Diamond Heart Dharma

Ancient wisdom, modern happiness

 All are Welcome 

This group is one of acceptance.  ALL are welcome.  It is our belief that truth is universal.

Our goal is an exploration for truth and wisdom in various human traditions, from religion, to science, and even to pop culture (sometimes it even "pops" up there).

Our primary guide will be the "Dharma" which can be defined many ways, but which is easiest to think about in terms of the teachings of enlightened beings, specifically The Buddha in our case.

Our goal is not exploration for its own sake. Our intention is to deeply examine and make a habit of a worldview which brings about happiness in ourselves, and in those around us.   

Middle Way Mission Statement

As the Middle Way Centers grow and blossom in the world, Our Spiritual Director, Lama Marut has worked with the various centers he advises to suggest this beautiful statement of what a Middle Way Center should strive to be, and how it should attempt to serve.

MISSION STATEMENT FOR THE MIDDLE WAY CENTERS

 

  • The Middle Way Centers are dedicated to the promotion of principles, practices, and activities that will help us live happier lives here and now, and that point the way to the ultimate goal of complete liberation from suffering. We gather in spiritual fellowship to learn how to better serve our families, local communities, and the world at large, and to fully realize the innate potential we all have as individuals. 
  • These Centers stand for an alternative to the prevalent materialism, consumerism, and egoism of secular society on the one hand, but also to religious fundamentalism, intolerance, and doctrinaire sectarianism on the other. Our approach is non-dogmatic but principled, disciplined but not divisive. 
  • It is from such a perspective that we offer practical instruction for a life infused with ethical integrity, compassion for others, mindful awareness, and wisdom. Grounded in the time-tested doctrines and practices found in the ancient Indian Sanskrit and Tibetan texts, the Middle Way Centers also acknowledge, honor, and are inspired by the beneficial guidelines found in all the world?s authentic spiritual traditions.
  • The Centers offer a comprehensive set of classes and techniques ranging from the introductory to the advanced. All are presented with an emphasis on their relevance both for personal growth and transformation as well as for fostering a sense of responsibility for others.
  • Our doors are open to every one ? religious or irreligious, affiliated or non-affiliated. We welcome all who come in the spirit of critical intelligence and tolerant open-mindedness, and who have a strong desire to alleviate and eventually totally overcome their own suffering and that of their fellow human beings.


The purpose of a spiritual life is not to become better than others,  but better for others. 

The Middle Way Centers exist to promote that vision.

Who we are and strive to be...

A word about "Lineage"

As a species we are very blessed that there are many wonderful spiritual teachers in this world.  Many people are sharing authentic knowledge handed down across time to fortunate beings like ourselves.  In the midst of all of this our group does not claim that there is only one way to happiness.  There are many routes up the mountain.  

However, if you are going to make a mountain trek, it might be advisable to access trusted and well tested advice on how to get there.  That's what a true "Lineage" represents.  A "Line" of teachings learned and passed on as purely as possible.   Below is a further enunciation of the some of the teachers we are blessed to be learning from, in many ways.

Our Direct Spiritual Teachers

Lama Sumati Marut

Lama Marut (a.k.a. Brian K. Smith) is extensively trained in the spiritual traditions of India and Tibetan Buddhism. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Religion and taught for over two decades in the academic world, first at Columbia University and later at the University of California, where he retired as Professor Emeritus in 2004. He lived as a Buddhist monk for eight years and has served for the past fifteen years as a spiritual teacher to students around the world. Lama Marut is currently the Spiritual Director of eight ?Middle Way Centers? located in North America, Australia, and Singapore.

Lama Marut (a.k.a. Brian K. Smith) is extensively trained in the spiritual traditions of India and Tibetan Buddhism. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Religion and taught for over two decades in the academic world, first at Columbia University and later at the University of California, where he retired as Professor Emeritus in 2004.



He lived as a Buddhist monk for eight years and has served for the past fifteen years as a spiritual teacher to students around the world. Lama Marut is currently the Spiritual Director of eight ?Middle Way Centers? located in North America, Australia, and Singapore.


In addition to several scholarly studies and translations based on Sanskrit materials, he is the author of the popular and award-winning book, A Spiritual Renegade?s Guide to the Good Life (Beyond Words, 2012). With his unique mixture of erudition and earthiness, intensity and humor, conviction and openness, Lama Marut?s message is easily accessible and life changing. lamamarut.org  (For a fascinating and more full account of Lama Marut's thoughts on lineage, read this article on his site.) 


His unique background and easy, down-to-earth style has attracted thousands of followers around the world of all ages and walks of life who gather to hear his call for a revolution of true and lasting happiness. He uses Western cultural signposts, pop references, and humor to help remove cross-cultural hurdles. A perfect combination of warmth and wit, Lama Marut makes even the most esoteric brain-busters of Eastern philosophy work as practical tools for immediate transformation. Lama Marut pulls no punches in his hardcore presentation of timeless spiritual truths and their profound relevance to our modern Western world. Ruthlessly compassionate, he insists that the goals of the spiritual life are totally realizable ? here and now.


Lama Marut has been teaching religion for 25 years. As a Sanskrit scholar and Professor of Comparative Religions, he taught at Columbia University and the University of California, Riverside, where he is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies. For the past decade, he has been as a popular teacher of Buddhist and yoga philosophy, spirituality, and meditation.


Lama Marut serves as a founding Board member and Staff Teacher of the Yoga Studies Institute (www.yogastudiesinstitute.org), a non-profit educational institute that grounds students in the classical tradition of yoga. He is also the founder and Spiritual Director of the Asian Classics Institute of Los Angeles (www.aci-la.org), ACI-Cape Ann (www.aci-capeann.org) and ACI-Reno (www.aci-reno.org). The three centers are charitable, non-profit 501(c)3 organizations dedicated to providing the authentic teachings of Mahayana Buddhism for serious study and personal practice. They serve their local communities and thousands of people worldwide via webcast by offering a full schedule of formal study courses, guided meditation, yoga classes, special workshops and community events.


Lama Marut?s audio and video podcasts are downloaded 25,000 times each month, and his monthly newsletters and daily inspirational Twitters reach thousands more students across the world. Along with countless academic articles and encyclopedia entries, he has published three academic books ?Classifying the Universe: The Ancient Indian varna System and the Origins of Caste (published by Oxford University Press), Reflections on Resemblance, Ritual, and Religion (published by Oxford University Press), and The Laws of Manu(translated with Wendy Doniger and published by Penguin Books). He is currently at work on Inciting Happiness: Radical Contentment and Revolutionary Spirituality in a Post-Consumerist Age ? the first book in which he distills his decades of study, practice and personal insight into a useful, straightforward, comprehensive guide for how to live the truly good life. 

Cindy Lee

Cindy has been studying Buddhism and meditation for nearly 15 years, taking teachings from masters from many different traditions..


She has completed an intensive course of study with the Asian Classics Institute, graduating from 18 foundational and 18 advanced courses of Buddhism and rigorous training in the classics texts of yoga philosophy. 


With Lama Sumati Marut she has more recently completed an intensive course of study, graduating from 18 foundational and 18 advanced courses of Buddhism and rigorous training in the classics texts of yoga philosophy.

Since 2008 Cindy has been teaching with Lama Sumati Marut at regular international retreats  on Buddhism, yoga philosophy, meditation and esoteric wisdom.


Having also trained in yoga asana, dance and martial arts, Cindy enjoys taking visceral and experiential approaches to the teachings ? inspired by stories and poetry of saints and siddhas, and the integrated and energetic aspects of yoga. 


She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma in Electronic Design and Interactive Media, which she has taught at university film and media programs in Australia. She has also worked as a director?s assistant, documentary and video clip editor at Exit Films, Melbourne.


As a digital artist Cindy produced video installations and short films for dance performances in Europe, designed motion graphics for VJing at festivals such as Glastonbury (UK), Glu-Glu (Budapest), and ArtLab music festival (St Petersberg). Being invited to be an artist in residence at LA?s 18th Street Arts Center in 2006 led Cindy to meet Lama Marut with whom she has been collaborating ever since through the development of podcasts, websites, video broadcasts and more for the Asian Classics Institute. 


Learn more about Cindy Lee and her teachings from her excellent site Siddha-Songs.com 


With Lama Sumati Marut she has more recently completed an intensive course of study, graduating from 18 foundational and 18 advanced courses of Buddhism and rigorous training in the classics texts of yoga philosophy.

She now teaches with Lama Marut at regular retreats  internationally on Buddhism, yoga philosophy, meditation and esoteric wisdom.