Combining western scientific knowledge with eastern spiritual wisdom, Deepak Chopra has developed his own unique form of complementary, mind-body medicine.

Chopra said:
“I grew up with the myths, the stories, and the history of Siddhartha the prince, who then became Gautama the monk, who then became Buddha the enlightened being. My father passed away six years ago, and then shortly after that, my mother did, too.

I was immersing the ashes of my father in the ganges up in the north of India, which is very rich in Buddhist lore. I thought, well, I’m the next in line for the experience of death.

In the time Siddhartha lived, India was a place where everyday reality was en meshed in mythology, and it is so even today. People very easily move back and forth, both in their imagination and their behavior, between reality and the world of mythical beings.

The meaning “ENLIGHTENED ONE” is that your real self is not a person, that there is no such thing as a separate self, that a person doesn’t really exist. What we call a person is a transient behavior of the total universe, and when you get to the consciousness that is behind all the intelligent activity of the whole universe. So enlightened here means transcendence to that level of existence where the personal self becomes the universal self.

I don’t consider myself Buddhist because I don’t think Buddha himself believed in ideology or dogma.

Buddha says when you look deep enough into your enemy; you will see that he is yourself. But what Jesus calls sin; Buddha calls ignorance, lack of awareness.

The God question is also very different. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, God created the universe, whereas in the Buddhist tradition, God, or the intelligence that is at the source of creation, is not some outside intelligence but is inherent in the consciousness that conceives, governs, and becomes the universe.

I think spirituality is a domain of awareness where we all experience our universality and where we experience universal truth. It has very little to do with religious dogma, ideology, or even self-righteous morality.

* Summarized and adapted of Time, June 2007