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Interview with Dr. Reggie Ray Spiritual Director, Dharma Ocean Foundation

Interview with Dr. Reggie Ray Spiritual Director, Dharma Ocean Foundation

Interview with Dr. Reggie Ray

Dr. Reginald “Reggie” Ray is the Director of the Dharma Ocean Foundation, dedicated to the evolution and flowering of the somatic teachings of the Practicing Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

He teaches in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. The author of many books, audio courses, and online series, Reggie’s work and teachings draw from his background as a Buddhist scholar and practitioner.

With a Ph.D. in the History of Religions from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago (1973),  he was the first full-time faculty member and chair of the Buddhist Studies (later Religious Studies) Department at Naropa University.

Over nearly four decades he grew the department and played various leadership roles at Naropa, developing with Trungpa Rinpoche many of the initiatives and projects that became part of Naropa’s unique identity as a Buddhist-inspired university. 

Tell us about yourself?

Rudolf Nureyev, one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century, summarized his long and illustrious life very simply by saying “I am a dancer.” 

Similarly, I would say, “I am a meditator.” Beginning in high school and spanning some 65 years since, I have meditated, studied meditation with many of the great Asian masters, received an academic Ph.D. in religion, pursued a career as a professor in several major universities, written books all the way from an award-winning scholarly monograph on Buddhism down to “how-to” meditation books, and founded a Buddhist community dedicated to transmitting meditation to modern people. 

But through it all there has been one continuous theme, one key thread inspiring my entire life, and that has been the sitting practice of meditation.   

What makes you different from other professionals in your field?

I teach meditation by grounding it firmly and deeply in the body. 

This is a “bottom-up” rather than the “top-down” approach that is the norm in meditation teaching in the modern world. 

This bottom-up, somatic approach prioritizes the intuitive, holistic knowledge, the wisdom, that operates beneath our thinking, discriminating, left-brain cognition; and it sets free the subcortical, right brain/subcortical/ego-free wisdom of our deepest stratum as humans.

What was the most important part of your professional journey?

The teachers that I have been blessed to study under, first my graduate school teachers, University of Chicago historians of religion Mircea Eliade, Charles Long, and Joe Kitagawa, and then beginning in my late 20’s the Tibetan master Chogyam Trungpa, other Tibetan meditation masters, and other meditation teachers from South and Southeast Asia and East Asia.

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What takes up too much of your time?

My own discursive mind, my incessant thinking, labeling, categorizing, judging mind that presents such a barrier to the direct experience of life and such a spoiler in relationships.

Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?

The Buddha.

What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?

The fact that within every problem, no matter how deep, troubling, or seemingly intransigent, there is a unique opportunity for new insight, learning, and transformation, all unlocked by my meditation practice.

How should people connect with you?

Visit Dharma Ocean for podcasts, articles, and information regarding online and in-person meditation training. Book titles by Reggie Ray are available at Shambhala Publishing. Course information and updates are also available on Facebook.

Source: Vizaca

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