ABOUT LAMA MARUT
Lama Marut is an American-born monk in the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, the lineage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He received his junior ordination in New York City in 2005 from his root Lama, Geshe Michael Roach, and his full ordination in 2009 at Diamond Mountain University in Arizona. The Gelugpa is the lineage of the Dalai Lamas and was created by the great sage Je Tsongkapa, who was the teacher of the first Dalai Lama.
Often the Western image of a Tibetan Buddhist monk is of an Asian man in red robes who speaks very little English, who has spent years in a monastery, and probably a good deal of time meditating in stark isolation. There are extraordinary Tibetan Lamas who escaped from Tibet in 1959 and are teaching in this country. They have taught and written about the core of Buddhism at all levels. Their teachings have inspired millions in the West to begin to practice, but if Buddhism is going to survive, it will have to be nativized. We must preserve the teachings and keep them pure - the Tibetans have done this with incredible meticulousness and devotion – and we must also bring them into our own culture and time. This means training American teachers who can legitimately carry on an authentic lineage.
For twenty-five years Lama Marut, then Brian Smith, was a professor of comparative religion at Columbia University and the University of California at Riverside. He became a Sanskritist, and authored books on the subject.
Lama Marut’s root Lama, Geshe Micheal Roach, was the first American to get a Geshe degree in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in India. The Geshe is like a super-doctorate, which takes about twenty years in a monastery, and requires mastery of philosophy, meditation, yoga, and personal practice at the highest level, including three year silent retreat. Geshe Michael created the Asian Classics Institute, which provides comprehensive courses in both the sutra and advanced courses of Buddhism. Lama Marut completed all thirty six of these courses, which are a distillation of the twenty year study for a Geshe.
Lama Marut was also taught by Geshe Michael’s root Lama, Khen Rimpoche Lobsang Tharchin, who was Abbott of the great Sera Mey Monastery in Tibet. Monasteries in Tibet were not like monasteries as we think of them in the West. They were universities of psychology and consciousness, created for the purpose of liberating all beings from suffering. Through the system of debate, backing up their beliefs with rational proofs, the monks and high Lamas maintained their philosophy as a living ideology. There is no dogma in Tibetan Buddhism: Lord Buddha challenged all of his students to test his teachings for themselves.
Khen Rimpoche’s teacher was Trijang Rimpoche, the tutor of the current Dalai Lama, and Pabongka Rimpoche, a legendary sage and author of Liberation Thrust into the Palm of Your Hand.
All this is to say that Lama Marut is deeply and elegantly trained in Tibetan Buddhism. There are those that say you can tell a great Lama from his students. Lindsay Crouse, Rick Blue, and Cindy Lee have all graduated from the advanced teachings in the Gelugpa tradition and taken Lama Marut as their heart teacher. Bob Arnold, Dr. Pat O’Brian and Stephanie and Michael Johnson are all trained by Lama Marut.
We’ll all be teaching at the retreat. So you can see for yourself.