085. Adyashanti

Adyashanti“Adyashanti” means primordial peace. Adyashanti dares all seekers of peace and freedom to take the possibility of liberation in this life seriously. He began teaching in 1996, at the request of his Zen teacher with whom he had been studying for 14 years. Since then many spiritual seekers have awakened to their true nature while spending time with Adyashanti.

AdyashantiAdyashanti offers spontaneous and direct nondual teachings that have been compared to those of the early Zen masters and Advaita Vedanta sages. However, Adya says, “If you filter my words through any tradition or ‘-ism’, you will miss altogether what I am saying. The liberating truth is not static; it is alive. It cannot be put into concepts and be understood by the mind. The truth lies beyond all forms of conceptual fundamentalism. What you are is the beyond—awake and present, here and now already. I am simply helping you to realize that.”

A native of Northern California, Adyashanti lives with his wife, Mukti, and teaches extensively in the San Francisco Bay Area offering satsangs, weekend intensives, and silent retreats. He also travels to teach in other areas of the United States and Canada.

Books and other media:

Interview transcript

Interview recorded 8/30/2011

Video and audio below. I’m sorry about the video quality. We had technical problems which we weren’t able to surmount. Audio also available as a Podcast.

58 thoughts on “085. Adyashanti

  1. Yes, by the word “intelligence” you have solved it all. And what governs the principle of intelligence? I think that it is “love”. And what governs the principle of love? I think that it is “emptiness”…

  2. We’re definitely on theoretical territory here. Perhaps at the level we’re alluding to, all those words are synonymous. I’m just sayin’, that to my eye, creation at whatever level you observe it, is a play and display of what I can best describe as all-pervading intelligence.

  3. So what is your motivation? Why would you describe the creation as a play of intelligence? Does it make it more colorful for you, or less gray? Why isn’t it enough to witness without descriptions or interpretations? Or do you think that these interpretations are already included in the package?

  4. I’m not sure that I have a motivation. Must I have one? I’m just saying that’s the way my senses, heart, and intellect apprehend creation. It strikes me in every way as a marvelous dance of creative intelligence.

  5. I enjoy conversation, reading, words in general, more than most.

    Yet I never lose sight of the impossibility of comprehending it all. Or comprehending any of it, really.

    Even our science tells us we don’t see the world. Our brain creates a world based on stimuli. The brain of a bat creates a different world altogether. The brain of an elephant something different again. And before there were brains?

    My favorite Shakespeare line: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

  6. Of course, the scientific method is not absolutely perfect, but still: we do not have anything better.

  7. I think that subjective technologies can be used in accordance with the scientific method. For instance, a systematic technique of meditation can be considered an investigative methodology, one’s nervous system a scientific instrument, experience substantiates theory, the “experiment” is repeatable, etc. In this way, all sorts of things that mainstream science considers outside its purview can be brought within it.

  8. I F*#(ing love Adya. Finally got around to watching this Rick, and very glad I did. I’m happy that he exists. He says what I want to be said, more thoroughly and clearly than I probably would. And he is perhaps the ONLY person I’ve come across who talks about the evolution past awakening in a clear and non dogmatic way. Him talking about individual will vs. universal will and the state of being a spiritual drop-out is exactly relevant to what’s going on with me right now. God bless you Adya. And rock on Rick, for making that happen.

  9. Is this Isaac Nevas? If so, everyone give Isaac a hearty slap on the back. He’s the one who came up with the name “Buddha at the Gas Pump”.

  10. Predominantly, I feel appreciation and gratitude toward him. His impact on my life was inestimable. I’m well aware of the paradoxical stuff (women, money, apparent ego aggrandisement), but let any of us take on a task as large as he did and see if we do as well. He swung for the fences and despite some strike-outs, he hit plenty out of the park.

  11. I also find Adya fits me like a glove.
    He doesn’t provoke me (as yet) to the cutting edge of Noticing what is here – to the Self-Inclusive Unified view before any seduction with a split minded perception.

    But he would have done some years back. And may do in the next few moments.

    So I listen, smiling in the heart.
    I feel an enjoyment of sharing as friends, something of what we have come to share in, as an inheritance of teaching through which Love’s meaning and the truth of loving, rises as fresh cultural reference. The Source of all value is undefinable – but ‘working mind’ uses its own contents to either play in the dream of self creation or serve awakening from the dream of self creation.

    Hey – I was just flowing with a feeling of connecting.
    This is a lovely resource that presents and connects to a lovely resource.
    Awakening Purpose is a Movement of Wholeness that feels like something definite and brings us into relationship from a different premise than thought-based identities.
    And whose purpose is not fitted to support or fulfil the mind that thinks it knows … but IS inherently fulfilling to the Feeling of Be-ing.

    Releasing the personal will is the story reflected in Jesus’ story.
    Rather than work on ourselves (‘doing something’) we can let into real relationship as we Notice what we are already doing which blocks relationship – (And cease or desist). Without real relationship, we simply run like a program that engages attention and meets an unconscious desire to be deceived.

    Awakening to the mechanism of mind is as much part of awakening as awakening in Love’s Intimacy – as Expression.

    in Gratitude


  12. Thanks, Rick. Loved the interview. You drew out a number of key points and articulated why Adya’s been valuable to many on their path. I could point to a number of things, but I quite enjoyed the “dirty secret” of the loss of personal will. The detachment of that phase can also contribute to the sense of it being desert-like. I know some who’s lives did indeed fall apart, not to mention the karma he spoke of. I think in End of Your World he described how there is now this open space, so everything unresolved rushes in for resolution. (laughs)

    It’s a good point that having commitments to others can be helpful during this phase. Routine and structure.

    I also quite like his “head, heart & gut” approach as it beautifully describes the experiential process we might know as CC, GC, UC intellectually. Releasing the grip in the gut, what Loch Kelly called the BBQ, ends the separation between “inside” and “outside” and is thus the kindergarten of unity. I’d add that this “decent” continues to the 2nd and root as Self/Divine/Tao moves out into the world (experientially) and into what might be called embodiment.

    Thanks again

  13. I greatly enjoyed this interview insightful and poignant. I had recently done a free down load of one his books (see his site for the offer) which had impressed me greatly so I checked to see if Rick had interviewed him, As usual a masterful interview Rick. I do wonder what motivated him to change his name from Steven Gray, a name I prefer, is it a black and white issue?

  14. Hi David
    People in a lineage are named by their teachers. He uses his spiritual name for his work but I well imagine his legal name remains the same. That’s typical.

    ie: He didn’t change his name.

  15. You’re welcome. You can think of the name as an honorific, like Sir, rather than like a stage name. In Buddhist, Vedic and First Nations traditions, names are given to emphasize their quality. Adyashanti means primordial peace.

  16. Rick, you have my deepest gratitude for this interview. It’s all now starting to “make sense”. I watched and enjoyed this talk when you first published it. A couple of years later and now I understand what’s been going on here for the last couple of years.

    This realization kinda’ crept up on me. A couple of years ago this body came down with several mysterious illnesses . Much like Adya experienced when he tried riding his bike again.

    Except this didn’t last 6 months. It’s been over 2 years and dozens of doctors and therapists. My marriage has fallen on very rocky ground. My income has dried up (this after a successful career of 30 years). All of the passion and hobbies vaporized.

    It’s only lately something pointed me to books and videos I once read or watched that are beginning to give enough understanding here to know what needs to be done. This interview with Adya was one “aha” moment after another. “The End of Your World” is this life.

    Thank you again for what you do Rick, and Adya for your incite and teaching. You both have my deepest appreciation and gratitude.


Leave a Reply