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Adyashanti

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Adyashanti

Adyashanti is a contemporary teacher of enlightenment currently residing in the Bay area of California USA.

He is a unique skilful teacher that has  practiced under the zen tradition for many years. By the time he began to teach, he chose to step outside of formal zen traditions, seldom  mentioning zen or Buddhism. Now teaching what I refer to as, the “zenless-zen” approach.

Adyashanti was born in 1962 baring the birth name of Steven Grey. At the age of 19 he began practicing meditation & studied for 14 years under the Zen teacher Arvis Joen Justi whom was a student of Japanese Zen Master Taizan Maezumi Roshi; the founder or co-founder of several institutions such as; of Buddha Essence Temple (Zen Center of L.A.) & White Plum Asanga, Zen Mountain Monastery, & Yokoji Zen Mountain Center. After 18 years of zen practice, Adyashanti was asked to teach by his teacher. However Adyashanti is not officially authorized to teach under the  code of transmission through his teachers Zen lineage. Although Arvis Joen Justi had been instructed to teach by her teacher; Maezumi Roshi, she had never officially undergone the Dharma transmission ceremony under Maezumi. Rather, Adyashanti would be considered the successor in a lay lineage authorized by Maezumi Roshi.

Adya’s method to teaching is quite a bit different from the institutional methods of his zen predecessors. He does not have a Zendo, Center, or Temple which his Sangha (community of practitioners) are centered around. Rather he shares his teachings in a much more Westernized style of publishing books, videos, audio talks & traveling around doing 1 to 3 day seminar style retreats which he calls “Satsangs” (which is Sanskrit for something like; a gathering where a Teacher shares the ultimate truth). Adya  heads an organization called Open Gate Sangha which is comprised of a small office of worker-bee supporters which focus on sharing Adya’s teachings & organizing his events. The 2nd tear of Adyashanti’s Sangha are autonomous groups which hold “Adyashanti Gatherings“. These groups are not officially sanctioned by Adyashanti or Open Gate Sangha. They are affiliated by means of providing contact through Adya’s website & agreeing to set of simple guidelines designed to safeguard the groups against corruption, profiteering & opportunists. This style of  autonomous organization is very anarchist in design which I find to be very interesting & says a lot about Adya’s teachings in relation to organizational design. In these gatherings, people usually get together at someones house & watch Adyashanti’s videos or listen to his audio talks, followed by open discussions around the subject matter. I occasionally attend the Chicago gathering which is a great group of people & a wonderful time.

If you delve into Adyashanti, you will soon notice Adya’s wife “Mukti” is also a spiritual teacher. She is a part of Open Gate Sangha & her teaching style seems to be more emotionally charged with a focus in areas such as stillness, inner-peace, compassion & love.

In eastern spiritual traditions a person often takes on a new name to signify their spiritual path. This name; Adyashanti means “primordial peace” which could sum up the entirety of his teachings. Awakening to our “true nature” that is obscured by our conditioned self & seeing beyond the mind is a common theme with Adya. His teachings often center around “the illusion of a separate self” with heavy-hitting subjects such as letting go of fear, ultimate truth & deep inquiry. In his earlier years he would occasionally menti0n social issues, economics or other things happening, but in his current style of teaching he seems to stay clear of mentioning anything remotely political, remaining strictly focused on the his teachings of ending personal suffering & the journey of awakening.

Adyashanti meditation quote

My first exposure to Adya was an audio recording from one of his retreats called; Spontaneous Awakening. Although I felt his words were hitting the mark, for some reason I was not particularly swept away by his words. Next I listened to his book; True Meditation which floored me. Since then, I have read several of his writings, video & audio talks & keep coming back for more.

Adyashanti has a web-radio station called Radio Adyashanti which is accessible from the multimedia portion of his website called Cafe Dharma where he does live & sometimes prerecorded audio/video talks followed by call-ins. The broadcasts normally happen around 6pm pacific time & last an hr & a half.  The frequency of the broadcasts usually fluctuates depending on when Adya is not traveling. Often times the shows are announced the day of the broadcast so the best way keep informed is by signing-up on Adya’s email list. Up until 2010 you could access the audio for free & for a fee you could watch the live video streaming for a fee. But in 2011 a supporter made a sizable donation to Adyashanti thus Open Gate Sangha is now able to make the video broadcasting totally free through 2011. We have tuned-in for several of these live video Satsangs & it has always been a wonderful experience. All the broadcasts are available after a short time for download for $10 & I might also add that if your willing to sift through all the downloadable broadcasts as I did, you can find 4 0r 5 recordings for free such as The Basic Teachings & several others.

As of August 2011, Adya has written several books:

  • Falling Into Grace : Insights on the End of Suffering [Published 2011 Self Published] *Available on Hardcover & CD
  • The End of Your World : Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment [Published 2008 Sounds True] *Available on Hardcover & CD
  • True Meditation : Discover the Freedom of Pure Awareness [2006 Self Published] *Available on Hardcover with CD & full audio CD
  • Emptiness Dancing : Excerpts from Discourses  by Adyashanti [2004-2006 Self Published] *Softcover
  • My Secret is Silence : Poetry & Sayings of Adyashanti [2003 Self Published] *Softcover
  • Impact of Awakening : Excerpts from the Teachings of Adyashanti [2000-2002 Self Published] *Softcover, 2nd Edition

In my opinion, the 2 books True Meditation & The End of Your World are revolutionary books in the growth of contemporary enlightenment teachings in the West. Anybody who practices meditation or is interested in meditation should read True Meditation & anyone whom is looking for guidance in dealing with the aftermath of awakening should check out this unique book The End Of Your World.

Adya’s multimedia selection is to long to list with around 40 audio recordings & 36 video recordings available, with tittles such as Fierce Grace – Awakening in The Midst of Turmoil , The Undefinable Self  & personal favorites such as Facing the Illusion of Fear & The Undefended Heart.

Learn more about Adyashanti at: Adyashanti.org

You can be rest assured to find more reviews on the books, audio recordings & video from Adyashanti in the future from E-R!

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  1. Great article about a GREAT teacher !

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