ISE Keynote: Why Be a Buddhist, When You Can Be a Buddha?
with Lama Surya Das

Why Be a Buddhist, When You Can Be a Buddha?

With this simple question, Lama Surya Das cuts directly to the heart of the integral spiritual impulse, hinting at a secret that lies at the center of all the world’s spiritual traditions.  It is a secret that has been hiding in plain sight for thousands of years; a secret that you yearn to discover for yourself.  You know that the world’s religious legacies represent so much more than mere codes of conduct, moral platitudes, or anthologies of myth and superstition.  At the core of every major religion we can find a treasure trove of powerful technologies for awakening, transformative practices designed to invoke in us the very same experience of fullness, transcendence, and immeasurable love as the great religious founders themselves were able to have.

That’s right—you can have the same experience that the Buddha had. You can have the same experience that Jesus Christ had.  Or that Muhammad had, or St. Teresa, or Rumi, or any other great mystic in history.  All this is abundantly available to you, at this very moment.

Why is this important?  Simple: it’s your birthright.  It’s why you are here, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous incarnation.  This is not an invitation, nor is it an obligation—it’s who you already are, right now.  All that’s left to do is to wake up.  But first, you need to know that you can wake up in this lifetime, that enlightenment is a real possibility for you and for your loved ones.  Second, you need to give yourself permission to pursue your own enlightenment.  You deserve to be awake—because in a certain sense, you already are.

This realization forms the bedrock of the 5-year Integral Spiritual Experience event, which is rapidly becoming something like “the United Nations of world spirituality.”  It is a space where teachers and leaders from any religious tradition can share their own insights, teachings, and practices with a wide community of spiritual seekers and practitioners in a truly “trans-lineage” embrace—recognizing the timeless core shared by all religions, while celebrating the vast differences between them.  After all, each religion may represent a different path up the same mountain, but each path continues to offer its own unique vantage of our shared spiritual heritage.

We recently held our first annual Integral Spiritual Experience event in Asilomar, CA over the 2009-2010 New Year, and were deeply honored to have Lama Surya Das as one of our featured keynote speakers.  An exemplary teacher of Dzogchen Buddhism, Lama Surya delivered his presentation with diamond-tipped clarity, precision, and wit.  He suggests a few ways we can carry this realization for ourselves through our day-to-day lives, while reminding us how simple it all really is: the most sublimely ordinary experience you will ever know.

Be sure to stay tuned in the coming months for more ISE keynotes (including presentations by Jean Houston, Sally Kempton, and Marc Gafni) as well as some exciting updates around our next Integral Spiritual Experience event: The Future of Love!