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Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be


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About the Author

A voice of clarity in difficult times, Surya Das offers timeless wisdom in a timely message of hope helpful for us today and tomorrow.

An authorized lama in the Dzogchen lineage of Tibet, SURYA DAS is a sought-after spiritual teacher and meditation master, poet, and spokesperson for the emerging American Buddhism. Founder of the Dzogchen Center, he is also the author of several popular books, including Awakening the Buddha Within, Awakening to the Sacred, and Awakening the Buddhist Heart, which comprise his bestselling Awakening Trilogy, the first trilogy of Buddhism for the West. He also writes regularly for Tricycle magazine and, is active in interfaith dialogue, and is a founder and board member of several Buddhist monasteries, centers, and charitable projects in refugee camps in Asia and the West. He lives outside Boston, Massachusetts.


Das, an American-born lama in the Dzogchen lineage of Tibet and author of the bestseller Awakening the Buddha Within, here explores the losses and changes that inevitably mark our lives. He argues that what is important is not that difficult things happen (Buddhism's first truth, after all, is that life is suffering), but how we deal with them. Pure detachment from loss and sorrow is not sufficient, he says; the goal is non-attachment to circumstances that are by nature impermanent. Despite losses and pain, we still need to be fully engaged with the world: "Spiritual detachment or equanimity should never be equated with indifference or complacent resignation." One of the strongest sections of the book is Das's simple chronicle of various losses he has suffered, both enormous (the death of his father) and mundane (a stolen bike). Thus acknowledged, his echoing pain prevents the book from being self-help pabulum about how bad things make good people stronger. The writing style, composed mostly of short, choppy sentences, seems well suited for effective public speaking, but unpolished for a book. Many of Das's recommendations-meditating, journal writing, "naming" your feelings, visualizing attachments, chanting a healing mantra-are fairly standard self-help ideas, as are the classic and familiar Buddhist anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book. But there are also great and original nuggets of wisdom here, as when Das advocates the ancient Tibetan practice of chod, a hero's quest-like ritual to confront personal fears. (Aug. 12) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"During these challenging times when fear and self-doubt become our constant companions this beautiful book provides the guidance we all need to use change and loss as a catalyst for our spiritual evolution."
-Cheryl Richardson, New York Times bestselling author of Take Time for Your Life

"It is inevitably painful to deal with transition, change, suffering, death, and other losses. They are realities we would prefer to avoid, or minimize, but they are essentially part of life. We must face them with courage, grace, clarity and wisdom. Lama Surya Das teaches us how to do so in the spirit of enlightenment, great practical wisdom, humility and effective compassion. Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be is a further tribute to his masterful talents as a spiritual teacher."
-Wayne Teasdale, author of The Mystic Heart

Praise for the landmark Awakening Trilogy by Lama Surya Das Awakening the Buddha Within

"Lama Surya Das communicates the wisdom of Buddhism to the people of his times and environments. To me this is a great achievement and I feel deeply grateful for it." -Thich Nhat Hanh, author of Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames "This open-hearted offering of the Buddha's teachings ranges from the fundamentals to magic. It is a wonderful gift." --Sharon Salzberg, author of Faith: Trusting Our Own Deepest Experience

"Wise and wonderful, gentle and profound....This is surely one of the finest spiritual manuals meant for a larger public and it succeeds brilliantly." --Ken Wilbur, author of A Brief History of Everything Awakening to the Sacred

"Awakening to the Sacred will bring great gifts into the lives of its readers. It is user-friendly--filled with beautiful teachings, gracious stories, dozens of practices, humorous takes and wise practical ways to invite our hearts to awaken to the highest wisdom in every part of our lives." --Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart "Lama Surya Das offers a fresh and invigorating approach to the perennial quest which gives natural spirituality its rightful place at the center of things." --Mitchell Kapor, founder of the Lotus Foundation "Awakening to the Sacred is a feast for the soul." --Mark Epstein, author of Going to Pieces without Falling Apart Awakening the Buddhist Heart

"In Awakening the Buddhist Heart, Lama Surya Das brings the depth of wisdom and understanding to the realities of our everyday life. This is a helpful guide for all those walking the path to awakening while living in the world." --Joseph Goldstein, author of Insight Meditation "When we come to the end of our lives, what will matter most are the relationships we've shared with loved ones. Awakening the Buddhist Heart takes you on a spiritual journey that will return you to this important priority." --Cheryl Richardson, author of Take Time for Your Life

"Lama Surya Das makes the Buddha nature seem very real and accessible. I feel lighter, I feel calmer, I feel more peaceful. This book is a blessing on my bookshelf and a blessing on my heart." --Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love From the Hardcover edition.

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