Webinar: “Deepening Your Meditation Practice” with Lama Surya Das

By Garrison Institute

Lama Surya Das, an American lama in the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition, led the Virtual Sanctuary community through a guided meditation and reflection on how we can deepen our meditation practice and integrate it into our daily lives.

We are living in unprecedented times of uncertainty, stress, and even bewilderment. We are called upon to pay attention and try to stay balanced, keep calm and centered, patient, and flexible—but how? How to discern the truth amidst so many shadows, twists, and smoke screens, both outer and internal? What helps you stay grounded and connected?

Mindful awareness and meditation practice is the foundation of true happiness and contentment, self-knowledge, inner peace, and relational harmony. Of course, like other skills, the more you practice, the more effective you become. Lama Surya underscores that quality counts more than quantity in genuine mind training and heartful spiritual practice.

To discern the quality and depth of our practice, Lama Surya encourages practitioners to evaluate if and how their practice makes them more empathetic, patient, honest, calm, centered, and self-understanding, and if the practice helps them see more clearly, for “the clearer I become, the clearer everything becomes.” Paying attention to the experiences, sensations, and insights that arise from your practice can also be a helpful guide.

One of the results of a deepening practice is the increased ability to see through the allusion of separateness, a vital capacity in a world in need of radical love and compassion. As Lama Surya says:

“When I start to see myself in you and yourself in me, who would I harm? Who would I exploit? Expand the circle of care and love and interconnectedness beyond oneself and one’s nuclear family, out in concentric circles to include your neighbors and community and the animals, and the whole universe. The whole universe is oneself. All beings are part of it. We contain multitudes.”

In this session, Lama Surya also shared pith-instructions that can serve as grounding mantras during our practices and throughout our days. We encourage you to use them to deepen your practice:

  • There is Nirvanic peace in things left just as they are.
  • There is Nirvana here within Samsara.
  • Be there while getting there, every single step of the way.
  • We are all Buddhas by nature, we only have to awaken to who and what we are.
  • Nowness-awareness is the authentic Buddha within.
  • Letting go means letting things come and go, letting be, as it is.

Lama Surya emphasizes that practice is not just about mental hygiene, but about complete transformation. Anyone can follow the path of awakening and deepen their meditation practice with commitment, openness, self-inquiry and reflection, and the aid of pith-instructions and insightful wisdom teachings.

To learn more, visit Lama Surya Das’ website.

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Lama Surya Das is an authorized lama in the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition and is one of the foremost Western Buddhist meditation teachers and scholars. The Dalai Lama affectionately calls him “the American Lama.” Lama Surya has spent over forty-five years studying Zen, Vipassana, Yoga, and Tibetan Buddhism. He established the Dzogchen Center, and together with the Dalai Lama, founded the Western Buddhist Teachers Network. Lama Surya is an international lecturer, meditation and chant master, social-spiritual activist, translator, poet, and author. He is the host of the Awakening Now podcast and can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Your support matters. Our vision for a more just, compassionate world has never felt more urgent. While we cannot share physical space together, we remain committed to a shared practice of social and spiritual care. We are thankful for the opportunity to create a virtual sanctuary during this time of physical distancing. If you feel called to support our work, we welcome your tax-deductible contribution toward our efforts.

Share your reflections on social media using the hashtag #GarrisonVirtualSanctuary, and if you have any questions about this event or others, please contact us at events@garrisoninstitute.org.

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