Rama - Dr. Frederick Lenz: Daily Enlightenment

Meditation is the core of the pathway to enlightenment. Practicing at least twice per day, sitting in deep absorption, is a great way to color your life with luminosity and brilliance. There is a twin practice to meditation that is called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a way to engage, with your full attention, on whatever life puts in front of you. It is a way to focus and throw yourself into life with the fullness of your being. Rama taught American Buddhism, drawing from paths based on meditation and tailoring the practices of mindfulness to life in a modern world. Meditation has always been meditation. Mindfulness has always been mindfulness. But in the old days, mindfulness was usually practiced in the monasteries - cleaning, gardening, copying scriptures, learning the teachings, memorizing the precepts, etc. In modern day America, Rama transposed those same principles of focus and clarity to living in today's world. One of the core features of American Buddhism is the yoga of career. Rather than go into the caves and visualize mandalas for months, years at a time, Rama recommended various careers as being conducive to meditation. Those included computer science, math, the arts, medicine and law. He felt that if a student bothered to train their mind in these disciplines, it would be similar to the studies, debates, concentration and visualization given as tasks from masters of old to their young buddhist monk apprentices. They would become empowered, focused and brilliant because they would be drawing out and using potential, capacities that would stay otherwise dormant deep within. Although many meditators who came to the path were of the counter-culture mindset meaning, tended toward natural, non-technology, non-money, non-corporate approaches, going against the grain of our expectations for ourselves allows for openness, the ability to "rewire" ourselves from staid, conditioned people to dynamic, open, ever-progressing people. Those who tried, though some struggled, always found that pracicing these disciplines did work beautifully with the meditative lifestyle. Unfortunately for some "traditional" seekers, Rama's unique style and teaching methods made them mad at him, and they began to assume that he was a charlatan - simply because he refused to align to other spiritual paths that taught that technology, money, working in the world and sex were evil.

Rama taught Tantric Buddhism, which essentially means "reconciliation of opposites". As long as you think things are good vs. bad, beautiful vs. ugly, light vs. dark, male vs. female, strong vs. weak, as long as these types of comparisons are intrinsically embedded in your views, your approach, your thoughts, your responses, then you will never be able to get beyond the conditioning that formulated you. These dualistic views keep you down - in a dualistic state - living in the dichotomy of illusion. But once you're willing to see that life is not as you suppose it to be, and are willing to view the whole, the source from which everything springs, then you begin to realize that all of life is part of the same endless existence. Tantric Buddhism is an advanced path, but with the guidance of an enlightened teacher and a personal, hard-core aspiration toward your own enlightenment, it is a path that works beautifully in today's world. In Tantric Buddhism, you use everything in front of you as a tool to gain more truth, more wisdom, more compassion. Daily living takes on a new hue. Going shopping becomes a tantric task. Taking a vacation becomes a task for selecting an activity that is "more right" for you - choosing your Dharma - that which is your highest calling - that which will bring you to more profound truth. Rama didn't discourage his students from anything. But he was very honest about karma - taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions. If you choose something that is against your truth, it subtly changes your state of mind to one that is a bit foggier - which makes it harder to see clearly. And this then opens the way to make other bad decisions because you can't see as well with each decision that takes you further from your Dharma. On the other hand, if you make the right choice, and for example, pick the right vacation, one that will be higher for you, then you become clearer and can see what's in front of you, then you make more intelligent decisions.

Enlightenment in daily living means you're becoming clear, silent and empowered in your meditations, and then you're taking that and living with consciousness - that is, making choices that will bring you to your own highest truth in every aspect of your life. Your relationships become cleaner because you only engage when it's right, and with whom it is right. If that means that sex is involved, you learn to not be driven by your desires, but rather by what truth you will find - and offer - in that experience. If it means career, you learn to seek out jobs that will allow you to become empowered, versus drained. You find situations that will allow you to stay focused, to keep learning, to use parts of yourself that you've never experienced before in order to solve new, more difficult challenges. If it means living, you choose a home that is right for you, whether it's in the country or the city. It's something that is right for you in that moment. Perhaps living in the country was right for you last year - it gave you perspective and quiet. But maybe this year, living in the city is more in alignment with where you are on your path, maybe it will offer you a line of energy that will allow you to go higher in your meditations and further in your career. As you make choices for your career, you also consider, is this a time when I need more room to take time off, to have new experiences in other places. Or, is it a year best spent working really hard, learning new skills, making more money. Tantric Buddhism is a very advanced path because no one is telling you what to do. There are no rules. Instead, you're advancing in your meditations and taking responsibility for your own enlightenment. You're committed to your path not because someone is looking over your shoulder and keeping you on track, but because you care enough about truth, wisdom and love, and want to gain the power and focus that will allow you to live that way, despite the tidal wave of illusion and misery that the world is engaged in.

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