Lama Surya Das – Ep. 36 – Comedy & Consciousness


Live from ABC Deepak Homebase; Lama Surya Das is joined by Chris Grosso, Duncan Trussell, and Raghu Markus for a comical chat about consciousness and the spiritual path.

The group gets real about enlightenment, overcoming struggles with practice, and the importance of having the courage to start the journey.

Check out the video version of this podcast HERE.

Show Notes

What is Enlightenment? (11:00) – Duncan Trussell and Chris Grosso discuss what it means to be enlightened and where they find inspiration. Chris describes a breakthrough moment in his life, which raises the question of what enlightenment really means.

“Sharon Salzberg has a great take on enlightenment. When you are meditating, it is not the moments where you are clear minded. It is the little moments when you remember you are lost in thought; those are little gaps of enlightenment.” – Chris Grosso

Practice (19:30) – Chris talks about his history with drug addiction, and how practice has changed his life. He talks about his struggles on the path to recovery. The work that Chris has done through practice has allowed him to find the love for himself that he never had, which keeps him moving forward.

There are candid stories of recent struggles and how spiritual practice affected the response to them told by the two. The spiritual path doesn’t make suffering go away; it changes how we react to it.

“Ram Dass said, ‘Suffering is the sandpaper of our incarnation, it does its job of shaping us.’ So there it is, you see what the suffering is, you look at how it is shaping your life, you work with it to the best of your capacity, and then you move on.” – Chris Grosso

The Western Lama (32:00) – Lama Surya Das joins the conversation. Surya Das talks about his path to becoming a Buddhist lama. Duncan explains Buddhism to the Lama and gets a few misunderstandings cleared up.

“Oneness is the natural state.” – Lama Surya Das

In the Moment (44:15) – Lama Surya gets real about what enlightenment is and how anyone can have profound moments of enlightenment. If we live in the now, there is no past or future. In that moment, there is no “you.” Being in that moment, and no place else, is part of what enlightenment is all about. The group is joined by the host of the evening, Raghu Markus. Duncan shares the story of first meeting Raghu and breaking out of the trap of “us and them” thanks to Raghu’s wise words.

Courage to Begin (1:12:45) – Having the courage required to start a practice and come back to it is incredible. What is most important is to take the first step. The first step is in actually doing it. Raghu tells a story about Maharaji and Krishna Das that drives this point home.

“The courage to do anything a little different, that’s the beginning of change. ” – Lama Surya Dass

Om Mani Padme Hum (1:27:50) – Lama Surya Das leaves us with a reflection on love and chant.