Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World by Lama Surya Das

Despite of his Tibetan name, Das was born as Jeffrey Miller and raised on Long Island to Jewish parents. But he spent ten years in the Himalayas, and nearly a decade at a Buddhist centre in France, so he knows something of both the East and the West. Similarly, the transition from fossil fuels to renewables requires us to walk in two worlds and some kind of transformation, both external and internal. Indeed, the internal is tied to the external.

Das is fully aware of the current ecological damage, and he offers meditation as a means to finding our inner Buddha-nature and as an approach to healing the earth. “We are attempting to extend our sense of social and moral responsibility to include others, particularly those who are suffering from various injustices and deprivations. We are also searching for ways to express our deep concern for the natural world [which] differs dramatically from the image of the reclusive monk.”

He stresses that meditation is non-sectarian, practised by Buddhists and non-Buddhists, used for mind-body stress reduction in hospitals, clinics, and yoga studios, and applied by others who wish to strengthen the mind and approach reality. With experienced and at times playful advice, yet practical for the Western layperson, Das presents a toolkit of ‘mental floss to fight truth decay’ as we seek to awaken the Buddha within while we seek to change the world without.

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