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Steven Gray was born in 1962 in Cupertino, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. At age 19 he found the "idea of enlightenment" in a book. Subsequently, he built a hut in his parents' backyard and started practising meditation. As a teenager he had a passion for racing bicycles and worked in a bike-repair shop.
In his 20s, Gray studied Zen Buddhism under the guidance of his Zen teacher Arvis Joen Justi for fourteen years. Gray was regularly sent by Arvis to Zen sesshin retreats, where he also studied under Jakusho Kwong Roshi of the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. At age 25 he began experiencing a series of transformative spiritual awakenings. While sitting alone on his cushion, Gray had a classic awakening experience, in which he “penetrated to the emptiness of all things and realized that the Buddha I had been chasing was what I was.” Besides his hours-long meditations and prayer, he also studied books about Christian mystics and the Gospels
For the next few years he continued his meditation practice, while also working at his father’s machine shop. In addition to sitting, he spent many hours in coffee shops writing answers to questions that spontaneously came to him. Finally, at 31, Gray had an experience of awakening that put to rest all his questions and doubts. In 1996, he was invited to teach by Arvis Joen Justi. He first started giving talks to small gatherings, in a room above his aunt's garage, which grew over years and he changed his name to “Adyashanti,” a Sanskrit term for “primordial peace”. Adyashanti’s talks focus on awakening and embodying awakening. He downplays affiliation with Zen. “The Truth I point to is not confined within any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, but is open to all and found within all.
Adyashanti (which means primordial peace) is devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. His teachings and meditation techniques are an open invitation to stop, inquire, and recognize what is true and liberating at the core of all existence. He is based in California, with his wife, Mukti, who is Associate Teacher of Open Gate Sangha. Open Gate Sangha is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to support the teachings of Adyashanti and Mukti. He teaches throughout North America and Europe, offering satsangs, weekend intensives, silent retreats, and a live internet radio broadcast.
Asked to teach in 1996 by his Zen teacher of 14 years, Adyashanti offers teachings that are free of any tradition or ideology. His work has been compared to teachers of Advaita in India. "The Truth I point to," he has said, " is not confined within any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, but is open to all and found within all." Open Gate Sangha is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to support the teachings of Adyashanti and Mukti. The organization hosts events throughout the United States and in Europe, publishes books, CDs, and DVDs, and provides access to the teachings online. Open Gate Sangha is run by a small staff and is supported by volunteers who form the heart of the community.