Dancing with Rama

A friend of mine, Ninja-Marc, wrote a blog recently about a time in 1985 when he arranged for Rama to give a lecture at Boston University.  Rama showed up and gave a talk to a few hundred people.  Instead of ending it, he walked to the back of the raised stage and put on some dance music.  Here, I’ll let Ninja tell it–

“Rama taught the students there all of the basics of meditation, as he did for countless students over his 29-year teaching career. He touched on diverse topics, ranging from how to study more effectively to chakra meditation.

“He taught, demonstrated, and then led the practice of several powerful meditation techniques. The lecture was supposed to finish at 5:00, and with the short days of fall, the sun was already fading as it got close to 5:00. Most of the students appeared overwhelmed with the level of information they had received. I don’t think they were expecting a real meditation teacher, much less an enlightened being who enters blissful and ecstatic states in the middle of his everyday activities. It’s not ever casual when an enlightened teacher shows up in your life, no matter how casual they may appear to be. They only do that to keep you from freaking out completely. I believe that on some deep inner level, everyone who met Rama knew that something very unusual, and perhaps even religious, had just occurred. I saw it on people’s faces. I felt it myself.

“Rama then did something which I’ll never forget. I thought he was going to end the event, as he often did, with a short meditation and then some graceful words of parting. But instead, he stood up lithely from the plastic chair, picked it up and carried it off the stage, then swept the fabric off the front of the stage into a black disorderly heap. Everyone was watching him, and he didn’t hurry and didn’t return our gaze. He didn’t walk, but lightly ran to the back of the stage and put on a CD, turning up the volume to “party-time” levels.

“Before we could fully take in what was going on, he started spinning across the stage like a cross between a dervish and a modern dancer. Just as suddenly he stopped cleanly in the center of the stage and began performing the ancient mudras, fingers, and hands, and arms moving through and constructing the complex shapes with the grace and power of an Indian dancer trained since early childhood. I had seen Rama dance before, but not for a very long time. I associate Rama dancing to the very peak of his joy, to the times when all things seemed possible, even the possibility of teaching meditation in America.

“…When he danced, the whole world danced inside of your mind. As Rama’s hands traced perfect circles in the space in front of his heart chakra, you felt your heart center tingle and open softly.

“As he faced his palms towards you and exhaled forcefully while pitching his hips forward, you felt the power flow right into your navel center and fill your body with energy. As his hands reached straight for the heavens and he gazed upwards, it seemed the whole cosmos rained white light on your head and you experienced something closest to bliss. Then he would bring his hands slowly together, concentrating on the empty space between them, and you felt your mind and life focus, sharpen, and become clean, pure, and crystalline.”

Ninja writes more.

I had the same experiences when Rama danced.  He gave empowerments when he danced.  If we had been in Tibet, Nepal, or Bhutan, we would have known what we were witnessing–an ancient tulku performing timeless juxtapositions of power and energy.  But we did not know.  I would feel the incredible manifestations of light and energy wash over me and        into me a bit.  But not that far.  After all, why would I give up all my hard-fought, self-defined personality traits for mere infinite awareness of existence?  Why would I do that??

In American Buddhist Rebel, Rama generously teaches over and over again the same core truths.  These are the same truths found in all basic Buddhism:  om mani padme hum, the jewel is in the rooted-in-mud lotus. All of what you see is enlightenment if you can reach the state of mind where you not only say the mantra but you live it, you are it.  I narrated the audio book so that you can feel what and who Rama was as a teacher.  Then you will understand him as a dancer.

Rama was always teaching.  Now that I’m working on Book Two of his biography, 1989 to 1998, I appreciate anew his willingness to meet students at their level and find Western means to help them.  Read and listen to Book One to receive a set of advanced empowerments from Rama.

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