement in the states of mind you exist in, an improvement with how you handle both difficult situations and easy situations.
Meditation and the Pathway to Enlightenment
As an enlightened teacher of Buddhism, I’d like to welcome you to the pathway to enlightenment. I’d like to encourage you, based upon my own personal experience and the personal experience of countless others, to meditate—to be more positive, to engage in the practice of meditation, to learn how to do this wonderful thing, to make your mind still in a crazy world, where everybody’s at war with everybody and certainly with ourselves. I’d like you to learn to be happy and to see things more brightly.
Meditation is the pathway to enlightenment. Meditation is profound. It is mind and it is essence. Meditation is not a verb. It is the way mind is. That’s why in Zen they call it the natural state, which means that you don’t have to go and do anything to meditate. In effect, a person who is trying to meditate is doing something that’s impossible since meditation is not an action. Yet at the same time, if you don’t do something, you know you’re not going to be meditating. That’s the catch-22 of meditation….
In order to meditate, all we have to do is stop. If we stop, it’s perfect meditation because it’s perfect mind. That’s it. We just have to stop. Now what do we stop? Thought. Impressions, desires, aversions, states of consciousness, ideas of being, essence, substance, predicate adjectives–everything has to go. Final clearance, everything must go. Exhalation—we’re going to exhale everything, all qualities, all perceptions from the mind until there’s only the perfect, pristine, clear light, which does not perceive itself as other….
If you perceive meditation as something that you don’t have to do, it’s easier. It’s breathing out. What you have to do is simply breathe out everything in your mind. When everything is gone and there’s only mind, that’s meditation. See how easy that was?
Meditation is not an action; it’s not necessarily difficult. You just have to be very patient. It’s something that’s natural to all of us because we all are that. But it’s not easy to understand. You have to work at it. Meditation is coming back to your original self, if we can use self without a sense of self. It’s perfect, clear light; radiant, infinite mind of the universe, as it is, without identifying with qualities. That’s something that you already are.
So when we meditate, we’re going swimming in the ocean—the ocean of bliss, the ocean of ecstasy, the ocean of transmutation and personal refinement. Just remember that it’s big and that every part of it is perfect and it’s fulfilling beyond comprehension. And if you do that, I think that you’ll find that you will be more likely to touch more of it, just with that simple understanding…
The way we gain wisdom in meditation is not by having someone explain something to us. All the teacher does is explain how to get to the planes of light, how to go deeper into them, how to avoid the things that keep us out of them…. But real wisdom is gained personally in meditation.
So meditation is the short path to happiness. It is the way to become completely happy. It streamlines the process. It takes you beyond the desire-aversion operating system that offers very limited happiness and a great deal of frustration. As you practice meditation—it’s no good to talk about it but you need to do it—if you can bring an earnestness to your meditation, if you can really try, in other words, you will find that happiness is something that will run through your life constantly.
Compassion and Selfless Giving
Compassion allows us to accept everything. That’s why there’s always a tear in the eye of the Buddha that no one sees, for the pain and suffering of others. Without a requisite knowledge of that pain and suffering, you’re mortal. You only become immortal when you feel the suffering of others and are one with it, as you feel the joy of others and are one with it, yet step beyond both into immortality itself and dissolve in eternity. Yet that tear remains even after enlightenment, even though it’s invisible. It’s only visible to those who know. And there’s no way to will that, it will come when it will, through the grace of God.
Therefore to be so absurd or knowledgeable or even, as a teacher, autocratic to assume anything at almost any time seems to me to forget that there’s a tear in the eye of the Buddha, and we are all the Buddha and we all have that tear but we don’t see it because we’re so caught up in our illusions of self-realization that we forget that our self-realization and our enlightenment is of little importance–that what matters is the welfare of others. And only when you remember that will enlightenment occur–when you become totally concerned with the welfare of others, without any sense of self-importance.
It’s only with that complete commitment and simplicity and humility and humor that is engendered by taking on the impossible task of selfless giving and doing it anyway, perfectly, without any sense of self, that the real progress begins to occur. That’s the preparation for the higher enlightenment. ‘Tis a noble endeavor.
All the rest is just the fun of the process. The craziness, the idiosyncrasies of the enlightenment process, the development of the relationship with the teacher, being in a spiritual community, going off on your own, mystical visions, developing powers—all these things are irrelevant, don’t you understand?
Enlightenment, in other words, is not the point. That’s only the point for those who don’t understand yet…. But in the secret teachings, it has nothing to do with that. The secret teaching was the bodhisattva ideal—to live for others, for the welfare of all beings. That’s enlightenment. Not some flashy state of luminosity. That’s just another samsaric experience.
Living and Working in the World
As a practicing Buddhist in America and the West, or even in the Far East, in Japan and other places, if you don’t live in a monastery then you have to have a job. Even in a monastery, of course, you have a job, usually. But here you have to live and work in the world, and most of the time that people spend in their lives is devoted to working, whether it’s school or work. School is preparation for work and is a type of work, and then later we finish school and go to work. We get a job.
Working is not a nine-to-five experience. For most people, a tremendous amount of time goes into their work. It’s the main thing that we do in life to sustain ourselves just as bodies. It’s a very important thing and it consumes a great deal of our energy, and energy is the central study or the component theme of Buddhist practice, of yoga – is the conservation of energy. And that’s why people live, or have lived, in monasteries. The idea was, the walls of a monastery are not to keep you in but to keep everybody else out because you want to develop a certain type of life and most people in the world have other ideas on the subject. Buddhists have, for a long time, lived in monasteries so that they can spend a certain amount of time working and a certain amount of time meditating. And they don’t want to use up all their energy in working.
You might say living in a monastery cuts down the commutation time. That alone would give you a couple of extra hours a day to meditate and do all kinds of things. And in a monastery, you lead a relatively simple life. You don’t need a lot of possessions. You don’t have to work as many hours to sustain yourself so you have more time for play. And spiritual practice is not thought of as an arduous thing or a hard thing, but play. It’s the fun of life.
In the West, people spend most of their time and energy working, and it would be a difficult thing if we couldn’t gain something more than just dollars and cents from working. Because if you meditate for an hour in the morning, you have to get up an hour earlier than everybody else. And if you need to meditate for an hour at night, well, gee, there’s not much time but just to meditate and work. And the problem is, of course, you come home and you’re so tired from work you don’t have much energy to meditate and have a good meditation; unless you use work in a tantric way, unless you use work as a way of advancing yourself. And that’s how I define career success.
Career success is using your daily work – schoolwork, work in the world, work at home, doing the laundry, doing anything, all physical tasks, cleaning the car, any kind of work, and specifically career itself – using career as a way, and scholastics, of advancing your mental state. Also, obviously, career success means making enough money to lead the kind of life you’d like to lead as a practicing Buddhist, to be able to live in the kind of house in the right energy area, to have the kind of car, or whatever it is that you need to shelter yourself from the abrasive forces of life that would be draining to you and would keep you in lower states of mind.
The purpose of work is to make enough money to exclude the abrasiveness, to shelter yourself, to live well, in other words, and happily and successfully in a material sense. Also, with work you can make money to assist others – to advance yourself and just to have fun. But, by and large, I define career success as using your work to advance yourself spiritually.
Now, you can do that with any kind of work. That is to say, if you use work as meditation, if work becomes meditation, then eight hours of work is eight hours of meditation. It’s still important to do a morning and evening silent meditation, meaning a sitting meditation, because it’s an entirely different level of experience. And by doing a proper meditation in the morning, a good sitting meditation, you will open yourself up to the planes of light and that will enable you to do a strong work meditation all day, just to be in high states all day. And then, of course, if you do that, when you come home, you’ll be able to meditate well again because you won’t be as exhausted as everyone else is because you’ve been gaining a kind of internal chi or power from your work. That’s the secret.
Buddhism, one aspect of it, deals exclusively with power – how to get power, store power, utilize it intelligently, so that it creates benefit to oneself and to others. The primary energy that’s active in all the things that I’ve been discussing is kundalini. Kundalini energy is the energy of awareness and it can be used to modify awareness…
Buddhism is the study of power initially. It takes a certain amount of power to even know your potential – to have a sense that you can change the way you perceive, what you perceive, and that it will be very beneficial to you. It takes additional power to find out how to do that and even more power to actually do it. And of course, when you make structural changes in perception, it gives you power. It’s very curious the way it all works. It’s not necessarily logical. It just is how it is. ..
The power that is most interesting is the personal power that changes or shapes consciousness, and that’s kundalini. Kundalini exists everywhere. It’s called shakti, another name for it. That is to say, it’s a latent energy field, an invisible energy that is present in all of life, everywhere, in this dimension and in other dimensions. Then, more specifically, kundalini exists within us. It exists in greater amounts in certain places. Some people have more of it. Some dimensions have more of it.
Since power is necessary to go into the happier states of mind and sustain them, to stay in them, and to go beyond them to the enlightened states of mind, which is, of course, the most desirable thing; since power is necessary to be healthy, to heal one’s body, to assist others, it’s the primary concern. It’s the first face on the totem pole in self-discovery…
Without balance and wisdom, power becomes very destructive. It creates unhappiness and not happiness. To simply see a teacher to gain power is a mistake. You’ll gain the power, but with the current mindset that you have, you’ll probably create more unhappiness for yourself than happiness with it….
So use power very carefully. Don’t be afraid to have it. You have to have it to succeed. But learn balance and wisdom in addition simply to the unlocking of the kundalini, if you wish to have a happy and enlightened life.
The place that you gain the most power is within your own mind. When you have the ability to stop thought, which is meditation, when you practice meditation and you become good at it, stopping thought generates power. That’s why people meditate. The longer you can stop thought, the more power you gain. That’s the ultimate way to gain power.
Women and Enlightenment
Why don’t more women attain enlightenment? Why don’t more men attain enlightenment? More men than women attain enlightenment. This suggests an imbalance. I would like to address the question- — why don’t more women attain enlightenment. But in addressing that question, I’m also addressing the question, why don’t more men attain enlightenment? Why don’t we live in an enlightened and happy world? Because I feel one is wrapped up in the other and one cannot be separated from the other, but there is a greater imbalance reflected on one side of the question than on the other. I’d like to look at that side. Why don’t more women attain enlightenment?
There are many, many reasons why more women don’t attain enlightenment. In presenting my theory to you, I would like to first look historically at a few important items or consolidated histories, because without an understanding of what has been, it will be very difficult to understand what is.
It is equally easy, initially, for either a man or woman to attain enlightenment, what we call liberation or self-realization. Ultimately there is no sex. The jiva or soul, the principle within us that is existence, is neither masculine nor feminine. It composes both. Structurally we know there are obvious differences between the male and the female body. There are also differences between the subtle physical body, the luminous body, of a man and woman. But beyond the physical and the subtle physical bodies, what we see is that all of us are androgynous. All of us really contain both sides, or it’s even incorrect to say that there are two sides because that implies that there is a difference, and there is no difference. We are one integrated reality, but we live in a diurnal world, a world of duality where there’s dark and light, good and bad, heat and cold, relative pairs of opposites. That’s how a fragmented consciousness sees reality, in pairs.
Historically, men have suppressed women quite effectively. They have suppressed women since the beginning of our history. We must ask ourselves why this is so, and in doing so, not assign blame. We’re looking at a historical principle. But there’s no sense of judgment involved in our examination, only detached observation so we can understand cause and effect.
Women exemplify, from a spiritual point of view, power. The power of the kundalini energy, the energy of life, flows through them in a very different way than it does through a man, innately. In a fallen world, in a world of fear and darkness, men have reacted very negatively to the power that is inherent in women. Rather than realizing that that power is also indigenous to themselves, that they have the same power, only it manifests in other ways, they have rejected that power and sought to convince women of the exact opposite, that they are powerless.
They have done this through sexual repression, economic repression, political repression, social repression, ideological repression and spiritual repression. Women have been given a description of the world that they are taught from childhood, which they believe is true, as are men. We are taught by our societies, by our parents, by the examples of those we see.
There is really no such thing as a woman or a man. There is a physical body, a subtle physical body, a soul. But there is no such thing as a woman or a man. What we consider to be a woman is an idea. This idea has been formed through history, culture, politics, art, religion the same is true of a man. These ideas are out of balance. They are not true or accurate. Women have been taught that they are not powerful, as a matter of fact, they’ve been given an opposite description-that they are, in fact, weak. The word “effeminate” implies weakness, stemming from feminine. Women have been taught that they are not particularly sexual. Who has taught them this? Men.
Women have also been systematically pushed out of spirituality by men. This must also be considered in our view of why don’t more women attain enlightenment. Even in the Bhagavad-Gita, a book that I revere and respect, it’s indicated that even women, along with animals, are capable of attaining enlightenment. The idea is that to be a woman is a lower birth, but still, all can attain enlightenment if they truly aspire. Even in a very high spiritual and philosophical book we see the concept, which is quite ridiculous, that a woman is in a lower birth, that to be a woman is innately wrong, in other words. You made a mistake somewhere and that’s why you were born in the body of a woman. Traditionally, in most spiritual organizations, women are not allowed to become priests, in many cases ministers, monks. Or if they are, they have special sets of rules and are denied power in the spiritual organization. So women, again, are cast into an image. And that image is inferiority.
What is the solution? The solution is not easy, either for men or for women. We have two people, a man and a woman, who are fighting each other. They are so busy fighting each other that they don’t realize that they could be inspiring each other or giving each other strength or learning from each other. Or if they can’t do that, at least leaving each other alone, and each growing without interference from the other.
What is necessary for a woman to attain enlightenment is for her to undo everything that’s been done…As a woman, you have to work on power, independence, self-confidence, supporting other women and not always running to a man for justification, for condolence, for support, and not always looking for the nod of the father figure saying, “Yes this is right,” or someone to just pat you on the shoulder. Rather, you have to realize that you have tremendous power in your being and you can bring that power into eternity.
What a man must do is realize that his continued belief in the inferiority of women is going to produce a type of karma that is going to hold him back, and already has. And he must be honest enough, and have enough integrity, to change his description of the world, even though everyone else in the world may not feel that way.
By doing this, a man or woman will not necessarily change the world, but they will change themselves. They will enter into a state of balance. It’s not an easy task, but it’s a necessary task if one seeks enlightenment.
The billions of people on this overcrowded planet put out so much energy and so much of it is unhappy, that it makes everybody’s minds active. Everybody is thinking all the time, stressed out, can’t slow down, can’t feel what lies beyond this dimension. Normally it’s very easy to do that. If you don’t believe me, take a walk in the woods. Find a nice wooded path that not too many people have been on, where there are not a lot of impressions. Take a walk. Take a hike. You will notice that your mind, if you monitor it, becomes very quiet. You don’t think much.
The issue in Buddhism is perception, gaining control of the mind and directing one’s attention, to raise the kundalini energy so that it flows with such volatility and force that we simply perceive life correctly. The gray aura of humanity caused by the billions and billions of individuals who live on this planet makes it very difficult just to see what is. Nothing shines because of the deadness of the human mind.
The aura of billions of people coats all experiences like a thick cloud of smog. Just to live on the earth is to live in that smog. If billions of people meditated, then everything would shine here. If no one were here at all but yourself, the world would shine in a way that would amaze you. But the human mind generates an auric field that covers up the naturalness, the innate divinity of life. This auric field is a field of doubt. It’s a field that runs contrary to existence.
Nothing is as it appears to be. We open our eyes, we look at life, the world, the seasons, the earth, the peoples. Everything seems to be solid; everything seems to have its own eternality. Or we see that it’s mutable, that everything changes and transforms; everything goes through the cycle of birth, growth, maturation, decay and death. But all this is an illusion. Everything we see is an illusion. Even our perceptions of truth are illusory, illusory in the sense that they’re not complete.
When we silence the mind in meditation, when there’s no thought, no image, no pictures, no memories, no desires, no sense of a self that is in any way participating in an experiential ongoing life, we reach a plateau of awareness that is beyond creation, transformation and destruction. It’s beyond birth and death. That awareness is within all things. It is all things.
Meditation comes in different forms, and the best form of meditation, of course, is the one that makes you smile the most, and that’s the sitting meditation. But next is work. Work is a great way to meditate. There is a particular form of work that I recommend to people who practice meditation. And it’s computer science, being a computer programmer or systems analyst or working in the data processing field. The mental structures that are used in computer science, particularly in working with relational database and artificial intelligence, are very similar to exercises that are done in Buddhist monasteries. And when you’re in school, if you’re studying computer science, it’s literally like studying Buddhism.
That is to say, in Buddhism, in Buddhist practice in monasteries, there are many exercises that we do to develop our mental powers so that we can meditate extremely well and go into other dimensions and other states of mind that are ecstatic and lead to enlightenment. It’s necessary, if you are really going to meditate well, to do those exercises, which is why people always lived in monasteries – so they’d have the time, you know, cut down the commutation time. And also there’s an environment that’s helpful for practice, and teachers are available, and a certain amount of backup is available from other students and the environment…
Computer programming is a field in which you use, particularly in its intermediate and advanced states, certain analytic techniques that are very similar to techniques that Buddhists have used for thousands and thousands of years to refine the mind… Computer science is interesting for a lot of reasons…When you deal with people, it tends to drag your energy down if those people are in a lower auric state than you. If you meditate and they don’t, then by the end of the day you tend to be more drained. On the other hand when you deal with a terminal, when you’re dealing with programming and using your mind in very challenging ways, at the end of the day you do not tend to have picked up a lot of people’s auras. Consequently, you have not polluted yourself as much and it’s much easier to meditate and to get into higher levels of attention. In other words, it’s a job in which you can actually gain energy, not lose it.