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Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Personal Spiritual Life Kindle Edition

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Length: 402 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews Review

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

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.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 873 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; Reprint edition (December 18, 2007)
  • Publication Date: December 18, 2007
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000XUDHV6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #761,319 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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 over 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 also 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, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, New York Post, Washington Post, Long Island Newsday, Long Island Business Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Hochmann on May 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
In this book, Lama Surya Das acts as your guide to discovering spirituality and what it means for you. "Awakening to the Sacred" is like a guided tour through the world of spirit and soul, with Surya pointing out the sights along the way. "On your left, you see the mechanics of Karma..."
While this book draws heavily on Buddhist views and beliefs, it is refreshing to see that Surya Das does not ever try to force any views upon you. He merely describes the beliefs, techniques, and background, and allows you to decide for yourself. Even if you don't buy into the idea of reincarnation, for example, at the very least Surya will get you thinking about the possibilities.
This book is essentially a guide for those who wish to custom craft their own spiritual life. It allows you to decide how best to discover truth, and to discover yourself. Don't think this is a Buddhist book, because it is not. The lessons you take away from "Awakening to the Sacred" can be integrated into any lifestyle. You may not find yourself meditating at dawn and chanting while you shower, but you will certainly learn something about yourself as you journey through this book.
Definitely a must-read for those seeking truth and happiness.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't put this book down. Its artful combination of wit and wisdom are a pure joy. Surya Das offers a taste of spiritual-real life through amusing and powerful anecdotes, traditional Tibetan Buddhist (and also less traditional-bound) fundamentals and practices to use each day. How do we lead the right kind of life now, today? Awakening to the Sacred shines a very bright laser-like light in my direction...and maybe yours, too. A very special book.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Lama Surya Das has written a wonderful sequel to his last book, "Awakening the Buddha Within." This effort connects buddhist and eastern practices with daily western life. It will help us in the West develop our own spiritual life and practices without the baggage of eastern cultural traditions. Humerous and very personal stories of his own spiritual development sets a wonderful example of western spiritual awakening. Numerous meditations, chants, practices, etc. present many meaningful contributions to a daily practice. I know my personal spiritual practice will bloom as a result of reading this book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Richard G. Petty on March 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The American-born author of this fine book is a Lama in the Dzogchen lineage of Tibet. He was raised in the Jewish faith, and his unique background makes him an especially lucid exponent of the principles of Tibetan Buddhism for Westerners steeped in Judeo-Christian beliefs and principles.

Lama Surya Das has been engaged in spiritual studies for over thirty years and sat at the feet of a number of teachers in Asia. He has written several books, and this one is a particularly good introduction to the spiritual life. Though the emphasis is on the philosophy and practices of Buddhism, some of the descriptions of the spiritual path and the problems that many of us encounter, can be applied for people working in other traditions. The strongest points of the book and of Lama Surya Das' teachings in general, are his suggestions for incorporating a sense of the sacred while living an active Western lifestyle. So often we see writers and teachers extolling the virtues of a spiritual path that is not compatible with a family life and career. I once knew an excellent teacher who had some extraordinary insights. He insisted that anyone who came to learn from him should give up his or her home, family and career. He did not have that many takers.

This book is far more realistic. The chapters are short, pithy and deal with many of the more common problems that we might run into as we walk the spiritual path. They include the practicalities of the establishing a regular practice as well as issues like the emergence of the dark side of our nature as we meditate.

There are numerous suggestions for meditation, prayer and chanting. Many can be found elsewhere, but what sets this book apart is that all the practices are grounded in daily life.

The book is very engagingly written: clear, insightful, and even some humor. This is one of my top ten favorite books on practical spirituality. Highly recommended.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
For as long as I can remember, I've been hungry for a book that would answer many of the questions in my seeker's heart, and gently,graciously, and *practically* show me a way to deepen my spiritual practice without preaching to me about any particular creed or belief. Awakening To The Sacred is that book for me.
In his incredibly clear, wise, and humorous style, Lama Surya Das' has written a book that seems to speak directly to me about bringing the sacred into everything I do.... indeed, embracing it in every moment of my life. I've read the book twice now, and know that I am forever changed by what it's taught me.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By St. James on May 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Lama Surya Das is such a wonderful communicator of the Dharma as it applies to all of us in this life. If you are just beginning the quest, don't look to Awakening The Sacred for your answers. But find in this book a friend along the spiritual path, a guide to the answers already inside you. If you are a Buddhist practitioner, a Jewish practitioner, a Christian practitioner...find in this book a friend who walks beside you. As we strive in the West to adapt spirituality to our lives, we have a gift in Lama Das. Read and re-read and re-read his books, then strive to apply, apply, apply. We'll all be better for your effort.
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