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 Tantric Buddhism

Peak Experiences

What I'm trying to teach you, what I am in fact teaching you - whether you're learning it or not, I'm definitely teaching it - is how to have peak experiences, how to make your whole life a peak experience.  

Now, peak implies a plateau.  And for me, it's not like that.  I was reading a story about a guy who's climbed more of the Himalayan mountains of the highest elevations than anyone else.  As a matter of fact, he's only got one or two to go and he's done them all.  And in doing this, he's lost several fingers from frostbite; he lost a brother in a climb.  He's gone through all kinds of innumerable obstacles.  But this guy is probably the most famous mountain climber in the world.  He keeps climbing these mountains.  He's gone up to the top of Everest without oxygen.  He just does these incredible things.  And you have to ask yourself, well, why do this?  Why does someone become an Olympic athlete?  Some people do it for gold and glory, needless to say.  And there's nothing wrong with those things.  Why push yourself?  Why not just be comfortable?  Why not play it safe?  Why court danger?

It's because there are some individuals who have a peculiar power.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's from past lives, maybe it's not.  Who knows, but some people just have a peculiar power, the power to elevate themselves above the deadness of the human condition.  The human condition is not dead intrinsically.  We don't start - we're born alive, not dead.  But we are deadened by the world.  Our world is timid.  It's filled with bargaining and deals and everyone plays it safe, or they just follow orders.

You might say, "Well, not everybody plays it safe; how about soldiers who go to war?" Well, they usually don't have much choice.  The soldiers who choose it aren't playing it safe, obviously.  But after a while, even war can become a routine.  Professional soldiers are not necessarily excited by their work anymore.  Initially, they may have a moment when they're facing the enemy, when they triumph, when they do something incredible, something that they couldn't imagine doing.  It brings them to a new plateau.  It can happen in the arts, in dance, music, something where we go beyond who we are.  We leave our personality behind, we leave safe behind and we encounter a moment.  I call it a moment; it's not obviously just a moment, but it's when our perception unfolds and we step beyond who we've been.  Our energy gets so high that it literally lifts us above personality, and for a timeless time, we merge with life.  We merge with something that there are no words for.  
There are moments of exquisite power everywhere we look.

Some people experience that moment in sex.  Some people experience that moment in athletics.  Some people experience it in contemplation and meditation.  They're more apt to experience it there, certainly, than any other place.  But the life of meditation and religious study is absolutely no guarantee of peak moments.  Most people who are involved in religious study and meditation as a lifestyle are downright bored, and they're as stuck in what they do as everyone else is.  You can make a routine out of anything.  Initially something is exciting, but then immediately we structure it in such a way that we can just repeat the ecstasy and then it's no longer ecstasy.

I am a seeker of what I call perfect moments.  I'm not going to define that because, why?  There are all kinds.  Perfect moments are moments when we, as I said, go beyond ourselves and we touch something immortal.  And there are many ways to do it.  They involve pretty much the same structural approach, though.  These moments don't occur particularly rhapsodically.  They occur from a lot of discipline, a lot of pragmatic approach, through building up our power.  And if you know how to do it in one place, you can apply that structural knowledge to doing it in any place.

The download of this talk is provided by a link to the
Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism
Interview with Rama
Advanced Buddhist Yoga is the art of altering your karmic patterns.
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