In this issue of Inquiring Mind we are delighted to be able to bring you new words of wisdom from Ram Dass, everybody’s spiritual uncle, as he talks with Roger Walsh about his post-stroke life. We then travel back to Asia to investigate the lost heritage of the Theravada Buddhist tradition, the Path of the Elders, with excerpts from Kamala Tiyavanich’s ground-breaking book, Forest Recollections. Here we find Buddhist monks cavorting in water-sports with villagers, exorcising spirits and practicing shamanic rituals, all of which we associate more with Tibet than Thailand. Ajahn Amaro and Jack Kornfield—both trained in the Thai forest tradition—next join the author in a lively conversation about her work. Jack Kornfield then offers us a vision of the new Spirit Rock retreat center that draws inspiration from this early Buddhism of Southeast Asia.
In the second section of this issue we travel through the “dark night of the soul.” We feature an interview with China Galland about her brave journey of fierce compassion and an essay by Gavin Harrison about practice as training in courage to face and stand up for truth. After discovering how to get it all together, we then learn how to let it all fall apart again in a fascinating conversation with Mark Epstein, whose new book, Going To Pieces Without Falling Apart, offers a wonderful synthesis of Western psychotherapy and Buddhist meditation practice.