Awakening the Buddha Within: Eight Steps to Enlightenmentby Published 15 Jun 1998
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Lama Surya Das, the most highly trained American lama in the Tibetan tradition, presents the first comprehensive book of Western Buddhism for the modern-day spiritual seeker.
Buddhism offers a profound yet practical path to enlightenment. In this loving and generous book, the American-born and Tibetan-trained Lama Surya Das offers at once a definitive and nonsectarian guide to the wisdom found in ancient Tibetan teachings and a tried and true path of spiritual transformation.
The radical and compelling message of Buddhism tells us that each of us has the wisdom, awareness, love, and power of the Buddha within; yet most of us are too often like sleeping Buddhas. Surya Das shows how we can awaken to who we really are and thus walk the liberating, peaceful path of mindful and compassionate living. With lively language, meditations, and spiritual practices, this unique book provides a bridge between East and West, past, present, and future.
"Awakening the Buddha Within" offers a complete yet accessible understanding of the unique Buddhist teachings embodied in the traditional Noble Eight-Fold Path and its Three Enlightenment Trainings, common to all schools of Buddhism:
* Wisdom Training: Developing clear vision, insight, and inner understanding--seeing reality and ourselves as we really are.
* Ethics Training: Cultivating virtue, self-discipline, integrity, and compassion in what we say and do.
* Meditation Training: Practicing mindfulness, concentration, and awareness of the present moment.
This fresh and original work illuminates such key principles as karma (what we do does matter), rebirth (every moment is an opportunity to start afresh), letting go(simplifying our lives by clarifying our hearts and minds), as well as conscious living and dying, and Dzogchen, the ultimate, mystical teaching of Tibet.
In this wonderful marriage of the timeless and the timely, Surya Das has written an invaluable, authoritative text for the novice and the experienced student of Buddhism alike. "Awakening the Buddha Within" reveals how sacred wisdom, contemplative practice, and altruism can be integrated into our outer and inner lives--in our relationships, in the workplace, and at home.
Here is a guidebook to enlightenment--a sourcebook of the sacred for anyone who wants to lead a more serene and beautiful life.
For almost thirty years, Lama Surya Das has studied and lived with the great spiritual masters of Asia. He has twice completed the traditional three-year Vajrayana meditation retreat. A leading spokesperson for the emerging Western Buddhism, he is a Dzogchen lineage holder and the founder of the Dzogchen Foundation. A poet, translator, and full-time spiritual teacher, Surya Das lectures and leads meditation retreats and workshops worldwide, brings Tibetan lamas to the West to teach, and regularly organizes the annual Western Buddhist Teachers Conference with the Dalai Lama in Dharmasala, India and is active in interfaith dialogue. He is the author of "The Snow Lion's Mane: Wisdom Tales from Tibet" and "Natural Great Perfection" (with Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche). Surya Das lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
"Awakening the Buddha Within: Eight Steps to Enlightenment" Reviews
This is a book that will remain with me throughout my life. I have read it a couple of times and listened to it as well. It is a definite must read for anyone seeking growth and spiritual awakening.
I have already read this book twice on my Kindle, so you know I value the wisdom and light shown on the history of Western Buddhism. If you want to better understand how Buddhism came to the US and its ongoing evolution in our culture, this is a very readable description of how that is coming about. If you want to better understand the tenets of Butddhism, the eightfold path, and the three enlightenment trainings present in all types of Buddhism, this book will painlessly heighten your understanding. If you want some practices to help you settle into meditation, you will find them here. This book Is a bit more structured in its approach than the simpler presentations from the heart of the books of Thich Nhat Hahn but no less valuable.
Written by an American who became a Tibetan Lama, this book gives readers a solid course in Buddhist concepts. Giving clear step-by-step explanations, the author uses an engaging and even humorous tone that makes him as much of a friend as he is an expert in this field. His stories are wonderful and very instructive.
The steps mentioned above are actually the Buddhist Eightfold Noble Path to enlightenment but greatly expanded upon. Lama Surya Das continues to enlarge his explanations with the following 3 important sections that are valuable "how to" guides:
These chapter titles are examples of how the author continually points out to the reader that they already have the knowledge he is telling them about: “Seeing Things as They Are”, “Plumbing Your Wise Buddha-Nature”, and “Keeping Your Eyes Open”. Surya Das is, he says, simply helping people to unveil the "Buddha within."
Not for me. I didn't get very far into it before I became bored. I was expecting something along the lines of Buddhism-lite....maybe some EZ-step beginning approaches that a modern, urban person actively participating in life could incorporate - to channel more inner harmony and all. Obviously I would have to have more patience, but right off the bat it seemed heavy handed on the religious aspect and the alleged superior wisdom of lamas who live heirarchical, cloistered lives and yet possess all the answers (not unlike catholic monastics)
For some reason I'd thought Buddhism was kind of like a religion for non-religious people, a way to achieve spiritual tranquility without dogma, and he at one point says something to that effect...but then at other points he lists out fun stuff you have to give up - if you really want to be at peace, that is. I didn't see much space for fun or humor. There are rules and dogmas after all. Drinking and drugs get in the way. Recreational sex gets in the way.
It seems that in order to achieve real englightenment you do indeed have to pray and meditate a lot and devote your life to it. Yes, I know, nothing worthwhile is easily gotten, and life's answers aren't to found in a ten-step brochure but if this was supposed to be an introduction to Buddhism, it was a turn-off.
This is the book that turned me on to Buddhism. I read it originally in 1999, at my therapist's recommendation and it changed my life. I started meditating twice every day and shifted my focus away from how miserable I felt and toward how I could be a positive force in the world. This shift pulled me out of a major depression, improved my relationships with my family and allowed me to find my soul mate. Since then it has been a sort of Bible for me. Whenever I need help in dealing with a difficult situation or person or just need an attitude adjustment I return to it and it has never failed me.
It is an introduction to Buddhism for Westerners. The Lama grew up in a Jewish family on Long Island; his mom jokingly referred to him as the Deli Lama. He has a way of presenting the ideals of a very Eastern tradition that makes perfect sense to those of us raised in other faiths. One of the things I like best about his approach is that there is very little to believe and very much to practice. If you are curious about Buddhism or just need an attitude adjustment yourself, you should check it out.