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Jodo Shinshu
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/11/19



Jōdo Shinshū (浄土真宗 "The True Essence of the Pure Land Teaching"[1]), also known as Shin Buddhism or True Pure Land Buddhism, is a school of Pure Land Buddhism. It was founded by the former Tendai Japanese monk Shinran. Shin Buddhism is considered the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan.


Shinran (founder)

Standing portrait of the founder of the Jōdo Shinshū school of Pure Land Buddhism located at Nishi Honganji, Kyoto. The painting has been designated as National Treasure of Japan

Shinran (1173–1263) lived during the late Heian to early Kamakura period (1185–1333), a time of turmoil for Japan when the emperor was stripped of political power by the shōguns. Shinran's family had a high rank at the Imperial court in Kyoto, but given the times, many aristocratic families were sending sons off to be Buddhist monks instead of having them participate in the Imperial government. When Shinran was nine (1181), he was sent by his uncle to Mount Hiei, where he was ordained as a śrāmaṇera in the Tendai sect. Over time, Shinran became disillusioned with how Buddhism was practiced, foreseeing a decline in the potency and practicality of the teachings espoused.

Shinran left his role as a dosō ("practice-hall monk") at Mount Hiei and undertook a 100-day retreat at Rokkaku-dō in Kyoto, where he had a dream on the 95th day. In this dream, Prince Shōtoku appeared to him, espousing a pathway to enlightenment through verse. Following the retreat, in 1201, Shinran left Mount Hiei to study under Hōnen for the next six years. Hōnen (1133–1212) another ex-Tendai monk, left the tradition in 1175 to found his own sect, the Jōdo-shū or "Pure Land School". From that time on, Shinran considered himself, even after exile, a devout disciple of Hōnen rather than a founder establishing his own, distinct Pure Land school.

During this period, Hōnen taught the new nembutsu-only practice to many people in Kyoto society and amassed a substantial following but also came under increasing criticism by the Buddhist establishment there. Among his strongest critics was the monk Myōe and the temples of Enryaku-ji and Kōfuku-ji. The latter continued to criticize Hōnen and his followers even after they pledged to behave with good conduct and to not slander other Buddhists.[2]

In 1207, Hōnen's critics at Kōfuku-ji persuaded Emperor Toba II to forbid Hōnen and his teachings after two of Imperial ladies-in-waiting converted to his practices.[2] Hōnen and his followers, among them Shinran, were forced into exile and four of Hōnen's disciples were executed. Shinran was given a lay name, Yoshizane Fujii, by the authorities but called himself Gutoku "Stubble-headed One" instead and moved to Echigo Province (today Niigata Prefecture).[3]

It was during this exile that Shinran cultivated a deeper understanding of his own beliefs based on Hōnen's Pure Land teachings. In 1210 he married Eshinni, the daughter of an Echigo aristocrat. Shinran and Eshinni had several children. His eldest son, Zenran, was alleged to have started a heretical sect of Pure Land Buddhism through claims that he received special teachings from his father. Zenran demanded control of local monto (lay follower groups), but after writing a stern letter of warning, Shinran disowned him in 1256, effectively ending Zenran's legitimacy.

In 1211 the nembutsu ban was lifted and Shinran was pardoned, but by 1212, Hōnen had died in Kyoto. Shinran never saw Hōnen following their exile. In the year of Hōnen's death, Shinran set out for the Kantō region, where he established a substantial following and began committing his ideas to writing. In 1224 he wrote his most significant book, the Kyogyoshinsho ("The True Teaching, Practice, Faith and Attainment of the Pure Land"), which contained excerpts from the Three Pure Land sutras and the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra along with his own commentaries[3] and the writings of the Jodo Shinshu Patriarchs Shinran drew inspiration from.

In 1234, at the age of sixty, Shinran left Kantō for Kyoto (Eshinni stayed in Echigo and she may have outlived Shinran by several years), where he dedicated the rest of his years to writing. It was during this time he wrote the Wasan, a collection of verses summarizing his teachings for his followers to recite.

Shinran's daughter, Kakushinni, came to Kyoto with Shinran, and cared for him in his final years and his mausoleum later became Hongan-ji, "Temple of the Original Vow". Kakushinni was instrumental in preserving Shinran's teachings after his death, and the letters she received and saved from her mother, Eshinni, provide critical biographical information regarding Shinran's earlier life. These letters are currently preserved in the Nishi Hongan temple in Kyoto. Shinran died at the age of 90 in 1263.[3]

Revival and formalization

Following Shinran's death, the lay Shin monto slowly spread through the Kantō and the northeastern seaboard. Shinran's descendants maintained themselves as caretakers of Shinran's gravesite and as Shin teachers, although they continued to be ordained in the Tendai School. Some of Shinran's disciples founded their own schools of Shin Buddhism, such as the Bukko-ji and Kosho-ji, in Kyoto. Early Shin Buddhism did not truly flourish until the time of Rennyo (1415–1499), who was 8th in descent from Shinran. Through his charisma and proselytizing, Shin Buddhism was able to amass a greater following and grow in strength. In the 16th-century, during the Sengoku period the political power of Honganji led to several conflicts between it and the warlord Oda Nobunaga, culminating in a ten-year conflict over the location of the Ishiyama Hongan-ji, which Nobunaga coveted because of its strategic value. So strong did the sect become that in 1602, through mandate of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, the main temple Hongan-ji in Kyoto was broken off into two sects to curb its power. These two sects, the Nishi (Western) Honganji and the Higashi (Eastern) Honganji, exist separately to this day.

During the time of Shinran, followers would gather in informal meeting houses called dojo, and had an informal liturgical structure. However, as time went on, this lack of cohesion and structure caused Jōdo Shinshū to gradually lose its identity as a distinct sect, as people began mixing other Buddhist practices with Shin ritual. One common example was the Mantra of Light popularized by Myōe and Shingon Buddhism. Other Pure Land Buddhist practices, such as the nembutsu odori[4] or "dancing nembutsu" as practiced by the followers of Ippen and the Ji School, may have also been adopted by early Shin Buddhists. Rennyo ended these practices by formalizing much of the Jōdo Shinshū ritual and liturgy, and revived the thinning community at the Honganji temple while asserting newfound political power. Rennyo also proselytized widely among other Pure Land sects and consolidated most of the smaller Shin sects. Today, there are still ten distinct sects of Jōdo Shinshū, Nishi Hongan-ji and Higashi Hongan-ji being the two largest.

Rennyo is generally credited by Shin Buddhists for reversing the stagnation of the early Jōdo Shinshū community, and is considered the "Second Founder" of Jōdo Shinshū. His portrait picture, along with Shinran's, are present on the onaijin (altar area) of most Jōdo Shinshū temples. However, Rennyo has also been criticized by some Shin scholars for his engagement in medieval politics and his alleged divergences from Shinran's original thought. After Rennyo, Shin Buddhism was still persecuted in some regions. Secret Shin groups called kakure nenbutsu would meet in mountain caves to perform chanting and traditional rituals.

Following the unification of Japan during the Edo period, Jōdo Shinshū Buddhism adapted, along with the other Japanese Buddhist schools, into providing memorial and funeral services for its registered members under the Danka system, which was legally required by the Tokugawa shogunate in order to prevent the spread of Christianity in Japan. The danka seido system continues to exist today, although not as strictly as in the premodern period, causing Japanese Buddhism to also be labeled as "Funeral Buddhism" since it became the primary function of Buddhist temples. The Honganji also created an impressive academic tradition, which led to the founding of Ryukoku University in Kyoto and formalized many of the Jōdo Shinshū traditions which are still followed today.

Following the Meiji Restoration and the subsequent persecution of Buddhism (haibutsu kishaku) of the late 1800s due to a revived nationalism and modernization, Jōdo Shinshū managed to survive intact due to the devotion of its monto. During World War II, the Honganji, as with the other Japanese Buddhist schools, was compelled to support the policies of the military government and the cult of State Shinto. It subsequently apologized for its wartime actions.[???][5]


On the occasion of the publication of the second edition of Zen at War, I would like to share with readers some of the positive developments that have occurred since the book's initial release in 1997. I refer, first of all, to European interest in the book as reflected in the publication of German, French, Italian, and Polish editions. Clearly there is broad interest in the West regarding Zen's relationship to Japanese militarism.

Equally if not more significant was the publication in 2001 of a Japanese. edition titled Zen to Senso (Zen at War). This edition contributed to the fact that two major branches of the Rinzai Zen sect, that is, Myoshinji and Tenryuji, admitted and apologized for the first time for their past support of Japanese militarism. In that sense, the book you are about to read is not simply a book about religious history but also one that has made history.

Specifically, on September 27, 2001, the Myoshinji General Assembly, meeting in Kyoto, issued a proclamation containing the following passage:

As we reflect on the recent events [of September 11, 2001,] in the U.S.A., we recognize that in the past our country engaged in hostilities, calling it a "holy war," and inflicting great pain and damage to various countries. Even though it was national policy at the time, it is truly regrettable that our sect, in the midst of wartime passions, was unable to maintain a resolute anti-war stance and ended up cooperating with the war effort. In light of this we wish to confess our past transgressions and critically reflect on our conduct [mazu kono kako no ayamachi ni taisuru zange to hansei no ue ni tatte].

A follow-up statement by branch administrators on October 19, 2001, said:

It was the publication of the book Zen to Senso [i.e., the Japanese edition of Zen at War], etc. that provided the opportunity for us to address the issue of our war responsibility. It is truly a matter of regret that our sect has for so long been unable to seriously grapple with this issue. Still, due to the General Assembly's adoption of its recent "Proclamation," we have been able to take the first step in addressing this issue. This is a very significant development.

Myoshinji is the largest branch of the Rinzai Zen sect, with more than 3,400 affiliated temples and 1.6 million adherents. The smaller Tenryuji branch issued a similar statement earlier in 2001, again citing this book as a catalyst. Kubota Jiun, current head of the Sanbo-kyodan, also apologized in the spring of 2001 for the wartime "errant words and actions" of Zen Master Yasutani Haku'un (introduced in chapter 10 of this book and more thoroughly in chapter 5 of Zen War Stories).

Sanbo Kyodan (三宝教団 Sanbō Kyōdan, literally "Three Treasures Religious Organization") is a lay Zen sect derived from both the Soto (Caodong) and the Rinzai (Linji) traditions. It was renamed Sanbo-Zen International in 2014. The term Sanbo Kyodan has often been used to refer to the Harada-Yasutani zen lineage. However, a number of Yasutani’s students have started their own teaching lines that are independent from Sanbo Kyodan. Strictly speaking, Sanbo Kyodan refers only to the organization that is now known as Sanbo-Zen International.

-- Sanbo Kyodan, by Wikipedia

As for the Soto Zen sect, little has changed since its groundbreaking admission of war responsibility in a January 1993 statement of repentance, introduced in chapter 10. Although a handful of Soto Zen-related scholars have continued to pursue this issue, notably Hakamaya Noriaki and Matsumoto Shiro of Komazawa University, their research has focused on highly contentious doctrinal issues having little effect on the sect as a whole. Nevertheless, in December 2005 Tanaka Shinkai, abbot of the Soto Zen monastery of Hokyoji in Fukui prefecture, praised Zen at War as being like a graphic depiction of the carnage at the scene of a horrendous car accident. "If we hope to prevent its reoccurrence," he stated, "we must not flinch from exploring just how and why this accident occurred." Tanaka went on to pledge that his temple, itself founded by a Chinese monk in the 13th century, would henceforth hold unprecedented memorial services for the victims of Japanese militarism.

This edition contains a new chapter titled "Was It Buddhism?" which places Zen's collaboration with Japanese militarism in the context of the 2,500-year-long relationship of Buddhism to the state and war. This additional chapter addresses the plaintive cry of one incredulous reader on the Internet who asked, "What the hell went wrong?"

Yet, if it can be said that something "went wrong" in prewar and wartime Zen, it is important to realize that it will take more than apologies, no matter how heartfelt, to make it "right" again. The fact is that Zen leaders who supported Japanese militarism did so on the grounds that Japanese aggression expressed the very essence of the Buddha Dharma and even enlightenment itself. Thus, until and unless their assumptions are closely examined and challenged, there is no guarantee that Zen's future, whether in the East or West, will not once again include support for the mass destruction of human life that is modern warfare.

Regrettably, many Western Zen leaders continue to either evade or rationalize the connection of their own Dharma lineage to Japan's past aggression. For example, in the fall 1999 issue of the Buddhist magazine tricycle, one well-known U.S. Zen master, Bernie Glassman, had the following to say about Yasutani Haku'un's wartime militarist and anti-Semitic pronouncements:

So if your definition of enlightenment is that there's no anti-Semitism in the state of enlightenment. If your definition of enlightenment is that there's no nationalism, or militarism, or bigotry in the state of enlightenment, you better change your definition of enlightenment. For the state of enlightenment is maha, the circle with no inside and no outside, not even a circle, just the pulsating of life everywhere.

In response to this assertion, David Brazier, English Buddhist and author of The New Buddhism (2002) wrote:

Glassman is willing to say that if your definition of enlightenment does not allow for anti-Semitism within enlightenment then your definition is not big enough. For Glassman, himself Jewish, to say such a thing is, in one sense, big-hearted. I acknowledge Glassman's big heart. Nonetheless, I assert that he is wrong. My definition of enlightenment does not have room for anti-Semitism. I do not think that the Buddha's definition of enlightenment had room for anything similar either. The Buddha had compassion for bigots, but he did not think they were enlightened.

Expanding on this theme, Brazier went on to assert that the non-dualism of Glassman's "circle with no inside and no outside" is in fact not even Buddhist in origin. "The Non-Dual ... is essentially a Taoist rather than a Buddhist idea," he wrote.

Needless to say, it is beyond the scope of either this book, or its more recent companion, Zen War Stories (2003), to resolve the claims and counterclaims raised above. Nevertheless, it can be readily observed that their resolution goes straight to heart of the nature of enlightenment itself. As such, this and the related issues contained in this book deal with the very essence of the Buddhist faith. Sooner or later, every serious Buddhist practitioner must attempt to resolve them, if only for him- or herself.

Finally, as I did in the first edition, let me close by acknowledging that this book, together with its companion volume, Zen War Stories, represents no more than the first steps in coming to an understanding of the relationship between (Zen) Buddhism and warfare. Nevertheless, in a world where religious-supported, if not religious-inspired, violence remains all too prevalent, even first steps are to be valued, for they at least begin to address the scourge that resides in all of the world's major faiths -- that there can be, under certain circumstances, something "sacred" or "holy" about war. And further, they address the belief that the duty of religious practitioners is to answer the call to war of their nation's leaders, no matter how destructive the ensuing acts of war may be.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Islam now appears to be the main if not sole source of religious fanaticism. It is important to recognize, however, that religion-inspired brutality knows no sectarian label. In 1906, for example, General Leonard Wood sent the following cable to President Teddy Roosevelt celebrating his victory over Filipino Muslims still resisting American colonial control: "The enemy numbered six hundred -- including women and children -- and we abolished them utterly, leaving not even a baby alive to cry for its dead mother. This is incomparably the greatest victory that was ever achieved by the Christian soldiers of the United States [italics mine]." In reply, Roosevelt praised the general's "brilliant feat of arms" and the excellent way he had "upheld the honor of the American flag" (quoted in Mark Twain's Religion by William E. Phipps, p. 208).

As much as the adherents of the world's faiths may wish to deny it, when it comes to the relationship of religion to violence, it is, as Hemingway has so poignantly stated, a question of "ask not for the whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."

-- Zen at War, by Brian Daizen Victoria

In contemporary times, Jōdo Shinshū is one of the most widely followed forms of Buddhism in Japan, although like other schools, it faces challenges from many popular Japanese new religions or shinshūkyō which emerged following World War II as well as from the growing secularization and materialism of Japanese society.

All ten schools of Jōdo Shinshū Buddhism commemorated the 750th memorial of their founder, Shinran, in 2011 in Kyoto.


Shinran's thought was strongly influenced by the doctrine of Mappō, a largely Mahayana eschatology which claims humanity's ability to listen to and practice the Buddhist teachings deteriorates over time and loses effectiveness in bringing individual practitioners closer to Buddhahood. This belief was particularly widespread in early medieval China and in Japan at the end of the Heian. Shinran, like his mentor Hōnen, saw the age he was living in as being a degenerate one where beings cannot hope to be able to extricate themselves from the cycle of birth and death through their own power, or jiriki (自力). For both Hōnen and Shinran, all conscious efforts towards achieving enlightenment and realizing the Bodhisattva ideal were contrived and rooted in selfish ignorance; for humans of this age are so deeply rooted in karmic evil as to be incapable of developing the truly altruistic compassion that is requisite to becoming a Bodhisattva.

Due to his awareness of human limitations, Shinran advocates reliance on tariki, or other power (他力)—the power of Amitābha (Japanese Amida) made manifest in his Primal Vow—in order to attain liberation.
Shin Buddhism can therefore be understood as a "practiceless practice", for there are no specific acts to be performed such as there are in the "Path of Sages". In Shinran's own words, Shin Buddhism is considered the "Easy Path" because one is not compelled to perform many difficult, and often esoteric, practices in order to attain higher and higher mental states.


Main article: Nianfo

As in other Pure Land Buddhist schools, Amitābha is a central focus of the Buddhist practice, and Jōdo Shinshū expresses this devotion through a chanting practice called nembutsu, or "Mindfulness of the Buddha [Amida]". The nembutsu is simply reciting the phrase Namu Amida Butsu ("I take refuge in Amitābha Buddha"). Jōdo Shinshū is not the first school of Buddhism to practice the nembutsu but it is interpreted in a new way according to Shinran. The nembutsu becomes understood as an act that expresses gratitude to Amitābha; furthermore, it is evoked in the practitioner through the power of Amida's unobstructed compassion. Therefore, in Shin Buddhism, the nembutsu is not considered a practice, nor does it generate karmic merit. It is simply an affirmation of one's gratitude. Indeed, given that the nembutsu is the Name, when one utters the Name, that is Amitābha calling to the devotee. This is the essence of the Name-that-calls.[6]

Note that this is in contrast to the related Jōdo-shū, which promoted a combination of repetition of the nembutsu and devotion to Amitābha as a means to birth in his pure land of Sukhavati. It also contrasts with other Buddhist schools in China and Japan, where nembutsu recitation was part of a more elaborate ritual.

The Pure Land

In another departure from more traditional Pure Land schools, Shinran advocated that birth in the Pure Land was settled in the midst of life. At the moment one entrusts oneself to Amitābha, one becomes "established in the stage of the truly settled". This is equivalent to the stage of non-retrogression along the bodhisattva path.

Many Pure Land Buddhist schools in the time of Shinran felt that birth in the Pure Land was a literal rebirth that occurred only upon death, and only after certain preliminary rituals. Elaborate rituals were used to guarantee rebirth in the Pure Land, including a common practice wherein the fingers were tied by strings to a painting or image of Amida Buddha. From the perspective of Jōdo Shinshū such rituals actually betray a lack of trust in Amida Buddha, relying on jiriki ("self-power"), rather than the tariki or "other-power" of Amida Buddha. Such rituals also favor those who could afford the time and energy to practice them or possess the necessary ritual objects—another obstacle for lower-class individuals. For Shinran Shonin, who closely followed the thought of the Chinese monk Tan-luan, the Pure Land is synonymous with nirvana.


The goal of the Shin path, or at least the practicer's present life, is the attainment of shinjin in the Other Power of Amida. Shinjin is sometimes translated as "faith", but this does not capture the nuances of the term and it is more often simply left untranslated.[7] The receipt of shinjin comes about through the renunciation of self-effort in attaining enlightenment through tariki. It should be noted, however, that shinjin arises from jinen (自然 naturalness, spontaneous working of the Vow) and cannot be achieved solely through conscious effort. One is letting go of conscious effort in a sense, and simply trusting Amida Buddha, and the nembutsu.

For Jōdo Shinshū practitioners, shinjin develops over time through "deep hearing" (monpo) of Amitābha's call of the nembutsu. According to Shinran, "to hear" means "that sentient beings, having heard how the Buddha's Vow arose—its origin and fulfillment—are altogether free of doubt."[8] Jinen also describes the way of naturalness whereby Amitābha's infinite light illumines and transforms the deeply rooted karmic evil of countless rebirths into good karma. It is of note that such evil karma is not destroyed but rather transformed: Shin stays within the Mahayana tradition's understanding of śūnyatā and understands that samsara and nirvana are not separate. Once the practitioner's mind is united with Amitābha and Buddha-nature gifted to the practitioner through shinjin, the practitioner attains the state of non-retrogression, whereupon after his death it is claimed he will achieve instantaneous and effortless enlightenment. He will then return to the world as a Bodhisattva, that he may work towards the salvation of all beings.


The Tannishō is a 13th-century book of recorded sayings attributed to Shinran, transcribed with commentary by Yuien-bo, a disciple of Shinran. The word Tannishō is a phrase which means "A record [of the words of Shinran] set down in lamentation over departures from his [Shinran's] teaching". While it is a short text, it is one of the most popular because practitioners see Shinran in a more informal setting.

For centuries, the text was almost unknown to the majority of Shin Buddhists. In the 15th century, Rennyo, Shinran's descendant, wrote of it, "This writing is an important one in our tradition. It should not be indiscriminately shown to anyone who lacks the past karmic good". Rennyo Shonin's personal copy of the Tannishō is the earliest extant copy. Kiyozawa Manshi (1863–1903) revitalized interest in the Tannishō, which indirectly helped to spawn the Ohigashi schism of 1962.[3]

In Japanese culture

Earlier schools of Buddhism that came to Japan, including Tendai and Shingon Buddhism, gained acceptance because of honji suijaku practices. For example, a kami could be seen as a manifestation of a bodhisattva. It is common even to this day to have Shinto shrines within the grounds of Buddhist temples.

By contrast, Shinran had distanced Jōdo Shinshū from Shinto because he believed that many Shinto practices contradicted the notion of reliance on Amitābha. However, Shinran taught that his followers should still continue to worship and express gratitude to kami, other buddhas and bodhisattvas despite the fact that Amitābha should be the primary buddha that Pure Land believers focus on. [9] Furthermore, under the influence of Rennyo and other priests, Jōdo Shinshū later fully accepted honji suijaku beliefs and the concept of kami as manifestations of Amida Buddha and other buddhas and bodhisattvas.[10]

The term honji suijaku or honchi suijaku (本地垂迹) in Japanese religious terminology refers to a theory widely accepted until the Meiji period according to which Indian Buddhist deities choose to appear in Japan as native kami to more easily convert and save the Japanese.[1][2]

Kami (Japanese: 神, [kaꜜmi]) are the spirits, phenomena or "holy powers" that are venerated in the religion of Shinto. They can be elements of the landscape, forces of nature, as well as beings and the qualities that these beings express; they can also be the spirits of venerated dead persons. Many kami are considered the ancient ancestors of entire clans (some ancestors became kami upon their death if they were able to embody the values and virtues of kami in life). Traditionally, great or sensational leaders like the Emperor could be or became kami.[1]

In Shinto, kami are not separate from nature, but are of nature, possessing positive and negative, and good and evil characteristics. They are manifestations of musubi (結び),[2] the interconnecting energy of the universe, and are considered exemplary of what humanity should strive towards. Kami are believed to be "hidden" from this world, and inhabit a complementary existence that mirrors our own: shinkai (神界, "the world of the kami").
[3]:22 To be in harmony with the awe-inspiring aspects of nature is to be conscious of kannagara no michi (随神の道 or 惟神の道, "the way of the kami").[2]

-- Kami, by Wikipedia

The theory states that some kami (but not all) are local manifestations (the suijaku (垂迹), literally, a "trace") of Buddhist deities (the honji (本地), literally, "original ground").[1][3] The two entities form an indivisible whole called gongen and in theory should have equal standing, but this was not always the case.[4] In the early Nara period, for example, the honji was considered more important and only later did the two come to be regarded as equals.[4] During the late Kamakura period it was even proposed that the kami were the original deities and the buddhas their manifestations.

-- Honji suijaku, by Wikipedia

Jōdo Shinshū traditionally had an uneasy relationship with other Buddhist schools because it discouraged the majority of traditional Buddhist practices except for the nembutsu. Relations were particularly hostile between the Jōdo Shinshū and Nichiren Buddhism. On the other hand, newer Buddhist schools in Japan, such as Zen, tended to have a more positive relationship and occasionally shared practices, although this is still controversial. In popular lore, Rennyo, the 8th Head Priest of the Hongan-ji sect, was good friends with the famous Zen master Ikkyū.

Jōdo Shinshū drew much of its support from lower social classes in Japan who could not devote the time or education to other esoteric Buddhist practices or merit-making activities.

Outside Japan

During the 19th century, Japanese immigrants began arriving in Hawaii, the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America (especially in Brazil). Many immigrants to North America came from regions in which Jōdo Shinshū was predominant, and maintained their religious identity in their new country. The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, the Buddhist Churches of America and the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada (formerly Buddhist Churches of Canada) are several of the oldest Buddhist organizations outside of Asia. Jōdo Shinshū continues to remain relatively unknown outside the ethnic community because of the history of Japanese American and Japanese-Canadian internment during World War II, which caused many Shin temples to focus on rebuilding the Japanese-American Shin sangha rather than encourage outreach to non-Japanese. Today, many Shinshū temples outside Japan continue to have predominantly ethnic Japanese members, although interest in Buddhism and intermarriage contribute to a more diverse community. There are also active Jōdo Shinshū sanghas in the United Kingdom,[11] Europe, Australia, and Africa, with members of diverse ethnicities.[citation needed]

The practice of Jōdo Shinshū ritual and liturgy may be very different outside Japan, as many temples, like ones in Hawai'i and the US, now use English as the primary language for Dharma talks and there are attempts to create an English-language chanting liturgy. In the United States, Jōdo Shinshū temples have also served as refuges from racism and as places to learn about and celebrate Japanese language and culture.

Shin patriarchs

Jodo shinshu buddhist altar with the Seven Masters enshrined.

The "Seven Patriarchs of Jōdo Shinshū" are seven Buddhist monks venerated in the development of Pure Land Buddhism as summarized in the Jōdo Shinshū hymn Shoshinge. Shinran quoted the writings and commentaries of the Patriarchs in his major work, the Kyogyoshinsho, to bolster his teachings.

The Seven Patriarchs, in chronological order, and their contributions are:[12][13][14][15]

Name / Dates / Japanese Name / Country of Origin / Contribution

Nagarjuna / 150–250 / Ryūju (龍樹) / India / First one to advocate the Pure Land as a valid Buddhist path.
Vasubandhu / ca. 4th century / Tenjin (天親) or Seshin (世親) / India / Expanded on Nagarjuna's Pure Land teachings, commentaries on Pure Land sutras.
Tan-luan / 476–542(?) / Donran (曇鸞) / China / Developed the six-syllable nembutsu chant commonly recited, emphasized the role of Amitabha Buddha's vow to rescue all beings.
Daochuo / 562–645 / Dōshaku (道綽) / China / Promoted the concept of "easy path" of the Pure Land in comparison to the tradition "path of the sages". Taught the efficacy of the Pure Land path in the latter age of the Dharma.
Shandao / 613–681 / Zendō (善導) / China / Stressed the importance of verbal recitation of Amitabha Buddha's name.
Genshin / 942–1017 / Genshin (源信) / Japan / Popularized Pure Land practices for the common people, with emphasis on salvation.
Hōnen / 1133–1212 / Hōnen (法然) / Japan / Developed a specific school of Buddhism devoted solely to rebirth in the Pure Land, further popularised recitation of name of Amitabha Buddha in order to attain rebirth in the Pure Land.

In Jodo Shinshu temples, the seven masters are usually collectivity enshrined on the far left.

Branch lineages

• Jōdo Shinshū Honganji School (Nishi Hongan-ji) - Popularly spelled Hongwan-ji
• Jōdo Shinshū Higashi Honganji School (Higashi Hongan-ji)
o Shinshū Ōtani School
• Shinshū Chōsei School (Chōsei-ji)
• Shinshū Takada School (Senju-ji)
o Shinshū Kita Honganji School (Kitahongan-ji)
• Shinshū Bukkōji School (Bukkō-ji)
• Shinshū Kōshō School (Kōshō-ji)
• Shinshū Kibe School (Kinshoku-ji)
• Shinshū Izumoji School (Izumo-ji)
• Shinshū Jōkōji School (Jōshō-ji)
• Shinshū Jōshōji School (Jōshō-ji)
• Shinshū Sanmonto School (Senjō-ji)
• Montoshūichimi School (Kitami-ji)
• Kayakabe Teaching (Kayakabe-kyō) - An esoteric branch of Jōdo Shinshū

Major holidays

The following holidays are typically observed in Jōdo Shinshū temples:[16]

Holiday / Japanese Name / Date

New Year's Day Service / Gantan'e / January 1
Memorial Service for Shinran / Hōonkō / November 28, or January 9–16
Spring Equinox / Higan / March 17–23
Buddha's Birthday / Hanamatsuri / April 8
Birthday of Shinran / Gotan'e / May 20–21
Bon Festival / Urabon'e / around August 15, based on solar calendar
Autumnal Equinox / Higan / September 20–26
Bodhi Day / Rohatsu / December 8
New Year's Eve Service / Joyae / December 31

Obon (お盆) or just Bon (盆) is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one's ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon Odori.

The festival of Obon lasts for three days; however, its starting date varies within different regions of Japan. When the lunar calendar was changed to the Gregorian calendar at the beginning of the Meiji era, the localities in Japan responded differently, which resulted in three different times of Obon. Shichigatsu Bon (Bon in July) is based on the solar calendar and is celebrated around the 15th of July in eastern Japan (Kantō region such as Tokyo, Yokohama and the Tōhoku region), coinciding with Chūgen. Hachigatsu Bon (Bon in August), based on the lunar calendar, is celebrated around the 15th of August and is the most commonly celebrated time. Kyū Bon (Old Bon) is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, and so differs each year. One exception was in 2019, when the solar and lunar calendar matched so Hachigatsu Bon and Kyū Bon were celebrated on the same day. Kyū Bon is celebrated in areas such as the northern part of the Kantō region, Chūgoku region, Shikoku, and Okinawa Prefecture.

-- Bon Festival, by Wikipedia

Major modern Shin figures

• Nanjo Bunyu (1848–1927)
• Saichi Asahara (1850-1932)
• Kasahara Kenju (1852–1883)
• Kiyozawa Manshi (1863–1903)
• Jokan Chikazumi (1870–1941)
• Eikichi Ikeyama (1873–1938)
• Soga Ryojin (1875–1971)
• Otani Kozui (1876–1948)
• Akegarasu Haya (1877–1954)
• Kaneko Daiei (1881–1976)
• Zuiken Saizo Inagaki (1885–1981)
• Takeko Kujo (1887–1928)
• William Montgomery McGovern (1897–1964)
• Rijin Yasuda (1900–1982)
• Shuichi Maida (1906–1967)
• Harold Stewart (1916-1995)
• Alfred Bloom (1926–2017)
• Zuio Hisao Inagaki (1929–present)
• Shojun Bando (1932–2004)
• Taitetsu Unno (1935–2014)
• Eiken Kobai (1941–present)
• Dennis Hirota (1946–present)

See also

• Ohigashi schism
• Hongan-ji
• Kenryo Kanamatsu


1. "The Essentials of Jodo Shinshu from the Nishi Honganji website". Retrieved 2016-02-25.
2. "JODO SHU English". Retrieved 2013-09-27.
3. Popular Buddhism In Japan: Shin Buddhist Religion & Culture by Esben Andreasen / University of Hawaii Press 1998, ISBN 0-8248-2028-2
4. Moriarty, Elisabeth (1976). Nembutsu Odori, Asian Folklore Studies Vol. 35, No. 1 , pp. 7-16
5. Zen at War (2nd ed.) by Brian Daizen Victoria / Rowman and Littlefield 2006, ISBN 0-7425-3926-1
6. Griffin, David Ray (2005). Deep Religious Pluralism. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-664-22914-6.
7. Hisao Inagaki (2008). ”Questions and Answers on Shinjin", Takatsuki, Japan. See Question 1: What is shinjin?
8. Collected Works of Shinran, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, p. 112
9. Lee, Kenneth Doo. (2007). The Prince and the Monk: Shotoku Worship in Shinran's Buddhism. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0791470220.
10. Dobbins, James C. (1989). Jodo Shinshu: Shin Buddhism in Medieval Japan. Bloomington, Illinois: Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253331861. See especially pp. 142-143.
11. "Front page". Three Wheels Shin Buddhist House. Retrieved 2 May 2015. In 1994 Shogyoji established Three Wheels ('Sanrin shoja' in Japanese), in London, in response to the deep friendship between a group of English and Japanese people. Since then the Three Wheels community has grown considerably and serves as the hub of a lively multi-cultural Shin Buddhist Samgha.
12. Watts, Jonathan; Tomatsu, Yoshiharu (2005). Traversing the Pure Land Path. Jodo Shu Press. ISBN 488363342X.
13. Buswell, Robert; Lopez, Donald S. (2013). The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-15786-3.
14. "Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and teachers". Archived from the original on August 2, 2013. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
15. "The Pure Land Lineage". Retrieved 2015-05-26.
16. "Calendar of Observances, Nishi Hongwanji". Retrieved 2015-05-29.


• Bandō, Shojun; Stewart, Harold; Rogers, Ann T. and Minor L.; trans. (1996) : Tannishō: Passages Deploring Deviations of Faith and Rennyo Shōnin Ofumi: The Letters of Rennyo, Berkeley: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research. ISBN 1-886439-03-6
• Bloom, Alfred (1989). Introduction to Jodo Shinshu, Pacific World Journal, New Series Number 5, 33-39
• Dessi, Ugo (2010), Social Behavior and Religious Consciousness among Shin Buddhist Practitioners, Japanese Journal of Religious Siudies, 37 (2), 335-366
• Dobbins, James C. (1989). Jodo Shinshu: Shin Buddhism in Medieval Japan. Bloomington, Illinois: Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253331861; OCLC 470742039
• Inagaki Hisao, trans., Stewart, Harold (2003). The Three Pure Land Sutras, 2nd ed., Berkeley, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research. ISBN 1-886439-18-4
• Lee, Kenneth Doo (2007). The Prince and the Monk: Shotoku Worship in Shinran's Buddhism. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0791470220.
• Matsunaga, Daigan, Matsunaga, Alicia (1996), Foundation of Japanese Buddhism, Vol. 2: The Mass Movement (Kamakura and Muromachi Periods), Los Angeles; Tokyo: Buddhist Books International, 1996. ISBN 0-914910-28-0
• Takamori/Ito/Akehashi (2006). "You Were Born For A Reason: The Real Purpose of Life," Ichimannendo Publishing Inc; ISBN 9780-9790-471-07
• S. Yamabe and L. Adams Beck (trans.): Buddhist Psalms of Shinran Shonin, John Murray, London 1921. e-book
• Galen Amstutz, Review of Fumiaki, Iwata, Kindai Bukkyō to seinen: Chikazumi Jōkan to sono jidai and Ōmi Toshihiro, Kindai Bukkyō no naka no Shinshū: Chikazumi Jōkan to kyūdōshatachi, in H-Japan, H-Net Reviews July, 2017.

External links

• List of Jodo Shinshu Organisations with Links
• Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, Dharma for the Modern Age A basic portal with links.
• Homepage for Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha Hongwanji International Center - English
• Buddhist Churches of America Includes basic information, shopping for Shin Buddhist ritual implements, and links to various Shin churches in America.
• Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada National website, includes links and addresses of Shin temples throughout Canada.
• Institute of Buddhist Studies: Seminary and Graduate School
• Jodo Shinshu Honganji-ha. Shinran Works The collected works of Shinran, including the Kyōgōshinshō.
• Journal of Shin Buddhism
• Notes on the Nembutsu: Reflections on the Wasan of Shinran Shonin
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Shingon Buddhism
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/11/19



The center image of the Mandala of the Womb Realm, featuring the central figure of Mahāvairocana, the five Dhyani Buddhas, and attendant bodhisattvas.

Shingon Buddhism (真言宗 Shingon-shū) is one of the major schools of Buddhism in Japan and one of the few surviving Vajrayana lineages in East Asia, originally spread from India to China through traveling monks such as Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra.

Known in Chinese as the Tangmi (唐密; the Esoteric School in Tang Dynasty of China), these esoteric teachings would later flourish in Japan under the auspices of a Buddhist monk named Kūkai (空海), who traveled to Tang China to acquire and request transmission of the esoteric teachings. For that reason, it is often called Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, or Orthodox Esoteric Buddhism.

The word shingon is the Japanese reading of the Chinese word 真言 (zhēnyán),[1] which is the Chinese transcription of the Sanskrit word "mantra".[2]


Painting of Kūkai

Shingon Buddhist doctrine and teachings arose during the Heian period (794-1185) after a Buddhist monk named Kūkai traveled to China in 804 to study Esoteric Buddhist practices in the city of Xi'an (西安), then called Chang-an, at Azure Dragon Temple (青龍寺) under Huiguo, a favorite student of the legendary Amoghavajra. Kūkai returned to Japan as Huiguo's lineage- and Dharma-successor. Shingon followers usually refer to Kūkai as Kōbō-Daishi (弘法大師 Great Master of the Propagation of Dharma) or Odaishi-sama (お大師様 The Great Master), the posthumous name given to him years after his death by Emperor Daigo.

Before he went to China, Kūkai had been an independent monk in Japan for over a decade. He was extremely well versed in Chinese literature, calligraphy and Buddhist texts. Esoteric Buddhism was not considered to be a different sect or school yet at that time. Huiguo was the first person to gather the still scattered elements of Indian and Chinese Esoteric Buddhism into a cohesive system. A Japanese monk named Gonsō (勤操) had brought back to Japan from China an esoteric mantra of the bodhisattva Ākāśagarbha, the Kokūzō-gumonjihō (虚空蔵求聞持法 "Ākāśagarbha Memory-Retention Practice") that had been translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Śubhakarasiṃha (善無畏三蔵 Zenmui-Sanzō). When Kūkai was 22, he learned this mantra from Gonsō and regularly would go into the forests of Shikoku to practice it for long periods of time. He persevered in this mantra practice for seven years and mastered it. According to tradition, this practice brought him siddhis of superhuman memory retention and learning ability. Kūkai would later praise the power and efficacy of Kokuzō-Gumonjiho practice, crediting it with enabling him to remember all of Huiguo's teachings in only three months. Kūkai's respect for Ākāśagarbha was so great that he regarded him as his honzon (本尊) for the rest of his life.

It was also during this period of intense mantra practice that Kūkai dreamt of a man telling him to seek out the Mahavairocana Tantra for the doctrine that he sought. The Mahavairocana Tantra had only recently been made available in Japan. He was able to obtain a copy in Chinese but large portions were in Sanskrit in the Siddhaṃ script, which he did not know, and even the Chinese portions were too arcane for him to understand. He believed that this teaching was a door to the truth he sought, but he was unable to fully comprehend it and no one in Japan could help him. Thus, Kūkai resolved to travel to China to spend the time necessary to fully understand the Mahavairocana Tantra.

The main building of Shinsenen, a Shingon temple in Kyoto founded by Kūkai in 824

When Kūkai reached China and first met Huiguo on the fifth month of 805, Huiguo was age sixty and on the verge of death from a long spate of illness. Huiguo exclaimed to Kūkai in Chinese (in paraphrase), "At last, you have come! I have been waiting for you! Quickly, prepare yourself for initiation into the mandalas!" Huiguo had foreseen that Esoteric Buddhism would not survive in India and China in the near future and that it was Kukai's destiny to see it continue in Japan. In the short space of three months, Huiguo initiated and taught Kūkai everything he knew on the doctrines and practices of the Mandala of the Two Realms as well as mastery of Sanskrit and (presumably to be able to communicate with Master Huiguo) Chinese. Huiguo declared Kūkai to be his final disciple and proclaimed him a Dharma successor, giving the lineage name Henjō-Kongō (traditional Chinese: 遍照金剛; ; pinyin: Biànzhào Jīngāng) "All-Illuminating Vajra".

In the twelfth month of the same year, Huiguo died and was buried next to his master, Amoghavajra. More than one thousand of his disciples gathered for his funeral. The honor of writing his funerary inscription on their behalf was given to Kūkai.

Kukai returned to Japan after Huiguo's death. If he had not, Esoteric Buddhism might not have survived; 35 years after Huiguo's death in the year 840, Emperor Wuzong of Tang assumed the throne. An avid Daoist, Wuzong despised Buddhism and considered the sangha useless tax-evaders. In 845, he ordered the destruction of 4600 vihara and 40,000 temples. Around 250,000 Buddhist monks and nuns had to give up their monastic lives. Wuzong stated that Buddhism was an alien religion and promoted Daoism zealously as the ethnic religion of the Han Chinese. Although Wuzong was soon assassinated by his own inner circle, the damage had been done. Chinese Buddhism, especially Esoteric practices, never fully recovered from the persecution, and esoteric elements were infused into other Buddhist sects and traditions.

After returning to Japan, Kūkai collated and systematized all that he had learned from Huiguo into a cohesive doctrine of pure esoteric Buddhism that would become the basis for his school. Kūkai did not establish his teachings as a separate school; it was Emperor Junna, who favored Kūkai and Esoteric Buddhism, who coined the term Shingon-Shū (真言宗 Mantra School) in an imperial decree which officially declared Tō-ji (東寺) in Kyoto an Esoteric temple that would perform official rites for the state. Kūkai actively took on disciples and offered transmission until his death in 835 at the age of 61.

Kūkai's first established monastery was in Mount Kōya (高野山), which has since become the base and a place of spiritual retreat for Shingon practitioners. Shingon enjoyed immense popularity during the Heian period (平安時代), particularly among the nobility, and contributed greatly to the art and literature of the time, influencing other communities such as the Tendai (天台宗) on Mount Hiei (比叡山).[3]

Shingon's emphasis on ritual found support in the Kyoto nobility, particularly the Fujiwara clan (藤原氏). This favor allotted Shingon several politically powerful temples in the capital, where rituals for the Imperial Family and nation were regularly performed. Many of these temples – Tō-ji and Daigo-ji (醍醐寺) in the south of Kyōto and Jingo-ji (神護寺) and Ninna-ji (仁和寺) in the northwest – became ritual centers establishing their own particular ritual lineages.


The Shingon lineage is an ancient transmission of esoteric Buddhist doctrine that began in India and then spread to China and Japan. Shingon is the name of this lineage in Japan, but there are also esoteric schools in China, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong that consider themselves part of this lineage (as the originators of the Esoteric teachings) and universally recognize Kūkai as their eighth patriarch. This is why sometimes the term "Orthodox Esoteric Buddhism" is used instead.

Shingon or Orthodox Esoteric Buddhism maintains that the expounder of the doctrine was originally the Universal Buddha Vairocana, but the first human to receive the doctrine was Nagarjuna in India. The tradition recognizes two groups of eight great patriarchs – one group of lineage holders and one group of great expounders of the doctrine.

The Eight Great Lineage Patriarchs (Fuho-Hasso 付法八祖)

• Vairocana (Dainichi-Nyorai 大日如来)
• Vajrasattva (Kongō-Satta 金剛薩埵)
• Nagarjuna (Ryūju-Bosatsu 龍樹菩薩) – received the Mahavairocana Tantra from Vajrasattva inside an Iron Stupa in Southern India
• Nagabodhi (Ryūchi-Bosatsu 龍智菩薩)
• Vajrabodhi (Kongōchi-Sanzō 金剛智三蔵)
• Amoghavajra (Fukūkongō-Sanzō 不空金剛三蔵)
• Huiguo (Keika-Ajari 恵果阿闍梨)
• Kūkai (Kōbō-Daishi 弘法大師)

The Eight Great Doctrine-Expounding Patriarchs (Denji-Hasso 伝持八祖)

• Nagarjuna (Ryūju-Bosatsu 龍樹菩薩)
• Nagabodhi (Ryūchi-Bosatsu 龍智菩薩)
• Vajrabodhi (Kongōchi-Sanzō 金剛智三蔵)
• Amoghavajra (Fukūkongō-Sanzō 不空金剛三蔵)
• Śubhakarasiṃha (Zenmui-Sanzō 善無畏三蔵)
• Yi Xing (Ichigyō-Zenji 一行禅師)
• Huiguo (Keika-Ajari 恵果阿闍梨)
• Kūkai (Kōbō-Daishi 弘法大師)


Like the Tendai School, which branched into the Jōdo-shū (浄土宗) and Nichiren Buddhism (日蓮系諸宗派 Nichiren-kei sho shūha) during the Kamakura period, Shingon divided into two major schools – the old school, Kogi Shingon (古義真言宗 Ancient Shingon school), and the new school, Shingi Shingon (新義真言宗 Reformed Shingon school).

This division primarily arose out of a political dispute between Kakuban (覚鑁), known posthumously as Kōgyō-Daishi (興教大師), and his faction of priests centered at the Denbō-in (伝法院) and the leadership at Kongōbu-ji (金剛峰寺), the head of Mount Kōya and the authority in teaching esoteric practices in general. Kakuban, who was originally ordained at Ninna-ji (仁和寺) in Kyōto, studied at several temple-centers including the Tendai complex at Onjō-ji (園城寺) before going to Mount Kōya. Through his connections he managed to gain the favor of high-ranking nobles in Kyoto, which helped him to be appointed abbot of Mount Kōya. The leadership at Kongōbuji, however, opposed the appointment on the premise that Kakuban had not originally been ordained on Mount Kōya.

After several conflicts, Kakuban and his faction of priests left the mountain for Mount Negoro (根来山) to the northwest, where they constructed a new temple complex now known as Negoro-ji (根来寺). After the death of Kakuban in 1143, the Negoro faction returned to Mount Kōya. However, in 1288, the conflict between Kongōbuji and the Denbō-in came to a head once again. Led by Raiyu, the Denbō-in priests once again left Mount Kōya, this time establishing their headquarters on Mount Negoro. This exodus marked the beginning of the Shingi Shingon School at Mount Negoro, which was the center of Shingi Shingon until it was sacked by daimyō Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉) in 1585.


Garbhadhātu maṇḍala. Vairocana is located at the center

The teachings of Shingon are based on early Buddhist tantras, the Mahāvairocana Sūtra (大日経 Dainichi-kyō), the Vajraśekhara Sūtra (金剛頂経 Kongōchō-kyō), the Adhyardhaśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (理趣経 Rishu-kyō), and the Susiddhikara Sūtra (蘇悉地経 Soshitsuji-kyō). These are the four principal texts of Esoteric Buddhism and are all tantras, not sutras, despite their names.

The mystical Vairocana and Vajraśekhara Tantras are expressed in the two main mandalas of Shingon, the Mandala of the Two Realms – The Womb Realm (Skt. Garbhadhātu, Japanese 胎蔵界曼荼羅 Taizōkai) mandala and the Diamond Realm (Skt. Vajradhātu, Japanese 金剛界曼荼羅 Kongōkai) mandala.[2] These two mandalas are considered to be a compact expression of the entirety of the Dharma, and form the root of Buddhism. In Shingon temples, these two mandalas are always mounted one on each side of the central altar.

The Susiddhikara Sūtra is largely a compendium of rituals. Tantric Buddhism is concerned with the rituals and meditative practices that lead to enlightenment. According to Shingon doctrine, enlightenment is not a distant, foreign reality that can take aeons to approach but a real possibility within this very life,[4] based on the spiritual potential of every living being, known generally as Buddha-nature. If cultivated, this luminous nature manifests as innate wisdom. With the help of a genuine teacher and through proper training of the body, speech, and mind, i.e. "The Three Mysteries" (三密 Sanmitsu), we can reclaim and liberate this enlightened capacity for the benefit of ourselves and others.

Kūkai also systematized and categorized the teachings he inherited from Huiguo into ten bhūmis or "stages of spiritual realization". He wrote at length on the difference between exoteric, mainstream Mahayana Buddhism and esoteric Tantric Buddhism. The differences between exoteric and esoteric can be summarised:

1. Esoteric teachings are preached by the Dharmakaya (法身 Hosshin) Buddha, who Kūkai identifies as Vairocana (大日如來 Dainichi Nyorai). Exoteric teachings are preached by the Nirmanakaya (応身 Ōjin) Buddha, which in our world and aeon, is the historical Gautama Buddha (釈迦牟尼 Shakamuni) or one of the Sambhoghakaya (報身 Hōjin) Buddhas.

2. Exoteric Buddhism holds that the ultimate state of Buddhahood is ineffable, and that nothing can be said of it. Esoteric Buddhism holds that while nothing can be said of it verbally, it is readily communicated via esoteric rituals which involve the use of mantras, mudras, and mandalas.

3. Kūkai held that exoteric doctrines were merely upāya "skillful means" teachings on the part of the Buddhas to help beings according to their capacity to understand the Truth. The esoteric doctrines, in comparison, are the Truth itself and are a direct communication of the inner experience of the Dharmakaya's enlightenment. When Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment in his earthly Nirmanakaya, he realized that the Dharmakaya is actually reality in its totality and that totality is Vairocana.

4. Some exoteric schools in the late Nara and early Heian period Japan held (or were portrayed by Shingon adherents as holding) that attaining Buddhahood is possible but requires a huge amount of time (three incalculable aeons) of practice to achieve, whereas esoteric Buddhism teaches that Buddhahood can be attained in this lifetime by anyone.

Kūkai held, along with the Chinese Huayan school (華嚴 Kegon) and the Tendai schools, that all phenomena could be expressed as 'letters' in a 'World-Text'. Mantra, mudra, and mandala are special because they constitute the 'language' through which the Dharmakāya (i.e. Reality itself) communicates. Although portrayed through the use of anthropomorphic metaphors, Shingon does not see the Dharmakaya Buddha as a separate entity standing apart from the universe. Instead, the deity is the universe properly understood: the union of emptiness, Buddha nature, and all phenomena. Kūkai wrote that “the great Self embraces in itself each and all existences.”[5]

Relationship to Vajrayāna

When the teachings of Shingon Buddhism were brought to Japan, Esoteric Buddhism was still in its early stages in India. At this time, the terms Vajrayāna ("Diamond Vehicle") and Mantrayāna ("Mantra Vehicle") were not used for Esoteric Buddhist teachings.[6] Instead, esoteric teachings were more typically referred to as Mantranaya, or the "Mantra System." According to Paul Williams, Mantranaya is the more appropriate term to describe the self-perception of early Esoteric Buddhism.[6]

The primary difference between Shingon and Tibetan Buddhism is that there is no Inner Tantra or Anuttarayoga Tantra in Shingon. Shingon has what corresponds to the Kriyā, Caryā, and Yoga classes of tantras in Tibetan Buddhism. The Tibetan system of classifying tantras into four classes is not used in Shingon.

Anuttarayoga Tantras such as the Yamantaka Tantra, Hevajra Tantra, Mahamaya Tantra, Cakrasaṃvara Tantra, and the Kalachakra Tantra were developed at a later period of Esoteric Buddhism and are not used in Shingon.

Mahavairocana Tathagata

Samantabhadra is one of the Thirteen Buddhas of Shingon Buddhism.

In Shingon, Mahavairocana Tathagata (Dainichi Nyorai 大日如來) is the universal or Adi-Buddha that is the basis of all phenomena, present in each and all of them, and not existing independently or externally to them. The goal of Shingon is the realization that one's nature is identical with Mahavairocana, a goal that is achieved through initiation, meditation and esoteric ritual practices. This realization depends on receiving the secret doctrines of Shingon, transmitted orally to initiates by the school's masters. The "Three Mysteries" of body, speech, and mind participate simultaneously in the subsequent process of revealing one's nature: the body through devotional gestures (mudra) and the use of ritual instruments, speech through sacred formulas (mantra), and mind through meditation.

Shingon places emphasis on the Thirteen Buddhas (十三仏 Jūsanbutsu),[7] a grouping of various buddhas and bodhisattvas; however this is purely for lay Buddhist practice and Shingon priests generally make devotions to more than just the Thirteen Buddhas.

• Wisdom King Acala (Fudō Myōō 不動明王)
• Gautama Buddha (Shaka-Nyorai 釈迦如来)
• Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva (Monju-Bosatsu 文殊菩薩)
• Samantabhadra Bodhisattva (Fugen-Bosatsu 普賢菩薩)
• Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva (Jizō-Bosatsu 地蔵菩薩)
• Maitreya Bodhisattva (Miroku-Bosatsu 弥勒菩薩)
• Bhaiṣajyaguru Buddha (Yakushi-Nyorai 薬師如來)
• Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva (Kannon-Bosatsu 観音菩薩)
• Mahāsthāmaprāpta Bodhisattva (Seishi-Bosatsu 勢至菩薩 )
• Amitābha Buddha (Amida-Nyorai 阿弥陀如来)
• Akṣobhya Buddha (Ashuku-Nyorai 阿閦如来)
• Mahavairocana Buddha (Dainichi-Nyorai 大日如来)
• Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva (Kokūzō-Bosatsu 虚空蔵菩薩)

Mahavairocana is the Universal Principle which underlies all Buddhist teachings, according to Shingon Buddhism, so other Buddhist figures can be thought of as manifestations with certain roles and attributes. Kūkai wrote that “the great Self is one, yet can be many.”[8] Each Buddhist figure is symbolized by its own Sanskrit "seed" letter.

Practices and features

The siddhaṃ letter a.

A typical Shingon shrine set up for priests, with Vairocana at the center of the shrine, and the Womb Realm (Taizokai) and Diamond Realm (Kongokai) mandalas.

One feature that Shingon shares in common with Tendai, the only other school with esoteric teachings in Japan, is the use of bīja or seed-syllables in Sanskrit written in the Siddhaṃ alphabet along with anthropomorphic and symbolic representations to express Buddhist deities in their mandalas.

There are four types of mandalas:

• Mahāmaṇḍala (大曼荼羅, Large Mandala)
• Bīja- or Dharmamaṇḍala (法曼荼羅)
• Samayamaṇḍala (三昧耶曼荼羅), representations of the vows of the deities in the form of articles they hold or their mudras
• Karmamaṇḍala (羯磨曼荼羅) representing the activities of the deities in the three-dimensional form of statues, etc.

The Siddhaṃ alphabet (Shittan 悉曇, Bonji 梵字) is used to write mantras. A core meditative practice of Shingon is Ajikan (阿字觀) "meditating on the letter a" written using the Siddhaṃ alphabet. Other Shingon meditations are Gachirinkan (月輪觀, "Full Moon visualization"), Gojigonjingan (五字嚴身觀, "Visualization of the Five Elements arrayed in The Body" from the Mahavairocana Tantra) and Gosōjōjingan (五相成身觀, Pañcābhisaṃbodhi "Series of Five Meditations to attain Buddhahood") from the Vajraśekhara Sutra.

The essence of Shingon practice is to experience Reality by emulating the inner realization of the Dharmakaya through the meditative ritual use of mantra, mudra and visualization, i.e. "The Three Mysteries" (Japanese. Sanmitsu 三密). All Shingon followers gradually develop a teacher-student relationship, formal or informal, whereby a teacher learns the disposition of the student and teaches practices accordingly. For lay practitioners, there is no initiation ceremony beyond the Kechien Kanjō (結縁灌頂), which aims to help create the bond between the follower and Mahavairocana Buddha. It is normally offered only at Mount Kōya twice a year, but it can also be offered by larger temples under masters permitted to transmit the abhiseka. It is not required for all laypersons to take, and no assigned practices are given.


A priest from the Chuin-ryu lineage at Shigisan Chosonshi Temple (朝護孫子寺)

In the case of disciples wishing to train to become a Shingon ācārya or "teacher" (Ajari 阿闍梨, from ācārya Sanskrit: आचार्य), it requires a period of academic study and religious discipline, or formal training in a temple for a longer period of time, after having already received novice ordination and monastic precepts, and full completion of the rigorous four-fold preliminary training and retreat known as Shido Kegyō (四度加行).[9] Only then can the practitioner be able to undergo steps for training, examination, and finally abhiṣeka to be certified as a Shingon acarya and continue to study more advanced practices. In either case, the stress is on finding a qualified and willing mentor who will guide the practitioner through the practice at a gradual pace. An acharya in Shingon is a committed and experienced teacher who is authorized to guide and teach practitioners. One must be an acharya for a number of years at least before one can request to be tested at Mount Kōya for the possibility to qualify as a mahācārya or "great teacher" (Dento Dai-Ajari 傳燈大阿闍梨), the highest rank of Shingon practice and a qualified grand master.

Apart from the supplication of prayers and reading of sutras, there are mantras and ritualistic meditative techniques that are available for any laypersons to practice on their own under the supervision of an Ajari. However, any esoteric practices require the devotee to undergo abhiṣeka (initiation) (Kanjō 灌頂) into each of these practices under the guidance of a qualified acharya before they may begin to learn and practice them. As with all schools of Esoteric Buddhism, great emphasis is placed on initiation and oral transmission of teachings from teacher to student.

Goma Fire Ritual

Main article: Homa

Main article: Shugendō

A Goma ritual performed at Chushinkoji Temple in Japan

The Goma (護摩) Ritual of consecrated fire is unique to Esoteric Buddhism and is the most recognizable ritual defining Shingon among regular Japanese persons today. It stems from the Vedic Agnicayana Ritual and is performed by qualified priests and acharyas for the benefit of individuals, the state or all sentient beings in general. The consecrated fire is believed to have a powerful cleansing effect spiritually and psychologically. The central deity invoked in this ritual is usually Acala (Fudō Myōō 不動明王). The ritual is performed for the purpose of destroying negative energies, detrimental thoughts and desires, and for the making of secular requests and blessings. In most Shingon temples, this ritual is performed daily in the morning or the afternoon. Larger scale ceremonies often include the constant beating of taiko drums and mass chanting of the mantra of Acala by priests and lay practitioners. Flames can sometimes reach a few meters high. The combination of the ritual's visuals and sounds can be trance-inducing and make for a profound experience.

The ancient Japanese religion of Shugendō (修験道) has also adopted the Goma Ritual, of which two are prominent: the Saido Dai Goma and Hashiramoto Goma rituals.[10]


Today, there are very few books on Shingon in the West and until the 1940s, not a single book on Shingon had ever been published anywhere in the world, not even in Japan. Since this lineage was brought over to Japan from Tang China over 1100 years ago, its doctrines have always been closely guarded secrets, passed down orally through an initiatic chain and never written down. Throughout the centuries, except for the initiated, most of the Japanese common folk knew little of its secretive doctrines and of the monks of this "Mantra School" except that besides performing the usual priestly duties of prayers, blessings and funeral rites for the public, they practiced only Mikkyō "secret teachings", in stark contrast to all other Buddhist schools, and were called upon to perform mystical rituals that were supposedly able to summon rain, improve harvests, exorcise demons, avert natural disasters, heal the sick and protect the state. The most powerful ones were thought to be able to render entire armies useless.

Even though Tendai also incorporates esoteric teachings in its doctrines, it is still essentially an exoteric Mahayana school. Some exoteric texts are venerated and studied in Shingon as they are the foundation of Mahayana philosophy but the core teachings and texts of Shingon are purely esoteric. From the lack of written material, inaccessibility of its teachings to non-initiates, language barriers and the difficulty of finding qualified teachers outside Japan, Shingon is in all likelihood the most secretive and least understood school of Buddhism in the world.


Acalanatha, the wrathful manifestation of Mahavairocana, and the principal deity invoked during the goma ritual.

Main article: Japanese Buddhist pantheon

A large number of deities of Vedic, Hindu and Indo-Aryan origins have been incorporated into Mahayana Buddhism and this synthesis is especially prominent in Esoteric Buddhism. Many of these deities have vital roles as they are regularly invoked by the practitioner for various rituals and homas/pujas. In fact, it is ironic that the worship of Vedic-era deities, especially Indra (Taishakuten 帝釈天), the "King of the Heavens," has declined so much in India but is yet so highly revered in Japan that there are probably more temples devoted to him there than there are in India. Chinese Taoist and Japanese Shinto deities were also assimilated into Mahayana Buddhism as deva-class beings. For example, to Chinese Mahayana Buddhists, Indra (synonymous with Śakra) is the Jade Emperor of Taoism. Agni (Katen 火天), another Vedic deity, is invoked at the start of every Shingon Goma Ritual. The average Japanese person may not know the names Saraswati or Indra but Benzaiten 弁財天 (Saraswati) and Taishakuten 帝釈天 (Indra) are household names that every Japanese person knows.

In Orthodox Esoteric Buddhism, divine beings are grouped into six classes.

• Buddhas (Butsu 仏)
• Bodhisattvas (Bosatsu 菩薩)
• Wisdom Kings or Vidyarajas (Myōō 明王)
• Deities or Devas (Ten 天)
• Avatars (Keshin 化身)
• Patriarchs (Soshi 祖師)

The Five Great Wisdom Kings

The Five Wisdom Kings is the most important grouping of Wisdom Kings in Esoteric Buddhism.

Main article: Wisdom King

The Five Great Wisdom Kings are wrathful manifestations of the Five Dhyani Buddhas.

• Acala or Acalanatha (Fudō Myōō 不動明王) "The Immovable One" – Manifestation of Buddha Mahavairocana
• Amrtakundalin (Gundari Myōō 軍荼利明王) "The Dispenser of Heavenly Nectar" – Manifestation of Buddha Ratnasambhava
• Trailokyavijaya (Gōzanze Myōō 降三世明王) "The Conqueror of The Three Planes" – Manifestation of Buddha Akshobhya
• Yamāntaka (Daiitoku Myōō 大威徳明王) "The Defeater of Death" – Manifestation of Buddha Amitabha
• Vajrayaksa (Kongō Yasha Myōō 金剛夜叉明王) "The Devourer of Demons" – Manifestation of Buddha Amoghasiddhi

Other well-known Wisdom Kings

• Ragaraja (Aizen Myōō 愛染明王)
• Mahamayuri (Kujaku Myōō 孔雀明王)
• Hayagriva (Batō Kannon 馬頭観音)
• Ucchusma (Ususama Myōō 烏枢沙摩明王)
• Atavaka (Daigensui Myōō 大元帥明王)

The Twelve Guardian Deities (Deva)

• Agni (Katen 火天) – Lord of Fire ; Guardian of the South East
• Brahmā (Bonten 梵天) – Lord of the Heavens ; Guardian of the Heavens (upward direction)
• Chandra (Gatten 月天) – Lord of the Moon
• Indra (Taishakuten 帝釈天) – Lord of the Trāyastriṃśa Heaven and The Thirty Three Devas ; Guardian of the East
• Prthivi or Bhūmī-Devī (Jiten 地天) – Lord of the Earth ; Guardian of the Earth (downward direction)
• Rakshasa (Rasetsuten 羅刹天) – Lord of Demons ; Guardian of the South West (converted Buddhist rakshasas)
• Shiva or Maheshvara (Daijizaiten 大自在天 or Ishanaten 伊舎那天) – Lord of The Desire Realms ; Guardian of the North East
• Sūrya (Nitten 日天) – Lord of the Sun
• Vaishravana (Bishamonten 毘沙門天 or Tamonten 多聞天) – Lord of Wealth ; Guardian of the North
• Varuṇa (Suiten 水天) – Lord of Water ; Guardian of the West
• Vāyu (Fūten 風天)- Lord of Wind ; Guardian of the North West
• Yama (Emmaten 焔魔天) – Lord of the Underworld ; Guardian of the South

Other Important Deities (Deva)

• Marici (Marishi-Ten 摩里支天) – Patron deity of Warriors
• Mahakala (Daikokuten 大黒天) – Patron deity of Wealth
• Saraswati (Benzaiten 弁財天) – Patron deity of Knowledge, Art and Music
• Ganesha (Kangiten 歓喜天) Patron deity of Bliss and Remover of Obstacles
• Skanda (Idaten 韋駄天 or Kumaraten 鳩摩羅天) Protector of Buddhist Monasteries and Monks


Located in Kyoto, Japan, Daigo-ji is the head temple of the Daigo-ha branch of Shingon Buddhism.

• The Orthodox (Kogi) Shingon School (古義真言宗)
o Kōyasan (高野山真言宗)
 Chuin-Ryu Lineage (中院流)
o Zentsūji-ha (真言宗善通寺派)
o Daigo-ha (真言宗醍醐派)
 Shinnyo-en (真如苑)
o Omuro-ha (真言宗御室派)
o Shingon-Ritsu (真言律宗)
o Daikakuji-ha (真言宗大覚寺派)
o Sennyūji-ha (真言宗泉涌寺派)
o Yamashina-ha (真言宗山階派)
o Shigisan (信貴山真言宗)
o Nakayamadera-ha (真言宗中山寺派)
o Sanbōshū (真言三宝宗)
o Sumadera-ha (真言宗須磨寺派)
o Tōji-ha (真言宗東寺派)
• The Reformed (Shingi) Shingon School (新義真言宗)
o Chizan-ha (真言宗智山派)
o Buzan-ha (真言宗豊山派)
o Kokubunji-ha (真言宗国分寺派)
o Inunaki-ha (真言宗犬鳴派)

See also

• Chinese Buddhism
• Religion in Asia
• Religion in Japan
• Sokushinbutsu
• Shinjō Itō
• Shinnyo-en
• Tachikawa-ryu
• Rishu


1. "Zhēnyán".
2. Kiyota, Minoru (1987). "Shingon Mikkyō's Twofold Maṇḍala: Paradoxes and Integration". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. 10 (1): 91–92. Archived from the original on 25 January 2014.
3. Caiger, Mason. A History of Japan, Revised Ed. pp. 106–107.
4. Inagaki Hisao (1972). "Kukai's Sokushin-Jobutsu-Gi" (Principle of Attaining Buddhahood with the Present Body), Asia Major (New Series) 17 (2), 190-215
5. Hakeda, Yushito S. (1972). Kūkai: Major Works. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. p. 258. ISBN 0-231-03627-2.
6. Williams, Paul, and Tribe, Anthony. Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition. 2000. p. 271
7. Shingon Buddhist International Institute. "Jusan Butsu – The Thirteen Buddhas of the Shingon School". Archived from the original on 1 April 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
8. Hakeda, Yushoto S. (1972). Kūkai: Major Works. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. p. 258. ISBN 0-231-03627-2.
9. Sharf, Robert, H. (2003). Thinking through Shingon Ritual, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 26 (1), 59-62
10. "Ascetic Practice of Fire". Shugendo. Retrieved 23 February 2018.


• Giebel, Rolf W.; Todaro, Dale A.; trans. (2004). Shingon texts, Berkeley, Calif.: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research. ISBN 1886439249
• Giebel, Rolf, transl. (2006), The Vairocanābhisaṃbodhi Sutra, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Berkeley, ISBN 978-1-886439-32-0
• Giebel, Rolf, transl. (2006). Two Esoteric Sutras: The Adamantine Pinnacle Sutra (T 18, no 865), The Susiddhikara Sutra (T 18, no 893), Berkeley: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research. ISBN 1-886439-15-X
• Hakeda, Yoshito S. trans. (1972). Kukai: Major Works with an account of his life and a study of his thought, New York: Columbia University Press, ISBN 0-231-03627-2.
• Matsunaga, Daigan Lee, Matsunaga, Alicia Orloff (1974). Foundation of Japanese Buddhism; Vol. I; The aristocratic age. Buddhist Books International, Los Angeles und Tokio. ISBN 0-914910-25-6.
• Kiyota, Minoru (1978). Shingon Buddhism: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles/Tokyo: Buddhist Books International.
• Payne, Richard K. (2004). Ritual Syntax and Cognitive Theory, Pacific World Journal, Third Series, No 6, 105-227.
• Toki, Hôryû; Kawamura, Seiichi, tr, (1899). "Si-do-in-dzou; gestes de l'officiant dans les cérémonies mystiques des sectes Tendaï et Singon", Paris, E. Leroux.
• Yamasaki, Taiko (1988). Shingon: Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, Boston/London: Shambala Publications.

External links

• The International Shingon Institute
• Koyasan Shingon Temples
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:57 am

John Henry Barrows
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/12/19



John Henry Barrows
5th President of Oberlin College
In office
1899 – July 3, 1902
Preceded by William Gay Ballantine
Succeeded by Henry Churchill King
Personal details
Born July 1, 1847
Medina Township, Michigan
Died July 3, 1902 (aged 55)
Oberlin, Ohio
Spouse(s) Sarah Eleanor
Residence Oberlin, Ohio
Alma mater Olivet College (B.A., 1867)
Yale Divinity School (1867–1868)
Union Theological Seminary (1868–1869)
Andover Theological Seminary (1875)
Profession clergyman, author

Rev. Dr. John Henry Barrows (1847–1902) was an American clergyman of First Presbyterian Church and Chairman of the 1893 General Committee on the Congress of Religions (later to be known as the World's Parliament of Religions). He was the one who claimed that Abraham Lincoln had become a Christian in 1863.[1][2]

Barrows is best known for organizing and leading World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago by bringing together renowned persons of different religious backgrounds from all over the world to increase interest in the studies of religions, clarify the misconceptions about varying religious traditions, and seemingly to show the supremacy of one religion over another.[3][4] He is more credited for introducing a new concept of "tolerance" and "understanding" between all nations and religions through Parliament of Religions for Americans.

He authored several books and notably two volumes of The World's Parliament of Religions: An Illustrated and Popular Story of the World's First Parliament of Religions, Held in Chicago in Connection with the Columbian Exposition of 1893.[5] The Department on the Study of Islam at the University of Chicago Divinity School is named after him.[4][6][7]


Early life and education

Barrows was born in Medina Township, Michigan on July 11, 1847, to John Manning and Catherine Moore Barrows.[8]

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Olivet College in 1867. He received his theological training from Yale Divinity School and Union Theological Seminary during 1867–1868 and 1868–1869 respectively.[6] He became the member of Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims and was a student of pulpit oratory of Henry Ward Beecher, while at Union Theological Seminary.

For two and a half years, he did missionary and educational work in Kansas and preached for a year in the First Congregational Church – Springfield.[9] He did preaching domestically and abroad for a while and graduated later from Andover Theological Seminary in 1875. He was then ordained to the Congregational ministry in 1875.

Marriage and family

Barrows married Sarah Eleanor; together they had three daughters and a son.

He held pastorates from 1875 to 1881 at the Eliot Congregational Church in Lawrence, Massachusetts and Maverick Congregational Church of East Boston.

First Presbyterian Church pastor

In 1881, he became the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, which he held for fourteen years. During his stint as sixth pastor of Presbyterian Church, he became one of the most famous preachers of his time. He conducted Sunday evening service and spoke at temperance and missionary meetings.[7] He was also a favourite speaker before gatherings at Chautauqua, New York and served on the advisory council of the Chautauquan System.[9][10]

He went to India and the Orient – Japan and Honolulu – to give the Haskel Lecture through the Haskell Foundation (endowed by Caroline E. Haskell) in 1896 for the University of Chicago, which he continued lecturing for next two years. Dr. Barrows served as minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Chicago between 1886 and 1891. [6][7][9]

Oberlin College president

Barrows was elected as the president of Oberlin College in 1899, and under him the institution was said to be prospered greatly. He died in office on July 3, 1902.[11]

Congress of Religions

The World's Parliament of Religions was held in Chicago, Illinois, on the shore of Lake Michigan in 1893. Representatives of Protestantism, Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, Greek and Russian Orthodoxy, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Ethical Culture, and others, met with objectives as mentioned in the 1891 Preliminary Address, including:

• To bring together representatives of religions from all around the world.
• To bring forth the truths the various religions teach in common.
• To promote the brotherhood among the religious men of diverse faith.

Charles Carroll Bonney, the president of the World's Congress Auxiliary and a layman in the Swedenborgian church, initiated the process for organizing the Parliament of Religions by appointing John Henry Barrows as chairman to administer the General Committee on World's Parliament of Religions.[3] Under his leadership in June 1891, invitation copies in the thousands were sent to religious leaders around the world, reporting the plan for the Parliament of Religions scheduled to be held in 1893. However, the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, the home church of Dr. Barrows, the then Sultan of Turkey, the European Roman Catholic hierarchy, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and many prominent evangelical leaders of North America such as Dwight L. Moody bitterly opposed the convention. Though there was no unanimous approval for the convention from Presbyterians, intense disapproval was worded in the letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury saying that "... the Christian religion is the one religion. I do not understand how that religion can be regarded as a member of a Parliament of Religions without assuming the equality of the other intended members and the parity of their position and claims." Though Max Müller, an Orientalist and Philologist, failed to attend the convention, yet he hoped the Parliament of Religions would increase the interest in the study of religions.[4]

Despite varied encouragement and opposition, Parliament of Religions began on 11 September 1893. More than 4000 people gathered in the "Hall of Columbus," dominated predominantly by English-speaking Christian speakers along with limited representatives from other religious faiths – 12 speakers represented Buddhism; 11 speakers represented Judaism; 8 from Hinduism; 2 each from Islam, Parsi, Confucianism, and Shintoism; and 1 each from Taoism and Jainism. The convention continued for seventeen days with a variety of topics presented by a variety of speakers from various faiths and traditions. Most of the 17-day sessions were chaired and presided over by Dr.Barrows himself; Most of the times, he also performed the customary act of "silent prayer" and said the "Universal Prayer."


Religion formed the essence of the convention in pushing aside the importance of culture and ethnicity. In the words of John P. Burris, "religion was perceived as the center of any given society and the most obvious aspect of culture through which the essence of a given people's cultural orientation might be understood." Hence, the decision to select the suitable religions to be part of the "Ten Great World Religions" through inclusion or exclusion pushed aside culture and ethnic contexts. Due to this, the Parliament included only converted African Americans by excluding Native Americans altogether.[12]

The official objectives of the Parliament seem to have avoided an attitude of supremacy of one religion over another in the '1891 Preliminary Address'; nonetheless, much emphasis was laid in bringing forth the commonalities among the worldwide religions and thereby building "human brotherhood." In no case were there either attempts or aims for devising a "Universal Religion" or unity. It seems that the Parliament was able to introduce the importance of the comparative study of religions in order to maintain "mutual good understanding" among the various religious traditions as hoped by Max Müller.

According to Donald H. Bishop, there were three common attitudes towards other religions in the Parliament, namely, 'inclusivism', 'exclusivism', and 'pluralism'. To highlight these, Donald H. Bishop took illustrations from the speeches and views expressed by speakers in the convention; these are captured in both volumes of The World's Parliament of Religions: An Illustrated and Popular Story of the World's First Parliament of Religions, Held in Chicago in Connection with the Columbian Exposition of 1893, authored by Dr. Barrows.

• exclusivism: Bishop observes that exclusivist attitudes were either offensive or amicable in type. For this, he took the presentation made by William C. Wilkinson as an example:

“ Men need to be saved from false religion; they are in no way capable of being saved by false religion. Such, at least, is the teaching of Christianity. The attitude, therefore, of Christianity towards religions other than itself is an attitude of universal, absolute, eternal, unappeasable hostility ... (in Barrows 1893b, 1249)[12]”

• inclusivism: Donald H. Bishop defines inclusivism as an attitude towards other religions based on an underlying assumption that one's religion is superior to others, but this assumption is expressed through openness towards other religions. He means to say that the beliefs of other religions could be possibly included or subordinated to the terms defined by inclusivists with no effect on their own religious superiority. Once other religious beliefs become subordinated, they are longer 'threatening' to the superior religion and its beliefs.

• pluralism: Bishop observes that pluralism was expressed in the Parliament's emphasizing more the peaceful coexistence of religions by rejecting any claim to supremacy of one over other religion. He referred to Charles Carroll Bonney's opening speech to express the pluralistic attitude of the Parliament:

“ As the finite can never fully comprehend the infinite, nor perfectly express its own view of the divine, it necessarily follows that individual opinions of the divine nature and attributes will differ. But, properly understood, these varieties of view are not causes of discord and strife, but rather incentives to deeper interest and examination. Necessarily God reveals himself differently to a child than to a man; to a philosopher than to one who cannot read. Each must see God with the eyes of his own soul. Each must behold him through the colored glasses of his own nature. Each one must receive him according to his own capacity of reception. (Barrows 1893a, 68)[12] ”

As reported in the article "World Parliament of Religions" (1893),[3] the attitude towards plurality was evident in the invitations sent to all religious representatives worldwide:

We affectionately invite the representatives of all faiths to aid us in presenting to the world, at the Exposition of 1893, the religious harmonies and unities of humanity, and also in showing forth the moral and spiritual agencies which are at the root of human progress.

In words of Dr. Barrows, " 'human progress' would objectively reach its culmination through Christianity. As the apex of all religions, Christianity can influence other religions meaningfully, but not vice versa."

The Parliament has shown that Christianity is still the great quickener of humanity, that it is now educating those who do not accept its doctrines, that there is no teacher to be compared with Christ, and no Saviour excepting Christ ... The non-Christian world may give us valuable criticism and confirm scriptural truths and make excellent suggestion as to Christian improvement, but it has nothing to add to the Christian creed” (1893b, 1581; italics mine).

Apparently, Dr. Barrows' aim for the World's Parliament of Religions's convention was to appreciate and welcome other religions and their beliefs with open heart, but subordinate them to the finality of Christianity. However, this seems, to have been threatened by the "Universal Religion and Universal religious truth," said to have been proposed by Swami Vivekananda.

As reported in the article, John H. Barrows continued with a Christian version of the Darwinian – survival of the fittest, which he also mentioned in his writings:

“ The best religion must come to the front, and the best religion will ultimately survive, because it will contain all that is true in all the faiths.[3] ”

The efforts of Dr. Barrows and World's Parliament of Religions has visibly left significant legacies for America and its people. In the words of Joseph Kitagawa, "A strong stimulus for the wide acceptance of the study of comparative religion" in America emerged in academic life. While Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke, President of the World Congress of Faiths, said that "other religions and faiths introducted to Americans other than Christianity has raised the awareness about 'religious plurality' among Americans."[13]Diana L. Eck also sees the first World's Parliament of Religions as one of the first events of the ecumenical movement. It seems to have influenced Christian missionaries abroad and also religious figures from East – Swami Vivekanada, Anagarika Dharmapala, Protap Chunder Mozoomdar, and Soyen Shaku -, towards an appreciation of other religious traditions.[14]

Some excerpts

A letter preserves a speech of Anagarika Dharmapala, who was a Buddhist delegate from Ceylon – then a British colony. He was invited to represent "Southern Buddhism." A few excerpts from that speech:

“ FRIENDS,— I bring to you the good wishes of four hundred and seventy-five millions of Buddhists, the blessings and peace of the religious founder of that system which has prevailed so many centuries in Asia, which has made Asia mild, and which is to-day, in its twenty-fourth century of existence, the prevailing religion of those countries. I have sacrificed the greatest of all work to attend this Parliament; I have left the work of consolidating the different Buddhist countries, which is the most important work in the history of modern Buddhism. When I read the program of this Parliament of Religions I saw it was simply the re-echo of a great consummation which the Indian Buddhists accomplished twenty-four centuries ago.

At that time Asoka, the great emperor, held a council, in the city of Patna, of a thousand scholars, which was in session for seven months. The proceedings were epitomized and carved on rock and scattered all over the Indian peninsula and the then known globe. After the consummation of that program the great Emperor sent the gentle teachers, the mild disciples of Buddha, in the garb that you see on this platform, to instruct the world. In that plain garb they went across the deep rivers, across the Himalayas, to the plains of Mongolia and of China and to the far-off beautiful isles, the Empire of the Rising Sun ; and the influence of that congress, held twenty-one centuries ago, is to-day a living power, for you everywhere see mildness in Asia.

Then I wrote to Dr. Barrows that this would be the proudest occasion of modern history and the crowning work of nineteen centuries. Yes, friends, if you are serious, if you are unselfish, if you are altruistic, this program can be carried out and the twentieth century will see the teachings of the meek and lowly Jesus accomplished.

I hope in this great city, the youngest of all cities, this program will be carried out, and that the name of Dr. Barrows will shine forth as the American Asoka. And I hope that the noble lessons of tolerance learned in this majestic assembly will result in the dawning of universal peace which will last for twenty centuries more.[15]”

Dr. Barrows had advertised in the Chinese newspapers proposing a premium in gold for the best essays on Confucianism and Taoism. This drew 42 Chinese scholars to enter the competition. The selected Chinese essay was translated into English and read on the fifth day, Friday, September 15, 1893. A Chinese by the name of 'Kung Hsien Ho' of Shanghai won the first prize.[16]

Dr. Barrows, in the absence of representation of the Hindu creed, ensured a unique audience there after he had won the confidence of India's representatives as their host at Chicago. Being desirous to write on Hinduism, he wrote a letter to more than 100 prominent Hindu's requesting each to explicate some of the leading tenets of Hinduism according to their views. He received just one reply:

“ Pantheism, Maya – Delusion or the Unreality of the phenomena of Sense and Consciousness, and Transmigration may be called Hindu doctrines.[17] ”

A letter was sent by 'S. Horiuchi', a Japanese and Secretary of the Society for the Restoration of Buddhist Holy Places in India:

“ To THE REV. JOHN HENRY BARROWS, D.D.— Dear Sir: I do not believe it totally uninteresting to give here a short account of our Indo Busseki Kofuku Society of Japan.

The object of this society is to restore and reestablish the holy places of Buddhism in India, and to send out a certain number of Japanese priests to perform devotional exercises in each of them, and promote the convenience of pilgrims from Japan. These holy places are Buddha Gaya, where Buddha attained to the perfect enlightenment; Kapilavastu, where Buddha was born; the Deer Park, where Buddha first preached, and Kusinagara, where Buddha entered Nirvana.

Two thousand nine hundred and twenty years ago — that is, 1,026 years before Christ — the world-honored Prince Siddhartha was born in the palace of his father, King Suddhodana, in Kapilavastu, the capital of the Kingdom Magadha. When he was 19 years old he began to lament men's inevitable subjection to the various sufferings of sickness, old age, and death; and, discarding all his precious possessions and the heirship to the kingdom, he went into a mountain jungle to seek by meditation and asceticism the way of escape from these sufferings. After spending six years there, and finding that the way he seeks after was not in asceticism, he went out from there and retired under the Bodhi tree of Buddha Gaya, where at last, by profound meditation, he attained the supreme wisdom and became Buddha.

The light of truth and mercy began to shine from him over the whole world, and the way of perfect emancipation was open for all human beings, so that every one can bathe in his blessings and walk in the way of enlightenment. When the ancient King Asoka, of Magadha, was converted to Buddhism he erected a large and magnificent temple over the spot to show his gratitude to the founder of his new religion. But, sad to say, the fierce Mohammedans invaded and laid waste the country, there being no Buddhist to guard the temple, which possession fell into the hands of a Brahminist priest, who chanced to come here and seize it.

It was early in the spring of 1891 that the Japanese priest, the Rev. Shaku Kionen, in company with Mr. H. Dharmapala, of Ceylon, visited this holy ground. The great Buddha Gaya Temple was carefully repaired and restored to its former state by the British Government; but they could not help being very much grieved to see it subjected to much desecration in the hands of the Brahminist Mahant, and communicated to us their earnest desire to rescue it. With warm sympathy for them, and thinking, as Sir Edwin Arnold said, that it is not right for Buddhists to leave the guardianship of the holy center of Buddhist Religion of Grace to the hand of a Brahminist priest, we organized this Indo Busseki Kofuku Society in Japan to accomplish the object before mentioned in cooperation with the Maha-Bodhi Society, organized by H. Dharmapala and other brothers in India. These are the outlines of the origin and object of our Indo Busseki Kofuku Society, and I believe our Buddha Gaya movement will bring people of all Buddhist countries into closer connection and be instrumental in promoting the brotherhood among the people of the whole world.[16]”

Silent debate with Swami Vivekananda

Dr. Barrows invited Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda to make some remarks during the Parliament of Religion sessions; Vivekananda responded with a short fable to illustrate the variety of men of different races and religions, just before the close of the afternoon session on the fifth day, Friday, 15 September 1893.

“ A frog lived in a well. It had lived there for a long time. It was born there and brought up there, and yet was a little, small frog. Of course the evolutionists were not there then to tell us whether the frog lost its eyes or not; but, for our story's sake, we must take it for granted that it had its eyes, and that it every day cleansed the water of all the worms and bacilli that lived in it, with an energy that would give credit to our modern bacteriologists. In this way it went on and became a little sleek and fat — perhaps as much so as myself.

Well, one day another frog that lived in the sea, came and fell into the well.

"Whence are you from ?."

"I'm from the sea."

"The sea? How big is that? Is it as big as my well?" and he took a leap from one side of the well to the other.

"My friend," says the frog of the sea,"how do you compare the sea with your little well?" Then the frog took another leap, and asked : "Is your sea so big?"

"What nonsense you speak, to compare the sea with your well! "

"Well, then," said the frog of the well," nothing can be bigger than my well; there can be nothing bigger than this; this fellow is a liar, so turn him out."

That has been the difficulty all the while.[18]”

As reported in, the Chicago Tribune listed Swami Vivekananda as being introduced in the afternoon session after a lunch recess; A news report titled "Common Cause" on the same day appeared in the Chicago Tribune and described the attire of Swami Vivekananda as a "single violent orange garment".[19] The article written by 'Wesley Wildman' titled "World Parliament of Religions (1893)" states that Vivekananda's three speeches drew the most attention from the American public. It also states that Dr. Barrows recorded in his works that when Vivekananda addressed the audience as "Sisters and Brothers of America," he drew wide applause which lasted for several minutes.[20][21]

Another article mentions about Dr. Barrows' comments on Vivekananda's influence in Parliament:

Dr. J.H. Barrows, Chairman of the General Committee of the Parliament of Religions, said: 'Swami Vivekananda exercised a wonderful influence over his auditors,' and Mr. Merwin-Marie Snell stated, more enthusiastically: 'By far the most important and typical representative of Hinduism was Swami Vivekananda, who, in fact, was beyond question the most popular and influential man in the Parliament....He was received with greater enthusiasm than any other speaker, Christian or pagan. The people thronged about him wherever he went and hung with eagerness on his every word. The most rigid of orthodox Christians say of him, "He is indeed a prince among men!"'[22]

"World Parliament of Religions" (1893), written by Wesley Wildman, states that Dr. Barrows mentioned in his works Vivekananda's belief that "every religion is only an evolving of God out of the material man; and the same God is the inspirer of all of them." The article also states:

Contradictions among religions for him were only apparent and came from the same truth "adapting itself to the different circumstances of different natures" (977). Vivekananda's ultimate goal was undoubtedly represented in his proposal of a "universal religion."[12]

The article also mentions the interpretation of "Universal Religion" as:

What Vivekananda meant by the "universal religion" was not that all religious traditions would disappear and replaced by a new and single religion. Rather, it would be an authentic togetherness of all religions, in which "each must assimilate the others and yet preserve its individuality and grow according to its law of growth" (in Barrows 1893a, 170). The necessity to "assimilate the others" was expressed by Vivekananda as the avoidance of the triumph of any one of the religions over others. He stated, "Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid" (in Barrows 1893a, 170).[12]

Dr. Barrows, in his "Review and Summary" of the Parliament, seemed to attack Vivekananda's idea of "Universal Religion," having perceived it as a 'threat' to Christian supremacy. It seems, Dr. Barrows expressed his concerns:

• The idea of evolving a cosmic or universal faith out of the Parliament was not present in the minds of its chief promoters.
• They believe that the elements of such a religion are already contained in the Christian ideal and the Christian Scripture.
• They had no thought of attempting to formulate a universal creed. (Barrows 1893b, 1572)

Eventually, Dr. Barrows supported the Christian version of Darwinian – "survival of the fittest," saying, as mentioned above:

The best religion must come to the front, and the best religion will ultimately survive, because it will contain all that is true in all the faiths.[12]

There is also a quotation in an article about Dr. Barrows, in his History of the Parliament of Religions:

Since faith in a Divine Power to whom men believe they owe service and worship, has been like the sun, a life-giving and fructifying potency in man's intellectual and moral development; since Religion lies at the back of Hindu literature with its marvellous and mystic developments; of the European Art, whether in the form of Grecian statues or Gothic cathedrals; and of American liberty and the recent uprisings of men on behalf of a juster social condition; and since it is as clear as the light, that the Religion of Christ has led to many of the chief and noblest developments of our modern civilization, it did not appear that Religion any more than Education, Art, or Electricity, should be excluded from the Columbian Exposition.[23]

There are some interesting and contradicting facts about Swami Vivekananda's belief in Spirituality and Vegetarianism. As reported in an article written by 'Shashi Shekar' for, the author found some article clippings that appeared in The New York Times wherein Vivekananda debunked spirituality and vegetarianism, apparently during an event in New York City in May 1894, while speaking on vegetarianism to an audience.[24]

There is another article from The Outlook; then, Vivekananda preferred "beef" as his food with Dr. Barrows. The article seems to have appeared on July 17, 1897:

Dr. Barrows says:

"After the first session of the Parliament of Religions I went with Vivekananda to the restaurant in the basement of the Art Institute, and I said to him, 'What shall I get you to eat?' His reply was "Give me beef !""[25]

There is also a contradictory report about Vivekananda's master Ramakrishna aka Ramakrishna Paramahansa, a mystic, for having learnt or known Sanskrit as a language. There is a second-hand story in The Outlook magazine, re-published in several articles. According to the reports, Dr. Barrows had learnt an interesting story from Max Muller, professor at Oxford University about Sanskrit, where Max Muller had asked Swami Vivekananda if his master, Ramakrishna, knew Sanskrit.

“ The answer at first was evasive, but Vivekananda finally said "When Ramakrishna was in the jungle as an ascetic, a beautiful woman came down from heaven and taught him the language." "Nonsense" was Max Muller's reply; "The only way to learn Sanskrit is to get a grammar and a dictionary and go to work."[26] ”

Abraham Lincoln had become a Christian claim

Dr. Barrows claimed that Abraham Lincoln had become a Christian without providing any evidence. In the Lincoln Memorial Album, following Lincoln's assassination, Dr. Barrows wrote a few comments about Lincoln's religion:

In the anxious uncertainties of the great war, he gradually rose to the heights where Jehovah became to him the sublimest of realities, the ruler of nations. When he wrote his immortal Proclamation, he invoked upon it not only 'the considerate judgment of mankind,' but 'the gracious favor of Almighty God.' When darkness gathered over the brave armies fighting for the nation's life, this strong man in the early morning knelt and wrestled in prayer with him who holds in his hand the fate of empires. When the clouds lifted above the carnage of Gettysburg, he gave his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. When he pronounced his matchless oration on the chief battlefield of the war, he gave expression to the resolve that 'this nation, under God, should have a new birth of freedom.' And when he wrote his last Inaugural Address, he gave to it the lofty religious tone of an old Hebrew psalm.[27]


• Seven Lectures on the Credibility of the Gospel Histories – 1891
• The World's Parliament of Religions: An Illustrated and Popular Story of the World's First Parliament of Religions, Held in Chicago in Connection with the Columbian Exposition of 1893. Vol. I
• The World's Parliament of Religions: An Illustrated and Popular Story of the World's First Parliament of Religions, Held in Chicago in Connection with the Columbian Exposition of 1893. Vol. II[3]
• Henry Ward Beecher, the Shakespeare of the Pulpit – 1893
• A World Pilgrimage – 1897
• Christianity, the World Religion – 1897
• The Christian Conquest of Asia – 1899
• Spiritual Forces in American History – 1889
• Christianity the World-Religion: Lectures Delivered in India and Japan
• I Believe in God the Father Almighty
• The Nation and the Soldier. a Memorial Address
• A World-Pilgrimage[7][28][29][30]

See also

• Abraham Lincoln and religion


1. Lincoln Memorial Album—Immortelles
2. John Henry Barrows (1847–1902), Chairman of the General Committee, Geistlicher der First Presbyterian Church, Chikago that Abraham Lincoln had become a Christian
3. "World Parliament of Religions". Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology. 1893. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
4. The World's Parliament of Religions
5. "Bibliography and Cited Works". [Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology]]. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
6. The New York Times– Oberlin's President dead – John Henry Barrows succumbs to Pneumonia
7. John Henry Barrows (1847–1902)
8. Barrows, Mary Eleanor (1904). John Henry Barrows – A Memoir (PDF) (First ed.). Chicago: Fleming H. Revell Company. p. 16. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
9. "THE REV. JOHN HENRY BARROWS". Retrieved 2012-02-15.
10. The New York Times REASONABLENESS OF PRAYER.; Dr. John Henry Barrows Preaches Before the Chautauqua Assembly.
11. "Presidents of Oberlin College". Oberlin College Archives. Oberlin College. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
12. "An Analysis of Culture and Religion". Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology. 1893. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
13. Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke, Writer of over 40 Books
14. "Relation to Other Thinkers – Significant Legacies of the Parliament". Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology. 1893. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
15. Dharmapala, Buddhist, Ceylon – Speech
17. The experience of the late Dr. John Henry Barrows, President of the Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893, may be quoted in confirmation of the absence of a Hindu creed – Sidenote: Pantheism, Maya, and Transmigration may be called Hindu doctrines
18. Chairman invited some remarks from the Hindu monk SWAMI VIVEKANANDA, of Bombay
19. Swami Vivekananda emphasized tolerance and rejected bigotry
20. "World Parliament of Religions: background". Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology. 1893. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
21. At last he came to the rostrum, and Dr. Barrows introduced him. Bowing to Sarasvati, the Goddess of Wisdom, he addressed the audience as 'Sisters and Brothers of America.
22. Dr.Barrows said: 'Swami Vivekananda exercised a wonderful influence over his auditors,'
23. THE PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS – Dr. Barrows, in his History of the Parliament of Religions, writes:
24. Swami Vivekananda debunked spirituality and vegetarianism
25. Dr. John Henry Barrow's reminiscences of Vivekananda
26. Not A Miracle – Sanskrit – Max Muller – John Henry Barrows – Swami Vivekananda – Ramakrishna
27. Rev. John H. Barrows, D.D. – Lincoln Memorial Album, p. 508
28. Libri inglesi John Henry Barrows
29. – Works of John Henry Barrows
30. author:"Barrows, John Henry, 1847–1902."

External links

• John Henry Barrows Professor of Islamic History and Literature in the Divinity School
• Sisters and Brothers of America – Swami Vivekananda's speech in Chicago at the Parliament of Religions
• The Parliament's Archives
• 2. The World's Parliament of Religions 1893
• The International Social Turn: Unity and Brotherhood at the World's Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 1893
• Great American Events/Universalists – The World Parliament of Religions, 1893
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:02 am

Mary Foster
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/12/19



Mary Elizabeth Mikahala Foster

Mary Elizabeth Mikahala Foster born Robinson ( Honolulu, 20 September 1844 - Honolulu, 20 December 1930) was an American philanthropist.

Mary Foster was the eldest daughter of James Robinson, the first owner of Hawaii of English origin (arrived in the islands in 1820) and Rebecca Prever, descendant of King Kamehameha I. She was a friend of Queen Liliuokalani of whose government her brother was a minister, until the Kingdom of Hawaii was demolished by conspirators supported by the United States in 1895 and the Republic of Hawaii was proclaimed, followed by annexation to the USA in 1898.


Married to the Canadian shipowner Thomas Foster (born May 19, 1835, died August 20, 1889 in San Francisco) [1], in 1889 he was widowed [2] and endowed with great economic means and many landholdings in Hawaii. Since then he lived at the home of his sister Victoria Ward and her husband Curtis Perry Ward, a great landowner [1].

In 1860, Mary Robinson married Thomas R. Foster (1835-1889) of Nova Scotia, who had arrived in the Islands just three years earlier. He founded the Interisland Steam Navigation Company, and owned a shipyard, a shipping agency and a number of schooners. He died in 1889, leaving her a very wealthy widow, as she had also inherited substantial property from her father following his death in 1876.

-- Mary E. Foster, by Theosophy Wiki

The turning point in the life of Mary Foster came when Anagarika Dharmapala, the great reformer of the practice Buddhist of Ceylon, returning from the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893 where he had attended the first meeting of the World Parliament of Religions on a journey that from San Francisco was taking him to Yokohama made a stop in Honolulu [3] and converted it to Buddhism.

From that moment on he promoted a large number of activities that are part of the revitalization of Buddhism, of which Anagarika Dharmapala was the most famous exponent of southern Buddhism and Taixu of Buddhism in China.

The Mulagandhakuti Vihara in Sarnath.

In 1899 he promoted the construction of the new temple of the Honpa Hongwanji, a mission of the Pure Land Buddhism formed in Hawaii by Japanese immigrants [4], at whose inauguration Henry Steel Olcott of the Theosophical Society took part. He then sponsored the construction of the Sri Dharmarajika Vihara and Mulagandhakuti Vihara monasteries in Sarnath [5], a place where the historical Buddha had preached the first inoculation to the Pañcavaggiyā. The interiors of the Mulagandhakuti Vihara (imitated in 1904 and completed in 1931) were frescoed by the Japanese painter Nosu Kosetsu [6](野生 司 香雪Nousu Kōsetsu ) (1885-1973) [7] with a hybrid style, which drew inspiration both from the paintings of the Ajanta Caves and from the Art Nouveau.

The Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu.

Sponsorships at the Maha Bodhi Society included the purchase of the Calcutta and Madras headquarters, the first headquarters, in 1926, of the London Buddhist Vihara and the construction of a hospital in Ceylon. Anagarika Dharmapala returned to Hawaii twice more to meet her, in 1913 and 1925. Mary Foster asked to be considered her adoptive mother.

Mary Foster's last donation was 5 hectares of land in the center of Honolulu, bought years before with her husband by the German botanist William Hillebrand [8], offered to the city of Honolulu together with a fund of ten thousand dollars for its maintenance as a garden botanist. Currently the Foster Botanical Garden is the oldest in Hawaii and preserves a Ficus religiosa derived from a sucker of Sri Maha Bodhi brought to it in 1913 by Anagarika Dharmapala [9].

Upon the death of Mary Foster, Christian relatives, contrary to her latest provisions, celebrated a Christian rather than a Buddhist funeral [10].


2. Foster Community Garden [ broken link ]
3. Michael C. Howard, Transnationalism and society, an introduction , McFarland, 2011, p. 199
4. Ho'okuleana: Buddhism in Hawai'i
5. The Island
6. Life of Buddha in frescoes [microform], Mulagandhakuti vihara, Sarnath (1900) ... 00nosu.pdf
8. The Walking Hawaiian
9. Ayya Vimala, Bodhi Trees Around the World: Hawaii Foster Botanical Garden ... -Bodhi.pdf [ broken link ]
10. Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Innovative Buddhist Women: Swimming Against the Stream , Routledge, 2000, p.243 ISBN 9780700712533

Other projects

• Wikimedia Commons contains images or other files on Mary Foster

External links

• ( EN ) Mary Foster , on Find a Grave .


Mary E. Foster
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 8/19/20

Mrs. Mary E. Foster was a Hawaiian Theosophist who was close to the Buddhist leader Anagarika Dharmapala and was a great benefactor of the Maha Bodhi Society of India.

Early life

Mary Elizabeth Makahala Robinson was born in Honolulu on September 20, 1844. Her parents were John James Robinson, a shipwrecked English sailor, and Rebecca Kaikilani Prever, who was a descendant of the famous Hawaiian king Kamehameha I. Thus, Mary was related to Queen Liliʻuokalani, who was six years older, and was one of the monarch's closest friends. Mark P. Robinson, Mary's brother, served as Queen Lili'uokalani's Minister of Foreign Affairs. [1] It was a difficult time to be royalty in the Islands. During the period 1893-1896, the queen was forcibly and illegally deposed by agents of the American government, and eventually Hawai'i was made a protectorate of the United States.

Mary was educated at the O'ahu Charity School, which provided English-language instruction to children of foreign residents married to Hawaiians.

In 1860, Mary Robinson married Thomas R. Foster (1835-1889) of Nova Scotia, who had arrived in the Islands just three years earlier. He founded the Interisland Steam Navigation Company, and owned a shipyard, a shipping agency and a number of schooners. He died in 1889, leaving her a very wealthy widow, as she had also inherited substantial property from her father following his death in 1876.[2]

Theosophical Society involvement

After her husband's death, Mary became interested in Theosophy, joining the Theosophical Society on May 12, 1882.[3] Initially a member of the Golden Gate branch in San Francisco, she soon organized lectures and classes in Honolulu. She helped to organize the Aloha Branch in February 1894, with Dr. Auguste Marques as lodge President.

Dr. Auguste Jean Baptiste Marques was a scientist, diplomat, and writer who lived in Hawai'i. He was President of the Aloha Branch and served as General Secretary of the Australian Section of the Theosophical Society based in Adyar, Chennai, India.

Dr. Marques was born at Toulon, France on November 17, 1841. His father John, a general in the French army, was half Spanish and half French. His mother, Augusta Cooke, was half English and half Scottish, the daughter of a British general. Marques spent some of his boyhood in Morocco and Algiers. He completed study of medicine at the University of Paris, but his mother persuaded him for some unknown reason not to take the degree. He did complete a doctorate in science from the University of Lisbon. For a time he worked at the bureau of agriculture in Paris, but "after his mother's death in 1875, when he was 34, he began a prolonged world tour."

During his travels, he arrived in Hawai'i on December 30, 1878 on the City of Sydney, and decided to stay. He became a naturalized American citizen after Hawai'i became a protectorate of the United States.

After arriving in Hawai'i,

He soon helped found the Honolulu Library and Reading Room Association, later Honolulu's first public library, and he actively promoted fund-raising efforts, purchased books, and organized a music department. A self-proclaimed advocate of Portuguese interests in his early years in Hawai'i, Marques established the Anti-Asiatic Society to work for the restriction of the immigration of Japanese and Chinese laborers. After reading Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled in 1885, he became interested in Theosophy, traveling to Europe in 1888 to further his research on the topic.

After his exposure to Theosophy, he dropped his anti-Asiatic activities. He taught music, then French at Oahu College and Punahou Preparatory School during the years 1883-1891. An active supporter of the Hawaiian royalty, he served a one-year term as a member of the Hawaiian legislature in 1890. He was director of the Honolulu Symphony Society, and played the viola. He wrote for many periodicals about Hawaiian culture and mythology...

In February 1894, Dr. Marques worked with Mrs. Mary E. Foster to establish the Aloha Branch of the Theosophical Society, and he became its first President and host of weekly meetings. Mrs. Foster's brother Mark Robinson, a prominent banker and invester, was also involved; he hosted Theosophical gatherings at his home. They organized lectures and classes, and several other study groups. During the 1890s, Dr. Marques frequently contributed articles to Mercury and other Theosophical periodicals.


Mercury was published in San Francisco from 1894 to 1899, with William John Walters as the editor. It was initially written for children, since Walters was Conductor of the Lotus Circles children's group in San Francisco. However, following the split in the American Theosophical movement, the August 1895 issue announced that Mercury was "'A Theosophical Magazine'. Now the monthly magazine of the newly established American Section." In 1897, the Mercury Publishing Company produced a cookbook that included an advertisement for Mercury, calling the periodical "A Theosophical monthly, dedicated to the study of Oriental philosophy, the Occult Sciences and the Brotherhood of Man."

-- Mercury (periodical), by Theosophy Wiki

From 1899-1901, Dr. Marques served as General Secretary of the Australian Section, and he traveled to India as a delegate.

In December, 1901, Alexander Fullerton reported that Dr. Marques had resigned his membership. The reason is not known.

King David Kalākaua sent Marques on a diplomatic mission to Russia in 1886. Around 1907, Dr. Marques became Acting Consul in Hawai'i for France, and Vice Consul for Spain. For over 20 years, he represented the interests of France as Consular Agent and then Consul. He also became, at the same time, Consul for Panama (1909); and Vice Consul for Belgium (1914) and Russia (1908-1918). He worked out of his residence at 1928 Wilder Avenue in Honolulu.

Dr. Marques wrote numerous articles for Theosophical journals, mostly during the 1890s. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists 42 articles by or reviews of books by A Marques.

-- Auguste Marques, by Theosophy Wiki

They also established several other study groups. Her brother Mark Robinson, a prominent banker and invester, became a member on May 23, 1884; he hosted Theosophical gatherings at his home.[4][5] Theosophical lecturers came to Honolulu. Countess Wachtmeister arrived in 1896. She and Mrs. Foster had been corresponding cordially.

The Countess Wachtmeister was the companion and coworker of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (H.P.B.) from 1885 until Blavatsky's death in 1891. She lectured widely in the 1890s, and helped Annie Besant to form lodges in the United States.

-- Constance Wachtmeister, by Theosophy Wiki

From February 13-19, 1901, the President-Founder Colonel Olcott visited, and his lecture on "The Divine Art of Healing" was attended by the former queen Liliʻuokalani, who was a good friend of Mrs. Foster. It was fortunate for him that he chose to remain in Hawai'i a few days. The ship Rio de Janeiro on which he had arrived, struck a rock and sank while leaving harbor. He continued his journey on the S.S. Coptic. [6]

Anagarika Dharmapala

Following his remarkable success as a speaker at the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago, the Anagarika Dharmapala traveled by the steamer S.S. Oceanic via Honolulu, Japan, and Thailand as he returned to Ceylon. His ship stopped for a day in Honolulu in mid-October 1893, and a few local Theosophists met him:

Greeted and offered fresh fruit and flowers by Mary Foster, Auguste Marques, and an unidentified woman Theosophist, possibly Marie de Souza Canavarro, Dharmapala embarked on a short tour of Honolulu. Foster confided in Dharmapala about her uncontrollable temper and asked for advice. His counsel was evidently of great value to her as she commenced studying Theravadan Buddhism in conjunction with her Theosophical interests. A number of later newspaper accounts refer to Foster's traveling to Ceylon in 1893 and studying with the Buddhist monks at Anuradhapura, thereby horrifying her large kama'dina [native Hawaiian] family, who kept this fact secret.[7]

Dharmapala visited Hawai'i again in 1913, bringing Mrs. Foster the gift of a "Bo" tree for her garden. They met in person one final time in 1925.[8]

Support of Buddhist causes

Mary Foster provided funding for repairs to Buddhist temples in India and Ceylon, and to numerous schools, hospitals, and training programs in South Asia and Hawai'i. By some accounts she donated over $300,000 dollars to Buddhist causes.

Why a dollar today is worth only 3% of a dollar in 1893
Updated: August 12, 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today's prices in 2020 are 2,778.90% higher than average prices since 1893. This means that a dollar today only buys 3.47% of what it could buy in 1893. The U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.68% per year during this period, causing the real value of a dollar to decrease.

In other words, $100 in 1893 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $2,878.90 in 2020, a difference of $2,778.90 over 127 years.

[$300,000 in 1893 = $8,636,700 in 2020]

These are some of the projects supported:

• Construction of Mulagandhikuti Vihara at Sarnath in India.
• English-Sinhala free school at Rajagiri near Colombo.[9]
• Hewawitharana Weaving School.
• [b]Maha Bodhi Press in Colombo, and its journals in Sinhala and English.[10]
• Industrial School at Sarnath.[11]
• Foster-Robinson Hospital for the Poor - a free ayurvedic hospital that remains part of Colombo General Hospital in Sri Lanka.
• Dharmarajika Vihara in Calcutta.
• Foster House at 86 Madeley Road, Ealing, London - opened on July 24, 1926 as the first missionary vihara to be founded outside the Asian continent. This also marked the birth of the British Mahabodhi Society.[12][13]

In Hawai'i, Mrs. Foster also gave land on Pali Highway to the Japanese Buddhists' Honpa Hongwanji Mission, where the first Buddhist temple in Honolulu was built in 1889; and she supported the Hongwanji High School.[14]

Foster Botanical Garden

The garden at Mrs. Foster's residence was planted with indigenous flora and ornamental specimens. She lived at 50 North Vineyard Boulevard, Honolulu for several decades after she and Captain Foster purchased the property in 1884 from a German botanist, who had nurtured the collection of flora for 30 years. Mrs. Foster purchased additional land and consulted with botanists to identify the varieties of plants.[15]

Giant lumbering Galápagos tortoises used to make their way amid the tropical terraced trails, with a niece or nephew of Mrs. Foster on their wide, smooth backs. The tortoises were a gift, like many of the plants, from visiting sea adventurers. When Mary Foster passed away the Galápagos tortoises went to the zoo.[16]

Dharmapala brought Mrs. Foster a cutting from an ancient tree planted in 288 B.C. at the Mahabodhi temple in Anuradhapura, Ceylon, that is a direct descendant of the famous "Bo" tree (Ficus religiosa) under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. From the tree that took root in her garden, several other bo trees were provided to other gardens at Hawaiian Buddhist viharas and to the University of Hawaii - Manoa campus.[17][18] At her death in 1930, the property was bequeathed to the city of Honolulu as its first botanical garden.

Later years

At times Mrs. Foster traveled to San Francisco, and she may have also visited South Asia again. She spent time in Oahu, as well, where she established a land trust to save ahupua'a 'o Kahana, a beautiful wooded tract, from ranchers who wanted to burn it to create grassland. "Today it is run as a state park, which embraces and teaches Hawaiian culture."[19]

In her final year she lived with her younger sister, Victoria Ward, and the sister's three middle-aged daughters, in Honolulu.[20] Mary died on December 20, 1930.


Mary Foster is remembered through the Foster Botanical Garden and many institutions named after her. "Mary Foster Day" was proclaimed by the mayor of Honolulu in 2006, and a Facebook account called Discover Mary Foster Day was established. A variety of hibiscus was named "Mary Foster."[21] A prayer service honoring Foster is held every month at the Foster-Robinson Hospital in Colombo.[22]Foster Lane in Colombo was named after her.

An author, Patricia Lee Masters, wrote a biographical novel in 2017 entitled Searching for Mary Foster: Nineteenth-Century Native Hawaiian Buddhist, Philanthropist, and Social Activist and published by the American Buddhist Study Center.[23]

Mrs. Foster is also mentioned in the song, "Beautiful Kahana" in these lines:

This is the home of the lady
Of the loving heart of India[24]


1. Frank Karpiel, "Theosophy, Culture, and Politics in Honolulu, 1890-1920," Hawaiian Journal of History 30 (1996), 172. Available at this website.
2. Frank Karpiel, "Theosophy, Culture, and Politics in Honolulu, 1890-1920," Hawaiian Journal of History 30 (1996), 172. Available at this website.
3. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at See book 1, entry 8246 (website file: 1C/ 59).
4. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at See book 1, entry 11199 (website file: 1D/43).
5. Frank Karpiel, "Theosophy, Culture, and Politics in Honolulu, 1890-1920," Hawaiian Journal of History 30 (1996), 172. Available at this website.
6. Anonymous, "Hawaii," The Theosophist 22.9 (June, 1901), 566-567.
7. Frank Karpiel, "Theosophy, Culture, and Politics in Honolulu, 1890-1920," Hawaiian Journal of History 30 (1996), 183. Available at this website.
8. Frank Karpiel, "Theosophy, Culture, and Politics in Honolulu, 1890-1920," Hawaiian Journal of History 30 (1996), 185. Available at this website.
9. Kumari Jayawarden, "The White Woman's Other Burden: Western Women and South Asia During British Rule" (Routledge, 2014), 165.
10. Kumari Jayawarden, "The White Woman's Other Burden: Western Women and South Asia During British Rule" (Routledge, 2014), 165.
11. Anāgārika Dharmapāla A Biographical Sketch Available at Wisdom Library.
12. "Anagarika Dharmapala," London Buddhist Vihara web page. Available at [
13. M. P. Amarasuriya, "London Buddhist Vihara: Impetus and Consolidation 1925-28," Anagarika Dharmapala Trust. Available at
14. Mary Adamski, "Buddhist Roots," Star Bulletin (September 15, 2007). Available at Star Bulletin.
15. Nancy Arcayna, "Mysterious Mary Foster," Star Bulletin [Honolulu] (September 22, 2006). Available at this website.
16. Heidi Bornhorst, "Mary Foster Deserving of Celebration in Her Honor," Honolulu Advertiser (September 22, 2006). Available at
17. Ven. Ayya Vimala, "Bodhi Trees Around the World: Hawaii – Foster Botanical Garden," Shin Dharm Net. Available at].
18. Mary Adamski, "Buddhist Roots," Star Bulletin (September 15, 2007). Available at Star Bulletin.
19. Vinod Moonesinghe, "George Clooney, Mary Foster and Anagarika Dharmapala," Daily News [Sri Lanka] (February 29, 2012). Available at Daily News.
20. U. S. Census, 1930.
21. Heidi Bornhorst, "Mary Foster Deserving of Celebration in Her Honor," Honolulu Advertiser (September 22, 2006). Available at
22. Nancy Arcayna, "Mysterious Mary Foster," Star Bulletin [Honolulu] (September 22, 2006). Available at this website.
23. Searching for Mary Foster in Better Hawai'i blog. October 6, 2018.
24. Vinod Moonesinghe, "George Clooney, Mary Foster and Anagarika Dharmapala," Daily News [Sri Lanka] (February 29, 2012). Available at Daily News.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Fukuzawa Yukichi
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/12/19



At the time of Olcott and Dharmapala’s visit, Jiji Shimpo [Jiji Shinpo “Current Events”, Fukuzawa’s newspaper], a newspaper committed to Japan’s modernization, looked forward to a time when human beings would have less need for religion. In the face of missionary threat – and the prospect of life without religion relegated to the future – the paper argued that for now Jodo Shinshu should become the state religion:

Its preachers are skilful; the tact of its propagandists is remarkable; its temples, instead of being hidden away in sequestered spots like the strongholds of feudal barons, are built in populous and accessible places, and despite the license enjoyed by its priests in respect of marriage and flesh-eating, its influence spreads and alone among all the Sects, its prosperity remains unimpaired.98

The Christian editors of the Japan Weekly Mail reached the opposite conclusion: these qualities made it the least praiseworthy of Buddhist sects.

-- Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World, by Steven Kemper

In this Japanese name, the family name is Fukuzawa.

Fukuzawa Yukichi
Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris, 1862.
Born January 10, 1835
Nakatsu, Oita, Japan
Died February 3, 1901 (aged 66)
Tokyo, Japan
Other names Shi-I (子圍)
Sanjyū-ikkoku-jin (三十一谷人)
Children 9

Fukuzawa Yukichi (福澤 諭吉, January 10, 1835 – February 3, 1901) was a Japanese author, writer, teacher, translator, entrepreneur, journalist, and leader who founded Keio University, Jiji-Shinpō (a newspaper) and the Institute for Study of Infectious Diseases.

Fukuzawa was an early Japanese advocate for reform. Fukuzawa's ideas about the government work, and the structure of social institutions made a lasting impression on a rapidly changing Japan during the Meiji period.

Fukuzawa is regarded as one of the founders of modern Japan.

Early life

Monument of NAKATSU-Han warehouse and FUKUZAWA YUKICHI birthplace, at Hotaru-machi, Fukushima-ku, Osaka City, Japan.

Fukuzawa Yukichi was born into an impoverished low-ranking samurai family of the Okudaira Clan of Nakatsu (now Ōita, Kyushu) in 1835. His family lived in Osaka, the main trading center for Japan at the time.[1] His family was poor following the early death of his father, who was also a Confucian scholar. At the age of 5 he started Han learning, and by the time he turned 14 had studied major writings such as the Analects, Tao Te Ching, Zuo Zhuan and Zhuangzi.[2] Fukuzawa was greatly influenced by his lifelong teacher, Shōzan Shiraishi, who was a scholar of Confucianism and Han learning. When he turned 19 in 1854, shortly after Commodore Matthew C. Perry's arrival in Japan, Fukuzawa's brother (the family patriarch) asked Yukichi to travel to Nagasaki, where the Dutch colony at Dejima was located, in order to enter a school of Dutch studies (rangaku). He instructed Yukichi to learn Dutch so that he might study European cannon designs and gunnery.

Sailors of the Kanrin Maru, members of the Japanese Embassy to the United States (1860). Fukuzawa Yukichi sits on the right.

Fukuzawa Yukichi (posing with the photographer's twelve year old daughter: Theodora Alice Shew) in San Francisco, 1860.

Fukuzawa spent the beginning of his walk of life just trying to survive the backbreaking yet dull life of a lower-level samurai in Japan during the Tokugawa period.[2] Although Fukuzawa did travel to Nagasaki, his stay was brief as he quickly began to outshine his host in Nagasaki, Okudaira Iki. Okudaira planned to get rid of Fukuzawa by writing a letter saying that Fukuzawa's mother was ill. Seeing through the fake letter Fukuzawa planned to travel to Edo and continue his studies there because he knew he would not be able to in his home domain, Nakatsu, but upon his return to Osaka, his brother persuaded him to stay and enroll at the Tekijuku school run by physician and rangaku scholar Ogata Kōan[2]. Fukuzawa studied at Tekijuku for three years and became fully proficient in the Dutch language. In 1858, he was appointed official Dutch teacher of his family's domain, Nakatsu, and was sent to Edo to teach the family's vassals there.

The following year, Japan opened up three of its ports to American and European ships, and Fukuzawa, intrigued with Western civilization, traveled to Kanagawa to see them. When he arrived, he discovered that virtually all of the European merchants there were speaking English rather than Dutch. He then began to study English
, but at that time, English-Japanese interpreters were rare and dictionaries nonexistent, so his studies were slow.

In 1859, the Tokugawa shogunate sent the first diplomatic mission to the United States. Fukuzawa volunteered his services to Admiral Kimura Yoshitake. Kimura's ship, the Kanrin Maru, arrived in San Francisco, California, in 1860. The delegation stayed in the city for a month, during which time Fukuzawa had himself photographed with an American girl, and also found a Webster's Dictionary, from which he began serious study of the English language.

Political movements

Fukuzawa Yukichi was a member of the Japanese Embassy to the United States (1860). (Washington shipyard).

Fukuzawa posing in Utrecht as part of the First Japanese Embassy to Europe, 1862.

Upon his return in 1860, Fukuzawa became an official translator for the Tokugawa bakufu. Shortly thereafter he brought out his first publication, an English-Japanese dictionary which he called "Kaei Tsūgo" (translated from a Chinese-English dictionary) which was a beginning for his series of later books. In 1862, he visited Europe as one of the two English translators in bakufu's 40-man embassy, the First Japanese Embassy to Europe. During its year in Europe, the Embassy conducted negotiations with France, England, the Netherlands, Prussia, and finally Russia. In Russia, the embassy unsuccessfully negotiated for the southern end of Sakhalin (in Japanese Karafuto).

The Tokugawa shogunate, also known as the Tokugawa Bakufu (徳川幕府) and the Edo Bakufu (江戸幕府), was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1600 and 1868.[3] The head of government was the shogun,[4] and each was a member of the Tokugawa clan.[5] The Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo Castle and the years of the shogunate became known as the Edo period.[6] This time is also called the Tokugawa period[3] or pre-modern (Kinsei (近世)).[7]

-- Tokugawa shogunate, by Wikipedia

The information collected during these travels resulted in his famous work Seiyō Jijō (西洋事情, "Things western"), which he published in ten volumes in 1867, 1868 and 1870. The books describe western culture and institutions in simple, easy to understand terms, and they became immediate best-sellers. Fukuzawa was soon regarded as the foremost expert on all things western, leading him to conclude that his mission in life was to educate his countrymen in new ways of thinking in order to enable Japan to resist European imperialism.

In 1868 he changed the name of the school he had established to teach Dutch to Keio Gijuku, and from then on devoted all his time to education. He had even added Public speaking to the educational system's curriculum.[2] While Keiō's initial identity was that of a private school of Western studies (Keio-gijuku), it expanded and established its first university faculty in 1890. Under the name Keio-Gijuku University, it became a leader in Japanese higher education.

Fukuzawa was also a strong advocate for women’s rights. He often spoke up in favor of equality between husbands and wives, the education of girls as well as boys, and the equal love of daughters and sons. At the same time, he called attention to harmful practices such as women’s inability to own property in their own name and the familial distress that took place when married men took mistresses. However, even Fukuzawa was not willing to propose completely equal rights for men and women; only for husbands and wives. He also stated in his 1899 book New Greater Learning for Women that a good marriage was always the best outcome for a young woman, and according to some of Fukuzawa's personal letters, he discouraged his friends from sending their daughters on to higher education so that they would not become less desirable marriage candidates.[2] While some of Yukichi’s other proposed reforms, such as education reforms, found an eager audience, his ideas about women received a less enthusiastic reception. Many in Japan were incredibly reluctant to challenge the traditional gender roles, in spite of numerous individuals speaking up in favor of greater gender equality.

After suffering a stroke on January 25, 1901, Fukuzawa Yukichi died on February 3. He was buried at Zenpuku-ji, in the Azabu area of Tokyo.[2] Alumni of Keio-Gijuku University hold a ceremony there every year on February 3.


Fukuzawa's writings may have been the foremost of the Edo period and Meiji period. They played a large role in the introduction of Western culture into Japan.

English-Japanese Dictionary

In 1860, he published English-Japanese Dictionary ("Zōtei Kaei Tsūgo"). It was his first publication. He bought English-Chinese Dictionary ("Kaei Tsūgo") in San Francisco in 1860. He translated it to Japanese and he added the Japanese translations to the original textbook. In his book, he invented the new Japanese characters VU (ヴ) to represent the pronunciation of VU and VA (ヷ) to represent the pronunciation of VA. For example, the name Beethoven is written as ベートーヴェン in Japanese now.

All the Countries of the World, for Children Written in Verse

His famous textbook Sekai Kunizukushi ("All the Countries of the World, for Children Written in Verse", 1869) became a best seller and was used as an official school textbook. His inspiration for writing the books came when he tried to teach world geography to his sons. At the time there were no textbooks on the subject, so he decided to write one himself. He started by buying a few Japanese geography books for children, named Miyakoji ("City roads") and Edo hōgaku ("Tokyo maps"), and practiced reading them aloud. He then wrote Sekai Kunizukushi in six volumes in the same lyrical style. The first volume covered Asian countries, the second volume detailed African countries, European countries were discussed in the third, South American countries in the fourth, and North American countries and Australia in the fifth. Finally, the sixth volume was an appendix that gave an introduction to world geography.

An Encouragement of Learning

First print of "An Encouragement of Learning" (1872), written by Fukuzawa Yukichi and Obata Tokujirō.

Between 1872 and 1876, he published 17 volumes of Gakumon no Susume ( 学問のすすめ, "An Encouragement of Learning" or more idiomatically "On Studying"[3]). In these texts, Fukuzawa outlines the importance of understanding the principle of equality of opportunity and that study was the key to greatness. He was an avid supporter of education and believed in a firm mental foundation through education and studiousness. In the volumes of Gakumon no Susume, influenced by Elements of Moral Science (1835, 1856 ed.) by Brown University President Francis Wayland, Fukuzawa advocated his most lasting principle, "national independence through personal independence." Through personal independence, an individual does not have to depend on the strength of another. With such a self-determining social morality, Fukuzawa hoped to instill a sense of personal strength among the people of Japan, and through that personal strength, build a nation to rival all others. His understanding was that western society had become powerful relative to other countries at the time because western countries fostered education, individualism (independence), competition and exchange of ideas.

Francis Wayland (March 11, 1796 – September 30, 1865), American Baptist educator and economist, was born in New York City, New York. He was president of Brown University and pastor of the First Baptist Church in America in Providence, Rhode Island. In Washington, D.C., Wayland Seminary was established in 1867, primarily to educate former slaves, and was named in his honor. (In 1899, Wayland Seminary merged with another school to become the current Virginia Union University, at Richmond, Virginia.)

-- Francis Wayland, by Wikipedia

An Outline of a Theory of Civilization

First print of An Outline of a Theory of Civilization (1875).

Fukuzawa published many influential essays and critical works. A particularly prominent example is Bunmeiron no Gairyaku ( 文明論之概略, "An Outline of a Theory of Civilization"[4]) published in 1875, in which he details his own theory of civilization. It was influenced by Histoire de la civilisation en Europe (1828; Eng. trans in 1846) by François Guizot .....

François Pierre Guillaume Guizot (French: [fʁɑ̃swa pjɛʁ ɡijom ɡizo]; 4 October 1787 – 12 September 1874) was a French historian, orator, and statesman. Guizot was a dominant figure in French politics prior to the Revolution of 1848. A moderate liberal[1][2] who opposed the attempt by King Charles X to usurp legislative power, he worked to sustain a constitutional monarchy following the July Revolution of 1830.

He then served the "citizen king" Louis Philippe, as Minister of Education, 1832–37, ambassador to London, Foreign Minister 1840–1847, and finally Prime Minister of France from 19 September 1847 to 23 February 1848. Guizot's influence was critical in expanding public education, which under his ministry saw the creation of primary schools in every French commune. But as a leader of the "Doctrinaires", committed to supporting the policies of Louis Phillipe and limitations on further expansion of the political franchise, he earned the hatred of more left-leaning liberals and republicans through his unswerving support for restricting suffrage to propertied men, advising those who wanted the vote to "enrich yourselves" (enrichissez-vous) through hard work and thrift.

As Prime Minister, it was Guizot's ban on the political meetings (called the campagne des banquets or the Paris Banquets, which were held by moderate liberals who wanted a larger extension of the franchise)[3] of an increasingly vigorous opposition in January 1848 that catalyzed the revolution that toppled Louis Philippe in February and saw the establishment of the French Second Republic.....

During Guizot's tenure as foreign minister, he and Lord Aberdeen, the foreign secretary to Sir Robert Peel, carried on well, and thus they secured France and Britain in the entente cordiale. Part of the formation of the entente came about when Guizot secured the transfer of Napoleon's ashes from St. Helena to the French government.[8] The opposition in France denounced Guizot's foreign policy as basely subservient to England. He replied in terms of unmeasured contempt: "You may raise the pile of calumny as high as you will; vous n'arriverez jamais a la hauteur de mon dédain!" In 1845 British and French troops fought side by side for the first time in the Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata.

The fall of Peel's government in 1846 changed these intimate relations; and the return of Palmerston to the foreign office led Guizot to believe that he was again exposed to the passionate rivalry of the British cabinet. A friendly understanding had been established between the two courts with reference to the future marriage of the young queen of Spain. The language of Lord Palmerston and the conduct of Sir Henry Bulwer (afterwards Lord Dalling) at Madrid led Guizot to believe that this understanding was broken, provoking the Affair of the Spanish Marriages after Guizot came to believe that Britain intended to place a Coburg on the throne of Spain. Determined to resist any such intrigue, Guizot and the king plunged headlong into a counter-intrigue, wholly inconsistent with their previous engagements to Britain and fatal to the happiness of the queen of Spain. By their influence she was urged into a marriage with a despicable offset of the house of Bourbon, and her sister was at the same time married to the youngest son of the French king, in direct violation of Louis Philippe's promises. This transaction, although it was hailed at the time as a triumph of the policy of France, was in truth as fatal to the monarch as it was discreditable to the minister. It was accomplished by a mixture of secrecy and violence. It was defended by subterfuges. Its immediate effect was to destroy the Anglo-French alliance, and to throw Guizot into closer relations with the reactionary policy of Metternich and the Northern courts.....

It was impossible to defend a system which confined the suffrage to 200,000 citizens and returned a chamber of whom half were placemen. Nothing would have been easier than to strengthen the moderate liberal party by attaching the suffrage to the possession of land in France, but blank resistance was the sole answer of the government to the moderate demands of the opposition. Warning after warning was addressed to them in vain by friends and by foes alike, and they remained profoundly unconscious of their danger till the moment when it overwhelmed them. Strange to say, Guizot never acknowledged either at the time or to his dying day the nature of this error, and he speaks of himself in his memoirs as the much-enduring champion of liberal government and constitutional law. He utterly failed to perceive that a more enlarged view of the liberal destinies of France and a less intense confidence in his own specific theory might have preserved the constitutional monarchy and averted a vast series of calamities, which were in the end fatal to every principle he most cherished. But with the stubborn conviction of absolute truth he dauntlessly adhered to his own doctrines to the end.....

Back in Paris in 1850, Guizot published two more volumes on the English revolution--Pourquoi la Révolution d'Angleterre a-t-elle reussi? and Discours sur l'histoire, de la Révolution d'Angleterre. In February 1850 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels co-wrote a critical assessment of this two-volume history.[11] ....

After having resigned as Prime Minister of France, he left politics. He was aware that the link between himself and public life was broken forever, and he never made the slightest attempt to renew it. The greater part of the year he spent at his residence at Val Richer, an Augustine monastery near Lisieux in Normandy, which had been sold at the time of the first Revolution. His two daughters, who married two descendants of the illustrious Dutch family of De Witt, so congenial in faith and manners to the Huguenots of France, kept his house. One of his sons-in-law farmed the estate. And here Guizot devoted his later years with undiminished energy to literary labour, which was in fact his chief means of subsistence.....

He remained throughout his life a firm believer in the truths of revelation, and a volume of Méditations on the Christian Religion was one of his latest works. But though he adhered inflexibly to the church of his fathers and combated the rationalist tendencies of the age, which seemed to threaten it with destruction, he retained not a tinge of the intolerance or asperity of the Calvinistic creed. He respected in the Church of Rome the faith of the majority of his countrymen, and the writings of the great Catholic prelates, Bossuet and Bourdaloue, were as familiar and as dear to him as those of his own persuasion, and were commonly used by him in the daily exercises of family worship....

During the 1820s, Guizot was among the darlings of the European liberal intelligentsia. His historical works such as Histoire générale de la civilisation en Europe (1828) and Histoire de la civilisation en France (1830) were widely admired by such luminaries as John Stuart Mill ("I have dinned into people's ears that Guizot is a great thinker and writer"), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ("Guizot is a man after my own heart...He possesses deep knowledge, combined with an enlightened liberality"), Charles Sainte-Beuve ("this astonishing man about whom one could say so many things"), and Alexis de Tocqueville.[13]

Guizot's later resolute opposition to universal suffrage has led his critics to argue that he was a conservative or even reactionary.[14] However, it is more accurate to describe Guizot as a proponent of the juste milieu or political center that defended representative government against absolutism and the excesses of democracy.[14][15]

-- François Guizot, by Wikipedia

and History of Civilization in England (1872–1873, 2nd London ed.) by Henry Thomas Buckle.

Buckle's fame rests mainly on his History of Civilization in England.....its chief ideas are:[6]

1. That, owing partly to the want of ability in historians, and partly to the complexity of social phenomena, extremely little had as yet been done towards discovering the principles that govern the character and destiny of nations, or, in other words, towards establishing a science of history;
2. That, while the theological dogma of predestination is a barren hypothesis beyond the province of knowledge, and the metaphysical dogma of free will rests on an erroneous belief in the infallibility of consciousness, it is proved by science, and especially by statistics, that human actions are governed by laws as fixed and regular as those that rule in the physical world;
3. That climate, soil, food, and the aspects of nature are the primary causes of intellectual progress: the first three indirectly, through determining the accumulation and distribution of wealth, and the last by directly influencing the accumulation and distribution of thought, the imagination being stimulated and the understanding subdued when the phenomena of the external world are sublime and terrible, the understanding being emboldened and the imagination curbed when they are small and feeble;
4. That the great division between European and non-European civilization turns on the fact that in Europe man is stronger than nature, and that elsewhere nature is stronger than man, the consequence of which is that in Europe alone has man subdued nature to his service;

5. That the advance of European civilization is characterized by a continually diminishing influence of physical laws, and a continually increasing influence of mental laws;
6. That the mental laws that regulate the progress of society cannot be discovered by the metaphysical method, that is, by the introspective study of the individual mind, but only by such a comprehensive survey of facts as enable us to eliminate disturbances, that is, by the method of averages;
7. That human progress has been due, not to moral agencies, which are stationary, and which balance one another in such a manner that their influence is unfelt over any long period, but to intellectual activity, which has been constantly varying and advancing: "The actions of individuals are greatly affected by their moral feelings and passions; but these being antagonistic to the passions and feelings of other individuals, are balanced by them, so that their effect is, in the great average of human affairs, nowhere to be seen, and the total actions of mankind, considered as a whole, are left to be regulated by the total knowledge of which mankind is possessed";
8. That individual efforts are insignificant in the great mass of human affairs, and that great men, although they exist, and must "at present" be looked upon as disturbing forces, are merely the creatures of the age to which they belong;
9. That religion, literature and government are, at the best, the products and not the causes of civilization;
10. That the progress of civilization varies directly as "scepticism", the disposition to doubt and to investigate, and inversely as "credulity" or "the protective spirit", a disposition to maintain, without examination, established beliefs and practices.

-- Henry Thomas Buckle, by Wikipedia

According to Fukuzawa, civilization is relative to time and circumstance, as well in comparison. For example, at the time China was relatively civilized in comparison to some African colonies, and European nations were the most civilized of all.

Colleagues in the Meirokusha intellectual society shared many of Fukuzawa's views, which he published in his contributions to Meiroku Zasshi (Meiji Six Magazine), a scholarly journal he helped publish. In his books and journals, he often wrote about the word "civilization" and what it meant. He advocated a move toward "civilization", by which he meant material and spiritual well-being, which elevated human life to a "higher plane". Because material and spiritual well-being corresponded to knowledge and "virtue", to "move toward civilization" was to advance and pursue knowledge and virtue themselves. He contended that people could find the answer to their life or their present situation from "civilization." Furthermore, the difference between the weak and the powerful and large and small was just a matter of difference between their knowledge and education.

He argued that Japan should not import guns and materials. Instead it should support the acquisition of knowledge, which would eventually take care of the material necessities. He talked of the Japanese concept of being practical or pragmatic (実学, jitsugaku) and the building of things that are basic and useful to other people. In short, to Fukuzawa, "civilization" essentially meant the furthering of knowledge and education.


Fukuzawa was later criticized as a supporter of Japanese imperialism because of an essay "Datsu-A Ron" ("Escape from Asia") published in 1885 and posthumously attributed to him, as well as for his support of the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895). Yet, "Datsu-A Ron" was actually a response to a failed attempt by Koreans to organize an effective reform faction. The essay was published as a withdrawal of his support.

According to Fukuzawa Yukichi no Shinjitsu ("The Truth of Fukuzawa Yukichi", 2004) by Yō Hirayama, this view is a misunderstanding due to the influence of Mikiaki Ishikawa, who was the author of a biography of Fukuzawa (1932) and the editor of his Complete Works (1925–1926 and 1933–1934). According to Hirayama, Ishikawa inserted anonymous editorials into the Complete Works, and inserted historically inaccurate material into his biography.

“ The material in Fukuzawa Yukichi Complete Works (1958–1964) volumes 1 to 7 must be distinguished from that in volumes 8 to 16. Volumes 1 to 7 contain signed works, but the Jiji Shinpō editorials in volumes 8 to 16 are almost all unsigned works chosen by Ishikawa. Six of the editorials in volume 16 were written six months after Fukuzawa's death, and of course cannot have been written by Fukuzawa. ”


Fukuzawa Yukichi
(Kinsei Meishi Shashin. Vol.2.)

Fukuzawa's most important contribution to the reformation effort, though, came in the form of a newspaper called Jiji Shinpō (時事新報, "Current Events"), which he started in 1882, after being prompted by Inoue Kaoru, Ōkuma Shigenobu, and Itō Hirobumi to establish a strong influence among the people, and in particular to transmit to the public the government's views on the projected national assembly, and as reforms began, Fukuzawa, whose fame was already unquestionable, began production of Jiji Shinpo, which received wide circulation, encouraging the people to enlighten themselves and to adopt a moderate political attitude towards the change that was being engineered within the social and political structures of Japan. He translated many books and journals into Japanese on a wide variety of subjects, including chemistry, the arts, military and society, and published many books (in multiple volumes) and journals himself describing Western society, his own philosophy and change, etc.

Fukuzawa appears on the 10,000 yen banknote engraved by Oshikiri Katsuzō

Fukuzawa was one of the most influential people ever that helped Japan modernize into the country it is today. He never accepted any high position and remained a normal Japanese citizen for his whole life. By the time of his death, he was revered as one of the founders of modern Japan. All of his work was written and was released at a critical juncture in the Japanese society and uncertainty for the Japanese people about their future after the signing of the Unequal treaties, their realization in the weakness of the Japanese government at the time (Tokugawa Shogunate) and its inability to repel the American and European influence. It should also be noted that there were bands of samurai that forcefully opposed the Americans and Europeans and their friends through murder and destruction. Fukuzawa was in danger of his life as a samurai group killed one of his colleagues for advocating policies like those of Fukuzawa. Fukuzawa wrote at a time when the Japanese people were undecided on whether they should be bitter about the American and European forced treaties and imperialism, or to understand the West and move forward. Fukuzawa greatly aided the ultimate success of the pro-modernization forces.

Fukuzawa appears on the current 10,000-yen banknote and has been compared to Benjamin Franklin in the United States. Franklin appears on the similarly-valued $100 bill. Although all other figures appearing on Japanese banknotes changed when the recent redesign was released, Fukuzawa remained on the 10,000-yen note.

Yukichi Fukuzawa's former residence in the city of Nakatsu in Ōita Prefecture

Yukichi Fukuzawa's former residence in the city of Nakatsu in Ōita Prefecture is a Nationally Designated Cultural Asset. The house and the Yukichi Fukuzawa Memorial Hall are the major tourist attractions of this city.[5]

Yukichi Fukuzawa was a firm believer that Western education surpassed Japan's. However, he did not like the idea of parliamentary debates. As early as 1860, Yukichi Fukuzawa traveled to Europe and the United States. He believed that the problem in Japan was the undervalued mathematics and science. Also, these suffered from a "lack of the idea of independence". The Japanese conservatives were not happy about Fukuzawa's view of Western education. Since he was a family friend of conservatives, he took their stand to heart. Fukuzawa later came to state that he went a little too far.[6]

One word sums up his entire theme and that is "independence". Yukichi Fukuzawa believed that national independence was the framework to society in the West. However, to achieve this independence, as well as personal independence, Fukuzawa advocated Western learning. He believed that public virtue would increase as people became more educated.[1]


Original Japanese books

1. English-Japanese dictionary (増訂華英通語 Zōtei Kaei Tsūgo, 1860)
2. Things western (西洋事情 Seiyō Jijō, 1866, 1868 and 1870)
3. Rifle instruction book (雷銃操法 Raijyū Sōhō, 1867)
4. Guide to travel in the western world (西洋旅案内 Seiyō Tabiannai, 1867)
5. Our eleven treaty countries (条約十一国記 Jyōyaku Jyūichi-kokki, 1867)
6. Western ways of living: food, clothes, housing (西洋衣食住 Seiyō Isyokujyū, 1867)
7. Handbook for soldiers (兵士懐中便覧 Heishi Kaicyū Binran, 1868)
8. Illustrated book of physical sciences (訓蒙窮理図解 Kinmō Kyūri Zukai, 1868)
9. Outline of the western art of war (洋兵明鑑 Yōhei Meikan, 1869)
10. Pocket almanac of the world (掌中万国一覧 Shōcyū Bankoku-Ichiran, 1869)
11. English parliament (英国議事院談 Eikoku Gijiindan, 1869)
12. Sino-British diplomatic relations (清英交際始末 Shin-ei Kosai-shimatsu, 1869)
13. All the countries of the world, for children written in verse (世界国尽 Sekai Kunizukushi, 1869)
14. Daily lesson for children (ひびのおしえ Hibi no Oshie, 1871) - These books were written for Fukuzawa's first son Ichitarō and second son Sutejirō.
15. Book of reading and penmanship for children (啓蒙手習の文 Keimō Tenarai-no-Fumi, 1871)
16. Encouragement of learning (学問のすゝめ Gakumon no Susume, 1872–1876)
17. Junior book of ethics with many tales from western lands (童蒙教草 Dōmō Oshie-Gusa, 1872)
18. Deformed girl (かたわ娘 Katawa Musume, 1872)
19. Explanation of the new calendar (改暦弁 Kaireki-Ben, 1873)
20. Bookkeeping (帳合之法 Chōai-no-Hō, 1873)
21. Maps of Japan for children (日本地図草紙 Nihon Chizu Sōshi, 1873)
22. Elementary reader for children (文字之教 Moji-no-Oshie, 1873)
23. How to hold a conference (会議弁 Kaigi-Ben, 1874)
24. An Outline of a Theory of Civilization (文明論之概略 Bunmeiron no Gairyaku, 1875)
25. Independence of the scholar's mind (学者安心論 Gakusya Anshinron, 1876)
26. On decentralization of power, advocating less centralized government in Japan (分権論 Bunkenron, 1877)
27. Popular economics (民間経済録 Minkan Keizairoku, 1877)
28. Collected essays of Fukuzawa (福澤文集 Fukuzawa Bunsyū, 1878)
29. On currency (通貨論 Tsūkaron, 1878)
30. Popular discourse on people's rights (通俗民権論 Tsūzoku Minkenron, 1878)
31. Popular discourse on national rights (通俗国権論 Tsūzoku Kokkenron, 1878)
32. Transition of people's way of thinking (民情一新 Minjyō Isshin, 1879)
33. On national diet (国会論 Kokkairon, 1879)
34. Commentary on the current problems (時事小言 Jiji Shōgen, 1881)
35. On general trends of the times (時事大勢論 Jiji Taiseiron, 1882)
36. On the imperial household (帝室論 Teishitsuron, 1882)
37. On armament (兵論 Heiron, 1882)
38. On moral training (徳育如何 Tokuiku-Ikan, 1882)
39. On the independence of learning (学問之独立 Gakumon-no Dokuritsu, 1883)
40. On the national conscription (全国徴兵論 Zenkoku Cyōheiron, 1884)
41. Popular discourse on foreign diplomacy (通俗外交論 Tsūzoku Gaikōron, 1884)
42. On Japanese womanhood (日本婦人論 Nihon Fujinron, 1885)
43. On men's moral life (士人処世論 Shijin Syoseiron, 1885)
44. On moral conduct (品行論 Hinkōron, 1885)
45. On association of men and women (男女交際論 Nannyo Kosairon, 1886)
46. On Japanese manhood (日本男子論 Nihon Nanshiron, 1888)
47. On reverence for the Emperor (尊王論 Sonnōron, 1888)
48. Future of the Diet; Origin of the difficulty in the Diet; Word on the public security; On land tax (国会の前途 Kokkai-no Zento; Kokkai Nankyoku-no Yurai; Chian-Syōgen; Chisoron, 1892)
49. On business (実業論 Jitsugyōron, 1893)
50. One hundred discourses of Fukuzawa (福翁百話 Fukuō Hyakuwa, 1897)
51. Foreword to the collected works of Fukuzawa (福澤全集緒言 Fukuzawa Zensyū Cyogen, 1897)
52. Fukuzawa sensei's talk on the worldly life (福澤先生浮世談 Fukuzawa Sensei Ukiyodan, 1898)
53. Discourses of study for success (修業立志編 Syūgyō Rittishihen, 1898)
54. Autobiography of Fukuzawa Yukichi (福翁自伝 Fukuō Jiden, 1899)
55. Reproof of "the essential learning for women"; New essential learning for women (女大学評論 Onnadaigaku Hyōron; 新女大学 Shin-Onnadaigaku, 1899)
56. More discourses of Fukuzawa (福翁百余話 Fukuō Hyakuyowa, 1901)
57. Commentary on the national problems of 1877; Spirit of manly defiance (明治十年丁丑公論 Meiji Jyūnen Teicyū Kōron; 瘠我慢の説 Yasegaman-no Setsu, 1901)

English translations

• The Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa, Revised translation by Eiichi Kiyooka, with a foreword by Carmen Blacker, NY: Columbia University Press, 1980 [1966], ISBN 978-0-231-08373-7
• The Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa, Revised translation by Eiichi Kiyooka, with a foreword by Albert M. Craig, NY: Columbia University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-231-13987-8
• The Thought of Fukuzawa series, (Paperback) Keio University Press
o vol.1 福澤諭吉 (2008), An Outline of a Theory of Civilization, Translation by David A. Dilworth, G. Cameron Hurst, III, ISBN 978-4-7664-1560-5
o vol.2 福澤諭吉 (2012), An Encouragement of Learning, Translation by David A. Dilworth, ISBN 978-4-7664-1684-8
o vol.3 福澤諭吉 (2017), Fukuzawa Yukichi on Women and the Family, Edited and with New and Revised Translations by Helen Ballhatchet, ISBN 978-4-7664-2414-0
o Vol.4 The Autobiography of Fukuzawa Yukichi. Revised translation and with an introduction by Helen Ballhatchet.


1. Nishikawa (1993)
2. Hopper, Helen M. (2005). Fukuzawa Yukichi : from samurai to capitalist. New York: Pearson/Longman. ISBN 978-0321078025. OCLC 54694712.
3. Dilworth (2012)
4. Dilworth & Hurst (2008)
5. Adas, Stearns & Schwartz (1993, p. 36).
6. Adas, Stearns & Schwartz (1993, p. 37).

See also

• Jiji Shinpō
• Keio-Gijuku University
• List of motifs on banknotes
• Nakae Chōmin
• Natsume Sōseki
• Susumu Nishibe
• Tsuneari Fukuda
• Yamamoto Tsunetomo
• Zenpuku-ji


• Adas, Michael; Stearns, Peter; Schwartz, Stuart (1993), Turbulent Passage: A Global History of the Twentieth Century, Longman Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-06-501039-8
• Nishikawa, Shunsaku (西川俊作) (1993), "FUKUZAWA YUKICHI (1835-1901)" (PDF), Prospects: The Quarterly Review of Comparative Education, vol. XXIII (no. 3/4): 493–506, archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24 () - French version (Archive)

Further reading

• Lu, David John (2005), Japan: A Documentary History: The Dawn of History to the Late Tokugawa Period, M.E. Sharpe, ISBN 978-1-56324-907-5
• Kitaoka, Shin-ichi (2017), Self-Respect and Independence of Mind: The Challenge of Fukuzawa Yukichi, JAPAN LIBRARY, translated by Vardaman, James M., Tokyo: Japan Publishing Industry Foundation for Culture (JPIC), ISBN 978-4-916055-62-0
• Kitaoka, Shin-ichi (March–April 2003), "Pride and Independence: Fukuzawa Yukichi and the Spirit of the Meiji Restoration (Part 1)", Journal of Japanese Trade and Industry, archived from the original on 2003-03-31
• Kitaoka, Shin-ichi (May–June 2003), "Pride and Independence: Fukuzawa Yukichi and the Spirit of the Meiji Restoration (Part 2)", Journal of Japanese Trade and Industry, archived from the original on 2003-05-06
• Albert M. Craig (2009), Civilization and Enlightenment: The Early Thought of Fukuzawa Yukichi (Hardcover ed.), Cambridge: Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0-674-03108-1
• Tamaki, Norio (2001), Yukichi Fukuzawa, 1835-1901: The Spirit of Enterprise in Modern Japan (Hardcover ed.), United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-333-80121-5
• (in French) Lefebvre, Isabelle. "La révolution chez Fukuzawa et la notion de jitsugaku Fukuzawa Yukichi sous le regard de Maruyama Masao" (Archive). Cipango. 19 | 2012 : Le Japon et le fait colonial II. pp. 79-91.
• (in French) Maruyama, Masao (丸山眞男). "Introduction aux recherches philosophiques de Fukuzawa Yukichi" (Archive). Cipango. 19 | 2012 : Le Japon et le fait colonial II. pp. 191-217. Translated from Japanese by Isabelle Lefebvre.
o (in Japanese) Original version: Maruyama, Masao. "Fukuzawa ni okeru jitsugaku no tenkai. Fukuzawa Yukichi no tetsugaku kenkyū josetsu" (福沢に於ける「実学」の展開、福沢諭吉の哲学研究序説), March 1947, in Maruyama Masao shū (丸山眞男集), vol. xvi, Tōkyō, Iwanami Shoten, (1997), 2004, pp. 108-131.
• (in French) Fukuzawa Yukichi, L’Appel à l’étude, complete edition, translated from Japanese, annotated and presented by Christian Galan, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, april 2018, 220 p.

External links

• Fukuzawa, Yukichi | Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures (National Diet Library)
• "Encouragement for Learning" (Gakumon no Susume) by Fukuzawa Yukichi (Part One, English Translation)
• E-texts of Fukuzawa's works at Aozora Bunko (in Japanese)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:58 pm

Ignaz Trebitsch-Lincoln
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/13/19



Ignatius Timothy Trebitsch-Lincoln
Trebitsch-Lincoln as Chao Kung
Born 4 April 1879
Paks, Austria-Hungary
Died 6 October 1943[1]
Shanghai International Settlement
Nationality Hungarian
Occupation Adventurer, con artist
Ignatius Timothy Trebitsch-Lincoln circa 1915

Ignatius Timothy Trebitsch-Lincoln (Hungarian: Trebitsch-Lincoln Ignác, German: Ignaz Thimoteus Trebitzsch; 4 April 1879 – 6 October 1943), born Abraham Schwarz, AKA Ignaz Thimoteus Trebitzsch, AKA Moses Pinkeles, was a Hungarian adventurer and convicted con artist. Of Jewish descent, he spent parts of his life as a Protestant missionary, Anglican priest, British Member of Parliament for Darlington, German right-wing politician and spy, Nazi collaborator and Buddhist abbot in China. [!!!]

Early clerical career

Ignácz Trebitsch, Hungarian: Trebitsch Ignác(z) (later changed to Trebitsch Lincoln) was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in the town of Paks (also Orthodox shtetl) in Hungary in 1879, subsequently moving with his family to Budapest. His father, Náthán Trebitsch, (Hungarian: Trebitsch Náthán) was from Moravia.

After leaving school he enrolled in the Royal Hungarian Academy of Dramatic Art,[1] but was frequently in trouble with the police over acts of petty theft. In 1897 he fled abroad, ending up in London, where he took up with some Christian missionaries and converted from Judaism. He was baptised on Christmas Day 1899, and set off to study at a Lutheran seminary in Breklum in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, destined for the ministry. Restless, he was sent to Canada to carry out missionary work among the Jews of Montreal, first on behalf of the Presbyterians, and then the Anglicans. He returned to England in 1903 after a quarrel over the size of his stipend.

He became Tribich Lincoln (or I. T. T. Lincoln) by deed poll in October 1904[1] and secured British naturalisation on 11 May 1909.[2]

Member of Parliament

Trebitsch-Lincoln had the ability to talk himself into virtually any situation, and into any company. He made the acquaintance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who appointed him as a curate in Appledore, Kent, his last ecclesiastical post. Soon thereafter he met Seebohm Rowntree, the chocolate millionaire and prominent member of the Liberal Party, who offered him the position of his private secretary. With Rowntree's support, he was nominated in 1909 as the prospective Liberal candidate for the Parliamentary constituency of Darlington in County Durham, even though he was still a Hungarian citizen at the time. In the election of January 1910 he beat the sitting Unionist,[3] whose family had held the seat for decades. However, despite this dramatic entrance to political life, MPs were not at the time paid and Lincoln's financial troubles grew worse. He was unable to stand when a second general election was called in November 1910. Darlington returned to its old allegiance.

International confidence man

In the years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War he was involved in a variety of failed commercial endeavours, living for a time in Bucharest, hoping to make money in the oil industry. Back in London with no money, he offered his services to the British government as a spy. When he was rejected he went to the Netherlands and made contact with the Germans, who employed him as a double-agent.

Returning to England, he narrowly escaped arrest, leaving for the United States in 1915, where he made contact with the German military attaché, Franz von Papen. Papen was instructed by Berlin to have nothing to do with him, whereupon Trebitsch sold his story to the New York World Magazine, which published under the banner headline Revelation of I. T. T. Lincoln, Former Member of Parliament Who Became a Spy. His book Revelations of an International Spy was published by Robert M. McBride in New York in 1916.[4]

The British government, anxious to avoid any embarrassment, employed the Pinkerton agency to track down the renegade. He was returned to England – not on a charge of espionage, which was not covered by the Anglo-American extradition treaty, but of fraud, far more apt in the circumstances. He served three years in Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight, and was released and deported in 1919. His British nationality was revoked by the Home Secretary on 3 December 1918.[5]

Germany and Austria

A penniless refugee, Trebitsch-Lincoln worked his way bit by bit into the extreme right-wing and militarist fringe in Weimar Germany, making the acquaintance of Wolfgang Kapp and Erich Ludendorff among others. In 1920, following the Kapp Putsch, he was appointed press censor to the new government. In this capacity he met Adolf Hitler, who flew in from Munich the day before the Putsch collapsed.

With the fall of Kapp, Trebitsch fled south from Munich to Vienna to Budapest, intriguing all along the way, linking up with a whole variety of fringe political factions, such as a loose alliance of monarchists and reactionaries from all over Europe known as the White International. Entrusted with the organization's archives, he promptly sold the information to the secret services of various governments. Tried and acquitted on a charge of high treason in Austria, he was deported yet again.

Conversion to Buddhism

He ended up in China, where he took up employment under three different warlords including Wu Peifu. Supposedly after a mystic experience in the late 1920s, Trebitsch converted to Buddhism, becoming a monk. In 1931 he rose to the rank of abbot, establishing his own monastery in Shanghai. All initiates were required to hand over their possessions to Abbot Chao Kung,(Ch. 照空 pinyin: Zhào Kōng) as he now called himself, who also spent his time seducing nuns.

In 1937 he transferred his loyalties yet again, this time to the Empire of Japan, producing anti-British propaganda on their behalf. Chinese sources say that he also wrote numerous letters and articles for the European press condemning Japanese imperial aggression in China. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he also made contact with the Nazis, offering to broadcast for them and to raise up all the Buddhists of the East against any remaining British influence in the area. The chief of the Gestapo in the Far East, SS Colonel Josef Meisinger, urged that this scheme receive serious attention. It was even seriously suggested that Trebitsch be allowed to accompany German agents to Tibet to implement the scheme. He proclaimed himself the new Dalai Lama after the death of the 13th Dalai Lama, a move that was supported by the Japanese but rejected by the Tibetans.[6]

Heinrich Himmler was enthusiastic, as was Rudolf Hess, but it all came to nothing after the latter flew to Scotland in May 1941. After this, Adolf Hitler put an end to all such pseudo-mystical schemes. Even so, Trebitsch continued his work for the German and Japanese security services in Shanghai until his death in 1943.


In response to a letter protesting the Holocaust which Trebitsch-Lincoln had written to Hitler, the Nazi High command requested that Japanese forces poison Trebitsch-Lincoln after they invaded Shanghai in 1943. The response to this request is not known; however, Trebitsch-Lincoln did die of stomach trouble in Shanghai in 1943, aged 64.

See also

• Sidney Reilly


1. "Lincoln, Ignatius Timotheus Trebitsch". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/51599.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
2. "No. 28256". The London Gazette. 1 June 1909. p. 4176.
3. "No. 28338". The London Gazette. 11 February 1910. p. 1029.
4. I. T. T. Lincoln, Revelations of an International Spy. New York, Robert M. McBride & Company, 1916.
5. "No. 31065". The London Gazette. 13 December 1918. p. 14705.
• Wasserstein, Bernard (1988). The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04076-8.
• The Treacherous Mr. Trebisch by Eliza Segal
• "On the Trail of Trebitsch Lincoln, triple agent". New York Times. 8 May 1988. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
• John Gross (17 May 1988). "Books of The Times; On Clear Duplicity and Doubtful Consequence". New York Times. Retrieved 10 August 2008. by John Gross, 17 May 1988
• He was an author, fraudster, MP, fantasist, charmer... but he did not go to Belmarsh by Matthew Parris, 28 July 2003
• Ju-Zan 巨赞, "Yang heshang Zhao-Kong," 洋和尚照空 in Wenshi ziliao xuanji 文史资料选辑, No. 79, ed. Quanguo Zhengxie wenshi ziliao weiyuanhui 全国政协文史资料研究委员会, 1982, pp. 165–177.
• The self-made villain: A biography of I.T.Trebitsch Lincoln, By David Lampe & Laszlo Szenasi,Hardcover: 215 pages,Publisher: Cassell (1961),Language: English, ASIN: B0000CL8HL

External links

• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Ignaz Trebitsch-Lincoln
• Newspaper clippings about Ignaz Trebitsch-Lincoln in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
Site Admin
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:40 am

Shyamji Krishna Varma
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/17/19



Shyamji Krishna Varma
Native name
શ્યામજી કૃષ્ણવર્મા
Born 4 October 1857
Mandvi, Cutch State, British India (now Kutch, Gujarat)
Died 30 March 1930 (aged 72)
Geneva, Switzerland
Monuments Kranti Teerth, Mandvi, Kutch
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Occupation Revolutionary, lawyer, journalist
Organization Indian Home Rule Society, India House, The Indian Sociologist
Movement Indian Independence Movement
Spouse(s) Bhanumati (m. 1875)
Parent(s) Karsan Bhanushali (Nakhua), Gomatibai

Shyamji Krishna Varma (4 October 1857 – 30 March 1930) was an Indian revolutionary fighter,[1] an Indian patriot, lawyer and journalist who founded the Indian Home Rule Society, India House and The Indian Sociologist in London. A graduate of Balliol College, Krishna Varma was a noted scholar in Sanskrit and other Indian languages. He pursued a brief legal career in India and served as the Divan of a number of Indian princely states in India.[2] He had, however, differences with Crown authority, was dismissed following a supposed conspiracy of local British officials at Junagadh[3] and chose to return to England. An admirer of Dayanand Saraswati's approach of cultural nationalism, and of Herbert Spencer, Krishna Varma believed in Spencer's dictum: "Resistance to aggression is not simply justified, but imperative".[2]

To be a good animal is the first requisite success in life, and to be a Nation of good animals is the first condition of prosperity." -- Herbert Spencer.

-- Proceedings of the first National Conference on Race Betterment, Battle Creek, Michigan (1914), by the Race Betterment Foundation

In 1905 he founded the India House and The Indian Sociologist, which rapidly developed as an organised meeting point for radical nationalists among Indian students in Britain at the time and one of the most prominent centres for revolutionary Indian nationalism outside India. Krishna Varma moved to Paris in 1907, avoiding prosecution.

Early life

Shyamji Krishna Varma was born on 4 October 1857 in Mandvi, Cutch State (now Kutch, Gujarat) as Shamji, the son of Krushnadas Bhanushali (Karsan Nakhua; Nakhua is the surname while Bhanushali is the community name), a labourer for cotton press company, and Gomatibai, who died when Shyamji was only 11 years old. He was raised by his grandmother. His ancestors belonged to Bhachunda (23°12'3"N 69°0'4"E), a village now in Abdasa taluka of Kutch district. They had migrated to Mandvi in search of employment and due to familial disputes. After completing secondary education in Bhuj he went to Mumbai for further education at Wilson High School. Whilst in Mumbai, he learned Sanskrit.[4]

In 1875, Shyamji married Bhanumati, a daughter of a wealthy businessman of the Bhatia community and sister of his school friend Ramdas. Then he got in touch with the nationalist Swami Dayananda Saraswati, a radical reformer and an exponent of the Vedas, who had founded the Arya Samaj. He became his disciple and was soon conducting lectures on Vedic philosophy and religion. In 1877, a public speaking tour secured him a great public recognition. He became the first non-Brahmin to receive the prestigious title of Pandit by the Pandits of Kashi in 1877. He came to the attention of Monier Williams, an Oxford professor of Sanskrit who offered Shyamji a job as his assistant.[4]

Monier Williams was born in Bombay, the son of Colonel Monier Williams, surveyor-general in the Bombay presidency. His surname was "Williams" until 1887 when he added his given name to his surname to create the hyphenated "Monier-Williams". In 1822 he was sent to England to be educated at private schools at Hove, Chelsea and Finchley. He was educated at King's College School, Balliol College, Oxford (1838–40), the East India Company College (1840–41) and University College, Oxford (1841–44). He took a IVth-class honours degree in Literae Humaniores in 1844...

Monier Williams taught Asian languages, at the East India Company College from 1844 until 1858, when company rule in India ended after the 1857 rebellion. He came to national prominence during the 1860 election campaign for the Boden Chair of Sanskrit at Oxford University, in which he stood against Max Müller.

The vacancy followed the death of Horace Hayman Wilson in 1860. Wilson had started the university's collection of Sanskrit manuscripts upon taking the chair in 1831, and had indicated his preference that Williams should be his successor. The campaign was notoriously acrimonious. Müller was known for his liberal religious views and his philosophical speculations based on his reading of Vedic literature. Monier Williams was seen as a less brilliant scholar, but had a detailed practical knowledge of India itself, and of actual religious practices in modern Hinduism. Müller, in contrast, had never visited India.

Both candidates had to emphasise their support for Christian evangelisation in India, since that was the basis on which the Professorship had been funded by its founder. Monier Williams' dedication to Christianisation was not doubted, unlike Müller's. Monier Williams also stated that his aims were practical rather than speculative. "Englishmen are too practical to study a language very philosophically", he wrote.

After his appointment to the professorship Williams declared from the outset that the conversion of India to the Christian religion should be one of the aims of orientalist scholarship. In his book Hinduism, published by SPCK in 1877, he predicted the demise of the Hindu religion and called for Christian evangelism to ward off the spread of Islam. According to Saurabh Dube this work is "widely credited to have introduced the term Hinduism into general English usage" while David N. Lorenzen cites the book along with Alexander Duff (1839), India, and India Missions: Including Sketches of the Gigantic System of Hinduism, Both in Theory and Practice: Also Notices of Some of the Principal Agencies Employed in Conducting the Process of Indian Evangelization, &c. &c. J. Johnstone, for popularising of the term.

When Monier Williams founded the University's Indian Institute in 1883, it provided both an academic focus and also a training ground for the Indian Civil Service. Since the early 1870s Monier Williams planned this institution. His vision was the better acquaintance of England and India. On this account he supported academic research into Indian culture. Monier Williams travelled to India in 1875, 1876 and 1883 to finance his project by fundraising. He gained the support of Indian native princes. In 1883 the Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone; the building was inaugurated in 1896 by Lord George Hamilton. The Institute closed on Indian independence in 1947.

In his writings on Hinduism Monier Williams argued that the Advaita Vedanta system best represented the Vedic ideal and was the "highest way to salvation" in Hinduism. He considered the more popular traditions of karma and bhakti to be of lesser spiritual value. However, he argued that Hinduism is a complex "huge polygon or irregular multilateral figure" that was unified by Sanskrit literature. He stated that "no description of Hinduism can be exhaustive which does not touch on almost every religious and philosophical idea that the world has ever known."

Monier-Williams compiled a Sanskrit–English dictionary, based on the earlier Petersburg Sanskrit Dictionary, which was published in 1872.
A later revised edition was published in 1899 with collaboration by Ernst Leumann and Carl Cappeller (sv).

-- Monier Monier-Williams, by Wikipedia


Shyamji arrived in England and joined Balliol College, Oxford on 25 April 1879 with the recommendation of Professor Monier Williams. Passing his B.A. in 1883, he presented a lecture on "the origin of writing in India" to the Royal Asiatic Society. The speech was very well received and he was elected a non-resident member of the society. In 1881 he represented India at the Berlin Congress of Orientalists.

After completing his graduation in the year 1883, Shyamji Krishnaverma delivered a lecture on ‘The Origin of Writing in India’ in front of a large audience in the Royal Asiatic Society of England. Making an impact on the audience, Shyamji Krishnaverma became a non-resident member of the Royal Asiatic Society.

-- Forgotten Liberators: Shyamji Krishnaverma, by India Facts

Legal career

He returned to India in 1885 and started practice as a lawyer. Then he was appointed as Diwan (chief minister) by the King of Ratlam State; but ill health forced him to retire from this post with a lump sum gratuity of RS 32052 for his service. After a short stay in Mumbai, he settled in Ajmer, headquarters of his Guru Swami Dayananda Saraswati, and continued his practice at the British Court in Ajmer. He invested his income in three cotton presses and secured sufficient permanent income to be independent for the rest of his life. He served for the Maharaja of Udaipur as a council member from 1893 to 1895, followed by the position of Diwan of Junagadh State. He resigned in 1897 after a bitter experience with a British agent that shook his faith in British Rule.


Having read Satyarth Prakash and other books of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Shyamji Krishna Varma was very much impressed with his philosophy, writings and spirit of Nationalism and had become one of his ardent admirers. It was upon Dayanand's inspiration, he set up a base in England at India House where were produced many revolutionaries like Madam Cama, Veer Savarkar, Lala Hardyal and Madan Lal Dhingra. Shyamji Krishan was also an admirer of Lokmanya Tilak and supported him during the Age of Consent bill controversy of 1890. However, he rejected the petitioning, praying, protesting, cooperating and collaborating policy of the Congress Party, which he considered undignified and shameful. In 1897, following the atrocities inflicted by the British government during the plague crisis in Poona, he supported the assassination of the Commissioner of Plague by the Chapekar brothers but he soon decided to fight for Indian Independence in Britain.


Ordained by Swami Dayanand Saraswati the founder of Arya samaj, Shyamji Krishan Verma upon his arrival in London stayed at the Inner Temple and studied Herbert Spencer's writings in his spare time. In 1900 he bought an expensive house in Highgate. His home became a base for all political leaders of India. Lokmanya Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Gandhi, Lenin etc., all visited him to discuss the Indian Independence Movement. Avoiding the Indian National Congress, he kept in contact with rationalists, free thinkers, national and social democrats, socialists, Irish republicans, etc.

He was much inspired by Herbert Spencer's writings. At Spencer's funeral in 1903, he announced the donation of £1,000 to establish a lectureship at University of Oxford in tribute to him and his work. A year later he announced that Herbert Spencer Indian fellowships of RS 2000 each were to be awarded to enable Indian graduates to finish their education in England. He had also announced additional fellowship in memory of the late Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj, along with another four fellowships in the future.

Political activism

In 1905, Shyamji focused his activity as a political propagandist and organiser for the complete independence of India. Shyamji made his debut in Indian politics by publishing the first issue of his English monthly, The Indian Sociologist, an organ and of political, social and religious reform. This was an assertive, ideological monthly aimed at inspiring mass opposition to British rule, which stimulated many intellectuals to fight for the independence of India.

Indian Home Rule Society

On 18 February 1905, Shyamji inaugurated a new organisation called The Indian Home Rule Society. The first meeting, held at his Highgate home, unanimously decided to found The Indian Home Rule Society with the object of:

1. Securing Home Rule for India
2. Carrying on Propaganda in England by all practical means with a view to attain the same.
3. Spreading among the people of India the objectives of freedom and national unity.

India House

Main article: India House

The Indian Sociologist, September 1908, London

As many Indian students faced racist attitudes when seeking accommodations, he founded India House as a hostel for Indian students, based at 65, Cromwell Avenue, Highgate. This living accommodation for 25 students was formally inaugurated on 1 July by Henry Hyndman, of the Social Democratic Federation, in the presence of Dadabhai Naoroji, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madam Cama, Mr. Swinney (of the London Positivist Society), Mr. Harry Quelch (the editor of the Social Democratic Federation's Justice) and Charlotte Despard, the Irish Republican and suffragette. Declaring India House open, Hyndman remarked, "As things stands, loyalty to Great Britain means treachery to India. The institution of this India House means a great step in that direction of Indian growth and Indian emancipation, and some of those who are here this afternoon may live to witness the fruits of its triumphant success." Shyamji hoped India House would incubate Indian revolutionaries and Bhikaiji Cama, S. R. Rana, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Virendranath Chattopadhyaya, and Lala Hardayal were all associated with it.[5]

Later in 1905, Shyamji attended the United Congress of Democrats held at Holborn Town Hall as a delegate of the India Home Rule Society. His resolution on India received an enthusiastic ovation from the entire conference. Shyamji’s activities in England aroused the concern of the British government: He was disbarred from Inner Temple and removed from the membership list on 30 April 1909 for writing anti-British articles in The Indian Sociologist. Most of the British press were anti–Shyamji and carried outrageous allegations against him and his newspaper. He defended them boldly. The Times referred to him as the "Notorious Krishnavarma". Many newspapers criticised the British progressives who supported Shyamji and his view. His movements were closely watched by British Secret Services, so he decided to shift his headquarters to Paris, leaving India House in charge of Vir Savarkar. Shyamji left Britain secretly before the government tried to arrest him.

Paris and Geneva

He arrived in Paris in early 1907 to continue his work. The British government tried to have him extradited from France without success as he gained the support of many top French politicians.[citation needed] Shyamji’s name was dragged into the sensational trial of Mr Merlin, an Englishman, at Bow Street Magistrates' Court, for writing an article in liberators published by Shyamji’s friend, Mr. James.

Shyamji's work in Paris helped gain support for Indian Independence from European countries. He agitated for the release of Savarker and acquired great support all over Europe and Russia.[citation needed] Guy Aldred wrote an article in the Daily Herald under the heading of "Savarker the Hindu Patriot whose sentences expire on 24 December 1960", helping create support in England, too. In 1914 his presence became an embarrassment as French politicians had invited King George V to Paris to set a final seal on the Entente Cordiale. Shyamji foresaw this and shifted his headquarters to Geneva. Here the Swiss government imposed political restrictions during the entire period of World War I. He kept in touch with his contacts, but he could not support them directly. He spent time with Dr. Briess, president of the Pro India Committee in Geneva, whom he later discovered was a paid secret agent of the British government.

Post-World War I

He offered a sum of 10,000 francs to the League of Nations to endow a lectureship to be called the President Woodrow Wilson Lectureship for the discourse on the best means of acquiring and safe guarding national independence consistently with freedom, justice, and the right of asylum accorded to political refugees. It is said that the league rejected his offer due to political pressure from British government. A similar offer was made to the Swiss government which was also turned down. He offered another lectureship at the banquet given by Press Association of Geneva where 250 journalists and celebrities, including the presidents of Swiss Federation and the League of Nations. Shyamji’s offer was applauded on the spot but nothing came of it. Shyamji was disappointed with the response and he published all his abortive correspondence on this matter in the next issue of the Sociologist appearing in December 1920, after a lapse of almost six years.

Death and commemoration

Shyamji Krishna Varma 1989 stamp of India

Kranti Teerth, Shyamji Krishna Varma Memorial, Mandvi, Kutch (replica of India House is visible in background)

He published two more issues of Indian Sociologist in August and September 1922, before ill health prevented him continuing. He died in hospital at 11:30 pm on 30 March 1930 leaving his wife, Bhanumati Krishnavarma.

News of his death was suppressed by the British government in India. Nevertheless, tributes were paid to him by Bhagat Singh and other inmates in Lahore Jail where they were undergoing a long-term drawn-out trial.[6] Maratha, an English daily newspaper started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak paid tribute to him.

He had made prepaid arrangements with the local government of Geneva and St Georges cemetery to preserve his and his wife’s ashes at the cemetery for 100 years and to send their urns to India whenever it became independent during that period. Requested by Paris-based scholar Dr Prithwindra Mukherjee, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi agreed to repatriate the ashes. Finally on 22 August 2003, the urns of ashes of Shyamji and his wife Bhanumati were handed over to then Chief Minister of Gujarat State Narendra Modi by the Ville de Genève and the Swiss government 55 years after Indian Independence. They were brought to Mumbai and after a long procession throughout Gujarat, they reached Mandvi, his birthplace.[7] A memorial called Kranti Teerth dedicated to him was built and inaugurated in 2010 near Mandvi. Spread over 52 acres, the memorial complex houses a replica of India House building at Highgate along with statues of Shyamji Krishna Varma and his wife. Urns containing Krishna Verma's ashes, those of his wife, and a gallery dedicated to earlier activists of Indian independence movement is housed within the memorial. Krishna Verma was disbarred from the Inner Temple in 1909. This decision was revisited in 2015, and a unanimous decision taken to posthumously reinstated him.[8][9]

In the 1970s, a new town developed in his native state of Kutch, was named after him as Shyamji Krishna Varmanagar in his memory and honor. India Post released postal stamps and first day cover commemorating him. Kuchchh University was renamed after him.

The India Post has issued a postal stamp on shyamji Krishna Varma on 4 October 1989.


1. Chandra, Bipan (1989). India's Struggle for Independence. New Delhi: Penguin Books India. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-14-010781-4.
2. Qur, Moniruddin (2005). History of Journalism. Anmol Publications. p. 123. ISBN 81-261-2355-9.
3. Johnson, K. Paul (1994). The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge. SUNY Press. p. 119. ISBN 0-7914-2063-9.
4. Sundaram, V. (8 October 2006) Pandit Shyamji Krishna Verma.
5. ब्यावरहिस्ट्री डोट काम पर आपका स्वागत है. Retrieved on 7 December 2018.
6. Sanyal, Jitendra Nath (May 1931). Sardar Bhagat Singh.
7. Soondas, Anand (24 August 2003). "Road show with patriot ash". The Telegraph, Calcutta, India. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
8. "Modi dedicates 'Kranti Teerth' memorial to Shyamji Krishna Verma". The Times of India. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
9. Bowcott, Owen (11 November 2015). "Indian lawyer disbarred from Inner Temple a century ago is reinstated". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2015.

Further reading

• Mr. Vishnu Pandya, Mr. Hitesh Bhanushali (1890). Krantiveer's Biography As A Story-Gujarati.


Forgotten Liberators: Shyamji Krishnaverma
by India Facts Truth Be Told
Accessed: 3/1/21


For decades, the serious practice of writing the authentic history of Indian Freedom Struggle has been going on in a selective manner where only some crusaders get the lion’s share of the honor while others are frequently disregarded. The credit for this should go to a certain sort of scholars for whom the history of Freedom Struggle starts and finishes with the role of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. These same scholars have presented Nehru as the sole nation-builder relegating other leaders of post-colonial India to a negligible space so much so that for decades, many Indians did not even know the decisive role played by Babasaheb Ambedkar in drafting our constitution or the massive project of unifying the nation that was executed by Sardar Patel.

However post-1990 both Babasaheb Ambedkar and Sardar Patel have started to get some credit but it is still way less than what they actually deserve. The same cannot be said about the leaders and freedom fighters of pre-1947 India. The time has now come to give an accurate and complete version about the history of the Indian Freedom Struggle as well as the role played by a host of freedom fighters excluding Gandhi and Nehru.

Indeed, if correct history was taught, Pandit Shyamji Krishnaverma would have been a household name by now. With about four days to go for the 67th Independence Day it is high time this praiseworthy patriot gets his correct place of honor. An outline of his illustrious life is given below.

Early Years and Education

Born at Mandvi village of Kutch District in Gujarat on the 4 October, 1857, Shyamji had his primary education in the village school at Mandvi and secondary education at Bhuj.

Around the year of 1876, he came in touch with Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the radical reformer and founder of the Arya Samaj. Swami Dayanand impressed with Shyamji’s knowledge of Sanskrit, asked him to deliver lectures on the Vedas all across the then British India. The following year, Shyamji toured nationwide propagating the values of the Vedas, which brought him admiration from many prominent scholars. His knowledge as well as his oratory skills earned him the title of Pandit from the scholars of Kashi in 1877.


His deep knowledge of the Sanskrit language also caught the attention of Monier Williams, a professor of the subject in Oxford University. Williams, impressed with Shyamji’s competence in Sanskrit offered Shyamji the post of his assistant. Shyamji accepted the post and arrived in England in 1879 and joined Balliol College on 25 April with the recommendation of professor Williams.

While there, Shyamji Krishnaverma also became the first Indian representative at the Berlin Congress of Orientalists in the year 1881. After completing his graduation in the year 1883, Shyamji Krishnaverma delivered a lecture on ‘The Origin of Writing in India’ in front of a large audience in the Royal Asiatic Society of England. Making an impact on the audience, Shyamji Krishnaverma became a non-resident member of the Royal Asiatic Society. Subsequently, he entered Temple’s Inn and was one of the first Indians to clear the Bar-at law exams.

From 1885 till 1897, Shyamji resided in India serving as an advocate in the Mumbai High Court, followed by offering his services as the Diwan of Ratlam and Junagadh State. In 1897, a deadly plague hit Pune causing the death of several Indians and the situation was worsened by the clumsy response of the British Government, causing great outrage among general public. This prompted Shyamji to immigrate to England in March 1897 with a view to launch an uncompromising campaign against the exploitative and cruel regime of the British Establishment as well as create support in England and Europe for India’s independence.

A Freedom Fighter in England

During the initial years, Shyamji would give fiery speeches in the free atmosphere of Hyde Park in London, calling for the support of progressive and sympathetic Britons in the right cause of India’s emancipation. The famed sociologist and philosopher Herbert Spencer‘s writings were his chief inspiration during those days. On Herbert Spencer’s first death anniversary on 8 December, 1904, Shyamji announced the launch of Herbert Spencer Indian fellowships of Rs. 2000 which would enable Indian graduates to pursue higher education in England. He also announced an additional fellowship in the memory of the late Swami Dayanand Saraswati.


In January 1905, Shyamji decided to put his thoughts to print by publishing the first issue of “The Indian Sociologist” – an English journal with writings about political, social and religious reform. This pragmatic monthly served a great purpose in sensitizing the progressive Britons about British misrule in India besides creating many scholarly revolutionaries in India and abroad.

Shyamji was also swift in responding to the prevalent racism that Indian students had to face in England, when he decided to bring them together under one roof very close to his own residence. The house at 65 Cromwell Avenue in Highgate, London came to be known as the India House.

This very India House produced such great revolutionaries as Virendra Chattopadhyay, Lala Hardayal, PM Bapat and Veer Savarkar. India House was formally inaugurated on 1st July 1905 by Mr. H. M. Hyndman, a leader of the Social Democratic Federation in the presence of many dignitaries such as Dadabhai Nawroji, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madam Cama, and the positivist philosopher Hugh Swinney, among others.


Though Shyamji Krishnaverma got the support of progressive Britons, the British government was incensed with his growing popularity. As a consequence, Shyamji was dismissed from the list of members of the Inner Temple in England on April 30, 1909. To avoid further harassment, he relocated to Paris in early 1907 and continued his work vigorously. The British government tried to extradite him from France but failed to do so since Shyamji was able to gain the confidence of many French as well as European politicians. He agitated for the release of Savarkar when the latter was imprisoned prompting the famous social-activist Guy Aldred to write an article in the Daily Herald under the title: “Savarker the Hindu Patriot whose sentences expire on 24th December 1960” which received a massive public response giving the British Raj a nasty headache. Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, England and France entered into an alliance making it difficult for any anti-British activists to reside in Paris.

As a result, Shyamji shifted to Geneva to continue his struggle but with some restrictions due to the pledge of political inaction he had given to Swiss government during the entire period of war. During that time Shyamji’s only support was Dr. Briess, the president of the Pro-India Committee in Geneva. However Shyamji was later shocked to discover that Dr. Briess was a paid spy of the British government. This revelation greatly frustrated Shyamji and drove him to further political isolation. But even then, Shyamji tried his best to acquire the support of the Swiss Federation and the League of Nations for India’s freedom from British rule. Unfortunately Shyamji received a bland response from both. On March 30, 1930 this great revolutionary breathed his last.

Nehru Government’s mistreatment of his legacy

Even though the British Government suppressed the news of his death, a belated tribute was paid by the valiant rebel Sardar Bhagat Singh and his co-revolutionists in Lahore Jail where they were undergoing a long-term, drawn out trial. Shyamji’s wife Bhanumati donated the whole of Shyamji’s Sanskrit and Oriental Library of to the Sorbonne University. Even today the memory of Shyamji and his wife is preserved in Sorbonne University. So deep was Pandit Shyamji Krishnaverma’s conviction on India’s eventual liberation that he made the prepaid arrangements with the local government of Geneva to preserve both his and his wife’s ashes at the cemetery and to send their urns to India whenever it became independent.

But it appeared that the Government of post-independent India did not have much belief in Shyamji’s patriotism as they never bothered to bring back his remains. Some historians believe it was because throughout his political life, Shyamji Krishnaverma always kept his distance from the Indian National Congress and never trusted it, (even though he was on amicable terms with certain Congressmen like Lajpat Rai). And so, since it was a Congress Government in power after 1947, they were repaying his incongruity in kind. Another point of view holds that because Shyamji opposed Mahatma Gandhi’s pro-British stand during the Boer War in 1899, as well as his non-violent methods, Nehru the Prime Minister and Mahatma’s pet disciple did not see it fit to honor an opponent of Mahatma. If true, both these views display petty political grudge and double standards as Nehru himself discarded many of the Mahatma’s teachings.

Interestingly, about a decade before Mahatma Gandhi entered politics, the idea of Satyagraha was promoted by Shyamji Krishnaverma as can be seen in this writing from 1905:

‘It is not necessary for Indians to resort to arms for compelling England to relinquish its hold on India… If the brown man struck work for a week, the Empire would collapse like a house of cards… If anyone refused to buy or sell any commodity, or to have any transaction with any class of people, he commits no crime known to the law. It is, therefore, plain that Indians can obtain emancipation by simply refusing to help their foreign master without incurring the evils of a violent revolution.’

But being a political realist, Shyamji accepted armed resistance as a last resort to finish the tyranny of the British Raj for which he established India House and nurtured great revolutionaries like Lala Hardayal and Veer Savarkar. True to his given designation, Pandit Shyamji Krishnaverma blended the rational views of the western scholars with the immortal wisdom enshrined in the Vedas, thus having an integrated worldview. While based in Europe, he enlightened his European hosts about the Vedas as well as Sanskrit literature. A proud Arya Samaji, he would have been labeled a ‘Hindu fundamentalist’ by today’s ‘secular’ scholars.

Even though under Indira Gandhi’s rule, a township in Kutch was named Shyamji Krishnaverma Nagar, his historical role was not disseminated to the general public. In 1998, the BJP government issued a postage stamp in his honour.

But it was the year 2003 that the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi carried out the promising task of bringing the ashes of Shyamaji Krishnaverma and his wife Bhanumati from Geneva. The sacred ashes were then taken in a ‘Veeranjal Yatra’ throughout the state culminating at Shyamji’s birthplace Mandvi. Instead of applauding this noble act, the country’s secular scholars decided to criticize Modi and BJP, exposing their warped view of history. Nevertheless, under CM Modi’s supervision, a memorial called Kranti Tirth dedicated to Shyamji was built and unveiled in 2010 near Mandvi.


Now it can be hoped that the new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would take necessary steps to propagate the life and teachings of a great nationalist upon whom I find the designation ‘Pandit’ more suitable. If talks could be initiated with authorities of both Geneva and Sorbonne University, the corpus of Shyamji’s writings can be shared and disseminated within India so the masses can become aware of the breadth and depth of his erudition and pioneering service to the nation. This would also serve two purposes:

It would land another blow to the maligned statement that ‘Hindu Nationalists’ had no role in the ‘Freedom Struggle.’

1. It would land another blow to the maligned statement that ‘Hindu Nationalists’ had no role in the ‘Freedom Struggle.’
2. It would present the ‘Congress Mukt’ aspect of ‘Indian Freedom Struggle’ — that is, the non-Congress freedom fighters whose contribution in many cases was greater.


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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:12 am

The Californian Countess And Early Lankan Feminism [Miranda de Souza Canavarro]
by Vinod Moonesinghe
July 28, 2017




In March 1896, in the San Francisco suburb of Oakland, the Sri Lankan Buddhist revivalist and missionary Hewavitarne (Anagarika) Dharmapala, on a lecture tour of the USA, met Countess Canavarro. Seeking spiritual sustenance, she struck him as determined and forceful. According to Tessa Bartholomeusz, four months after meeting her, Dharmapala proposed that she travel to Sri Lanka and establish an order of Buddhist “nuns”, and become full-time principal of the island’s first Buddhist girls’ high school, Sanghamitta, named for the first female Buddhist missionary to Sri Lanka.

On the evening of August 30, 1897, at the New Century Hall on New York’s Fifth Avenue, Dharmapala administered to the Countess Canavarro the five Buddhist precepts (pansil), making her the first female convert to Buddhism on American soil.

Practice in general

Lay followers often undertake these training rules in the same ceremony as they take the refuges. Monks administer the precepts to the laypeople, which creates an additional psychological effect.

-- Five Precepts, by Wikipedia

Thus, she became the first in a new order of “Buddhist nuns” which Dharmapala wanted to create in Sri Lanka, some seven centuries after female ordination died out. She took on the enormously significant religious moniker “Sister Sanghamitta”, recalling the ancient missionary, as well as the school she intended to run.

According to Thomas A. Tweed, the Countess, by the very act of conversion, caused a huge stir. In the rigidly Christian atmosphere of fin de siecle America, adopting another religion simply was not done. Although almost forgotten in the USA, in her day, she made a considerable impact on the spread of Buddhism, Bahá’íism, Hinduism, and esoterica in general.

Her effect on Sri Lanka, despite her short stay of three years, has been much greater. Her school still exists as Sri Sanghamitta Balika Vidyalaya, Punchi Borella, an offshoot of the co-educational Mahabodhi vernacular school resurrected by Dharmapala at Foster Lane. Her imaginings of what a Buddhist nun should be have had their effect on the order of Dasa Sil Mathas, even their attire being based on her original design.

Sri Sangamitta Balika Vidyalaya today. Image courtesy

Sanghamitta Convent

Sanghamitta Girls’ School had a short but chequered history. Founded by the Women’s Education Society in 1891, its first principal, an Australian woman called Kate Pickett, drowned.

Louisa Kate Florence Pickett (1867 - 1891)
by WikiTree
Accessed: 11/17/19

Louisa Kate Florence (Kate) Pickett
Born 1867 in New Zealand
Daughter of Gilbert Pickett and Elise Adlerflug (von Tunzelmann) Pickett
Sister of Gilbert Francis Wolde Pickett, Edward William Pickett, Henry John Pickett, George Nicholas Pickett and Clara Hariett Elise (Pickett) Saxon
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died 24 Jun 1891 in Musaeus College,Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Profile last modified 23 Oct 2019 | Last significant change:
23 Oct 2019
17:28: Jeff Thomas added Henry John Pickett (1860-) as sibling for Louisa Kate Florence Pickett (1867-1891). [Thank Jeff for this]


Louisa Kate Florence was born in 1867. She is the daughter of Gilbert Pickett and Elise von Adlerflug. [1]

TO THE EDITOR. Sir,—On 28th of last month you published a cable headed "Suicide of a lady," Will you be so kind as to allow me through your paper to state the facts so as to clear the memory of my dear daughter. Miss (not Mrs) Pickett had been appointed principal of the Buddhist High School in Colombo at the beginning of June, and on the 24th of that month was found in a well in the school garden. An inquest was held, and the jury returned a verdict of "Found drowned." Her letters from Colombo were written in the best of spirits, the last one looking forward with great joy to her mother joining her there. She had long been wishing to teach there, and was exceedingly pleased when the way was opened for her to do so. The idea that she had renounced Christianity no doubt arose from the position she held, and also because she had taken a certain Buddhist obligation, viz.:—" I promise to respect life, truth, the property of others, to be charitable, and to be chaste." This she did to endeavour to strengthen in the minds of the mothers of the scholars her promise not to proselytise among them. I trust, Sir, you will publish the above, and I hope those papers which get yours in exchange will also be so kind as to notice it, as our friends are all over the colony from Stewart Island to Auckland.—l am, &c, Gilbert Pickett. (Formerly of Lake Wakatipu). Rockyside, August 25.[2]

Musaeus College is a private girls' school in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The school is named after its founding principal, Marie Musaeus Higgins (1855 – 10 July 1926) from Wismar, Germany, who served as the school's principal from 1891 to 1926. The origin of the school can be traced to the Women's Education Society of Ceylon, whose mission was to improve educational opportunities for girls, with instruction in English along with Buddhist principles. It had the backing of the Buddhist Theosophical Society, which previously founded the Ananda College for boys along similar lines. With help and guidance from Peter De Abrew and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, they founded the Sangamitta Girls' School at Tichborne Place, Maradana, around 1890, and wanted a European lady as its Principal. Colonel Olcott found a suitable candidate in Kate F. Pickett, the daughter of Elise Pickett, President of the Melbourne Theosophical Society. Miss Pickett arrived in Colombo on 10 June 1891 and had apparently settled into life in the school's boarding house when she was found on the morning of 24 June 1891 drowned in a well in the school grounds. Following an advertisement by Col. Olcott in The Path (the magazine of the Buddhist Theosophical Society), [Marie Musaeus Higgins] left for Ceylon, arriving on 15 November 1891[3]


NZ Birth registration 1867/31282
2. AN EXPLANATION.Otago Daily Times, Issue 9204, 26 August 1891
3. Wikipedia [[1]]

Louisa Roberts, a local teacher, acted as a stop-gap until Marie Musaeus Higgins, a German-American, arrived. In 1893, the latter broke away and started her own school, Musaeus College. Thereafter, Kate Pickett’s mother, Elise, served as school director, returning to Australia just before the Countess arrived.

Dharmapala and the Countess wanted to establish Sanghamitta on the lines of a Roman Catholic convent school, with Buddhist nuns teaching the girls. Accordingly, the school was relocated from its existing location, Tichbourne Hall, and moved to the same location as the ‘convent’—the Sanghamitta Upāsikārāmaya. Dharmapala and the Countess decided on Gunter House, a single-storey building set amidst a hectare of gardens in Darley Lane (now Foster Lane), which the Maha Bodhi Society bought for LKR 25,000 (LKR 30 million in today’s currency).

The convent, school, and an orphanage were soon up and running, large crowds attending the opening. There was no shortage of pupils for the school. The Countess, who styled herself as Mother Superior, came to be known by the children as Nona Amma (or Madam mother). Sister Dhammadinna (a Burgher woman called Sybil LaBrooy) managed the household, and several Sinhalese ‘nuns’ completed the staff.

In mid-1898, Catherine Shearer, a nurse from Boston’s Eliot Hospital, joined her, becoming ‘Head Sister’ Padmavatie. However, the two did not get along. The Countess expected Shearer to run things for her, while she busied herself with Mahabodhi Society work.

This friction between them betokened a deeper difference in attitudes. According to Bartholomeusz, the Countess considered Shearer “a dreamer”, but herself remained ignorant of the discipline expected from a Buddhist nun. Much against his will, she accompanied Dharmapala to Kolkata and appears, at some point, to have tried to seduce him. Finally, she removed herself from Gunther House and set up a convent on her own. This not only proved unsuccessful but also doomed the Sanghamitta Convent.

“Gunter House”, from The Open Court

Who Was Countess Canavarro?

As an infant, Miranda Maria Banta—born in 1849 in East Texas, accompanied her mother to California. At 17, she married post-master, insurance agent, and scalp-hunter Samuel Cleghorn Bates, having four children by him. Bartholomeusz thinks he may have been an abusive husband, leading her to leave him.

She probably met Lieutenant António de Souza Canavarro, scion of a noble family, on his way to become Portuguese consul-general in Hawai’i—then an independent country—in August 1882. By November the next year, she styled herself “Miranda A. de Souza Canavarro”.

António de Souza Canavarro. Image courtesy Wikimedia

A figure in West Coast high society, her conversion to Buddhism attracted considerable publicity.

Even the obscure Gazette Appeal of Marion County, Georgia, reported it:

This convert, whose purpose is to devote years of labor in the far east to uplift her sex, is the Countess M. De Canavarro, an American, formerly of San Francisco, who, to follow her chosen life surrenders, as the officiating priest announced, family, fortune, and title.

Years later, the whiff of scandal remained. The Greenfield, Iowa-based newspaper, Adair County Democrat claimed Dharmapala had hypnotised her and prevailed upon her to desert her family.

Countess Canavarro with teachers and students, from The Open Court

Companionate Marriage

In November 1900, after the Sanghamitta Convent debacle, the Countess returned to the USA, moving to the East Coast of the USA. She lectured on Buddhism and the Orient in general, several of her lectures being published.

Soon after, she entered a companionate marriage with a fellow Theosophist, Myron H. Phelps, a patent lawyer. The couple travelled to Sri Lanka posing as brother and sister. However, she continued describing herself as a Buddhist “nun”.

In December 1902, the Countess accompanied Phelps to Akka in Palestine, to meet ‘Abbás Effendí (`Abdu’l-Bahá ), the Bahá’í leader. The Countess interviewed ‘Abbás’ sister, Behiah Khanum, who provided the biographical material which went into Phelps’ book Life and teachings of Abbas Effendi. In late 1903, still bearing the name “Sister Sanghamitta”, she declared her acceptance of the Bahá’í faith.

Two years later, she and Phelps were to play host to the influential Hindu revivalist and moderniser Ponnambalam Ramanathan and his Australian secretary, Lillie Harrison, who would later become Ramanathan’s wife and take on the name Leelawathy. Ramanathan’s intellectual view of Hinduism attracted Phelps: by 1908, he would see himself as a Hindu.

The house in Akka, Palestine, where the Countess and Phelps met `Abdu’l-Bahá and Behiah Khanum. Image courtesy

Phelps left the Countess, journeying to India to join the independence movement. Almost bankrupt, she moved to a farm in Blackstone, Virginia, in a companionate marriage with Deuel Sperry, the longest-lasting of her relationships. She continued to lecture, but concentrated on writing: she produced several novels and the autobiographical “Insight into the Far East”.

In 1922 she moved back to Hawai’i, settling later in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, from where she would travel to the Ananda Ashrama, founded by the Swami Paramananda in nearby La Crescenta. For, in the last phase of her life, she adopted Vedanta Hinduism. She passed away in Glendale on July 25, 1933.

Countess Canavarro’s grave in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale. Image courtesy


Her legacy affected not only the future of Eastern religion in the United States of America, but also the development of Buddhism, which had already arrived in the USA along with the Chinese who flooded into California with the 1849 Gold Rush. The Countess represented a different type of Buddhist.

Even more profoundly, her example affected the way in which Sri Lankan society looked at women. Hitherto, crushed by Victorian values, the female gender were considered nothing more than sexual playthings or baby-making machines. According to Bartholomeusz,

The Countess and her “sisters,” by choosing to become world-renouncers, challenged the stereotype of the pious Buddhist woman as wife and mother; they helped to make renunciation a respectable choice for Buddhist women in Ceylon.

Despite the Buddha’s teaching enhancing the position of women, stressing the ability of women to achieve enlightenment and the existence of female arhants, later accretions to the canon made out that the feminine body proved a barrier to understanding the Dhamma. The Sri Lankan Buddhist tradition had, for seven centuries, lacked a female branch of the Sangha. This reinforced the idea of women being mentally inferior to their male counterparts, which became dogma.

Countess Canavarro, by resurrecting the image of the Buddhist woman seeking enlightenment, demonstrated the intellectual equality of genders and overthrew this perspective. Her action proved vital to the development of feminism in this island.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:54 am

International Congress of Orientalists
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/18/19



Dharmapala was certain the mahatmas were living in the Himalayas, the evidence lying in the very sophistication of their communications, and his reasoning makes clear how much he wanted to believe:

It cannot be believed that there is no Hermit in Tibet who had attained the Dhyanas. During the Buddha era or in a non-Buddhist era for there could be panna abigannalabis (seekers who had attained five stages of wisdom). These great beings should exist there. The letters sent to Mr. Sinnett are from two Buddhist hermits. Any other man from another religion would not be able to write letters of that nature.59

He knew that both Master Moriya and Koot Hoomi were trying to revive the sasana in India (Diary, May 9, 1924).60 In 1897 he began discussing his own desire to visit Tibet (Sarnath Notebook no. 101). Traveling home from America that year, he stopped in Paris to attend the Congress of Orientalists. There he announced to the delegates his intention to visit Tibet "in search after truth."61 Eventually he recognized that his disability made the trek throroughly impractical, writing in his diary that “in the next life I hope to be born physically strong to climb the Himalayas and to study the sacred science” (May 9, 1924).

As a young man, Dharmapala was serious enough about the trek to cause his father to make him an offer – call off the trip in return for a meditation retreat in Colombo (Sarnath Notebook no. 101).



61. Anagarika Dharmapala, “European Explorers of TIbet," Journal of the Maha Bodhi Society 7 (1899): 115. Lord Reay [Donald Mackay, 11th Lord Reay], Sir Alfred Lyall, and Sir Charles [Alfred] Elliot were in the audience, and Elliot promised to write the commissioner of Darjeeling [Richard T. Greer, Deputy Commissioner, Darjeeling, Aug. 6, 1897] to afford Dharmapala facilities for the trip. :lol:

-- Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World, by Steven Kemper

The International Congress of Orientalists, initiated in Paris in 1873, was an international conference of Orientalists (initially mostly scholars from Europe and the USA). The first thirteen meetings were held in Europe; the fourteenth congress was held in Algiers in 1905. Papers were primarily about philology and archaeology. The Proceedings of the Congresses were published. The work of the International Congress of Orientalists is carried on by the International Congress of Asian and North African Studies.[1]

Congress locations and dates

• 1st International Congress of Orientalists – Paris, 1873
• 2nd International Congress of Orientalists – London, 1874[2]
• 3rd International Congress of Orientalists – St Petersburg, 1876
• 4th International Congress of Orientalists – Florence, 1878
• 5th International Congress of Orientalists – Berlin, 1881
• 6th International Congress of Orientalists – Leiden, 1883
• 7th International Congress of Orientalists – Vienna, 1886
• 8th International Congress of Orientalists – Stockholm and Christiania, 1889
• 9th International Congress of Orientalists – London, 1892[3][4]
• 10th International Congress of Orientalists – Geneva, 1894[5]
11th International Congress of Orientalists – Paris, 1897
• 12th International Congress of Orientalists – Rome, 1899[6][7]
• 13th International Congress of Orientalists – Hamburg, 1904
• 14th International Congress of Orientalists – Algiers, 1905 - the first Congress outside Europe
• 15th International Congress of Orientalists – Copenhagen, 1908
• 16th International Congress of Orientalists – Athens, 1912
• 17th International Congress of Orientalists – Oxford, 1928
• 18th International Congress of Orientalists – Leiden, 1931[8]
• 19th International Congress of Orientalists – Rome, 1935
• 20th International Congress of Orientalists – Brussels, 1938[9]
• 21st International Congress of Orientalists – Paris, 1948[10]
• 22nd International Congress of Orientalists – Istanbul, 1951
• 23rd International Congress of Orientalists – Cambridge, 1954[11]
• 24th International Congress of Orientalists – Munich, 1957
• 25th International Congress of Orientalists – Moscow, 1960[12]
• 26th International Congress of Orientalists – New Delhi, 1964
• 27th International Congress of Orientalists – Ann Arbor, 1967[13] – the first Congress in the USA
• 28th International Congress of Orientalists – Canberra, 1971
• 29th International Congress of Orientalists – Paris, 1974 [14]

Proceedings and Transactions

• 2nd - Report of the proceedings of the second International Congress of Orientalists held in London, 1874 (London, Trübner, 1874). The Rosetta Stone was viewed.[2]
• 6th - Bulletin du sixième Congrès international des orientalistes. Leide, 1883 (Leyden? 1883).
• 9th - Transactions of the Ninth International Congress of Orientalists. Held in London, 1892. Edited by E. Delmar Morgan. (London, 1893).
• 14th - Actes du XIVe Congrès international des orientalistes. Alger, 1905 (Paris, 1906-08).
• 17th - Proceedings of the seventeenth International congress of orientalists, Oxford, 1928 (Nendeln, Liechtenstein : Kraus Reprint, 1968).
• 22nd - Proceedings of the Twenty Second Congress of Orientalists held in Istanbul, September 15th to 22nd, 1951. Edited by Zeki Velidi Togan (Istanbul, 1953-).
• 23rd - Proceedings of the Twenty-third International Congress of Orientalists : Cambridge, 21st - 28th August 1954, ed. Denis Sinor (Nendeln/Liechtenstein : Kraus, 1974).
• 26th - Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth International Congress of Orientalists : New Delhi 4 - 10th January, 1964, ed. R N Dandekar (Poona Bhandarkar Oriental Research Inst. 1970).
• 27th - Proceedings of the twenty-seventh International Congress of Orientalists. Ann Arbor, Michigan, 13th-19th August 1967. Ed. by Denis Sinor with the assistance of Tania Jacques, Ralph Larson, Mary-Elizabeth Meek (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1971).
• 28th - Proceedings of the 28 International Congress of Orientalists, Canberra, 6-12 January 1971, by A R Davis (Sydney : University of Sydney/Department of Oriental Studies, cop. 1976).


1. Orientalists, International Congress Of, in Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, 2004. ... l-congress - accessed 4 April 2018
2. Jump up to:a b The Rosetta Stone Breakthrough CBS News
3. The Ninth International Congress of Orientalists. London, 1892 The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (Oct., 1892), pp. 855-876.
4. The Statutory Ninth International Congress of Orientalists, by H. Cordier, T'oung Pao Vol. 2, No. 5 (1891), pp. 411-433.
5. Tenth International Congress of Orientalists, Held at Geneva, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (Oct., 1895), pp. 879-892.
7. The Twelfth International Congress of Orientalists. Rome, 1899 The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (Jan., 1900), pp. 181-186.
8. The Eighteenth International Congress of Orientalists, 1931, by Mrs. R. L. Devonshire, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland No. 1 (Jan., 1932), pp. 111-113.
9. THE TWENTY-FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF ORIENTALISTS, PARIS 23rd to 31st of July 1948, by R. N. Dandekar, Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Vol. 29, No. 1/4 (1948), pp. i-xxvi.
10. THE TWENTY-FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF ORIENTALISTS, PARIS 23rd to 31st of July 1948, by R. N. Dandekar, Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Vol. 29, No. 1/4 (1948), pp. i-xxvi.
11. THE TWENTY-THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF ORIENTALISTS CAMBRIDGE, by R. N. Dandekar, Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute Vol. 35, No. 1/4 (1954), pp. i-xxviii.
12. The 25th International Congress of Orientalists Roderick MacFarquhar The China Quarterly No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1960), pp. 114-118.
13. The International Congress of Orientalists Stanford J. Shaw Middle East Studies Association Bulletin Vol. 2, No. 2 (May 15, 1968), pp. 15-20.
14. THE XXIXth INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF ORIENTALISTS K. Czeglédy Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae Vol. 28, No. 2 (1974), pp. 288-290.

External links

• International Congress of Orientalists on
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:07 am

Part 1 of 2

Five precepts
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/18/19



The five precepts (Pali: pañcasīla; Sanskrit: pañcaśīla) or five rules of training (Pali: pañcasikkhapada; Sanskrit: pañcaśikṣapada[1][2])[note 1] is the most important system of morality for Buddhist lay people. They constitute the basic code of ethics to be undertaken by lay followers of Buddhism. The precepts are commitments to abstain from killing living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and intoxication. Within the Buddhist doctrine, they are meant to develop mind and character to make progress on the path to enlightenment. They are sometimes referred to as the śrāvakayāna precepts in the Mahāyāna tradition, contrasting them with the bodhisattva precepts. The five precepts form the basis of several parts of Buddhist doctrine, both lay and monastic. With regard to their fundamental role in Buddhist ethics, they have been compared with the ten commandments in Abrahamic religions[4][5] or the ethical codes of Confucianism. The precepts have been connected with utilitarianist, deontological and virtue approaches to ethics, though by 2017, such categorization by western terminology had mostly been abandoned by scholars. The precepts have been compared with human rights because of their universal nature, and some scholars argue they can complement the concept of human rights.

The five precepts were common to the religious milieu of 6th-century BCE India, but the Buddha's focus on awareness through the fifth precept was unique. As shown in Early Buddhist Texts, the precepts grew to be more important, and finally became a condition for membership of the Buddhist religion. When Buddhism spread to different places and people, the role of the precepts began to vary. In countries where Buddhism had to compete with other religions, such as China, the ritual of undertaking the five precepts developed into an initiation ceremony to become a Buddhist lay person. On the other hand, in countries with little competition from other religions, such as Thailand, the ceremony has had little relation to the rite of becoming Buddhist, as many people are presumed Buddhist from birth.

Undertaking and upholding the five precepts is based on the principle of non-harming (Pāli and Sanskrit: ahiṃsa). The Pali Canon recommends one to compare oneself with others, and on the basis of that, not to hurt others. Compassion and a belief in karmic retribution form the foundation of the precepts. Undertaking the five precepts is part of regular lay devotional practice, both at home and at the local temple. However, the extent to which people keep them differs per region and time. People keep them with an intention to develop themselves, but also out of fear of a bad rebirth.

The first precept consists of a prohibition of killing, both humans and all animals. Scholars have interpreted Buddhist texts about the precepts as an opposition to and prohibition of capital punishment,[6] suicide, abortion[7][8] and euthanasia.[9] In practice, however, many Buddhist countries still use the death penalty. With regard to abortion, Buddhist countries take the middle ground, by condemning though not prohibiting it. The Buddhist attitude to violence is generally interpreted as opposing all warfare, but some scholars have raised exceptions. The second precept prohibits theft. The third precept refers to adultery in all its forms, and has been defined by modern teachers with terms such as sexual responsibility and long-term commitment. The fourth precept involves falsehood spoken or committed to by action, as well as malicious speech, harsh speech and gossip. The fifth precept prohibits intoxication through alcohol, drugs or other means.[10][11] Early Buddhist Texts nearly always condemn alcohol, and so do Chinese Buddhist post-canonical texts. Buddhist attitudes toward smoking differ per time and region, but are generally permissive. In modern times, traditional Buddhist countries have seen revival movements to promote the five precepts. As for the West, the precepts play a major role in Buddhist organizations. They have also been integrated in mindfulness training programs, though many mindfulness specialists do not support this because of the precepts' religious import. Lastly, many conflict prevention programs make use of the precepts.

Role in Buddhist doctrine

Buddhist scriptures explain the five precepts as the minimal standard of Buddhist morality.[12] It is the most important system of morality in Buddhism, together with the monastic rules.[13] Śīla (Sanskrit; Pali: sīla) is used to refer to Buddhist precepts,[14] including the five.[1] But the word also refers to the virtue and morality which lies at the foundation of the spiritual path to enlightenment, which is the first of the three forms of training on the path. Thus, the precepts are rules or guidelines to develop mind and character to make progress on the path to enlightenment.[1] The five precepts are part of the right speech, action and livelihood aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path, the core teaching of Buddhism.[1][15][note 2] Moreover, the practice of the five precepts and other parts of śīla are described as forms of merit-making, means to create good karma.[17][18] The five precepts have been described as social values that bring harmony to society,[11][19] and breaches of the precepts described as antithetical to a harmonious society.[20] On a similar note, in Buddhist texts, the ideal, righteous society is one in which people keep the five precepts.[21]

Comparing different parts of Buddhist doctrine, the five precepts form the basis of the eight precepts, which are lay precepts stricter than the five precepts, similar to monastic precepts.[1][22] Secondly, the five precepts form the first half of the ten or eleven precepts for a person aiming to become a Buddha (bodhisattva), as mentioned in the Brahmajala Sūtra of the Mahāyāna tradition.[1][23][24] Contrasting these precepts with the five precepts, the latter were commonly referred to by Mahāyānists as the śrāvakayāna precepts, or the precepts of those aiming to become enlightened disciples (Sanskrit: arhat; Pali: arahant) of a Buddha, but not Buddhas themselves. The ten–eleven bodhisattva precepts presuppose the five precepts, and are partly based on them.[25] The five precepts are also partly found in the teaching called the ten good courses of action, referred to in Theravāda (Pali: dasa-kusala-kammapatha) and Tibetan Buddhism (Sanskrit: daśa-kuśala-karmapatha; Wylie: dge ba bcu).[13][26] Finally, the first four of the five precepts are very similar to the most fundamental rules of monastic discipline (Pali: pārajika), and may have influenced their development.[27]

In conclusion, the five precepts lie at the foundation of all Buddhist practice, and in that respect, can be compared with the ten commandments in Christianity and Judaism[4][5] or the ethical codes of Confucianism.[24]


The five precepts were part of early Buddhism and are common to nearly all schools of Buddhism.[28] In early Buddhism, the five precepts were regarded as an ethic of restraint, to restrain unwholesome tendencies and thereby purify one's being to attain enlightenment.[3][29] The five precepts were based on the pañcaśīla, prohibitions for pre-Buddhist Brahmanic priests, which were adopted in many Indic religions around 6th century BCE.[30][31] The first four Buddhist precepts were nearly identical to these pañcaśīla, but the fifth precept, the prohibition on intoxication, was new in Buddhism:[27][note 3] the Buddha's emphasis on awareness (Pali: appamāda) was unique.[30]

In some schools of ancient Indic Buddhism, Buddhist devotees could choose to adhere to only a number of precepts, instead of the complete five. The schools that would survive in later periods, however, that is Theravāda and Mahāyāna Buddhism, were both ambiguous about this practice. Some early Mahāyāna texts allow it, but some do not; Theravāda texts do not discuss this practice at all.[33]

The prohibition on killing had motivated early Buddhists to form a stance against animal sacrifice, a common ritual practice in ancient India.[34][35] According to the Pāli Canon, however, early Buddhists did not adopt a vegetarian lifestyle.[22][35]

In Early Buddhist Texts, the role of the five precepts gradually develops. First of all, the precepts are combined with a declaration of faith in the triple gem (the Buddha, his teaching and the monastic community). Next, the precepts develop to become the foundation of lay practice.[36] The precepts are seen as a preliminary condition for the higher development of the mind.[3] At a third stage in the texts, the precepts are actually mentioned together with the triple gem, as though they are part of it. Lastly, the precepts, together with the triple gem, become a required condition for the practice of Buddhism, as lay people have to undergo a formal initiation to become a member of the Buddhist religion.[27] When Buddhism spread to different places and people, the role of the precepts began to vary. In countries in which Buddhism was adopted as the main religion without much competition from other religious disciplines, such as Thailand, the relation between the initiation of a lay person and the five precepts has been virtually non-existent. In such countries, the taking of the precepts has become a sort of ritual cleansing ceremony. People are presumed Buddhist from birth without much of an initiation. The precepts are often committed to by new followers as part of their installment, yet this is not very pronounced. However, in some countries like China, where Buddhism was not the only religion, the precepts became an ordination ceremony to initiate lay people into the Buddhist religion.[37]

In China, the five precepts were introduced in the first centuries CE, both in their śrāvakayāna and bodhisattva formats.[38] During this time, it was particularly Buddhist teachers who promoted abstinence from alcohol (the fifth precept), since Daoism and other thought systems emphasized moderation rather than full abstinence. Chinese Buddhists interpreted the fifth precept strictly, even more so than in Indic Buddhism. For example, the monk Daoshi (c. 600–83) dedicated large sections of his encyclopedic writings to abstinence from alcohol. However, in some parts of China, such as Dunhuang, considerable evidence has been found of alcohol consumption among both lay people and monastics. Later, from the 8th century onward, strict attitudes of abstinence led to a development of a distinct tea culture among Chinese monastics and lay intellectuals, in which tea gatherings replaced gatherings with alcoholic beverages, and were advocated as such.[39][40] These strict attitudes were formed partly because of the religious writings, but may also have been affected by the bloody An Lushan Rebellion of 775, which had a sobering effect on 8th-century Chinese society.[41] When the five precepts were integrated in Chinese society, they were associated and connected with karma, Chinese cosmology and medicine, a Daoist worldview, and Confucian virtue ethics.[42]


In Pāli tradition

In the Theravāda tradition, the precepts are recited in a standardized fashion, using Pāli language. In Thailand, a leading lay person will normally request the monk to administer the precepts by reciting the following three times:

"Venerables, we request the five precepts and the three refuges [i.e. the triple gem] for the sake of observing them, one by one, separately". (Mayaṃ bhante visuṃ visuṃ rakkhaṇatthāya tisaraṇena saha pañca sīlāniyācāma.)[43]

After this, the monk administering the precepts will recite a reverential line of text to introduce the ceremony, after which he guides the lay people in declaring that they take their refuge in the three refuges or triple gem.[44]

He then continues with reciting the five precepts:[45][46]

1. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from onslaught on breathing beings." (Pali: Pāṇātipātā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.)
2. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from taking what is not given." (Pali: Adinnādānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.)
3. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from misconduct concerning sense-pleasures." (Pali: Kāmesumicchācāra veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.)
4. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from false speech." (Pali: Musāvādā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.)
5. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from alcoholic drink or drugs that are an opportunity for heedlessness." (Pali: Surāmerayamajjapamādaṭṭhānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.)

After the lay people have repeated the five precepts after the monk, the monk will close the ceremony reciting:

"These five precepts lead with good behavior to bliss, with good behavior to wealth and success, they lead with good behavior to happiness, therefore purify behavior." (Imāni pañca sikkhāpadāni. Sīlena sugatiṃ yanti, sīlena bhogasampadā, sīlena nibbutiṃ yanti, tasmā sīlaṃ visodhaye.)[47]

In other textual traditions

See also: Buddhist initiation ritual

The format of the ceremony for taking the precepts occurs several times in the Chinese Buddhist Canon, in slightly different forms.[48]

One formula of the precepts can be found in the Treatise on Taking Refuge and the Precepts (simplified Chinese: 归戒要集; traditional Chinese: 歸戒要集; pinyin: Guījiè Yāojí):

1. As all Buddhas refrained from killing until the end of their lives, so I too will refrain from killing until the end of my life.
2. As all Buddhas refrained from stealing until the end of their lives, so I too will refrain from stealing until the end of my life.
3. As all Buddhas refrained from sexual misconduct until the end of their lives, so I too will refrain from sexual misconduct until the end of my life.
4. As all Buddhas refrained from false speech until the end of their lives, so I too will refrain from false speech until the end of my life.
5. As all Buddhas refrained from alcohol until the end of their lives, so I too will refrain from alcohol until the end of my life.[49]

Similarly, in the Mūla-Sarvāstivāda texts used in Tibetan Buddhism, the precepts are formulated such that one takes the precepts upon oneself for one's entire lifespan, following the examples of the enlightened disciples of the Buddha (arahant).[45]


Precept / Accompanying virtues[10][22] / Related to human rights[50][51]

1. Abstention from killing living beings / Kindness and compassion / Right to life
2. Abstention from theft / Generosity and renunciation / Right of property
3. Abstention from sexual misconduct / Contentment and respect for faithfulness / Right to fidelity in marriage
4. Abstention from falsehood / Being honest and dependable / Right of human dignity
5. Abstention from intoxication / Mindfulness and responsibility / Right of security and safety

The five precepts can be found in many places in the Early Buddhist Texts.[52] The precepts are regarded as means to building good character, or as an expression of such character. The Pāli Canon describes them as means to avoid harm to oneself and others.[53] It further describes them as gifts toward oneself and others.[54] Moreover, the texts say that people who uphold them will be confident in any gathering of people,[13][55] will have wealth and a good reputation, and will die a peaceful death, reborn in heaven[45][55] or as a human being. On the other hand, living a life in violation of the precepts is believed to lead to rebirth in an unhappy destination.[13] They are understood as principles that define a person as human in body and mind.[56]

The precepts are normative rules, but are formulated and understood as "undertakings"[57] rather than commandments enforced by a moral authority,[58][59] according to the voluntary and gradualist standards of Buddhist ethics.[60] They are forms of restraint formulated in negative terms, but are also accompanied by virtues and positive behaviors,[10][11][22] which are cultivated through the practice of the precepts.[14][note 4] The most important of these virtues is non-harming (Pāli and Sanskrit: ahiṃsa),[34][62] which underlies all of the five precepts.[22][note 5] Precisely, the texts say that one should keep the precepts, adhering to the principle of comparing oneself with others:[64]

"For a state that is not pleasant or delightful to me must be so to him also; and a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?"[65]

In other words, all living beings are alike in that they want to be happy and not suffer. Comparing oneself with others, one should therefore not hurt others as one would not want to be hurt.[66] Ethicist Pinit Ratanakul argues that the compassion which motivates upholding the precepts comes from an understanding that all living beings are equal and of a nature that they are 'not-self' (Pali: anattā).[67] Another aspect that is fundamental to this is the belief in karmic retribution.[68]

In the upholding or violation of the precepts, intention is crucial.[69][70] In the Pāli scriptures, an example is mentioned of a person stealing an animal only to set it free, which was not seen as an offense of theft.[69] In the Pāli commentaries, a precept is understood to be violated when the person violating it finds the object of the transgression (e.g. things to be stolen), is aware of the violation, has the intention to violate it, does actually act on that intention, and does so successfully.[71]

Upholding the precepts is sometimes distinguished in three levels: to uphold them without having formally undertaken them; to uphold them formally, willing to sacrifice one's own life for it; and finally, to spontaneously uphold them.[72] The latter refers to the arahant, who is understood to be morally incapable of violating the first four precepts.[73] A layperson who upholds the precepts is described in the texts as a "jewel among laymen".[74] On the other hand, the most serious violations of the precepts are the five actions of immediate retribution, which are believed to lead the perpetrator to an unavoidable rebirth in hell. These consist of injuring a Buddha, killing an arahant, killing one's father or mother, and causing the monastic community to have a schism.[22]

Practice in general

Lay followers often undertake these training rules in the same ceremony as they take the refuges.[1][75] Monks administer the precepts to the laypeople, which creates an additional psychological effect.[76] Buddhist lay people may recite the precepts regularly at home, and before an important ceremony at the temple to prepare the mind for the ceremony.[2][76]

The five precepts are at the core of Buddhist morality.[46] In field studies in some countries like Sri Lanka, villagers describe them as the core of the religion.[76] Anthropologist Barend Terwiel [de] found in his fieldwork that most Thai villagers knew the precepts by heart, and many, especially the elderly, could explain the implications of the precepts following traditional interpretations.[77]

Nevertheless, Buddhists do not all follow them with the same strictness.[46] Devotees who have just started keeping the precepts will typically have to exercise considerable restraint. When they become used to the precepts, they start to embody them more naturally.[78] Researchers doing field studies in traditional Buddhist societies have found that the five precepts are generally considered demanding and challenging.[76][79] For example, anthropologist Stanley Tambiah found in his field studies that strict observance of the precepts had "little positive interest for the villager ... not because he devalues them but because they are not normally open to him". Observing precepts was seen to be mostly the role of a monk or an elderly lay person.[80] More recently, in a 1997 survey in Thailand, only 13.8% of the respondents indicated they adhered to the five precepts in their daily lives, with the fourth and fifth precept least likely to be adhered to.[81] Yet, people do consider the precepts worth striving for, and do uphold them out of fear of bad karma and being reborn in hell, or because they believe in that the Buddha issued these rules, and that they therefore should be maintained.[82][83] Anthropologist Melford Spiro found that Burmese Buddhists mostly upheld the precepts to avoid bad karma, as opposed to expecting to gain good karma.[84] Scholar of religion Winston King observed from his field studies that the moral principles of Burmese Buddhists were based on personal self-developmental motives rather than other-regarding motives. Scholar of religion Richard Jones concludes that the moral motives of Buddhists in adhering to the precepts are based on the idea that renouncing self-service, ironically, serves oneself.[85]

In East Asian Buddhism, the precepts are intrinsically connected with the initiation as a Buddhist lay person. Early Chinese translations such as the Upāsaka-śila Sūtra hold that the precepts should only be ritually transmitted by a monastic. The texts describe that in the ritual the power of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas is transmitted, and helps the initiate to keep the precepts. This "lay ordination" ritual usually occurs after a stay in a temple, and often after a monastic ordination (Pali: upsampadā); has taken place. The ordained lay person is then given a religious name. The restrictions that apply are similar to a monastic ordination, such as permission from parents.[86]

In the Theravāda tradition, the precepts are usually taken "each separately" (Pali: visuṃ visuṃ), to indicate that if one precept should be broken, the other precepts are still intact. In very solemn occasions, or for very pious devotees, the precepts may be taken as a group rather than each separately.[87][88] This does not mean, however, that only some of the precepts can be undertaken; they are always committed to as a complete set.[89] In East Asian Buddhism, however, the vow of taking the precepts is considered a solemn matter, and it is not uncommon for lay people to undertake only the precepts that they are confident they can keep.[33] The act of taking a vow to keep the precepts is what makes it karmically effective: Spiro found that someone who did not violate the precepts, but did not have any intention to keep them either, was not believed to accrue any religious merit. On the other hand, when people took a vow to keep the precepts, and then broke them afterwards, the negative karma was considered larger than in the case no vow was taken to keep the precepts.[90]

Several modern teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Sulak Sivaraksa have written about the five precepts in a wider scope, with regard to social and institutional relations. In these perspectives, mass production of weapons or spreading untruth through media and education also violates the precepts.[91][92] On a similar note, human rights organizations in Southeast Asia have attempted to advocate respect for human rights by referring to the five precepts as guiding principles.[93]

First precept

Textual analysis

The first precept prohibits the taking of life of a sentient being. It is violated when someone intentionally and successfully kills such a sentient being, having understood it to be sentient and using effort in the process.[71][94] Causing injury goes against the spirit of the precept, but does, technically speaking, not violate it.[95] The first precept includes taking the lives of animals, even small insects. However, it has also been pointed out that the seriousness of taking life depends on the size, intelligence, benefits done and the spiritual attainments of that living being. Killing a large animal is worse than killing a small animal (also because it costs more effort); killing a spiritually accomplished master is regarded as more severe than the killing of another "more average" human being; and killing a human being is more severe than the killing an animal. But all killing is condemned.[71][96][97] Virtues that accompany this precept are respect for dignity of life,[62] kindness and compassion,[22] the latter expressed as "trembling for the welfare of others".[98] A positive behavior that goes together with this precept is protecting living beings.[11] Positive virtues like sympathy and respect for other living beings in this regard are based on a belief in the cycle of rebirth—that all living beings must be born and reborn.[99] The concept of the fundamental Buddha nature of all human beings also underlies the first precept.[100]

The description of the first precept can be interpreted as a prohibition of capital punishment.[6] Suicide is also seen as part of the prohibition.[101] Moreover, abortion (of a sentient being) goes against the precept, since in an act of abortion, the criteria for violation are all met.[94][102] In Buddhism, human life is understood to start at conception.[103] A prohibition of abortion is mentioned explicitly in the monastic precepts, and several Buddhist tales warn of the harmful karmic consequences of abortion.[104][105] Bioethicist Damien Keown argues that Early Buddhist Texts do not allow for exceptions with regard to abortion, as they consist of a "consistent' (i.e. exceptionless) pro-life position".[106][8] Keown further proposes that a middle way approach to the five precepts is logically hard to defend.[107] Asian studies scholar Giulo Agostini argues, however, that Buddhist commentators in India from the 4th century onward thought abortion did not break the precepts under certain circumstances.[108]

Ordering another person to kill is also included in this precept,[9][95] therefore requesting or administering euthanasia can be considered a violation of the precept,[9] as well as advising another person to commit abortion.[109] With regard to euthanasia and assisted suicide, Keown quotes the Pāli Dīgha Nikāya that says a person upholding the first precept "does not kill a living being, does not cause a living being to be killed, does not approve of the killing of a living being".[110] Keown argues that in Buddhist ethics, regardless of motives, death can never be the aim of one's actions.[111]

Interpretations of how Buddhist texts regard warfare are varied, but in general Buddhist doctrine is considered to oppose all warfare. In many Jātaka tales, such as that of Prince Temiya, as well as some historical documents, the virtue of non-violence is taken as an opposition to all war, both offensive and defensive. At the same time, though, the Buddha is often shown not to explicitly oppose war in his conversations with political figures. Buddhologist André Bareau points out that the Buddha was reserved in his involvement of the details of administrative policy, and concentrated on the moral and spiritual development of his disciples instead. He may have believed such involvement to be futile, or detrimental to Buddhism. Nevertheless, at least one disciple of the Buddha is mentioned in the texts who refrained from retaliating his enemies because of the Buddha, that is King Pasenadi (Sanskrit: Prasenajit). The texts are ambiguous in explaining his motives though.[112] In some later Mahāyāna texts, such as in the writings of Asaṅga, examples are mentioned of people who kill those who persecute Buddhists.[113][114] In these examples, killing is justified by the authors because protecting Buddhism was seen as more important than keeping the precepts. Another example that is often cited is that of King Duṭṭhagāmaṇī, who is mentioned in the post-canonical Pāli Mahāvaṃsa chronicle. In the chronicle, the king is saddened with the loss of life after a war, but comforted by a Buddhist monk, who states that nearly everyone who was killed did not uphold the precepts anyway.[115][116] Buddhist studies scholar Lambert Schmithausen argues that in many of these cases Buddhist teachings like that of emptiness were misused to further an agenda of war or other violence.[117]

In practice

See also: Religion and capital punishment § Buddhism, and Abortion in Japan

Field studies in Cambodia and Burma have shown that many Buddhists considered the first precept the most important, or the most blamable.[46][95] In some traditional communities, such as in Kandal Province in pre-war Cambodia, as well as Burma in the 1980s, it was uncommon for Buddhists to slaughter animals, to the extent that meat had to be bought from not-Buddhists.[46][63] In his field studies in Thailand in the 1960s, Terwiel found that villagers did tend to kill insects, but were reluctant and self-conflicted with regard to killing larger animals.[118] In Spiro's field studies, however, Burmese villagers were highly reluctant even to kill insects.[63]

Early Buddhists did not adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. Indeed, in several Pāli texts vegetarianism is described as irrelevant in the spiritual purification of the mind. There are prohibitions on certain types of meat, however, especially those which are condemned by society. The idea of abstaining from killing animal life has also led to a prohibition on professions that involve trade in flesh or living beings, but not to a full prohibition of all agriculture that involves cattle.[119] In modern times, referring to the law of supply and demand or other principles, some Theravādin Buddhists have attempted to promote vegetarianism as part of the five precepts. For example, the Thai Santi Asoke movement practices vegetarianism.[59][120]

Furthermore, among some schools of Buddhism, there has been some debate with regard to a principle in the monastic discipline. This principle states that a Buddhist monk cannot accept meat if it comes from animals especially slaughtered for him. Some teachers have interpreted this to mean that when the recipient has no knowledge on whether the animal has been killed for him, he cannot accept the food either. Similarly, there has been debate as to whether laypeople should be vegetarian when adhering to the five precepts.[22] Though vegetarianism among Theravādins is generally uncommon, it has been practiced much in East Asian countries,[22] as some Mahāyāna texts, such as the Mahāparanirvana Sūtra and the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, condemn the eating of meat.[10][121] Nevertheless, even among Mahāyāna Buddhists—and East Asian Buddhists—there is disagreement on whether vegetarianism should be practiced. In the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, biological, social and hygienic reasons are given for a vegetarian diet; however, historically, a major factor in the development of a vegetarian lifestyle among Mahāyāna communities may have been that Mahāyāna monastics cultivated their own crops for food, rather than living from alms.[122] Already from the 4th century CE, Chinese writer Xi Chao understood the five precepts to include vegetarianism.[121]

Apart from trade in flesh or living beings, there are also other professions considered undesirable. Vietnamese teacher Thich Nhat Hanh gives a list of examples, such as working in the arms industry, the military, police, producing or selling poison or drugs such as alcohol and tobacco.[123]

In general, the first precept has been interpreted by Buddhists as a call for non-violence and pacifism. But there have been some exceptions of people who did not interpret the first precept as an opposition to war. For example, in the twentieth century, some Japanese Zen teachers wrote in support of violence in war, and some of them argued this should be seen as a means to uphold the first precept.[124] There is some debate and controversy surrounding the problem whether a person can commit suicide, such as self-immolation, to reduce other people's suffering in the long run, such as in protest to improve a political situation in a country. Teachers like the Dalai Lama and Shengyan have rejected forms of protest like self-immolation, as well as other acts of self-harming or fasting as forms of protest.[60]

Although capital punishment goes against the first precept, as of 2001, many countries in Asia still maintained the death penalty, including Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and Taiwan. In some Buddhist countries, such as Sri Lanka and Thailand, capital punishment was applied during some periods, while during other periods no capital punishment was used at all. In other countries with Buddhism, like China and Taiwan, Buddhism, or any religion for that matter, has had no influence in policy decisions of the government. Countries with Buddhism that have abolished capital punishment include Cambodia and Hong Kong.[125]

In general, Buddhist traditions oppose abortion.[108] In many countries with Buddhist traditions such as Thailand, Taiwan, Korea and Japan, however, abortion is a widespread practice, whether legal or not. Many people in these countries consider abortion immoral, but also think it should be less prohibited. Ethicist Roy W. Perrett, following Ratanakul, argues that this field research data does not so much indicate hypocrisy, but rather points at a "middle way" in applying Buddhist doctrine to solve a moral dilemma. Buddhists tend to take "both sides" on the pro-life–pro-choice debate, being against the taking of life of a fetus in principle, but also believing in compassion toward mothers. Similar attitudes may explain the Japanese mizuko kuyō ceremony, a Buddhist memorial service for aborted children, which has led to a debate in Japanese society concerning abortion, and finally brought the Japanese to a consensus that abortion should not be taken lightly, though it should be legalized. This position, held by Japanese Buddhists, takes the middle ground between the Japanese neo-Shinto "pro-life" position, and the liberationist, "pro-choice" arguments.[126] Keown points out, however, that this compromise does not mean a Buddhist middle way between two extremes, but rather incorporates two opposite perspectives.[107] In Thailand, women who wish to have abortion usually do so in the early stages of pregnancy, because they believe the karmic consequences are less then. Having had abortion, Thai women usually make merits to compensate for the negative karma.[127]

Second precept

Textual analysis

The second precept prohibits theft, and involves the intention to steal what one perceives as not belonging to oneself ("what is not given") and acting successfully upon that intention. The severity of the act of theft is judged by the worth of the owner and the worth of that which is stolen. Underhand dealings, fraud, cheating and forgery are also included in this precept.[71][128] Accompanying virtues are generosity, renunciation,[10][22] and right livelihood,[129] and a positive behavior is the protection of other people's property.[11]

In practice

The second precept includes different ways of stealing and fraud. Borrowing without permission is sometimes included,[59][77] as well as gambling.[77][130] Psychologist Vanchai Ariyabuddhiphongs did studies in the 2000s and 2010s in Thailand and discovered that people who did not adhere to the five precepts more often tended to believe that money was the most important goal in life, and would more often pay bribes than people who did adhere to the precepts.[131][132] On the other hand, people who observed the five precepts regarded themselves as wealthier and happier than people who did not observe the precepts.[133]

Professions that are seen to violate the second precept include working in the gambling industry or marketing products that are not actually required for the customer.[134]

Third precept

Textual analysis

The third precept condemns sexual misconduct. This has been interpreted in classical texts to include adultery with a married or engaged person, rape, incest, sex with a minor (or a person "protected by any relative"), and sex with a prostitute.[135] In later texts, details such as intercourse at an inappropriate time or inappropriate place are also counted as breaches of the third precept.[136] Masturbation goes against the spirit of the precept, though in the early texts it is not prohibited for laypeople.[137][138]

The third precept is explained as leading to greed in oneself and harm to others. The transgression is regarded as more severe if the other person is a good person.[137][138] Virtues that go hand-in-hand with the third precept are contentment, especially with one's partner,[22][98] and recognition and respect for faithfulness in a marriage.[11]

In practice

The third precept is interpreted as avoiding harm to another by using sensuality in the wrong way. This means not engaging with inappropriate partners, but also respecting one's personal commitment to a relationship.[59] In some traditions, the precept also condemns adultery with a person whose spouse agrees with the act, since the nature of the act itself is condemned. Furthermore, flirting with a married person may also be regarded as a violation.[77][135] Though prostitution is discouraged in the third precept, it is usually not actively prohibited by Buddhist teachers.[139] With regard to applications of the principles of the third precept, the precept, or any Buddhist principle for that matter, is usually not connected with a stance against contraception.[140][141] In traditional Buddhist societies such as Sri Lanka, pre-marital sex is considered to violate the precept, though this is not always adhered to by people who already intend to marry.[138][142]

In the interpretation of modern teachers, the precept includes any person in a sexual relationship with another person, as they define the precept by terms such as sexual responsibility and long-term commitment.[135] Some modern teachers include masturbation as a violation of the precept,[143] others include certain professions, such as those that involve sexual exploitation, prostitution or pornography, and professions that promote unhealthy sexual behavior, such as in the entertainment industry.[134]
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