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Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World Paperback – June 15, 1998

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Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World + How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life + The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (June 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767901576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767901574
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

If you dropped the Buddha into a modern metropolis, would he come off sounding like a 16th-century morality play or more like a drive-time disc jockey? Lama Surya Das doesn't spin platters for a living, but he does have a hip delivery that belies his years of sheltered training in Buddhist monasteries. In Awakening the Buddha Within, he borrows a time-tested bestseller format for a 2,500-year-old tradition that comes off as anything but ancient. With the "Five T's of Concentration," the question of "need or greed," and the story of the monk who bares his backside to prove a point, Surya Das invokes a path of wisdom that is as accessible and down-to-earth as a worn pair of loafers. It's not an easy path--it demands thought, effort, and discipline. But Surya Das is there for you, lighting the way to wisdom training, coaxing you into ethics training, and laying out step by step the path of meditation training. And if that's not enough to get you to live in the now, consider these words of the enlightened lama: "You must be present to win." --Brian Bruya


"A warm, accessible, deep, brilliantly written exploration and adventure along the Buddhist path." --Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.

"[T]his is a great achievement and I feel deeply grateful for it."
--Thich Nhat Hanh, author of Living Buddha, Living Christ

"This open-hearted offering of the Buddha's teachings ranges from fundamentals to magic. It is a wonderful gift."
--Sharon Salzberg, author of Loving Kindness

"Wise and wonderful, gentle and profound. . . . This is surely one of the finest spiritual manuals meant for a larger public and it succeeds brilliantly."
--Ken Wilbur, author of A Brief History of Everything

More About the Author

Lama Surya Das is one of the foremost Western Buddhist meditation teachers and scholars, one of the main interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, and a leading spokesperson for the emerging American Buddhism. The Dalai Lama affectionately calls him "the Western Lama."

Surya has spent nearly forty years studying Zen, vipassana, yoga, and Tibetan Buddhism with the great masters of Asia. He is an authorized lama (priest and spiritual master teacher) in the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism as well as the founder of the Dzogchen Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and its affiliated branches. He is the founder of the Western Buddhist Teachers Network annual conferences with the Dalai Lama.

As a best selling author, sought after speaker, teacher, and lecturer, he conducts retreats and workshops around the world. Surya is also a published poet, translator, and chant master. He has been featured in numerous publications and major media, including ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, New York Post, Long Island Newsday, Long Island Business Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, The Jewish Free Press, New Age Journal, Tricycle Magazine, Yoga Journal, and The Oregonian.

One segment of the ABC-TV sitcom Dharma & Greg was based on his life ("Leonard's Return"). Surya has appeared on Politically Correct with Bill Maher and on The Colbert Report.

Customer Reviews

Never once do you find yourself saying "Oh, this is ridiculous!
Kippy Spilker
This is a great book explaining the major concepts and practices of Tibetan Buddhism, in a way that Westerners (like me) can understand.
Use this book to enrich your personal spiritual experience, or use it as a tool to help you embrace Buddhism as a way of life.
Micki Suzanne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

205 of 208 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Ryan on February 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lama Surya Das has masterfully written an enlightening introduction to Buddhism, which should prove to be an enduring classic on the subject for years to come. He takes the ancient teachings of Buddhist traditions and wisdom and delivers them succinctly and wholeheartedly to the Western mind.
His astounding work is a source of inspiration and awareness that serves as a "handbook for living" that should be carried with us at all times and used often on our spiritual path. Regardless of the reader's religious or spiritual affiliation, these simple golden rules could change your life.
His introduction to the classic Buddhist teachings of The Four Noble Truths and The Eight-Fold Path are the most comprehensible and understandable that I have yet read. Finally, we are presented with a rich compilation that makes absolute sense and many readers will understand, for the first time, how to integrate this ancient Tibetan wisdom into everyday life.
Often, those of us curious about Buddhist philosophy and practice, find it hard to get beyond the dogma of the many teachings. Lama Surya Das succeeds in bringing the reader the most simple and fundamental ideas and lessons of Buddhism. Throughout the book, he reminds us to be responsible for our own thoughts and actions and to find the kindness, compassion and grace that are inherent in all of us.
For those challenged by meditation, Lama Surya Das strips away all the confusion and mystery around the practice of meditation and brings to the reader a profound understanding and "how to" guide to meditation -- the importance of which must be realized and embraced.
Toward the end of the book, he further reminds us that "We are modern mystics - living in monasteries without walls. The entire planet is our heaven on earth.
Read more ›
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109 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on April 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lama Surya Das is a Dzogchen lineage holder and founder of the Dzogchen Foundation. I found this to be one of the most complete and easily understood books written on Buddhism, which is often a complex philosophy to understood by the lay reader.
"Awakening the Buddha Within" is similar in nature to the book, "The World of Tibetan Buddhism" a series of essays based on a three-day lecture given in London, England by the Dalai Lama and translated into English. However, if you are a novice to Buddhism, I would strongly recommend you first read, "Awakening the Budda Within". This book is much easier to understand, and the author simplifies the concepts of Buddhism in everyday terms for the western world. Lama Surya Das explains The Three Jewels of Buddhism - the commitment of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha or spiritual community, the Eight-Fold Path to Enlightenment, the Four Noble Truths and the importance of meditation in our lives. If you are searching for a better understanding of Buddhism in the contemporary world, or simply a more peaceful way of life, I highly recommend purchasing the "Awakening the Buddha Within." It is spiritually uplifting, refreshing and inspirational, and definitely one you will want to use as a reference, time and time again.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lama Surya Das does a good job of introducing the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to the West. Many people see Buddhism as an exotic Eastern tradition without any relevance to our lives here and now. However, one need not embrace Buddhism to gain much from Buddhist concepts. This book is a little soft on certain concepts (like reincarnation). However, this book is meant for one not already deeply involved in the practice of Buddhism, so maybe it's better that way. I also highly recommend "Open Your Mind, Open Your Life: A Little Book of Eastern Wisdom" by Taro Gold. Excellent.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By EvilDog666 on December 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
Lama Surya Das has combined in his book "Awakening the Budda Within", the innate understanding of Tibetan Wisdom teachings with a western mindset sensitivity. While some have voiced concern over the simplicity of the teachings themselves, and their seemingly stripped away message, placed into an American or western hipness of delivery, the jewel that is hidden within is the essence of Vajrayana Buddhism. Dzogchen itself is the awareness that all things are perfect as they are, and that each and every being is then presented innumerable times, with the opportunity to awaken to the innate perfection that is inherent within all...the Buddha Nature. Sometimes, the problem with all of that we look too hard for the answers, that we seek too much, into too little, when all around us, in all things, is manifest the Buddha Fields. Lama Surya Das has presented the fundamental Buddhist teachings, which have transcended through time, from the Buddha himself, and passed through successions of teachers and holy men and women. There in fact is nothing watered down about the teachings themself, for they uphold the Four Noble Truths, and the Eight Fold Path to Enlightenment. The Buddha himself is said to only have taught one thing, suffering, as a samsaric reality, and the path to the alleviation of suffering, or nirvana. In fact Dzogchen strives to show the aspirant that both these dualities only exist in the mind, and that the mind is the key to Awakening the Buddha Within. As the Lama has stated, it takes a whole community to raise a Buddha... and this fact is self evident. Blessed be the World in which a Buddha has been born. Om mani padme hung. Hail the Jewel in the Lotus.
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