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A photo of Adyashanti at a public event in April 2013.
Adyashanti in 2013
Steven Gray

(1962-10-26) October 26, 1962 (age 58)
Cupertino, California, United States
OccupationAuthor, spiritual teacher

Adyashanti (/ˌɑːdjəˈʃɑːnti/ AHD-yə-SHAHN-tee; Sanskrit word आद्य शान्तिः meaning "primordial peace"; born Steven Gray on October 26, 1962) is an American spiritual teacher and author from the San Francisco Bay Area who offers talks, online study courses, and retreats in the United States and abroad. He is the author of numerous books, CDs and DVDs and, together with his wife Mukti, is the founder of Open Gate Sangha, Inc., a nonprofit organization established in 1996 which supports and makes available his teachings.


In his 20s, Gray studied Zen Buddhism under the guidance of his Zen teacher Arvis Joen Justi for fourteen years.[1] Justi was a student of Taizan Maezumi Roshi of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. Gray 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 claims to have 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.”[2] Besides his meditations and prayer, he also studied books about Christian mystics and the Gospels.[3]

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.[1] 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.” [4] He has authored books, such as The Impact of Awakening, Emptiness Dancing, My Secret Is Silence, True Meditation, and The End of Your World, as well as producing audio and video recordings.[2][5]

In April 2014, he appeared in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on a Super Soul Sunday episode.[3][6]

Presently, he lives in the Bay Area, with his wife Mukti.[2]

Open Gate Sangha[edit]

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.[7]

Students invited to teach[edit]

Adyashanti, like his teacher, has invited several of his students to "share the Dharma", which means independently teach to other students.[8] Students are considered suitable for teaching once they reach what Adyashanti considers adequate spiritual maturity.



  1. ^ a b 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.
  2. ^ a b c Luc Saunders; Sy Safransky (December 2007). "Who Hears This Sound?". The Sun. Retrieved May 8, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Capretto, Lisa. "Spiritual Author Adyashanti Shares His View Of Jesus, The Man". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-04-21. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Adyashanti". Omega Institute. Retrieved May 8, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "First Look: Oprah and Author Adyashanti". Oprah. April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-21. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Claire Hoffman (April 21, 2008). "On Faith:A Week of Silence". Washington Post. Retrieved May 8, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Open Gate Sangha - Resources Retrieved October 4, 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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). Archived from the original on April 23, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • 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.

External links[edit]