Lama Surya Das communicates an American Buddhist's interpretation of ancient Tibetan teachings. The author, "a Jewish guy from Long Island," studied with lamas for ten years in the Himalayas during the 1970s. "We are modern mystics — living in monasteries without walls," he writes.
In his delineation of the eight-fold path to enlightenment, the author covers the wisdom of clear vision, right intentions, speaking the truth, the art of living, right livelihood, right effort, keeping your eyes open, and the joy of meditation. Here Buddhism is presented as daily practice and ethics training. Lama Surya Das shares mantras to consecrate activities and mind training slogans to bring sacred energy into relationships. The author has salutary things to say about gentling our spirits, cherishing life, and the Buddha nature of all creatures great and small. Awakening the Buddha Within is a clear-minded and pragmatic primer on the precepts of the Buddha that speak to the contemporary American situation.