Robert Thurman & Isa Gucciardi Transcript

Robert Thurman & Isa Gucciardi Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done over 420 of them now, and if this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to, B-A-T-G-A-P, and check out the past interviews menu. This show is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, and if you would like to support it and you appreciate it, go to Batgap and you’ll see a PayPal button on every page of the site. So I’m at the Science and Non-Duality Conference finally, and I’m going to conduct an interview today with Robert Thurman and Isa Gucciardi. Robert is a recognized worldwide authority on religion and spirituality, Asian history, world religion Buddhist philosophy, Buddhist science, Hindu-Tibetan Buddhism, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with whom he is a friend. Robert is an eloquent advocate of the relevance of Buddhist ideas to our daily lives, and in so doing he has become a leading voice of the value of reason, peace and compassion. He was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Americans and has been profiled by the New York Times and People Magazine. Robert has just written a book which we’re going to be talking about, entitled “Man of Peace,” about the Dalai Lama. So we’ll start by talking about that, but first I want to introduce my other guest, Isa Gucciardi, PhD. Isa is the founding director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, a school for consciousness studies in Berkeley, California. She is also the creator of the spiritual counseling model, Depth Hypnosis, and author of two books, “Coming to Peace,” which we’re also going to talk about, and “Return to the Great Mother.” In addition to her teaching schedule that includes teaching classes in applied Buddhist psychology, applied shamanism, integrated energy medicine, and depth hypnosis, she has active practices in depth hypnosis and applied shamanic counseling in San Francisco, California. And her website is Bob’s is, what is it,

Isa: Bob Thurman.

Robert: Bob Thurman.

Rick: Bob Okay, great. – or .com?

Robert: .com.

Rick: .com, And I’ll be putting this information on the website and linking to those sites and linking to the books and so on, so if you’re driving in your car listening to this, you don’t have to get in an accident trying to write it down. So thanks and welcome.

Robert: Thank you, Rick. It was nice to be here with you.

Rick: Good to be with you. I interviewed Bob a couple of years ago at the SAND Conference. If people would like to see that one, you’ll find it on that. So what’s your relationship with the Dalai Lama? How long have you known him?

Robert: So I’ve known him since 1964, and he made me a monk originally. He downloaded my Exeter Harvard sort of like pseudo-education in Tibetan, but since I spoke Tibetan already by that time, and 54 years ago. So then we’ve been struggling together over this China and Tibet and the whole thing. And he’s rebuilding and preserving the culture. Then he asked me and my wife about 30 years ago or more to preserve the culture. We created Tibet House US, which is located in New York at the moment where I’m from, but we’ve always wanted to have a branch out here actually as well. And I think this is a more sort of Buddhist city, and this is the Dharma city of San Francisco, or San Jose, San Francisco. So maybe I’ll do that before I manage to croak, because I’m not allowed to croak. He told me I can’t croak until I’m 107 in his most venomous moment, and in his more mild moment he said 97. But of course that’s based on him promising to live to 113 or 103.

Rick: It’s a contest.

Robert: What?

Rick: It’s a contest.

Robert: No, no, not really a contest. It’s just that his different Lamas who talk about his health and his energy and everything, they say he could live to that. And then the Tibetans want him to. They won’t let him off his hard working thing for them, so he’s sort of accepting to try to do it. But nobody wants to stay in their body when it’s really too creaky and too painful.

Rick: Time to trade it.

Robert: And the cheapest possible rejuvenation strategy is to die and go find a nice womb of a nice mom in a nice neighborhood with a dad who’s not too obnoxious. Then you get a whole new body and then you have a whole new round. And those Lamas, they apparently supposedly know how to do that. So it’s a real burden to stay up in the hundreds like that.

Rick: It is. I had a great aunt who lived to be 107.

Robert: Your dad?

Rick: My great aunt.

Robert: Your great aunt, wow.

Rick: I instructed her in meditation when she was 91 and she carried on until 107.

Robert: That’s amazing. Did you interview her Buddha at the gas pump?

Rick: No, that was before this.

Robert: Oh, well you should interview her now. If she’s meditating like that, she must be there in the Bardo or something ready to tell her secret.

Rick: I’ll have to find a talented medium to help me do that.

Robert: That’s great, awesome, 107.

Rick: So I don’t know a heck of a lot about the Dalai Lama. Of course, everybody knows about the Dalai Lama. And I’ve heard some people regard him as a saint, as a realized being. Some people just think he’s sort of a political figurehead without any actual genuine realization. He’s very self-effacing when anybody asks him about his own state. So how would you describe the man, not only in terms of his external appearance and activities, but his inner state? What’s your estimation of him?

Robert: Well, you can’t really tell because you have to be enlightened to recognize the enlightened person really for sure. And I don’t claim to be enlightened, although my wife would acknowledge I’m a little more enlightened than I was 51 years ago when we married.

Rick: Through her influence, no doubt.

Robert: What?

Rick: Due to her influence, no doubt.

Robert: Oh, definitely. She’s been my guru the whole time. But I listened to more and more of her teachings as I grew older and I managed to absorb more of them. I was resistant at first, like all of us males. We think we know better, right? Don’t we? That’s how stupid we are. And anyway, so the thing is that, actually, what was the question?

Rick: The Dalai Lama, your assessment of his–

Robert: Oh yeah, no. I’d seen him and when I first met him, he was kind of a buddy, and he denied being my teacher but he kind of took care of me and he remanded me to his teachers. And then when we would meet, we would talk about Freud or nuclear weaponry or plutonium or something. In English, or the American bicameral legislature systems, all that. Because he was so curious about everything, he really was. And then I noticed incremental leaps, and that was in those early 60s.

Rick: Leaps in what regard?

Robert: Well, he would deflect questions about deeper philosophy and things like that. And then by 1970, ’71, when I spent a couple years with him as a layman, he was really sharp in the philosophy. I mean, he was like razor, like really deep. And I think we were getting more deep, really, but still kind of jolly and youthful and so on. And then I didn’t see him for a period of time. I had to come back here and get tenure and deal with my family and do the whole thing. And then in the late 70s, I saw him again, and then he had really developed, I think, powerful presence.

Rick: Yeah, you could feel it.

Robert: You know, thanks to the kind ministrations of Henry Kissinger and others, he was denied really going around anywhere. Because Kissinger in the 70s–

Rick: He was kissing up to China, right?

Robert: Kissing up to China. Kissinger up to China, right? His adulation of Mao, you know? And then, so he was denying, telling everybody to deny visas and things. So that was good, because then his holiness got to do a whole bunch of retreats. And he really put some of his deeper tantric teachings to work, you know, Samadhi, Yamantaka, these kind of things, Padra Yogini. And by the end of the 70s, he was like super-powered. He was tremendous, really. He was a real siddha, you know, a master of that. And then, you know, he’s continued to grow. And every time I meet him, every year or so, sometimes several times a year, I go to his like basic public talk or something, and there’s always new things. I always learn something new, you know? Even going back to sort of the fundamentals that he comes out of in a different new way. You know, so he’s still growing, you know?

Rick: Yeah, aren’t we all?

Robert: So people who think he’s just a political, they don’t know what they’re talking about, you know? On the other hand, part of the reason they probably do that is because they think that if you’re enlightened in something, then you wouldn’t care about the political, because you’re way above it. Because they have some stupid dualistic idea about the spiritual that it doesn’t, they don’t care about the world, which is totally ridiculous. Nonduality means that the spiritual is in the world, and if there’s injustice and suffering here, that’s all you’re here for. Otherwise, if you can just space out in bliss, you know, who needs it? Who needs the world except that people need your help? That’s the whole point, if you get a little edge on things, you know? And he does that, and he’s very important. So this book I just did about him with seven or eight colleagues, five artists and a couple of other co-writers, although I was the one who was present in a lot of the things, and also I’ve been studying it for 50 years.

Rick: Wow, it almost looks like a comic book.

Robert: He never, it is a comic book, yeah. So it enables people to follow his life in the context of how the planet has been, even in his previous incarnation, since 1904, it really begins. When the British invaded Tibet, which sort of started Tibet’s engagement with the whole world, you know? And he’s written autobiographies and stuff, but he never presents himself, like you said, he’s very self-effacing.

Rick: Yeah.

Robert: He’s not exactly self-effacing, actually.

Rick: Which is kind of a Buddhist tradition, isn’t it? I mean, Buddhists are supposed to like…

Robert: He’s pretty lively, but he’s kind of humble.

Rick: Yeah, yeah.

Robert: And because he’s a simple Buddhist monk, that routine he has. But actually, so he doesn’t present himself as a heroic figure, and I was tired of that and I wanted to show that. And I’m also tired, I was also tired two books ago, or two or three books ago, about how people say, “Oh, nonviolence, oh yeah, it’s all nice,” you know, but they always get crucified or shot or Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and they never really, and violence is it, you know, army, military, power, you know, that’s the whole thing. And then they say, and besides, in Tibet, where there’s nonviolence, what have they ever gotten out of it? You know, like China’s just crushing them still. So my answer to that is, how are they doing in Afghanistan? In Syria, in the Middle East, like anywhere, Vietnam, how is that? The violence doesn’t actually work anymore.

Rick: Yeah, what were the Tibetans supposed to do? Go to war against the Chinese?

Robert: Well, they had tried, some guerrillas tried to defend themselves.

Rick: Yeah, they’re not gonna get too far.

Robert: Gave them low-level support and they harassed people for a while. All of them said, “Don’t do that, it’s not gonna work, it’s a bad idea, and I’m into nonviolence and that’ll work more power, that’s more powerful in the long run.”

Rick: Work for Gandhi.

Robert: And the problem, of course, is how long is the long run? That’s kind of irritating, ’cause it’s kind of long. But we’re looking to changes in the world now, very soon, and very optimistic. But what his heroism is, he never gives up, he doesn’t ask for revenge, he loves his enemy, he wants to talk to them, he wants to visit them, he wants them to visit him. He wants to go to Mecca with all the Muslims, he wants them to come to all the Buddhist places, and he wants no more religious conflicts, and he works on that. And he actually really is heroic. And so this book shows him like a superhero in his own quiet way, kind of. And I was a little nervous when he would see it, that he would be like, “What are you doing?” Because one time when he wrote Ethics for the New Millennium, around the turn of the millennium, I was really pleased with it, because it called for a spiritual and ethical revolution on the planet, which I was very pleased with. And so I said, “Okay, you’re ready to speak truth to power and be a prophet now, are you?” He says, “No, I don’t want to do that, I’m a Buddhist monk.” So I was a little nervous, but actually he likes it. Even when he was being live-streamed in a ritual, and he was praying, and ringing his bell and meditating, and the book was on the table over here, and at one point he’s like, “Oh, look at the book, my wife saw it on live-stream.” And then he quickly backed to his ritual. So I know he likes it, and his secretary likes it, so therefore I know he likes it, because they’re always critical of everything that anybody but them does. And so I’m very happy about it, and it goes very well with my friend Isa’s book, Coming to Peace, in that the Dalai Lama’s argument is, this 21st century cannot be another century of violence like the 20th century. And all on his own, he comes up with that, and we have to have dialogue with enemies, we have to talk to them. You have to get the art of the deal, our deal-maker has to get off the hairdo competition, with Kim Jong-un, and they have to sit down and make a deal, you know? And it would not be a problem, I know that. The Kim Jong-un’s dearest wish is to come to the East Village and join the village people, and sing with them, you know, the guy with the Indian cowboy hat, and he would have his hairdo. He wants to have fun with people, it’s boring to be a dictator, it’s totally boring. Everybody comes and grovels to you, and then you kill a few of them here and there, and that’s no fun, you know? And so, dialogue is the secret, you know? And then her book is about how dialogue, how to do dialogue, and how to dialogue with your inner things, but actually I’ll let you talk about it. What about it? So your book, Coming to Peace, is the way to fulfill Dalai Lama’s slogan, which is, world peace through inner peace. So here’s how to get to inner peace.

Rick: Yeah, let’s talk about that. Because it seems to me that the individual is the unit of the world, I mean there are we can’t expect to see a peaceful world. So the only way to see it is like a forest, you know? If all the trees are gray and withered, it’s going to be a gray forest, and you have to have green trees if you want a green forest, so you have to have peaceful people to have a peaceful world. And I imagine the Dalai Lama would agree with that.

Robert: He certainly would agree with that.

Rick: And so does your book, Isa, have some kind of practical prescriptions for finding inner peace?

Isa: Definitely, definitely. It actually, there’s two different levels of conflict resolution that the book describes, and the book is based in conflict resolution methods that you find in different shamanic cultures around the world, including Ubuntu, which is the basis for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Southern Africa.

Rick: The last guy I interviewed was a Samoan from South Africa.

Isa: So interesting, right? And also Ho’oponopono, which is practiced throughout the Pacific. And then, of course, the caucus-making processes of the Iroquois League that Benjamin Franklin and George Washington actually modeled the states’ rights and federal governments’ relationship through the way in which the Iroquois League was organized. So in all of these places, you find a very similar method for conflict resolution, which actually, interestingly enough, draws on Buddhist principles of mutual respect, personal responsibility, and the connection with inner wisdom as a basis or a container to begin the dialogue for the resolution of conflict. And so people sit in a circle. There’s a talking stick or a talking stone that’s passed, and there’s no interrupting. You’re not allowed, there’s no cross-talk. You have to wait for the talking stick to come to you in order to speak. And if you’re not able to maintain personal responsibility or mutual respect or a sense of equality with everyone else, then you are asked to take a time out and to spend some time with inner guidance. And so one of the problems with conflict is that it often doesn’t have a strong enough container in order for all of the parties to be heard and in order for everyone to actually learn what their truth is of the conflict and to be able to communicate it effectively. And so what the coming to peace process does is it offers that kind of a container, and very strong, volatile emotions can be held within the container simply with the help of these, again, Buddhist concepts of mutual respect, personal responsibility, and the remaining connected to inner wisdom.

Rick: So the key elements of this container are the things you just mentioned, mutual respect, personal responsibility, and so on. But does it go deep enough? I mean, let’s say you have a group of people and they’re doing their best to be mutually respectful and personally responsible and so on, but what if there’s just a lot of inner turmoil still within them? They haven’t really plumbed the depths of their being and found that deep source of peace which lies within everyone. It still seems like you’re going to have a bunch of agitated minds sitting around doing their best, but not necessarily…

Isa: No, no, the whole idea is to allow all of that agitation to come out. The whole idea is to have a container.

Rick: So it gets purged, kind of?

Isa: So it gets spoken about, and people then have their own, everyone who else is … all of the other people that are part of the conflict then have their response to whatever the agitation is that the person is dealing with. So for instance, in Hawaii, when someone was physically sick, the kahuna or the shaman would not begin any kind of physical healing processes until hoʻoponopono was called, where all of the family members and community members came together and sat in a circle and there was a question, “Who is holding grudges? What kinds of resentments are there?” And that all goes around and all of that gets purged, and then the physical healing can begin.

Rick: That’s pretty good. I mean, I can think of groups of meditators who have been meditating for years or decades, who presumably have tapped into some degree of inner peace, who are still filing lawsuits against each other, and stuff like that. So obviously there could be something on a more manifest level that could be conducive to greater harmony and peace within even such a group.

Isa: Well, clearly they haven’t come to peace.

Rick: Yeah, or they wouldn’t be doing that.

Isa: Yeah, one of the issues, I mean, we were just teaching this workshop on shamans and siddhas here at the Science in Non-Duality Conference, and one of the issues that I have as a long-time Buddhist practitioner, a long-time shamanic practitioner, is that there can be a spiritual bypass with a meditation or a Buddhist practice that is not focusing the one-pointed focus that one attains with shamatha into a true vipassana type of process where you are going deeply within the self. Bob often calls it the “diamond drill,” using the mind as the diamond drill to go into the issues. And this is what the inner coming-to-peace process is designed to do. So one of the things that drives external conflict is internal conflict. And the inner coming-to-peace process allows for the establishment and the reification of different parts of the self that are in conflict with one another. So in an altered state of consciousness, people are guided to identify where they feel a particular point of view is established in their body, and another point of view is established in their body. They’re asked to establish an image for each of these parts, and then the same dialogue that would happen between two people happens between those two parts. And so you can address deeply held conflict with this kind of method, and you can’t really escape. You know, with meditation you can often kind of space out, or all you have to do is look calm and everybody thinks you’re calm. It’s like you really can’t escape that when you’re having a dialogue where both parties are required to tell their truth, to maintain personal responsibility, to offer a forum for the other party to be able to express what is true for them.

Rick: Now you mentioned that this reconciliation of conflicting streams within oneself is achieved in an altered state of consciousness. What kind of altered state are you talking about?

Isa: Well, people are assisted, first of all, one of the first things that happens either in outer coming to peace or in inner coming to peace is that there is a guided meditation where people are guided to connect with what’s called a part of themselves that knows their own truth. And so that connection, that kind of idea is a very shamanic idea where you are connecting with an inner guide, and that becomes a safe harbor or an anchor for the conflict, to ground the conflict as it emerges. And then, again, in an altered state of consciousness that is attained with suggestions for relaxation and focusing inward into the body, the different emotions, the conflicting emotions, say for instance in the inner coming to peace process that I described at one point with a stepfather who was trying to establish more peace with his stepdaughter, he found that he had an inner conflict between two parts of himself that had very different relationships to responsibility. And one part was trying to take responsibility, trying to make things better for everyone, and the other part was resistant to that because it felt like he was martyring himself and abandoning himself, as it turns out. So he had all this kind of congestion so that when he went to try to make things better for his stepchildren, he got aggressive and frustrated with them when they would not go along with his agenda because it made him feel like he was failing to take responsibility. So I could read you what that dialogue looked like. It’s an interesting dialogue between the parts if you wanted me to, I could do that.

Rick: If you like, if it’s not really long. And while you’re finding that, so are you saying that he went through this process and it somehow reconciled those conflicting parts within him and then that resulted in a big change in his behavior and relationship with his family?

Isa: It totally changed it. And in the outer coming to peace process, it was really interesting with the family because there was a lot of hostility between him and his stepdaughter, and they had been in raging fights for a long time. And one of the things that happened as the stick went around was it became evident that she called him a jerk and he said he was sorry and she called him a jerk again and it went on like that. But then finally he said, “I realize that I get frustrated with you because I’m trying to make it better for you because your dad is dropping out.” And that was like this huge revelation. And she said, “I think I’m angry at dad too for dropping out and we’re taking it out on each other.” And it wasn’t until they had the time to go around and really let the aspects of their anger express themselves as strongly as they needed to that they were able to get to some kind of understanding about where the anger was coming from.

Rick: Yeah, it was good. I mean, a lot of people practice meditation sometimes for many, many years and they kind of assume or even are told that just doing that is going to work all this stuff out. And then decades later, they’re still getting divorced and having fights and this problem, that problem. So I really do feel that in many, many cases, if not all, some supplementary things like this are…

Robert: I just wanted to say that’s a fundamental misunderstanding in how meditation has been taught in the Buddhist tradition, which is one of the master traditions of that. And I think Hindu tradition has the same idea. The thing that liberates you is not meditation but wisdom. And that’s a famous thing in Zen, the six patriarchs of what meditating by itself does not get you there at all. You need the wisdom. And meditation…

Rick: The meditation kind of prepares the ground for the wisdom.

Robert: Well, wait. There’s three levels of the wisdom. There’s wisdom born of learning, wisdom born of critical reflection, analysis, insight, and doubt, and questioning, and inquiry. And then meditation can become fruitful. And so the way it’s been taught here is like just meditate without learning anything and without really debating, getting into yourself, using doubt to deeply go in and find out where the imbalance is. And then, and especially having to do with the self, the sort of rigid, fixed idea of the fixed self, of the fixed self that people have, like I have this unchanging self and that’s just me, you know, from whence their irresistible impulses come from. And the key thing is the self. Because even though you meditate and you suppress your normal thinking and you get a little buzz out of that because your mind is quiet, when you get back engaged with people, then you really, it comes back and your egotism emerges. That’s the reason you have all these scandals after many years of meditating, because they refuse to learn something. And also in America, a lot of the people who do that are highly educated, they’ve been in school for years, they’ve gotten PhDs and things, and they’re still miserable. And so they think, well, all these concepts are useless, so I don’t need to learn anything. And meanwhile, they didn’t learn the right things about themselves. So meditating is a useful tool, but Buddhism, shamanism, these things are not just meditating. It depends on what you meditate is a neutral tool. You know, like in the military you can meditate on being vicious and insensitive and killing people and then you’re better at it after you do it.

Rick: Well, there you’re talking about a contemplative form of meditation as opposed to one that kind of results in transcendence or samadhi.

Robert: Well, but isn’t transcendence just shutting down your habitual sense unless you unravel it?

Rick: Well, you know that line from the Yoga Sutras, “Yogas chitta vritti nirodha,” it’s the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, a settling down of all the agitation to a more less excited or least excited state.

Robert: Well, that’s nice, and as I said, it gives you a buzz. But the agitation, yeah, it does. And people think that must be enlightenment because they’re not used to that buzz.

Rick: Oh, a taste of it.

Robert: What?

Rick: I say it’s a glimpse of something. Enlightenment would be far more mature development than that initial glimpse.

Robert: Yeah, but it doesn’t come from just shutting down your mind. Okay. That’s not enlightenment. It’s just getting out of the turbulence of it. But the structures that cause the turbulence are intact down there, and that’s why people come in as narcissistic, egotistical people. They decide they want to be really hip and meditate. They meditate for as long as they shut down their surface thinking about themselves as egotistical and things, and in meditation they’re like, “Oh, everything is cool.” And then later they go out and somebody bangs into their BMW, and then they completely freak out because, and even they’ll jump up 30 years later after meditating deeply and they’ll say, “Guess what? I really am great. I’m the greatest, and therefore I want to be your guru, and therefore I need two BMWs.”

Rick: Well, I can’t deny any of that. I’ve seen it happen.

Robert: Oh, right. All that stuff. Whereas even a short meditation, even in a dialogue with your daughter-in-law or your stepdaughter and your stepfather, if you’re using, you’re being exposed, you know, your inner habits and things, and you’re dealing with them, and also you dissemble through the shamanistic idea that she’s the master of, you disassemble the different components of the self, you know, and the ones that are incorporated from some negative domineering kind of thing and this and that, and then you can debate between them in your mind, and then you can begin to find more openness in your mind. And then you can change much more quickly than 30 years, you know, if you use your intelligence, you know. And then it harnesses the meditation to the intelligence of having learned something, not just suppress it.

Rick: Yeah. So I’m listening to this and I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of the average listener on this show, and they’re thinking, “Well, this sounds kind of interesting, but what do I actually do? It sounds kind of complicated. I couldn’t do it based on what I’ve heard so far.” I mean, if somebody actually wanted to apply this in their own life, what steps would they take?

Isa: Anyone who reads this book would have some ideas about how to do that. The steps are in there. The steps are very clearly laid out. The way you set up the circle, the intentionality that everyone is asked to bring to it, and the method. Of course, it’s helpful to have … you know, I’ve had a lot of people try it without a facilitator, a depth hypnosis practitioner as a facilitator. Coming to Peace is actually the couples and family counseling piece of depth hypnosis, which is a transformational counseling process that I developed that combines shamanism and Buddhism with hypnotherapy and energy medicine.

Robert: I mean, hypnosis is meditation.

Rick: It’s a form.

Robert: It’s like hypnosis. It’s a different way of attainment.

Isa: It can be applied more rapidly.

Rick: Some similarities, maybe. It’s interesting. I find it interesting that there’s this hybrid kind of approach where various tools from various cultures and various times and so on are able to augment one another.

Isa: Yeah. I mean, we call it “applied shamanism” because we’re taking these ancient tools and we’re applying them to the modern problem.

Rick: Yeah. And we call it “applied Buddhist psychology” because we’re taking Buddhist principles and we’re applying it to the modern conundrum.

Rick: I think there’s really some value to this cross-fertilization idea. I mean, here we are at the Science and Non-Duality Conference where a bunch of scientific types are conversing with a bunch of spiritual types, and those two streams of knowledge have something to offer each other.

Robert: Sure.

Rick: And by the same token, what you’re saying here is shamanism and depth hypnosis and Buddhism and those things can cross-fertilize each other. That’s good.

Robert: That’s well put. Well put.

Rick: And it’s kind of like in this day and age with all the communications that we now have, and none of these streams of knowledge is as isolated as it once would have been.

Robert: Well, of course, in the Eastern thing, Buddhism is a kind of spiritual science, actually. And Hinduism, too. You mentioned the Yoga Sutras. And when you say “science types,” you’re assuming the materialist science types are the science types. But there’s mental science types, too. And one of the real big things—Dalai Lama’s very big on dialoguing with the materialist sciences, and the dialogue side has to do with their imprisoning themselves within their dogma of materialism. They’re all sitting there as minds engaged with exploring reality, but they’re denying that they have a mind. They’re trying to reduce it to the brain.

Rick: The same, yeah, brain activity.

Robert: It’s the brain or it’s their biology or it’s their genes or something, anything, that isn’t their own mind that they can be responsible for. That’s very, very key. And we used to teach a course at Amherst College, and I was there, called Darwin, Marx, and Freud. That was the absolute thing you had to do to be liberally educated. You had to take that course. And most of the liberal arts colleges have a thing like that. But think about it. Darwin, you’re a helpless victim of your genes. You’re running around dumping them somewhere, and then you had it, and then forget about it. Then they go off. Marx, you’re like a victim of your social position, and you’re just like, you know, you’re in your class, and you think whatever they think. And Freud, you’re unconscious. You’re at the tip of the iceberg, and you’re really helpless, and your unconscious is making all the decisions. So the supposed great modern individual is totally helpless. And therefore, they’re in such a bad situation that then when they hear, “Oh, meditate means shut your mind down,” then, “My mind is an illusion. It isn’t a real thing anyway, so I want to get rid of it.” And they want to lose their mind. So naturally, they don’t lose their ego when they lose their mind. They just lose the tools with which they can understand how the ego works. But then that’s okay, because our whole culture tells us that the whole thing is impossible anyway. It’s not going to end up, everybody’s a bad president, so we have a really bad one, but the other one would have been no good too, so it doesn’t matter. We’re brainwashed into thinking that the world doesn’t work. Why we like the Dalai Lama, the man of peace, is that he keeps alive heroically. It can work. My favorite thing in the Gandhi movie, which really happened in life, do you remember that movie? Remember the British guy, the little sort of pomp and show guy with the riding prop when they’re having the negotiation in the House of Government? And the guy says, “Well, Mr. Gandhi, you really don’t think after all we’ve done here that we’re going to walk on out of India, do you?”

Rick: And he said, “Yes, that’s exactly what I think.”

Robert: “Actually, you could take a train, but walking will do the job.” He just took it on a completely easygoing level, and that’s like the Dalai Lama, “Yeah, we could have peace, you couldn’t drop that bomb, or you could stop saying these insults, or you could do something.” He’s the person who keeps that alive. Like women and families, they keep alive the idea of dialogue. Men and families often are at each other’s throats, father, son, “Oh, it’s the Oedipal thing, oh dear, because they’re helpless, they have to fight.” And then the ladies, “No, you didn’t mean that, dear. Oh no, don’t say that, dear. Oh no, no, don’t hit him like there. Don’t hit him so hard.” They’re always in the middle of it, and they’re the ones who keep that alive.

Rick: And that British guy in the movie obviously thought that Gandhi was a silly little man in a loincloth who couldn’t possibly have any influence whatsoever against the British Empire. And I’m sure that the people in that battle thought that David was a silly little kid with a slingshot that couldn’t have any effect against Goliath. And people thought that Martin Luther King was just this sort of dreaming preacher who wasn’t really going to affect any sort of social change. So I mean, all these people are always naysayed, and yet time and again, in many instances at least, it’s proven that that approach ends up being far more powerful than something more manifest, more gross, more violent.

Robert: Absolutely. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Rick: I’m sure you could have.

Robert: When are you going to get the Dalai Lama to the gas pump?

Rick: I would love to. Can you arrange that?

Robert: No.

Rick: Try. Dana Sawyer was going to try to pull some strings one time, and I was thinking of going to Indianapolis if he could have swung it. But he ended up meeting with Hillary Clinton and, I don’t know, Cher or somebody. It’s difficult. But you never know. You never know.

Rick: I did interview Khen Tsetan Rinpoche. You know him? He’s a friend of Dana’s. Which one? K-H-E-N-T-S-E-T-I-N-O-L-E. He’s a rinpoche who was in the Dalai Lama’s circle of . . .

Robert: Oh, I see. Well, I’m not sure which one that is.

Rick: But anyway, that would be a nice feather in my cap if I could interview him.

Robert: That would be good.

Rick: So what else have we discussed that you need to bring? You were going to read a passage?

Isa: Sure.

Rick: Okay.

Isa: So this is after the coming to peace process with the family where the stepdaughter and the stepfather realized that they were angry at the biological father and they were taking the anger out on each other. And so Joel realized he really . . . the stepfather’s name was Joel. And he realized he really needed to understand the dynamics of his own inner conflict. And so we used a guided meditation to help Joel connect with his inner wisdom. And once Joel connected with his guide, a yellow column of light, he continued the meditation to . . .

Rick: His guide was a yellow column of light?

Isa: Uh-huh.

Rick: Which just happened to be his particular vision that bubbled up?

Isa: So this is the aspect of shamanic practice that depth hypnosis makes more accessible. In shamanic practice, when you are using the altered state to connect with what in shamanism is called a helping spirit, you’re generally using a sonic driver, some kind of repetitive sound.

Rick: Like a mantra or something? A drum.

Isa: Like a drum.

Rick: Okay.

Isa: Usually a drum or chanting, a didgeridoo. And in that case, the helping spirits are generally understood to be forms of nature, the unseen powers of nature.

Rick: Like devas or entities of some subtle beings of some sort that are helping to orchestrate creation, that kind of thing?

Isa: That kind of thing. And they usually take the form of something like the spirit of the tree or the spirit of the dog. Sure.

Rick: The kind of thing in Findhorn where they were actually seeing these things and interacting with them and that kind of stuff.

Isa: Right, the nature spirits.

Rick: Right.

Isa: So in shamanic practice, what shamans do is they establish a relationship with unseen powers of nature that are then the basis for the work that the shaman does in terms of healing or divination or the guiding of souls. And it’s actually the helping spirit that does the work of whatever the shaman is asked to do. The shaman really becomes like a channel. In shamanic practice, it’s called becoming a hollow bone. And in general, in shamanic practice, that process is accomplished in order to what is called gather power. And so you’re establishing relationships with these different helping spirits and they in turn provide the shaman with the tools with which to do the practices that the shaman is asked to do for the people and the culture that he or she is working in.

Rick: As you’re saying all this, I presume that these are rather universal principles, whether we’re talking about South American shamanism or African or Hawaiian or whatever.

Isa: You’re absolutely right. They all work the same way. And it’s very interesting to see how similar shamanic practice is across time and space.

Rick: It’s very interesting.

Isa: Yeah, it is.

Rick: Especially since you consider that these cultures have no communication with one another, you know?

Isa: Exactly.

Robert: A good San Francisco psychotherapist.

Isa: And of course the common denominator here is the earth herself, right? And a shaman’s task is to learn how to speak the language of the earth, to understand her wisdom and to bring it to bear upon the affairs of human beings. So the whole process of connecting with inner guidance is for that purpose for shamans.

Rick: I kind of interrupted your reading.

Isa: That’s okay.

Rick: Well, I just wanted to ask, and we’ll get back to your reading. So in terms of your background, did you do some kind of apprenticeship with a traditional shaman in different parts of the world, like Africa and South America and this and that?

Isa: That’s right.

Rick: Wow, you really made a focus of it, didn’t you?

Isa: I did, I did. And I have a degree in cultural anthropology and linguistic anthropology, and that’s as close as you can come to majoring in shamanism, because you’re studying indigenous cultures generally.

Rick: That’s cool.

Isa: Yeah. But as I say, I’ve created this counseling model called depth hypnosis, which brings shamanic principles into the therapeutic setting in a modern environment. And sometimes I say that depth hypnosis is a good front end, because you can work with the principles of shamanism or the principles of Buddhism. For instance, the Four Noble Truths, the teachings on the nature of suffering in Buddhism, are actually used as a diagnostic tool in depth hypnosis. And practitioners are taught to learn how to identify where is this person attached, where is this person in aversion, where is this person operating out of misconceptions. And those are the places that the practitioner is trained to go for, to break up the crystallizations of thought patterns that are driving those aversions, those attachments, and those misconceptions. And that process of breaking up those crystallizations is done in an altered state, because people’s conscious mind would defend, of course, what people are all about, right? Their whole personalities are based on their aversions, their attachments, and their wrong knowings, and they have to be suffering enough with that in order to be able to allow that to be challenged. But even when that happens, they still need a little help, which is the altered state, getting beyond the defenses of the conscious mind, and then the establishment of a relationship with an inner guide to help support and ground that internal transformation process. So again, you’re seeing how depth hypnosis combines Buddhism and shamanism, but in terms of the guide, in depth hypnosis, it doesn’t have to be in a form of nature. So we’re adapting it to a modern time, so it could be a mythic or angelic being, or it could be a light or a sound that the person encounters, rather than having to focus, “Okay, I’m looking for a helping spirit in the form of an animal,” right?

Rick: Yeah, I mean it seems to me it would be more effective if you didn’t have a preconception of what it was supposed to be, but just put yourself in the appropriate state and then whatever came.

Isa: That’s exactly right.

Rick: And I infer from what you’re saying that your approach doesn’t involve entheogens or hallucinogens or anything, it’s all depth hypnosis, natural processes.

Isa: I mean, I always say there’s nothing you can’t do with the shamanic journey. There’s nothing that you can’t do with plants that you can do with the shamanic journey.

Rick: You meant to say, “There’s nothing you can do with plants that you can’t do with the shamanic journey.” That’s what you meant to say.

Isa: No, there’s nothing that you can’t do with the shamanic journey. That you can do with plants.

Rick: In other words, whatever plants can do, the shamanic journey can do.

Isa: Yes.

Rick: Put it in positive terms.

Isa: Yes, thank you.

Robert: That’s like the same thing with meditation. It’s the learning that is key to then deepening the experience, concentration, hypnosis, plants, whatever it is. If you don’t have the learning and the orientation and the openness, then those tools won’t work or they’ll take you in the wrong direction. Have a bad trip.

Rick: Nice. All right, let’s get back to your story. I’m sorry for taking it off on a tangent.

Isa:No, that’s helpful.

Robert: So what is Joel doing now?

Isa: Okay, so he’s connected with this column of light as a basis, this kind of anchor. And then he’s in an altered state and we identify two parts of himself that were with odds with one another over the issue of responsibility. Joel identified one part as a soldier that was located at the back of his head and the other part as a red ball in his stomach. So that’s the reification because a lot of times we have this internal conflict. Go ahead, you were going to say something.

Robert: No, no, I mean you’re interrupting yourself.

Isa: Oh, sorry, I thought you were interrupting me.

Rick: No, you’re interrupting her interruption.

Robert: Well, that is the MIT Media Lab definition of a good conversation. Okay, good. A high level of mutual interruptibility. That’s something they came up with, scientists came up with. I’m sorry, go ahead. I just want to know what happened to Joel.

Isa: Yeah, well, you’re going to find out. It’s pretty exciting. So that reification of these different parts is pretty important because a lot of times when we’re…

Rick: And reification, just for people’s understanding of my own, means that it takes something abstract and makes it more concrete and solid and specific.

Isa: Exactly, exactly. Okay, good. And the reason that that’s helpful is a lot of times we have an internal experience that we can’t really identify or know what it is. You know, he just felt, for instance, Joel just felt very congested and frustrated all the time, but he didn’t know what was causing that. And by finding one part of himself that had a particular feeling about responsibility and another part of himself that had a different feeling, reifying them and then having a conversation, that congestion became clarified, which is exactly what happens in external coming to peace circles. People’s congestion becomes clarified as they communicate about it, right? So the practitioner says, “I’d like you each part to state your position on responsibility.” The soldier says, “It’s important to take responsibility. You have to do your duty. You have to protect the weak.” The red ball says, “I am sick of responsibility. Give me a break.” Practitioner, “And how do you each respond to the other’s position regarding responsibility?” The soldier says, “You are irresponsible. You don’t have what it takes.” And the red ball says, “You are just a jerk boy scout. Every damsel in distress that comes your way tools you around.” This is pretty much word for word what happened. Practitioner, “Joel, can you ask what the guide has to say about this situation?” The guide, the column of light says, “I think it would be helpful if you both thought for a moment about the effect your words are having on one another.” So there’s an example where the two parts are given a time out because they’re like screaming at each other, right, which is what happens with conflict, right? So there’s a silence and the red ball says, “Okay, I’m sorry. I just don’t think you consider what you’re doing. You just rush into the burning house without thinking about how the fire got started. Soldier, you have to take care of the problem. You can think about how it got started later.” Red ball, “I disagree. You need to think about how things happen. You just rush in and you always get burned.” Soldier, “It doesn’t matter what happens to me.” Red ball, “Yeah, it does because what happens to you happens to me.” Soldier, “What are you talking about?” Red ball, “You are so busy going around saving every cat up a tree that you don’t think about taking care of us. You are overweight, you’re still smoking, and you don’t exercise.” Soldier, “How do you think that affects me when I’m trying to take responsibility for our health? You think I don’t take responsibility? You need to think twice, buddy.”

Rick: So let me interrupt. So this whole dialogue is taking place in this guy’s head.

Isa: No, he’s saying it out loud.

Rick: He’s saying it out loud as it happens.

Isa: He’s saying it out loud.

Rick: Oh, okay, so you’re recording it. Okay, I just wondered how this got recorded.

Isa: No, yeah, no, he’s saying it out loud. So actually then I would actually be saying, “Red ball, what do you have to say to the soldier? Soldier, what do you have to say to the red ball?”

Rick: And each time the guy would respond with one of these statements.

Isa: That’s right, and then he goes back and forth.

Rick: And it’s interesting because when we’re out here, it seems kind of weird to think we have these different parts that are going on inside of ourselves.

Isa: But once you get into an altered state and once you allow for the possibility that there could be multiple parts that are in conflict, it all kind of falls into place.

Rick: Yeah, I mean when I hear it, I think, “Well, I would really have to be in an altered state to come out with something like that. I’d never come out with all these statements and I’m not that imaginative or something, you know, so it’s interesting.

Isa: Yeah, it’s not actually imagination. It’s actually giving words to something that was beyond kind of articulation.

Rick: Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that he’s just fabricating the whole thing.

Isa: But even if he were, it still would work.

Rick: Yeah, okay.

Isa: But I’ll show you under certain circumstances. So the soldier says, “Oh.” The red ball says, “Yeah, oh.” The soldier says, “Okay, I see what you mean,” after a silence. “But I have to make things better. I have to protect the weak.” Red ball, “If I hear that one more time, I’m going to puke.” “Protect the weak? Think about protecting us.” Soldier, “Oh.” Red ball, “Yeah, oh.” There’s a silence. Soldier, “I think I just don’t know how to stop smoking, and whenever I try, you are not cooperating.” Red ball, “That might be true. I think I don’t cooperate with you on anything because all your schemes are so stupid. I don’t even pay attention to you, to what you want anymore.” “I think that’s true. I have to admit it.” Soldier, “Well, maybe you need to listen to me sometimes.” Red ball, “Well, maybe you need to listen to me sometimes.” Soldier, “Okay.” Red ball, “Well, okay, and do me a favor. Take a look at why you have to save everyone except yourself.”

Rick: Cool. So this whole process took place, and a big resolution happened for this person.

Isa: Yeah. I mean, there was more in the coming-to-peace sessions, but his level of anger went way down, and his level of self-care went way up. And his sense, you know, he was getting, the issue for him is he was getting a sense of self-esteem from helping other people, and he was abandoning himself. And the part of himself that was abandoned was angry. Right? And so, by shifting that whole balance, he became more at peace within himself, and the family came to peace.

Rick: Yeah.

Robert: Sounds a bit like me and my wife.

Rick: Now, is there anybody, we have four people watching here, is there anybody who has been listening to all this who has any input or questions or anything based on what these people have been saying? Kristen, do you have anything? You were saying like sometimes you have …

Kristin Kirk: “There’s so much, but I wasn’t thinking about speaking.”

Rick: “Okay. Well, if something comes, let us know. I’ll hand you the mic.”

Isa: “Well, one thing that I’d like to point out that Bob pointed out earlier, which is about the way in which the two books kind of intersect.”

Rick: Yeah. And Bob, do you want to talk about that? You were talking about how …

Robert: Well, yes. As I mentioned, Dalai Lama is the hero of world peace to inner peace. And of course, all of Buddhism is about helping people create … The standard of Buddhism is only about inner peace. But actually, Buddhism had a very powerful impact in the society where it ever performed its services. And therefore, world peace is, of course, its major effort as well. And sometimes people, in order to get inner peace, when they are being like the soldier, it’s fine for them to kind of say, “Well, you can’t do anything much about the outside. It’s just going to go in the back, Kali Yuga,” sort of thing, as they say. And that puts the focus on the inner one. But if you look at the overall movement of Buddhist institutions, Buddhist doctrines, Buddhist teachers, they are totally involved in world peace. And Shakyamuni Buddha himself was. And all of his people have been. And even, you know, it’s an interesting thing, but you know the people like Sri Aurobindo in India and various Chinese intellectuals in the second millennium, they blame Buddhism for allowing China and India being conquered by other more aggressive people. Why is it Buddhism’s fault? They blame Buddhism. Well, because Buddhism made people too peaceful and vulnerable and weakened their military fiber.

Rick: Whereas the Hindus had their kshatriyas and so on.

Robert: The what?

Rick: The Hindus had their kshatriyas, you know, their warrior caste.

Robert: Yeah, yeah. So then they blame the Buddhists. And actually there’s an element of that in the Gita, where Arjuna doesn’t want to fight. And then yet he’s convinced to fight. Whereas Siddhartha, Buddha before he was Buddha, you know, the prince, he said, “Forget it. I’m not going to rule this kingdom. I’m not going to be a kshatriya.” So there is a feeling that, and I think it’s historically true, that if you go into your inner peace and make it your focus, as preliminary to getting out and doing something in the world, you’ll become vulnerable in the world. When a society does, they’ll be vulnerable. And in a way, you could say that the colonialism and the victory of the more barbaric Europeans over the Asians was Buddhism’s fault, in the sense that they made them generally not perfect, of course, no one’s perfect, but generally more peaceful. You know, Chinese invented gunpowder, compass. They had ships ten times bigger than Columbus’s ships. They went to Africa and probably America and South America. But they didn’t go and genocide everybody. They went back to eat their good Chinese food at home. And so in a way…

Rick: They were hungry again in half an hour.

Robert: What?

Rick: They were hungry again in half an hour, right?

Robert: I know. But my point being that until this time in history, the skill of being more peaceful and being open to be more vulnerable and making the choice of being more open-hearted and therefore being vulnerable was a little difficult for you because there were so many aggressive people ready to jump on you, so many aggressive nations ready to jump on you. But now we’re in this thing where every nation is armed to the teeth, nuclear weapons all over the place. Everybody’s got their own nuke.

Rick: Right.

Robert: Even the hairdo guys, they each have a nuke in their hairdo.

Rick: He had ten times more?

Robert: Yeah. Well, they all do. But the point is none of them can be used anyway. Yeah. So therefore now the survival instinct is the instinct to be vulnerable and make peace. You know, I have this slogan, which I think Dalai Lama doesn’t share my slogan, but I think in a way he is the hero of that slogan, which is “Ships from mad to mud.” Mad is mutual assured destruction, right? And that might be destruction actually. Could be. Mud is mutual unilateral disarmament.

Rick: That’s nice.

Robert: And that means, you know, you have pistols wired to each other’s temples. Either one squeezes, the other one’s death throw, he’ll squeeze and both will be dead. Yeah. Okay, that’s the new situation on the planet. So then each one says, “Let’s stop holding our hands like this so we can deal the cards,” or whatever, and you start putting it down, and the other one’s putting it down, but you’re looking at it like a hawk at the other one because each one can quickly do it. But you put it down, and then there’s one point where you have to take a risk on two sides, and that’s the mutual unilateral disarmament, you know.

Rick: A friend of mine told me this example of, you know, nations armed with nuclear weapons are like a couple of boys standing in a pool of gasoline, and one boy thinks he’s more powerful because he has more matches than the other one. There you go.

Robert: Perfect. Perfect. So the skill now is to be more open-hearted and to make a choice. You’re going to be open, you’re going to be more happy, you’re going to be more peaceful inside.

Rick: Yeah.

Robert: And even as I have a saying in my previous book, which is called “Why the Dalai Lama Matters,” the publisher asked me to put ten points of hope in the back, because, you know, Dalai Lama’s the only one who has hope that this can all work out. Nobody else does. So she asked me to put them. So my last statement in there is we have to choose happiness and love and take a risk. And in fact, our duty is to be so happy that even if they kill us, we’ll die happy. That’s the thing.

Rick: Yeah. You know, it’s tempting to–

Robert: People don’t usually chuckle when I say that.

Rick: I chuckle.

Robert: I know, that’s very cool. Usually they go, “Eww,” like that.

Rick: It doesn’t take much to make me chuckle. But the–what was I going to say? It might be easy to dismiss all this talk as being kind of pie in the sky.

Robert: Yeah.

Rick: And here we are, a bunch of people sitting in a little hotel room, talking about these dreamy things. Meanwhile, there’s this big bad world out there where all this crazy stuff is happening. But I think that this thing is really gaining some traction. There’s more and more momentum building for some realistic– Realistic– Realization or manifestation of the kind of principles you’re talking about.

Robert: Sure.

Rick: And it’s a multi-pronged approach where all kinds of people doing all kinds of things are in a loosely confederated network, contributing to a global awakening.

Robert: That’s how I take hope from the massive incompetence and pathetic nature of the leadership.

Rick: Yeah.

Robert: Of these old World War II kind of machineries that are so destructive and so expensive and so wasteful. And I take heart that they’re so hopelessly out of touch with what’s really needed and what actually most of the people in the countries really want.

Rick: Yeah.

Robert: None of them want a war. None of them want this fuss. They want like–they want to read Man of Peace. They want to go to a conference. They want to have a little chocolate. They want to have a little fun and watch The Matrix.

Rick: Enjoy their lives.

Robert: Right? Yeah. And so the point is that the democracies are not working. And therefore, there’s even a theory like the dictators are saying, “See, we’re much more effective.” And they’re not working either. But actually, their people are ready to blow up at every minute. And they have to keep them all in their gulags at all times.

Rick: Right.

Robert: So the point is that there has to be this turnaround. And I think it’s happening. And it has to do with the raising of consciousness of people.

Rick: Yeah.

Robert: And the fact that, you know, you can watch somebody puke in Beijing because it’s too smoggy on Facebook. And 10 million people can watch them puke and then realize, “Gee whiz, they’re getting sick over there.” And the Beijing people can see us all sick because we are freaked out by–we have a weirdo in the White House. And we’re completely panicked about it. So somehow, we have to all of us just stick to whatever it is that makes us happy.

Rick: Yeah.

Robert: And develop our inner peace and see that as part of creating outer peace. And also be active and vote and get back to house in 2012 and send, you know, McConnell, Ryan, Trump, Pence, all of them off to a spa in like the Baja.

Rick: Yeah.

Robert: You know, to have surfing lessons and massages.

Rick: Last time I spoke to you, you said something about–

Robert: Harvey Weinstein, send him down there for some real Reichian therapy so he can have a little fun with a rubber doll and really feel something himself. And doesn’t have to grab everybody and molest them.

Rick: Yeah.

Robert: Right? Because he finally had some satisfaction.

Rick: Last time I interviewed you, you said something about DMT suppositories or something.

Robert: Well, that was a kind of–yeah, that would be helpful.

Rick: But that’s a little extreme. You have to go gradually, step by step. It’s a little better to have a shaman and get them a pillar of light and talk to it and have a red ball in their stomach and quietly work on it. DMT is a little extreme.

Rick: Yeah, but it might accelerate the process.

Robert: Yeah.

Isa: And then you need the integration, right?

Rick: Right, you would.

Isa: You have to have the integration. Which actually, coming to peace process works well with that as well to help integrate when you have like big, like spiritual emergency kinds of problems. This kind of process creates the container to be able to look at that as well. But, you know, Bob, I really think that when you’re talking about the possibility that people are turning toward peace, the most wonderful thing about this book is that it gives them a template for peace because in describing his holiness, you have really shown how a being develops the courage to be able to face down these forces of war.

Robert: That’s right.

Isa: And —

Robert: Well, he’s a happy camper, you know. He takes pleasure in small things. I almost fainted. There’s a small thing of him on YouTube, a short thing, and he’s talking to — there’s a lady, a wonderful — I don’t know where it is. It’s some sort of peace conference.

Rick: Yeah.

Robert: And he’s on the stage with his translator, and there’s a lady who’s a moderator over in the corner. And they’re kind of chatting about, you know, about — she’s asking him, like, what about you and this and that. And then I don’t know how he got into that. This is the Dalai Lama, the holy Dalai Lama. He’s sitting there. He always puts a funny hat because he doesn’t like lights on his face, you know. He’s sitting there with his funny hat, and he says, well, you know, one thing, he says, when I travel around the loft, you know, and eat all different kinds of food, then sometimes, you know, you get, like, gas in your stomach. And then he says in an airplane, he said, it’s kind of embarrassing, you know. People are all around. He said, and then — so therefore, sometimes it gets to be unbearable, he said. And then you look around, he says, and you look around, and then you — and then he goes like this. You kind of let one out.

Rick: Well, he probably flies in first class, so he’s not, like, crammed in with it.

Robert: And his translator almost passed out. And the lady did, and you can hear the audience, like, oh! And they’re all freaking out completely that this supposed high — instead of acting like I’m a holy whatever, he’s admitting a kind of problem that we all do get into.

Rick: Well, we all perform the same bodily functions, don’t we?

Robert: In a very open-hearted way. I almost fainted myself.

Rick: That’s kind of healthy, I mean, to realize that, I mean, you know.

Robert: This is the great thing. It relates to a joke I always tell about these bad gurus, you know, who get, like, all inflated because they’ve had a little experience of stopping their mind temporarily, you know, and then it starts up again, and then they want a lot of things. And, you know, then they get trapped in — ? it’s called — they get trapped in the demon-ghost cave of thinking that they’re enlightened. And then once that happens, as I say, they get really — it’s a trap, because then, you know, you have to fart Chanel No. 5. And if you fail, you have to rationalize it, and you have to beat up your followers so they have to pretend it is Chanel No. 5, but in the meanwhile, it’s some sort of stinky thing, in reality. But you can’t admit to that because you’re enlightened, you know, and some false view of what enlightenment is. So that’s why I say Dalai Lama is a true practitioner, and he really shows that you can be there, and you can care, and then also, you know, the thing — I’m also fed up, the thing about, “Oh, but what’s it getting? The Tibetans are still being crushed and all this,” and that’s true. So what’s this nonviolence? But my answer to that is, “How are things in Afghanistan? How is the Middle East doing?”

Rick: What did violence do for that?

Robert: What is violence doing nowadays? It can’t do anything. It’s completely ridiculous. It’s a complete waste, and, you know, it’s just hopeless. So, you know, he says long-term thing, and nonviolence, that’s the great thing about nonviolence, is when the violence you’re receiving is sort of absorbed, and then you keep coming back, and you want to have a conversation, and you want to talk, you want to see a pillar of light or whatever it is, you know, then there’s no further wave of it, you know. There’s no vicious circle. It stops the vicious circle. That’s why Buddha and Jesus and Confucius and all of them, Isaiah and Zoroaster and Socrates, they were all really on top of it, you know. They were not unrealistic, idealistic. It just took us a few thousand years to listen to them, that’s all.

Rick: Yeah. Did anyone think of any questions they wanted to ask or anything? Do you have something? I think I have a question. I didn’t appreciate it. What’s the question?

Kristin Kirk: No, I didn’t have a question. I just had a deep appreciation for what you’ve been speaking about, of bridging the inner world and the outer world, and that there’s no difference between the two, and that your book is addressing the inner world, that when it’s addressed impacts the outer world, and that dealing with the outer world still impacts the inner world and that relationship between the two. And then the other piece about what you were sharing in your book and your comment about the shamanism or therapy or hypnosis and all these different things coming together is that– It’s the same thing. Well, yeah, and that in my experience it’s all the same thing. And so it’s not so much different things all coming together, it’s just the truth of the nature of human capacity and consciousness at play with itself.

Robert: Oh, great.

Kristin Kirk: Because we do have all these different avenues for communication on all these levels that this kind of thing is coming forward. And in my personal experience it’s just what’s present. All those things are all in union. So it’s just so exciting for me to be present and to see the inner and the outer addressed in these books and in both of you and the beauty that’s here, both in what you’re putting out in the world and the inner relationship that’s also happening. So just a total appreciation.

Robert: Thank you so much.

Kristin Kirk: Yeah, yeah.

Sean Webb: I have a question. That was Kristen Kirk, this is Sean Webb.

Sean Webb: I have a question for Isa. I’m really interested in the content of your book now, and I’m going to pick it up and read it. But the multiple voices speaking to each other in the one mind, we have the scientific proof that there are split-brain patients who have multiple levels of consciousness that come to completely independent answers if you ask them the same question. And psychological science has proven we have multiple levels of that consciousness. And so it’s certainly scientifically valid that multiple voices can exist within one human mind. And even like my friend Miguel Ruiz, Jr., told me this, they have a word in the Toltec tradition called metoto, of the thousand voices inside your one mind. What brought you to this, developing this treatment and this strategy to get those voices talking and get those resolutions within your own mind at equilibrium?

Isa: Well, I saw how powerful the external processes of coming to peace were when you were working with individuals, parties with different viewpoints. And in depth hypnosis, we’re always working very deeply within the self. And that’s why I called it depth hypnosis. And so when I started realizing as we were working with the external conflict that there was often a mirror internally within each of the parties that was engaged with the conflict where they were actually projecting an inner process that was going on inside of themselves out into the external world. So a really good example of that is the victim-perpetrator dyad that I go into here. I call it the victim-perpetrator inversion where you have an external relationship where one person, let’s say you have two people that express judgment toward one another and two people who feel victimized by the other’s judgment, right? So you have that kind of a relationship as a conflict-laden relationship. And I was actually working with a couple the other day where they both had their own ways of judging and harming the other. And they each had their own victim that would respond in a kind of collapsing way, right? So when I broke them apart and I helped them look internally, it was very clear that each one of them had a process. They both came from religious orthodoxies where it was very important to always be right and to always know where God was and what your relationship to God was and that if you were not in the right place, you would be judged harshly. So they had grown up with these religious orthodoxies and they had developed these internal judges that were trying to keep them on the straight and narrow. And then they had these parts of them that were receiving that message of judgment, which was almost always pejorative, and they felt victimized. So they had each of that going on inside of each other and they would take turns playing, projecting the victim out onto the other at one moment and projecting the judge out onto the other at the other moment. And working with people, that just sort of became evident that this kind of thing was happening. And also within the Huna tradition, which is a tradition that is much older than the Hawaiian Islands, was developed somewhere else and is held there. The oral history of how it’s held there is very interesting. I call the Huna tradition the first psychology. I know, Bob, you call Buddhism the first psychology, but I call Huna… I mean, we can have a competition, right? Yeah, hey! And so, but in that particular psychology, the definition of the self is that the human being consists of two spirits who come together to evolve in a single physical body, sometimes with the help of a third spirit. And the first spirit is a student of the physical and material processes, and the second is a student of the emotion or the will. So you have a roughly mind-body dyad there, roughly. And the third spirit, which participates in different ways with different individuals, is the guide or the higher self, right? And some people are connected to that and some people are not. And in Buddhism, that would be expressed as the Buddha nature, right? So I work with that. I teach classes on Huna in Hawaii. And I’ve been working with that concept, and I really began to see, and this is not stated in Huna, but the thing that I started to see as I was working with this concept, teaching people about it, was that the relationship between those two spirits was the basis for all the relationships that the person had in their external life. And that was like really revelatory for me. And that I saw that the external relationships offered information about the nature of the relationship between those two inner spirits. So it became really evident that there was really very little boundary between the internal world and the external world. And that’s, you know, Bob, when you’re talking about the self becoming, you know, you become identified with this much larger experience of the self where you are more at one with other people’s experience, and you identify that experience not as separate from your own. This model that I just described, it really is the nuts and bolts of what you’re talking about because it becomes very evident that there is no, I mean there are boundaries between parts of the self and other beings, but they’re just connecting points, actually. They’re not actually boundaries, right? And so…

Robert: They’re not rigid.

Isa: Right, exactly. And so, you know, the definition of the self telescopes out immediately externally, and it also telescopes deeply inwardly. And pretty soon you realize that this process of relating is just this major, major pageant of consciousness at play. And, you know, so you telescope it out that way, but then you bring it back down to the parts, and then how are we relating? I’ll be doing a talk on this, actually, tomorrow afternoon. It’s called “Relationships and Karma.”

Rick: Oh, yeah. I read the description of that. It sounds interesting.

Isa: Yeah, I’ll be doing a talk on that tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Rick: Great. Cool. Well, anybody else have any comments or questions or anything?

David Buckland: Well, just to say that I disagree.

Rick: Oh, wait a minute. Hang on. You disagree?

David Buckland: I very much agree.

Rick: Oh, you very much agree. Okay, great. David Buckland, you want to…?

David Buckland: Do you have any experience of applying these techniques for healing on social or political levels?

Isa: Yes, often. I’d love to hear you address that. Often. Actually, we sponsored a group of monks from the Gautam Sartsen Monastery in a national tour, the Sacred Stream, the foundation of the Sacred Stream. It’s a school of consciousness studies that I founded. And we were asked by Jympa, His Holiness’s main English language interpreter, to sponsor this national tour for this group, the Gautam Sartsen Dokkan. And so they were having a lot of issues among themselves. They’re monks. They’re human beings. They’re incredibly amazing people, but they were having some pretty strong difficulties. One of the members was having some difficulties adapting to the tour. And it’s a difficult–it’s a really difficult thing. You’re constantly on the move. You get into this van, and one minute you’re in Oklahoma, the next minute you’re in Ohio, the next minute you’re in Florida, and you’re sharing your culture, and you’re eating all this weird food. You know, it’s hard. So we actually did coming to peace with them and help them resolve. It was a circle of eight monks, and of course they’re used to, like, internal– like, understanding themselves internally. And we were able to bring peace, and it had gotten really kind of hot. And, of course, they were contained, and they were– but there was tension, and there was kind of grumpiness that the people who they were sharing their culture with had noticed. So it was getting to be a problem. But we were able to do this, and I don’t mean to be–I mean, I’m not being critical of them in any way that they were having this conflict. Everyone has conflict, but that was a big social level. I mean, that was among the monks, and then between the monks and the monastery, the monastery and the larger community. I mean, we pulled in this whole–all these different levels, and we were able to bring peace, and the tour was able to continue for much longer than it would have if we had not done that. So there’s an example. [Audience member] To see it in urban environments.

Isa: Oh, in urban environments, yes. The thing that you have to realize is that people have to want to participate. See, that’s the thing. A lot of times people are in conflict, and they actually don’t want peace. And what becomes very evident when people sit down in a coming-to-peace circle is who is dedicated to war and who is not. And people who are dedicated to war are outed. And then everyone in the circle has their time to say what their experience of being in relationship with someone who’s dedicated to war. And they get information that they would never have gotten in any other way if it wasn’t the kind of container that the coming-to-peace provides so that they have the opportunity to make other choices in an informed way. And a lot of times people are caught in vengeance cycles, and that’s a lot of what happens in urban kind of gang environments. So identifying the vengeance cycle, having everyone– a lot of times when people don’t realize that they want to step– they’re not interested in stepping out of making war until they realize the effect that it’s having on others around them. And the coming-to-peace process offers a forum for everyone to speak truthfully and honestly about the effect. So it does work. I mean, people who–again, people who are dedicated to war and stay dedicated to war, it doesn’t work with them. But the good news is with the inner coming-to-peace process, people who have thought that they need to wait for the warmonger to make peace with them in order for them to come to peace realize that they actually need to do inner work in order to wean themselves off of the connection with the external warmonger. And they can do that work within themselves and free themselves from grudges, from vengeance cycles, all kinds of things without the participation of the person who’s generating the negativity, which is–it’s a revelation for a lot of people. They think that they have to have the participation. They think they have to have the forgiveness, for instance, of someone they may have wronged. Or they think that the person has to–that they have to– that person has to grant them forgiveness. But actually–and they stay stuck in a sense of guilt, shame, and they tend to create that same congestion in other relationships. But when they realize that in the internal process of forgiveness, for instance, the first thing they have to do is to forgive themselves. And so then all of the noise about getting the other person’s forgiveness dies down as they deal with their own inner resistance to forgiving themselves. And then those parts have the opportunity to speak to one another. And they are able to free themselves from the tyranny of someone who would not forgive them, and as well as freeing themselves from the tyranny of their own lack of self-forgiveness. So, yeah, hopefully that was helpful.

Rick: Okay. Hey, Bob, there’s a few questions that somebody emailed me that they wanted me to ask you. Unrelated to everything we’ve been talking about here, but maybe you’ll find these interesting. And if you think it’s sort of too arcane or not interesting, we’ll just skip over them. So the first one is, “Is the Tibetan Buddhist Yogachara view more or less equivalent to the view of Advaita Vedanta?” Is that an interesting question?

Robert: That’s really a completely different sort of area.

Rick: I told you it was going to be different, yeah.

Robert: The Yogachara view is the idea that everything in the world is mental, basically. And it was what they mean by that.

Rick: A projection of our minds?

Robert: Yeah. But there are other people, and then lots of minds are projecting different things, and those projections are intersecting.

Rick: Yes.

Robert: And in a way, the centrist view, which is the other big Buddhist view, middle way view, centrist view, doesn’t really reject that. But it just says it’s not convenient to think of it as only minds, minds interacting with the physical also. And it’s a very deep thing to see things as really taking, because if you see everything made by your mind in one way, of course it interacts with other minds, it makes you more responsible for how they are. It’s a way of taking responsibility for shaping what happens to you, and not just externalizing and blaming other people for it happening to you. And Advaita Vedanta is similar, but the Hindu thing is actually based on, actually, both Yogachara and Madhyamaka. Actually, the Buddhist one is actually the one that generates the Advaita Vedanta. The grand teacher of Shankara was a man called Gaudapada. And Gaudapada salutes the Buddha before he salutes Badarayana, who wrote the Brahma Sutra. And all the techniques developed by the Madhyamakas, the centrists, and the Yogachara or Vijnanavadas, asangas, are used in the Vedanta. And so they’re really pretty similar, except the one thing is that the highest achievement, the Brahminical Hindus say, is Nirvikalpa Samadhi. So actually, they’re like the Theravada Buddhists, who think that nirvana is a state outside of the world. So Advaita is also different from Advaya. Advaita is a past-past participle, so it means the undoubled reality. So it’s only the absolute. You and Brahma are there, and if you’re a Brahmin and you hear “tattvam azih,” then you and Brahma realize that this oldest world of suffering is nothing but a dream of Brahma’s, and is unreal, and is an illusion, is maya. But the Buddhists never say it’s only an illusion. They say it’s like an illusion, yes, it’s very close. And they also never say that the ultimate reality is something apart from the relative reality, non-dual, not undoubled, but non-dual means that the absolute is the relative, actually. That’s what emptiness means. Instead of Brahma up there, it’s emptiness everywhere. So Brahma is also just another relative being, a vast, huge one. So this connects to a social issue. The Brahmins are Brahmins. They think, “Well, I can’t really help all those untouchables, and the dogs, and the cats, and the women, and this.” But we Brahmins, we’re one with Brahma, if we know that. Maybe karmically, then they can rise in caste after many lifetimes, if they serve us. But they don’t even get into that, really. And they don’t like, for example, the karmic thing that you can be reborn as an animal, if you behave like an animal. You’re likely to become a rhinoceros again, or something, or a tiger, or a lion, if you’re a killer, because that body is more suited for killing, like a tiger. Tigress, actually. The tiger males are lazy. And so the point is, the difference has to do, therefore, with wisdom and compassion. If you’re truly non-dual, where it’s all one, but we’re all here, and the untouchables are here, and therefore they’re all one with us, too, they all have Buddha nature, and therefore we’re blissed out, but we see and notice that they’re not. Then all we have to do is help them figure out what they really are, which is not really an untouchable. They’re also one with a clear light of the void. They’re also one with Buddha. They all have a Buddha nature. So there is that difference, and you see it reflected in Indian society, and it explains why, when the Muslims destroyed Buddhism and monasticism in India, although the Hindus came up with monasticism, before that monasticism is illegal in India, you understand? You have to be a householder at some stage. Then you, sannyasin later, and vanaprastha, you can go to the ashram with your wife, and then sannyasin, you can go out just by yourself and get ready for death. But you’re not supposed to not produce children, and be a householder, and pay taxes and so on. The Buddhist thing is against that. You can put your life into sannyasin right away, because then when you’re younger, you can learn more and you can develop more. Anybody can join the sangha from any class, and even females can, although Buddha was hesitant about females, and people wrongly think he was, because he thinks that females are less liable to enlightenment. Actually, he didn’t want them to do that, because they’re more quick to enlightenment, A. And B, they’re the slaves of the males in the patriarchal, brahminical Hindu society. And so if lots of females leave because their life is tougher and join the sangha, then they won’t be supported by the society, and they’ll shut down the sangha, which actually they did. The female monasticism in India was a flood in Buddha’s time, in spite of him expressing hesitation. And then it ended more shortly, and the monks managed to go on another thousand years. But only about a thousand years, the female monasticism really lasted. And in Sri Lanka, they don’t have female monks, and in the Theravada countries, they don’t even have it. They’re some kind of novice, or some kind of like, just a wait on, they’re waiting on the male monks, just like they were waiting on the householders in the house. So that’s the difference, you know. It’s otherwise really, really similar, but when you say that the ultimate reality is God, and then you get into all those kind of theories about God is more than the world, God is absolute outside the world, and then you Brahmins can join with God outside the world. It’s like the Brahmins desperate not to have to go back in the kitchen. The Brahmins not wanting to be women and have to have babies. They want to just be pure and clean Brahmins, you know. And even in Sanskrit, Purusha, for the soul, in Sankhya dualism, Purusha also means a male, and then the female is associated with Maya, with the illusion, you see. Whereas in Buddhism, they’ll only say, “like illusion,” right? Even in Theravada, I mean, Yogachara and Madhyamaka are not different about that. So the Buddhists are pests, because they say, “Yeah, sure, you can have Nirvikalpa Samadhi, but that’s not absolute, unless you can have Nirvikalpa Samadhi right here and now, while working in a soup kitchen among untouchable lepers in Calcutta, and be feeding them as being one with Brahman, all of you. And if you can do that and be at Nirvikalpa Samadhi while you’re feeding the lepers, be my guest. But if you want to have Nirvikalpa Samadhi in a pure state outside, and leaving the lepers to fend for themselves, there’s something dualistic about that. Right? That’s the difference.

Rick: Okay, good. Second question. There’s three of them. “What is the purpose of reincarnate lamas? Is this just a political organizational phenomenon that is something that has practical value only, or is it real in the sense of reflecting actual yogic or enlightened power?”

Robert: Right. Well, everything relatively real is only relatively real. That’s the great thing about Buddhism. It’s all theories about relative things are relative. Which doesn’t mean there’s not true and false, but it’s only relatively true and relatively false, not absolutely. But the pure negations like emptiness and selflessness, those are more like a little bit dogma. They’re a little bit definitive, you could say, because they’ll lead you into freedom, although you can’t ever grasp a negation, you know? It’s just you don’t find what you’re looking for that was negated, and then your mind is open to whatever else there is. So that’s a kind of wonderful Buddhist scientific thing. Like all rules and regulations, they’re kind of good for specific situations, right? Now, I will tell a funny story. There was one lama who was not a reincarnation, an official Tibetan reincarnation, but he was a great teacher of lamas. Students really loved him. He actually sat in clear light for a few days when he died, so he’d been doing esoteric stuff too, which they didn’t realize. And they asked him at one point, they were feeling devotional bhakti, and they said, “Geshe-la, you’re so pure and so kind and so intelligent and so great. How come you’re not a reincarnation?” And he said, “Well, I always wanted to be, but all the good ones were taken.” [laughter] Which I really like. So the point is, yes, of course, there is a definite type of being who has gone through their unconscious and is not driven by blind impulse, blind lust to be reborn in a womb or as a human or as anything. And they could just float in space forever in a way as far as their own drives go. But the problem is when they reach that state, they become sensitive to others’ difficulties, and therefore they will respond to them in a helpful way. And it’s called the body of emanation, and they will be present. And that’s what reincarnation, the high reincarnation, is the body of emanation, they say. And the genuine stuff like that. And my original teacher was a Mongolian from a tribe or a nation of the Mongolians in the West who refused to have an official reincarnation system like they did in Tibet and in outer Mongolia. These are Western Mongols. And the reason they did was they were in more dangerous territory for them, and they wanted to keep social power in the war chiefs, the kshatriyas. And the lamas, they said, “If someone seems to be extraordinary as a child, we’ll imagine they are reincarnations, and we’ll take every care of them and send them to study, and we’ll get the benefit of their blessing later as they grow up. But they will not inherit their own estate, and they will not be right away– they will not have political and social responsibility or power in that tribe.” So my teacher was like that. So I thought reincarnation was just a very corruptible sort of thing, as he did, kind of. And we were not really into it. And then I studied the history, and then I got to know also the Dalai Lama as he grew up more, and he became more– really walked his talk and really, really realized that, I think, for sure. And then I realized that the reincarnation leadership in place of the family dynasty leadership was a really important element in Tibet’s successful demilitarization of Tibet, the extreme demilitarization that they accomplished. And then also the fact that for the majority of the Mongols, they accomplished extreme demilitarization among the people who had the greatest land empire in history, who were incredibly aggressively fighters when they were fighting. And so it is a valuable social institution, I think, but like any human institution, can be corrupted. And even in the 17th century, the great fifth Dalai Lama, who was a marvelous leader and a reincarnation, etc., etc., and yogi and realized person, he wrote in his thing, he was like, “We have to do something to reform the reincarnation choosing system.” Because he said, “Those treasurers and the accountants in the different states of the great Lamas, when the Lama died, the flow of donations would dry up, and then they’d have to go look for one.” So if they could find one in a local Rockefeller family, they would rush off to do it, and they wouldn’t necessarily make all the tests and really be clear about it. And then sometimes that little brat would turn out to be a brat reincarnation, and sometimes not. Somebody might reincarnate in a wealthy family, that also could happen. But he said that the temptation to corrupt the system is so high, that we really have to be clear about it, and we really have to mobilize the psychics, and the oracles, and the tests, and the exams, and we really have to do a job. And he’s expressing worry already in the 17th century. It was actually the… all the Buddhist societies have reincarnation or rebirth, it’s like normal for them, it’s not even a mystery, it’s not a mystical thing. But the conscious choice of one being to do that is a specialty they developed in Tibet, having to do with their sense, which you can find in the Mahayana Sutra, that Buddha didn’t leave, that a Buddha can’t leave the human beings, or the animals in suffering states, without enveloping them in their full attention forever. And for the Buddha, forever means the future moment is right now too. So they’re not abandoning anybody, their bodhisattva vow would be broken if they did. And the Tibetans more emphasize that. So the idea that seemingly ordinary persons could be actually Buddha emanations, to them is, they feel the nearness of the presence of Buddha in a way that in the more pluralistic societies where Buddhism was counter-cultural, and they still had their Hindu sacrifices, and their Vedism, and their kings, and their armies, and so forth, so all of the East Asian countries were like that, their shoguns and things, then they couldn’t really go that far with it as they did in Tibet. So Tibet really became the ultimate Buddhist social experiment, and therefore took all the Indian Buddhist teachings, monastic, universal, messianic I call them, or universalistic, and esoteric, super-neuroscientific, inner chakras, and that whole thing, took it to the extreme, and they kept it alive, and then it was broken open by industrial militarism, we don’t blame the Chinese, the Chinese were just imitating the West with Marxism, then imitating the West with industrialism, before that on horseback, nobody could settle down in Tibet, no way, it’s like three miles high, the horse would say, “Get me out of here, give me an aqualung, I’m having mountain sickness,” the horse, so they couldn’t go up there, but with trucks and planes, and they did it, and they’re futilely trying to colonize, but they’re not going to be able to live there, because they can’t import more air, except temporarily a little suck on some things, an oxygen bundle, and the women can’t form placenta in the womb, they don’t have the body chemistry, that’s why it was emptied, that plateau, but all those Chinese were overpopulating their valleys,

Rick: What do they want the place for?

Robert: Well, it gives them, they wanted to be the global power, rival Russia, the Manchus did, the Manchu empire, so they wanted space in Central Asia, and Tibet is headwaters of everybody’s river, so it’s a real power position, and now they have missiles in there, they’re raiding India, and whatever it is, so it’s like a geopolitical thing, and guys in Beijing see a flat map, and they see a huge space, like it looks like the Louisiana Purchase, it’s bigger than that, much bigger than the Louisiana Purchase, actually, and they want to keep it, so if they have to trash all the people on it, great, never mind, they’re going to keep that land, but then their own people are not going to be able to live there, so no one would man the ship, actually, it would become like a desert, a wasteland, and then that would ruin all their own rivers, so it’s actually stupid, and therefore they’ll wake up to it, they’re really smart, the Chinese people, and they’ll give it a break, but the commies, they were like a little bit, they were thugs, like gangsters, they were, they became like that, I don’t think the current ones, all of them are, it’s still a mixture among their leadership, and we’re waiting for the good leader to emerge, who will be sensible, and we think actually he almost has, but we’ll let you know about that next year. I’m happy right now, you know, there’s a new leadership thing going on in Beijing this minute, big, huge national people

Rick: plus they’re like forging ahead with such a progressive, alternative energy thing, solar panels, battery technology, they’re outstripping us by far. Yeah, they’ll be selling us all that stuff. Yeah, yeah, really. Okay, final question, what is the value of the elaborate rituals of Tibetan Buddhism? Does it really make sense for Western students to be reciting texts and chanting in a language, Tibetan, that they don’t even understand?

Robert: No, I think that doesn’t make sense.

Rick: Okay.

Robert: That should be translated nicely, those who really want to do it, and you know, the elaborate rituals are beautiful, actually, and magical, the mandala initiator things, they’re really beautiful and magical, and people will appreciate them, small numbers of people, really, they shouldn’t be, they wouldn’t be giving them all to these mass people, except for the Kalachakra, which has a special permission to do so, like a Mass, you know, but otherwise they wouldn’t do that, because the other people can’t use that, you know, they have to have a huge preliminary, if you don’t understand selflessness, and someone tells you you’re a Buddha, you’re a deity, and then you’re going to go around behaving badly, and you become an egomaniac, but if you understand emptiness, and you realize that whatever your personality is, it’s something that you shape yourself in interaction with others, and then you don’t get stuck in any particular version of it, but if you’re stuck in your original one, and somebody tells you, now you’re a Buddha, then you don’t want to pay your parking tickets, you don’t want to wash the dishes, you become a pain in the ass, and I know a few people like that, and they shouldn’t be doing so broadly, it was esoteric for a reason, but they do it because they’re exiles, and they want to build cults, or they want followers, and some of them, they unfortunately do that, and it blows up in their face later, as we’ve noticed.

Rick: Right. Okay, so that wraps it up. Any final words either of you would like to say, by way of conclusion? Obviously, we’ve announced your websites, and,,,, and I’ll be linking to those from the page on BatGap that I create for this interview, and linking to your books and so on. I guess we’ve pretty much covered it.

Robert: We’ve covered the universe, I think. I’m always just going hoarse, I’m having jet lag. I just came out from the East. Thank you very much for having us as your guest.

Rick: You’re welcome. I appreciate it.

Robert: And I’m very happy to work with Isa about all these things, and outer peace, inner peace, I think is really nice, and she’s been very helpful to His Holiness, and His Holiness’ work, and his book, and thank you for that.

Rick: Thank you for the opportunity.

Robert: And thank all of the people who are on your team.

Rick: Peanut Gallery here, and technical assistance. And thank all of you, and you have John Lennon over there. You may say I’m a dreamer.

Rick: But I’m not the only one.

Robert: And His Holiness is a dreamer, like John Lennon. And it will happen, actually. Imagine when the President of China embraces the Dalai Lama, and then the Dalai Lama helps the Chinese be understood by the Westerners, and we don’t have to have World War III. Wouldn’t that be nice? And of course, the Westerners I’m talking about who are nearest the Chinese are the Russians, actually. And they have a worse problem with the Chinese than we do, for sure, psychologically and culturally, very intense.

Rick: Well, let’s not get started on the Russians.

Robert: What’s that?

Rick: I said let’s not get started on the Russians.

Robert: No, no, we love the Russians.

Rick: Yeah, yeah.

Robert: Oh, the Russians. Oh, I know. They’re great.

Rick: They helped Trump win.

Isa: So, I just want to thank you so much for putting this together. I know that you had a lot going on to get here today.

Rick: Busy day, yeah.

Isa: And just really thank you for the opportunity for us to be able to talk about His Holiness and His Holiness’s teachings and talk about peace. We’ll be seeing you again in a few days in our panel discussion, which will include David Buckland and Michael Rodriguez.

Isa: All right, I look forward to it. Thank you, everyone.

Robert: Thank you so much for patiently answering.

Rick: And thanks to those who are listening and watching to this. Okay. See you in the next one.

Robert: Bye.

Rick: Bye.