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-five years studying Zen, vipassana, yoga, and Tibetan Buddhism with the great masters of Asia, including the Dalai Lama’s own teachers, and has twice completed the traditional three-year meditation cloistered retreat at his teacher’s Tibetan monastery. He is an authorized lama and lineage holder in the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism, and a close personal disciple of the leading grand lamas of that tradition. He is the founder of the Dzogchen Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Over the years, Surya has brought many Tibetan lamas to this country to teach and start centers and retreats. As founder of the Western Buddhist Teachers Network with the Dalai Lama, he regularly helps organize its international Buddhist Teachers Conferences. He is also active in interfaith dialogue and charitable projects in low-income countries. In recent years, Lama Surya has turned his efforts and focus towards youth and contemplative education initiatives, what he calls “True higher education and wisdom for life training.”
Lama Surya Das is a sought-after speaker and lecturer, teaching and conducting meditation retreats and workshops around the world. He is a published author, translator, chant master (see Chants to Awaken the Buddhist Heart CD, with Stephen Halpern), and a regular contributor at the Be Here Now Network with his Awakening Now Podcast, as well as his own AskTheLama.com blog site where he shares his thoughts and answers questions from the public each week.
Surya Das has been featured in numerous publications and major media, including ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, The Washington Post, 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, The Oregonian, Science of Mind, and has been the subject of a seven-minute magazine story on CNN. 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 twice on The Colbert Report.
Surya is the author of fourteen books:
- The Snow Lion’s Turquoise Mane: Wisdom Tales from Tibet (1992)
- *Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World (1998)
- *Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Spiritual Life from Scratch (1999)
- *Awakening the Buddhist Heart: Integrating Love, Meaning and Connection into Every Part of Your Life (2000)
- Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be: Lessons on Change, Loss and Spiritual Transformation (2003)
- Natural Radiance: Dzogchen Pith Instructions (including seven guided meditations on CD) (2005)
- The Big Questions: How to Find Your Own Answers to Life’s Essential Mysteries (2007)
- Buddha Is as Buddha Does: The Ten Transformative Practices of Enlightened Living (2007)
- The Mind is Mightier than the Sword: Enlightening the Mind, Opening the Heart (2009)
- Natural Great Perfection: Dzogchen Teachings and Vajra Songs (with Nyoshul Khenpo) (2009)
- Words of Wisdom (2007)
- Buddha Standard Time: Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now (2011)
- Make Me One with Everything: Buddhist Meditations to Awaken From The Illusion of Separation (2015)
- The Yeti & the Jolly Lama (2019)
*The three books that comprise his best-selling Awakening Trilogy; the first trilogy of American Buddhism.
Lama Surya Das resides in Lexington, Massachusetts.