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American Buddhism
The teachings of Dr. Frederick Lenz, known as Rama to his students, bring an understanding of the enlightenment cycle to contemporary American society. His teachings draw from both religious and academic foundations in Eastern and Western traditions, adapted to contemporary American culture. 
 
    "You can live in the world and have all the myriad experiences that life has to offer, and yoke your awareness field to the planes of light, and eventually to nirvana itself."

The "Fast Path" to enlightenment is based on direct experience in meditation and mindfulness.  The foundation of Rama's teachings is meditation practice.  He focuses us on the practical truths within the
traditional practices, eschewing dogma and unnecessary ritual, while retaining traditional respect and etiquette, or 'inner attitude'. He embodied the light within and available to all of us, sharing it through
his words, presence, and the music he produced.

    "The essential practice in short path buddhism is meditation. Meditation is a process in which you stop thought, transcend dimensionality, and merge with the perfect light, through the planes of light and the causal worlds, beyond the astral. And there you experience light, as you go into light for longer and longer periods as you progress in your meditation practice, you transform, you become illumined, you overcome all limitation, all sorrow, all pain, you learn not to be bound by desire and eventually you transcend death itself."

Buddhism in America does not reject the mind, but embraces it. Using career as an opportunity to apply the mind allows it to become an integrated part of one's practice in modern times.  Rama's specific appreciation for computer science has several practical aspects: it provides adequate money for a practitioner to insulate themselves from the abrasiveness of modern life; it sharpens the ability to hold complex patterns; it enables an understanding of the mind as a valuable tool, separate yet integrated with our being; it is creative (and can even be fun).  Work time, which is sometimes seen as a 'necessary evil' by those engaged in it, can become part of one's practice.

    "In the West people spend most of their time and energy working. The problem is you are so tired from work that you don't have much energy to meditate - unless you use work in a tantric way."
     
    "The degree of success that you attain in all of your physical, mental and spiritual undertakings is dependent upon the strength and clarity of your finite mind and your ability to access your infinite mind. If you meditate you will be able to find new ways to utilize your career and the routines of daily life."
     
    "There is a certain beauty and refinement that is often found in our world and it is expensive. It shouldn't necessarily be so. It is just the way our economic system is."

To maintain balance in one’s practice, Rama encouraged having fun and learning to not take oneself too seriously. This includes taking care of the physical body and finding a healthy release for the anger and other toxic emotions that one accumulates naturally through living. Balance is achieved when our bodies, minds and emotions are healthy and our energy can move freely. Martial arts, running, yoga, dance, snowboarding, hiking, scuba diving, and extreme sports are some of the recommended
activities.

    "It is a good idea to become involved with sports and athletics. It makes you strong. You need to be strong to deal with this world and the powers and forces that block enlightenment."
     
    "In the Zen of sports and athletics, we seek to bring discipline and control into our physical movements, but at the same time to eliminate the self that gets in the way of perfect play."

Rama considered music to provide one of the closest experiences to meditation that can be found in our modern world. Listening to, creating and playing music can open inter-dimensional doorways leading to love, light, beauty and silence. Rama composed and produced music with his band ‘Zazen’, which is said to contain the light and energy of enlightenment. Several of these albums are available as meditation music, while others are great for dancing, driving or just enjoying.

    "Zazen's music is composed in other dimensions and it is played by some of my students. I go through the music they have played with my aura and wash out anything impure."
     
    "When you read Boethius and some of the Renaissance philosophers, they talk a lot about the other spheres. There's a music of the spheres. There's a music that's actually in the universe, they believed, that's out there in different dimensions."

An area of particular importance to Rama was the enlightenment of women. He commented that the imbalance of masculine and feminine energy on the planet has had a negative impact on the evolution of humanity.  He included women in key roles in his organizations and reinforced the need for women to understand and own their personal power. In American Buddhism, men are not considered superior to women.

    "The most important problem for our world to solve is the inequality of men and women. When women come into their full power, a balance will occur which has not been seen for so long that no one remembers it."

    "Until women assume their rightul place on earth there will never be an end to wars, cruelty and oppression. A species divided against itself will eventually fall."

To read more about Rama's teachings, check out the 'Library' section of this website or go to ramaquotes.com.  To read more about Rama, check out Wikipedia's information on Rama, or visit one of the many sites listed in the 'Related Sites' section.  To learn about meditation, check out imeditate.com.