CompuServe Online Interview

In 1996 Rama did two online interviews, one with CompuServe and one with Prodigy.

This online interview took place on Friday, January 26th, 1996 in the Book Review Forum on CompuServe. The online interview was conducted through a chat interface, with the questions and answers being typed.

Interview contents copyright (c) 1996 CompuServe

Host We're here tonight with Dr. Frederick Lenz, author of SURFING THE HIMALAYAS. We'll start with his opening comments, and then take questions one at a time. Please feel free to place questions in the queue at ANY time ... they won't interrupt the flow on the board. I'll bring them onscreen one at a time. I'll now ask Dr. Lenz to begin...
Frederick Lenz Greetings from SURFING THE HIMALAYAS. It's my pleasure to be with you tonight to answer your questions about snowboarding and Tantric Buddhism. And also scuba diving, which is another of my favorite sports ... particularly if you're interested in deep diving.
Kat asks: In the Tales of Powder chapter you talk about soul types and auric repatterning. What would someone with an average American Buddhist soul type have to do to repattern their aura sufficiently to change soul types and reincarnate in a higher dimension?
Frederick Lenz This really could be done at almost any time, provided you had a Buddhist teacher who had sufficient power and knowledge to help you. On the other hand, if you're doing it alone, you would have to be fairly close to enlightenment itself.
David asks: Do you think computers will attain human level intelligence during our (current) lifetimes?
Frederick Lenz Absolutely.

As you probably know, I design genetic algorithms, neural networks and artificial intelligence systems. Software is a reflection of our own mind. As our software improves it will not only take on the patterns of our minds more closely, but it will also pick up the energy of our minds; in other words, I think that software is alive.
Gus asks: Can you remember the first moment or experience in which you learned of Tantric Buddhism?
Frederick Lenz The first time I experienced Tantric Buddhism in this lifetime was when I was a child. I was sitting outside in our backyard on a summer day. I was around six, and suddenly the whole world dissolved before my eyes and I found myself in a timeless world of light. It didn't seem at all unusual or strange. Several hours later I heard my mother calling me to come into the house, and it never occurred to me that this was an experience that other children didn't have on a regular basis.

Naturally, after my introduction to many different monks from a variety of styles of Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism, I learned to develop the innate capacity that I had to a higher level. In SURFING THE HIMALAYAS I have not only tried to excite the world about my favorite sport, snowboarding, but take the best things that I learned from the Buddhist monks I have been fortunate enough to study with and make them available in a very Western style to anyone who wants to pick up the book.
Frank asks: What is the most perfect snowboarding mountain in North America?
Frederick Lenz In my opinion, the most perfect snowboarding mountain in North America is Aspen Highlands, but I also am very fond of what they call heli-boarding at Blackcomb BC. But this is simply a matter of taste. I like the laid back approach of the people at Aspen Highlands. And I like the extreme vertical challenge of British Colombian snowboarding.
Kat asks: Are there specific exercises that I can practice to awaken past life memories?
Frederick Lenz Absolutely!

The first and most important exercise is the practice of meditation. Meditation occurs in three stages:

In the first stage you learn to concentrate and focus your mind on one image while ignoring your thoughts.

In the second stage of meditation you learn to stop thought completely.

In the third stage of meditation, which is referred to as samadhi, you completely transcend any sense of self or that you are experiencing meditation. In essence, what you do is you meld your consciousness with nirvana. You become one with everything.

The important thing to remember is to follow the path of light. As the fictional character Yoda from Star Wars correctly pointed out, once you start down the dark path to power, it's very difficult to leave that path. On the other hand, the pathway to enlightenment is filled with joy, ecstasy, and a wonderful sense of humor.
Ian asks: Can a master work with students without physical contact?
Frederick Lenz


If a master were unable to work with students without physical contact, he or she would not be a master. Naturally, the receptivity of the student is also involved.

For example, tonight we are all on CompuServe, but if someone is not joining us, they don't get to benefit from our discussion. So an advanced yoga master can send out psychic understandings, but if a student's mind is not receptive and still enough, that is, they are not logged on, then they won't benefit from those psychic understandings.

Bill asks: The inside cover of your book says that you are involved in computer technology companies. Which companies and which technologies?
Frederick Lenz Essentially what I do is develop artificially intelligent systems, which I license to a variety of corporations. I suppose you might say I'm coming from a Thoreauvian perspective. One of the wonderful things about the computer is that it allows us to sit at home and either write a book or a computer program. Then we can send that program or book to companies that specialize in reproducing them and distributing them.

So in essence what I do is develop artificially intelligent technologies, along with educational and game software, and let the business people take it where they will. I'm much more involved and interested in the creative process of making beautiful software and informative books, and also of writing music, and I simply don't have the time to be both an artist and a manager simultaneously.

Choices, choices, choices! Maybe next lifetime.
hdove asks: I was wondering if you've encountered many people who have had a similar childhood experience as you mentioned earlier. The same sort of thing happened to me when I was small. It is an experience which I cherish.
Frederick Lenz Yes, the first book I wrote, LIFETIMES: TRUE ACCOUNTS OF REINCARNATION, was a book in which the interviews of hundreds of people of similar experiences appear. In my travels from radio station to television station, when I speak about reincarnation, I receive thousands of letters in which people talk about similar experiences. So in short, you are not alone.
Kat asks: Can you recommend a few power places that are just right for clarifying career goals, business strategies, etc.?
Frederick Lenz Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford and Caltech.

I'm just being funny but not entirely. Since I am a former university professor, naturally I am a great believer in education and hard work. I find universities are very clarifying places of power, because everyone is focused on trying to figure out exactly what to do with their lives. At the same time part of the reason I go snowboarding and scuba diving is to get to places of power where I can more correctly perceive the still center of my own mind.

I also like the rush and purification of extreme athletics. I find that extreme athletics, when properly prepared for, helps to clarify your mind and, along with meditation and positive thinking, makes it easier to be in touch with your inner self.
Steve asks: Dr. Lenz, is it possible to channel psychic energy through the computer modem to a person? If yes, can you show me?
Frederick Lenz It is my belief that one of the most exciting things about the World Wide Web and CompuServe is that they allow minds, as Spock might say, to meld. The transfer of consciousness through a variety of mediums is nothing new. The printed page takes you on a journey inside another person's mind. As C. S. Lewis once said, "We read to discover that we are not alone."

So I certainly believe that one of the best cures for the ills of the modem age is people joining together on the World Wide Web and learning from each other. It is unfortunate that there are some countries that still prohibit access to the Web for their citizens. But personally I believe with the new satellite system that will be in place in two years that every person on this earth, with a small dish antenna, will have the opportunity to access the vast spectrum of human knowledge, and pick and choose, as they will, from that knowledge that which is thought provoking, entertaining or enlightening for them.

However, if you are asking me to demonstrate my psychic abilities, and in some way, shape, manner or form elevate your consciousness, because we are currently linked by CompuServe, all I can say is that I will try my best to make the resolution of the colors on your monitor a little brighter and happier.

But then again, only you can be the judge. I don't think that I have a particular talent for being psychic. I think everyone has a particular talent for being psychic. In my new bestseller SURFING THE HIMALAYAS, there are clearly defined methods and instructions for developing these innate abilities which we all possess.
Kat asks: Speaking of C. S. Lewis, do you find anything interesting about The Screwtape Letters from a Buddhist point of view?
Frederick Lenz Yes. I think essentially that you're looking at what we would call Tantric Buddhism. The Buddha taught three cycles of teachings.

His first cycle of teachings cover the basics, the prerequisites. This would include the Dharmapada.

His second cycle of teachings discusses the cosmology of the universes.

But in his later years, he wrote the tantric texts. The tantras can be very confusing for a person who is new to Buddhism, and for several thousand years the rule was not to expose a person or a new monk to the tantras until they had practiced for many, many years. The Dalai Lama and other notable Buddhist teachers have now indicated that since the world has plunged into what they consider to be a dark age, the information available in the tantras, which would include the very, very powerful kundalini release techniques, should be made available to the public.

I think you will find that James Joyce's ULYSSES, a great deal of Shakespeare, and Rilke are what I would refer to as tantric. Tantric Buddhism means that we become mature adults and we learn the reality of chaos theory. Chaos theory simply suggests that what appears to most people as chaos is not really chaotic, but a series of different types of orders with which the human mind has not yet become familiar. A lot of the parallel processing software we're currently developing for supercomputers is tantric.

That is to say, we are learning more from the structure of the neurons in the brain, and both their independent and collateral interactions, and reflecting that in our ability to deal with terabytes of data. At extremely high processing speeds we are able to find patterns of order in what other people would perceive as chaos.

In other words, the human mind and the entire life process are chaotic. Chaos is not something that lacks order; chaos has varieties of order within it. Chaos only appears to be chaotic to one who does not perceive the order within chaos.

So C. S. Lewis, Plato, Aristotle and many more names that I could add, including Einstein's, were individuals who were able to see the innate order in life, which others perceive as chaos.
Frank asks: Will there be a sequel to SURFING THE HIMALAYAS, and if so, what will it teach us?
Frederick Lenz Yes, I have already begun the sequel to SURFING THE HIMALAYAS, and while hopefully maintaining the simplicity and purity of the tone of the original book, which has caused it to already sell more than one hundred thousand copies in the U.S. alone, I have added and am adding some new elements that I think you will enjoy.

You will notice that in SURFING THE HIMALAYAS I managed, not unintentionally, to leave out the secret meditation techniques. These will appear in the sequel. I also didn't tell you about my wonderful romance with a Swedish woman I met at the hostel, and there will be more fun and poignancy with Master Fwap, a Tibetan Oracle, and a variety of more advanced snowboarding techniques.

Interestingly enough, after diving to 235 feet in Saba last week, I visited the ravaged Virgin Islands. There, as a pure karmic coincidence, I met the inventor of the snowboard, Steve Sanders, Mr. Burton's brother, who chose not to patent the board or take stock in the company, but allowed his brother to do so, while he and his wife and lovely children moved to the Virgin Islands and pursued other dreams. What a wonderful week for me!

Out of pure karmic chance, I spent a week with the inventor of the snowboard and we hit it off like peas and carrots.
Grnwich White Beltz asks: Dear Dr. Lenz, you wrote about cosmic loneliness during the sunset hours, and that this is from accessing different dimensions that are opening at those times. What can you do to better accept and or change an entire day of cosmic loneliness?
Frederick Lenz In truth, we all know that feeling. The last book that Dr. Seuss wrote, entitled Oh, the Places You'll Go!, deals with this and many other relevant subjects. I think what Dr. Seuss was trying to say, or Henry Thoreau was trying to say, is that we are not alone. The feeling of loneliness we get, which can at times be particularly acute, is really our awareness of the rest of the universe. Instead of being afraid of these moments or running away from them, perhaps we should try embracing them.

In Tantric Buddhism we believe that samsara is nirvana. That is to say, everything in the universe is part of us. And we also are part of everything in the universe. Loneliness is a feeling that is created by our ego. The ego feels separate from the rest of creation. The answer to overcoming those feelings is ecstasy. Ecstasy should not be viewed as an unusual experience, but rather a natural experience of feeling all of the living matrix of existence around us.

Unfortunately human beings have become so afraid of the unknown, themselves, and each other that they deprive themselves of that innate ecstasy and love of life, which comes with a human body, mind and spirit, by hiding behind the empty shell of their ego. In my travels, I have found two peoples, the Tibetans and the Fijians, who don't seem to have this problem. Their closeness with their environment, their religions, and their relationships with each other and nature make them feel part of everything.

Now I'll tell you a bad joke. Once upon a time, a Zen master was walking through Central Park in New York City. He walked up to a smallish man who was vending hot dogs. The smallish man, in typical New York fashion, said, "What can I get fer ya, Mac?" The Zen master paused and reflected for a few minutes. Then he responded, "Make me one with everything."
Deanna asks: Greetings from Boston. Just wondering if "Surfing The Himalayas" will ever be seen at a theater near me?
Frederick Lenz Quite possibly. I and my agent have received numerous proposals for making the book into a film. But since I have spent many years of my life living in Los Angeles, and since I'm also in the music business, I know that much more is talked about in Los Angeles than ever really occurs. For me the question is not so much will SURFING THE HIMALAYAS be made into a movie. Karma will decide that.

The real issue is who will play me! If I had my choice, I would pick Keanu Reeves, because then I could pretend that at that age I looked as good as he does now!
Kat asks: I love the music of your new-age group Zazen. There's a stillness in it that I've rarely experienced in music. Are there any other musicians, filmmakers or artists of any kind that you feel catch that kind of stillness?
Frederick Lenz Yes. Absolutely.

I feel that the Tangerine Dream albums that were made during the 1980s, many of Patrick O'Hearn's albums, and also many of Vangelis' albums convey this stillness. I think you will particularly enjoy my new album coming out in February, Ecologie.

Coincidentally, Miramar, my recording company, which now distributes through BMG, has decided in March to offer a compilation of my music for snowboarding, which will have the same cover as the book does.

I have found in the world of film many movies, including Beyond Rangoon, The Crow, Gandhi, Doctor Zhivago and The Big Blue, a French film, that convey similar understandings. I'm sure the list is endless. These are just a few of my favorites.
Ruth asks: How do you go from stopping thought into the realms of light?
Frederick Lenz It's trickier than it might seem. What is essential is to draw the energy of love from your heart and bring it into your mind. As Saint-Exupéry said, "It is only with the heart that one sees rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."

Many people, including Buddhist monks, spend thousands of hours sitting in what they call meditation. In reality, what they're doing is thinking and ruminating upon their problems. I cannot criticize this, because it is a beginning in learning how to control and direct thought, but it is only when our fascination with the world around us becomes more predominant than our fascination with our reflection in the mirror that our true inner journey begins. If you seek the realms of light, the best thing to do is to meditate with love and the gentle aliveness.

Meditation should not be forced. It is not like practicing the early stages of karate. The mind has to be gently educated and directed, so that it can focus on something new, bright and beautiful. The realms of light, which in Buddhism we refer to as the higher astral or causal dimensions, exist everywhere forever. But it is up to an individual to raise their mind to a level of stillness at which they can perceive these most beautiful realms of light. Sometimes in life we have to go backward a certain distance in order to go forwards. If we have conflicts within ourselves that we have not resolved, then we will find ourselves living inside of these conflicts, not in the realms of light.

It is the Tibetan Buddhist belief that all heavens and hells are created within our own minds. It is only by learning to direct the mind toward that which is infinite and pure, and to control the part of our nature that is destructive to ourselves or others, that we can truly progress along the pathway to enlightenment, which leads to the realms of light that you have referred to.
Willy asks: But why SNOWBOARDING??
Frederick Lenz Because it's fun!
James asks: How do we get rid of that pesky ego of ours???
Frederick Lenz You have asked the most complicated question that an ego, which is pesky, can ask. Naturally, that pesky ego senses its own limitations and wants to go beyond them, in the same way that I am sure a 386 40Mhz chip would like to be a 586 120Mhz chip. So the answer, obviously, is to call Intel! Or, if you will, your own inner intelligence. And this is where the process of repatterning that I discuss in SURFING THE HIMALAYAS becomes most important.

Meditation is a most wonderful and unusual process. When you meditate properly you are able to take your mind and merge it with the cosmos. Essentially, this causes your IQ, or in our analogy, chip size, to increase. You can't throw your ego away, but you can use its innate desire to experience that which is beyond itself to give you the impetus to meditate. In meditation, when your mind becomes perfectly still and calm, you will experience the golden light of eternity. This light will make that pesky ego go away.

Only the light of nirvana has the power to transform and ennoble us. Meditation is the conscious entrance into nirvana. It's like snowboarding the Himalayas. You climb up the mountain with your snowboard higher than you've ever been before, and then you look down. Suddenly you think to yourself, "Oh my God! I'm gonna die if I do this!"

You now have two choices. You can walk back down the mountain, which would be the correct course of action if you're not capable of becoming one with your board and surfing the mountain properly. Or you can use my method: no guts, no glory. That is to say, you can allow the mountain to guide you, take away your fear and, provided that you've had previous experiences that have prepared you for extreme snowboarding, you can have the greatest ride of your life.

Well, let me tell all of my CompuServe friends who are with us now or download this later, you don't have to get on a snowboard or dive to 235 feet to have the greatest ride of your life. Right now, you are on the greatest ride of your life, which is your life. If you are able to stop feeling sorry for yourself and to contribute to the betterment of this world and of those around us, you will experience a high that is beyond my ability to express.

I like extreme athletics, extreme meditation and extremely beautiful women. Perhaps I'm an extreme person or it's simply my karma.

But I must tell you, as if you hadn't read about me in a newspaper or seen me on a magazine format television show, there are extreme risks involved with all three. I consider the risks worth the experience, but it's a personal choice.
Willy asks: In some very real senses, you ARE going to "die" if you do this.
Frederick Lenz It is the Buddhist belief that at every moment the universe is not only dying but being reborn. Buddhists believe in reincarnation.

Reincarnation doesn't simply mean that at the end of this life you will move on to another life in another body. Certainly it means that, but in addition it means that the spirit of life itself is continually renewing itself and moving to a higher level. For a more complete understanding of this, I would refer you to the last chapter of my new bestseller, SURFING THE HIMALAYAS, "The Emptiness of Snow."

In this chapter I try to explain that the surface of life is a mirage. Yes, it's true! The physical world is real, but as Buddha pointed out, it constantly changes. Molecules are moving. Universes are colliding. Generations are being born and dying simultaneously throughout eternity. As one of our great American poets, Walt Whitman, once said, "I contain multitudes."

So yes, there is death in life, but of course conversely, there is life in death. Beyond this shallow surface of the water of our planet there are unfathomable depths filled with beauty. So too, beyond the little deaths that occur in our day-to-day lives, or in the physical death that we will all experience one day, there is not an ending, but a new beginning.

One of my favorite Oriental books is the I Ching. The I Ching tells us that for every ending there is a new beginning. In other words, what appears like a transition isn't really a transition, it's a continuum of existence. If you close your eyes for a moment the room will appear to go away. But does it really? Open your eyes again and the room will still be there. That's all death is. If you've had your eyes closed for a long time, new people may have come into the room and changed its decor, but you will not have changed.

I'm a great believer in life and enjoying life in all of its variegated forms I'm not in a hurry to die, because death is inevitable, and there are still mountains I have not snowboarded, software that I have not written, places I have not yet been scuba diving and beautiful women I have still not met. So what's the rush?

Keep living, learn to control your mind, expect less, and give back more. This is the true secret to life according to the Tantric Buddhists -- a belief I subscribe to.
hdove asks: Do you believe in guardian angels or their Buddhist equivalent, if there is one?
Frederick Lenz Most certainly!

In reality, nothing ever dies and nothing ever is reborn, things simply change place. I most certainly believe that there are countless dimensions filled with beings of other orders. Now this may sound peculiar to some people, but it was only several hundred years ago that we invented something called the microscope. Since then worlds whose existence we did not suspect have become commonplace, simply by looking through a microscope. It has given us a greater understanding of how to combat disease and improve our lives.

So, too, meditation is a kind of combination microscope/telescope. When practiced properly, it enables us to see the most minute flaws within ourselves so that we can overcome them. At the same time, like a telescope it shows us that there are countless stars in the sky, stars that range on in beauty and power beyond our imagination.

We have only just begun to live, and while I certainly don't think that every vision each human being may have is valid--some might be imaginary--I am a firm believer that life exists in countless forms in countless dimensions, in places that we simply cannot see yet, and the essence of life, while it might not appear so when we watch television or watch our loved ones suffer, is good.

For example, last week I was informed that my father has inoperable terminal cancer. My father is a very religious man and once lived in a seminary. I have personally taken him through two coronary bypass operations. Dad is now in his early eighties. As soon as I heard the news I immediately called him up and asked how he felt, and if there was anything that I can do for him. He said that he knew his time had come and felt fine about it. He's lived a wonderful, full life, been in the military, had several marriages and children, became the mayor of Stamford, Connecticut, and had the chance to watch his children grow and develop. He told me that he was looking forward not to dying, but to his next adventure in living. Go Dad!
Lynne asks: Things on the inner world have been moving pretty fast, and I am not a snowboarder, yet. Any suggestions?
Frederick Lenz As we all know, who are involved with the world of meditation and what in the west is termed new age, the 1990s are a time of intense transformation. The population of the planet is increasing at an alarming rate, and yet each day human beings manage to destroy ten species. Certainly there is cause for concern, but neither you nor I have the power to alter any of this, if we're honest about it. And perhaps this is the way it should be.

What we can do, however, is we can bring our mind into a state of stillness and understanding. We can read the writings of the great masters, and at the same time read the writings of our own personal experiences each day. But certainly, with the frenzied pace in our own country, with the degenerating school system, with a crime rate that rises 30% a year, and with politicians that seem more interested in posturing than in governing, it has become more difficult, or should I say challenging, to achieve that inner symbiosis with life.

My answer is always the same, but perhaps that's because when I was quite young they sent me to Catholic school. The nuns taught me that the best thing you can do in life when things get difficult is to work, to occupy yourself with tasks that are useful to yourself and others, and you can get your mind off your problems. The worst thing you can do is to sit and brood and feel sorry for yourself. Nor should you feel wrong about doing this, since all of us do from time to time. But the best thing that you can do to deal with these high speed times is to slow down, inwardly, to take a little more time for meditation, a little more time to enjoy your morning cup of coffee or tea, and to look around at the people in your life with a little more love.

Love is the only antidote for the insanity of this world. The funny thing about love is that when someone loves you, it doesn't necessarily make you feel better, but when you love someone else, it does. So I would suggest focusing more on loving the beauty of this world and the transience of the moments of your life, and spend less time worrying about the degeneration of the ecosystem.

First concern yourself with your own ecosystem. As Buddha said, if you want to help straighten out others, you must first do a far harder thing: straighten out yourself. Love can be the only answer.

But snowboarding also works for me, because I love snowboarding! And writing music and designing software and scuba diving.
Kat asks: Today's USA Today had a story about a four year old child from Seattle who is going to head a monastery in Nepal. Have you heard about him? Is he really a reincarnation of the Buddhist master who died in Seattle in the 1980's?
Frederick Lenz Good question!

What you are referring to is what in Buddhist terminology we call a tulku. A tulku is a Buddhist master who has left his body and reincarnated in the body of a child. Usually his former students will find him and bring him back to the monastery, because they want to be with their master again.

But first the child must pass a series of tests to prove that he is an actual reincarnation of a Buddhist master. So yes, I did read the story in USA Today, and it may be that this child is a tulku. Or it could simply be that someone wants this child to be a tulku. If the tests are properly administered, then the truth will prevail, but until those tests are given by the proper Lamaic authorities, none of us will be in a position to determine whether or not this is simply an extremely bright child or a reincarnated Buddhist master.

Do you suppose that Seattle, in addition to attracting Bill Gates and the film Little Buddha and lots of salmon, is a power spot? I used to live in Seattle, as did Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee. I lived near the arboretum. Very often I would take walks late at night by Lake Washington, because I found it very easy to meditate there. It was also very convenient since I'm a kayaker.

So your guess is as good as anyone's, but rather than being overly concerned with whether someone is a tulku or not, how about you becoming a tulku?! Why not focus on the clear light of reality inside of your own mind, as Buddha suggested, and become enlightened? Then in your next life, you'll be in USA Today!
Bill asks: I heard from a fellow computer colleague last year that the little Scottie dog design in the Windows 3.1 wallpaper selections was a tribute to you and one of your friends who is another computer professional. Is that true?
Frederick Lenz As you know, I have several Scottish Terriers. I find them to be the most wonderful dogs. While I am not in a position to comment on this rumor, which most of us know to be true, I can tell you that if you're interested in matching your mind with the most intelligent kind of beast I have ever encountered, get yourself a Scotty dog. He'll get bored very fast, and it will require all of your personal power and intelligence to keep up with him.

You might find a good friend.
Randy asks: Tapping into the Akashic Record ... you spoke of downloading the text of this conference afterwards; can you tell me how/ where to find this? I'd like to share this with a loved one who is off in dreamland for now. Hope this is not too mundane of a question! Many thanks.
Frederick Lenz The Akashic Records are the impressions from all of our past lives that are available within our causal body. Some people speak of the Akashic Records as if they were on an IBM mainframe that's out there somewhere near the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. But I think it's important to understand that most of Buddhism is taught through metaphor. All the records of your past lives are contained within your own mind, just as the records of your ancestors are contained within your DNA.

Records are interesting I'll admit, but today opens a new chapter in existence. We already know where we've been. At times it is useful to take a course in inner and outer history, to avoid mistakes we've made in the past and to regain past knowledge, but let's not spend so much time reading history books that we forget that we are making history, we are history in the making right now. Let us look forward to the future, which is the present, because no one really knows what is going to happen. That's the excitement.

For some people that creates a great deal of fear. I learned from the monks in my journeys to Nepal, India and Japan that fear is something that we all experience, but we must not let it control our lives. Instead what we should do is constantly question authority, particularly our own. It is very easy to point the finger of blame at someone else and be a Monday morning quarterback.

But in Buddhism we don't really believe in sin and salvation as Westerners would define them. We believe in the limitless possibilities of the present and of future moments. We try and learn from the past, so that we can make the present and the future better, but our emphasis is definitely on the now, not on the past.

So for example, about ten days ago I got down to 235 feet on a single tank of air in Saba. On my next trip I'd like to reach 300 feet. Now certainly I could watch a video over and over of what I just did, and on a really bad day sometimes that can make a bad day a good day, but to be absolutely honest with you, I'm looking forward to diving to new depths, inwardly and outwardly, and seeing things and experiencing things that I've never known.

Occasionally I do watch a video, whether it's of a past life or of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. But I'd rather be diving, snowboarding or meditating, if you see what I mean. I think we need to look forward, with our eyes wide open, as a child does. There was a very famous British poet who once said, "Grow old with me, the best is yet to be."

I don't simply think he was talking about physical aging. Rather he was talking about growing older or shall we say wiser or perhaps younger in our intelligence, and our intelligent interactions with this magical thing we call life. Yes, I too have experienced the extreme pain of living, but I have also experienced some of its remarkable ecstasy.

But the thing that I have learned is that the ghetto is not where you live. The ghetto is inside your mind. And anyone who tells you that you can't get out of the ghettos of your own mind has no idea what they're talking about. So grow old with me, the best is yet to be.
Steve asks: What do you recommend for a person to do to improve their immune system? Thanks.
Frederick Lenz Several very good friends of mine have died of AIDS. I spent a great deal of time with them when they went through that process. So you might say that I'm a little bit familiar with the immune system and the devastating effects that are produced when it doesn't work properly.

One or two of my friends set longevity records for people who had AIDS. What they did, incredibly hard though it was, was to practice meditation, positive thinking and they worked out physically quite a bit. I think it's an attitude thing. While Linus Pauling would have us believe, and perhaps correctly, that enough vitamin C will have us live another 20 or 30 years, I think the strongest power in the world is not vitamin C, but the power of our own thoughts.

Obviously following a doctor's suggestions, proper diet and an environment that is not filled with hostility will help the immune system, and there are certainly a variety of drugs and herbs which can strengthen the immune system. But the most powerful force to maintaining a good immune system is the power of positive thinking and not allowing yourself to be unnecessarily drained emotionally by worries and fears. In other words, you have to maintain and increase your personal power, and what will increase one person's personal power will not necessarily be the same for another.

I do know that the advanced kundalini release techniques taught in tantric meditation can boost the immune system. They did so for some friends of mine. I witnessed this personally. I am not a physician, nor can I give you a physician's recommendations. I am simply a human being who is fascinated by the life process. So I think the very best thing you can do is observe what makes you stronger and what makes you weaker.

You might also read Bill Moyer's Healing and the Mind. In the Orient we have known for thousands of years that the most powerful tonic for ill health is a happy and clear mind. We also use medicines and therapies. In the West we've discovered additional medicines and therapies that have greatly enhanced our ability to live more years, but as a terminal cancer patient will tell you, the issue is not always how long you're going to live, but what the quality of your life, in the minutes that you do live, is.

So I really feel that when you're happy your immune system is at its strongest point. When you think negatively or when you hate or allow yourself to grow emotionally out of control, you are weakening your immune system.

You've asked a question that we all must ask ourselves: how do we live well? In my book SURFING THE HIMALAYAS I have tried to combine the best insights I gained from both my Western teachers, my Far Eastern teachers and my own personal experiences. SURFING THE HIMALAYAS is not a panacea for everyone. It's a fun and happy adventurous story that teaches the basics of Buddhism and introduces the fastest growing sport in the world, snowboarding, which recently became an Olympic sport. But obviously through the medium of the book, I'm trying to suggest a certain take on life.

I am the happiest person I've ever met. I do not mean that in an egotistical sense at all. I've just never met anybody, except for Master Fwap, of course, who seems to be able to deal with the sadness of life with such optimism. This is what Buddhist Yoga and a healthy dose of reading the Declaration of the Independence, The Constitution and the Federalist Papers and anything else I could get my hands on has given me.

I would like to thank you all very much tonight for this time we have spent together, and particularly I would like to thank my typist whose fingers have more stamina than the human mind can comprehend. I hope you enjoy SURFING THE HIMALAYAS and my albums, ENLIGHTENMENT, CANYONS OF LIGHT and ECOLOGIE.

Since most of the software I sell runs on mainframes and supercomputers, and is used by multinational corporations and governments, you may not get to see that, but if I have done it properly, hopefully it will make the events in your life transpire more smoothly. And give the operators of those computers a heck of a lot better day than they usually have.

Again, thank you.
Host: I'm going to open the floor now to all speakers. First, though, thank YOU, Dr. Lenz, and thanks to all of you for coming!
Willy: Thank you, Dr. Lenz!
Steve: Thanks.
Jen: Ditto Thank You !!!
Grnwich White Beltz: Thanks from the Greenwich White Beltz!!!
fleur: Merci!
A,F&B in CT: Thank you so much, Dr. Lenz
William: Thank you, Rama.
Peggy: Thanks! This has been a wonderful evening!
David: Many thanks!!!
hdove: I just want to thank you for an illuminating talk!
Ruth: With much, much appreciation! Thank you.
TLB: I'm sorry, I really wanted to, but I don't buy it. I will go back and read the book which I bought but I basically don't buy it.
Deanna: Thank you, Rama!
Andre: Thank you very much, Rama. Take care.
Simcha: Thanks for a beautiful meditation!
Bill: Was this a Rendezvous with Rama?
Willy: TLB: It's not real easy to buy at first. But it makes a lot more sense as time goes on and the ideas settle.
Elka: Thank you Rama.
William: Thanks Rama, that was wicked cool.