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 which supports and makes available his teachings.
Steven Gray〔 was born in 1962 in Cupertino, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. At age 19 he found the "idea of enlightenment" in a book. Subsequently, he built a hut in his parents' 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, Gray 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 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.” 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, 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.〔
In April 2014, he appeared in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on a ''Super Soul Sunday'' episode.〔
Presently, he lives in the Bay Area, with his wife Mukti.〔
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