Surya Das is like a Buddhist Johnny Appleseed, galavanting across the countryside, planting seeds of spirituality in bare patches of ground. He believes that we are all fertile soil for cultivating the sacred in everyday life. "We all have spiritual DNA," he says. In Awakening to the Sacred
, Surya Das heightens his efforts to increase the planet's spirituality quotient by teaching people how to take advantage of their own spiritual resources. Whether Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, or atheist, we can all enhance our spiritual side. Certainly meditating is a good way, and there's no one better to teach us than this limpid lama. But even more familiar activities can help, like praying, creating a spiritual notebook, or reading spiritual books--even gardening and walking count. Surya Das excels at demystifying the mystical and urges the reader to capitalize on resources closest at hand. No need to look too far when we can draw inspiration and practices from our own traditions. So take that apple seed, thumb through Awakening to the Sacred
, and nourish those precious roots of spirituality. --Brian Bruya
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From Publishers Weekly
The truth is that I feel as though I learn as much from my students as they do from me, writes Surya Das, an American lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and the author of the popular Awakening the Buddha. Here in the West, he adds, it seems appropriate that student and teacher should share Dharma in this way, finding their way together. In this affable, conversational tour of spiritual ideas and practices, the author, calling himself a spiritual player-coach, reaches out to the broad audience in this country who experience spiritual longing yet arent harnessed to a particular teacher or tradition. Dividing his book into three sections, Surya Das moves from a discussion of such major themes as rebirth and faith to spiritual practices, giving clear, simple instructions in meditation and the cultivation of the moment-by-moment awareness that Buddhists call mindfulness. With a disarming lack of pretension or reticence, the author explains his personal take on fasting, psychotherapy and prayer. Some of the prayers that I use include the concept of God or Divine Source or spirit, he writes. As a Buddhist and a Westerner, I am completely comfortable doing this. Others may feel differently. The book concludes with Surya Dass description of his own Buddhist tradition of Dzogchen: Dzogchen is about recognizing and realizing who we are. The author emphasizes that Dzogchen is grounded in principles of naturalness, openness and authenticity, and he demonstrates these qualities throughout. Offering the reader fresh, authentic impressions that are clearly the result of his own spiritual work and reflection, Surya Das emerges here as a genial post-denominational spiritual teacher, one whose straightforward approach to the esoteric deserves to reach a wide readership.
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