Adyashanti in 2013
1962 (age 51–52)
Cupertino, California, United States
|Occupation||Author, spiritual teacher|
Adyashanti (//; Sanskrit word meaning, "primordial peace"; born Steven Gray in 1962) is an American spiritual teacher and writer from the San Francisco Bay Area who gives regular satsangs in the United States and also teaches abroad. He is the author of several books, CDs and DVDs and is the founder of Open Gate Sangha, Inc., a nonprofit organization established in 1996, and which supports, and makes available, his teachings.
Born Steven Gray  in 1962, in Cupertino, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Then at age 19, he found the "idea of enlightenment" in a book. Subsequently, he built a hut in his parent's backyard and started practicing meditation. As a teenager he had a passion for racing bicycles and worked in a bike-repair shop.
In his 20s, he studied Zen Buddhism under the guidance of his Zen teacher Arvis Joen Justi for fourteen years. Justi was a student of Taizan Maezumi Roshi of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. Gray (Adyashanti) 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 kensho, or 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.” (Bodhi). 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.” He has authored books, like The Impact of Awakening, Emptiness Dancing, My Secret Is Silence, True Meditation, and The End of Your World, besides audio and video recordings.
Presently, he lives in the Bay Area, with his wife Mukti.
Open Gate Sangha
Sangha is a term used in several Sanskrit–derived languages of India to refer to a spiritual "assembly" or community, traditionally a monastic one, but its usage varies. Adyashanti founded Open Gate Sangha, Inc. in 1996 when he began teaching. This Sangha refers to both the organization itself and his student community as a whole. The Organization runs on a small staff, as well as many volunteers, and helps coordinate Adya's (as he is called by his students) teaching and travel schedule. It also produces audio, visual and written material for publication.
A few times a year, the organization also holds retreats, including a six-day silent meditation retreat.
Students invited to teach
Adyashanti, like his teacher, has invited several of his students to "share the Dharma," which means independently teach to other students. A student is considered suitable for teaching once they reach what Adyashanti considers adequate spiritual maturity.
Current student-teachers include: Jon Bernie, Stephan Bodian, Marlies Cocheret, Bonnie Greenwell, Dorothy Hunt, Loch Kelly, Sharon Landrith, Larry Melton, Mokshananda, Mukti (Adyashanti's wife), Muni, Zeida Rothman, Norman Scrimshaw and Shantam.
- Adyashanti (2002). The Impact of Awakening: Excerpts from the Teachings of Adyashanti. Open Gate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9717036-0-5.
- Adyashanti (2003). My Secret is Silence: Poetry and Sayings of Adyashanti. Open Gates Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9717036-1-2.
- Adyashanti (2009). Emptiness Dancing. ReadHowYouWant.com. ISBN 978-1-4429-7312-1.
- Adyashanti (2010). True Meditation: Discover the Freedom of Pure Awareness. ReadHowYouWant.com. ISBN 978-1-4587-8526-8.
- Adyashanti (2009). The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment. Sounds True. ISBN 978-1-59179-963-4.
- Adyashanti (2011). Falling Into Grace: Insights on the End of Suffering. Sounds True. ISBN 978-1-60407-087-3.
- The Way of Liberation, 2012
- Adyashanti (2014). Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic. Sounds True. ISBN 978-1-62203-094-1.
- Claire Hoffman (April 21, 2008). "On Faith:A Week of Silence". Washington Post. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
- Luc Saunders; Sy Safransky (December 2007). "Who Hears This Sound?" (384). The Sun (magazine). Retrieved May 8, 2013.
- Filaber, David (May 2013). Transform Your Life with Meditation: The Lives and Legacies of the Greatest Meditation Masters. AuthorHouse. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-4817-8789-5.
- Capretto, Lisa. "Spiritual Author Adyashanti Shares His View Of Jesus, The Man". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-04-21.
- "Adyashanti". Omega Institute. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
- "First Look: Oprah and Author Adyashanti". Oprah. April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-21.
- Open Gate Sangha - Resources adyashanti.org. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
- Ardagh, Arjuna (2005). The Translucent Revolution: How People Just Like You Are Waking Up and Changing the World. New World Library. pp. 102–105. ISBN 978-1-57731-468-4.
- Lumiere, Lynn Marie; Lumiere-Wins, John (2003). The Awakening West: Conversations with Today's New Western Spiritual Leaders. Fair Wind. pp. 190–208. ISBN 978-1-59233-010-2.
- Saunders, Luc; Safransky, Sy (December 2007). "Who Hears This Sound? Adyashanti On Waking Up From The Dream Of "Me"". The Sun (384). Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- Starr, Bernard (2007). Escape Your Own Prison: Why We Need Spirituality and Psychology to Be Truly Free. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 201ff. ISBN 978-0-7425-5839-7.
- Official website
- Open Gate Sangha, website
- Enlightenment—It’s Not Just for a Chosen Few: An Interview with Adyashanti
- An interview with Rick Archer
- Oprah Interview of Adyashanti on Super Soul Sunday, April 20, 2014