Medicine Man and movie actor, Sean Walking Bear discusses humility, ego, prayer and beliefs in this short video discussion. We previously interviewed Walking Bear in Buddha Weekly in 2016, where he discussed native spirituality — and pointed out many of the parallels and commonalities between Buddhism and his path. In this video, he again reveals beliefs that sound almost “Buddhist,” especially when speaking on “ego.” From the video:
“…Your heart must be clear and your conscious must be clear. There must be a connection between the heart and the mind at all times, so you’re always speaking your heart, always speaking the truth… To live life in humility so that there’s no ego, no ego here… Without pride, without ego, your voice can reach the highest places. Some people live with busy minds. With anxiety. With stress. With ego and pride… Their minds are too busy to form sincere prayer.”
…People can talk all they want about what they saw in their imagination. In fact, I don’t call it the imagination. I’ll say it’s a sacred part of the mind. It’s where you dream. It’s where you live. It’s where you create the world inside so you can live in the world outside the same way.”
NOTE: Just to be clear, this is NOT a Buddhist teaching, but as with all spirituality, there are common truths that resonate with all beings.
With permission of Sean Walking Bear and video creator Adan Van Dam, we include this short video and a transcript:
Traditionally, there are also practices that are quite similar, between Native spirituality and Buddhism, and especially Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhism. For example, Tibetan La Gug (vitality retrieval), smudging and purification practices, the use of drumming and sound in meditations. In our previous interview, Walking Bear described his path:
“The mind is where we build our life from the inside out. It’s where we invite the Creator to live within us — so keep it blessed and clean. It’s a sacred space. A sacred place. Its where we truly live.”
Transcript of Video
What I do, hmm. Basically, a lot of things. I guess the shaman of the old days was like the doctors of the village. They have to know the medicine, the smudges, the prayers, the ceremony. Their whole life was walking the path. I think some people put on a cap and then that’s their time, and it ends when the healings over, the ceremony’s over.
The shaman, or medicine man, walks that path full-time. Their whole life surrounds that. You have to remain connected at all times, meaning, your heart must be clear and your conscious must be clear. There must be a connection between the heart and the mind at all times, so you’re always speaking your heart, always speaking the truth, so that your relationship with the Creator is always clear, honest, and open. Wherever you go, the Creator is there watching.
That is the path he must live. He must always remain open with prayer. That’s the path of a shaman, to know this. To ask. To be humble. To live life in humility so that there’s no ego, no ego here.
Your prayer, when you pray for others, your pray is like a booming voice into the heavens.
Without pride, without ego, your voice can reach the highest places. Some people live with busy minds. With anxiety. With stress. With ego and pride.
We say when they pray their voice is like a whisper. They cannot speak, or they cannot form words. Their minds are too busy to form sincere prayer, or they don’t know how to pray. It’s the simplest things, and you find it when you ask them to pray at the dinner table. They get shy and most people don’t know what to say. They just kinda recite words that they remember that they heard before.
The same thing goes with prayer. It’s all practice and remembering what your elders said, and meaning the words. I think when you reach a certain age those words become even deeper whereas you live your life you just repeat those words, and I think, yes, a sign of maturity spirituality is understanding what those words mean, and saying it sincerely.
That is the path I walk. I live so I can pray for others. We’re not perfect. I live my life according to the path I want to walk on. The path of, I say, spiritual practitioner.
In ceremony, there are so many types of ceremony. It’s one of the rites that you grew up with. There’s pipe ceremonies, night lodges, you can do it in the day and night, you can do it pitch black. You can have shaking tent, there’s so many. The type that I do here is more of a prayer ceremony. I put the pipe together and I explain the protocol to people, because not everybody knows.
In fact, it’s one of the visions I had when I agreed to help people outside my tribe or say non-Native American people … one of the visions I had was I was confronted by a council of elders, and they asked me why I wasn’t helping other people, that the path I walked, and the path they choose for me was a path to help many people.
They showed me the medicine wheel, and they said that all colours of the nation are represented on this medicine wheel. You have yellow, you have red, you have black, you have white. And so, to only choose to help your people, it’s very hypocritical of the balance, and unity, of that circle, which is why I decided … I accepted that and started helping others.
In spite of the politics, and the beliefs, of other tribes. This is what I was told to do. That’s what it’s all about. Not every tribe is the same. Not every holy person is told to do the same thing. You do what you are told to do, how you’re supposed to do it because there are a hundred ways to do something. Part of what is missing I find is the supernatural component.
People can talk all they want about what they saw in their imagination. In fact, I don’t call it the imagination. I’ll say it’s a sacred part of the mind. It’s where you dream. It’s where you live. It’s where you create the world inside so you can live in the world outside the same way.
The imagination gives a notion that everything you think is fantasy, it cannot be real, it’s not happening. You dream something very sacred then your mind tells you it’s just your imagination. Your dreaming of fantasy things because you read a fantasy book, or you watched a movie with CGI, but that’s not true. This is a sacred place.
You have to teach yourself it’s a sacred place than you can make magic happen. In ceremony, we’re missing the supernatural part where things can happen that defy the mind, defy physics. This is the true magical part of ceremony that I think the most hardened spiritual person in this common western world would be so terrified to even experience, because the whole aspect of being a practitioner, or a healer, or a medicine man, is to face that supernatural part of this world.
That’s what’s missing. I go to so many different ceremonies, talk to different practitioners, and they will never experience that. They will never experience a rock move by itself and talk. They’ll never see a buffalo skull sing, or shake. They’ll never see tree’s shape by themselves. They’ll never see a conduit, a medicine man, speaking words in different voices, different animal spirits, different ancestors.
This is what would terrify them. This is what they wish would happen. If you can be alone in the dark, pitch black, and have all the things happen around you then I think you’re brave enough to be right here.
Please Help Support the “Spread the Dharma” Mission!
Be a part of the noble mission as a supporting member or a patron, or a volunteer contributor of content.
The power of Dharma to help sentient beings, in part, lies in ensuring access to Buddha’s precious Dharma — the mission of Buddha Weekly. We can’t do it without you!
A non-profit association since 2007, Buddha Weekly published many feature articles, videos, and, podcasts. Please consider supporting the mission to preserve and “Spread the Dharma." Your support as either a patron or a supporting member helps defray the high costs of producing quality Dharma content. Thank you! Learn more here, or become one of our super karma heroes on Patreon.
Other Popular Stories
NEW Member Video, ad-free HD version of: Vajrasattva’s Purifying and Healing 100-syllable mantra in Sanskrit beautifully chanted
Body mandala practice in Vajrayana Tantric Buddhism — and riding the winds of the inner body “Where mind goes, the body follows”
Embracing the visual and all the senses in Vajrayana and Tantra is designed to transform the ten poisons — especially attachments and cravings — skillful means to realizations
Tantra Helps “Stop Ordinary Perception”, and is the Fast Path to Enlightenment. But How Do Modern Buddhists Relate to Deities?
Buddha on Dharma Prayer Wheels: “defilements will be purified and the face of the deity will appear”; Guru Rinpoche: you will “be able to attain mystic powers…”
Kucchivikara-vattha: The Monk with Dysentery (Sutra teachings) “If you don’t tend to one another, who then will tend to you?”
Author | Buddha Weekly
Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.