Reginald Ray: Dr.

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Buddhist Geeks episode 105: The Forest Dwelling Yogi

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Buddhist Geeks episode 106: Tibetan Buddhist Lineage in the West

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Reginald “Reggie” Ray brings us four decades of study and intensive meditation practice within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as well as a special gift for applying it to the unique problems, inspirations, and spiritual imperatives of modern people. He currently resides in Crestone, Colorado, where he is President and Spiritual Director of the Dharma Ocean Foundation, founded with his wife Lee who is Vice-President, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the practice, study and preservation of the teachings of  Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the practice lineage he embodied.    

Reggie received his PhD from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago in 1973. After spending a year in India on a Fulbright-Hays fellowship, studying Tibetan and completing his dissertation, he took up a tenure track position at Indiana University. In the spring of 1974, at the invitation of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, he moved to Boulder, Colorado where he became the first full-time faculty member and chair of the new Buddhist Studies Department at Naropa University where he has taught ever since..   In subsequent years, he received two of the prestigious year long NEH Senior Research Fellowships in support of his scholarly writing.  In 1997, Reggie became the first teacher in residence at the Shambhala Mountain Center and, over his seven year tenure there, became well known for his intensive Winter Dathün retreats. In 2005, seeking a permanent home for their growing community of students, Reggie and Lee moved to Crestone and now oversee the Dharma Ocean foundation and its many programs and projects.  Dharma Ocean's Crestone retreat center, nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, includes a nearly completed meditation hall (seating 150 meditators, with residence building to follow), the development of a center for solitary and small group retreats, and various other facilities for community events and adminstrative support.

During the course of his exploration of Buddhism, Reggie has studied with many accomplished masters of the Nyingma and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Zen. In recent years, he has worked with indigenous teachers from North and South America, and Africa.  Reggie now incorporates much of the wisdom of these earth-based traditions into his Buddhist teachings, claiming that we have much to learn from indigenous cultures and that the Vajrayana too—at it’s core—is a the survival within Buddhism of a far more ancient ancient form of spirituality.