Born Stephen Gray in 1962 in Cupertino, California, Adyashanti grew up as an athlete and competitive bicycle racer. He began meditating when he was 19 and trained in Zen under the guidance of Arvis Joen Justi, whose teacher was Taizan Maezumi Roshi. He also attended long retreats with Jakusho Kwong Roshi (a disciple of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi) at the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. While Adyashanti began teaching at the request of his teacher, he does not represent any specific tradition. He is the author of eight books, including The End of Your World, The Most Important Thing, and The Way of Liberation.