“Devotion is part of our nature, we love to be involved, we love to connect. This is the deepest connection a heart can make, this connection to deep devotion and unconditional love…” -Krishna Das
Krishna Das and David Nichtern sit down for an interactive discussion on devotion, tapping into their experiences with both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, respectively. When it comes to devotion these two spiritual paths overlap is in the Vajrayana form, or tantric style of Buddhism, when a teacher appears in the form of a master/guru. This is seen to be extremely special as a focal point in practice, because they have accomplished what you yourself would like to accomplish. For even in the three refuges of Buddhism—the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha—the guru is considered the forth refuge.
Krishna Das recounts how life-changing it was to experience the unconditional love that radiated from his guru, Neem Karoli Baba aka Maharaji, in India. Slowly through just hanging out, Maharaji’s presence opened their hearts. For some spiritual seekers who have had this physical experience of the guru, it’s an inspiration to see the possibility of someone exhibiting that kind of love, clarity, and feeling of timelessness.
David recounts his own experiences while pursuing the Buddhist path under the tutelage of Chogyam Trumpa Rinpoche, and the incredible lineage he’s a part via his own personal practice. “The ring of devotion hitting the hook of the guru, the link you have to that being, in our tradition, is practice, therefore it is very, very important…the practice is the connection for us to individually continue to connect in that way, when we don’t have the luxury of knowing that kind of being in person…”
At the end of this podcast, there’s a Q&A covering the following topics:
-Does the spiritual path need a stage of darkness in order to attain a level of depth?
-Not feeling an unconditional love connection with spiritual teacher/lineage.
-The role devotion has played in Krishna Das’ singing.
-Has Krishna Das found a way to love everyone, the way Neem Karoli Baba does?
-The role of grace in Krishna Das’ spiritual life and how it has helped him to cultivate devotion.
David Nichtern is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. This tradition combines a contemporary, secular approach to meditation with the ancient practices and philosophies of Tibetan Buddhism. David was one of the initial American students of renowned meditation master Trungpa Rinpoche and studied closely with him soon after his arrival in the United States in 1970.
David has been co-director of the LA Shambhala Center and Karme Choling Meditation Center in Vermont, as well as Director of Expansion for Shambhala Training International and Director of Buddhist Practice and Study for OM yoga.
He has been a featured writer and regular contributor to The Huffington Post and leads meditation workshops around the world and online. David also works individually with meditation students in person and via Skype. He does a weekly live broadcast on Ustream (via his Facebook page) and has several online meditation workshops available through creativeLIVE.com. His DVD/CD package OM YOGA & MEDITATION WORKSHOP, created in conjunction with yoga teacher Cyndi Lee, is widely available
David Nichtern is also a well known composer, producer and guitarist – a four-time Emmy winner and a two-time Grammy nominee. He is the founder of Dharma Moon and 5 Points Records. David has recorded and played with Stevie Wonder, Jerry Garcia, Lana Del Rey, Maria Muldaur, Paul Simon and many others. Among his many credits in records, film and tv, David wrote the classic song “Midnight at the Oasis” and composed the score for Christopher Guest’s film “The Big Picture”. As the Beyman Bros, he collaborated with Guest and CJ Vanston on an album “Memories of Summer as a Child” and has produced multiple records for Grammy nominated kirtan performer Krishna Das.