Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:32 am

Kazi Dawa Samdup
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/16/19

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Image
Kazi Dawa Samdup
Kazi Dawa Samdup and Walter Evans-Wentz photographed circa 1919.
Born: 17 June 1868, Sikkim
Died: 22 March 1922 (aged 53), Calcutta
Residence: Sikkim
Other names: Kazi Zla-ba-bsam-'grub་
Education: Bhutia Boarding School, Darjeeling
Known for: author, Translator, teacher
Notable work: A History of Sikkim, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa

"Lama" Kazi Dawa Samdup (17 June 1868 – 22 March 1922) is now best known as one of the first translators of important works of Tibetan Buddhism into the English language and a pioneer central to the transmission of Buddhism in the West. From 1910 he also played a significant role in relations between British India and Tibet.

Biography

Kazi Dawa Samdup was born in Sikkim on 17 June 1868. His father was Shalngo Nyima Paljor of the Guru Tashi clan. On the death of his mother, his father remarried and had three more sons and two daughters from his second wife.[1] Kazi Dawa Samdup's education began at the age of four learning the Tibetan script from his grandfather. In 1874 he joined the Bhutia Boarding School in Darjeeling where he impressed the headmaster Rai Bahadur Sarat Chandra Das. His Tibetan teacher was Ugyen Gyatso, a lama from the Pemayangtse monastery in West Sikkim.

After finishing school, he joined the service of British India as Chief Interpreter to the Commissioner of Raj Shahi Division and was posted to Buxaduar which was then part of Bhutan.
During his stay in Bhutan, he became a pupil of a learned and ascetic lama, Lopen Tshampa Norbu (Slob dpon Mtshams pa Nor bu) d. 1916 of Punakha from whom he received initiation and instruction. Although he was interested in taking up a monastic life, at the request of his father, he married and later had two sons and a daughter.

When his father died he also became responsible for looking after his stepmother, and younger siblings. (Of the three younger half-brothers he took care of, the first would later become a lecturer of Calcutta University, the second would be the prime minister of the king, and the third, "Sikkim Mahinda", joined the Buddhist priesthood in Ceylon.[2] and was an important figure in the Sri Lankan independence movement, and a well-known Sinhala poet and author.)

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The Chogyal of Sikkim at Darjeeling, 1911.

At that time the Chogyal of Sikkim, Sir Thutob Namgyal, was looking for a headmaster, who could teach both Tibetan and English, for the state Bhutia Boarding School for boys at Gangtok and Kazi Dawa Samdup was proposed for this post by the Crown Prince Sidkeong Tulku. He also undertook the compilation and translation of the Sikkim Gazette for the Maharaja.

In 1905, he accompanied the Maharaja of Sikkim to Calcutta for the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

In 1910, he acted as interpreter to Sir Charles Bell and the 13th Dalai Lama during the later's visit to India.

In 1911 he accompanied the Maharaja of Sikkim to Delhi for the coronation Durbar of King George V.

In 1912 Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal entrusted his "confidante and spiritual sister" Alexandra David-Néel to Kazi Dawa Samdup to be her a guide, interpreter and teacher of Tibetan. He accompanied her to Kalimpong where she went to meet the 13th Dalai Lama on 15 April 1912. At that time they also met, in the waiting room, Ekai Kawaguchi from Japan.[3]

In 1914, he again acted as an interpreter and translator for Sir Charles Bell during the historic Simla Convention on the Indo-Tibet Border signed between India, Tibet and China.

In 1920, he was appointed teacher in Tibetan at the University of Calcutta.

Kazi Dawa Samdup died in Calcutta on 22 March 1922.

Work with W. Y. Evans-Wentz

Kazi Dawa Samdup is probably best known for his path-breaking translations of Tibetan texts which were later edited and published by W. Y. Evans-Wentz.

Partial bibliography

• A Tibetan Funeral Prayer. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, n.s. vol. 12 (1916), pp. 147–159. – Includes Tibetan text.
• An English-Tibetan Dictionary: Containing a Vocabulary of Approximately Twenty Thousand Words with their Tibetan Equivalents. Calcutta, The Baptist Mission Press, 1919.
— This dictionary is significant because it contains some Sikkimese and Dzongkha words as well as Tibetan.

With W.Y. Evans Wentz (editor):

• The Tibetan Book of the Dead[4]
— According to Matthew Kapstein, this is "without doubt the Tibetan work best known in the West and in the three-quarters of a century since its initial translation it has won a secure place for itself in the Religious Studies canon."
• Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa [5]
• Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines[6]

With Sir John Woodroffe:

• Shrîchakrasambhâra Tantra: A Buddhist Tantra (Dem-chog Tantra). First published in 1918–1919. The title is misleading since it not in fact a translation of the Cakrasamvara Tantra – but is a translation of a Tibetan sadhana of Chakrasambhâra.

Unpublished Works:

Sources


• Alexandra David Neel (2004). Magic And Mystery in Tibet, 1932. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4179-7754-3.
• Samdup, Dasho P. "A Brief Biography of Kazi Dawa Samdup" in Bulletin of Tibetology
• Lama Kazi Dawa Samdup – at Rangjung Yeshe Wiki
• Taylor, Kathleen . "Sir John Woodroffe, Tantra And Bengal: An Indian Soul In A European Body?". Routledge, 2001, ISBN 0-7007-1345-X.
• Cuevas, Bryan J. "Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead". Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 019530652X

References

1. Samdup, Dasho P. W. (2008). "A Brief Biography of Kazi Dawa Samdup (1868–1922)" (PDF). Bulletin of Tibetology. Gangtok, Sikkim: Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. 44 (1–2): 155–158. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
2. Ariyaratne, Sunil (1989). පූජිත ජීවිත (in Sinhala). Ministry of Culture, Education and News of Sri Lanka. pp. 155–160.
3. Middleton, Ruth (1989). Alexandra David-Neel. Boston, Shambhala. ISBN 1-57062-600-6.
4. Evans-Wentz, W. Y.; Samdup, Kazi Dawa. The Tibetan Book of the Dead (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.
5. Evans-Wentz, W. Y.; Samdup, Kazi Dawa. Tibet's great yogi, Milarepa : a biography from the Tibetan: being the "Jetsun-Kahbum" or biographical history of Jetsun-Mi la repa, according to the late Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English rendering edited with introduction and annotations by W.Y.Evans-Wentz (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.
6. Evans-Wentz, W. Y.; Samdup, Kazi Dawa. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: or seven books of wisdom of the great path according to the Late Làma Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English rendering (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:45 am

Part 1 of 2

Ekai Kawaguchi
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/16/19

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


[O]n the 19th of July, I took passage on an English steamer, the Lightning, which, after calling at Penang, brought me to Calcutta on the 25th of the month. Placing myself under the care of the Mahābodhi Society of Calcutta, I spent several days in that city, in the course of which I learned from Mr. Chandra Bose, a Secretary of the Society, that I could not do better for my purpose than to go to Darjeeling, and make myself a pupil of Rai Bahadur Sarat Chandra Das, who, as I was told, had some time before spent several months in Tibet, and was then compiling a Tibetan-English dictionary at his country house in Darjeeling. Mr. Chanḍra Bose was good enough to write a letter of introduction to the scholar at Darjeeling in my favor, and, with it and also with kind parting wishes of my countrymen in the city and others, I left Calcutta on August 2nd, by rail.... By 3 p.m., the train had made a climb of fifty miles and then landed us at Darjeeling, which place is 380 miles distant from Calcutta. At the station I hired a ḍanlee, which is a sort of mountaineering palanquin, and, borne in it, I soon afterward arrived at Rai Sarat’s retreat, Lhasa Villa, which I found to be a magnificent mansion....

I was received there with a whole-hearted welcome. An evening’s talk was sufficient, however, to make my intentions clear to my kind host, and, as my time was precious, Rai Sarat took me out, the very next day after my arrival, to a temple called Ghoompahl, where I was introduced to an aged Mongolian priest, who lived there and was renowned for his scholarly attainments and also as a teacher of the Tibetan language. The priest was then seventy-eight years of age, and his name, which was Serab Gyamtso (Ocean of Knowledge), happened by a curious coincidence to mean in the Tibetan tongue the same thing as my own name Ekai meant.... Our talk naturally devolved upon Buddhism, but the conversation proved to be a rather awkward affair, for though Rai Sarat kindly acted the part of an interpreter for us, it had to be carried on, on my part, in very rudimentary English. As it was, the first day of my tutelage ended in my making the acquaintance of the Tibetan alphabet, and from that time onward, I became a regular attendant at the temple, daily walking three miles from and back to the Sarat mansion. One day, about a month after this, Rai Sarat had me in his room and spoke to me thus: “Well, Mr. Kawaguchi, I would advise you to give[12] up your intention of going to Tibet. It is a very risky undertaking, which it would be worth risking if there were any chance of accomplishing it; but chances are almost entirely against you. You can acquire all the knowledge of the Tibetan language you want, here, and you can go back to Japan, where you will be respected as a Tibetan scholar.” I told my host that my purpose was not only to learn the Tibetan language, but that it was to complete my studies in Buddhism. “That may be,” said my host, “and a very important thing it no doubt is with you; but what is the use of attempting a thing when there is no hope of accomplishing it? If you go into Tibet, the only thing you can count upon is that you will be killed!” I retorted: “Have you not been there yourself? I do not see why I cannot do the same thing.” Rai Sarat’s rejoinder was: “Ah! That is just where you are mistaken; you must know that the times are different, Mr. Kawaguchi. The ‘closed door’ policy is in full operation, and is being carried out with the most jealous strictness in Tibet to-day, and I know that I will never be able again to undertake another trip into that country. Besides, when I made my trip, I had with me an excellent pass, which I was fortunate to secure through certain means, but there is no means, nor even hope, any longer of procuring such a pass. Under the circumstances I should think it is to your own interest to go home from here, after you have completed the study of the Tibetan language.”... I asked Rai Sarat to kindly devise for me some way, by which I might acquire[13] the vernacular Tibetan language. Finding me resolute in my purpose, Rai Sarat, with his unswerving kindness, cheerfully agreed to my request, and arranged for me that I should have a new private teacher, besides a regular schooling. It was in this way. Just below Rai Sarat’s mansion was a residence which consisted of two small but pretty buildings. The residence belonged to a Lama called Shabdung, who just then happened not to live there, but in a house in the business quarters of Darjeeling. Rai Sarat sent for this Lama and asked him to teach the “Japan Lama” the Tibetan language, the Lama returning to his residence just mentioned with his entire household. Lama Shabdung was only too pleased to do as was requested, and I was forthwith installed a member of his household, that I might have ample opportunity of learning the popular Tibetan language. On the other hand, I at the same time matriculated into the Government School of Darjeeling, and was there given systematic lessons in the same language by Prof. Tumi Onden, the Head Teacher of the language department of Tibetans in that School. I should not forget to mention here that, while I paid out of my own pocket all the tuition fees and school expenses, as it was quite proper that I should, I was made a beneficiary of my friend Rai Sarat so far as my board was concerned.... Indeed, I had only three hundred yen with me when I arrived at Darjeeling; but, as it was, that amount supported me for the seventeen months of my stay there. Had I had to pay my own board, I would have had to cut down my stay there to half the length of time....

To give one of Lama Shabdung’s favourite recitals about Tibet: my host, while there, studied Buddhism under a high Lama of great virtues and the most profound learning, called Sengchen Dorjechan (Great-Lion Diamond-Treasury), who had been the tutor of the Secondary or Deputy Pope, so to say, of Tibet. No man in Tibet was held in higher esteem and deeper reverence than this holy man. It was this holy man himself who taught my friend and benefactor Rai Sarat, when he was in Tibet. Though Rai Sarat’s pupilage under the high Lama lasted only for a short time, it had the most tragical consequences. For, after his return to India, the Tibetan Government discovered to its own mortification that Rai Sarat was an emissary of the British Government, and the parties who had become in any way connected with his visit, more particularly the man who had secretly furnished him with a pass, another in whose house he had lodged and boarded, and the high Lama, were all thrown into prison, the last named having afterward had to pay with his life for his innocent crime.

Many are the reminiscences of this holy Lama, which show that he was indeed a person very firm and enlightened in the Buddhist faith, and to that degree was the most lovable and adorable of men. But more especially affecting, even sublimely beautiful, are the episodes immediately preceding and surrounding his death, for the truth of which I depend not on the narrative of Lama Shabdung alone, but largely also upon what I was able to learn from persons of unquestionable reliability, during my disguised stay in the capital of[16] Tibet. To mention a few of these: when an unpleasant rumor had just begun to be circulated, soon after Rai Sarat’s departure from Tibet, about his secret mission, the high Lama Sengchen knew at once that death was at his door, but was not afraid. For, when it was hinted at by his friends that he would become involved in a serious predicament, owing to his acquaintance with Rai Sarat, he replied that he had always considered it his heaven-ordained work to try to propagate and to perpetuate Buddhism, not among his own countrymen only, but among the whole human race; that whether or not Saraṭ Chanḍra Das was a man who had entered Tibet with the object of “stealing away Buddhism,” or to play the part of a spy, was not his concern—the question had in any case never occurred to him—and that if he were to suffer death for having done what he had regarded it as his duty to do, he could not help it. That this holy Lama was an advocate of active propagandism may be gathered from the fact that, besides sending various Buddhistic images and ritualistic utensils to India, he had caused several persons to go out there as missionaries, my teacher, the Manchurian Lama Serab Gyamtso, in the Ghoompahl Temple of Darjeeling, being one of these. Unfortunately, this undertaking did not prove a success, but none the less it shows the lofty aspirations which actuated the high Lama, who, as I was told, had deeply lamented the decadence, or rather the almost entire disappearance, of Buddhism in the land of its origin, and was sincerely anxious to revive it there. It is nothing uncommon in Japan to meet with Buddhist priests interested in the work or idea of foreign propagandism; but a person so minded is an extreme rarity in that hermit-country Tibet, and that Lama Sengchen was such a one indicates the greatness of his character, and that he was a man above sectarian differences and inter[17]national prejudices, solely given to the noble idea of universal brotherhood under Buddhism. Being the man he was, he had many enemies among the high officials of the hierarchical Government, who were in constant watch for an opportunity to bring about his downfall. To these, his enemies, the rumor about Prof. Sarat was a welcome one, which they lost no time in turning to account. In all haste they despatched men to Darjeeling, and ascertained that, in truth, Rai Sarat had smuggled himself into and out of Tibet, and that, as the fact was, he had done so at the request of the British Government of India. Then followed the incarceration, already mentioned, of all those who had had anything to do with Rai Sarat, the final upshot of which was sentence of death upon the high Lama Sengchen Dorjechan, on the ground that the latter had harbored in his temple, and divulged national secrets to, a foreign emissary....

I spent the twelve months following in closely devoting myself to the study, and in efforts at the practical mastery, of the Tibetan tongue, with the result that, toward the close of the year, I had become fairly confident of my own proficiency in the use of the language both in its literary and vernacular forms; and I made up my mind to start for my destination with the coming of the year 1899. Then, it became a momentous question for me to decide upon the route to take in entering Tibet....

It appeared to me, further, that the route most advantageous to me would be by way of Nepāl; for Bhūṭan had never been visited by the Buddha, and there was there little to learn for me in that connexion, though that country had at one time or another been travelled over by Tibetan priests of great renown; but the latter fact had nothing of importance for me. I had been told, however, that Nepāl abounded in the Buddha’s footsteps, and that there was in existence there complete sets of the Buddhist Texts in Samskrt. These were inducements which I could turn to account, in the case of failure to enter Tibet. Moreover, no Japanese had ever been in Nepāl before me, though it had been visited by some Europeans and Americans. So I decided on a route viâ Nepāl.

The decision made, it would have been all I could wish for, if it were possible for me to journey to Nepāl direct from Darjeeling; there was on the way grand and picturesque scenery incidentally to enjoy, besides places sacred to Buddhist pilgrims. But to do so was not possible for me, or at least implied serious dangers. For most of the Tibetans living in Darjeeling—and there were quite a number of them there—knew that I was learning their language with the intention of some day visiting their country; and it was perfectly manifest that the moment I left that town with my face towards Tibet, they, or some of them at the least, would come after me as far as some point where they might make short work of me, or follow me into Tibet and there betray me to the authorities, for they would be richly rewarded for so doing. To meet the necessity of the case, I gave it out that, owing to an unexpected occurrence, I was obliged to go home at once, and I left Darjeeling for Calcutta, which place I reached on the 5th of January, 1899. I, of course, let Rai Sarat into my secret, and he alone knew that the day I left Darjeeling I started on my Tibetan journey in real earnest, though back to Calcutta I took fare in sooth. On leaving Darjeeling, my good host Rai Sarat Chanḍra earnestly wished me complete success in my travels to Tibet, and gave vent to his hearty and sincere pleasure in finding in me one, who, as bold and adventurous as himself, was starting on a perilous but interesting expedition to that hitherto unknown country.

***

About a fortnight after my arrival in Malba I received a letter from Rai Sarat Chandra Das, through a trader of Tukje, with whom I had become acquainted while in Tsarang, and to whom I had entrusted a letter to my friend at Darjeeling, as well as others to my folks at home, on the occasion of his going down to Calcutta on business. Along with his letter Sarat Chandra Das sent me a number of the Mahabodhi Society’s journal, which contained an account of an unsuccessful attempt by a Buddhist of my nationality to enter Tibet, and a well-meant note of his in pencil to the effect that I must not lose my life by exposing myself to too much danger. So far so good; but next something which was not so good happened. The Tukje man, my whilom messenger, had[66] apparently formed an opinion of his own about my personality, and set the quiet village of Malba astir with rumors about myself. Chandra Das was an official of the English Government, with a salary of 600 rupees a month, and, as such, a very rare personage among Bengālīs; and it was with this person that I corresponded; ergo, the Chinese Lama (myself) must be a British agent in disguise, with some secret mission to execute. So went the rumor, and the public opinion of Malba had almost come to the conclusion that it was undesirable to permit such a suspicious stranger in the village, when Adam Naring, who by that time had come home, sought to speak to me in secret, with indescribable fear written on his face. Poor honest soul! What he said to me, when by ourselves, was of course to the effect that if there were any truth in the rumor, he and his folks would be visited with what punishment heaven only knew. I had expected this for some time past, and had made up my mind how to act as soon as Naring approached me on the subject. I turned round and, looking him squarely in the face, said: “If you promise me, under oath, that you will not divulge for three full years to come what I may tell you, I will let you into my secret; but if you do not care to do so, we can only let the rumor take care of itself, and wait for the Nepāl Government to take any steps it may deem fit to take.” I knew Adam Naring was a man of conscience, who could be trusted with a secret: he signified his willingness to take an oath, and I placed before him a copy of the sacred Scripture and obtained from him the needed promise.

Producing next my passport, given me by the Foreign Office in Japan, which had on it an English as well as other translations of the Japanese text, I showed it to my host, who understood just enough English to follow out the spelling of some words in that language, and[67] explained to him the real object of my journey into Tibet. I did more. I said to him that now that he possessed my secret, he was welcome to make of it what use he liked; but that I believed him to be a true and devoted Buddhist, and that it behoved him well to assist me in my enterprise by keeping silence, for by so acting he would be promoting the cause of his own religion. In all this, I told my host nothing but truth, and truth triumphed; for he believed every word I said and approved of my adventure. Then we talked over the route I was to take, and it was arranged at the same time that I should restart on my journey in June or July.

***

Gya-karko is a trading port for people coming from the north-west plains of Tibet on the one hand and the Hindūs inhabiting the Indian Himālayas on the other, who are allowed by the Tibetan Government to come as far as this place.

Here I saw many merchants from the towns and villages of the Himālayas. Among them was one from Milum, who spoke English. This man invited me to dinner on the quiet, so to say. I accepted his invitation, but the moment I had entered his tent I at once saw that he took me for an English emissary. When left to ourselves he immediately addressed me thus: “As I live under the government of your country, I shall never make myself inconvenient to you. In return I wish you would do what you can to help my business when you go back to India.” I thought that these were very strange words to speak to me. On interrogating him, I found out that he had conjectured that I was engaged in exploring Tibet at the behest of the British Government. When I told him that I was a Chinaman, he said: “If you are Chinese, you can no doubt speak Chinese?” I answered him boldly in the affirmative. Then he brought in a man who claimed to understand Chinese. I was not a little embarrassed at this turn of affairs, but as I had had a similar experience with Gya Lama in Nepāl it took me no time to recover sufficient equanimity to answer him, and I felt much re-assured when I found that he could not speak Chinese so well as I had anticipated. Then I wrote a number of Chinese characters and wanted him to say if he knew them. The man looked at me and seemed to say: “There you have me.” Finally he broke into laughter and said: “I give up; let us talk in Tibetan.” Then my host was greatly astonished and said: “Then you are indeed a Chinaman! What can be better? China is a vast country.[154] My father, who is now living in my native country, was once in China. If there is any business to be done with China I wish you would kindly put me on the track;” and he gave me his address written in English. His manner showed that he was in earnest, and that he was a man to be trusted. So seeing that this man was going back to India, I thought it would be a good idea to ask him to take with him my letters and deliver them for me in India. It would have been imprudent for me to write things in detail, but I scribbled just a few lines to my friend and teacher, Rai Sarat Chandra Das, informing him that I had penetrated the interior of Tibet as far as Gya-karko, besides asking him to post some letters for Japan which I enclosed, addressed to Mr. Hige Tokujuso and Ito Ichiso of Sakai. A few coins put into the hand of the Milum man secured a ready response to my request. The man proved the honest fellow I took him for; for after my return to Japan I found that my letters had been duly received by both Mr. Hige and Mr. Ito.

***

The usual lessons in the Tibetan grammar and Buddhism over, the suspicious monk, who posed for a learned scholar, suddenly addressed me, saying that having been in India, I must have seen Sarat Chandra Das, who explored Tibet. I replied that I did not know him, even by name. There were three hundred millions of people in India, and however famous a man might be, he must always be unknown to some. There was a great difference between India and[224] Tibet, and I asked to hear something about the man the monk referred to. The monk then narrated how Sarat Chandra Das, twenty-three years ago, had cheated the Tibetan authorities with a passport; how he had robbed Tibet of her Buddhism, with which he had returned to India; how on the discovery of the affair, the greatest scholar and sage in Tibet, Sengchen Dorjechan, had been executed, not to mention many other priests and laymen who were put to death and many others whose property was confiscated.

After this the monk added that as Sarat Chandra Das was a renowned personage in India, it was impossible for me not to be acquainted with him. Probably I pretended not to know him. These words were spoken in a most unpleasant manner, but I put him off with a smile, saying that I had never seen the face of the Queen of England, who was so renowned, and that such a big country as India made such investigations hopeless. The stories about Sarat Chandra Das are quite well known in Tibet, even children being familiar with them; but there are few who know him by his real name, for he goes by the appellation of the ‘school bābū’ (school-master). The story of the Tibetans who smuggled a foreigner into Tibet and were killed, and of those who concealed the fact from the Government and forfeited their property, are tales that Tibetan parents everywhere tell to their children.

Owing to the discovery of the adventures of Sarat Chandra Das, all the Tibetans have become as suspicious as detectives, and exercise the greatest vigilance towards foreigners. I was fully acquainted with these facts, so that I too exercised great caution even in dropping a single word, however innocent and empty that word might be. But the Tibetans were very cunning questioners; and the monk was one of the most cunning. When I tried to laugh away his questions, he put other queries on every imaginable point. Other Tibetans who were[225] equally suspicious joined him in harassing me. I felt for the moment just as though I were besieged by an overwhelming force of the enemy.

***

At dawn I climbed up the mountain in deep snow, and looked down upon the surface of the lake. I could see among the shadows of the mountains the crescent moon beautifully reflected dimly and faintly on the water. The bright day was soon coming, the moon began already to lose its dim light, and the morning star twinkled on the surface of the water. Amid the charms of nature I lost all my fatigue and weariness, and I stood quite entranced. Soon the water-fowl were heard on the sands along the lake, and some mandarin ducks were amusing themselves in the water, while cranes were wildly flying about[278] with noisy cries. What a contrast it was with the scene of the day before! No pleasure on a journey can be greater than travelling in this way at dawn. I still went on for about twelve miles along the lake and came to a little stream in the mountains at about nine o’clock. It is here that travellers make tea, and bake their wheat for eating. The lake is full of water, but it is poisonous.

A strange story is told about how it turned poisonous. About twenty years ago, as the Tibetans tell, the famous Sarat Chandra Das, an Indian by birth, who passed for an Englishman, came from India and pronounced a spell upon the lake; the water at once turned as red as blood. A lama, they say, came along and turned the water back to its original color, but it still remained poisonous. One cannot believe anything that the Tibetans say, but the water seems to have really turned red. Sarat Chandra Das cannot have done that, but, unfortunately for him, it was just after his return from Tibet that the water thus changed. Sarat Chandra Das, as every one knows, is an Indian, but Tibetans, with few exceptions, think him to be an Englishman. Any way the water of the lake must have been poisonous for a long time, for the water is stagnant, there being no current, and there are divers poisonous elements near the lake.


***

As my object was to be a student priest I bought a hat, a pair of shoes, and a rosary, according to the regulations of the monastery. I did not buy a priest’s robe, as I could in time use the one which had been given to me. So I went to Je Ta-tsang, chief professor of the department which I was to enter, for him to question me before I was admitted as a probationary student; but I found that no examinations were to be given. I called on the professor with a present of the best tea to be procured in Tibet. His first question was: “Where are you from? You look like a Mongolian; are you not one?” Being answered in the negative, he asked me several geographical questions, for he was well acquainted with the geography of the country. But I answered well, as I had travelled through the provinces on my own feet. It was thus settled that I might be admitted on probation....

On the following day I found a teacher to help me in my preparation. Finding however that one teacher was not sufficient for the many subjects I had to study, I engaged a second, and I was thus soon busy preparing myself. There was a Lama living in the dormitory opposite to mine, a stout priest who seemed to be very learned. One day I was called to his room to see him, and among other questions I was asked if I had not come with a caravan of Ruto from Jangthang to the Sakya temple. I was told that among the disciples of the Lama there was one Tobten, a nice gentle Tibetan, and this person happened to be the one who had treated me very kindly during my journey with the caravan. It was this man who had asked me if I would take meat, and whom I had told that I did not take it. I had hitherto been supposed to have come from Jangthang, but now I was entirely unmasked.

“Then you are not from Jangthang,” said the Lama, and then he told me that he had heard I was a Chinaman and good at writing Chinese characters. On my confessing that I was not a Tibetan he was grieved, because he feared that my deceit might bring trouble upon the dormitory, for a Chinaman must go to Pate Khamtsan. He then asked me why I had violated the regulations of the place, and I replied that I had been robbed, as he might have heard from his disciple, at Jangthang, and that I had not money[296] enough to enter into the Pate Khamtsan as a Chinaman. Besides, I said, I should have to pay something for service every year, if I went to the Chinese house. Having told him all these secrets, I then asked him to help me to stay with him, as I could not go to the other house. The Lama said that his disciple had told him of the robbery, and that he was very sorry for me, adding that he would leave the matter till objection should be made. So I was left there without further trouble, and I passed for a man from Jangthang.

***

In the capital I got more definite information about the Boxer trouble. Perhaps some merchants who had returned from China, or some who had came from Nepāl or some who had been to India, might have brought the news; but it was all very laughable and unreliable. Some would say the Emperor of China had bequeathed his throne to the Crown Prince and absconded, while others told me that the Emperor was defeated and was then in Sin-an. The trouble was brought about, some said, by a wicked minister, who married an English lady to the Emperor, while others asserted that there was a country called Japan, which was so strong that her troops took possession of Peking. Another said that a famine prevailed in China and people were all famished; indeed, every sort of rumor was abroad in the Tibetan capital.

I was especially pleased to hear something about Japan, even the very name of which had not yet been heard in Tibet, and some merchants told me that Japan was so powerful and so chivalrous that even when her army had taken possession of Peking, she had sent shiploads of rice, wheat and clothing to the Chinese capital to relieve tens of thousands of natives who were suffering from famine. But others would say against Japan that she could not be such a friendly country, but must have done what she had done merely out of her crafty “land-grabbing diplomacy,” as the British nation did. Rumor after rumor was making its way through Tibet, and I did not know what to believe. Only I was pretty sure that a war had broken out between China and[300] other Powers. In the meantime the Palpo merchant with whom I was staying was going to Nepāl. I utilised the occasion and through his kindness sent two letters, one to Rai Sarat Chandra Das in India, and the other to Mr. I. Hige of my native province. I was glad to find afterwards that they reached their destination, but it was very difficult to send a letter in that way; one must first see that the man by whom it is to be sent is honest and not likely to betray one’s secret, and one cannot easily trust a Tibetan. But my Tibetan had more than once been shown to be true to his trust.

***

The last exploration I would mention here is that undertaken in 1881 and 1882 by Sarat Chanḍra Das, my own teacher, of whom mention has been made several times already. This Hinḍū had obtained in a very ingenious way a pass from the Tibetan Government, and, armed with it, he first proceeded as far as Shigatze, where he remained for two months; after awhile he returned to India. That was in 1881. The result of his exploration was reported to the British Government, and he was for a second time asked to undertake another trip into Tibet in the following year, having secured as before a Tibetan passport. On his second visit he first reached Shigatze and afterward entered Lhasa. As I heard from a Tibetan, he conducted his mission with extreme caution, seldom venturing abroad in the daytime, and when obliged to do so he took every care to avoid attracting the attention of the natives. He spent most of his time in a room of a temple, and there secretly carried[403] out his investigations. In this way he stayed in Lhasa for twenty days; then he went back to his sphere of work in other parts of Tibet and at last returned to Darjeeling after an absence of less than a year.

I have mentioned, in a preceding chapter that when the real nature of the mission of Sarat Chandra Das had become known to the Tibetan Government, it caused extraordinary disturbance, involving all the officials who had been on duty at the barrier-gates through which the Hinḍū had passed, as well as all the persons who had extended any sort of hospitality to him during his stay in the country. All these persons were thrown into prison and their property was confiscated. A number of those whose complicity, unwitting though it was, was judged more serious than that of the others were condemned to death and executed. After this memorable occurrence, Tibet resolved more than ever to enforce strictly the policy of exclusion against all foreigners....

Besides the attempts at Tibetan exploration already referred to, there have from time to time been a number of missionaries or spies despatched by either Russia or England, who have frequently appeared at Tibetan frontier stations only to arouse the suspicions of the Grand Lama’s Government, until the latter has become irrevocably committed to the policy of absolute seclusion. To do justice to the Tibetans, they were originally a people highly hospitable to strangers. This sentiment was superseded[405] by one of fear and even of antipathy, as the result of an insidious piece of advice which, probably prompted by some policy of its own, the Government of China gave to Tibet; it was to the effect that if the latter allowed the free entrance of foreigners into her territories, they would destroy her Buddhism, and replace it with Christianity. The simple-minded Tibetan became dreadfully alarmed at this warning; but even then he did not all at once put the policy of exclusion into full force. The absolute exclusion dates from the discovery of Sarat Chanḍra Das’ mission. Since then, the enforcement of the exclusion policy has become so strict that it now seems as though Tibet has been converted into a nation of detectives and constables.

***

I shall begin with an interesting incident that occurred to me in November, 1901, when I was enabled to send home letters for the first time after my arrival in the country. That was on the 18th of the month, and through the agency of Tsa Rong-ba, a Tibetan trader with whom I had become acquainted at Darjeeling. This man started for Calcutta on Government business to buy iron, and as I knew him to be trustworthy I entrusted him with a letter addressed to Sarat Chandra Das, in which were enclosed several others addressed to my friends and relatives in Japan.

The iron which he was commissioned to procure was for the purpose of manufacturing small arms at an arsenal situated at Dib near Che-Cho-ling, on the bank of the river Kichu, which flows to the south of Lhasa.

This industry was an innovation in Tibet, and in fact had begun only about eight years before that time. It was introduced by a Tibetan named Lha Tse-ring who had lived for a long time at Darjeeling and, at the request of his Government, brought back with him about ten gunsmiths, mostly Hindu and Cashmere Mohamedans. Only two of these smiths remained in Tibet at the time I reached Lhasa, the rest having returned home or died; but as several of the Tibetan smiths had acquired the art from them, no inconvenience was experienced in continuing the industry. This was a great improvement on the old state of affairs, for Tibet had formerly possessed only flint-lock muskets, and even these could not easily be[448] introduced from India. The manufacture of improved firearms was therefore a great boon to the country, and the Government did not spare expense and trouble to encourage the development of the art. Hence it came about that my acquaintance was authorised by the Government to proceed to Calcutta and procure a supply of iron.


***

The Choen Joe, who was keenly gazing at me, suddenly cried out: “You are very strange,” to which I did not reply a word. Then he continued: “At first I thought you were a Mongolian, but I found my judgment mistaken. Nor are you to be taken for a Chinaman. Of course, you are not a European. Of what nationality in the world are you then?” I was about to reply to this impertinent question, when I was interrupted by Tsa Rong-ba who spoke in a knowing way: “This gentleman is a Japanese.” Just a few words, and all was over. It was the first time my nationality had been mentioned in Lhasa. A very annoying truth had been uttered, but I could not deny the impeachment, so continued silently looking into the chief’s face, and wondering what would be the next word I should hear from him. Then with a look as if relieved from some uneasiness he turned to the host and said:[571] “I see, I see, I thought he must be a Japanese, but then I thought it was impossible for a Japanese to penetrate into this country, and I hesitated to say so. Now that I hear you say so, I doubt it not, for I have seen many Japanese at Peking.”

The sentence was given by these judges before the defendant could speak a word, and thus the secret which had been kept for so long was brought to light in a moment. The Choen Joe now turned to me and said:

“This is very good news for me. I once thought that if I went to Japan and brought strange goods to Lhasa I could make a great deal of money. But I have heard that the Chinese language, which is the only foreign language I can speak, is not used in Japan except among a few Chinamen at the seaport towns. Besides, I know that foreign travellers are liable to be deceived by bad people, who abound everywhere, and Japan, I suppose, is not an exception. So I have abandoned my intention. But I am glad to find here such a good Japanese as you. I have heard of the fame of the Serai Amchi (doctor of Sera) and am very satisfied to find the noted doctor in this house. As you are so good a man will you not take me with you to Japan?”

The prospect was not so bad as I had expected. I told him that as I intended to go back to Japan once more, I would take him, and spoke many things about Japan. The caravan chief talked of his hard experiences in China, of the recovery of his goods by the favor of the general, and of the superiority of the Japanese soldiers in valor to those of the West. He spoke very highly of Japan, but did not seem to mean to flatter me; it was most likely that the words came from his real heart. Then I said:

“You and Tsa Rong-ba are the only men that know that I am a Japanese, but if you tell it to anyone else, I am afraid it may cause you both some trouble. So you must be very careful about it.”


***

CHAPTER XCII. My Tibetan Friends in Trouble.

I learned that a month had hardly passed after my escape from Lhasa, when many of my acquaintances were arrested and imprisoned. According to this information, the ex-Minister of the Treasury with whom I lived, the old nun living in his house, and one of his favorite servants, were arrested and taken to prison; the new Treasury-minister was set free, as he had not had much relation with me; the Sera Seminary was closed, Tsa Rong-ba and his wife and Takbo Tunbai Choen Joe were taken to jail and examined with terrible tortures; every house which I had frequented was closely observed by the detectives, and the people in them were expecting every moment to be arrested; therefore everybody who had had any connexion whatever with me was endeavoring to conceal it, and consequently bribery was prevalent in Lhasa. Such were the stories I heard from the caravan, but the Tibetans are great story-tellers in general, and are very fond of surprising people by lies. So I thought they might be productions of their imagination, derived from the rumor that I escaped from Lhasa, and I did not give them much credit, and told them they were absurd stories; but still I had some doubts.

Some story of this kind reached the ear of the Magistrate of Darjeeling. One day he called me to his private house and asked me several questions as to the number of the priests, and the educational system, and the regulations of the Sera Monastery, and whether there was any law by which a school could be closed for such occurrences as had happened and whether I believed the stories. To this last question I answered negatively, because not only the Tibetans, but even the Chinese in Tibet, are very often fond of exaggerating truths and circulating rumors at Darjeeling; for instance, they say Russians have been seen striding along the streets of Lhasa in broad daylight, while in fact there are none, but only a Mongolian employed by the Government of Russia.

The local English officers of these districts are very desirous of knowing anything about Tibet, and they would write down any tidings brought thence, not distinguishing whether they are true or not.
At Ghoom there is an officer whose special business it is to enquire into anything occurring in Tibet. If there is anyone newly arrived from that country, he would see him, ask various questions, and if he found any important news he would take the man to the Governor’s to enquire more minutely about the matter in his presence. The present Governor of Darjeeling can speak the Tibetan language to some extent, but not with much ease; so interpreters are hired in most cases. But the British Indian Government greatly encourages these Governors of the districts adjoining Tibet to study the Tibetan language, and they can take an examination if they are able to speak colloquial Tibetan and explain easy composition; and if they pass the examination they can obtain a prize of a thousand rupees. Therefore most of them study Tibetan. From these facts the reader may infer with what caution the British Government is trying to get insight into the Forbidden Land.

As I knew well that the Tibetans were liars, I did not much mind their talk, but when another caravan which came two weeks later brought similar rumors my uneasiness was greatly increased. Some days after a merchant of my acquaintance came to Darjeeling, so I went to see him and asked him whether these rumored stories were true.

“Not exactly,” said he, “things are not so bad as that. It is true that the ex-Minister of the Treasury was once arrested, but he was set free without being taken to prison. However they say he will be again arrested in the near future. When I started from Lhasa he dwelt in his residence, not in prison; but I cannot tell what may have happened since. Among those who are sure victims are your tutor and your security at the Sera Seminary, Tsa Rong-ba and his wife, Takbo Tunbai Choen Joe. Their torture is terrible indeed; they are to be flogged every day, receiving three hundred blows daily with a willow stick. We wished to pay them a visit, and do something for them, but could not do so; for if we did, it would only arouse the suspicion of the detectives, who were hunting after anything they could get hold of.”

When I heard him I wondered what necessity there was for such cruelty if it got out that I was a simple Japanese priest, and asked the merchant whether he knew the cause of the persecution. Then he said that they took me for an English spy and not for a Japanese.

“But then,” said I, “did any one tell them that I was an Englishman?”

“Yes, some one did,” said he. “In an official report Chyi Kyab, the chief Guard of Nyatong, has stated to the Pope that the Lama who was rumored to be a Japanese was in truth an Englishman and brother to a high official of the British Indian Government, by whose request he entered Tibet in the disguise of a Japanese or Chinese. He also stated that the disguised English spy had, while in Tibet, several communications from Darjeeling through Tsa Rong-ba and Takbo. Furthermore, the report says you are by no means an ordinary man and can work miracles. It says you did not come through the barrier on the highway, and that even the bye-ways were watched with equal care, so that you could not have passed through. It is said that you must have flown to this side of the mountains when you came to the neighborhood of the barriers. Since the report was read by the Pope, the persecution of the prisoners is said to have been severe.”


“By the way” he continued, “how did you come over from Nyatong? Did you not fly?”

“As I am no bird, how could I do such a thing?”

“But they say you can do such a thing,” said he, “and I am one of those who believe it, because for one who can revive the dead, it must be an easy miracle to fly in the air. In Tibet they all believe what Chyi Kyab has reported to the Pope.”

“Then,” said I, “I will show you one thing that tells more than my speech; it is the passport given by the order of Chyi Kyab himself.”

The merchant seemed not to believe me yet, for by this time even in Darjeeling the story that I could work miracles became current and he had heard of it. I think that this was caused by the fraudulent report of Chyi Kyab, who was afraid of the punishment which was likely to befall him if he made a true one. Sometime later when the merchant came to my place, I showed him the passport and he seemed to believe it. But a new suspicion arose that I must have enchanted Chyi Kyab by magic and stolen the passport. Ignorant people very often take a truth for a miracle; and many Tibetans are no exception.

I could not be calm now that I had heard such terrors were raging in Tibet. In the first place, the ex-Treasury-minister’s fate caused me much uneasiness. His acute and strong character made him many enemies among his mean fellow-countrymen, who might now find an opportunity of revenging themselves upon him. Tsa Rong-ba and his wife, my tutor at the Sera Seminary and my security there, all of whom had shown me much favor and kindness, were now suffering in chains; how could I sleep in peace? How I wished I had been able to fly as they said I could, and go to Lhasa to their rescue! Many considerations came to my mind as to the way of delivering them; but only two of them seemed to be practicable. The one was to go to Peking and to secure an order from the Chinese Government to the Tibetan to suspend the hideous cruelty, and the other was to go to Nepal and ask the help of the Nepalese Government. It took me a long while to decide which method I should choose, but at last I determined to try the latter.

First, it was doubtful whether the Chinese Government would admit any application, either from myself or through the influence of the Japanese Government. In the second place, China herself has ceased to have credit in Tibet. In Tibet it is believed, even among the Government officers, that the present Chinese Emperor has been married to an English lady, and that since then, as she is on good terms with England, the country is always disturbed. Besides they know that China has become so helpless that they can disobey her without being chastised. Lastly, the Tibetan Government does not like any diplomatic interference from China, because China is a country that proclaims herself as friendly with all foreign countries. On the other hand, Nepal is much feared by the Tibetans, for the people of Nepal are very strong, and their soldiers, disciplined in the English style, prove themselves very brave in time of war. So the Tibetans are trying not to offend her, and her advice is heard with more attention than that of China. What made me think of the greater probability of success through applying to the Nepalese Government was the fact that that country puts so much trust in Japan that she sends many students to Japan for study. Thus I was determined to go to Nepal.

To do this, however, some money was needed, of which I had none at that time; indeed, I had even some small debts. Thanks to heaven, help came in my need; my acquaintances at my native town were so kind as to collect and send me three hundred yen, and with this money I was ready to start. But there was one thing that held me back; it was the compilation of a Tibetan grammar, which I had sometime ago begun at the request of my teacher Sarat Chandra Das, who needed a complete grammar of the Tibetan language to append to his Tibetan-English dictionary. I began at once, and wrote some twenty pages, but the complete study of the grammar of a foreign language is not to be compared to writing compositions for papers or magazines; books must be referred to and the opinions of others must be consulted. And thus three months were spent, but the completion of the grammar proceeded at a very sluggish pace and I felt that it would take a year or more to finish it. But the present prison affair in Lhasa required my immediate exertion, otherwise all hope might be gone. So I told my teacher that I had to suspend the work, and towards the end of November I left Darjeeling and came to Calcutta.


-- Three Years in Tibet, with the original Japanese illustrations, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi, Late Rector of Gohyakurakan Monastery, Japan
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Part 2 of 2

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Kawaguchi in 1899, by Zaida Ben-Yusuf

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Ekai Kawaguchi just before leaving Japan c. 1891

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Kawaguchi as Tibetan lama, Darjeeling.

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In commemoration of Kawaguchi's visit to Nepal (Bodnath, Kathmandu)

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Kawaguchi performing Tibetan ceremonies.

Ekai Kawaguchi (河口慧海 Kawaguchi Ekai) (February 26, 1866 – February 24, 1945) was a Japanese Buddhist monk, famed for his four journeys to Nepal (in 1899, 1903, 1905 and 1913), and two to Tibet (July 4, 1900–June 15, 1902, 1913–1915), being the first recorded Japanese citizen to travel in either country.[1][2]

Life and early journey

From an early age Kawaguchi, whose birth name was Sadajiro, was passionate about becoming a monk. In fact, his passion was unusual in a country that was quickly modernizing; he gave serious attention to the monastic vows of vegetarianism, chastity, and temperance even as other monks were happily abandoning them. As a result, he became disgusted with the worldliness and political corruption of the Japanese Buddhist world.[3] Until March, 1891, he worked as the Rector of the Zen Gohyaku rakan Monastery (五百羅漢寺 Gohyaku-rakan-ji) in Tokyo (a large temple which contains 500 rakan icons). He then spent about 3 years as a hermit in Kyoto studying Chinese Buddhist texts and learning Pali, to no use; he ran into political squabbles even as a hermit. Finding Japanese Buddhism too corrupt, he decided to go to Tibet instead, despite the fact that the region was officially off limits to all foreigners. In fact, unbeknownst to Kawaguchi, Japanese religious scholars had spent most of the 1890s trying to enter Tibet to find rare Buddhist sutras, with the backing of large institutions and scholarships, but had inevitably failed.[4]

He left Japan for India in June, 1897, without a guide or map, simply buying his way onto a cargo boat. He had a smattering of English but did not know a word of Hindi or Tibetan. Also, he had no money, having refused the donations of his friends; instead, he made several fishmonger and butcher friends pledge to give up their professions forever and become vegetarian, claiming that the good karma would ensure his success.[5] Success appeared far from guaranteed, but arriving in India with very little money, he somehow entered the good graces of Sarat Chandra Das, an Indian British agent and Tibetan scholar, and was given passage to northern India. Kawaguchi would later be accused of spying for Das, but there is no evidence for this, and a close reading of his diary makes it seem quite unlikely.[6]

Table of Contents:

• LIV. Tibetan Weddings and Wedded Life.
• LV. Wedding Ceremonies.
• LVI. Tibetan Punishments.
• LVII. A grim Funeral and grimmer Medicine.
• LVIII. Foreign Explorers and the Policy of Seclusion.
• LIX. A Metropolis of Filth.
• LX. Lamaism.
• LXI. The Tibetan Hierarchy.
• LXII. The Government.
• LXIII. Education and Castes.
• LXIV. Tibetan Trade and Industry.
• LXV. Currency and Printing-blocks.

• LXVI. The Festival of Lights.
• LXVII. Tibetan Women.
• LXVIII. Tibetan Boys and Girls.
• LXIX. The Care of the Sick.
• LXX. Outdoor Amusements.
• LXXI. Russia’s Tibetan Policy.
• LXXII. Tibet and British India.
• LXXIII. China, Nepāl and Tibet.
• LXXIV. The Future of Tibetan Diplomacy.
• LXXV. The “Monlam” Festival.
• LXXVI. The Tibetan Soldiery.
• LXXVII. Tibetan Finance.
• LXXVIII. Future of the Tibetan Religions.

On leaving Darjeeling, my good host Rai Sarat Chanḍra earnestly wished me complete success in my travels to Tibet, and gave vent to his hearty and sincere pleasure in finding in me one, who, as bold and adventurous as himself, was starting on a perilous but interesting expedition to that hitherto unknown country....

About a fortnight after my arrival in Malba I received a letter from Rai Sarat Chandra Das, through a trader of Tukje, with whom I had become acquainted while in Tsarang, and to whom I had entrusted a letter to my friend at Darjeeling, as well as others to my folks at home, on the occasion of his going down to Calcutta on business. Along with his letter Sarat Chandra Das sent me a number of the Mahabodhi Society’s journal, which contained an account of an unsuccessful attempt by a Buddhist of my nationality to enter Tibet, and a well-meant note of his in pencil to the effect that I must not lose my life by exposing myself to too much danger.....

So seeing that this man was going back to India, I thought it would be a good idea to ask him to take with him my letters and deliver them for me in India. It would have been imprudent for me to write things in detail, but I scribbled just a few lines to my friend and teacher, Rai Sarat Chandra Das, informing him that I had penetrated the interior of Tibet as far as Gya-karko, besides asking him to post some letters for Japan which I enclosed, addressed to Mr. Hige Tokujuso and Ito Ichiso of Sakai....

In the meantime the Palpo merchant with whom I was staying was going to Nepāl. I utilised the occasion and through his kindness sent two letters, one to Rai Sarat Chandra Das in India, and the other to Mr. I. Hige of my native province....

In November, 1901, when I was enabled to send home letters for the first time after my arrival in the country. That was on the 18th of the month, and through the agency of Tsa Rong-ba, a Tibetan trader with whom I had become acquainted at Darjeeling. This man started for Calcutta on Government business to buy iron, and as I knew him to be trustworthy I entrusted him with a letter addressed to Sarat Chandra Das, in which were enclosed several others addressed to my friends and relatives in Japan.....

There are many cheap inns and hotels in Lhasa, but as I had been informed that they were not respectable, I desired to stay with a friend, a son of the premier of Tibet. While at Darjeeling I had become acquainted with[289] this young noble, and he had offered me a lodging during my stay in Lhasa. I liked him, and did many things for him, and now, though I did not mean to demand a return for what I had done for him, I had no alternative but to go to him. So I called at his house. It was known as Bandesha—a magnificent mansion on a plot of about three hundred and sixty feet square. I entered the house and asked if he was in, but heard that my friend had become a lunatic. They told me that he had gone out of his mind two years before, and that he went mad at regular periods. I learned that he was staying at his brother’s villa at Namsailing, and was obliged to go there for him, but there also I could not find him, and was told the same thing. I waited there for over two hours, as I was told he might come, and then I reflected that it would be of no use for me to see a madman, on whom I could not depend, so I made up my mind to direct my steps to the Sera monastery, for I thought it would be better for me to be temporarily admitted in the college, and then to pass the regular entrance examinations.....

Once while standing at the door of the druggist’s, I saw a man apparently of quality come towards me with his servant. The store stands at the corner where the streets leading to Panang-sho and Kache-hakhang meet, and this man came along Ani-sakan street toward Panang-sho.[331] He passed a few steps by me, when he turned and looked at me. Then I heard his servant say that I must be the man. Walking to me the nobleman said “Is it you?” I looked at him and found him, though much thinner than before, to be the son of Para the Premier, whom I had met at Darjeeling. He did not look like a man out of his senses, as I had been told. He said that he was much pleased that I had come to his country. He was on some important business, but went with me into the house of the druggist. The wife of the druggist, who knew him, gave him a chair, and the young noble seemed to be desirous to talk with me. I hinted that it was not good for us to let it be known that we had seen each other at Darjeeling, and began our talk by saying that it was about half a year since we had met each other at Gyangtze. He also was aware that his staying at Darjeeling should be kept a secret, and carefully avoided talking about our having met in that town.

From what he said and did there, I could not find anything in him that showed him to be an idiot; on the contrary, he was evidently a man of much sense. Among other things he told me that three months before, one of his servants committed theft and, when reproved severely, had pierced him through the side with a sword with the result that a part of his intestines could be seen. This, he added, made him so haggard. When, after a long talk, he went on his way, the wife of the druggist told me that the young man had hoodwinked me about the wounds, which really were given him for wrong-doing on his side. She told me that everything concerning his family was known to her, for she had before been wife to his brother, who, not being allowed to live long with her, simply because she was of birth too humble for his family, divorced her and was now adopted at Namsailing. The young man, she told me, was very prodigal, and deeply in debt, on account of[332] which he was wounded. To my question whether he was then beside himself, she answered that he was mad or otherwise as it suited him, and not a man to be easily trusted, for he was very good at taking money from others.....

I have spoken before of the prodigal son of the house of Para. One day this man sent his servant to me with a letter and asked for a loan of money, rather a large sum for Tibet. Of course he had no idea of repaying me, and his loan was really blackmail. I sent back the servant with half of what he had asked, together with a letter. I was told that he was highly enraged at what I had done, exclaiming that I had insulted him, and that he had not asked for the sum for charity, and so on. At any rate he sent back the money to me, probably expecting that I would then send him the whole sum asked for. But I did not oblige him as he had expected, and took no notice of his threat. A few days after another letter reached me from that young man, again asking for the sum as at first. I decided to save myself from further annoyance and so I sent the sum. Like master, like servant; the latter, having heard most probably from his spendthrift master that I was a Japanese, came to me for a loan or blackmail of fifty yen. I gave that sum too, for I knew that they could not annoy me repeatedly with impunity....

[b][size=110]Some while later on during the same day I had another startling story told me by the wife of the apothecary. She[573] began with: “Say, Kusho-la (your lordship). Don’t you think the most awful thing in the world is a madman?”

I asked her reason, and she said: “Why, that mad son of Para has been telling a strange story. It is a story told by a madman, so of course I think it cannot be depended upon; but he said that though it was a great secret, he knew of a horrible affair that was to take place in this country. When I asked what it was, he whispered to me: ‘There is a priest from Japan in this town. He calls himself a priest, but he is surely a great officer of the Japanese Government, who has been sent for the investigation of the country. It is no less a personage than the Serai Amchi. I met and talked with him once when I went to Darjeeling, and I found him a great man.’ This is what he tells me. Is it not strange? Nobody knows he has ever been to Darjeeling, but what do you think about it?”

I thought the madman was not mad if he had spoken that way, but answered her: “The story of a madman must be only taken as such.”


The lady continued, “Anyhow my husband and many others seem to believe it. I have told this to you as I heard it, and hope you will not mind.”

-- Three Years in Tibet, with the original Japanese illustrations, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi, Late Rector of Gohyakurakan Monastery, Japan


Kawaguchi stayed in Darjeeling for several months living with a Tibetan family by Das' arrangement. He became fluent in the Tibetan language, which was at that time neither systematically taught to foreigners nor compiled, by talking to children and women on the street.[7][/size][/b]

The Bhutia Boarding School in Darjeeling is a school founded in 1874. Its first director was Sarat Chandra Das [SPY] and Professor of Tibetan Ugyen Gyatso [SPY], a monk of Tibeto-Sikkimese origin. It was opened by order of the Lieutenant Governor of British Bengal, Sir George Campbell. Its purpose was to provide education to young Tibetans and Sikkimese boys resident in Sikkim or the Darjeeling area. However, according to Derek Wallers, it aimed to train interpreters, geographers and explorers [who] may be useful in the event of an opening of Tibet to the English.[1] Students learnt English, Tibetan and topography. In 1879, Sarat Chandra Das, sometimes disguised as a Tibetan lama, sometimes as a merchant from Nepal and Ugyen Gyatso made several trips to Tibet as secret agents of British India services in order to establish and collect cards.[2]...

[Former Students of] Darjeeling High School

• Ekai Kawaguchi

[Former Students of] Bhutia Boarding School

• Kazi Dawa Samdup
• David Macdonald, (1870-1962) [SPY]

-- Bhutia Boarding School, Darjeeling [Bhotia Boarding School], by Wikipedia


Crossing over the Himalayas on an unpatrolled dirt road with an untrustworthy guide, Kawaguchi soon found himself alone and lost on the Tibetan plateau. He had the good fortune to befriend every wanderer he met in the countryside, including monks, shepherds, and even bandits, but he still took almost four years to reach Lhasa after stopovers at a number of monasteries and a pilgrimage round sacred Mount Kailash in western Tibet. He posed as a Chinese monk and gained a reputation as an excellent doctor which led to him having an audience with the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso (1876 to 1933).[8] He spent some time living in Sera Monastery.[9]

Kawaguchi devoted his entire time in Tibet to Buddhist pilgrimage and study. Although he mastered the difficult terminology of the classical Tibetan language and was able to pass for a Tibetan, he was surprisingly intolerant of Tibetans' minor violations of monastic laws, and of the eating of meat in a country with very little arable farmland. As a result, he did not fit in well in monastic circles, instead finding work as a doctor of Chinese and Western medicine. His services were soon in high demand.[10]

Kawaguchi spent his time in Lhasa in disguise and, following a tip that his cover had been blown, had to flee the country hurriedly. He almost petitioned the government to let him stay as an honest and apolitical monk, but the intimations of high-ranking friends convinced him not to. Even so, several of the people who had sheltered him were horribly tortured and mutilated.[11] Kawaguchi was deeply concerned for his friends, and despite his ill health and lack of funds, after leaving the country he used all his connections to petition the Nepalese Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher Rana for help. On the Prime Minister's recommendation, the Tibetan Government released Kawaguchi's loyal Tibetan friends from jail.[1]

Reporting in Japan

When Kawaguchi finally returned to Japan he caused a sensation and an instant surge of interest in distant Tibet. His travelogue, quickly published based on talks he gave, shows his shock at the lack of hygiene amongst Tibetans, the filth of Tibetan cities, and by many Tibetan customs, including sexual practices, monastic immoderation, corruption and superstitious beliefs. On the other hand, he had great admiration for many Tibetans ranging from great religious and political leaders to common people and made many friends while he was in Tibet.[12] Ironically given Kawaguchi's faithful background, newspapers criticized his lectures to the public about Tibetan hygiene and sexual practices as being a hodge-podge of lowbrow humor and dirty stories unbecoming of a monk.[13]

Narita Yasuteru, a Japanese spy secretly dispatched to Tibet in the late 1890s, anonymously accused Kawaguchi of having never been there; this accusation was quickly debunked by the Japanese newspapers.[14] In fact, internal documents show that Narita himself had never reached Tibet on his expensive spy mission, making Kawaguchi the first person to have actually arrived there.[15]

Further travels

Partly as a result of hearing about the discovery of an Ashoka Pillar in 1896 identifying Lumbini as the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, he visited Lumbini with other Japanese pilgrims in 1912. He then returned to Tibet a final time in 1913. While his more mature narrative of this trip is mainly occupied with Japanese poems about the beauty of the land, he could not resist some final criticisms of the monks' lax attitude towards monastic rules.[16] He brought back to Japan a large collection of Tibetan scriptures, but had a lengthy and public dispute with the other pilgrims about who the Dalai Lama had intended to give them to, causing him to lose some face in the Buddhist world.[17] He did assist the German Theravada monk Nyanatiloka in the 1920s.

After this Kawaguchi became an independent monk, living with his brother's family for the rest of his life, and earning an income from scholarly publications. He refused to assist the military police when they sought intelligence on Tibet, and died in 1945.[18]

He was a friend of Mrs. Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society, who encouraged him to publish the English text of his book, Three Years in Tibet.[19] The Government of Nepal issued a postage stamp in 2003 commemorating Kawaguchi's visits to that country. He is also said to have planted two saplings of Himalayan Cicada trees (also called: Riang Riang; Ploiarium alternifolium), which he had brought back with him, near the gate of the Obaku-san Manpukuji Zen Buddhist temple on the outskirts of Kyoto, where he had studied as a young man.[20]

Buddhist Doctrinal Reformer

Kawaguchi was disturbed by the confusing messages of the main objects of veneration based on a pantheon of deities, spirits, historical and mythological figures. Instead he called for a return to veneration of Shakyamuni and lay-centered practice.[21]

Footnotes

1. "The First Recorded Japanese Visitor: Ekai Kawaguchi" - pdf file from the Japanese Embassy in Nepal. [1]
2. Hyer, Paul (1979). "Narita Yasuteru: First Japanese to Enter Tibet". Tibet Journal Vol. IV, No. 2, Autumn 1979, p. 12.
3. Berry 1989, p. 11-12
4. Okuyama 2008, pp. 215-7.
5. Berry 1989, p. 14
6. Hopkirk, Peter (1997): Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Secret Exploration of Tibet, pp. 150-151; 157. Kodansha Globe (Pbk). ISBN 978-1-56836-050-8.
7. Berry 1989, p. 26-7
8. Kawaguchi 1909, pp. 309-322
9. Kawaguchi 1909, pp. 323-328.
10. Berry 1989, pp. 169-200
11. Hopkirk, Peter (1997): Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Secret Exploration of Tibet, pp. 149, 154. Kodansha Globe (Pbk). ISBN 978-1-56836-050-8.
12. Berry (2005), pp. 37-45, 57.
13. Okuyama 2008, p. 208.
14. Berry 1989, pp. 250-251
15. Kimura 1981
16. Berry 1989, p. 292
17. Okuyama 2008, p. 222.
18. Berry 1989, p. 299
19. Kawaguchi, Ekai (1909): Three Years in Tibet, page vii. Reprint: Book Faith India (1995), Delhi. ISBN 81-7303-036-7
20. These are now grown into tall trees. From the Japanese embassy in Nepal [2]
21. Auerback, Micah L. (2016). A Storied Sage: Canon and Creation in the Making of a Japanese Buddha. University of Chicago Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780226286389. Kawaguchi recounted these details to illustrate the absurdity and disorder resulting from the lack of any single, unifying focus of devotion in Japanese Buddhism. His enumeration begins with deities inherited from India: transcendent, "cosmic" buddhas, and bodhisattvas, "wisdom-beings" who serve as compassionate saviors. The "Great Masters" whom he mentions each stand as the font of a different Buddhist denomination; in each case, the extraordinary life and works of the founder earned him a place as an object of devotion in his own right. The remaining "extreme cases" include a celebrated warrior of medieval Japan, along with lowly trickster animals, among a legion of Indian deities brought to Japan as part of the broader Buddhist pantheon.

References

• Berry, Scott: A Stranger in Tibet: The Adventures of a Wandering Zen Monk. Kodansha International, Tokyo, 1989. Also published as A Stranger in Tibet: Adventures of a Zen Monk by HarperCollins (1990) ISBN 978-0-00-215337-9.
• Berry, Scott. (2005). The Rising Sun in the Land of Snows: Japanese Involvement in Tibet in the Early 20th Century. Ardash Books, New Delhi. ISBN 81-87138-97-1.
• Hopkirk, Peter (1997): Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Secret Exploration of Tibet. Kodansha Globe (Pbk). ISBN 978-1-56836-050-8.
• Kawaguchi, Ekai (1909): Three Years in Tibet. The Theosophical Office, Adyar, Madras, 1909.
• Kimura, Hisao (1981). "Yasuteru Narita's Secret Mission to Tibet: His Failure to Enter East Tibet as Revealed in Diplomatic Documents". Journal of the Institute for Asian Studies.
• Okuyama Naoji (2008). "The Tibet Fever among Japanese Buddhists of the Meiji Era". In Esposito, Monica (ed.). Images of Tibet in the 19th and 20th centuries. Paris: Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient. ISBN 2855396581.
• Subedi, Abhi: Ekai Kawaguchi:The Trespassing Insider. Mandala Book Point. Kathmandu, 1999.

External links

• Brief description and photo of the Obakusan Manpuku-ji Temple
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Charles Henry Allan Bennett
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Accessed: 10/17/19

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Charles Henry Allan Bennett (8 December 1872 – 9 March 1923) was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He was a close associate of author and occultist Aleister Crowley.

Bennett received the name Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya at his ordination as a Buddhist monk and spent years studying and practicing Buddhism in the East. He was the second Englishman to be ordained as a Buddhist monk (Bhikkhu) of the Theravada tradition [1] and was instrumental in introducing Buddhism in England. He established the first Buddhist Mission in the United Kingdom.

Early life

Allan Bennett was born in London on 8 December 1872. His father, a civil engineer, died when he was still a boy. He was raised as a strict Roman Catholic by his mother; a faith which he had rejected whilst in his teens. There is reference to his having at least one sister. He was educated at Hollesley College and later at Bath, England. Upon leaving school, he trained as an analytical chemist and achieved some success in that field for he was invited to participate in an expedition to Africa by Dr. Bernard Dyer, chemist to the Corn Trade; however, he did not go in the end. His electrical knowledge was profound while still in his early twenties; this and his talent for experimental science, mathematics and physics would stay with him throughout his life.

Golden Dawn

Bennett was, along with George Cecil Jones, Crowley’s primary teacher during his days in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Bennett was educated at Hollesly College, and scraped by as an analytical chemist. Bennett was initiated into the G.D. in 1894, taking the motto "Iehi Aour" ("let there be light"). He was always very poor and tormented by illness, but still made a strong impression on other occultists of the time.

Bennett was one of the most brilliant minds in the order, and favored mysticism and white magic; he was almost wholly concerned with enlightenment rather than siddhis (magical powers). Bennett had high regard for Golden Dawn leader S. L. Mathers, and with him began working on a book of Hermetic Qabalah correspondences that Crowley would later expand upon as Liber 777.

Soon after meeting, Crowley invited Bennett to come stay with him, as Bennett was living in a dilapidated shared apartment. In return, Bennett trained Crowley in the basics of magic and tried to instill a devotion to white magic. Bennett was generally ascetic and sexually chaste, a marked contrast to Crowley’s libertine attitude. Nevertheless, he was an enthusiastic user of mind changing drugs (with which he treated recurrent asthma) and introduced Crowley to this aspect of his occult researches.[2] Crowley once remarked concerning Bennett’s powers: Bennett had constructed a magical wand out of glass, which he carried with him. Crowley himself stated it to look similar in appearance to a chandelier. As it so happened, Crowley and Bennett were walking along one day and came across a group of theosophists who were ridiculing the use of wands. "Allan promptly produced his and blasted one of them. It took fourteen hours to restore the incredulous individual to the use of his mind and his muscles."

Travel to Southeast Asia

At some time between 1889 and 1900, in his late twenties, Bennett traveled to Asia[3][4] to relieve his asthma, and to dedicate himself to Buddhism. First he traveled to Ceylon where he studied Hatha Yoga under the yogi Shri Parananda. He joined the Sangha and took the name Swami Maitrananda.[5] Later, in Burma, Bennett took the vows of a Buddhist monk, and assumed the name Ananda Metteyya, "Bliss of loving kindness." In 1902 Crowley came to visit him there and was instructed in Hatha Yoga. At this time both men were agreed as to the validity of Buddhist practices. In 1903 he founded the Buddhasasana Samagama or the International Buddhist Society in London, UK (not to be confused with the International Buddhist Society in British Columbia, Canada). Bennett later began a periodical called Buddhism: An Illustrated Review.

Periodical: Buddhism. Published for the International Buddhist Society, v. 1-2, no. 1. Rangoon, Burma, 1903-05. 8th. * OLWF

-- Bulletin of the New York Public Library, Volume 20



Death

Some sources say that Bennett intended to travel to California due to health reasons. But with the outbreak of World War I and the denial of an immigration visa by the US, he found himself stranded, and forced to live in poverty and illness. He died on his native English soil at the age of 51, on 9 March 1923, buried at Morden cemetery. His lifelong friend and Buddhist writer, Dr Cassius Pereira, wrote: "And now the worker has, for this life, laid aside his burdens. One feels more glad than otherwise, for he was tired; his broken body could no longer keep pace with his soaring mind. The work he began, that of introducing Buddhism to the West, he pushed with enthusiastic vigour in pamphlet, journal and lecture, all masterly, all stimulating thought, all in his own inimitably graceful style. And the results are not disappointing to those who know."[6]

Legacy

Allan Bennett was a pioneer, and without him, Buddhism would not have entered the Western world as it did. He wrote two books: The Wisdom of the Aryas (1923)(based in part on a series of discourses in Clifford Bax's studio in 1919 and 1920[7]) and The Religion of Burma (1911, reprinted in 1929 by Theosophical Publishing House as The Religion of Burma and Other Papers). Some of his addresses and papers are still intact and used today.

Notes

1. Batchelor, Stephen The Awakening of the West, p. 40.
2. Symonds p18
3. Humphries C, Ananda Metteyya: With Some Observations on the English Sangha, The Middle Way Nov 1972:133-136.
4. Crow J (University of Amsterdam), The Bhikku and the Magus, Conference 2008
5. Golden Dawn Biographies, Allan Bennett Archived 11 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
6. D r Elizabeth J Harris, Ananda Metteya, the First British Emissary of Buddhism, The Wheel Publication No.420/422 1998 ISBN 955-24-0179-8. (She is citing The Buddhist, 28 April 1923, p.6.)
7. See page 290(Sec XX) of Inland Far, by Clifford Bax, 1925

References

• Brunton, Paul A Pioneer Western Buddhist.
• Crow, John L. The Bhikkhu and the Magus, Exploring Bennett’s Influence on Crowley.
• Crowley, Aleister. Confessions of Aleister Crowley, Chapters 27–33.
• Fernando, Tilak S. World Buddhist Foundation in London Celebrates the United Kingdom Buddhist Day.
• Free Encyclopedia of Thelema. Allan Bennett. Retrieved 5 March 2005.
• Harris, Elizabeth J. Ananda Metteya: The First British Emissary of Buddhism.
• Symonds, John. The Great Beast, London, 1951

External links

• Xristos, Fra. Petros(7=4) Allan Bennett (1872-1923).
• Order of the Golden Dawn Allan Bennett 1872 - 1923.

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Allan Bennett
by AstrumArgenteum.org
Accessed: 10/17/19

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image

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Alan Bennett (8th December 1872 – 9th March 1923)

Charles Henry – Allan Bennett was born in London on the 8th December 1872. His father, who was an engineer passed when he was still a young boy and was raised by his mother as a strict Roman Catholic. Like Crowley, Bennett suffered from severe asthma and would use a wide variety of drugs to combat it but it would haunt him his entire life which was unfortunately cut short when he died at the age of 51 due to a bowel obstruction.

In 1893 Bennett joined the Theosophical Society which he was a member of until 1895. In 1894 he also took initiation in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, taking the motto Frater Iehi Aour which means “let there be light.” He left a profound impression upon his superiors in the Order and within a year’s time would enter the Golden Dawn’s Second Order. Shortly thereafter (in 1898) Crowley joined the Golden Dawn and it is here that the two first met.

At the time Bennett struggled financially and lived in sub-par conditions. So Crowley invited Bennett, who he was very much drawn too – to live with him. Bennett would agree and hence began there long and fruitful friendship.

A couple of years later Bennett would travel to Southeast Asia, primarily in the hope that it would improve his health but also to study Buddhism. He moved to Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka) to study Yoga under the Yogi Shri Parananda. Crowley visited him several times during this period and Bennett would introduce Crowley to a number of practices.

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It was during one of these visits that the two went for an extended retreat to practice Yoga together and Bennett came to the conclusion that Buddhism was indeed his calling. In December Bennett relocated to Burma in order to become a novice within Theravada Buddhism and by February of 1902 Bennett took his Bhikkhu ordination which made him the second Englishman ever to become a Theravada monk. At his Ordination he assumed the name Ananda Maitreya (meaning “Bliss of loving kindness”) but would later change it to the Pali version, Ananda Metteyya. (Matteya being a future incarnation of Buddha).

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Just after his ordination Crowley would again visit and the two discussed how they could bring Buddhism to the west. Crowley fondly recollects this visit in his “Confessions”. These visits and Bennett’s instructions would serve as a catalyst in Crowley’s spiritual development

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Bennett then went on to establish the International Buddhist Society, the Buddhasasana Samagama, in 1903. He began to publish pamphlets and a quarterly journal in English speaking countries with the goal of establish a Buddhist Sangha in England. In April of 1908 he returned to England to do just this and helped establish the Buddhists Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Bennett would eventually publish two books The Religion of Burma (1911) and The Wisdom of the Aryas (1923).

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Though not officially a member of A∴A∴ as we know it Bennett would significantly influence Crowley’s thinking not just in regard to Buddhism but also in regard to Yoga, Pranayama and several other meditative practices whose techniques Crowley continued to utilize and teach throughout his life. Notably, Crowley’s teachings in regard to the Magical Memory stem from what Bennett taught Crowley during this period.

Crowley also included one of Bennett’s essays, “The Training of the Mind” in the Equinox Vol 1 no. 5 and would expand upon Bennett’s Qabalistic dictionary Sepher Sephiroth which is now listed as an official publication of the A∴A∴ given in Class B.

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In his essay “The Training the Mind” Bennett describes how meditation can cultivate Right Concentration. However, what few people know is that Bennett did not write this essay for inclusion in the Equinox – Instead it was originally published in as a pamphlet for Bennett’s organization, the International Buddhist Society in 1908 and was entitled “On the Culture of Mind” which Crowley simply renamed and published in the Equinox, clearly demonstrating that Crowley still highly regarded these teachings.

For further reading on Allan Bennett, please visit our Library.

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Allan Bennett
by George Knowles
© George Knowles September 9, 2016

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


The name of Charles Henry Allan Bennett is little known today, but during his time he was an accomplished highly regarded British occultist. He was an early member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and a one time friend, teacher and mentor to the infamous Aleister Crowley. Allan Bennett later abandoned Western occult traditions in favour of Eastern mystery traditions. In the early 1900’s he travelled to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) then on to Burma (now Myanmar) where he became ordained a Buddhist Monk. He founded the International Buddhist Society in 1903, and did much to introduce and promote Buddhism to the West, particularly here in the United Kingdom.

Allan Bennett was born in London in on 08th December 1872. His father, a civil and electrical engineer, passed away while he was still young and so he and a sister were raised by his mother, a strict Roman Catholic. From a very early age Bennett suffered frequently with acute asthma, an affliction that would leave him debilitated for weeks on end, during those periods while his mother worked and struggled to support the family, his sister would stand in for her taking care for him. His sister later emigrated and went to live in California, USA.

Bennett’s early educated began at the Colonial College in Hollesley Bay, Suffolk, then later continued in Bath, Somerset, where he showed a marked propensity for scientific research, particularly in the fields of electricity and chemistry. After leaving school he first trained as a chemical analyst and later in 1894 was employed briefly by Dr. Bernard Dyer, an International Analyst and Consulting Chemist based in London who worked as an official analyst to the London Corn Trade. That same year Bennett was invited to participate in a scientific expedition to Africa, but this he declined do, due mainly to his continuing ill health.

The chronic asthma that plagued him throughout his life also prevented him from holding down a permanent job, as half of the time he was heavily doped up on a rotation of prescribed drugs, such as: opium, cocaine, morphine and chloroform, courses of which often left him debilitated recovering in bed. While he was also an accomplished research electrician and conducted experiments on a variety of his own electronic inventions, none of these proved successful enough to provide an adequate living. This meant that for most of his early adult life he lived close to poverty living in London’s cheap and dingy slum districts of Southwark and Lambeth.

During his youth and into his teens Bennett was raised a devout Roman Catholic, but at the age of 16 as his keen scientific mind and quest for new research expanded, so to did he seek to expand his growing sense of spirituality. He therefore rejected Catholicism as incompatible with science in favour of the more arcane philosophies and theologies of the Western occult traditions and Eastern mystical religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. He also studied Spiritualism and other esoteric practices.

To quote from Aleister Crowley his later friend and student, at the age of 18 Bennett read Edwin Arnold’s poem “The Light of Asia” (published 1897, an early translation of a Buddhist text), which had a profound influence on his later life, for at that time Buddhism was little known in the West. He had also made a study of Hinduism, and once while practising a yogic form of breath control and trance meditation, he gained “Shivadarshana”, which Crowley describes as: “.... an extraordinarily high state of yogic attainment.” During the trance he is said to have experienced a blissful communion with Shiva, the Hindu god of Yoga, and resolved to dedicate the rest of his life to recapturing similar states of communion.

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Aleister Crowley

As he continued to explore alternative religions and spiritualities, Bennett joined two of the UK’s leading occult organisations. On the 24th March 1893, he joined the “Theosophical Society”, co-founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott in 1875, an occult philosophical society based on Eastern religious mysticism and theology. Through the Society he attended courses and lectures on yoga, mediation, consciousness and reincarnation, while at the same time studying Blavatsky’s “The Secret Doctrine”. The Society also had a strong connection to Buddhism, as both the co-founders had declared themselves Lay-Buddhists in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1880.

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Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

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Colonel Henry Steel Olcott

The second important organisation he joined was the “Hermetic Order of Golden Dawn”, founded in 1888 and based on Western esoteric teachings such as the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism - spelt variously as Cabbala or Qabalah), Astrology, Alchemical symbolism, Geomancy and the Tarot. When Bennett joined in February 1894 he was initiated into the first/outer Order as a Neophyte, taking the motto: “Voco” (Latin for “I call”). Just a year later on the 22nd of March 1895 he was raised to Adeptus Minor in the higher second/inner Order taking the motto: “Iehi Aour” (Hebrew for “Let there be light”). There he joined S.L. MacGregor Mathers and Dr. William Wynn Westcott, two of the original three ruling Chiefs and co-founders of the Order. The third Dr. William Woodman had passed away on the 25th February 1892.

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S.L. MacGregor Mathers

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Dr. William Wynn Westcott

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Dr. William Woodman

Bennett quickly gained a reputation as a powerful Magus and Cabalist matching the magical abilities of S.L. MacGregor Mathers, who had created most of the Order’s teachings and rituals. Crowley tells a story of how Bennett had a special wand (called a blasting rod):

“He used to carry a ‘lustre’ - a long glass prism with a neck and a pointed knob such as adorned old-fashioned chandeliers. He used this as a wand. One day, a party of theosophists were chatting sceptically about the power of the ‘blasting rod’. Allan promptly produced his and blasted one of them. It took fourteen hours to restore the incredulous individual to the use of his mind and his muscles”.


When not doped up on medications (see use of drugs above) Bennett had one of the most brilliant magical minds in the Order, but he favoured mysticism rather than magical powers and was mostly concerned with enlightenment. However, Bennett had a high regard for the Order’s main magical Chief - S.L. MacGregor Mathers, and being mostly out of work due to ill health, began working with Mathers collating and editing material for the Order’s curriculum, including much of the Hermetic Cabbala correspondences that Aleister Crowley later expand upon in his book “Liber 777.”

Crowley first met Bennett in February 1899 after he (Crowley) had joined the Order on the 18th November 1898, and states his first impression of Bennett was that he possessed: “.... a tremendous spiritual and magical force.” Soon after their first meeting, Crowley learned that Bennett was living in a dilapidated shared apartment, and so invited him to stay at his luxury flat at 67/69 Chancery Lane. They’re Bennett began to teach Crowley the basics of ritual magick and yoga. Crowley goes on to describe Bennett as:

“Allan Bennett was tall, but his sickness had already produced a stoop. His head, crowned with a shock of wild, black hair, was intensely noble; the brows, both wide and lofty, overhung indomitable piercing eyes. The face would have been handsome had it not been for the haggardness and pallor due to his almost continuous suffering.

Despite his ill health, he was a tremendous worker. His knowledge of science, especially electricity, was vast, accurate and profound. In addition he had studied the Hindu and Buddhist scriptures, not only as a scholar but also with the insight that comes from inborn sympathetic understanding.

I did not fully realise the colossal stature of that sacred spirit; but I was instantly aware that this man could teach me more in a month than anyone else in five years.”

Lehi Aour came to stay with me and under his tuition I made rapid progress. He showed me where to get knowledge, how to criticize it and how to apply it. We also worked together at ceremonial Magick; evoking spirits, consecrating talismans, and so on.


Toward the end of 1899 Bennett’s health became so bad that many of his friends feared for his life and recommended he leave England for a warmer climate to convalesce and recuperate. Crowley who had ample funds would have been more than happy to pay for such a move, but was restrained believing that Bennett would have declined such an offer and take offence. While the magical community deemed sharing his flat and hospitality acceptable, for Bennett to accept monetary funding for such a move, might be seen as accepting payment for magical knowledge, and that was unacceptable. Instead Crowley persuaded a wealthy ex-mistress outside of the magical community to donate £100 to fund his move when he was ready.

By this time Bennett was leaning more and more toward Buddhism and the practice of yoga, but was becoming increasingly disillusioned by Mathers’ apparent antagonism toward “Orientalism”. The Golden Dawn was also in a shambles with membership declining as schisms over leadership threatened to break it apart. So with all that going on and now having funding in place for him to make a move, Bennett decided to go and dedicate the rest of his life to Buddhism. Early in 1900 he boarded ship and set sail for Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

After his arrival in Ceylon Bennett spent his first six months in Kamburugamuwa, Matara, recuperating while studying Pali (the sacred language of Buddhism) under the Ven. Weragampita Revata, an elderly Sinhalese monk. As his health improved, so he was also able to give up most of the drugs he had been using in England, but then needing work to support himself, he moved to Kandy where he became a tutor to the son of the Hon. Ponnambalam Ramanathan, the Solicitor-General of Ceylon. There Ramanathan, who was also a well known yogi by the name of Sri. Parananda began to instruct him in the techniques of Hatha Yoga, such things as the Asanas (physical postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques for meditation).

In July 1901, Bennett presented his first lecture on Buddhism entitled “The Four Noble Truths” to the Hope Lodge of the Theosophical Society in Colombo. It was here that he first met Dr. Cassius Pereira (later the Ven. Kassapa Thera) who was so impressed by his lecture; he became a life-long friend and supporter.

During World War I, in 1915 commercial-ethnic rivalry erupted into a riot in Colombo against the Muslims, with Christians participating as much as Buddhists. Fearing an uprising the inexperienced British colonial Governor of Ceylon Sir Robert Chalmers declared Martial Law on 2 June 1915 and on the advice of Inspector General of Police Herbert Dowbiggin began a brutal suppression of the Sinhala community by giving orders to the Police and the Army to shoot any one who they deemed a rioter without a trial, it is said the numbers of Sinhalese killed this way were thousands. Many local leaders, that included D. S. Senanayake, D. R. Wijewardena, Arthur V. Dias, Dr. Cassius Pereira, Dr. W. A. de Silva, F.R. Dias Bandaranaike, H. M. Amarasuriya, A.H. Molamure were imprisoned and Captain D.E.Henry Pedris, a militia commander, was shot for mutiny.

A memorandum was drafted at a secret meeting held at the residence of E. W. Perera, initiated by Sir James Peiris and presided over by Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan. Before presenting it to his majesties government, the support of the British members of parliament and the press in England had to be obtained. Sea voyage was dangerous due to the presence of German submarines, which attacked ships and destroyed them. Abandoning a promising career at the Bar, E. W. Perera undertook the task of going over to England by obtaining permission saying he was going to do some research in the British museum. To his advantage, the British treated him as a scholarly Christian Barrister rather than a national patriot. He was accompanied by George E. de Silva. In England, he was joined by Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and later by Sir D.B Jayatilaka and they presented the memorandum to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, pleading for the repeal of martial law and describing the atrocities committed by the Police led by Dowbiggin. The mission was a success. The British government ordered the release of the leaders who were in detention. Several high officials were transferred. A new Governor, Sir John Anderson was sent to replace Sir Robert Chalmers with instructions to inquire and report to His Majesty's Government. E. W. Perera's effort was greatly appreciated and he was thereafter referred to as the Lion of Kotte.

-- E.W. Perera, by Wikipedia


A shortly time later while on a trip to Ceylon, Aleister Crowley paid him a visit and they shared a house together in Kandy called ‘Marlborough’. There Bennett taught him more advanced techniques of yoga and meditation in preparation for Ritual Magic. By this time his own yogic attainments were impressive and he was able to meditate for days at a time in Padmasana, the so-called “lotus posture,” which according to Crowley is extremely difficult to master. Crowley records one incident that happened in Kandy:

“When Allan was meditating, it was my duty to bring his food very quietly (from time to time) into the room adjoining that where he was working. One day he missed two successive meals and I thought I ought to look into his room to see if all was well. I must explain that I have known only two European women and three European men who could sit in the attitude called Padmasana, which is that usually seen in seated images of Buddha. Of these men, Allan was one. He could knot his legs so well that, putting his hands on the ground, he could swing his body to and fro in the air between them. When I looked into his room I found him, not seated on his meditation mat, which was in the centre of the room at the end farthest from the window, but in a distant corner ten or twelve feet off, still in his knotted position, resting on his head and right shoulder, exactly like an image overturned. I set him right way up and he came out of his trance. He was quite unconscious that anything unusual has happened. But he had evidently been thrown there by the mysterious forces generated by Pranayama.”


Crowley also notes that Bennett fed leeches every morning with his own blood, and could control their ability to penetrate his skin by controlling his breathing, or vital prana (“life force” or “life energy”)

By the end of 1901 Bennett determined to become a Buddhist monk and join a Sangha (a Buddhist monk community), but felt that Ceylon was not the right place for him to do so. Instead he traveled to Akyab (now Sittwe), located on the west coast of Burma (now Myanmar), and on the 12th December 1901 gave up all his personal possessions and joined the Theravada tradition of monks at the Buddhist monastery of Lamma Sayadaw Kyoung. There he received ordination as a sramanera (a novice) Bhikkhu (a male monastic monk) from Dr. Moung Tha Nu, taking the name Ananda Maitreya, later he changed his last name to Metteyya (a Pali meaning for “bliss of loving kindness”).

Crowley again visited Bennett in February 1902 and refers to him dressed in robes as: “.... seeming to be of gigantic height compared to the diminutive Burmese.” He also commented on the return of his troubling asthmatic affliction, and how his health had once again deteriorated due to a lack of proper medical attention and the damp cold air of his pre-dawn alms rounds. Bennett was determination to carry out the strict rules of the monastery, and as a new monk would not break any of the daily routines and accepted practices despite his increasing ill health.

Just six months later on the 21st May 1902 Bennett received upasampada (higher ordination as a full Bhikkhu) from the Ven. Sheve Bya Sayadaw, making him just the second person from the United Kingdom ever to be fully ordained as a Buddhist monk. He was now known as the “Venerable” (Ven.) Ananda Metteyya. The first person was an Irish-born Japanese Buddhist called Charles Pfoundes, born Charles James William Pounds to Irish Anglican parents in the South East of Ireland in 1840. In 1889 Pfoundes, led a Buddhist mission to London as a representative of the Japanese “Buddhist Propagation Society” founded in 1887, and after spending three years there promoting Buddhism, returned to Kobe, Japan in 1892, never again to return to Europe. He died there in 1907.

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Charles Pfoundes

Following his higher ordination as a full Bhikkhu, Bennett (now the Ven. Ananda Metteyya) gave a speech to the assembled monks outlining his future goals and his mission to spread knowledge about Buddhism in the West. More particularly he wanted to create a Sangha in his home country England, UK. Bennett was later promoted to syadaw (a Pali word for a senior monk or abbot of a monastery) thus receiving the veneration of many devout Buddhists and acquiring a reputation as a distinguished holy man. Later he moved to another monastery in Rangoon (now Yangon in Myanmar), located about two miles from the city centre from where he began to plan his mission.

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This is possibly (though not confirmed) where he moved to, the Shwezedi Monastery, a famous Theravada Buddhist monastery and one of the oldest in the world, which includes a gilded stupa known as the Great Dagon Pagoda.

In 1903 Bennett founded the “Buddhasasana Samagama” or “International Buddhist Society” with the aim of consolidating Buddhists all around the world. At the first meeting of the Society held on the 15th March 1903, the constitution and rules were implemented and officers elected. Bennett as Ven. Ananda Metteyya appears in the printed prospectus as the General Secretary, with Dr. E. R. Rost, a Westerner and member of the Indian Medical Service, as the Hon. Secretary. Later he produced a periodical called: Buddhism - An Illustrated Quarterly Review, edited by Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya, the first volume of which was published on the 15th September 1903. While initially intended as a quarterly publication, only six issues of the Review were published between 1903 and 1908, this due mainly to his continuing health problems and apologies for delays appear in almost every issue.

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The first issue of Buddhism - An Illustrated Quarterly Review dated 15th September 1903

Thanks to donations from local Burmese people, issues of the Buddhism Review were sent out free to between 500 and 600 libraries across Europe and quickly established an intellectual readership. Through this Bennett was able to set-up a network of international contacts and scholars from all around the world who not only contributed to the Review, but also kept him up-to-date on latest developments in science, scholarship and politics effecting Buddhists in other countries. The International Buddhist Society also made ground with official representatives in Austria, Burma (Myanmar), Ceylon (Sri Lanka), China, Germany, Italy and America.

On the 03rd November 1907 a group of lay-Buddhists in England, UK, founded the “Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland”, and at it’s first meeting on the 26th November elected a Pali scholar T.W. Rhys-Davids as it’s President. This paved the way for Bennett to return to England on a visit and launch his mission to spread word about Buddhism in the West from his home country. Bennett arrived in England for a six-month visit on 23rd April 1908 accompanied with a number of supporters, then returned to Burma on the 02nd October, which was all the time allotted for his Mission.

During his visit and despite his frequent bouts of asthmatic incapacity, Bennett did much to grow membership in the Society by giving a considerable number of talks, lectures and presentations about Buddhism around the country, including one on the 10th June to the Blavatsky Lodge of the Theosophical Society. Many of his lectures were later reprinted as pamphlets, promoting Buddhism far and wide. One such entitled “The Training of the Mind” was also re-published in The Equinox, Aleister Crowley’s main magazine and the vehicle for his own religious teachings ‘Thelema’.

During his visit, Crowley had tried to rekindle his friendship with Bennett, which had dwindled as each travelled along separate spiritual paths. Since their last meeting in Burma in 1905, and while travelling across the China/Burma border, Crowley had experienced a powerful samadhi (a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation, which in yoga is regarded as the final stage at which union with the divine is reached). This had proved a catalyst to Crowley’s further spiritual work, and he had moved on rejecting Buddhism in favour of his own Hermetic Tradition called Thelema. Bennett however would have nothing to do with it, and is quoted as saying: “No Buddhist would consider it worthwhile to pass from the crystalline clearness of his own religion to this involved obscurity”. What caused their initial falling out is not known, but it is clear through his own autobiography that Crowley maintained a deep respect for his early teacher and mentor.

After Bennett returned to Burma where the climate was better than that of England, the régime of his monastic lifestyle continued to cause him difficulty. First, tradition dictated he could only eat before noon each day, which generally kept him physically weak. Secondly, he routinely ventured out into the cold damp air at 06am each morning to collect alms, which only exasperated his continuing asthmatic condition. Despite these difficulties he was adamant in maintaining the strict rules imposed by the monastery and continued to write and promote Buddhism worldwide.

In Burma for instance aided with the support of others, he was successful in getting Buddhism taught in schools as a main-line religion equal to Catholicism, and in 1911 published his first book on Buddhism called The Religion of Burma (1911, reprinted in 1929 by the Theosophical Publishing House as The Religion of Burma and Other Papers). He also, whenever he could, he would travel to give talks, presentations and lectures wherever he was invited. In May 1912 he travelled back to Sri Lanka where his long-time friend and supporter Dr. Cassius Pereira (later known as Ven. Kassapa Thera) was opening a new Hall dedicated to the teachings of Buddha, and which he named Maitriya Hall in Bennett’s honour. At the inauguration of the Hall, Pereira records that Bennett gave “several inspiring addresses.”

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Dr. Cassius Pereir

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Maitriya Hall

Bennett had hoped to return to England within two and half years and continue his mission to set up his own Sangha, but this was not to happen. Indeed his health had continued to deteriorate. To further complicate matters, in December 1913, Dr. E. R. Rost performed two operations on him to remove gallstones, although the operations were successful, they did little to improve his general health. As a result his doctors advised him to change his régime or leave Burma for a more suitable climate. After talking things through with his sister in the United States, it was decided then that he should leave the Sangha at the monastery and travel to sunny California where she could better take care of him.

Arrangements were made for him to meet his sister in the following year in England while she was there visiting with friends, and then travel back with her to California. So in May 1914 Bennett, who had just been awarded the appellation of Thera (a Pali word for Elder), disrobed and returned to England to meet up with his sister. Their plan then was to board a ship in Liverpool on the 12th September and travel on to California. However when they arrived, the ships Doctor refused to allow him on board, stating his health was so bad the American authorities would not allow him a landing permit on health grounds. His sister therefore travelled on without him.

Bennett, now an ex-Buddhist, was left stranded, sick and with no place to live or stay, he therefore had to call on the charitable help of the Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the same he had previously helped to promote on his last visit to England. Fortunately one member of the Liverpool Branch of the Society, a doctor, was able to take him in and for the next two years accommodated him and provided what medical care he needed.

By this time WW1 was escalating across Europe and as England continue to send troops into the conflict, austerity measures to support them deepened. As a result, the doctor in Liverpool could no longer afford to keep Bennett and so he returned to his old cheap accommodations in the slum areas of Southwark and Lambeth in London.

There he lived on supported by charity and donations received from friends in the British Buddhist Society, and other Buddhist overseas, particularly those in Burma and Sri Lanka who had heard about his plight.

Although at one stage his asthma attacks were occurring almost on a daily bases, by the winter of 1917 he was sufficiently improved as to give a series of six lecture presentations on Buddhism to a private selected audience gathered in the studio of Clifford Bax (a well known socially connected London writer, journalist, editor, playwright, poet and lyricist). Perhaps inspired by the lecture series, which were well received, when not incapacitated by his affliction, for Bennett they marked a return to his mission work, that of spreading and promoting Buddhism throughout the West and particularly in England.

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Clifford Bax circa 1916

In 1918 he once again began to contribute to the Buddhist Review, which after his last visit to the UK in 1908, and being unable to manage his original Buddhism Review, the Society of Great Britain and Ireland had taken it over, renamed it slightly and continued to produce it as the main voice and vehicle of Buddhism worldwide. Later in 1920 he reassumed his role as the main editor of the Review, began speaking at meetings organised by the Society, and also became actively involved in their future plans.

But time was beginning to run out for Bennett as his health again deteriorated. The January 1922 edition of the Buddhist Review was to be the last that he edited, indeed it was also the last that was published. His final act was to see the publication of his new book containing the six lectures he had given during the winter of 1917/18. These he had extended with an additional large introduction to Buddhism, and an essay on Transmigration, thought to be one of the most difficult of Buddhist teachings to make clear to the Western mind. The new book called The Wisdom of the Aryas, was published just two months before he died.

Allan Bennett died of an intestinal blockage at around 05.00pm on the 09th March 1923, he was just 51 years of age. At the time of his death he is reported to have been living in poverty in a single rented room in a multi occupied property at 90 Eccles Road, Clapham Junction. With no money of his own to afford a proper burial, and to save him from a pauper’s grave, a donation was received from Sri Lanka (most likely from Dr. Cassius Pereira) to purchase a plot in Morden Cemetery, South London. Members of the Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland held a funeral service, which was officiated and prepared by Francis Payne, a convert from his earlier 1908 mission in England. After the service, flowers and incense were placed on the grave by a large gathering of other assembled members. Sadly however, no gravestone was ever erected in memorandum, so it remains today an unmarked grave.

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90 Eccles Road, Clapham Junction

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Morden Cemetery, South London (views today)

While no doubt the Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland who had looked out for Bennett’s well-being through his final years and organised his funeral service, would have received many tributes and condolences about the sad passing of their leader. One such that stands out and best sums-up their loss was written by his long-time friend and supporter in Sri Lanka, Dr Cassius Pereira, who wrote:

“And now the worker has, for this life, laid aside his burdens. One feels more glad than otherwise, for he was tired; his broken body could no longer keep pace with his soaring mind. The work he began, that of introducing Buddhism to the West, he pushed with enthusiastic vigour in pamphlet, journal and lecture, all masterly, all stimulating thought, all in his own inimitably graceful style. And the results are not disappointing to those who know.”
[/quote]

May he rest in peace.

Sources:

The Confessions of Aleister Crowley - edited by John Symonds & Kenneth Grant 1969 (my edition Bantam Books 1971).

http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh420.pdf

http://web.archive.org/web/200306281413 ... ry/18.html

http://www.island.lk/2007/12/27/features3.html

http://www.themystica.com/mystica/artic ... allan.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_H ... an_Bennett

http://www.golden-dawn.org/biobennett.html

http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016 ... irca-1903/

Plus so many others, way too many to mention.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:50 am

George Cecil Jones
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/18/19

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George Cecil Jones, Jr. (10 January 1873 – 30 October 1960),[1]) was a British chemist, occultist, one time member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and co-founder of the magical order A∴A∴. According to author and occultist Aleister Crowley,[2] Jones lived for some time in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England, working at a metallurgy there.

Association with Aleister Crowley

Born in Croydon, Jones was educated at City of London School, Central Technical College and Birmingham University. He was the son of George Cecil Jones, Sr.[1] He studied analytical chemistry at Central Technical College in South Kensington and Birmingham University and became employed in the profession upon graduation. On 12 July 1895 he became a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He is perhaps best known for the pivotal role he played in the life of British Aleister Crowley, stoking Crowley's youthful enthusiasm for magick. Jones introduced Crowley to the Golden Dawn, which Jones was a member of, going by the Latin magical motto Volo Noscere. On 25 January 1905, he married Ethel Melinda Baker at Balham. She was the sister of Golden Dawn member Julian Levett Baker, who had introduced Crowley to Jones. In 1906 Jones and Crowley would found the A∴A∴, taking some of the lessons from their experiences with the Golden Dawn as well as the teachings of Crowley's The Book of the Law, and incorporating them into their new order, which Crowley would head.

Jones would also contribute to Crowley's book of essays on and references for Qabalah, 777 and other Qabalistic writings. In 1911 he unsuccessfully sued a newspaper, the Looking Glass, for libellously associating him with Crowley.[3]

Little is known about his life except for his roles in the history of the Golden Dawn and as a friend and associate of Crowley. He retired as a chemist in 1939. In the 1950s Jones and his wife were living at 14 Elphinstone Road, Hastings. His wife died on 4 January 1952 at Hastings. He died on 30 October 1960 at St. Helens Hospital in Hastings. They had at least two children: Eileen Cecil Jones (b. 1906) and George Alan Jones (b. 1910).[4][5]

Notes

1. Who's Who in Science, 1913
2. Crowley, Aleister: The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, pg. 172
3. 'King's Bench Division. The Equinox. Jones v. The Looking Glass Publishing Company (Limited) and Others', The Times, 27 April 1911.
4. Van-Asten, Barry (20 March 2014). "George Cecil Jones". The Voice of Fire, Vol. I. No. 4. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
5. Davis, Sally (16 September 2014). "George Cecil Jones". Retrieved 7 February 2015.

References

• Aleister Crowley: His Contribution to the Western Mysteries
• Aleister Crowley in the Desert
• Crowley, Aleister: The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. Penguin, ch. 19, 20, 67, 76
• Sutin, Lawrence: Do What Thou Wilt. St. Martin's Press, 2000
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:59 am

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/18/19

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


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Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Rose Cross of the Golden Dawn.
Successor: Alpha et Omega; Stella Matutina; Isis-Urania Temple; A∴A∴
Formation: 1887
Extinction: 1903
Type: Magical organization
Headquarters: London
Location: United Kingdom
Chiefs of the Second Order: William Wynn Westcott (1888-1897); Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers(1897-1903)

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Latin: Ordo Hermeticus Aurorae Aureae; or, more commonly, the Golden Dawn (Aurora Aurea)) was a secret society devoted to the study and practice of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Known as a magical order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was active in Great Britain and focused its practices on theurgy and spiritual development. Many present-day concepts of ritual and magic that are at the centre of contemporary traditions, such as Wicca[1][2] and Thelema, were inspired by the Golden Dawn, which became one of the largest single influences on 20th-century Western occultism.[3][4]

The three founders, William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott and Samuel Liddell Mathers, were Freemasons. Westcott appears to have been the initial driving force behind the establishment of the Golden Dawn.

The Golden Dawn system was based on hierarchy and initiation like the Masonic lodges; however women were admitted on an equal basis with men. The "Golden Dawn" was the first of three Orders, although all three are often collectively referred to as the "Golden Dawn".
The First Order taught esoteric philosophy based on the Hermetic Qabalah and personal development through study and awareness of the four Classical Elements as well as the basics of astrology, tarot divination, and geomancy. The Second or "Inner" Order, the Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (the Ruby Rose and Cross of Gold), taught magic, including scrying, astral travel, and alchemy. The Third Order was that of the "Secret Chiefs", who were said to be highly skilled; they supposedly directed the activities of the lower two orders by spirit communication with the Chiefs of the Second Order.

History

Cipher Manuscripts


Main article: Cipher Manuscripts

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Folio 13 of the Cipher Manuscripts

The foundational documents of the original Order of the Golden Dawn, known as the Cipher Manuscripts, are written in English using the Trithemius cipher. The manuscripts give the specific outlines of the Grade Rituals of the Order and prescribe a curriculum of graduated teachings that encompass the Hermetic Qabalah, astrology, occult tarot, geomancy, and alchemy.

According to the records of the Order, the manuscripts passed from Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie, a Masonic scholar, to the Rev. A. F. A. Woodford, whom British occult writer Francis King describes as the fourth founder[5] (although Woodford died shortly after the Order was founded).[6] The documents did not excite Woodford, and in February 1886 he passed them on to Freemason William Wynn Westcott, who managed to decode them in 1887.[5] Westcott, pleased with his discovery, called on fellow Freemason Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers for a second opinion. Westcott asked for Mathers' help to turn the manuscripts into a coherent system for lodge work. Mathers in turn asked fellow Freemason William Robert Woodman to assist the two, and he accepted.[5] Mathers and Westcott have been credited with developing the ritual outlines in the Cipher Manuscripts into a workable format.[7] Mathers, however, is generally credited with the design of the curriculum and rituals of the Second Order, which he called the Rosae Rubae et Aureae Crucis ("Ruby Rose and Golden Cross" or the RR et AC).[8]

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Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers in Egyptian setup performing a ritual in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

Founding of first temple

In October 1887, Westcott claimed to have written to a German countess and prominent Rosicrucian named Anna Sprengel, whose address was said to have been found in the decoded Cipher Manuscripts. According to Westcott, Sprengel claimed the ability to contact certain supernatural entities, known as the Secret Chiefs, that were considered the authorities over any magical order or esoteric organization. Westcott purportedly received a reply from Sprengel granting permission to establish a Golden Dawn temple and conferring honorary grades of Adeptus Exemptus on Westcott, Mathers, and Woodman. The temple was to consist of the five grades outlined in the manuscripts.[9][10]

In 1888, the Isis-Urania Temple was founded in London.[9] In contrast to the S.R.I.A. and Masonry,[10] women were allowed and welcome to participate in the Order in "perfect equality" with men. The Order was more of a philosophical and metaphysical teaching order in its early years. Other than certain rituals and meditations found in the Cipher manuscripts and developed further,[11] "magical practices" were generally not taught at the first temple.

For the first four years, the Golden Dawn was one cohesive group later known as "the Outer Order" or "First Order." An "Inner Order" was established and became active in 1892. The Inner Order consisted of members known as "adepts," who had completed the entire course of study for the Outer Order. This group of adepts eventually became known as the Second Order.[citation needed]

Eventually, the Osiris temple in Weston-super-Mare, the Horus temple in Bradford (both in 1888), and the Amen-Ra temple in Edinburgh (1893) were founded. In 1893 Mathers founded the Ahathoor temple in Paris.[9]

Secret Chiefs

Main article: Secret Chiefs

In 1891, Westcott's alleged correspondence with Anna Sprengel suddenly ceased. He claimed to have received word from Germany that she was either dead or that her companions did not approve of the founding of the Order and no further contact was to be made. If the founders were to contact the Secret Chiefs, apparently, it had to be done on their own.[9] In 1892, Mathers professed that a link to the Secret Chiefs had been established. Subsequently, he supplied rituals for the Second Order, calling them the Red Rose and Cross of Gold.[9] The rituals were based on the tradition of the tomb of Christian Rosenkreuz, and a Vault of Adepts became the controlling force behind the Outer Order.[12] Later in 1916, Westcott claimed that Mathers also constructed these rituals from materials he received from Frater Lux ex Tenebris, a purported Continental Adept.[13]

Some followers of the Golden Dawn tradition believe that the Secret Chiefs were not human or supernatural beings but, rather, symbolic representations of actual or legendary sources of spiritual esotericism. The term came to stand for a great leader or teacher of a spiritual path or practice that found its way into the teachings of the Order.[14]

Golden Age

By the mid-1890s, the Golden Dawn was well established in Great Britain, with over one hundred members from every class of Victorian society.[6] Many celebrities belonged to the Golden Dawn, such as the actress Florence Farr, the Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne, the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, the Welsh author Arthur Machen, and the English authors Evelyn Underhill and Aleister Crowley.

In 1896 or 1897, Westcott broke all ties to the Golden Dawn, leaving Mathers in control. It has been speculated that his departure was due to his having lost a number of occult-related papers in a hansom cab. Apparently, when the papers were found, Westcott's connection to the Golden Dawn was discovered and brought to the attention of his employers. He may have been told to either resign from the Order or to give up his occupation as coroner.[15] After Westcott's departure, Mathers appointed Florence Farr to be Chief Adept in Anglia. Dr. Henry B. Pullen Burry succeeded Westcott as Cancellarius—one of the three Chiefs of the Order.

Mathers was the only active founding member after Westcott's departure. Due to personality clashes with other members and frequent absences from the center of Lodge activity in Great Britain, however, challenges to Mathers's authority as leader developed among the members of the Second Order.[16]

Revolt

Toward the end of 1899, the Adepts of the Isis-Urania and Amen-Ra temples had become dissatisfied with Mathers' leadership, as well as his growing friendship with Aleister Crowley. They had also become anxious to make contact with the Secret Chiefs themselves, instead of relying on Mathers as an intermediary.[17] Within the Isis-Urania temple, disputes were arising between Farr's The Sphere, a secret society within the Isis-Urania, and the rest of the Adepti Minores.[17]

Crowley was refused initiation into the Adeptus Minor grade by the London officials. Mathers overrode their decision and quickly initiated him at the Ahathoor temple in Paris on January 16, 1900.[18] Upon his return to the London temple, Crowley requested from Miss Cracknell, the acting secretary, the papers acknowledging his grade, to which he was now entitled. To the London Adepts, this was the final straw. Farr, already of the opinion that the London temple should be closed, wrote to Mathers expressing her wish to resign as his representative, although she was willing to carry on until a successor was found.[18] Mathers believed Westcott was behind this turn of events and replied on February 16. On March 3, a committee of seven Adepts was elected in London, and requested a full investigation of the matter. Mathers sent an immediate reply, declining to provide proof, refusing to acknowledge the London temple, and dismissing Farr as his representative on March 23.[19] In response, a general meeting was called on March 29 in London to remove Mathers as chief and expel him from the Order.[20]

Splinters

In 1901, W. B. Yeats privately published a pamphlet titled Is the Order of R. R. & A. C. to Remain a Magical Order?[21] After the Isis-Urania temple claimed its independence, there were even more disputes, leading to Yeats resigning.[22] A committee of three was to temporarily govern, which included P.W. Bullock, M.W. Blackden and J. W. Brodie-Innes. After a short time, Bullock resigned, and Dr. Robert Felkin took his place.[23]

In 1903, A. E. Waite and Blackden joined forces to retain the name Isis-Urania, while Felkin and other London members formed the Stella Matutina. Yeats remained in the Stella Matutina until 1921, while Brodie-Innes continued his Amen-Ra membership in Edinburgh.[24]

Reconstruction

Once Mathers realised that reconciliation was impossible, he made efforts to reestablish himself in London. The Bradford and Weston-super-Mare temples remained loyal to him, but their numbers were few.[25] He then appointed Edward Berridge as his representative.[26] According to Francis King, historical evidence shows that there were "twenty three members of a flourishing Second Order under Berridge-Mathers in 1913."[26]

J.W. Brodie-Innes continued leading the Amen-Ra temple, deciding that the revolt was unjustified. By 1908, Mathers and Brodie-Innes were in complete accord.[27] According to sources that differ regarding the actual date, sometime between 1901 and 1913 Mathers renamed the branch of the Golden Dawn remaining loyal to his leadership to Alpha et Omega.[28][29][30][31] Brodie-Innes assumed command of the English and Scottish temples, while Mathers concentrated on building up his Ahathoor temple and extending his American connections.[29] According to occultist Israel Regardie, the Golden Dawn had spread to the United States of America before 1900 and a Thoth-Hermes temple had been founded in Chicago.[27][29] By the beginning of the First World War in 1914, Mathers had established two to three American temples.

Most temples of the Alpha et Omega and Stella Matutina closed or went into abeyance by the end of the 1930s, with the exceptions of two Stella Matutina temples: Hermes Temple in Bristol, which operated sporadically until 1970, and the Smaragdum Thallasses Temple (commonly referred to as Whare Ra) in Havelock North, New Zealand, which operated regularly until its closure in 1978.[32][33]

Structure and grades

Much of the hierarchical structure for the Golden Dawn came from the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, which was itself derived from the Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross.[34]

First Order

• Introduction—Neophyte 0=0
• Zelator 1=10
• Theoricus 2=9
• Practicus 3=8
• Philosophus 4=7
• Intermediate—Portal Grade

Second Order

• Adeptus Minor 5=6
• Adeptus Major 6=5
• Adeptus Exemptus 7=4

Third Order

• Magister Templi 8=3
• Magus 9=2
• Ipsissimus 10=1

The paired numbers attached to the Grades relate to positions on the Tree of Life. The Neophyte Grade of "0=0" indicates no position on the Tree. In the other pairs, the first numeral is the number of steps up from the bottom (Malkuth), and the second numeral is the number of steps down from the top (Kether).

The First Order Grades were related to the four elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire, respectively. The Aspirant to a Grade received instruction on the metaphysical meaning of each of these Elements and had to pass a written examination and demonstrate certain skills to receive admission to that Grade.

The Portal Grade was an "Invisible" or in-between grade separating the First Order from the Second Order.[35]

Known or alleged members

• Sara Allgood (1879–1950), Irish stage actress and later film actress in America
• Charles Henry Allan Bennett (1872–1923), best known for introducing Buddhism to the West
• Arnold Bennett (1867–1931), British novelist[36]
• Arthur Edward Waite (2 October 1857 – 19 May 1942) Mystic
• Edward W. Berridge (ca. 1843–1923), British homeopathic physician[1]:148–149
• Algernon Blackwood (1869–1951), English writer and radio broadcaster of supernatural stories[37]
• Anna de Brémont, American-born singer and writer.[38]
• Dario Carpaneda (1856 - 1916) Italian occultist and esotericism professor at the University of Lausanne.
• Paul Foster Case was not an original member of the Golden Dawn, but was a member of the successor organization, Alpha et Omega. He was an American occultist
• Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), author of Sherlock Holmes, doctor, scientist, and spiritualist.[39]
• Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), occultist, writer and mountaineer, founder of his own magical society.
• Florence Farr (1860–1917), London stage actress and musician[37]
• Robert Felkin (1853–1925), medical missionary, explorer and anthropologist in Central Africa, author
• Dion Fortune was not an original member of the Golden Dawn, rather a member of the offshoot Golden Dawn order the Stella Matutina. Dion Fortune Founded the Society of Inner Light.
• Frederick Leigh Gardner (1857–1930), British stock broker and occultist; published three-volume bibliography Catalogue Raisonné of Works on the Occult Sciences (1912)[40]
• Maud Gonne (1866–1953), Irish revolutionary, actress.
• Annie Horniman (1860–1937), British repertory theatre producer and pioneer; member of the wealthy Horniman family of tea-traders[37]
• Arthur Machen (1863–1947), leading London writer of the 1890s, author of acclaimed works of imaginative and occult fiction, such as "The Great God Pan", "The White People" and "The Hill of Dreams". Welsh by birth and upbringing.
• Gustav Meyrink (1868–1932), Austrian author, storyteller, dramatist, translator, banker, and Buddhist
• E. Nesbit (1858–1924), real name Edith Bland; English author and political activist
• Israel Regardie was not a member of the original Golden Dawn, but rather of the Stella Matutina, which he claimed was as close to the original order as could be found in the early 1930s (when he was initiated). Regardie wrote many respected and acclaimed books about magic and the Golden Dawn Order, including The Golden Dawn, The Tree Of Life, Middle Pillar, and A Garden of Pomegranates.
• Sax Rohmer, novelist, creator of the Fu Manchu character
• Charles Rosher (1885–1974), British cinematographer
• William Sharp (1855–1905), poet and author; alias Fiona MacLeod
• Pamela Colman Smith (1878–1951), British-American artist and co-creator of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck
• Bram Stoker[41][42] (1847–1912), Irish writer best-known today for his 1897 horror novel Dracula
• John Todhunter (1839–1916), Aktis Heliou Irish poet and playwright who wrote seven volumes of poetry, and several plays
• Violet Tweedale (1862–1936), author.
• Evelyn Underhill (1875–1941), British Christian mystic, author of Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness
• Charles Williams (1886–1945), British poet, novelist, theologian, and literary critic
• W. B. Yeats (1865–1939), Irish poet, dramatist and writer.

Contemporary Golden Dawn orders

While no temples in the original chartered lineage of the Golden Dawn survived past the 1970s,[32][33] several organizations have since revived its teachings and rituals. Among these, the following are notable:

• The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Inc.
• The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn
• The Fellowship of the Golden Dawn
• Golden Dawn Collegium Spiritu Sancti
• Golden Dawn Universum
• Golden Dawn Ancient Mystery School
• The Ordo Stella Matutina
• Sodalitas Rosae+Crucis et Solis Alati
• Orden Hermética de la Aurora Dorada
• Ordem Esotérica da Aurora Dourada no Brasil
• Hermetic Society of the Golden Dawn
• August Order of the Mystic Rose
• Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer

See also

• A∴A∴
• Hermeticism
• Tattva
• Tattva vision

References

1. Colquhoun, Ithell (1975) The Sword of Wisdom: MacGregor Mathers & the Golden Dawn. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
2. Phillips, Julia (1991) History of Wicca in England: 1939 - present day. Lecture at the Wiccan Conference in Canberra, 1991.
3. Jenkins, Phillip (2000) Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History, pg. 74. "Also in the 1880s, the tradition of ritual magic was revived in London by a group of Masonic adepts, who formed the Order of the Golden Dawn, which would prove an incalculable influence on the whole subsequent history of occultism." USA: Oxford University Press.
4. Smoley, Richard (1999) Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions, ppg 102-103. "Founded in 1888, the Golden Dawn lasted a mere twelve years before it was shattered by personal conflicts. At its height it probably had no more than a hundred members. Yet its influence on magic and esoteric thought in the English-speaking world would be hard to overestimate." USA: Quest Books.
5. King, 1989, page 42-43
6. King, 1989, page 47
7. Golden Dawn researcher R. A. Gilbert has found evidence which suggests that Westcott was instrumental in developing the Order's rituals from the Cipher Manuscripts. See Gilbert's article, From Cipher to Enigma: The Role of William Wynn Westcott in the Creation of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, from Carroll Runyon's book Secrets of the Golden Dawn Cypher Manuscripts.
8. Regardie, 1993, page 92
9. King, 1989, page 43
10. Regardie, 1993, page 11.
11. King, 1997, page 35
12. King, 1989, page 44
13. King, 1989, page 46
14. Penczak, Christopher. Spirit Allies, p. 27. Red Wheel/Weiser Books. ISBN 1-57863-214-5
15. King, 1989, page 48
16. Raine, Kathleen (1976) [1972]. Liam Miller (ed.). Yeats, the Tarot and the Golden Dawn. New Yeats Papers. II (second ed.). Dublin: Dolmen Press. p. 6.
17. King, 1989, page 66
18. King, 1989, page 67
19. King, 1989, page 68-69
20. King, 1989, page 69
21. Melton, J. Gordon, editor, Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, v. 2 p. 1327, Gale Group, 2001 ISBN 0-8103-9489-8
22. King, 1989, page 78
23. King, 1989, page 94
24. King, 1989, pages 95-96
25. King, 1989, page 109
26. King, 1989, page 110
27. Regardie, 1993, page 33
28. King, 1971, p. 110-111
29. King, 1989, page 111
30. "The Golden Dawn ceased to exist by that name after October, 1901, replaced by Mathers' Alpha et Omega and the London group’s Order of the Morgan Rothe. No longer associated with the SRIA after 1902, Mathers continued to oversee a few temples until his death, when his wife, Moina, assumed supervision." Samuel Liddel MacGregor Mathers biography, Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, February 26, 2001
31. Golden Dawn Time Line, Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Llewellyn Encyclopedia
32. Gilbert, R. A. Golden Dawn Companion. Aquarian Press, 1986. ISBN 0-85030-436-9
33. Llewellyn Encyclopedia: "Golden Dawn Time Line"
34. The masonic career of A.E. Waite by Bro. R. A. Gilbert
35. Golden Dawn Research Center - What is the Golden Dawn?
36. Regardie, 1982, page 16
37. Regardie, 1982, foreword - page ix
38. Moyle, Franny (2011). Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde. Hachette UK. p. 118. ISBN 9781848544611.
39. http://moreintelligentlife.com/story/co ... iritualism
40. "Frederick Leigh Gardner", Biographies: Fringe freemasons, Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon (Freemasons) web site. Retrieved November 2008.
41. Ravenscroft, Trevor (1982). The occult power behind the spear which pierced the side of Christ. Red Wheel. p. 165. ISBN 0-87728-547-0.
42. Picknett, Lynn (2004). The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ. Simon and Schuster. p. 201. ISBN 0-7432-7325-7.

Bibliography

• Fra. A.o.C. (2002). A Short Treatise on the History, Culture and Practices of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Retrieved August 3, 2007.
• Armstrong, Allan & R. A. Gilbert, eds. (1997). Golden Dawn: The Proceedings of the Golden Dawn Conference, London - 1997. Hermetic Research Trust.
• Cicero, Chic and Tabatha Cicero (1991). The New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 0-87542-139-3
• Colquhoun, Ithell (1975). Sword of Wisdom: Macgregor Mathers and the Golden Dawn. Neville Spearman. ISBN 0-85435-092-6.
• Denisof, Dennis. "The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn." BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. 2013. http://www.branchcollective.org/?ps_art ... -1888-1901.
• Greer, Mary K. (1994). Women of the Golden Dawn. Park Street. ISBN 0-89281-516-7.
• Greer, Mary K. & Darcy Kuntz (1999) The Chronology of the Golden Dawn. Holmes Publishing Group. ISBN 1-55818-354-X
• Gilbert, Robert A. (1983). The Golden Dawn: Twilight of the Magicians. The Aquarian Press. ISBN 0-85030-278-1
• Gilbert, Robert A. (1986). The Golden Dawn Companion. Weiser Books. ISBN 0-85030-436-9
• Gilbert, Robert A. Golden Dawn Scrapbook - The Rise and Fall of a Magical Order. Weiser Books (1998) ISBN 1-57863-037-1
• Howe, Ellic (1978). The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887-1923. Samuel Weiser. ISBN 0-87728-369-9.
• Jenkins, Phillip (2000) Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-512744-7
• King, Francis (1971). The Rites of Modern Occult Magic. New York: Macmillan Company. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 76-158-933
• King, Francis (1989). Modern Ritual Magic: The Rise of Western Occultism. ISBN 1-85327-032-6
• King, Francis, ed. (1997). Ritual Magic of the Golden Dawn: Works by S. L. MacGregor Mathers and Others. Destiny Books. ISBN 0-89281-617-1
• Kuntz, Darcy, ed. (1996). The Complete Golden Dawn Manuscript. Introduction by R.A. Gilbert. Deciphered, Translated and Preface by Darcy Kuntz. (Golden Dawn Studies No 1.) Holmes Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1558183254
• Regardie, Israel, et al., eds. (1982). The Golden Dawn. Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 0-87542-664-6
• Israel Regardie|Regardie, Israel, et al., eds. (1989). The Golden Dawn: A Complete Course in Practical Ceremonial Magic. Llewellyn. ISBN 0-87542-663-8
• Regardie, Israel (1993). What You Should Know About the Golden Dawn (6th ed.). ISBN 1-56184-064-5
• Runyon, Carroll (1997). Secrets of the Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscripts. C.H.S. ISBN 0-9654881-2-8
• Smoley, Richard (1999). Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions. Quest Books. ISBN 978-0-8356-0844-2
• Suster, Gerald (1990). Crowley's Apprentice: The Life and Ideas of Israel Regardie. Weiser Books. ISBN 0-87728-700-7
• Wasserman, James (2005). The Mystery Traditions: Secret Symbols and Sacred Art. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books. ISBN 1-59477-088-3

External links

• The Golden Dawn FAQ (original from 1990s Usenet groups)
• The Golden Dawn Library Project
• Golden Dawn entries in Llewellyn Encyclopedia
• Golden Dawn Tradition, by co-founder Dr. W. Wynn Westcott
• Photocopies and the translation of the original Cipher Manuscripts
• Lots of GD material on display in Yeats exhibition including Ritual Notebooks.
• The Golden Dawn Roll Call
• Golden Dawn at Curlie
• Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn: Biographies of Members
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Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers
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Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers
Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, in Egyptian costume, performs a ritual of Isis in the rites of the Golden Dawn
Born: Samuel Liddell Mathers, 8 or 11 January 1854, Hackney, London, England
Died: 5 or 20 November 1918 (aged 64), Paris[1]
Residence: Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk
Nationality: British
Alma mater: Bedford School
Occupation: Occultist, Known for Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Spouse(s): Moina Mathers
Parent(s): William M. Mathers

Samuel Liddell (or Liddel) MacGregor Mathers (8 or 11 January 1854 – 5 or 20 November 1918), born Samuel Liddell Mathers, was a British occultist. He is primarily known as one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a ceremonial magic order of which offshoots still exist today.

Early life

Mathers was born on 8 or 11 January 1854 in Hackney, London, England. His father, William M. Mathers, died while he was still a boy. His mother, whose maiden name was Collins, died in 1885. He attended Bedford School, subsequently working in Bournemouth, Dorset, as a clerk, before moving to London following the death of his mother.

His wife was Moina Mathers (née Mina Bergson), sister of the philosopher Henri Bergson.

Lifestyle

Mathers added the "MacGregor" surname as a claim to Highland Scottish heritage, although there is little evidence of such in his family background. He was a practising vegetarian, or (according to some accounts) vegan, an outspoken anti-vivisectionist, and a non-smoker. It is known that his main interests were magic and the theory of war, his first book being a translation of a French military manual.[2] He became more and more of an eccentric towards his later years, as was noted by W. B. Yeats.[3]

Freemasonry

Mathers was introduced to Freemasonry by a neighbour, alchemist Frederick Holland, and was initiated into Hengist Lodge No.195 on 4 October 1877. He was raised as a Master Mason on 30 January 1878. In 1882 he was admitted to the Metropolitan College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia as well as a number of fringe Masonic degrees. Working hard both for and in the SRIA he was awarded an honorary 8th Degree in 1886, and in the same year he lectured on the Kabbalah to the Theosophical Society. He became Celebrant of Metropolitan College in 1891 and was appointed as Junior Substitute Magus of the SRIA in 1892, in which capacity he served until 1900. He left the order in 1903, having failed to repay money which he had borrowed.[4]

Upon the death of William Robert Woodman in 1891, Mathers assumed leadership of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He moved with his wife to Paris on 21 May 1892.[3] After his expulsion from the Golden Dawn in April 1900, Mathers formed a group in Paris in 1903 called Alpha et Omega (its headquarters, the Ahathoor Temple).[5] Mathers choosing the title "Archon Basileus".[6]

Translations

Mathers was a polyglot; among the languages he had studied were English, French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Gaelic and Coptic, though he had a greater command of some languages than of others. His translations of such books as The Book of Abramelin (14thC.), Christian Knorr von Rosenroth's The Kabbalah Unveiled (1684), Key of Solomon (anonymous 14thC.), The Lesser Key of Solomon (anonymous 17thC.), and the Grimoire of Armadel (17thC.), while probably justly criticised with respect to quality, were responsible for making what had been obscure and inaccessible material widely available to the non-academic English speaking world. They have had considerable influence on the development of occult and esoteric thought since their publication, as has his consolidation of the Enochian magical system of John Dee and Edward Kelley.

Criticism

In addition to many supporters, he had many enemies and critics. One of his most notable enemies was one-time friend and pupil Aleister Crowley, who portrayed Mathers as a villain named S.R.M.D. in his 1917 novel Moonchild.

At the Turk's entrance he rose clumsily, then fell back into his chair. He was more than half intoxicated.

Akbar took the chair opposite to him. "We couldn't get it," he said; in a whisper, though there was nobody within earshot. "Oh, Dr. Balloch, Dr. Balloch! do try to understand! It was impossible. We tried all sorts of ways."

The doctor's voice had a soft suavity. Though a licensed physician, he had long since abandoned legitimate practice, and under the guise of homeopathy pursued various courses which would have been but ill-regarded by more regular practitioners.

His reply was horrible, uttered as it was in feline falseness, like a caress. "You foul ass!" he said. "I have to take this up with S.R.M.D., you know! What will he say and do?"

"I tell you I couldn't. There was an old man there who spoilt everything, in my idea."

"An old man?" Dr. Balloch almost dropped his hypocritical bedside voice in his rage. "Oh curse, oh curse it all!" He leant over to the Turk, caught his beard, and deliberately pulled it. There is no grosser insult that you can offer to a Mussulman, but Akbar accepted it without resentment. Yet so savage was the assault that a sharp cry of pain escaped him.

You dog! you Turkish swine!" hissed Balloch. "Do you know what has happened? S.R.M.D. sent a Watcher -- a bit of himself, do you understand what that means, you piece of dirt? -- and it hasn't returned. It must have been killed, but we can't find out how, and S.R.M.D. is lying half dead in his house. You pig! Why didn't you come with your storry at once? I know now what is wrong."

"You know I don't know your address," said the Turk humbly. "Please, oh please, leave go of my beard!"

Balloch contemptuously released his victim -- who was a brave enough man in an ordinary way, and would have had the blood of his own Sultan, though he knew that the guards would cut him to pieces within the next ten seconds, for the least of such words as had been addressed to him. But Balloch was his Superior in the Black Lodge, which rules by terror and by torture; its first principle was to enslave its members. The bully Balloch became a whimpering cur at the slightest glance of the dreaded S.R.M.D.....

The mystery of S.R.M.D.'s personality and abode were shrouded in the blackest secrecy. Akbar had but the vaguest ideas of the man; he was a formless ideal of terrific power and knowledge, a sort of incarnated Satan, the epitome of successful iniquity. The episode of the "Watcher" had not diminished the chief's prestige in his eyes; it was evidently an "accident"; S.R.M.D. had sent out a patrol and it had been ambushed by a whole division, as it were. So trivial a "regrettable incident" was negligibly normal.

Akbar had no thought but of S.R.M.D. as a Being infinitely great in himself; he had no conception of the price paid by the members of the Black Lodge. The truth is, that as its intimates advance, their power and knowledge becomes enormously greater; but such progress is not a mark of general growth, as it is in the case of the White Brotherhood; it is like a cancer, which indeed grows apace, but at the expense of the man on whom it feeds, and will destroy both him and itself in the long run. The process may be slow; it may extend over a series of incarnations; but it is sure enough. The analogy of the cancer is a close one; for the man knows his doom, suffers continual torture; but to this is added the horrible delusion that if only the disease can be induced to advance far enough, all is saved. Thus he hugs the fearful growth, cherishes it as his one dearest possession, stimulates it by every means in his power. Yet all the time he nurses in his heart an agonizing certainty that this is the way of death.

Balloch knew S.R.M.D. well; had known him for years. He hoped to supplant him, and while he feared him with hideous and unmanly fear, hated him with most hellish hatred. He was under no delusion as to the nature of the Path of the Black Lodge. Akbar Pasha, a mere outsider, without a crime on his hands as yet, was a rich and honoured officer in the service of the Sultan; he, Balloch, was an ill-reputed doctor, living on the fears of old maids, on doubtful and even criminal services to foolish people from the supply of morphia to the suppression of the evidence of scandal, and on the harvest of half-disguised blackmail that goes with such pursuits. But he was respectability itself compared to S.R.M.D.

This man, who called himself the Count Macgregor of Glenlyon, was in reality a Hampshire man, of lowland Scottish extraction, of the name of Douglas. He had been well educated, became a good scholar, and developed an astounding taste and capacity for magic. For some time he had kept straight; then he had fallen, chosen the wrong road. His powers had increased at a bound; but they were solely used for base ends. He had established the Black Lodge far more firmly than ever before, jockeyed his seniors out of office by superior villainy, and proceeded to forge the whole weapon to his own liking. He had had one terrible set-back.

Cyril Grey, when only twenty years of age, a free-lance magician, had entered the Lodge; for it worked to attract innocent people under a false pretence of wisdom and of virtue. Cyril, discovering the trick, had not withdrawn; he had played the game of the Lodge, and made himself Douglas's right-hand man. This being achieved, he had suddenly put a match to the arsenal.

The Lodge was always seething with hate; Theosophists themselves might have taken lessons from this exponent; and the result of Cyril's intervention had been to disintegrate the entire structure. Douglas found his prestige gone, and his income with it. Addiction to drink, which had accompanied his magical fall, now became an all-absorbing vice. He was never able to rebuild his Lodge on its former lines; but those who thirsted for knowledge and power and these he still possessed in ever increasing abundance as he himself decayed -- clung to him, hating and envying him, as a young ruffian of the streets will envy the fame of some robber or murderer who happens to fill the public eye.

It was with this clot of perverse feelings that Balloch approached the Rue Quincampoix, one of the lowest streets in Paris, and turned in at the den where Douglas lodged.

S.R.M.D. was lying on a torn soiled sofa, his face white as death; a mottled and empurpled nose, still showing trace of its original aggressive and haughty model, alone made for colour. For his eyes were even paler than the doctor's. In his hand was a bottle half full of raw whisky, with which he was seeking to restore his vitality.

"I brought you some whisky," said Balloch, who knew the way to favour.

"Put it down, over there. You've got some money."

Balloch did not dare to lie. S.R.M.D. had spotted the fact without a word.

Only a cheque. You shall have half to-morrow when I've cashed it."

"Come here at noon.

Despite the obvious degradation of his whole being, S.R.M.D. was still somebody. He was a wreck, but he was the wreck of something indubitably big. He had not only the habit of command, but the tone of fine manners. In his palmy days he had associated with some very highly placed people. It was said that the Third Section of the Russian Police Bureau had once found a use for him.

-- Moonchild, by Aleister Crowley


According to Crowley's memoirs, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, Mathers was in the habit of ostensibly playing chess matches against various pagan gods. Mathers would set up the chessboard and seat himself behind the white pieces, with an empty chair opposite him. After making a move for himself, Mathers would then shade his eyes and peer towards the empty chair, waiting for his opponent to signal a move. Mathers would then move a black piece accordingly, then make his next move as white, and so forth. Crowley did not record who won.

Earlier, Crowley wrote in his Confessions that: "As far as I was concerned, Mathers was my only link with the Secret Chiefs to whom I was pledged. I wrote to him offering to place myself and my fortune unreservedly at his disposal; if that meant giving up the Abra-Melin Operation for the present, all right."[7]

The Book of Abramelin tells the story of an Egyptian mage named Abraham (pronunciation: (ɛ́jbrəham)), or Abra-Melin, who taught a system of magic to Abraham of Worms, a Jew in Worms, Germany, presumed to have lived from c.1362–c.1458. The system of magic from this book regained popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries partly due to Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers' translation, The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage; and partly to its importance within the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and later within the mystical system of Thelema (created in 1904 by Aleister Crowley).

Due to trust issues, Mathers used the least-reliable manuscript copy as the basis for his translation, and it contains many errors and omissions. The later English translation by Georg Dehn and Steven Guth, based on the earliest and most complete sources, is more scholarly and comprehensive. Dehn attributed authorship of The Book of Abramelin to Rabbi Yaakov Moelin (Hebrew יעקב בן משה מולין; ca. 1365–1427), a German Jewish Talmudist. This identification has since been disputed.

-- The Book of Abramelin, by Wikipedia


Death

Mathers died on 5 or 20 November 1918 in Paris. The manner of his death is unknown; his death certificate lists no cause of death. Violet Firth claimed his death was the result of the Spanish influenza of 1918. While this seems likely, few facts are known about Mathers's private life and thus verification of such claims is difficult.

See also

• The Book of Abramelin
• Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
• List of occultists
• Mathers table
• William Robert Woodman

References

1. Nevill Drury, The Dictionary of the Esoteric, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 2004, p. 208.
2. S. L. MacGregor Mathers, Practical Instruction in Infantry Campaigning Exercise, Translated from the French ( London: City of London Publishing Co., 1884); cited in Christopher McIntosh, The Rosicrucians: The History, Mythology and Rituals of an Occult Order, page 111 (second revised edition, Crucible, 1987). ISBN 978-1852740252
3. William Butler Yeats, The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats, Volume III: Autobiographies, pages 452–453 (edited by William O'Donnell and Douglas N. Archibald, New York: Scribner, 1999 edition). ISBN 0-684-80728-9
4. History of the SRIA, T M Greenshill, MBE, published 2003
5. "Samuel Liddel MacGregor-Mathers", accessed 17 February 2007.
6. John Michael Greer, The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Hidden History, page 28 (HarperElement, 2006). ISBN 978-0-00-722068-7
7. Crowley, Aleister. The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. p. 194.

External links

• Biography from Kheper.net
• Biography from the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn
• Biography from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Inc.
• The Truth about S.L. MacGregor Mathers

Works at the Internet Sacred Text Archive

• The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage
• The Kabbalah Unveiled
• The Key of Solomon The King
• The Lesser Key of Solomon
• The Tarot

Published Works

• 2018 — The Tarot — Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers Edition by Eduardo Filipe Freitas ISBN 1986104028
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Ananda Metteyya [Charles Henry Allan Bennett]: The First British Emissary of Buddhism [Excerpt]
by Elizabeth J. Harris
Secretary for Inter-faith Relations for The Methodist Church in London. She holds a doctorate in Buddhist studies from the University of Kelaniya and co-produced the recent BBC series, "The Path of the Buddha".
Collected Wheel Publications, Volume XXVII: Numbers 412-430
by Y. Karunadasa, Susan Elbaum Jootla, John D. Ireland, Ananda W.P. Guruge, Elizabeth J. Harris, Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano, Ashin Ottama, Bhikkhu Nanamoli
1998

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.




Chapter 1: Ananda Metteyya: A Dedicated Life

His face was the most significant that I have ever seen. Twenty years of physical suffering had twisted and scored it: a lifetime of meditation upon universal love had imparted to it an expression that was unmistakable. His colour was almost dusky, and his eyes had the soft glow of dark amber … Above all, at the moment of meeting and always thereafter, I was conscious of a tender and far-shining emanation, an unvarying psychic sunlight, that environed his personality.1


Clifford Bax, artist and dramatist, wrote these words after meeting Ananda Metteyya in 1918. A sick man incapacitated by asthma for weeks at a time, he was then wearing the clothes of a lay person and had reverted to his civilian name, Allan Bennett. Yet, ten years earlier, as the Venerable Ananda Metteyya, he had led the first Buddhist mission to England from Burma. The Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland had been formed to prepare the way for him.

See e.g. Harris (1998). The Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland (BSGBI) was  founded by T. W. Rhys-Davids and others in November 1907 solely in anticipation of Bennett‘s  arrival and the BSGBI is similarly regarded as the first of its kind.


-- The First Buddhist Mission to the West: Charles Pfoundes and the London Buddhist mission of 1889 – 1892, by Brian Bocking, University College Cork; Laurence Cox, National University of Ireland Maynooth; and Shin‘ichi Yoshinaga, Maizuru National College of Technology


Bennett, in fact, was the second British person to take on the robes of a Buddhist monk and his influence on Buddhism in Britain in the first decades of the twentieth century was deep.

Even within his own lifetime Allan Bennet
was a controversial figure. In 1894, he joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a society concerned with spiritual growth through esoteric knowledge. He gained a reputation as a magician and a man of mystery, which was not completely shaken off even when he embraced Buddhism several years later. In the early years of the twentieth century, he was much praised by Western Buddhists. Yet, as time passed, he became more and more marginalized as asthma took an ever deepening grip on his life, leading to dependency on drugs. By 1916, his case is described as a “sad” one by The Buddhist Review, published by The Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1917-18, he managed to give a series of lectures and when he died in 1923, he was the acting Honorary Secretary of The Buddhist Society. Yet, his final years were marked by poverty. Clifford Bax wrote in the conclusion of his 1918 article:

As a Buddhist, he was an alert and powerful personality: as Allan Bennett, a poor man, dwelling unknown in London, he was a sick creature prematurely old. As he was putting on his overcoat, I heard Meena Gunn saying, “Why it’s riddled with moths,” and Bennett responding, “They’re such pretty little things,” and Meena continuing, “Some day we must get you a new one: this coat is too full of holes,” and Bennett answering, shy of his pun, “But, you see, I’m supposed to be a holy man.”2


Bennett was buried without a memorial stone in Morden cemetery. His lifelong friend, Dr. Cassius Pereira, wrote:

And now the worker has, for this life, laid aside his burden. One feels more glad than otherwise, for he was tired; his broken body could no longer keep pace with his soaring mind. The work he began, that of introducing Buddhism to the West, he pushed with enthusiastic vigour in pamphlet, journal and lecture, all masterly, all stimulating thought, all in his own inimitably graceful style. And the results are not disappointing to those who know.3


Allan Bennett was a holy man. His writings reveal sensitivity, conviction, and passionate concern that Buddhism should grow in the West. He combined a poetic imagination, a scientific mind, and a deep concern for justice and peace. He was also able to make the Buddhist path live, not so much through lectures as through the written word. In this study, I seek to make his thought come alive. I look at his life and place him in historical perspective. Then I probe his view of the world and his interpretation of Buddhist doctrine. I show how his thought developed through the trauma of the First World War, and finally I discuss the relevance of his writings today.

Of course, it is impossible to re-create the thought of Ananda Metteyya with authenticity two generations after he died. I rely mainly on what he published in England and Burma, a few personal letters, and the impressions of his contemporaries in Sri Lanka and the West. Furthermore, no biographical writing is objective. It reflects the biographer’s character as much as it portrays the person written about. Allan Bennett, or Ananda Metteyya, will elude any attempt to pin him down. He was a man of his time, born when the British Empire was at the height of its power and the wish to probe new religious pathways was gripping many young minds. Yet, I believe the message he strove to share is still relevant. A probe into his life not only uncovers forgotten history but can give inspiration to the present.

The Search for Truth

In piecing together the biography of Allan Bennett, I am heavily indebted to the writings of two of his closest friends: Aleister Crowley and Dr. Cassius Pereira (later Ven. Kassapa Thera).4 Bennett’s relationship with Crowley was not lifelong. It began when Bennett was more interested in esoteric mysticism than Buddhism and petered out as Crowley sank deeper and deeper into study of the occult. The friendship with Pereira was based on a more solid foundation, that of commitment to Buddhism. They met on Bennett’s first visit to Sri Lanka in 1900 and the relationship continued when Bennett went to Burma. Alec Robertson5 told me that Ven. Kassapa had told him he had had such a close rapport with Bennett that the two could communicate by telepathy. Each knew the other’s thoughts, even at a distance.

Allan Bennett was born in London on the 8th December 1872. His father, a civil and electrical engineer, died when Allan was young. Cassius Pereira claims he was adopted by a Mr. McGregor and kept this name until McGregor died, a fact repeated to me by Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya.6 Yet, it is possible that his mother was still in contact with him, since Crowley refers to him being brought up by his mother as a strict Catholic.7 His education was in Bath after which he trained as an analytical chemist. He was eventually employed by Dr. Bernard Dyer, a public analyst and consulting chemist of international repute who was based in London as an official analyst to the London Corn Trade at the time of Bennett’s association with him.8

Information about Bennett’s early years is sketchy. What is available suggests that he was a sensitive and serious young man who became alienated from Christianity both because it seemed incompatible with science and because he could not square the concept of a God of love with the suffering he saw and experienced. The asthma which plagued him throughout his life seems to have begun in childhood. As a young man, it prevented him from holding down a permanent job. Together with his family circumstances, this meant that he was at times desperately poor. Suffering, therefore, was part of his life from an early stage. Crowley, in fact, wrote of him, “Allan never knew joy; he disdained and distrusted pleasure from the womb.”9

If Bennett distrusted pleasure, he certainly didn’t distrust the search for truth and goodness. This seems to have informed his life from youth. Nineteenth century developments in science gripped him, particularly in the areas of chemistry and electricity, and scientific metaphors permeate his writing. Science meant far more to him than technical knowledge. He linked it with the search for truth about the human being and human consciousness. In his youth particularly, it was intertwined with his religious quest. After rejecting Roman Catholicism, he turned first to Hinduism and Buddhism. In 1890, at the age of eighteen, he read Edwin Arnold’s poem, The Light of Asia. Some say he became a Buddhist at this point but this is doubtful. The poem certainly had a profound influence on him but it was part of a larger exploration which included Hindu literature as well. Both Cassius Pereira and Aleister Crowley refer to him practicing yogic forms of breath control and meditation at this time, a practice closer to Hinduism than to Buddhism. Pereira thought these exercises might have exacerbated his asthma. Crowley refers to him experiencing, at eighteen, Shivadarshana, which Crowley describes as an extraordinarily high state of yogic attainment. “It is a marvel that Allan survived and kept his reason,” Crowley remarked, but he also claimed that Bennett had told him that he wanted to get back to that state.10

In addition, Bennett was also being drawn both into Theosophy and spiritualism, psychology and Western esoteric mysticism. Spiritualism entered Britain in the mid-nineteenth century, based on the conviction that there was a spirit world which could be contacted by clairvoyants. It became linked with interest in alchemy, magical invocations, and esoteric or secret knowledge. Helena Blavatsky, one of the founders of Theosophy, for instance, claimed she was in contact with mahatmas, masters in the spirit world. Significant for Bennett was the creation of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1889 by William Wynn Westcott and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers.11 At first his members were little more than spiritual philosophers, interested in such things as astrology, alchemy, mysticism, and the kabbalah – esoteric practices connected with Judaism. Later, magical rituals were developed and practiced. Bennett joined in 1894. He took the name Iehi Aour, Hebrew for “let there be light,” and rapidly became an important member, respected for his psychic powers.

At this point most of the available information about Bennett comes to us through the eyes of Aleister Crowley, who joined the order in 1898. Crowley’s first impression of him was that he possessed “a tremendous spiritual and magical force.”12 He finds him living in a tiny tenement – “a mean, grim horror”13 – and says of his appearance:

Allan Bennett was tall, but his sickness had already produced a stoop. His head, crowned with a shock of wild, black hair, was intensely noble; the brows, both wide and lofty, overhung indomitable piercing eyes. The face would have been handsome had it not been for the haggardness and pallour due to his almost continuous suffering.

Despite his ill-health, he was a tremendous worker. His knowledge of science, especially electricity, was vast, accurate, and profound. In addition, he had studied the Hindu and Buddhist scriptures, not only as a scholar, but with the insight that comes from inborn sympathetic understanding.

I did not fully realize the colossal stature of that sacred spirit; but I was instantly aware that this man could teach me more in a month than anyone else in five years.14


An unpublished manuscript by Crowley cited by Kenneth Grant adds more:

We called him the White Knight, from Alice in the Looking Glass. So lovable, so harmless, so unpractical! But he was a Knight, too! And White! There never walked a whiter man on earth. He never did walk on earth, either! A genius, a flawless genius. But a most terribly frustrated genius.15


Crowley also claimed that he was known all over London “as the one Magician who could really do big-time stuff,”16 and in two places he recorded an incident when Bennett used a wand to render motionless a sceptic who doubted its power.17

By the year 1899, therefore, Bennett was deeply interested in the religious heritage of the East. He was appreciated as a gentle person who would be loathe to harm anyone. (Crowley was later to write that he was, “the noblest and the gentlest soul that I have ever known.”18) He was widely read and had practiced some forms of meditation, probably using yogic methods of breath control and trance-inducement. He felt an affinity to Buddhism and had been influenced particularly by The Light of Asia. He was also interested in Western esoteric practice and magic and had discovered that he possessed certain psychic powers. Asthma had already made deep inroads into his health. He was knowledgeable about the latest scientific discoveries and optimistic about science’s potential.

In 1900, Bennett travelled to Sri Lanka, the cost of his passage raised by Crowley.19 It was an attempt to save his life. His friends feared he would die unless he was sent to a warmer climate. Crowley also hoped that Bennett would spread Western esoteric lore in the East. He did not. Crowley’s hopes were ironically twisted. Bennett turned away from the emphases of the Order of the Golden Dawn, became a Buddhist monk, and eventually brought Buddhism to the West, convinced that it was Buddhism alone which could meet the religious crisis there.

In Sri Lanka

Bennett spent between one and two years in Sri Lanka. He learnt Pali, developed his meditation practice, and delivered his first sermon on Buddhist doctrine. All the evidence suggests this period was a turning point. His asthma improved. He gave up the cycle of drugs he had found so necessary in England.20 Most of all, he found a focus for his religious quest.

Bennett began by spreading his exploratory net quite wide. According to Cassius Pereira, he went to Kamburugamuwa and studied Pali for six months under an elder Sinhalese monk. But the end of six months, he could converse in it fluently – “Such was the brilliance of his intellect,” Pereira adds.21 Yet, he did not restrict himself to Buddhism. Crowley, who visited him, claimed that he learnt much about the theory and practice of yoga from the Hon. P. Ramanathan, the Solicitor-General of Ceylon, a Tamil gentleman who engaged Bennett as a private tutor for his son. Crowley’s descriptions of Bennett show a person experimenting with different practices. According to Crowley, for instance, Bennett could, with a breathing trick, release leeches from his arm, having purposely fed them.22 He could also enter such a deep state of trance-like meditation through his breathing exercises that his whole body could be upturned without him realizing it.23 Pereira confirms this. He later wrote that Allan had taught him much about meditation at this time. He had thought it was all Buddhist in origin but later realized that it also contained “mystic Christian, Western ‘occult,’ and Hindu sources.” His conclusion was that Bennett’s knowledge was then “vague, wonder seeking, and really only played about the fringe of a truly marvelous avenue for study and practice.”24

So, was Bennett merely a person who selected what he wanted from a variety of sources? The Order of the Golden Dawn certainly did this. Yet in Sri Lanka another process was at work. Bennett gradually came to see that eclectic experimentation with psychic power and the development of iddhi was a mundane accomplishment, divorced from true wisdom or liberation. Theravada Buddhism gained the upper hand. According to Crowley:

Allan had become more and more convinced that he ought to take the Yellow Robe. The phenomena of Dhyana and Samadhi had ceased to exercise their first fascination. It seemed to him that they were insidious obstacles to true spiritual progress; that their occurrence, in reality, broke up the control of the mind which he was trying to establish and prevented him from reaching the ultimate truth which he sought. He had the strength of mind to resist the appeal of even these intense spiritual joys.25


In July 1901, Bennett gave his first Buddhist address before the Hope Lodge of the Theosophical Society, Colombo. His subject was the Four Noble Truths. For the young Cassius Pereira it was a turning point which directed him towards his eventual renunciation.26 Almost certainly, Bennett, by this time, was speaking from the depths of his own conviction that renunciation, as a committed Buddhist, was the only path for him. During his visit Crowley concluded that, in spite of his experimentation, “Allan was already at heart a Buddhist. The more he studied the Tripitika, ‘the three baskets of the law’ … the more he was attracted.”27

Bennett decided to become ordained in Burma. Crowley’s writing suggests that Bennett saw Burma as a place where the Sangha was in a purer state than in Sri Lanka.28 Bennett was disillusioned, for instance, by such practices as “devil dances” …

Image


and the Kandy Perahera.29



Other accounts do not mention Bennett’s reason for leaving Sri Lanka but it is certain that he left realizing that the path of magic, psychic power, and esoteric lore was inadequate. In all his later writings he condemned it.30 The message of the Four Noble Truths became uppermost.

In Burma

On 12th December 1901, Allan Bennett was ordained a novice at Akyab in Arakan, Burma. The name he took was the Venerable Ananda Maitreya. Later he changed the second name to the Pali, Metteyya. At Akyab, he continued his Buddhist studies, supported by Burmese lay people. Pereira and Crowley mention one Dr. Moung Tha Nu, the resident medical officer, as one of these.31 Six months later, on 21st May 1902, he received upasampada, higher ordination, under the Venerable Sheve Bya Sayadaw. Crowley visited Ananda Metteyya in February 1902 and it is again interesting to see through his eyes. He refers to Allan, in robes, as seeming to be “of gigantic height, as compared to the diminutive Burmese” but claims, “The old gentleness was still there.”32

Unfortunately, Crowley also referred to the return of Ananda Metteyya’s asthma. He puts it down to the cold air of the pre-dawn alms rounds and shares a wish that “sanctity was not so incompatible with sanity.”33 As a new monk, Ananda Metteyya would not have wanted to have broken any of the accepted practices.

The next time Crowley visited Burma, Ananda Metteyya was in Rangoon. He went there soon after his higher ordination and stayed in a monastery about two miles from the city. Two interesting points emerge from Crowley’s writing: the suspicion of the British authorities, who imagined political dangers when Europeans “thought Burmese beliefs better than their European equivalents.”34 and the fact that Ananda Metteyya’s health was still not good because of lack of proper medical attention and “his determination to carry out the strict rules of the Order.”35

Yet, it was from Rangoon that Ananda Metteyya began to plan what he had come to see as his life’s mission – bringing Buddhism to the West. The first step was the forming of the Buddhasasana Samagama, an international Buddhist society which aimed at the global consociation of Buddhists. Its first meeting was on 13th march 1903. Ven. Ananda Metteyya took the role of General Secretary. The Honorary Secretary was Dr. E.R. Rost, a Westerner and member of the Indian Medical Service.36 Buddhism - An Illustrated Quarterly Review was launched, edited by Ananda Metteyya, the first volume appearing in September 1903.

The six issues of Buddhism which were published between 1903 and 1908 -- it soon became evident that it could not be a quarterly review -- give much information about Ananda Metteyya's priorities. His vision was missionary and international. The aims of the journal, as set out in the first issue, were:

Firstly, to set before the world the true principles of our Religion, believing, as we do, that these need only to be better known to meet with a wide-spread acceptance among the peoples of the West -- an acceptance which, if manifested in practice, would in our opinion do much to promote the general happiness -- Secondly, to promote, as far as lies in our power, those humanitarian activities referred to in the latter portion of THE FAITH OF THE FUTURE37 and, Thirdly, to unite by our Journal, as by a common bond of mutual interest and brotherhood, the many Associations with Buddhist aims which now exist.38


From Rangoon, Ananda Metteyya maintained a network of international contacts and kept abreast of developments in science, Buddhist scholarship, and politics in Buddhist countries. By 1904, the journal was being sent free to between 500 and 600 libraries in Europe on the condition that each copy be left on the Reading Room table until the next was received. 39. Burmese donations made this possible. The Buddhasasana Samagama gained official representatives in Austria, Burma, Ceylon, China, Germany, Italy, America, and England. The articles published were drawn from scholars worldwide. Ananda Metteyya's comments embraced all his interests, religious, scientific, and political. He could write about the life of philosopher-scientist Herbert Spencer, discoveries concerning the origins of life at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge,40 and research on the dangerous effects of alcohol.41 Since Sri Lanka is also mentioned in every edition of Buddhism, it is obvious that Ananda Metteyya remained in close contact with the country and he went back there at one point. Pereira records that he gave "several inspiring addresses from the Maitriya Hall."42

During these years, two men who eventually became better known than Ananda Metteyya joined him. The first was J.F. McKechnie. Inspired by Ananda Metteyya's article on Nibbana in the first issue of Buddhism, he wrote to him in 1904 to offer his services in business management free. He was accepted. Once in Burma, he learnt Pali and took on far more than business management as his book reviews in the October 1905 issue of Buddhism reveal. By 1908, he was Ven. Silacara. Then, by the beginning of 1905, Ven. Nyanatiloka was also staying with Ananda Metteyya. Nyanatiloka or Anton Gueth was born in 1879 in Wiesbaden, Germany. He was ordained in Burma in 1903, after a period of exhausting travel which had included Sri Lanka. Ananda Metteyya facilitated his return to Sri Lanka to learn Pali,43 a return which sealed the future for Nyanatiloka. He spent almost all his monk's life there, and at his death was given a state funeral.44

The Mission to England

Health continued to elude Ven. Ananda Metteyya. This was one reason why the publication of Buddhism became erratic. Apologies for delays due to illness appear in almost every issue. Yet, his ailment was not serious enough to prevent him from commencing the first Buddhist mission to Britain. Ananda Metteyya had entered the Order “chiefly with the object of eventually forming a Sangha in the West.”45 His life was inspired by the conviction that the West had only to understand the message of Buddhism to embrace it. He was convinced the West was ready. Yet, the first step in this process was not an unqualified success.

Ven. Ananda Metteyya arrived in England on 23rd April 1908 with some of his most faithful supporters, Mrs. Hla Oung, her son, and his wife. He remained until 2nd October of the same year, “the time allotted to the Mission,” according to Christmas Humphreys.46 The Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland, formed in preparation for the mission the previous November, welcomed him eagerly.

See e.g. Harris (1998). The Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland (BSGBI) was  founded by T. W. Rhys-Davids and others in November 1907 solely in anticipation of Bennett‘s  arrival and the BSGBI is similarly regarded as the first of its kind.

-- The First Buddhist Mission to the West: Charles Pfoundes and the London Buddhist mission of 1889 – 1892, by Brian Bocking, University College Cork; Laurence Cox, National University of Ireland Maynooth; and Shin‘ichi Yoshinaga, Maizuru National College of Technology


Ananda Metteyya himself told a Rangoon paper on his return that he was highly gratified with the visit47 but the response of some of his British supporters was different. Disappointment comes across, for instance, in the account later written by Christmas Humphreys. The positive, according to Humphreys, was this:

He was then thirty-six years of age, tall, slim, graceful, and dignified. The deep-set eyes and somewhat ascetic features, surmounted by the shaven head, made a great impression on all who met him, and all who remember him speaking of his pleasing voice and beautiful enunciation. It seems that his conversation was always interesting; and in his lighter moments he showed a delightful sense of humour, while his deep comprehension of the Dhamma, his fund of analogy from contemporary science, and power and range of thought combined to form a most exceptional personality.48


Humphreys continues to explain that by “correspondence and constant interviews” Ananda Metteyya collected around him a body of scholars who supported the mission and that he “formally admitted into the fold of Buddhism all who wished to be received.” Yet, the negative side of the mission included: the difficulties supporters faced in ensuring Ananda Metteyya could follow the Vinaya rules; the uncomprehending and sometimes ribald laughter leveled at his orange robes in the streets; the uncharismatic nature of Ananda Metteyya’s public speaking style; and his frequent ill-health. Ananda Metteyya was understandably unwilling to compromise when it came to handling money, eating after noon, or sleeping in the same house as a woman. This meant he could not journey alone, his programme had to allow for a meal before noon, and the team needed two houses. For a small group of supporters, this was perhaps more than they had bargained for.49

As for his communication skills, in private conversation, he was probably engaging and impressive. Humphreys declares that “he was popular wherever he went.”50 Yet, in public speaking, he seems to have been self-effacing, avoiding eye contact by keeping his eyes cast down on a prepared script, from which he deviated little. Such an attitude would have been the norm for a monk in Burma, but for those who had enthusiastically hoped for a flowering of Buddhism in Britain, his inability to engage with his audience would have been disappointing, perhaps even embarrassing. The deterioration of his health must also have caused serious concern.

There can be no doubt, however, that the young Buddhist Society was strengthened by Ananda Metteyya’s visit because it attracted enthusiastic scholars. It also sealed a friendship with Burma which was to prove invaluable in terms of financial support in the years ahead. The Buddhist Review, the organ of the newly-formed Buddhist Society, was able to say in 1909 that he left behind him “golden opinions and the friendship and respect of all who had the privilege of meeting him.”51

Years of Crisis

Ven. Ananda Metteyya hoped that he would return to England in two and a half years to establish a permanent Buddhist community in the West.52 This was the next step in his mission plan. The hope died. He remained in Burma until 1914. During 1909, records show that he was still mentioned with much respect at The Buddhist Society in Britain. For instance, he and his colleagues were congratulated for pressing successfully for Buddhism to be taught in schools in Burma.53 The 1911 mission was anticipated. Yet, as time passed, he was mentioned less and less. Ven. Silacara’s name began to arise more often than his in The Buddhist Review. In 1912, Ananda Metteyya appeared in the Minutes as having sent many copies of his book, The Religion of Burma, to the Society as a present54 but when bringing a bhikkhu to England was discussed later in the year55 he was not mentioned. It was Ven. Silacara who was eventually considered.56 By 1914, Ananda Metteyya’s mission was remembered with respect but he was no longer considered a possible future missionary.

One reason for this silence, of course, was his health. According to Cassius Pereira, his health began to fail rapidly on his return to Burma, with gallstone trouble superimposed on his chronic asthma. “He was operated on twice,” Pereira wrote, “and on the urgent advice of his doctors, he reluctantly decided to leave the Order where he had now attained the seniority of Thera or Elder.”57 Pereira did not give a date for this. In 1912 and 1913, The Buddhist Society was still referring to him as Ven. Ananda Metteyya,58 but it is possible that he had already disrobed by this time. In 1914 doctors in Burma pressed him to leave the country if his life was to be saved. His Burmese friends, therefore, sent him to England where he was to meet up with his sister, who had come from America to lead him back to her home in California. A passage from Liverpool was booked but the ship’s doctor refused Bennett permission to board because he feared the American authorities would deny him a landing permit on health grounds. His sister travelled without him. Bennett, now a lay person, was left to the mercy of British well-wishers.

From this point onwards, Allan Bennett’s story was a sad one. A member of the Liverpool Branch of The Buddhist Society, a doctor, took him in and gave him incessant medical care. During the First World War his sister came back from America but she stayed with friends and could not look after her brother. For the doctor’s family, the financial and emotional burden of having a chronically sick, prematurely old person in the house was great. Mrs. Hla Oung, offered 10.00 pounds a year towards maintenance but it was not enough. At this point an anonymous group of well-wishers were forced to write to The Buddhist Review in 1916 appealing for money to save Bennett from being placed “in some institution supported by public charity.”59 His asthma attacks were occurring now more than once a day.

Help did come, from overseas as well as Britain. Yet, Bennett’s final years were far from comfortable. The First World War, which killed a generation of young people in the trenches of France, had a profound effect on him, as it did on many sensitive Westerners. It drove him into deep introspection about the human condition, the sustainability of Western culture, and the contribution of Buddhism. There was also the ever present awareness that his health had prevented him from realizing his hopes for Buddhist outreach in Britain. Yet, the very trauma of the war eventually impelled him into writing and speaking again. In the winter of 1917-18, he was persuaded by Clifford Bax to give a series of papers to a private audience in Bax’s studio. These were later published as “The Wisdom of the Aryas, just two months before his death.

Then, on Vesak Day (May) 1918, Bennett gave to The Buddhist Society what Christmas Humphreys called “a ‘fighting speech’ which aroused the listening members to fresh enthusiasm.”60 It marked a return to active work. He opened by reminding his listeners that it was ten years since his mission to Britain, “the first Buddhist Mission which for over ten centuries had been sent forth from any Buddhist country.” He reported with sadness that the parent body of The Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Buddhasasana Samagama, had completely broken up, and he referred to the war as “the opening of an era of well-nigh universal calamity and woe.”61. He went on to tackle the central question of how the “priceless treasure of the Law” could offer solace, strength, and clear vision even when “it appears that all our world is rocking about us to its fall.” The wider content of his talk I will deal with later. What is important here is that Allan Bennett returned to active work in Britain. He seems to have been helped financially by friends in Britain and Sri Lanka. Cassius Pereira refers to Clifford Bax and Dr. C.A. Hewavitarana as patrons.62

According to one account, Bennett moved to London in 1920.63 Although he was incapacitated for weeks at a time, he took over the editorship of The Buddhist Review from D.B. Jayatilaka, who returned to Sri Lanka. He spoke at meetings organized by the Buddhist Society and became actively involved in the Society’s plans. His conviction that Buddhism offered hope for the West remained unshaken, as his first editorial in 1920 made clear:

These facts, we consider, justify us in our conclusion that in the extension of this great Teaching lies not only the solution of the ever-growing religious problems of the West; but even, perhaps, the only possible deliverance of the western civilization from that condition of fundamental instability which now so obviously and increasingly prevails.64


By 1922, however, Allan Bennett was dying. The January 1922 edition of The Buddhist Review was the last that he edited and indeed the last that was published. Before his death he was reported to have lived at 90 Eccles Road, Clapham Junction. His financial situation was grave, but help continued to come from Dr. Hewavitarana and probably Cassius Pereira. He died on 9th March 1923. A Buddhist funeral service was prepared by Francis Payne, a prominent Buddhist and convert from the 1908 mission, who was present when he died. Dr. Hewavitarana cabled money from Sri Lanka to buy a grave in Morden Cemetery in South London. Humphreys wrote that “flowers and incense were placed on the grave by members of the large gathering assembled, and so there passed from human sight a man whom history may some time honour for bringing to England as a living faith the Message of the All-Enlightened One.”65

Travers Christmas Humphreys, QC (15 February 1901 – 13 April 1983) was an English barrister who prosecuted several controversial cases in the 1940s and 1950s, and later became a judge at the Old Bailey. He also wrote a number of works on Mahayana Buddhism and in his day was the best-known British convert to Buddhism. In 1924 he founded what became the London Buddhist Society, which was to have a seminal influence on the growth of the Buddhist tradition in Britain.

-- Christmas Humphreys, by Wikipedia


No gravestone has ever been placed on Allan Bennett’s grave. This could have been due to suspicions which continued to surround his name after his death. For instance, Bennett never completely outlived his reputation as a magician and a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn. The young Buddhist Society was keen to dissociate itself from anything esoteric. Allan Bennett’s involvement as a young man with a movement which was controversial and his early friendship with Aleister Crowley, by then a known occultist, would have been cause enough for suspicion. It is significant that several articles during his lifetime took pains to stress that he was not a man of “mystery”, that he had rejected that part of his past. “It is necessary to say this, since some attempts have been made to surround him with mystery. There is no more mystery attending the Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya than any other person,” an editorial of The Buddhist Review stated in 1909.66 Clifford Bax said something similar in 1918: “At first glance I realized that he never could have played at being a man of mystery.”67

Ven. Ananda Metteyya rejected the path of “mystery” as a hindrance to the goal. It was not “mystery” and magic which taxed his mind but two quite different aspects of life: the search for truth and the pain within human existence. He brought the sensitivity of the poet and the mind of the scientist to this. Yet, he occasionally shared a conviction that there was a power, an energy, which moved to goo and which could be used by humans on their way to liberation. This could mistakenly have struck some Western Buddhists as touching the theism they had rejected. As for his friendship with Aleister Crowley, it ended as Ananda Metteyya travelled further and further from the path Crowley chose. His influence on Crowley was great but ultimately Crowley chose to reject it.

Another reason for suspicion might have been his illness. Throughout his life, he was reliant on dependency-creating drugs such as cocaine, opium, and morphine, no doubt first prescribed by a doctor, although by the end of his life some of the dangers were known and new remedies were being tried. The consequence, however, could have been times of hallucination, giving the appearance of the “mystery” with which some linked him. The truth is that it was an injustice to a person who, in his writing, communicated the message of the Buddha with a poetic sensitivity and a scientific directness which still speaks to us today.

_______________

Notes:

1. Clifford Bax, “Ananda Metteyya” in The Middle Way, Vol. 43:1, May 1968, p. 23.

2. Ibid., p. 27.

3. The Buddhist, 28th April 1923, p. 6.

4. Dr. Cassius Pereira was a prominent Sri Lankan Buddhist. Together with Ven. Narada, Dr. W.A. de Silva, and Hema Basnayake, in 1921 he founded the Servants of the Buddha, an organization which provided a forum for English-speaking Buddhists to discuss the Dhamma. At the age of 65 he was ordained with the monastic name Kassapa, receiving both novice ordination and higher ordination on the same day. Throughout his life, he was an influential exponent of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka, stressing its rationality. His father built Maitriya Hall (Lauries Road, Bambalapitiya), which was named after Ananda Metteyya.

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It is early Saturday evening and the Galle Road at Bambalapitiya is a comfortable cacophony of weekend activity but a turn into Lauries’ Road, finds the Mettaramaya; an escape from the noisy sights and sounds. The temple this evening is a peaceful hum of activity as a few individuals make their way past the stupa to the back, where stands a chapel- a building one would hardly expect to see in a temple.

If such a sight caused surprise in the mind of the casual observer, it clearly didn’t bother the men and women who removed their shoes at the entrance and stepped inside; a practice that has been taking place for close to a century as they prepared for the weekly meeting of the society of ‘The Servants of the Buddha’.

“In my personal view it goes to real Buddhist philosophy,” explains Mrs. Jayakuru who had joined the society in the early 90s. More of a forum rather than a typical “bana” or sermon, meetings take place every Saturday at 4.30 p.m. “We go through the minutes of the previous session and then meditate for about five minutes,” clarifies Dr. Kosala De Silva, President of the society. A guest speaker either from the clergy and laity conducts the session. For the members, it is comprehensive and allows them to question the Dhamma and share their views and opinions- all in English.

With a history that has witnessed many events such as birth of the country’s independence and two world wars, the walls of the Maitri Hall, as the chapel is known have always provided its visitors with a spiritual escape while offering them the freedom and liberty to examine Buddhism from a layman’s point of view.

Established almost 40 years after the acclaimed publication “The Light of Asia” by Sir Edwin Arnold, KCIE CSI, the study of Buddhism in English built a bridge between the East, the West and Buddhism. With interest in the doctrine spreading across America and Europe over the next few decades, an Englishman -- Allan Bennett was ordained as a Bhikkhu in Ceylon, believed to have been only the second Englishman to take the robes. As Ven. Ananda Metteyya, he had a vision of teaching the Dhamma in English especially in Anglicised schools as Buddhism was not part of the school curriculum at that point.

Having heard Ven. Ananda give a sermon, Dr. Cassius A. Pereira, LMS (Cey), LRCP (Lond) embraced Buddhism. Ordained as Bhikkhu Kassyapa of the Vajiraramaya Temple, he worked diligently toward the spread of the Dhamma and together with Ven. Rambukwelle Siddhartha Thera, Ven Narada Maha Swaminwahanse and a few others formed the Servants of the Buddha Society in 1921, becoming its first president.

Since its inception the society has attracted the clergy and laity, scholars and even those of different faiths.

Over the years little has changed within the society. The medium of communication remains English. In fact the Servants of the Buddha is believed to be one of the only Buddhist societies in Sri Lanka to conduct their meetings exclusively in English. While introducing Buddhism to schools was a primary objective, Dr. De Silva believes that conducting sessions in English may have been done to create a sense of familiarity among English speaking Colombo of the colonial ’20s.

Another, if not the most atypical feature of the society is in the hall itself. The Maitri Hall located at the back of the Mettaramaya with long open doors familiar to a classical church building, has a chapel-like atmosphere, complete with a high ceiling, pews and even an altar. Softly lit, one feels quite at home seated in one of the pews, feet touching the cold cement floor. The building is rustic and simple. A small vestry of sorts adjoins the hall, where two cupboards make up the humble ‘library’ with books dating back to the last century. “The building itself captures attention,” adds a member, and yes, it is in need of repair.

For Dr. De Silva little has changed since he can remember. Although he joined only about three and a half years ago the Servants of the Buddha is a society linked to him from his childhood. “My father used to come for meetings, even from Panadura,” he reminisces. Having attended Dhamma school as a child, his father’s spiritual influence was deeply rooted within young Kosala, who would later on become a keynote speaker at many a meeting, before becoming a member, and more recently the society’s president.

Mrs. Jayakuru joined the society during her late husband‘s period as President. “We have a lot of professionals -- lawyers, doctors, engineers, even naval officers,” she explains, as to the diverse group of people who make their way to the Maitri Hall with a thirst of knowledge and maybe even inner peace.

Retired teacher Badra Yatamagamuwa who has been attending meetings for the past 30 years still doesn’t call herself a member per se. She comes for the opportunity to listen and learn, she says, and some speakers go “straight to the heart”.

The weekly meetings attract around 20 to 25 people, while they do see bigger crowds especially young people coming in on Vesak poya day.

On the last Saturday in July when the Sunday Times dropped in, the meeting was devoted to one and a half hours of meditation. Not everyone was able to remain in full concentration, and some waited till the end to ask questions and discuss their own doubts with Prof. Rajah De Alwis, the guest speaker for the day. All in an atmosphere of calm that seems to characterise the society.

-- A Spiritual Escape, by Pumima Pilapitiya, The Sunday Times


5. Alec Robertson, a prominent exponent of Buddhism, has been linked with the Servants of the Buddha since 1948, since 1970 as its President. He was a close associate of Dr. Cassius Pereira.

6. Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thera was born in 1896 and entered the Bhikkhu Sangha in 1911, gaining higher ordination in 1916. During his life, he has earned international renown as a scholar and spiritual leader. Still alive and in good health at the time this publication goes to press (1998), he was one of the few people I met during my research having first-hand memories of Ananda Metteyya’s era.

7. The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography, eds. John Symonds & Kenneth Grant (Penguin (Arkana), Harmondsworth, U.K., 1989), p. 180.

8. Kenneth Grant, The Magical Revival (Frederick Muller Ltd., London, 1972), p. 82n.

9. Confessions, p. 234.

10. The Magical Revival, p. 85.

11. See R.A. Gilbert, The Golden Dawn: Twilight of the Magicians. A Concise history, drawing on new material from privately printed and manuscript sources, of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (The Aquarian Press, Wellingborough, UK, 1983); Ellic Howe, The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order (The Aquarian Press, Wellingborough, UK, 1972); Kenneth Grant, The Magical Revival.

12. Confessions, p. 178.

13. Ibid., p. 179.

14. Ibid., p. 181.

15. The Magical Revival, p. 82.

16. Ibid., p. 85.

17. See Confessions, p. 180; The Magical Revival, p. 85.

18. Confessions, p. 234.

19. Ibid., pp. 181-82.

20. In the late 1880s, the remedies prescribed by doctors for asthma included cocaine, opium, and morphine. Bennett was heavily dependent on them in Britain. See Confessions, p. 180; James Adam, Asthma and its Radical Treatment (Henry Kimpton, London, 1913), which advises the use of cocaine and, with restrictions, morphine; A.C. Wootton, Chronicles of Pharmacy (MacMillan & Co. Ltd., London, 1910), which affirms the beneficial effects of laudanum, an opium-based drug, in a variety of ailments; John C. Thorowgood, Asthma and Chronic Bronchitis (Bailliere Tindall and Cox, London, 1894), which recommends arsenical cigarettes, cocaine, cannabis, and morphine together with less toxic drugs.

21. The Buddhist, 28th April 1923, p. 6.

22. Confessions, p. 247.

23. Ibid., p. 246.

24. Dr. Cassius A. Pereira, “Why do I renounce the World?” Ceylon Daily News, Vesak Number 2491 (1947), (Colombo, Sri Lanka), p. 67.

25. Confessions, p. 249.

26. See “Why do I renounce the World?”, p. 67.

27. Confessions, p. 237.

28. Ibid., p. 237.

29. Ibid., p. 250.

30. See Buddhism, Vol. 1:4, pp. 677-68, where Ananda Metteyya justifies representation of the first International Freethought Conference because Buddhism is opposed to all supernaturalism; Buddhism (Vol. 1:1), p. 27, where Buddhism is divorced from the esoteric.

31. See The Buddhist, 28th April 1923, p. 6; Confessions, p. 271.

32. Confessions, p. 270.

33. Ibid., p. 271.

34. Ibid., p. 462.

35. Ibid., p. 464.

36. For further information about Rost see Christmas Humphreys Sixty Years of Buddhism in England (1907-1967) (The Buddhist Society, London, 1968).

37. "The Faith of the Future" mentions arbitration instead of warfare; equality between the sexes; humane treatment of criminals.

38. Buddhism: An Illustrated Quarterly Review, Vol. 1:1, pp. 63-64.

39. Ibid. Vol. 1:3, p. 473.

40. Ibid. Vol. 1:3, pp. 503ff.; Vol. 2:1, p. 119.

41. Ibid., Vol. 1:3, p. 515.

42. The Buddhist, 28th April 1923, p. 6.

43. Unpublished letter from Ven. Ananda Metteyya to Dr. Cassius Pereira (Forest Hermitage, Kandy, Sri Lanka).

44. William Peiris, The Western Contribution to Buddhism (Motilal Barnasidass, Delhi, 1973), p. 139.

45. The Buddhist Review, Vol. 9, 1917, p. 184.

46. Humphreys, Sixty Years of Buddhism in England, p. 7. It is unlikely that Ananda Metteyya came to England intending to stay on permanently and that failure sent him back to Burma. More probably, his visit was intended to begin a process that would eventually produce an indigenous monastic Sangha in the West.

47. Ibid., p. 7.

48. Ibid., p. 6.

49. See also Sandra Bell, “British Buddhism and the Negotiation of Tradition,” paper given at a symposium on “The Invention and Re-Invention of Tradition” held at St. Mary’s College, 22-24 September 1994. Bell writes, “Those middle classes and upper class late Victorian Londoners who chose to support the activities of Ananda Metteyya were, despite his British origins, faced with alien forms of behavior to which they had difficulty in adapting.”

50. Christmas Humphreys, “Ananda Metteyya,” in The Middle Way, Vol. 47, 1972, p. 133.

51. The Buddhist Review, Vol. 1, 1909, p. 3

52. Ibid., p. 3.

53. Minute Book, December 3rd, 1909 (The Buddhist Society, London).

54. Ibid., April 4th, 1912.

55. Ibid., November 1st, 1912.

56. Ibid., December 23rd, 1914.

57. The Buddhist, 28th April 1923, p. 6.

58. See Minute Book, April 30th, 1912; March 14th, 1913; December 9ths, 1913 (The Buddhist Society, London).

59. The Buddhist Review, Vol. 8, 1916, pp. 217-19.

60. Humphreys, Sixty Years, p. 14.

61. The Buddhist Review, Vol. 9, p. 141.

62. The Buddhist, 28th April 1923, p. 6

63. Kenneth Mullen, “Ananda Metteyya: Buddhist Pioneer” in The Middle Way, Vol. 64, 1989.

64. The Buddhist Review, Vol. 10, pp. 186-87.

65. Humphreys, Sixty Years, pp. 16-17.

66. The Buddhist Review, Vol. 1, 1909, p. 3.

67. Clifford Bax, “Ananda Metteyya” in The Middle Way, Vol. 43:1, p. 23.
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C. Jinarājadāsa

Curuppumullage Jinarājadāsa (16 December 1875 – 18 June 1953), was a Sri Lankan scholar, lecturer, and writer who served as the fourth President of the Theosophical Society based in Adyar, Chennai, India from 1945 to 1953. An accomplished linguist, he traveled extensively for fifty years as an international lecturer, speaking in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, as well as Sinhalese and Tamil. He was known to his wide circle of friends as "Raja", "Brother Raja", or "CJ".

See also Jinarājadāsa writings.

Early years and education

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CJ as a young man

Mr. Jinarājadāsa was born on December 16, 1875 in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) of Sinhalese Buddhist parents in a town about fifteen miles (24 km) south of the capital city, Colombo. The name Curuppumullage indicates a person "Curuppu" living in the house or town of Mullage. The surname Jinarājadāsa can be interpreted in various ways, but is a combination of three words: jina (winner), raja (king), and dāsa (servant).

His association with Theosophy began at the age of thirteen when, as one of the first students of Ananda College, he met C. W. Leadbeater. Brother Raja wrote of that year:

There was a certain day for me in November 1889, when I was thirteen when my feet were "washed in the blood of the heart." That day the Master received me as his chela.[1]


He wrote more of this event in his book Christ and Buddha.

The following year, A. P. Sinnett asked Mr. Leadbeater to return from India to England to tutor his son Denny and George Arundale, Leadbeater brought Raja with him. The three boys were close in age: Raja was born in 1875, Denny in 1877, and George in 1878. Jinarājadāsa met Madame Blavatsky for the first time. For two years, Raja and Leadbeater lived in the Sinnett household, but after that they moved into tiny quarters supported by Leadbeater's work giving English languages to foreigners. Raja attended classes to prepare for university.[2]

On March 14, 1893 he became a member of the Theosophical Society through the London Lodge, and 1894 was admitted into its Inner Group where he "was present at the intimate and informal gatherings of the Group which were held on most Sunday mornings in Mr. Sinnett's library for discussion."[3]

In 1896, Raja was admitted to St John’s College, Cambridge, and four years later took his Degree in the Oriental Languages Tripos. He also studied Law, and was coxswain of the College boat in the rowing team. He then went back to Ceylon where he became Vice-Principal (1900-1901) of Ananda College in Colombo. In 1902 he returned to Europe to study literature and science at the University of Pavia, Italy. In 1904 he went to America, where he began his career as an international lecturer of the Theosophical Society.[4]

Influences on C. Jinarājadāsa

In 1928, Mr. Jinarājadāsa spoke of some major intellectual influences on his life:

There are four great writers of the West who have influenced my thinking very profoundly. One is Richard Wagner. It was his ethical conception of life, linked to his marvellous creations, that made a profound impression on me. Another is Plato. As far as the West is concerned, ever since Plato wrote, wherever there is any kind of philosophical thought which deals with civilization or tries to understand the principles of art, every political writer and every exponent of art has more or less to follow Plato's trail... The third great writer is Dante, whom I consider the greatest poet humanity has yet produced... The supreme value of Dante is that he is utterly unique, so far as I know as always rising with his poetic art to the plane of the Buddhi. Whatever he says has a quality of intuition about it which is not characteristic of many other great poets...

The other writer is Ruskin. I well remember the great revolution which took place in my whole attitude toward life when I began to receive the volumes of Ruskin which Bishop Leadbeater sent to me in 1900. He had always been an admirer of Ruskin and he was brought up in the tradition of looking at Ruskin as someone very great indeed. When I received those volumes, there was that exhilaration which you yourself doubtless experienced when you came across Theosophy. It was a revelation... He emphasized the thought that the laws that should govern human life are not the ordinary laws of supply and demand as stated in the schools but that the primary factor in economic life is the human being, not as a producer but as a spiritual being who has an eternal destiny.... Ruskin refused to acknowledge that theology as such was separate from life, or that political economy was not as necessary to the salvation of the soul as any kind of prayers...[5]


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A. P. Warrington with Jinarâjadâsas

Marriage

In 1916, Mr. Jinarājadāsa married Miss Dorothy M. Graham, an English member who founded the Women's Indian Association with Margaret Cousins.

Theosophical work

During the administration of Annie Besant, Brother Raja served as Vice President of the Society, from 1921 to 1928, during the presidency of Annie Besant. For a few years beginning in 1934, he was Head of The Manor, Mosman, Sydney, Australia.[6]

He was one of the founding members of the Order of the Brothers of Service, along with his wife Dorothy and Fritz Kunz. In 1934 he succeeded C. W. Leadbeater as Outer Head of the Esoteric Section.

Mr Jinarâjadâsa was editor of The Theosophist for three periods of time. Annie Besant turned over that responsibility when she was interned for three months in 1917, and again in 1931-33 during her last illness. He resumed the editorship during his term in office as President of the Society from 1946–53.

TO BE EXPANDED

Travels as international lecturer
Because of his deep knowledge of Theosophy, his inspiring personality, and his proficiency in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, Raja was much in demand as a lecturer. The first speaking tour was in 1904 in the United States of America. He presented lectures at annual conventions of the international Society in 1914, 1917, 1921, and many times afterward.

In 1930, Brother Raja was asked to deliver the Blavatsky Lecture. His topic was "The Personality of H. P. Blavatsky".

This is a partial listing of his lecture tours: TO BE ADDED

Adyar library and archives

During the years 1930-1932 and 1935, Mr. Jinarâjadâsa served as director of the Adyar Library and Research Centre. TO BE EXPANDED

He was highly engaged in organizing the archives of the Society, and in publishing materials found there. TO BE EXPANDED

Presidency

Following the death of George Arundale,Mr. Jinarâjadâsa ran unopposed for election to the presidency. He took office as President of the Society on February 17, 1946 and served until 1953, when he resigned due to illness. His successor was N. Sri Ram.

According to his official biography:

As President, during the post-war years, Brother Râjâ, as he was affectionately called, was very concerned about Adyar as it was affected by a shortage of workers, military occupation of the ocean frontage and consequent public traffic through the estate. He did his best to free Adyar of all its entanglements and restore it to its earlier serenity, as the centre of Theosophical thought and the symbol of the unity of the Society, and preserving its international character.

In 1949 Jinarâjadâsa founded the School of the Wisdom at Adyar, for the study of Theosophical teachings in depth as given in the textbooks, but primarily because a student knowing these things could with widened vision ‘sit in the centre’ of his own being and ‘enjoy clear day’ in his understanding of the world of men and affairs. The School was also to devote its studies to the thoughts of the great and the affairs of men in the larger sense through historical time. Its yearly sessions attract students from several countries to this day. He tried to make the Headquarters once more a centre for students and gradually reorganized the estate for that purpose. Jinarâjadâsa could always present his thoughts with clear and delicate appreciation of the pictures his words would create in the minds of his readers.[7]


Other accomplishments:

1949 - Led an appeal by scholars to the new nation of India "to accord Sanskrit the honored position which belongs to it" as a foundational source of spiritual and practical wisdom.[8]

TO BE EXPANDED

Other activities

Brother Raja was fond of the American sport of baseball:

Base Ball originated in America. It was introduced into India by Mr. Jinarajadasa, who took with him on his return from this country a supply of bats, balls, gloves and rule books, and as always his work has taken root. We have a letter from Mr. Felix Layton, the Head Master of the Besant Theosophical School at Adyar, stating that that team has won the Madras Schools' Base Ball Championship. In other respects, also, the school is doing well.[9]


TO BE EXPANDED

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Final letter to Boris de Zirkoff

Final years

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Memorial service in Olcott Library

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Ashes scattered in Fox River

The strains of his travels took a toll on his health. In a 1946 letter to James Perkins he wryly commented on the hot climate of Adyar, India:

If only Adyar would cool off 20° between day and night we would manage quite well. As to my stay in Bangalore, the one who worked hardest was Elithe [Nisewanger, his secretary], because I gave several lectures and talks and she took them all down. The skin irritation stopped with 10° cooler than Adyar, but by compensation to equalize karmic debits, knees and particularly my left shoulder (I am left handed) got going. However, all these ups and downs are part of the order of the day.[10]


On February 17, 1953, suffering from diabetes and heart disease, Mr. Jinarājadāsa resigned from the presidency of the Society after one term in office. He was the only President who declined to stand for re-election, and in February of that year Nilakanta Sri Ram became his successor.

CJ had committed to a lecture tour of the United States. When he reached the headquarters of the American Section, he became ill. On June 10th he wrote a final letter to his longtime friend Boris de Zirkoff describing his heart attacks. Despite the earnest efforts of Dr. Henry A. Smith, other doctors, and the staff to help him, Mr. Jinarājadāsa passed away on June 18, 1953. A memorial service was held in the library, and all of his ashes were scattered on the Fox River by James S. Perkins, Kathrine Perkins, Helen Zahara, Caroline Tess, and Geoffrey Hodson, according to Brother Raja's specific instructions. A very detailed account of his final days was written by Mr. Perkins.[11]

A few years before his death, he composed an epitaph for himself:

He loved children, the sea,
Beethoven, Wagner’s Ring, the
Hallelujah Chorus, and his
Gospel was Ruskin.[12]


Writings

C. Jinarājadāsa was one of the foremost Theosophical writers. A list of his works is in a separate article, Jinarājadāsa writings.

In 1913 he was awarded the Subba Row Medal for his extensive contributions to Theosophical literature.

Articles are indexed in the Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals. Over 1600 articles are listed under the name Jinarājadāsa. Searching under CJ will result in a lengthy list that includes work by Charles Johnston, a Sanskrit scholar who was married to Madame Blavatsky's niece, and who was also known the same initials. Within the results list, the articles by Mr. Jinarājadāsa will include those in the periodicals: The Adyar Bulletin, The American Theosophist, The Australian ES Bulletin, The Herald of the Star, The Messenger, Sishya (The Student)], The Theosophic Messenger, The Theosophist, and World Theosophy. Articles by Charles Johnston appear in Theosophical Quarterly, Theosophy, The Path, and The Irish Theosophist.

Awards and honors

In 1913, Mr. Jinarājadāsa was awarded the Subba Row Medal for his contribution to Theosophical literature. A grove was planted at the Olcott campus with a plaque and stone bench. A Raja Commemorative Fund was established to support travel expenses of lecturers.

Photo gallery

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CJ with Ensor and Yarco, Theosophical Messenger, March 1911

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CJ in tent in Chicago, summer 1911.

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CJ as Fire Guard in World War II London. Image from TSA Archives.

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CJ with Sidney Cook, on Olcott campus, 1930s or 1940s.

Additional resources

Articles


• "C. Jinarajadasa" by Surendra Narayan. This article was originally published in Quest 93.6 (November-December 2005): 228-229.
• C Jinarajadasa 1875-1953 Memorial Program.

Pamphlets

• Jinarajadasa Collection in Archive.org.

Audio

• Theosophy UK C Jinarajadasa from the Theosophical Society in Nottingham and Leicester. Audio file on YouTube with photos.
• Occult Commentaries by C. W. Leadbeater, G. S. Arundale & C. Jinarajadasa

Social media

• Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa on Facebook.

Notes

1. C. Jinarājadāsa, The "K. H." Letters to C. W. Leadbeater (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1941), 56.
2. C. Jinarājadāsa, The "K. H." Letters," 68.
3. C. Jinarājadāsa, The "K. H." Letters," 74.
4. "Jinarajadasa, Curuppumullage," The Theosophical Year Book, 1938. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 189.
5. C. Jinarājadāsa, "Ruskin - A Herald of the New Age," The American Theosophist 34.11 (November, 1946), 245-247. Taken from unrevised notes of a lecture given in 1928.
6. "Jinarajadasa, Curuppumullage," The Theosophical Year Book, 1938. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 189.
7. "C. Jinarājadāsa (1875–1953)", TS Adyar Web Page. Available at TS Adyar Web page.
8. "To Lovers of Sanskrit," The American Theosophist 38.1 (January, 1050), 23).
9. "Base Ball Championship at Adyar," The American Theosophist 28.5 (May, 1940), 117.
10. C. Jinarājadāsa letter to James S. Perkins, July 30, 1946. James S. Perkins Papers. Records Series 08.06. Theosophical Society in America Archives.
11. James S. Perkins to Dr. P. W. Van den Broek [at The Manor]. August 9, 1953. James S. Perkins Papers. Records Series 08.06. Theosophical Society in America Archives.
12. "C. Jinarājadāsa (1875–1953)," Theosophical Society, Adyar web page.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Louis William Rogers
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 10/19/19

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L. W. Rogers

Louis William Rogers was an American lecturer and editor who served from 1920 to 1931 as General Secretary and President of the American Theosophical Society in the Theosophical Society based in Adyar. He was a man of great energy and vision, who organized dozens of lodges in the United States.

Early life

Louis William Rogers was born in the Midwestern state of Iowa on May 28, 1859. He taught in the public schools of Iowa and Kansas for five years, beginning late in the 1870s.[1] In the 1880s Rogers became a public lecturer in the Free Thought movement, which had Rationalism as its underlying philosophy.

Railroad career and union activities

Rogers began a railroad career with a job as a brakeman, and went on to edit a series of periodicals related to railroads and their unions. In 1888 Rogers launched a short-lived newspaper, the Railroad Patriot of St. Joseph, Missouri.[1] The next year, he moved to Colorado, where he became active first in the Brotherhood of Railroad Brakemen and then in the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen.[1] From 1889 to 1892 he edited several periodicals - the Railroad Brakemen's Journal, the Denver Patriot, and the Vona Herald. Early in the 1890s Rogers returned to the Midwest, moving first to the rail hub of Galesburg, Illinois, then to Chicago, and finally in 1892 to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He published a new paper, the Age of Labor, which merged in 1893 with The Labor Advocate, a prominent labor newspaper of the day.[1] That year he helped to establish the Wisconsin Federation of Labor.[1]

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L. W. Rogers

American Railway Union activities

In 1894, former Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen official Eugene V. Debs established the American Railway Union (ARU), attempting to create an industrial union that joined all the railway workers in a powerful, centralized organization. Rogers became a member of the ARU's executive board, and was appointed editor of the organization's weekly newspaper, Railway Times.[1] In 1894, the United States Attorney General responded to the ARU's famous Pullman Strike by issuing an injunction ordering the union to cease striking against any train carrying U.S. Mail.[2] L. W. Rogers, Eugene V. Debs, and two other union officials were found to be in contempt of the injunction, and they surrendered to authorities on July 17, 1894. Bail was set at $3,000 each, and all four ARU officials waived the right to post bail. They were immediately taken to Cook County Jail. Rogers later recalled that the substantial amount set for bail was not the cause of the decision to waive bail, declaring, "If it was $2, I'd go to jail. This is a mighty test between labor and capital, and we will fight it to the finish."[3] The four were released on July 25.[4] After a trial, the union and its leaders were found guilty of having conducted an illegal strike in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.[5] Rogers was sentenced to three months to be served in McHenry County Jail, which was served from June to August, 1895.[6] Debs and the union were subjected to further charges in a case that was defended all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court by the famous orator Clarence Darrow, although the unionists ultimately lost.

Later union activism

Rogers moved to Pueblo, Colorado, where he worked as an organizer for the American Federation of Labor, and edited another labor newspaper in 1896, the Industrial Advocate.[1] In 1897 he returned to Chicago to edit The Social Democrat, the journal of Eugene V. Debs' new politicl party, the Social Democratic Party of America. He also helped to organize Debs' lecture tours for two years.[1] He remained involved with the labor movement, serving as President of the Michigan Federation of Labor from 1898 to 1899.[1]

Theosophical Society activities

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L. W. Rogers

In the 20th Century, Rogers' attention turned to spirituality, after Eugene V. Debs gave him a book about reincarnation.[7]. In 1903 Rogers joined the American Theosophical Society.[8] He threw himself whole-heartedly into the Theosophical movement, lecturing extensively and publishing numerous books, articles, and pamphlets on reincarnation, life after death, karma, and dreams, and other matters. A firebrand speaker, Rogers was much in demand as a lecturer. Within fifteen years he had organized 53 new lodges.[9]

From April, 1908 to October, 1909 he edited a periodical with the name American Theosophist, published in Albany, New York.

Over the course of many years, Mr. Rogers maintained a close association with Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater. He made two world-wide lecture tours through Europe, the Far East, and Australia.[10]

Mr. Rogers’ granddaughter, Virginia Roach, commented on his strong friendship with Manly Hall, in an interview conducted by Robert and Leatrice Bonnell: “They were the closest of friends and spent many evenings exchanging views of lecturing locations pointed out on a world map spread before them. She also recalled the many Hall lectures, which L. W. enthusiastically attended.”[11]

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L. W. Rogers with members in Caspar, Wyoming, 1940.

Lecture tours

THIS SECTION UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Both as a union organizer and as a Theosophical worker, Mr. Rogers was known for his great skill in lecturing.

An incident in 1934 illustrates the challenges of cross-country lecture tours:

Mr. Rogers and Grayson were on their way to Denver from St. Louis... when they struck an unexpected layer of loose sand, the car overturned and turned over at least twice on its way down an embankment. Mr. Rogers suffered a good many bruises and was badly shaken up, but a crushed finger was the only injury demanding hospital treatment. They were able to flag a train and get into Denver without too long delay, and Mr. Rogers kept his evening lecture engagement without allowing what he termed a rather disreputable appearance, to say nothing of a painful finger, to interfere.[12]


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L. W. and May Rogers in Hollywood

Theosophical Society activities of Rogers family

May Rogers accompanied her husband on many of his lecture tours, including two long visits to Australia. After L. W. had stirred up interest in a new location with his rousing public lectures, Maysie would teach a beginning class in Theosophy for two weeks, so that a new lodge could be left well-established. She also served for a time as secretary to Annie Besant in Adyar in 1929.

Sons Grayson and Stanley were also involved with the Society. In 1926 George S. Arundale, then General Secretary of the Australian Section, wrote that "We are indeed blessed with Mr. Stanley Rogers, a printing expert, the son of the American General Secretary and of Mrs. Rogers. What we should do without him I do not know."[13] Stanley worked in the printing department of Advance! Australia.[14]

Vice President and Acting President

He was elected Vice President in 1918 during the administration of A. P. Warrington.

1920 Convention

THIS SECTION UNDER CONSTRUCTION

On March 18, 1920, A. P. Warrington addressed a letter to the Trustees of the Section, announcing his resignation.[15] The annual convention that year was turbulent, but ultimately, Rogers was elected as President (General Secretary) of the Section.

President of the American Theosophical Society

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President L. W. Rogers at desk, 1927. Image from TSA Archives.

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Ceramic sculpture of L. W. Rogers by Lillian Zimmermann

His first actions as President were decisive. Within a month, he changed the venue for the Thirty-Fourth Annual Convention from Seattle to Chicago. The National Secretary, Foster Bailey, was replaced by Mrs. Betsey Jewett. At the same time, Rogers removed the editor of the Society's periodical, The Messenger, Alice Evans, who later became Alice Bailey. Mrs. Grace Boughton Voce became Editor. Woodruff Sheppard, the Publicity Director, was removed from his position, and Bruno Ussher temporarily took over.[16]

In May he published a statement of policy that he had promised to the membership. While the American Theosophical Society was sound financially, its affairs were complicated by the economic disarray of the Krotona Institute of Theosophy. Ultimately the property in Hollywood was sold. The Esoteric Section moved to Ojai, California, and Rogers moved headquarters operations back to Chicago, which he considered to be more suitable due to its central location. The Theosophical Book Concern was re-established to increase publication and distribution of Theosophical books. His plan was to emphasize publishing as a major activity of the national organization, and to strengthen the local groups with national lecturers. In 1920 alone, he opened 55 branches of the Society. A tireless organizer, he continually lectured all over the country.

By 1925, the headquarters location in Chicago had become very overcrowded, and an initiative was undertaken to find a new permanent location. Rogers and his board wanted to stay in a central location within 500 miles of Chicago, and to create a campus where administrative activities could be conducted along with educational events and retreats. The National Secretary Kay Campbell found suitable land in Wheaton, Illinois that eventually became known as the Olcott campus. Members donated and loaned money so that the headquarters building could be built, and operations were moved into it in September 1927. The headquarters structure was eventually renamed the L. W. Rogers Building in honor of the President who made it happen.

Among the other accomplishments of the Rogers administration are these:[17]

• Increasing membership from 3,000 to over 8,000 members.
• Increasing the number of lodges from 100 to 209.
• Founding the Theosophical Book Gift Institute.
• Revising the national by-laws to a more democratic platform.
• Founding the Messenger newsletter.
• Encouraging vegetarianism for establishing a Vegetarian Cooking Club.
• Establishing a Purchasing Service Bureau managed by Dr. Ernest Stone to sell hard-to-find foods and other items to members.

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90th birthday on May 28, 1949 in Florida

Later years

Sidney A. Cook took over as president in 1931. During the years after his presidency, Mr. Rogers continued to lecture around the country on behalf of the Society. In 1931 Mr. Rogers reported that 48 new members joined the St. Louis Lodge after a week of lectures, and regarded that as "the largest number ever obtained during a single week by one Lodge in his entire experience of 28 years."[18] Another spectacular success in his later years of lecturing came when he toured Mexico in 1939: "Inspired by the leadership of Mr. L. W. Rogers, thirty-eight members in Mexico City have joined hands in a new lodge for the spreading of Theosophy in Mexico. Mr. Rogers writes that thirty-six of these members are entirely new to the Society."[19]

In order to reach southern and eastern locations more easily, Rogers moved in 1944 from California to St. Petersburg, Florida, but in 1947 at age 88 he announced his retirement from the lecture circuit.

Instead he undertook expansion of the Theosophical Book Gift Institute. In the first year he and Mrs. Lillian Carr of Paterson Lodge (New Jersey) placed 5-6 books in each of 502 institutions - 254 public libraries, plus academic libraries, and collections in hospitals, naval bases, and prisons.[20]

The organization incorporated as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation in 1948. At the passing of Eugene Wix, who initially served as secretary-treasurer, Mr. Rogers took on the position of secretary, and Herbert A. Kern, Sr. became the treasurer. Rogers wrote,

Mr. Kern is not only a long-time member of The Theosophical Society but is a man with very wide business experience. T. G. B. I. is indeed fortunate to have him on its working staff.

With this improvement in its working force T. G. B. I. will carry on the work with renewed energy. Its past work has scattered thousands of theosophical books over the nation; and they are now available to readers in scores of universities, colleges, public libraries, hospitals, on the ships of the United States Navy and in military camps and training stations. [21]


Louis Rogers died in Santa Barbara, California, on April 18, 1953.[22]

Editorial work

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Rogers served as the editor of two of the Society's other periodicals — Ancient Wisdom, which he edited from 1935 to 1936, and The Voice, beginning in 1952.

Writings about Theosophy

Mr. Rogers wrote hundreds of columns and articles for The Messenger, The Theosophic Messenger, The American Theosophist, The Theosophist, Discovery, and other periodicals. They are listed in the Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals under the names "LW Rogers", "L W Rogers", and LWR. In 1949, Mr. Rogers was awarded the Subba Row Medal for his contributions to Theosophical literature.

These are some of his numerous books and pamphlets, listed in order of publication:

• The Evidence for Theosophy: A Lecture. Harrogate: Theosophical Publishing Committee, 1906.
• The Occultism in Shakespeare's Plays. New York: Theosophical Book Co., 1909. Available at Internet Archive and Hathitrust.
• Occultism as a Factor in Civilization: A Lecture on the Two Phases of Human Evolution Represented in the Civilization of the Occident and the Orient. Ridgewood, NJ: Theosophical Book Company, 1910.
• The Hidden Side of Evolution: A Lecture on the Reasonableness of the Existence of a Spiritual Hierarchy and the Guidance of Human Evolution. Chicago: L.W. Rogers, n.d. [c. 1910s].
• What Theosophy Is. Chicago: National Publicity Department, Theosophical Society, 1910.
• Soul Powers and Possibilities: A Lecture on Some of the Methods by which those powers that are latent in all human beings may be evolved. Ridgewood, N.J.: Theosophical Book Co., 1910.
• Karma: Nature's Law of Justice: A Lecture on the Law of Cause and Effect as Operating in Some of the Affairs of Love. Los Angeles: Theosophical Book Concern, n.d. [c. 1910s].
• Hints to Young Students of Occultism.
• 3rd Edition - Ridgewood, N.J.: The Theosophical Book Co., 1911. Available at Hathitrust.
• 4th Edition - Los Angeles: Theosophical Book Concern, 1917. Available at [Available at Hathitrust and another Hathitrust version.
• Chicago: Theosophical Theosophical Concern, 1931.
• The Inspired Life. Los Angeles: L.W. Rogers, 1915.
• Self Development and the Way to Power. Los Angeles: L.W. Rogers, 1916. Available at Overdrive Content Reserve and Hathitrust.
• Elementary Theosophy. Los Angeles: Theosophical Book Concern, 1917. Seven more edition by Theosophical Press and Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, Illinois. 1917 edition available online at Internet Archive and Hathitrust.
• The Life Sublime. Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1917.
• Reincarnation from the Scientific Viewpoint: A Lecture Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1917.
• Reincarnation: Do We Live on Earth Again? Chicago: National Publicity Dept., Theosophical Society, 1917.
• The Logic of Reincarnation: A Lecture. Chicago: Theosophical Book Co., 1918.
• Beyond the Border: A Lecture. Chicago: Theosophical Book Co., 1918.
• Occultism as a Factor in Civilization: A Lecture. Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1918.
• Scientific Evidence of Future Life: A Lecture. Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1918.
• The Invisible World About Us: A Lecture on the Unseen Regions Beyond the Grasp of the Physical Senses and the Life We Live After Bodily Death. Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1918. Available at Hathitrust.
• Australian War Speeches and the Soldier Dead. Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, c. 1918.
• Dreams and Premonitions. Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1923 and Wheaton, Ill.: The Theosophical Press, 1948.
• Theosophical Questions Answered. Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1924.
• Gods in the Making, and Other Lectures. Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1925. Republished in 1950 as Man: An Embryo God, and Other Lectures.
• The Purpose of Life, and Other Lectures. Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1925.
• The Soldier Dead; and A Scientific Religion. Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1925.
• Universal Brotherhood. Chicago: Theosophical Concern, 1925.
• The Coming Civilization. Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1934.
• Olcott Manual: First Series: Theosophy, Religion, Science, Philosophy. With Annie Besant. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Press, 1934.
• Reincarnation, and Other Lectures. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Press, n.d. [1940s].
• The Ghosts in Shakespeare: A Study of the Occultism in the Shakespeare Plays. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Press, 1949 and 1955; New York, Haskell House Publishers, 1972; and Folcroft, Pa.: Folcroft Library Editions, 1973. First edition was in 1925.
• Man: An Embryo God, and Other Lectures. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Press, 1950. Published in 1925 as Gods in the Making.
• Karma: The Law of Human Destiny. New York: Philosophers Book Shop, n.d.
• A World in Distress: the Remedy as Seen by the Theosophist coauthored by C. Jinarājadāsa and Charles Leadbeater.

Online resources

Articles


• Memories of L. W. Rogers by Robert Bonnell and Leatrice Kreeger-Bonnell.
Notes
1. tuart B. Kaufman, Peter J. Albert, and Grace Palladino (eds.), The Samuel Gompers Papers: Volume 4: A National Labor Movement Takes Shape, 1895-98, (Urbana, IL: Illinois University Press, 1991), 547-548.
2. David Ray Papke, The Pullman Case: The Clash of Labor and Capital in Industrial America., (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1999), 40.
3. Quoted in Papke, The Pullman Case, 44.
4. J. Robert Constantine (ed.), Letters of Eugene V. Debs: Volume 1, 1874-1912, (Urbana, IL: Illinois University Press, 1990), 72.
5. Papke, The Pullman Case, pp. 49-50.
6. Constantine (ed.), Letters of Eugene V. Debs: Vol. 1, pg. 98, fn. 9.
7. Joy Mills, 100 Years of Theosophy in America, Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1987), 68.
8. Robert Bonnell and Leatrice Kreeger-Bonnell, Quest, 92:6 (Nov.-Dec. 2004), 224-226. Available at "Memories of L.W. Rogers,".
9. ""About the Candidates: L. W. Rogers," The American Theosophist" 33.4 (April, 1945), 86.
10. ""About the Candidates: L. W. Rogers," The American Theosophist" 33.4 (April, 1945), 86.
11. Robert Bonnell and Leatrice Kreeger-Bonnell, "Memories of L. W. Rogers" The Quest 92.6 (November-December 2004), 224-226. Available at Quest website.
12. Anonymous, "Mr. Rogers' Accident" The American Theosophist 22.6 (June, 1934), 139.
13. "News Items" The Messenger 14.3 (August 1926), 65.
14. "News Items" The Messenger 14.8 (Jan 1927), 180.
15. The Messenger (April, 1920) ????????.
16. Mills, 68-69.
17. Robert Bonnell and Leatrice Kreeger-Bonnell, "Memories of L. W. Rogers" The Quest 92.6 (November-December 2004), 224-226. Available at Quest website.
18. "What Lodges Are Doing" The Theosophical Messenger 19.5 (May, 1931), 402.
19. "New Lodge In Mexico, " The American Theosophist 27. 10 (October, 1939), 239.
20. L. W. Rogers, "Theosophical Book Gift Institute in 1947" The American Theosophist 35.1 (January, 1947), 17-18.
21. "T. G. B. I. Affairs," The American Theosophist 36.5 (May, 1948), 119.
22. State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics. California, Death Index, 1940-1997.
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