Lama Surya Das
Pictured is Lama Surya Das (left) and Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche (right)
|Title||Lama Surya Das|
Surya Das (born Jeffrey Miller in 1950) is an American lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He is a poet, chantmaster, spiritual activist, author of many popular works on Buddhism, meditation teacher and spokesperson for Buddhism in the West. He has long been involved in charitable relief projects in the Third World and in interfaith dialogue. Surya Das is a Dharma heir of Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche, a Nyingma master of the non-sectarian Rime movement, with whom he founded the Dzogchen Center and Dzogchen retreats in 1991. His name, which means "Servant of the Sun" in a combination of Sanskrit (sūrya) and Hindi (das, from the Sanskrit dāsa), was given to him in 1972 by the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba.
Surya Das was born Jeffrey Miller and raised in Valley Stream, Long Island, New York. He attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, graduating with honors in 1971, with a degree in Creative Education.
After his best friend's girlfriend, Allison Krause, was killed during the Kent State shootings, Surya Das began pursuing spirituality. From 1971 to 1976 he traveled in India. There he studied Hinduism with Neem Karoli Baba as well as Vipassana with S. N. Goenka and Anagarika Munindra, of the Theravadin tradition. He was given the name Surya by Neem Karoli Baba in 1972.
During his travels in India and Nepal, Das studied with Tibetan Buddhist Lamas Thubten Yeshe, Kalu Rinpoche, The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Tulku Urgyen, Thrangu Rinpoche, Dezhung Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse, and Kangyur Rinpoche.
He resided at the newly established Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery in Woodstock, New York from 1977 to 1980. Surya Das attended the first Nyingmapa retreat center in Dordogne, France in 1980. At the center he completed two Dzogchen three-and-a-half-year retreats under the guidance of Dudjom Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He was empowered to teach in 1984.
He has worked with the Dalai Lama since the early 1990s on a variety of projects. That included organizing several weeklong International Buddhist Teachers Conferences with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, and America. He also founded the Western Buddhist Teachers Network.
Surya Das travels, teaches and leads meditation retreats throughout the world. He is often called upon as a Buddhist spokesman by the media and has appeared frequently on TV and radio. One episode of the popular ABC TV sitcom Dharma and Greg, "Leonard's Return," was loosely based on his life and return to America. In 1977 he helped establish Gyalwa Karmapa's KTD Monastery on a mountaintop overlooking Woodstock, New York. He has appeared as a special guest on Bill Maher's TV program Politically Incorrect and on the Comedy Central television show The Colbert Report.
In 1991 Surya Das returned from his two decades at Tibetan monasteries and retreats to establish the Dzogchen Foundation and Centers to help further the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in the West. According to the foundation, Dzogchen introduces and unveils the "innate spiritual intelligence or intrinsic awakefulness" in practitioners. Surya Das has said, "It is the perfect nature of all things."
He has brought many Tibetan lamas to teach and reside in the United States and continues to do so. At the request of the late Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche, Surya Das founded Dzogchen Osel Ling Retreat Center as a nature sanctuary, group hermitage and lineage seat on the Pedernales River west of Austin, Texas, where he annually conducts an intensive, cloistered 100-day autumn retreat for experienced students as well as other shorter retreats during the year.
|1992||The Snow Lion's Turquoise Mane||Paperback 288 pages||HarperSanFrancisco (December 4, 1992)||ISBN 0-06-250849-0|
|1995||Natural Great Perfection (with Nyoshul Khenpo)||Paperback 204 pages||Snow Lion Publications; 1st ed. USA edition (October 25, 1995)||ISBN 1-55939-049-2|
|1998||Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World||Paperback 432 pages||Broadway; Reprint edition (June 15, 1998)||ISBN 0-7679-0157-6|
|2000||Awakening to the Sacred||Paperback 400 pgs||Broadway; Reprint edition (May, 2000)||ISBN 0-7679-0275-0|
|2001||Awakening the Buddhist Heart: Integrating Love, Meaning and Connection into Every Part of Your Life||Paperback 272 pages||Broadway (December 11, 2001)||ISBN 0-7679-0277-7|
|2003||Letting Go of the Person You Used To Be||Hardcover 240 pages||Broadway; 1st edition (August 12, 2003)||ISBN 0-7679-0873-2|
|2005||Natural Radiance: Awakening to Your Great Perfection||Hardcover 110 pages||Sounds True; Book & CD edition (August 2005)||ISBN 1-59179-283-5|
|2007||The Big Questions: How to Find Your Own Answers to Life's Essential Mysteries||Hardcover 288 pages||Rodale Books; (October 2, 2007)||ISBN 1-59486-208-7|
|2008||Buddha Is as Buddha Does: The Ten Original Practices for Enlightened Living||Paperback 288 pages||HarperOne; (February 26, 2008)||ISBN 0-06-085953-9|
|2008||Words of Wisdom||Paperback 128 pages||Koa Books; (June 1, 2008)||ISBN 0-9773338-7-6|
|2009||The Mind Is Mightier Than the Sword: Enlightening the Mind, Opening the Heart||Paperback 432 pages||Doubleday Religion; (August 25, 2009)||ISBN 0-7679-1864-9|
|2011||Buddha Standard Time: Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now||Hardcover 224 pages||HarperOne; (May 24, 2011)||ISBN 978-0-06-177456-0|
|2015||Make Me One with Everything: Buddhist Meditations to Awaken from the Illusion of Separation||Paperback 280 pages||Sounds True; (May 1, 2015)||ISBN 978-1622034123|
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