Well, this week I'm on tour playing guitar with Krishna Das. Last night we played at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco and now we're heading to Arizona to play at the Mesa Performing Arts Center.
Hanging with KD and the posse is always about dharma and music mixed together --- my favorite combo. KD was a disciple of Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaji) in India in the early 70's, at the same time as I was starting to study with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the U.S. Both of our teachers were considered to be mahasiddhas, great beings who's expression was always authentic, direct and beyond the boundaries of conventional mind.
KD also takes teachings with lots of the Tibetan Buddhist teachers (including the Dalai Lama) and we have (between kirtan sessions) an ongoing dialog that spans spiritual practice, life issues, men and women, basketball scores, you name it. We are also the same age, similar background (Jewish on our parents' side as he would say), and even unknowingly went to the same basketball camp when we were teenagers.
It is a delightful hang and a terrific friendship. Also I just produced his latest record (Heart As Wide As The World) which was a wonderful collaboration and is currently racing up the charts!
So I thought I would just take this opportunity to ask KD a few questions and lob them and his answers up on our blog here to share with the Huff Post readers:
DN: KD, what do you think the differences and similarities are between the practice you do and the traditional Buddhist practices?
KD: I've never taken formal initiation from a Buddhist master, although I've taken many teachings with some of the greatest lamas. This is not out of disrespect, but because of the fact that my guru encompasses all these teachings. I only have one head and that has already been offered!
I have great faith in the bodhisattva teachings and I try to follow those principles in my life and in my practice. For me my guru was a manifestation of that --- I don't see him as a Hindu particularly. He was beyond the manifestation of any particular religion.
DN: How's the tour going so far? Any highlights?
KD: Finding a rest spot at the right time is so far the big highlight! Another highlight has been that even with all this new way of touring (bus) and larger venues, that we're still able to enter into the deep heart space together with the everyone who is coming.
DN: How's life on the bus?
KD: The bus is great. It's a real treat to be hurtling through space at 75 mph with people I love and who share the same commitment to the chanting.
DN: Any thoughts on your new album, Heart as Wide as the World?
KD: I'm really happy at people's responses so far, everybody really seems to embrace it. For me, it was a culmination of a whole life of musical joy. Rock and roll brought so much joy and happiness to my life and chanting has saved my life in so many ways, saved my heart. For both to be happening at the same time is almost too much fun!
DN: Anything you want to add to the folks out there who are hearing and being inspired by your chanting and your music?
KD: If it feels good, go for it with everything you've got, 100 percent. It will continue to get deeper and deeper, and bring more and more strength to deal with the difficult stuff that happens in life, as well as cutting down the amount of time that we spend in negative states of mind. This is the real fruit of the practice; that we gradually but inevitably live more deeply in our own being.
DN: Thank you KD. Really looking forward to the rest of the tour (check krishnadas.com for schedule). It is an honor and a pleasure to share this journey with you!