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 A Workshop With Rama

Enlightenment & Self-Realization

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Good Evening.  Tonight I'd like to talk to you about Enlightenment and self-realization.  Well, good evening spiritual types.  (Laughter.) Anybody that comes to a workshop in self-realization and Enlightenment classifies as a spiritual type.  Yes.  (Looking through his briefcase of cassette tapes) Sometimes I can look at these things for hours! (Laughter.) Well, you know, on higher planes of attention, I mean, you can see eternity in anything.  It's not necessarily so hard.

Well, tonight, uh, God, anything can happen.  And I'm glad you came! Aww, gosh, gee! So nice to see you! Kisses! (General laughter.) So you want to know about death, eh?  I thought I would dress suitably for the occasion.  We're celebrating your funeral.  Coming soon to a theater near you.  

Yes, everyone dies! It's a fact!

That sounded good, didn't it?  That was a very, intense, right and punchy and good way to get -- so everyone dies, it's a fact and then you are reborn again.  Big deal.  And then you die again and you're reborn again, and you die again.  The average human being has something like 84,000 incarnations.  Yeah! Isn't that awesome?  84,000 incarnations.  And you're having trouble with one!
Enlightenment.  Enlightenment is absorption in Eternity.  To become one with what we call Nirvana.  There are various stages that we go through in the process.  We can discuss it, but you should always remember that any discussion of the process is in no way indicative of at all what it's like.

So tonight I thought I would make your life a little more difficult and we would discuss how within a week or two, in your spare time, you can lose all of the good karma you've amassed over all those lifetimes.  (Laughter) Now, I would guess that chances are if you're here tonight you've had at least 30,000 or 35,000 lifetimes, somewhere in there.  Just ball park estimates.  But -- you want to know about Enlightenment.  You really want to know?! You know what you have to go through?  Don't ask.  If you ask I'll tell you.  It's a long, long, long, long explanation.  But it's funny! That's the thing about life.  You see, the chances of you attaining liberation, no, be realistic for a moment, down to earth tonight, let's forget all the spiritual jazz and let's talk dollars and cents.  (Laughter).  The chance of you attaining Enlightenment (he chuckles aside) is probably better than you realize! (Laughter) No, it's true! Hey, why do you have such a negative attitude about yourselves?  Why not feel it could be you?  It could be! I wouldn't hold my breath! (Laughter)

But it could be! It could be.  Krishna, you know, you've all read the Bhagavad Gita and you've all memorized it, I'm sure (laughter), Krsna says, to Arjuna, at one point he says, "Arjuna, do you know where I can get a good strawberry shake?" (Laughter).  That wasn't in your translation.  Krsna says to Arjuna, he says, "Arjuna, do you know what your chances of attaining Enlightenment are like?" And Arjuna says, "Uh, I don't know man, what do you think?" He says, "Well, one out of sometimes millions, sometimes billions attains a full liberation." That's, I mean, that's a lot of people.  Now, you could of course, take that very personally, and say, "Well what chance do I have?  The lottery is a better shot." But you might have a better chance than you think because what he's saying is that most people aren't even interested in the subject of meditation, Enlightenment and self-realization.  So naturally, they're out of the ballpark.  O.K., the first cut.  You've eliminated several billion right there.  (Laughter) So your odds have just improved dramatically.  (Laughter) See what I mean?  So that's why you shouldn't be so negative.  We're talking, of course, through the whole earth, you don't have a chance -- but -- most people on the earth could care less about liberation.

So, then, how many are there.  How many people do you really think are striving earnestly towards self-realization on this planet right now.  Five, six no! But, how many?  Oh, thousands.  Ten thousand, twenty thousand.  Oh, there are many people in different religions and they pray and do things like that.  But they're not going through the training process that's necessary, the training process that the universe puts you through.

In order to qualify, I mean, even to get into the pageant, right, you've got to figure you've got to have at least 40,000 to 50,000 incarnations.  I mean otherwise, they don't even look at you.  Then you get an audition.  And we're talking, you've got to be good.  Not necessarily.  Ah! This is the good news!

You see most people are under the assumption that in order to attain Enlightenment, self-realization, we'll talk more about those subjects in great detail later.  But, in order to do that, most people think that you have to be really, really, really good.  A sweetie.  Mmmwah! Love with life, little birds, trees, flowers, everything happy!!! All the time! Blithering idiot! (Laughter) Nuclear bombs -- wonderful! Pollution -- good! You know, God is in all things.  So, you know, dull-dull-dull.  I mean, God gets bored by people like that.  Well, you can't have much of a conversation with someone like that.  "How are you today?" "GREAT!" You know -where can it go?  "How's everything in your life?" "WONDERFUL!" A little less cocaine please! (Laughter)

So you want to know about self-realization.  Well, you've come to the wrong place.  No, the right place.  It's someplace, we'll find it.  How do you do this?  Well, there are different ways.  You've got your (I'm sorry, I have to go through this, just bear with me) you got your Zen.  Nice sounding word, isn't it?  Zen.  Bodhi Dharma started it out.  We'll get him! You got your Tantric Mysticism.  Oooh, that sounds gnarly, doesn't it?  Yeah, I like that.  You got your Bhakti, the path of love.  You've got your Karma, the path of Hard Work.  (Laughter) All those interested in the path of Karma Yoga, please line up on this pin over here.  (Laughter) "Hey, man, like it's the twentieth century, man, like, you know, I can't hassle it, you know, it's like I got a lot to do, man, I just don't have time! Wow! I mean, like, I gotta get dressed in the morning.  That takes a half an hour, like I gotta take a shower, you know, sometimes I forget to turn the water on.  And then, like, just the freeways, man, by the time I get home, I'm too tired to like be enlightened, man, I mean it just takes too much energy.  You gotta be wealthy, you know, to have the time to do it!"

So, yes, it's true, Enlightenment has become a tool of the wealthy and powerful.  (Laughter) (He laughs.) So yes, there you've got your paths, your four basic paths.  Count them, four.  The path of Love, (this is ridiculous, I know -- the sermon on the couch) (laughter -- he cracks up).  Oh, sorry.  Well, what do you want?  Do you know a hill around where they're not going to hassle us?  O.K.  

You've got your path of love, your basic, right -- Bhakti.  Selfless giving.  The path of knowledge, also known as Jnana Yoga.  O.K., knowledge, discrimination.  That's the real techy stuff.  And of course Mysticism.  Those are the big four.  Then you have the sub-variants like Zen, which is the path of no mind, O.K.?  The Tibetan Rebirth Process, O.K., techy rebirth experiences in the bardo.  Oh, Tantric Mysticism which is sort of living in the world and seeing God in household products.  Oh, there are sub-variations.  I mean you've got Buddhism, for example, which is like a combination of various forms, O.K., or you've got Raja Yoga or there's the -- you know, there all the "isms", O.K., Taoism, the path of being wet (laughter).  Sooner or later one can offend everybody.  (Laughter) So, what does this all add up to?  It all adds up to a very confusing thing.  I mean, imagine a poor little soul that went down to the Bodhi Tree Book Store that was looking for Enlightenment, right?  You know, like we had a sincere one.  Let's say one floated in from someplace, you know, Cleveland or something.  They got off the bus in L.A., right?  They heard that L.A.  was a hot power spot, you know.  It is, yeah, there's ancient civilizations used to exist right in the Los Angeles area.  Mystical civilizations.  A lot of spiritual practice going back a long time ago was here, long before the Indians.  This is a power spot we live in here.  A wonderful place.  So let's say somebody in Cleveland had a dream, right?  You know, "Come to L.A." So they take the plane, land at LAX and they ask, "Where's the spot?" And they say "The Bodhi Tree Book Store." Right?  (Laughter) Because they have, I mean, any path that there is, is in that place, right?  They have books on it.  So you go down to the Bodhi Tree Books Store, right?  O.K., and go inside, and you look around, what's the poor thing going to do?  There's so many books, so many teachers, so many paths! God! I can't even afford half of them.  (Laughter) That's the books, right?

Well, I mean, what's -- it used to be simple in the old days.  Really.  You know, people couldn't read.  (Slow growing laughter.) This is my Zen approach, you understand.  So, then, what does it matter?  I'll get you to that point by the end of the evening where you won't care what I say, see, and then we'll be making -- that's good, then we will have gotten into another level of attention.

Enlightenment.  Enlightenment is absorption in Eternity.  To become one with what we call Nirvana.  There are various stages that we go through in the process.  We can discuss it, but you should always remember that any discussion of the process is in no way indicative of at all what it's like.  Because we're just painting little tiny pictures of eternity.  Enlightenment is to become Eternity itself.  To merge with all of life, all of existence.  Beyond definition, beyond form, beyond awareness.  But yet there is a defined way to do that.  Life has a structure.  Life has a pattern, it has a weave.  And when we understand that way of life, that eternal Tao, the movement of existence, of energy, of consciousness, as we pull back from the veil of Maya, of illusion, we become aware of that which we are, and that is the self, or Eternity, Nirvana, call it what you will.  How does it begin?  Well, we have to talk of course a little bit about reincarnation, naturally, if we're going to deal with such a lofty subject cause that's the general cosmology that usually is found in the approach.  Reincarnation.  There was a time, or there is a time occasionally when there is no time.  There's no life, there's no death, there's nothing but eternal awareness.  The self, God, the unmanifest, reality is everywhere.  And then -- it gets bored.  That's what they say in the books.  It gets bored.  And so, to give itself some entertainment, right, it puts on a video.  You.  You didn't like that, O.K., I'll try again.  (Laughter)

The self creates out of itself infinite forms, worlds, realities, dimensional planes, multifarious beings, everything that you could imagine and more is existence.  That existence will be manifest for a certain period of time.  In the East they call it the day and the night of Brahman, and the day of Brahman is the creation.  It's usually measured in yugas, O.K., which are long, long, long periods of time, and there are these different cycles within a cycle of creation and finally there's a cosmic dissolution.  Everybody goes back, the stage is cleared, the players leave.  Everything is empty for a while, and it starts again.  But that's only one aspect of Eternity.  Beyond that is something else entirely.  And within that is everything.  

Enlightenment is the study of the particular, of the moment, of feeling, of being human, of having a body, of seeing the world around us.  It's the exploration of interdimensional planes of reality.  Thousands of them, endlessly stretching out.  It's discovering that we are not physical beings but that we have bodies of light that stretch into these other dimensions, and exploring, discovering our different selves that exist in parallel dimensions.  It's the experience of Samadhi.  Samadhi means the entrance into the supra conscious state.  Dissolving into the pure white light or clear light of the void.  Being absorbed in that light.  Over and over and over until all of your impurities, not just the ones in the conscious mind, but in the subterranean selves are completely washed away, and you're completely clarified.  There's no jealousy, no anger, no possessiveness, no greed, no hatred, all of these qualities are completely washed away, even on subconscious levels.  Eternity is a hard task mistress.  If you step forth on the pathway to Enlightenment, then you must experience really, a little bit of every part of life.  And it's a wonderful, wonderful journey.  Meditation is always the key, regardless of the path that you follow.  Meditation takes us there.  It's a vehicle.  Meditation is stopping thought.  Stillness.  Erasing the perceiver.  The one inside who's watching, who's observing the personality forms.  You are capable of everything.  But to do that you need something that you don't have now.  Power.  The power of the kundalini energy which gradually rises through our being in the process of self-discovery.

Self-discovery is so wonderful, I can't believe that people can get through the day without it, because life is so empty, and horrible, and boring without it.  It's really terrible.  You're out there, and you're alone, in this cruel world, and people could care less, and even when they care, it's mostly about themselves.  You know, we live in a world of war, and war's alarms, they're building Star Wars technology so we can pollute outer space now, I mean it's ridiculous.  The same old thing.  So it appears.  But it's not really.  And that's the exciting part.  One could get very discouraged if he just viewed the world.

The download of this talk [including part 2] [and part 3] is provided by a link to the
Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism
Lake Tahoe - Rama Frederick Lenz
Magic is the ability to perceive beyond the surface.
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