Awakening the Buddha within : eight steps to enlightenment : Tibetan wisdom for the western world

by Lama Surya Das

Paperback, 1997




New York : Broadway Books, 1998, c1997.


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 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. It 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 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 work, this author has written an invaluable, authoritative text for the novice and the experienced student of Buddhism alike; it 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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Clara53
This is a kind of book to be read on and off, spread out over time and giving time - to absorb what's in it. And that's what I did. It is a thoughtful blend of inspiring stories from the history of Buddhism (Dzogchen lineage in particular) along with the author's own experience on the path towards enlightenment, as well as basic concepts of Buddhism, and very detailed practical meditation advice (quite doable!). Meditation is a way of life, the author says: "... think of daily meditation as a mental hygiene, a form of mental floss that retards truth decay". He warns against "instant-coffee mind" that most of us tend to have; he stresses the concept of "allowing": "The universe is beyond our control anyway. Trying to control things creates more stress, struggle, and irritating friction in the greater system". Practically all aspects of everyday life are touched upon in this book (no renunciation required), with the central idea being - "Living a mindful life is a sacred way of being in this world". I found it most appealing. I know I would be returning to this book over and over again: to re-enforce some of the things that I am already doing and to learn new notions.… (more)
LibraryThing member kayautic57
With the dizzying array of books on spritual enlightenment in general, and Buddhism in particular, I found this book superior to most. Lama Surya Das explains Buddhist terms and concepts in ways that are not confusing or koan-like.
LibraryThing member hopemccormick
I have a fundamentalist Christian background, and this was my first intro to Buddhism. Because the author is American and has a Judaeo-Christian perspective, the book was pretty accessible -- as far as any book on religion is accessible anyway. Gave me a new view of some of my Christian beliefs and opened me up to some psychological avenues of better managing my life.… (more)
LibraryThing member CarolynSchroeder
It is not often I can say that a book changed my life, but I can with this one. I just loved "Awakening the Buddha Within" and it helped me so enormously in my life that words fail me. If you have any desire to read about Buddhism and how it can help you (and in turn, the people and world around you), this is about the best place to start that I can think of. The funny thing is, this book was sitting on my shelves for about 10 years and I guess now was the right time for me to pick it up. Highly recommended for anyone either interested in learning about the practice, or even furthering it. Lama Surya Das is a wonderful storyteller, guide and just all around nice, interesting guy who easily spreads the joy (and yes, work) of being a better human being.… (more)
LibraryThing member NetteinNJ
A good introduction to Buddhism for Westerners from a western point of view.
LibraryThing member sturlington
It probably took me longer to read this book than any other — over 2 years. But I like to think that I read it in a very Buddhist manner, that is, I savored and absorbed small chunks of it as I needed and could understand them. Written from a Western point of view, this book provides a thorough grounding in Buddhist principles and practices. I know I’ll be exploring more, and also returning to this book time and again for inspiration and grounding.… (more)



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