Lama Surya Das
Lama Surya Das is a trained and authorized American-born lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He is a poet, chantmaster, spiritual activist and author of many popular works on Buddhism; and a respected 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.
Born Jeffrey Miller in 1950, and raised on Long Island, an honors graduate of the University at Buffalo, New York, Lama Surya Das spent many years in India and Tibet studying with the grand old lamas including the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, and 16th Karmapa. He is a well-known Dharma heir of Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche, a renowned 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.
In 1991 Lama Surya Das returned from his two decades in Tibetan monasteries and retreats to establish 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. At the request of the late Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche, Surya Das founded Dzogchen Osel Ling Retreat Center as a nature sanctuary, group hermitage and lineage seat outside Austin, Texas, where he conducts annually an intensive, cloistered 100-day autumn retreat for experienced students as well as other shorter retreats during the year.
Lama Surya Das also travels, teaches and leads meditation retreats throughout the world. He is often called upon as a Buddhist spokesman by the media and has appeared on most of the major TV and radio stations. One episode of the popular ABC TV sitcom "Dharma and Greg", called "Leonard's Return," was loosely based on his life and return to America. In 1977 he helped establish Gyalwa Karmapa's KTD Monsatery 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 has appeared as a special guest on Bill Maher's TV program, "Politically Incorrect" and on the Comedy Central television show, The Colbert Report.
His most recent best selling book is "Buddha Is as Buddha Does: The Ten Original Practices for Enlightened Living".
Das is based in Cambridge, MA.