In this mellow dharma talk from 1977, Ram Dass shares stories from a trip to Thailand to visit a couple of monasteries, providing an enchanting look at a deep, quiet, dharmic existence.
A Perfect Balance
Ram Dass tells stories of a trip to Thailand he took with a group led by Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. He talks about visiting with teachers who had a profound effect on Jack’s training, including Ajahn Chah, and how we rarely get to see the products of Vipassana practice at such a high level. These beings display a perfect balance between freedom, play, and love on one hand, and a commitment to lineage on the other.
“For it’s hard to describe what subtle effects seeing people living such disciplined, monastic lives can have on you. And seeing, in the older students and in the abbots and the senior monks, such perfect equanimity and such inner strength.” – Ram Dass
Ram Dass talks about how we can all become tools of balance in Here and Now Ep. 184
A Deep, Quiet, Dharmic Existence (5:36)
Ram Dass talks more about the qualities that these great Buddhist teachers possessed. He describes how this was his first time at a true forest monastery and shares a story of going out with the monks on their begging rounds to gather food from villagers. There is a balance to this way of life; the monk’s existence helps give meaning to the villagers’ lives.
“One could feel the yearning inside all of us, I think, for this kind of simple, deep, quiet, dharmic existence.” – Ram Dass
Ram Dev (Dale Borglum) shares some of his remarkable teachers in Healing at the Edge Ep. 56
The Guru Concept (14:35)
Ram Dass shares how this trip brought him and Jack and Joseph closer together and free them from some of the tensions over their different methods, Bhakti and Vipassana. He explores how Hinduism and Buddhism have different concepts of the guru or teacher. Ram Dass ends with a reminder to stay mindful and keep releasing ourselves from our attachment to our desires.
“The Hindu guru concept is the merging of one being into another. The jewel is the being. In Ajan Chah’s case, the jewel and the being are one, but the form is still the transmitter of the jewel. Maharajji, my guru, had no form that he transmitted. He kept undercutting forms. All there was, was the nature of being. Part of my error in the past was demanding that every teacher be Maharajji, and not make this distinction. But it’s a very real distinction.” – Ram Dass