Lama Surya Das

Year of birth : 1950
Teacher/Guru : Neem Karoli Baba, Tibetan Buddhist Lamas Thubten Yeshe, Kalu Rinpoche, Uchiyama Roshi, S N Goenka and Anagarika Munindra
Education : Degree in Creative Education
Website :


“ You are in charge of your own karma,

your own life, your own spiritual path,

and your own liberation,

just as I am in charge of mine. ”

“ The secret, or innermost, level of wisdom is pure intuition,

clarity, lucidity, innate wakefulness, presence, and recognition of reality.

This transcendental wisdom is within all of us-

it just needs to be discovered and developed, unfolded and actualized. ”

“ Other people can’t cause us to be impatient 

unless we let them do so.

In other words, others don’t make us impatient.

We make ourselves impatient, through our expectations and demands,

fixated attachments and stuckness. ” 

Books by the Master

" Buddha Is As Buddha Does " ... " Buddha Standard Time: Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now " ... " Natural Radiance: Awakening to Your Great Perfection " ... " Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be: Lessons on Change, Loss, and Spiritual Transformation " ... " The Snow Lion's Turquoise Mane " ... " Words of Wisdom " ... " Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Personal Spiritual Life " ... " The Big Questions: How to Find Your Own Answers to Life's Essential Mysteries " ... " The Mind Is Mightier Than the Sword: Enlightening the Mind, Opening the Heart " ... " El despertar del buda interior " ... " Awakening the Buddhist Heart " ... " Natural Meditation " ... " Awakening The Buddha Within " ... " Natural Great Perfection "


Surya Das was born Jeffrey Miller and raised in Valley Stream, Long Island, New York. He attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, graduating in 1971, with a degree in Creative Education. After his best friend's girlfriend, Allison Krause was killed during the Kent State shootings, Surya Das began his spiritual journey.

From 1971 to 1976 he traveled in India and Nepal, and studied with spiritual teachers of various traditions : Hindu teacher, Maharaj-ji (Neem Karoli Baba), Tibetan Buddhist Lamas Thubten Yeshe, Kalu Rinpoche and His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. In 1973 and 1974, he lived in Kyoto, Japan, where he taught English and studied Zen Buddhism under Uchiyama Roshi. He resided at the newly established Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery in Woodstock, New York from 1977–80. He also studied Vipassana in the 1970s, with S. N. Goenka and Anagarika Munindra, of the Theravadin tradition.

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 Das has spent almost forty 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 (priest and spiritual master teacher) in the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism. He is the founder of the Dzogchen Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and its branch centers in New York City, New Jersey, California, Portland, Seattle, retreat center Dzogchen osel Ling outside Austin, Texas, where he conducts long training retreats and Advanced Dzogchen retreats. He was one of the founders of the Karmapa Lama's KTD Monastery a top Mount Guardian in Woodstock, NY. Founder of the Western Buddhist Teachers Network with the Dalai Lama, he is also active in interfaith dialogue and social activism and regularly organizes its international Buddhist Teachers Conferences. He has recently turned his efforts towards youth and contemplative education initiatives, what he calls " True higher education and wisdom for life training ".

Surya Das is a sought after speaker, and teaches, lectures, and conducts retreats around the world. He is a published poet, translator, and chantmaster. Surya is the author of many books. Lama Surya Das presents the Buddha's original eight steps to enlightenment in Awakening the Buddha Within, and the ten core practices that we can all use to live a meaningful and fulfilling life in Buddha is as Buddha Does.