Our lack of compassion stems from our inability to see deeply into the nature of things.


Birth: Lama Surya Das was born Jeffrey Miller in 1950.

Realization: Surya Das attended the first Nyingmapa retreat center in Dordogne, France in 1980. At the center he completed two three and a half year retreats under the guidance of Dudjom Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He was ordained a lama in the Non-Sectarian Rime movement of Tibetan Buddhism.

Death: Alive.

Teaching Style: Surya Das travels, teaches and leads meditation retreats throughout the world. He is often called upon as a Buddhist spokesman by the media and has appeared frequently on TV and radio. In 1977 he helped establish Gyalwa Karmapa’s KTD Monastery on a mountaintop overlooking Woodstock, New York. In the 1990s Lama Surya Das organized several weeklong International Buddhist Teachers Conferences with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, and America. He establishes the Dzogchen Foundation and Centers to help further the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in the West. He brought many Tibetan lamas to teach and reside in the United States and continues to do so.

Fame: Lama Surya Das is an American-born lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He is a poet, chant master, spiritual activist and author of many popular works on Buddhism; a teacher and spokesperson for Buddhism in the West. He has long been involved in charitable relief projects in the Third World and in interfaith dialogue. Surya Das is a Dharma heir of Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche, a Nyingma master of the non-sectarian Rime movement. His name, which means “Servant of the Sun,” was given to him by the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba.He establish the Dzogchen Foundation and Centers to help further the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in the West.

Legacy: Surya Das 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. He presents the Buddha’s ten core practices that we can all use to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.


According to Surya Das Buddhist wisdom is called Dharma. Dharma means truth, cosmic law, teachings, religion, spirituality, as well as morality, duty, and reality. Dharma, like true higher education, brings out the best in us. Dharma teachings unveil a new way of being, a new world available through the enlightened life—a good and beautiful life, rich with meaning and connection, love, wisdom, peace, heart and soul. Dharma is for smartest and dummies both, benefiting us individually and collectively. Dharma is ageless, timeless; it knows no national boundaries, language barriers, or gender limitations. The gospel of Buddhism is that anyone can become enlightened through pursuing the path of awakening; that is, through formal Dharma practice—such as meditation– and bringing Dharma principles and mindfulness practice into daily life.

He told that Loss is the great equalizer that reminds us that we are not omnipotent; it helps us crack open our defensive shell of invulnerability and denial. We have all been or at some point in our lives will be shaken to the roots by experiences of suffering and loss. All the world’s religions teach us that we can use these dark nights of the soul as opportunities for spiritual maturation.

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