American-born Lama Surya Das is the highly-respected and beloved founder of the Dzogchen Meditation Center, as
well as a meditation teacher. He is also the author of numerous works that focus and elaborate on basic Buddhist
teachings, and the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, in particular.
In this 4-CD audio version of his book Buddha Is As Buddha Does, Lama Surya Das speaks to us with his
"Brooklyn, Jewish accent" about the ten paramitas, also known as the virtues or practices: generosity, ethics,
patience, effort, meditation, wisdom, skillful means, aspiration, powers, and awareness. His American take on
these ten virtues allows him to expound on and enhance ancient teachings in a way that resonates better with
Western audiences, perhaps, than some of the learned Eastern teachers.
After his introductory overview, Surya Das takes each of the paramitas in turn, explaining not only the
meaning but offering examples and alternatives for putting them into practice in our daily, real-world lives.
The paramitas as set forth by the Buddha are intended as guidelines for living a full and satisfying life,
with an emphasis on achieving that life through compassion, loving kindness, and eventual enlightenment.
While Surya Das bases his talk on the traditional stories of Buddhism, he also brings in examples of
bodhisattvas and wise teachers that figure more prominently in the American culture, such as Mark Twain,
Oprah Winfrey, and a handful of Catholic saints. He then connects these notable figures and their actions to the
virtues that lead to enlightenment.
His informal and friendly tone, sprinkled with sometimes humorous and self-deprecating asides, draws the
listener into a relaxed circle of comfort and friendship. The simplicity and openness with which Lama Surya Das
shares his wisdom makes this an excellent program for those who are new to the Buddhist teachings, while those
with more knowledge of Buddhism will find fresh insight and approaches to their practice. Even those who have no
interest in Buddhism but merely want feasible guidelines for living sane, purposeful lives will find a wealth of
inspiration in this audio session.
In short, Buddha Is As Buddha Does is highly recommended for all sentient beings.