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Lama Marut serves as the Spiritual Director of Middle Way LA as well as sister centers in North America, Australia and Singapore. Lauren Benjamin serves as the Resident Teacher/Spiritual Advisor of Middle Way LA. In 2005, Lauren co-founded what is now known as Middle Way LA, serving on its board initially as Secretary-Treasurer and then President. In 2010, she retired from the Board and became a member of its Advisory Committee.


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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 […] Read more


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Lauren Benjamin was born in New York City to Jewish parents. She began seeking an alternative to the modern western lifestyle in 1968 when, at the age of 16, her “career” as a dancer with the Pacific Ballet Theater in Los Angeles ended. In the same year, her family moved into Synanon, a resident-drug-program-turned-alternative-community. Lauren […] Read more