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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
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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]

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.[citation needed] He came to the attention of Monier Williams, an Oxford professor of Sanskrit who offered Shyamji a job as his assistant.[4]


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.

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.
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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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Fourth precept

Textual analysis

The fourth precept involves falsehood spoken or committed to by action.[137] Avoiding other forms of wrong speech are also considered part of this precept, consisting of malicious speech, harsh speech and gossip.[144][145] A breach of the precept is considered more serious if the falsehood is motivated by an ulterior motive[137] (rather than, for example, "a small white lie").[146] The accompanying virtue is being honest and dependable,[22][98] and involves honesty in work, truthfulness to others, loyalty to superiors and gratitude to benefactors.[129] In Buddhist texts, this precept is considered second in importance to the first precept, because a lying person is regarded to have no shame, and therefore capable of many wrongs.[143] Untruthfulness is not only to be avoided because it harms others, but also because it goes against the Buddhist ideal of finding the truth.[146][147]

In practice

The fourth precept includes avoidance of lying and harmful speech.[148] Some modern teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh interpret this to include avoiding spreading false news and uncertain information.[143] Work that involves data manipulation, false advertising or online scams can also be regarded as violations.[134] Terwiel reports that among Thai Buddhists, the fourth precept is also seen to be broken when people insinuate, exaggerate or speak abusively or deceitfully.[77]

Fifth precept

Textual analysis

The fifth precept prohibits intoxication through alcohol, drugs or other means, and its virtues are mindfulness and responsibility,[10][11] applied to food, work, behavior, and with regard to the nature of life.[129] Awareness, meditation and heedfulness can also be included here.[122] Medieval Pāli commentator Buddhaghosa writes that whereas violating the first four precepts may be more or less blamable depending on the person or animal affected, the fifth precept is always "greatly blamable", as it hinders one from understanding the Buddha's teaching and may lead one to "madness".[16] In ancient China, Daoshi described alcohol as the "doorway to laxity and idleness" and as a cause of suffering. Nevertheless, he did describe certain cases when drinking was considered less of a problem, such as in the case of a queen distracting the king by alcohol to prevent him from murder. However, Daoshi was generally strict in his interpretations: for example, he allowed medicinal use of alcohol only in extreme cases.[149] Early Chinese translations of the Tripitaka describe negative consequences for people breaking the fifth precept, for themselves and their families. The Chinese translation of the Upāsikaśila Sūtra, as well as the Pāli version of the Sigālovāda Sutta, speak of ill consequences such as loss of wealth, ill health, a bad reputation and "stupidity", concluding in a rebirth in hell.[16][150] The Dīrghāgama adds to that that alcohol leads to quarreling, negative states of mind and damage to one's intelligence. The Mahāyāna Brahmajāla Sūtra[note 6] describes the dangers of alcohol in very strong terms, including the selling of alcohol.[151] Similar arguments against alcohol can be found in Nāgārjuna's writings.[152] The strict interpretation of prohibition of alcohol consumption can be supported by the Upāli Sūtra's statement that a disciple of the Buddha should not drink any alcohol, "even a drop on the point of a blade of grass". However, in the writing of some Abhidharma commentators, consumption was condemned or condoned, depending on the intention with which alcohol was consumed.[153]

In practice

As for the fifth precept, this is regarded as important, because drinking alcohol is condemned for the sluggishness and lack of self-control it leads to,[69][154] which might lead to breaking the other precepts.[16] In Spiro's field studies, violating the fifth precept was seen as the worst of all the five precepts by half of the monks interviewed, citing the harmful consequences.[16] Nevertheless, in practice it is often disregarded by lay people.[155] In Thailand, drinking alcohol is fairly common, even drunkenness.[156] Among Tibetans, drinking beer is common, though this is only slightly alcoholic.[152] Medicinal use of alcohol is generally not frowned upon,[142] and in some countries like Thailand and Laos, smoking is usually not regarded as a violation of the precept. Thai and Laotian monks have been known to smoke, though monks who have received more training are less likely to smoke.[40][157] On a similar note, as of 2000, no Buddhist country prohibited the sale or consumption of alcohol, though in Sri Lanka Buddhist revivalists attempted unsuccessfully to get a full prohibition passed in 1956.[40] Moreover, pre-Communist Tibet used to prohibit smoking in some areas of the capital. Monks were prohibited from smoking, and the import of tobacco was banned.[40]

Thich Nhat Hanh also includes the aspect of mindful consumption in this precept, which consists of unhealthy food, unhealthy entertainment and unhealthy conversations, among others.[134][158]

Present trends

In modern times, adherence to the precepts among Buddhists is less strict than it traditionally was. This is especially true for the third precept. For example, in Cambodia in the 1990s and 2000s, standards with regard to sexual restraint were greatly relaxed.[159] Some Buddhist movements and communities have tried to go against the modern trend of less strict adherence to the precepts. In Cambodia, a millenarian movement led by Chan Yipon promoted the revival of the five precepts.[159] And in the 2010s, the Supreme Sangha Council in Thailand ran a nationwide program called "The Villages Practicing the Five Precepts", aiming to encourage keeping the precepts, with an extensive classification and reward system.[160][161]

In many Western Buddhist organizations, the five precepts play a major role in developing ethical guidelines.[162] Furthermore, Buddhist teachers such as Philip Kapleau, Thich Nhat Hanh and Robert Aitken have promoted mindful consumption in the West, based on the five precepts.[158] In another development in the West, some scholars working in the field of mindfulness training have proposed that the five precepts be introduced as a component in such trainings. Specifically, to prevent organizations from using mindfulness training to further an economical agenda with harmful results to its employees, the economy or the environment, the precepts could be used as a standardized ethical framework. As of 2015, several training programs made explicit use of the five precepts as secular, ethical guidelines. However, many mindfulness training specialists consider it problematic to teach the five precepts as part of training programs in secular contexts because of their religious origins and import.[163]

Peace studies scholar Theresa Der-lan Yeh notes that the five precepts address physical, economical, familial and verbal aspects of interaction, and remarks that many conflict prevention programs in schools and communities have integrated the five precepts in their curriculum. On a similar note, peace studies founder Johan Galtung describes the five precepts as the "basic contribution of Buddhism in the creation of peace".[164]

Theory of ethics

Studying lay and monastic ethical practice in traditional Buddhist societies, Spiro argued ethical guidelines such as the five precepts are adhered to as a means to a higher end, that is, a better rebirth or enlightenment. He therefore concluded that Buddhist ethical principles like the five precepts are similar to Western utilitarianism.[60] Keown, however, has argued that the five precepts are regarded as rules that cannot be violated, and therefore may indicate a deontological perspective in Buddhist ethics.[165][166] On the other hand, Keown has also suggested that Aristoteles' virtue ethics could apply to Buddhist ethics, since the precepts are considered good in themselves, and mutually dependent on other aspects of the Buddhist path of practice.[60][167] Philosopher Christopher Gowans disagrees that Buddhist ethics are deontological, arguing that virtue and consequences are also important in Buddhist ethics. Gowans argues that there is no moral theory in Buddhist ethics that covers all conceivable situations such as when two precepts may be in conflict, but is rather characterized by "a commitment to and nontheoretical grasp of the basic Buddhist moral values".[168] As of 2017, many scholars of Buddhism no longer think it is useful to try to fit Buddhist ethics into a Western philosophical category.[169]

Comparison with human rights

Keown has argued that the five precepts are very similar to human rights, with regard to subject matter and with regard to their universal nature.[170] Other scholars, as well as Buddhist writers and human rights advocates, have drawn similar comparisons.[51][171] For example, the following comparisons are drawn:

1. Keown compares the first precept with the right to life.[50] The Buddhism-informed Cambodian Institute for Human Rights (CIHR) draws the same comparison.[172]
2. The second precept is compared by Keown and the CIHR with the right of property.[50][172]
3. The third precept is compared by Keown to the "right to fidelity in marriage";[50] the CIHR construes this broadly as "right of individuals and the rights of society".[173]
4. The fourth precept is compared by Keown with the "right not to be lied to";[50] the CIHR writes "the right of human dignity".[173]
5. Finally, the fifth precept is compared by the CIHR with the right of individual security and a safe society.[173]

Keown describes the relationship between Buddhist precepts and human rights as "look[ing] both ways along the juridical relationship, both to what one is due to do, and to what is due to one".[173][174] On a similar note, Cambodian human rights advocates have argued that for human rights to be fully implemented in society, the strengthening of individual morality must also be addressed.[173] Buddhist monk and scholar Phra Payutto sees the Human Rights Declaration as an unfolding and detailing of the principles that are found in the five precepts, in which a sense of ownership is given to the individual, to make legitimate claims on one's rights. He believes that human rights should be seen as a part of human development, in which one develops from moral discipline (Pali: sīla), to concentration (Pali: samādhi) and finally wisdom (Pali: paññā). He does not believe, however, that human rights are natural rights, but rather human conventions. Buddhism scholar Somparn Promta disagrees with him. He argues that human beings do have natural rights from a Buddhist perspective, and refers to the attūpanāyika-dhamma, a teaching in which the Buddha prescribes a kind of golden rule of comparing oneself with others. (See §Principles, above.) From this discourse, Promta concludes that the Buddha has laid down the five precepts in order to protect individual rights such as right of life and property: human rights are implicit within the five precepts. Academic Buntham Phunsap argues, however, that though human rights are useful in culturally pluralistic societies, they are in fact not required when society is based on the five precepts. Phunsap therefore does not see human rights as part of Buddhist doctrine.[175]

See also

• Anagarika – one who keeps the eight precepts on a more permanent basis, or as preparation to ordain.
• Dhammika Sutta
• Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, five principles applied in geopolitics, for which the same term is used
• Five hindrances
• Five Virtues (in Sikhism)


1. Also spelled as pañcasīlani and pañcasikkhāpadani, respectively.[3]
2. The fifth precept has also been connected with right mindfulness.[16]
3. The 6th century CE Chāndogya Upaniśad contains four principles identical to the Buddhist precepts, but lying is not mentioned.[32] In contemporary Jainism, the fifth principle became "appropriation of any sort".[27]
4. This dual meaning in negative formulations is typical for an Indic language like Sanskrit.[61]
5. However, anthropologist Melford Spiro argued that the fundamental virtue behind the precepts was loving-kindness, not "the Hindu notion of non-violence".[63]
6. Not to be confused with the early Buddhist Brahmajala Sutta.


1. Getz 2004, p. 673.
2. Terwiel 2012, pp. 178–9.
3. Terwiel 2012, p. 178.
4. Keown 2013b, p. 638.
5. Wai 2002, p. 4.
6. Alarid & Wang 2001, pp. 236–7.
7. Keown 2016a, p. 213.
8. Perrett 2000, p. 110.
9. Keown 2016b, p. 170.
10. Gwynne 2017, The Buddhist Pancasila.
11. Wijayaratna 1990, pp. 166–7.
12. Gowans 2013, p. 440.
13. Goodman, Charles (2017). Ethics in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. Archivedfrom the original on 8 July 2010.
14. Edelglass 2013, p. 479.
15. Powers 2013, āryāṣtāṅga-mārga.
16. Harvey 2000, p. 77.
17. Osto 2015.
18. McFarlane 1997.
19. De Silva 2016, p. 79.
20. Keown 2012, p. 31.
21. Tambiah 1992, p. 121.
22. Cozort 2015.
23. Cozort & Shields 2018, Dōgen, The Bodhisattva Path according to the Ugra.
24. Funayama 2004, p. 98.
25. Funayama 2004, p. 105.
26. Keown 2005, Precepts.
27. Kohn 1994, p. 173.
28. Keown 2003, p. 210.
29. Cozort & Shields 2018, Precepts in Early and Theravāda Buddhism.
30. Gombrich 2006, p. 78.
31. Kohn 1994, pp. 171, 173.
32. Tachibana 1992, p. 58.
33. Harvey 2000, p. 83.
34. "Ahiṃsā". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford University Press. 1997. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018 – via
35. Mcdermott 1989, p. 273.
36. Kohn 1994, pp. 173–4.
37. Terwiel 2012, pp. 178–9, 205.
38. Kohn 1994, pp. 171, 175–6.
39. Benn 2005, pp. 214, 223–4, 226, 230–1.
40. Harvey 2000, p. 79.
41. Benn 2005, p. 231.
42. Kohn 1994, pp. 176–8, 184–5.
43. Terwiel 2012, pp. 179–80.
44. Terwiel 2012, p. 181.
45. Harvey 2000, p. 67.
46. Ledgerwood 2008, p. 152.
47. Terwiel 2012, p. 182.
48. "CBETA T18 No. 916". Archived from the original on 31 July 2012."CBETA T24 No. 1488". 30 August 2008. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012.Shih, Heng-ching (1994). The Sutra on Upāsaka Precepts (PDF). Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research. ISBN 978-0-9625618-5-6."CBETA 電子佛典集成 卍續藏 (X) 第 60 冊 No.1129". 30 August 2008. Archived from the originalon 31 July 2012.
49. "X60n1129_002 歸戒要集 第2卷". CBETA 電子佛典集成. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018.
50. Keown 2012, p. 33.
51. Ledgerwood & Un 2010, pp. 540–1.
52. Tedesco 2004, p. 91.
53. MacKenzie 2017, p. 2.
54. Harvey 2000, p. 66.
55. Tachibana 1992, p. 63.
56. Wai 2002, p. 2.
57. Gombrich 2006, p. 66.
58. Keown 2003, p. 268.
59. Meadow 2006, p. 88.
60. Buswell 2004.
61. Keown 1998, pp. 399–400.
62. Keown 2013a, p. 616.
63. Spiro 1982, p. 45.
64. Harvey 2000, pp. 33, 71.
65. Harvey 2000, p. 33.
66. Harvey 2000, p. 120.
67. Ratanakul 2007, p. 241.
68. Horigan 1996, p. 276.
69. Mcdermott 1989, p. 275.
70. Keown 1998, p. 386.
71. Leaman 2000, p. 139.
72. Leaman 2000, p. 141.
73. Keown 2003, p. 1.
74. De Silva 2016, p. 63.
75. "Festivals and Calendrical Rituals". Encyclopedia of Buddhism. The Gale Group. 2004. Archived from the original on 23 December 2017 – via
76. Harvey 2000, p. 80.
77. Terwiel 2012, p. 183.
78. MacKenzie 2017, p. 10.
79. Gombrich 1995, p. 286.
80. Keown 2017, p. 28.
81. Ariyabuddhiphongs 2009, p. 193.
82. Terwiel 2012, p. 188.
83. Spiro 1982, p. 449.
84. Spiro 1982, pp. 99, 102.
85. Jones 1979, p. 374.
86. Harvey 2000, pp. 80–1.
87. Harvey 2000, p. 82.
88. Terwiel 2012, p. 180.
89. Harvey 2000, pp. 82–3.
90. Spiro 1982, p. 217.
91. Queen 2013, p. 532.
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98. Harvey 2000, p. 68.
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100. Horigan 1996, p. 275.
101. Wai 2002, p. 11.
102. Harvey 2000, pp. 313–4.
103. Keown 2016a, p. 206.
104. Mcdermott 2016, pp. 157–64.
105. Perrett 2000, p. 101.
106. Keown 2016a, p. 209.
107. Keown 2016a, p. 205.
108. Agostini 2004, pp. 77–8.
109. Harvey 2000, p. 314.
110. Keown 1998, p. 400.
111. Keown 1998, p. 402.
112. Schmithausen 1999, pp. 50–2.
113. Schmithausen 1999, pp. 57–59.
114. Jones 1979, p. 380.
115. Jones 1979, pp. 380, 385 n.2.
116. Schmithausen 1999, pp. 56–7.
117. Schmithausen 1999, pp. 60–2.
118. Terwiel 2012, p. 186.
119. Mcdermott 1989, pp. 273–4, 276.
120. Swearer 2010, p. 177.
121. Kieschnick 2005, p. 196.
122. Gwynne 2017, Ahiṃsa and Samādhi.
123. Johansen & Gopalakrishna 2016, p. 341.
124. "Religions - Buddhism: War". BBC. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018.
125. Alarid & Wang 2001, pp. 239–41, 244 n.1.
126. Perrett 2000, pp. 101–3, 109.
127. Ratanakul 1998, p. 57.
128. Harvey 2000, p. 70.
129. Wai 2002, p. 3.
130. Ratanakul 2007, p. 253.
131. Ariyabuddhiphongs & Hongladarom 2011, pp. 338–9.
132. Ariyabuddhiphongs 2007, p. 43.
133. Jaiwong & Ariyabuddhiphongs 2010, p. 337.
134. Johansen & Gopalakrishna 2016, p. 342.
135. Harvey 2000, pp. 71–2.
136. Harvey 2000, p. 73.
137. Leaman 2000, p. 140.
138. Harvey 2000, p. 72.
139. Derks 1998.
140. Eugenics and Religious Law: IV. Hinduism and Buddhism. Encyclopedia of Bioethics. The Gale Group. 2004. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018 – via
141. Perrett 2000, p. 112.
142. Gombrich 1995, p. 298.
143. Harvey 2000, p. 74.
144. Segall 2003, p. 169.
145. Harvey 2000, pp. 74, 76.
146. Harvey 2000, p. 75.
147. Wai 2002, p. 295.
148. Powers 2013, pañca-śīla.
149. Benn 2005, pp. 224, 227.
150. Benn 2005, p. 225.
151. Benn 2005, pp. 225–6.
152. Harvey 2000, p. 78.
153. Harvey 2000, pp. 78–9.
154. Tachibana 1992, p. 62.
155. Neumaier 2006, p. 78.
156. Terwiel 2012, p. 185.
157. Vanphanom et al. 2009, p. 100.
158. Kaza 2000, p. 24.
159. Ledgerwood 2008, p. 153.
160. สมเด็จวัดปากน้ำชงหมูบ้านรักษาศีล 5 ให้อปท.ชวนประชาชนยึดปฎิบัติ [Wat Paknam's Somdet proposes the Five Precept Village for local administrators to persuade the public to practice]. Khao Sod (in Thai). Matichon Publishing. 15 October 2013. p. 31.
161. 39 ล้านคนร่วมหมู่บ้านศีล 5 สมเด็จพระมหารัชมังคลาจารย์ ย้ำทำต่อเนื่อง [39 million people have joined Villages Practicing Five Precepts, Somdet Phra Maharatchamangalacharn affirms it should be continued]. Thai Rath (in Thai). Wacharapol. 11 March 2017. Archivedfrom the original on 21 November 2017.
162. Bluck 2006, p. 193.
163. Baer 2015, pp. 957–9, 965–6.
164. Yeh 2006, p. 100.
165. Keown 2013a, p. 618.
166. Keown 2013b, p. 643.
167. Edelglass 2013, p. 481.
168. Gowans 2017, pp. 57, 61.
169. Davis 2017, p. 5.
170. Keown 2012, pp. 31–4.
171. Seeger 2010, p. 78.
172. Ledgerwood & Un 2010, p. 540.
173. Ledgerwood & Un 2010, p. 541.
174. Keown 2012, pp. 20–22, 33.
175. Seeger 2010, pp. 78–80, 85–6, 88.


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External links

• For a Future to Be Possible: classic work about the five precepts, by Thich Nhat Hanh and several other authors
• The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics: by Robert Aitken, about the precepts in Zen Buddhism
• Excerpt from the Pāli Canon about the precepts, on website Access to Insight, archived from original on 7 May 2005
• Dissertation about the role of the precepts in modern society, and the aspect of heedfulness (apamada)
• Article with overview of the role of the precepts in Buddhist teachings, by scholar of religion Donald Swearer (registration required)
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Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions
sponsored by the Spalding Trust
Accessed: 11/19/19



Call for papers: 2020 Symposium Sep
by naomiappleton

We invite proposals for papers for the 45th Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions, which will be held at the University of Edinburgh, on 24th-26th April 2020. The theme this year is “Comparison(s)”. Our purview includes both religions of South Asian origin wherever in the world they are being practised, and those of non South Asian origin present within South Asia. We welcome papers based upon all research methods, including textual, historical, ethnographic, sociological and philosophical.

Presenters are allocated forty minutes for their paper and twenty minutes for discussion, and will normally be expected to pay their own conference registration and expenses. The Symposium fee, including food and accommodation, will be in the region of £245, with a non-residential rate of around £85. Registration details will be released in the new year. Limited financial assistance may be available for early career scholars or scholars from South Asia. If your participation depends upon such support please indicate this when you submit your abstract.

We also welcome proposals from doctoral students, who will be allocated twenty minutes for their paper and ten minutes for discussion, and offered free registration at the Symposium. PG papers need not address the symposium theme, though it is an advantage if they do so.

We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers: Dr Jacqueline Suthren Hirst, who recently retired from Manchester University, will speak on “A Life of Comparisons”, and Prof. Oliver Freiberger of the University of Texas at Austin, will speak on “Comparing Religion Within and Beyond South Asia”.

If you would like to give a presentation, please send a title and abstract (maximum 500 words) to Dr Brian Black,, by the end of November 2019.

Dates for 2020 event Jul
by naomiappleton

The 2020 Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions will be held 24th-26th April in Edinburgh, with the theme of Comparison(s).

A call for papers will be issued in early September, and booking will open in December/January.

Booking closed for 2019 symposium Apr
by naomiappleton

Booking is now closed. If you have booked then you should have received confirmation of all the arrangements and a copy of the final programme.

Booking open for 2019 Symposium Jan
by naomiappleton

Booking is now open for the 2019 Symposium, which will be held at the Storey Institute, Lancaster, from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th April. A provisional programme is below.

As always, we offer two booking rates: residential £190, non-residential £85

We do not offer a reduced rate for students or other unwaged attendees. However, if you are a PhD student or early-career academic in the UK and unable to access institutional funding please email as there may be some financial assistance available.

The residential rate includes two nights of accommodation, in this case at the Travelodge in central Lancaster, where we have secured preferential rates, with breakfast served at the Storey Institute.

Both the residential and non-residential rates include teas/coffees throughout, dinner Friday and Saturday, and lunch Saturday and Sunday.

Please note: We regret that we are unable to issue a visa invitation letter unless you are a speaker at this event. We can provide confirmation of your booking, but this will not normally be sufficient for a visa application.

Booking this year is through PayPal. You do not need your own account to book – if you follow the link it will give you the option of booking using a credit or debit card.

Residential rate: £190

Non-residential rate: £85

Draft programme for 2019 Symposium

Friday 12th April

2:00-2:15: Arrival; Welcome

2:15-3:30: Keynote Speaker: Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad (Lancaster University): Anger and Gender: A Sideways Look Through Rasa Theory at Draupadī and Bhīma

3:30-4:00: Break

4:00-5:00: Lidia Wojtczak (SOAS): Menstruation, Transgression and the Othering of the Female Body in the Sanskrit Tradition

5:00-6:00: James Mallinson (SOAS): Women and early haṭhayoga

Saturday 13th April

9:00-10:00: Veena Howard (California State University, Fresno): Queen Gāndhārī’s Mapping the Battlefield through the “Divine Eye:” Toward the Hermeneutic of Reversing the Masculine Gaze and Resisting Violence

10:00-11:00: Emily Hudson (Independent Scholar): Hard-Hearted Kings and Their Abandoned, Long-Suffering Queens: Gendered Aesthetics in the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa

11:00-11:30: Break

11:30-12:00: Katie Work: (Lancaster): Gender Balancing in Vālmīki’s Rāmāyaṇa and the Adbhuta Rāmāyaṇa

12:00-1230: Joanna Gruszewska (Krakow): Dialogues between women and Brahmins in the Therīgāthā

12:30-1:00: Annalisa Bocchetti (Naples): Gender constructions in the theological dimension of the Sufi premākhyāns: a look at Usmān’s Citrāvalī

1:00-2:00: Lunch

2:00-2:30: Monika Hirmer (SOAS): Becoming the Goddess: Reimagining Gender and Motherhood in a Contemporary South Indian Śrīvidyā Tradition

2:30-3:00: E. Sundari Johansen Hurwitt (CIIS): The Goddess and Her Shadow:
Gender, Menstruation, Purity, and Power in Kumārī Worship in Assam

3:00-3:30: Ruth Westoby (SOAS): Rajas: female principle of the yogic body

3:30-4:00: Break

4:00-5:00: Ofer Peres (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Worldly Affairs: Femininity and Divinity in a Premodern Tamil Literary Work

5:00-6:00: Simon Brodbeck (Cardiff University): Patrilocality in the Harivaṃśa

Sunday 14th April

9:00-10:00: Marzenna Jakubczak (Pedagogical University of Cracow): The motif of tree goddess and women’s empowerment in the ancient and contemporary India

10:00-11:00: Paolo Rosati (Sapienza University of Rome): The origin of the yoni pīṭha in Tantric mythology: Gender dialectic and śakti’s supremacy at Kāmākhyā

11:00-11:30: Break

11:30-12:45: Keynote Speaker: Sondra Hausner (University of Oxford): Gender, Ritual, and Hierarchy: Ascetic Inversions at the Great Indian Kumbh Mela

12:45-1:00: Closing Remarks

1:00-2:00: Lunch, then departure

Call for papers, 2019 symposium Sep
by naomiappleton

We invite proposals for papers for the 44th Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions, which will be hosted by Lancaster University, 12-14 April 2019.

The theme this year is ‘gender’. Our purview includes both religions of South Asian origin wherever in the world they are being practised, and those of non South Asian origin present within South Asia. We welcome papers based upon all research methods, including textual, historical, ethnographic, sociological and philosophical.

Presenters are allocated forty minutes for their paper and twenty minutes for discussion, and will normally be expected to pay their own conference registration and expenses. The Symposium fee, including food and accommodation, is predicted to be £190, with a non-residential rate of £85. Registration details will be released in the new year. Limited financial assistance may be available for early career scholars or scholars from South Asia. If your participation depends upon such support please indicate this when you submit your abstract.

We also welcome proposals from doctoral students, who will be allocated twenty minutes for their paper and ten minutes for discussion, and offered free registration at the Symposium (including accommodation). Doctoral student papers do not have to address the theme of gender, but are more than welcome to do so.

We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers and their provisional paper titles:

• Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, Fellow of the British Academy and Distinguished Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy at Lancaster University: ‘Anger and Gender: A Sideways Look Through Rasa Theory at Draupadī and Bhīma’
• Sondra Hausner, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oxford: ‘Gender, Ritual, and Hierarchy: Ascetic Inversions at the Great Indian Kumbh Mela’

If you would like to give a paper, please send a title and abstract (maximum 500 words) to Dr Brian Black,, by Friday 16 November 2018.

Plans for 2019 and 2020 Symposia Jul
by naomiappleton

After having an excellent time in Durham this past spring, we have provisional details for 2019 and 2020:

The 2019 Symposium will take place in Lancaster, 12th-14th April, with the theme of Gender. A call for papers will be circulated in August, and further details will be posted on the website.

The 2020 Symposium will be held in Edinburgh, dates tbc (but in April sometime), with the theme of Comparison(s).

After these two symposia, we will be looking for a new person (or people) to take on the running of the symposium. If anyone is interested in becoming the convenor, secretary or treasurer from 2020, or in finding out more about these roles, please let me know:

Final programme for 2018 Symposium Mar
by naomiappleton

Booking is now closed, and we are all looking forward to the event. Registered participants will receive a copy of the Abstracts book and some helpful information about the venues etc by email next week. Here is the final schedule:

Friday 13th April

1.30pm Introduction and welcome

1.45-3.00pm Opening keynote: Professor Kunal Chakrabarti (JNU)- ‘Laksmi’s Other: Brahmanical Construction of a Negative Goddess’

3.00-3.30pm Tea and coffee

3.30-4.30pm Prof. Elizabeth M. Rohlman (University of Calgary) – ‘Regions and Regionality in the Mahāpurāṇas: The Literary Cultures and Religious Communities of Western India in the Markāṇdeya Purāṇa’

4.30-5.30pm Dr Marzenna Jakubczak (Pedagogical University of Cracow) – ‘Non-theistic devotion in the classical and neo-classical Sāṃkhya and Yoga

5.30-7.00pm Dinner at Lebeneat Restaurant

7.00-8.00pm Dr Brian Black (Lancaster University) and Dr Naomi Appleton (University of Edinburgh) – ‘Teaching Indian Religions in Schools’

Saturday 14th April

9.00-10.00am Dr Christopher V. Jones (University of Oxford) – ‘Mystery and Secrecy in the Mahāyāna: A Shared Theme in the ‘Lotus’ and ‘Nirvāṇa’ Sūtras’

10.00-11.00am Prof. Natalie Gummer (Beloit College, Wisconsin) – ‘Reassessing Rasa: Sūtras, Sovereignty, and the Ritual Substance of Speech’

11.00-11.30am Tea and coffee

11.30-1.00pm Postgraduate papers

Sophie Barker (Lancaster University) – ‘“Why Would I Want to Get Married?” Negotiating Permission for Renunciation in the Therīgāthā’

Sayori Ghoshal (Columbia University NY) – ‘Locating Race in the Question of Religion in modern India’

Güzin A. Yener (University of Oxford) – ‘Practices of Kurukullā: Feminine Wisdom of Love, Power and Magic in Tibetan Buddhism’

1.00-3.00pm Lunch and then free time to explore the city

3.00-4.00pm Postgraduate papers

Durga Kale (University of Calgary) – ‘Whole Cosmos in Her Bosom: The Making of a Multifarious Deity in Coastal Maharashtra’

Zuzana Špicová (Charles University, Prague) – ‘“He Never Touched the Ground”: Bhīṣma’s Two Falls’

4.00-4.30pm Tea and coffee

4.30-5.30pm Dr Elizabeth Cecil (Leiden University) and Dr Laxshmi Greaves (Independent Researcher, Cardiff) – ‘Adorning the Lord with Garlands: 
Liṅga Worship as Lived Religion in the Images of Early North India’

5.30-6.30pm Durham roundtable discussion featuring:

Rachel Barclay (Curator, Oriental Museum)

Robin Coningham (UNESCO Professor, Archaeology)

Yulia Egorova (Reader, Anthropology)

Jonathan Miles-Watson (Associate Professor, Theology and Religion)

Tanju Sen (Community Engagement Officer, Oriental Museum)

7.00pm Dinner at Claypath deli then evening of socialising

Sunday 15th April

9.00-10.00am Dr Mikel Burley (University of Leeds) – ‘Dance of the Deodhās: Divine Possession, Blood Sacrifice and the Grotesque Body in Assamese Goddess Worship’

10.00-11.00am Dr Garima Kaushik (Nalanda University) – ‘Socio–economic imperatives in the emergence of the Sapta Matrikas Iconography’

11.00-11.30am Tea and coffee

11.30-12.45 Closing keynote: Professor (Emerita) Eleanor Nesbitt (University of Warwick) – ‘Idolatry and ethnography: reflections on two centuries of western women’s writing about Sikhs’

12.45-1.00pm Closing remarks

1.00-2.00pm Lunch and then departure
Site Admin
Posts: 30755
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:03 am

Mandatory celibacy at the heart of what's wrong
by James Carroll
Jun 9, 2010



The question is often asked, “Why should celibacy and chastity be a sine qua non rule and condition of regular chelaship, or the development of psychic and occult powers?” The answer is contained in the Commentary. When we learn that the “third eye” was once a physiological organ, and that later on, owing to the gradual disappearance of spirituality and increase of materiality (Spiritual nature being extinguished by the physical), it became an atrophied organ, as little understood now by physiologists as the spleen is — when we learn this, the connection will become clear. During human life the greatest impediment in the way of spiritual development, and especially to the acquirement of Yoga powers, is the activity of our physiological senses. Sexual action being closely connected, by interaction, with the spinal cord and the grey matter of the brain, it is useless to give any longer explanation. Of course, the normal and abnormal state of the brain, and the degree of active work in the medulla oblongata, reacts powerfully on the pineal gland, for, owing to the number of “centres” in that region, which controls by far the greater majority of the physiological actions of the animal economy, and also owing to the close and intimate neighbourhood of the two, there must be exerted a very powerful “inductive” action by the medulla on the pineal gland.

All this is quite plain to the Occultist, but is very vague in the sight of the general reader. The latter must then be shown the possibility of a three-eyed man in nature, in those periods when his formation was yet in a comparatively chaotic state. Such a possibility may be inferred from anatomical and zoological knowledge, first of all; then it may rest on the assumptions of materialistic science itself.

It is asserted upon the authority of Science, and upon evidence, which is not merely a fiction of theoretical speculation this time, that many of the animals — especially among the lower orders of the vertebrata — have a third eye, now atrophied, but necessarily active in its origin. [363] The Hatteria species, a lizard of the order Lacertilia, recently discovered in New Zealand (a part of ancient Lemuria so called, mark well), presents this peculiarity in a most extraordinary manner; and not only the Hatteria punctata, but the chameleon, certain reptiles, and even fishes. It was thought, at first, that it was no more than the prolongation of the brain ending with a small protuberance, called epiphysis, a little bone separated from the main bone by a cartilage, and found in every animal. But it was soon found to be more than this. It offered — as its development and anatomical structure showed — such an analogy with that of the eye, that it was found impossible to see in it anything else. There were and are paleontologists who feel convinced to this day that this “third eye” has functioned in its origin, and they are certainly right. For this is what is said of the pineal gland in Quain’s Anatomy (Vol. II. ninth edit., pp. 830-851. “Thalamencephalon” Interbrain): —

“It is from this part, constituting at first the whole and subsequently the hinder part of the anterior primary encephalic vesicle, that the optic vesicles are developed in the earliest period, and the fore part is that in connection with which the cerebral hemispheres and accompanying parts are formed. The thalamus opticus of each side is formed by a lateral thickening of the medullary wall, while the interval between, descending towards the base, constitutes the cavity of the third ventricle with its prolongation in the infundibulum. The grey commissure afterwards stretches across the ventricular cavity. . . . . The hinder part of the roof is developed by a peculiar process, to be noticed later, into the pineal gland, which remains united on each side by its pedicles to the thalamus, and behind these a transverse band is formed as posterior commissure.

“The lamina terminalis (lamina cinerea) continues to close the third ventricle in front, below it the optic commissure forms the floor of the ventricle, and further back the infundibulum descends to be united in the sella turcica with the tissue adjoining the posterior lobe of the pituitary body.

“The two optic thalami formed from the posterior and outer part of the anterior vesicle, consist at first of a single hollow sac of nervous matter, the cavity of which communicates on each side in front with that of the commencing cerebral hemispheres, and behind with that of the middle cephalic vesicle (corpora quadrigemina). Soon, however, by increased deposit taking place in their interior, behind, below, and at the sides, the thalami become solid, and at the same time a cleft or fissure appears between them above, and penetrates down to the internal cavity, which continues open at the back part opposite the entrance of the Sylvian aqueduct. This cleft or fissure is the third ventricle. Behind, the two thalami continue united by the posterior commissure, which is distinguishable about the end of the third month, and also by the peduncles of the pineal gland. . . . .

“At an early period the optic tracts may be recognised as hollow prolongations from the outer part of the wall of the thalami while they are still vesicular. At the fourth month these tracts are distinctly formed. They subsequently are prolonged backwards into connection with the corpora quadrigemina.

“The formation of the pineal gland and pituitary body presents some of the most interesting phenomena which are connected with the development of the Thalamencephalon.”

The above is specially interesting when it is remembered that, were it not for the development of the hinder part of the cerebral hemispheres backwards, the pineal gland would be perfectly visible on the removal of the parietal bones. It is very interesting also to note the obvious connection to be traced between the (originally) hollow optic tracts and the eyes anteriorly, the pineal gland and its peduncles behind, and all of these with the optic thalami. So that the recent discoveries in connection with the third eye of Hatteria punctata have a very important bearing on the developmental history of the human senses, and on the occult assertions in the text.

It is well known, (and also regarded as a fiction now, by those who have ceased to believe in the existence of an immortal principle in man,) that Descartes saw in the pineal gland the Seat of the Soul. Although it is joined to every part of the body, he said, there is one special portion of it in which the Soul exercises its functions more specially than in any other. And, as neither the heart, nor yet the brain could be that “special” locality, he concluded that it was that little gland tied to the brain, yet having an action independent of it, as it could easily be put into a kind of swinging motion “by the animal Spirits [364] which cross the cavities of the skull in every sense.”

Unscientific as this may appear in our day of exact learning, Descartes was yet far nearer the occult truth than is any Haeckel. For the pineal gland, as shown, is far more connected with Soul and Spirit than with the physiological senses of man. Had the leading Scientists a glimmer of the real processes employed by the Evolutionary Impulse, and the winding cyclic course of this great law, they would know instead of conjecturing; and feel as certain of the future physical transformations of the human kind by the knowledge of its past forms. Then, would they see the fallacy and all the absurdity of their modern “blind-force” and mechanical processes of nature; realizing, in consequence of such knowledge, that the said pineal gland, for instance, could not but be disabled for physical use at this stage of our cycle. If the odd “eye” in man is now atrophied, it is a proof that, as in the lower animal, it has once been active; for nature never creates the smallest, the most insignificant form without some definite purpose and use. It was an active organ, we say, at that stage of evolution when the spiritual element in man reigned supreme over the hardly nascent intellectual and psychic elements. And, as the cycle ran down toward that point when the physiological senses were developed by, and went pari passu with, the growth and consolidation of the physical man, the interminable and complex vicissitudes and tribulations of zoological development, that median “eye” ended by atrophying along with the early spiritual and purely psychic characteristics in man. The eye is the mirror and also the window of the soul, says popular wisdom, [365] and Vox populi Vox Dei.

In the beginning, every class and family of living species was hermaphrodite and objectively one-eyed. In the animal, whose form was as ethereal (astrally) as that of man, before the bodies of both began to evolve their coats of skin, viz., to evolve from within without the thick coating of physical substance or matter with its internal physiological mechanism — the third eye was primarily, as in man, the only seeing organ. The two physical front eyes developed [366] later on in both brute and man, whose organ of physical sight was, at the commencement of the Third Race, in the same position as that of some of the blind vertebrata, in our day, i.e., beneath an opaque skin. [367] Only the stages of the odd, or primeval eye, in man and brute, are now inverted, as the former has already passed that animal non-rational stage in the Third Round, and is ahead of mere brute creation by a whole plane of consciousness. Therefore, while the “Cyclopean” eye was, and still is, in man the organ of spiritual sight, in the animal it was that of objective vision. And this eye, having performed its function, was replaced, in the course of physical evolution from the simple to the complex, by two eyes, and thus was stored and laid aside by nature for further use in AEons to come.

-- The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy, by Helena P. Blavatsky

Like all Catholics, I gratefully depend on the faithful ministry of the many good priests who serve the church. Yet I offer a broad critique of something central to their lives and identities -- the rule of celibacy. Many priests will recognize the truth of what I describe. I write from inside the question, having lived as a celibate seminarian and priest for more than a decade when I was young. In the Bing Crosby glory days, celibacy was essential to the mystique that set priests apart from other clergy, the Roman collar an “Open sesame!” to respect and status. From a secular perspective, the celibate man or, in the case of nuns, woman made an impression simply by sexual unavailability. But from a religious perspective, the impact came from celibacy’s character as an all-or-nothing bet on the existence of God. The Catholic clergy lived in absolutism, which carried a magnetic pull.

The magnet is dead. Celibacy cuts to the heart of what is wrong in the church today. Despite denials from Rome, there will be no halting, much less recovering from, the mass destruction caused by the priest sex abuse scandal without reforms centered on the abandonment of celibacy as a near-universal prerequisite for ordination to the Latin-rite priesthood.

No, celibacy does not “cause” the sex abuse of minors, and yes, abusers of children come from many walks of life. Indeed, most abuse occurs within families or circles of close acquaintance. But the ongoing Catholic scandal has laid bare an essential pathology that is unique to the culture of clericalism, and mandatory celibacy is essential to it. A special problem arises when, on the one hand, homosexuality is demonized as a matter of doctrine, while, on the other, the banishment of women leaves the priest living in a homophilic world. In some men, both straight and gay, the stresses of such contradictions lead to irrepressible urges that can be indulged only by exploitation of the vulnerable and available, objects of desire who in many cases are boys, whether prepubescent or adolescent. Now we know.

Celibacy began in the early church as an ascetic discipline, rooted partly in a neo-Platonic contempt for the physical world that had nothing to do with the Gospel. The renunciation of sexual expression by men fit nicely with a patriarchal denigration of women. Nonvirginal women, typified by Eve as the temptress of Adam, were seen as a source of sin.

But it was not until the Middle Ages, at the Second Lateran Council in 1139, that celibacy was made mandatory for all Roman Catholic clergy -- a reform bracing clerical laxity and eliminating inheritance issues from church property. But because the requirement of celibacy is so extreme, it had to be mystified as sacrificial -- “a more perfect way” to God. Monastic orders of both males and females had indeed discovered in such sexual sublimation a mode of holiness, but that presumed its being both freely chosen and lived out in a nurturing community. (Religious orders continue to this day with the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a proven structure of service and contemplation. The vows of such orders are a separate question.) But when the monastic discipline of “chastity” was imposed on all priests as “celibacy,” something went awry. The system broke down during the Renaissance and the Reformation, with the Counter-Reformation hierarchy more attached to it than ever.

From our sister publication: GSR in the Classroom is a supplementary curriculum for use in Catholic middle and high schools and faith formation programs. Learn more.

Not sex, but power was the issue. The imposition of sexual abstinence was a mode of control over the interior lives of clergy, since submission in radical abstinence required an extraordinary abandonment of the will. In theory, the abandonment was to God; in practice, it was to the “superior.” The stakes were infinite, since sexual desire marked the threshold of hell. The normally human was, for priests, the occasion of bad faith.

Obsessive sexual moralism, along with that bad faith, spilled out of pulpits. The confessional booth became a cockpit for screening “mortal sins,” with birth control emerging as the key control mechanism over the laity. If they were willing to abide by this intrusion and its burdens, it was only because the celibate priest could be seen to have made an even greater sacrifice. They were subject to an even greater control.

As is suggested by the contemporary hierarchy’s apparent equanimity about the exodus of tens of thousands of priests, and the crisis of ministry it has caused, church authorities will pay any price to maintain a vestige of that control. That is why bishops have exchanged their once ample influence on matters of social justice for a strident single-issue obsession with abortion, a last-ditch effort to control the intimate sexual decisions of laypeople. When it comes to their clergy, the single-issue obsession remains celibacy.

This nearly changed at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), when the bishops prepared to reconsider both birth control and celibacy. Until then, an insufficiently historically minded church had regarded such contingent questions as God-given absolutes. What was the point of even discussing them, since change was out of the question? But change was suddenly in the air. What? St. Peter was married? Even before the council acted, the myth that these disciplines were eternally willed by God was broken.

The conservative wing of the hierarchy panicked. Pope Paul VI astonished the council fathers, and the Catholic world, by making two extraordinary interventions that violated the letter and the spirit of the council. In late 1964, just as the fathers were about to debate the question of “responsible parenthood,” the pope ordered them not to take up the question of “artificial contraception.” Snap! Birth control was “removed from the competence of the council.”

But there was every sign that the council fathers, when they inevitably took up the subject of the priesthood, were still going to discuss celibacy, as if change were possible there. Yet it was politically unthinkable that the church could maintain the prohibition of birth control, the burden belonging to the laity, while letting clergy off the sexual hook by lifting the celibacy rule. Therefore, in late 1965, Paul VI made his second extraordinary intervention to forbid any discussion of priestly celibacy. A council had initiated the discipline, but a council was now not qualified even to discuss it. The power play was so blatant as to lay bare power itself as the issue. And just like that, Catholics had reason to suspect that celibacy was being maintained as a requirement of the priesthood because of internal church politics, not because of any spiritual motive. God was not the issue; the pope was. The abrupt elimination of the mystical dimension of vowed sexual abstinence left it an intolerable and inhuman way to live, which sent men streaming out of the priesthood, and stirred in many who remained a profound, and still unresolved, crisis of identity. Paul VI sought to settle the celibacy question with his 1967 encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, which proved to be a classic instance of the disease calling itself the cure.

The celibacy encyclical, maintaining the weight of “sacrifice” on clergy, prepared the way for the laity-crushing Humanae Vitae in 1968, with its re-condemnation of birth control. In response to the pope’s initial removal of birth control from the “competence” of the council, one of its leading figures, Cardinal Leon-Joseph Suenens of Belgium, rose immediately with a warning; “I beg you, my brother bishops, let us avoid a new ‘Galileo affair.’ One is enough for the church.” Galileo was famously forced to renounce what he had seen through his telescope, an imposition of dishonesty. (“And yet it moves,” he was reported to have muttered under his breath.) Paul VI’s twin re-impositions of the contraception and celibacy rules plunged the whole church into a culture of dishonesty. Catholic laypeople ignore the birth control mandate. Catholic priests find ways around the celibacy rule, some in meaningful relationships with secret lovers, some in exploitive relationships with the vulnerable, and some in criminal acts with minors. If a majority of priests are able to observe the letter of their vow, how many do so at savage personal cost? Well-adjusted priests may live happily as celibates, but how many regard the broad discipline as healthy? Insisting that celibacy is the church’s “brilliant jewel,” in Paul VI’s phrase, defines the deceit that has corrupted the Catholic soul.

But the most damaging consequence of mandatory celibacy lies in its character as the pulse of clericalism. The repressively psychotic nature of this inbred culture of power has shown itself in the still festering abuse scandal. Lies, denial, arrogance, selfishness and cowardice -- such are the notes of the structure within which Catholic priests now live, however individually virtuous many of them nevertheless remain. Celibacy is that structure’s central pillar and must be removed. The Catholic people see this clearly. It is time for us to say so.
Site Admin
Posts: 30755
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:20 am

A List Of Fallacious Arguments
by Don Lindsay
September 16, 2013

"The jawbone of an ass is just as dangerous a weapon today as in Sampson's time."
--- Richard Nixon

Several of these have names in Latin, but I mostly ignored that and used English.

If anyone is bothered by my using "he" everywhere, note that "he" is the person arguing fallaciously.

• Ad Hominem (Argument To The Man)
• Affirming The Consequent
• Amazing Familiarity
• Ambiguous Assertion
• Appeal To Anonymous Authority
• Appeal To Authority
• Appeal To Coincidence
• Appeal To Complexity
• Appeal To False Authority
• Appeal To Force
• Appeal To Pity (Appeal to Sympathy, The Galileo Argument)
• Appeal To Widespread Belief (Bandwagon Argument, Peer Pressure, Appeal To Common Practice)
• Argument By Dismissal
• Argument By Emotive Language (Appeal To The People)
• Argument By Fast Talking
• Argument By Generalization
• Argument By Gibberish (Bafflement)
• Argument By Half Truth (Suppressed Evidence)
• Argument By Laziness (Argument By Uninformed Opinion)
• Argument By Personal Charm
• Argument By Pigheadedness (Doggedness)
• Argument By Poetic Language
• Argument By Prestigious Jargon
• Argument By Question
• Argument By Repetition (Argument Ad Nauseam)
• Argument by Rhetorical Question
• Argument By Scenario
• Argument By Selective Observation
• Argument By Selective Reading
• Argument By Slogan
• Argument By Vehemence
• Argument From Adverse Consequences (Appeal To Fear, Scare Tactics)
• Argument From Age (Wisdom of the Ancients)
• Argument From Authority
• Argument From False Authority
• Argument From Personal Astonishment
• Argument From Small Numbers
• Argument From Spurious Similarity
• Argument Of The Beard
• Argument To The Future
• Bad Analogy
• Begging The Question (Assuming The Answer, Tautology)
• Burden Of Proof
• Causal Reductionism (Complex Cause)
• Contrarian Argument
• Changing The Subject (Digression, Red Herring, Misdirection, False Emphasis)
• Cliche Thinking
• Common Sense
• Complex Question (Tying)
• Confusing Correlation And Causation
• Disproof By Fallacy
• Equivocation
• Error Of Fact
• Euphemism
• Exception That Proves The Rule
• Excluded Middle (False Dichotomy, Faulty Dilemma, Bifurcation)
• Extended Analogy
• Failure To State
• Fallacy Of Composition
• Fallacy Of Division
• Fallacy Of The General Rule
• Fallacy Of The Crucial Experiment
• False Cause
• False Compromise
• Genetic Fallacy (Fallacy of Origins, Fallacy of Virtue)
• Having Your Cake (Failure To Assert, or Diminished Claim)
• Hypothesis Contrary To Fact
• Inconsistency
• Inflation Of Conflict
• Internal Contradiction
• Least Plausible Hypothesis
• Lies
• Meaningless Questions
• Misunderstanding The Nature Of Statistics (Innumeracy)
• Moving The Goalposts (Raising The Bar, Argument By Demanding Impossible Perfection)
• Needling
• Non Sequitur
• Not Invented Here
• Outdated Information
• Pious Fraud
• Poisoning The Wells
• Psychogenetic Fallacy
• Reductio Ad Absurdum
• Reductive Fallacy (Oversimplification)
• Reifying
• Short Term Versus Long Term
• Slippery Slope Fallacy (Camel's Nose)
• Special Pleading (Stacking The Deck)
• Statement Of Conversion
• Stolen Concept
• Straw Man (Fallacy Of Extension)
• Two Wrongs Make A Right (Tu Quoque, You Too)
• Weasel Wording

Ad Hominem (Argument To The Man):

attacking the person instead of attacking his argument. For example, "Von Daniken's books about ancient astronauts are worthless because he is a convicted forger and embezzler." (Which is true, but that's not why they're worthless.)

Another example is this syllogism, which alludes to Alan Turing's homosexuality:

Turing thinks machines think.
Turing lies with men.
Therefore, machines don't think.

(Note the equivocation in the use of the word "lies".)

A common form is an attack on sincerity. For example, "How can you argue for vegetarianism when you wear leather shoes?" The two wrongs make a right fallacy is related.

A variation (related to Argument By Generalization) is to attack a whole class of people. For example, "Evolutionary biology is a sinister tool of the materialistic, atheistic religion of Secular Humanism." Similarly, one notorious net.kook waved away a whole category of evidence by announcing "All the scientists were drunk."

Another variation is attack by innuendo: "Why don't scientists tell us what they really know; are they afraid of public panic?"

There may be a pretense that the attack isn't happening: "In order to maintain a civil debate, I will not mention my opponent's drinking problem." Or "I don't care if other people say you're [opinionated/boring/overbearing]."

Attacks don't have to be strong or direct. You can merely show disrespect, or cut down his stature by saying that he seems to be sweating a lot, or that he has forgotten what he said last week. Some examples: "I used to think that way when I was your age." "You're new here, aren't you?" "You weren't breast fed as a child, were you ?" "What drives you to make such a statement?" "If you'd just listen." "You seem very emotional." (This last works well if you have been hogging the microphone, so that they have had to yell to be heard.)

Sometimes the attack is on the other person's intelligence. For example, "If you weren't so stupid you would have no problem seeing my point of view." Or, "Even you should understand my next point."

Oddly, the stupidity attack is sometimes reversed. For example, dismissing a comment with "Well, you're just smarter than the rest of us." (In Britain, that might be put as "too clever by half".) This is Dismissal By Differentness. It is related to Not Invented Here and Changing The Subject.

Ad Hominem is not fallacious if the attack goes to the credibility of the argument. For instance, the argument may depend on its presenter's claim that he's an expert. (That is, the Ad Hominem is undermining an Argument From Authority.) Trial judges allow this category of attacks.


simply attempting to make the other person angry, without trying to address the argument at hand. Sometimes this is a delaying tactic.

Needling is also Ad Hominem if you insult your opponent. You may instead insult something the other person believes in ("Argumentum Ad YourMomium"), interrupt, clown to show disrespect, be noisy, fail to pass over the microphone, and numerous other tricks. All of these work better if you are running things - for example, if it is your radio show, and you can cut off the other person's microphone. If the host or moderator is firmly on your side, that is almost as good as running the show yourself. It's even better if the debate is videotaped, and you are the person who will edit the video.

If you wink at the audience, or in general clown in their direction, then we are shading over to Argument By Personal Charm.

Usually, the best way to cope with insults is to show mild amusement, and remain polite. A humorous comeback will probably work better than an angry one.

Straw Man (Fallacy Of Extension):

attacking an exaggerated or caricatured version of your opponent's position.

For example, the claim that "evolution means a dog giving birth to a cat."

Another example: "Senator Jones says that we should not fund the attack submarine program. I disagree entirely. I can't understand why he wants to leave us defenseless like that."

On the Internet, it is common to exaggerate the opponent's position so that a comparison can be made between the opponent and Hitler.

Inflation Of Conflict:

arguing that scholars debate a certain point. Therefore, they must know nothing, and their entire field of knowledge is "in crisis" or does not properly exist at all.

For example, two historians debated whether Hitler killed five million Jews or six million Jews. A Holocaust denier argued that this disagreement made his claim credible, even though his death count is three to ten times smaller than the known minimum.

Similarly, in "The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods" (John Woodmorappe, 1999) we find on page 42 that two scientists "cannot agree" about which one of two geological dates is "real" and which one is "spurious". Woodmorappe fails to mention that the two dates differ by less than one percent.

Argument From Adverse Consequences (Appeal To Fear, Scare Tactics):

saying an opponent must be wrong, because if he is right, then bad things would ensue. For example: God must exist, because a godless society would be lawless and dangerous. Or: the defendant in a murder trial must be found guilty, because otherwise husbands will be encouraged to murder their wives.

Wishful thinking is closely related. "My home in Florida is one foot above sea level. Therefore I am certain that global warming will not make the oceans rise by fifteen feet." Of course, wishful thinking can also be about positive consequences, such as winning the lottery, or eliminating poverty and crime.

Special Pleading (Stacking The Deck):

using the arguments that support your position, but ignoring or somehow disallowing the arguments against.

Uri Geller used special pleading when he claimed that the presence of unbelievers (such as stage magicians) made him unable to demonstrate his psychic powers.

Excluded Middle (False Dichotomy, Faulty Dilemma, Bifurcation):

assuming there are only two alternatives when in fact there are more. For example, assuming Atheism is the only alternative to Fundamentalism, or being a traitor is the only alternative to being a loud patriot.

Short Term Versus Long Term:

this is a particular case of the Excluded Middle. For example, "We must deal with crime on the streets before improving the schools." (But why can't we do some of both?) Similarly, "We should take the scientific research budget and use it to feed starving children."

Burden Of Proof:

the claim that whatever has not yet been proved false must be true (or vice versa). Essentially the arguer claims that he should win by default if his opponent can't make a strong enough case.

There may be three problems here. First, the arguer claims priority, but can he back up that claim? Second, he is impatient with ambiguity, and wants a final answer right away. And third, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Argument By Question:

asking your opponent a question which does not have a snappy answer. (Or anyway, no snappy answer that the audience has the background to understand.) Your opponent has a choice: he can look weak or he can look long-winded. For example, "How can scientists expect us to believe that anything as complex as a single living cell could have arisen as a result of random natural processes?"

Actually, pretty well any question has this effect to some extent. It usually takes longer to answer a question than ask it.

Variants are the rhetorical question, and the loaded question, such as "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

Argument by Rhetorical Question:

asking a question in a way that leads to a particular answer. For example, "When are we going to give the old folks of this country the pension they deserve?" The speaker is leading the audience to the answer "Right now." Alternatively, he could have said "When will we be able to afford a major increase in old age pensions?" In that case, the answer he is aiming at is almost certainly not "Right now."

Fallacy Of The General Rule:

assuming that something true in general is true in every possible case. For example, "All chairs have four legs." Except that rocking chairs don't have any legs, and what is a one-legged "shooting stick" if it isn't a chair?

Similarly, there are times when certain laws should be broken. For example, ambulances are allowed to break speed laws.

Reductive Fallacy (Oversimplification):

over-simplifying. As Einstein said, everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. Political slogans such as "Taxation is theft" fall in this category.

Genetic Fallacy (Fallacy of Origins, Fallacy of Virtue):

if an argument or arguer has some particular origin, the argument must be right (or wrong). The idea is that things from that origin, or that social class, have virtue or lack virtue. (Being poor or being rich may be held out as being virtuous.) Therefore, the actual details of the argument can be overlooked, since correctness can be decided without any need to listen or think.

Psychogenetic Fallacy:

if you learn the psychological reason why your opponent likes an argument, then he's biased, so his argument must be wrong.

Argument Of The Beard:

assuming that two ends of a spectrum are the same, since one can travel along the spectrum in very small steps. The name comes from the idea that being clean-shaven must be the same as having a big beard, since in-between beards exist.

Similarly, all piles of stones are small, since if you add one stone to a small pile of stones it remains small.

However, the existence of pink should not undermine the distinction between white and red.

Argument From Age (Wisdom of the Ancients):

snobbery that very old (or very young) arguments are superior. This is a variation of the Genetic Fallacy, but has the psychological appeal of seniority and tradition (or innovation).

Products labelled "New! Improved!" are appealing to a belief that innovation is of value for such products. It's sometimes true. And then there's cans of "Old Fashioned Baked Beans".

Not Invented Here:

ideas from elsewhere are made unwelcome. "This Is The Way We've Always Done It."

This fallacy is a variant of the Argument From Age. It gets a psychological boost from feelings that local ways are superior, or that local identity is worth any cost, or that innovations will upset matters.

An example of this is the common assertion that America has "the best health care system in the world", an idea that this 2007 New York Times editorial refuted.

People who use the Not Invented Here argument are sometimes accused of being stick-in-the-mud's.

Conversely, foreign and "imported" things may be held out as superior.

Argument By Dismissal:

an idea is rejected without saying why.

Dismissals usually have overtones. For example, "If you don't like it, leave the country" implies that your cause is hopeless, or that you are unpatriotic, or that your ideas are foreign, or maybe all three. "If you don't like it, live in a Communist country" adds an emotive element.

Argument To The Future:

arguing that evidence will someday be discovered which will (then) support your point.

Poisoning The Wells:

discrediting the sources used by your opponent. This is a variation of Ad Hominem.

Argument By Emotive Language (Appeal To The People):

using emotionally loaded words to sway the audience's sentiments instead of their minds. Many emotions can be useful: anger, spite, envy, condescension, and so on.

For example, argument by condescension: "Support the ERA? Sure, when the women start paying for the drinks! Hah! Hah!"

Americans who don't like the Canadian medical system have referred to it as "socialist", but I'm not quite sure if this is intended to mean "foreign", or "expensive", or simply guilty by association.

Cliche Thinking and Argument By Slogan are useful adjuncts, particularly if you can get the audience to chant the slogan. People who rely on this argument may seed the audience with supporters or "shills", who laugh, applaud or chant at proper moments. This is the live-audience equivalent of adding a laugh track or music track. Now that many venues have video equipment, some speakers give part of their speech by playing a prepared video. These videos are an opportunity to show a supportive audience, use emotional music, show emotionally charged images, and the like. The idea is old: there used to be professional cheering sections. (Monsieur Zig-Zag, pictured on the cigarette rolling papers, acquired his fame by applauding for money at the Paris Opera.)

If the emotion in question isn't harsh, Argument By Poetic Language helps the effect. Flattering the audience doesn't hurt either.

Argument By Personal Charm:

getting the audience to cut you slack. Example: Ronald Reagan. It helps if you have an opponent with much less personal charm.

Charm may create trust, or the desire to "join the winning team", or the desire to please the speaker. This last is greatest if the audience feels sex appeal.

Reportedly George W. Bush lost a debate when he was young, and said later that he would never be "out-bubba'd" again.

Appeal To Pity (Appeal to Sympathy, The Galileo Argument):

"I did not murder my mother and father with an axe! Please don't find me guilty; I'm suffering enough through being an orphan."

Some authors want you to know they're suffering for their beliefs. For example, "Scientists scoffed at Copernicus and Galileo; they laughed at Edison, Tesla and Marconi; they won't give my ideas a fair hearing either. But time will be the judge. I can wait; I am patient; sooner or later science will be forced to admit that all matter is built, not of atoms, but of tiny capsules of TIME."

There is a strange variant which shows up on Usenet. Somebody refuses to answer questions about their claims, on the grounds that the asker is mean and has hurt their feelings. Or, that the question is personal.

Appeal To Force:

threats, or even violence. On the Net, the usual threat is of a lawsuit. The traditional religious threat is that one will burn in Hell. However, history is full of instances where expressing an unpopular idea could you get you beaten up on the spot, or worse.

"The clinching proof of my reasoning is that I will cut anyone who argues further into dogmeat."

-- Attributed to Sir Geoffery de Tourneville, ca 1350 A.D.

Argument By Vehemence:

being loud. Trial lawyers are taught this rule:

If you have the facts, pound on the facts.
If you have the law, pound on the law.
If you don't have either, pound on the table.

The above rule paints vehemence as an act of desperation. But it can also be a way to seize control of the agenda, use up the opponent's time, or just intimidate the easily cowed. And it's not necessarily aimed at winning the day. A tantrum or a fit is also a way to get a reputation, so that in the future, no one will mess with you.

This is related to putting a post in UPPERCASE, aka SHOUTING.

Depending on what you're loud about, this may also be an Appeal To Force, Argument By Emotive Language, Needling, or Changing The Subject.

Begging The Question (Assuming The Answer, Tautology):

reasoning in a circle. The thing to be proved is used as one of your assumptions. For example: "We must have a death penalty to discourage violent crime". (This assumes it discourages crime.) Or, "The stock market fell because of a technical adjustment." (But is an "adjustment" just a stock market fall?)

Stolen Concept:

using what you are trying to disprove. That is, requiring the truth of something for your proof that it is false. For example, using science to show that science is wrong. Or, arguing that you do not exist, when your existence is clearly required for you to be making the argument.

This is a relative of Begging The Question, except that the circularity there is in what you are trying to prove, instead of what you are trying to disprove.

It is also a relative of Reductio Ad Absurdum, where you temporarily assume the truth of something.

Argument From Authority:

the claim that the speaker is an expert, and so should be trusted.

There are degrees and areas of expertise. The speaker is actually claiming to be more expert, in the relevant subject area, than anyone else in the room. There is also an implied claim that expertise in the area is worth having. For example, claiming expertise in something hopelessly quack (like iridology) is actually an admission that the speaker is gullible.

Argument From False Authority:

a strange variation on Argument From Authority. For example, the TV commercial which starts "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV." Just what are we supposed to conclude?

Appeal To Anonymous Authority:

an Appeal To Authority is made, but the authority is not named. For example, "Experts agree that ..", "scientists say .." or even "they say ..". This makes the information impossible to verify, and brings up the very real possibility that the arguer himself doesn't know who the experts are. In that case, he may just be spreading a rumor.

The situation is even worse if the arguer admits it's a rumor.

Appeal To Authority:

"Albert Einstein was extremely impressed with this theory." (But a statement made by someone long-dead could be out of date. Or perhaps Einstein was just being polite. Or perhaps he made his statement in some specific context. And so on.)

To justify an appeal, the arguer should at least present an exact quote. It's more convincing if the quote contains context, and if the arguer can say where the quote comes from.

A variation is to appeal to unnamed authorities.

There was a New Yorker cartoon, showing a doctor and patient. The doctor was saying: "Conventional medicine has no treatment for your condition. Luckily for you, I'm a quack." So the joke was that the doctor boasted of his lack of authority.

Appeal To False Authority:

a variation on Appeal To Authority, but the Authority is outside his area of expertise.

For example, "Famous physicist John Taylor studied Uri Geller extensively and found no evidence of trickery or fraud in his feats." Taylor was not qualified to detect trickery or fraud of the kind used by stage magicians. Taylor later admitted Geller had tricked him, but he apparently had not figured out how.

A variation is to appeal to a non-existent authority. For example, someone reading an article by Creationist Dmitri Kuznetsov tried to look up the referenced articles. Some of the articles turned out to be in non-existent journals.

Another variation is to misquote a real authority. There are several kinds of misquotation. A quote can be inexact or have been edited. It can be taken out of context. (Chevy Chase: "Yes, I said that, but I was singing a song written by someone else at the time.") The quote can be separate quotes which the arguer glued together. Or, bits might have gone missing. For example, it's easy to prove that Mick Jagger is an assassin. In "Sympathy For The Devil" he sang: "I shouted out, who killed the Kennedys, When after all, it was ... me."

Statement Of Conversion:

the speaker says "I used to believe in X".

This is simply a weak form of asserting expertise. The speaker is implying that he has learned about the subject, and now that he is better informed, he has rejected X. So perhaps he is now an authority, and this is an implied Argument From Authority.

A more irritating version of this is "I used to think that way when I was your age." The speaker hasn't said what is wrong with your argument: he is merely claiming that his age has made him an expert.

"X" has not actually been countered unless there is agreement that the speaker has that expertise. In general, any bald claim always has to be buttressed.

For example, there are a number of Creationist authors who say they "used to be evolutionists", but the scientists who have rated their books haven't noticed any expertise about evolution.

Bad Analogy:

claiming that two situations are highly similar, when they aren't. For example, "The solar system reminds me of an atom, with planets orbiting the sun like electrons orbiting the nucleus. We know that electrons can jump from orbit to orbit; so we must look to ancient records for sightings of planets jumping from orbit to orbit also."

Or, "Minds, like rivers, can be broad. The broader the river, the shallower it is. Therefore, the broader the mind, the shallower it is."

Or, "We have pure food and drug laws; why can't we have laws to keep movie-makers from giving us filth?"

Extended Analogy:

the claim that two things, both analogous to a third thing, are therefore analogous to each other. For example, this debate:

"I believe it is always wrong to oppose the law by breaking it."
"Such a position is odious: it implies that you would not have supported Martin Luther King."
"Are you saying that cryptography legislation is as important as the struggle for Black liberation ? How dare you !"

A person who advocates a particular position (say, about gun control) may be told that Hitler believed the same thing. The clear implication is that the position is somehow tainted. But Hitler also believed that window drapes should go all the way to the floor. Does that mean people with such drapes are monsters?

Argument From Spurious Similarity:

this is a relative of Bad Analogy. It is suggested that some resemblance is proof of a relationship. There is a WW II story about a British lady who was trained in spotting German airplanes. She made a report about a certain very important type of plane. While being quizzed, she explained that she hadn't been sure, herself, until she noticed that it had a little man in the cockpit, just like the little model airplane at the training class.


an abstract thing is talked about as if it were concrete. (A possibly Bad Analogy is being made between concept and reality.) For example, "Nature abhors a vacuum."

False Cause:

assuming that because two things happened, the first one caused the second one. (Sequence is not causation.) For example, "Before women got the vote, there were no nuclear weapons." Or, "Every time my brother Bill accompanies me to Fenway Park, the Red Sox are sure to lose."

Essentially, these are arguments that the sun goes down because we've turned on the street lights.

Confusing Correlation And Causation:

earthquakes in the Andes were correlated with the closest approaches of the planet Uranus. Therefore, Uranus must have caused them. (But Jupiter is nearer than Uranus, and more massive too.)

When sales of hot chocolate go up, street crime drops. Does this correlation mean that hot chocolate prevents crime? No, it means that fewer people are on the streets when the weather is cold.

The bigger a child's shoe size, the better the child's handwriting. Does having big feet make it easier to write? No, it means the child is older.

Causal Reductionism (Complex Cause):

trying to use one cause to explain something, when in fact it had several causes. For example, "The accident was caused by the taxi parking in the street." (But other drivers went around the taxi. Only the drunk driver hit the taxi.)

Cliche Thinking:

using as evidence a well-known wise saying, as if that is proven, or as if it has no exceptions.

Exception That Proves The Rule:

a specific example of Cliche Thinking. This is used when a rule has been asserted, and someone points out the rule doesn't always work. The cliche rebuttal is that this is "the exception that proves the rule". Many people think that this cliche somehow allows you to ignore the exception, and continue using the rule.

In fact, the cliche originally did no such thing. There are two standard explanations for the original meaning.

The first is that the word "prove" meant test. That is why the military takes its equipment to a Proving Ground to test it. So, the cliche originally said that an exception tests a rule. That is, if you find an exception to a rule, the cliche is saying that the rule is being tested, and perhaps the rule will need to be discarded.

The second explanation is that the stating of an exception to a rule, proves that the rule exists. For example, suppose it was announced that "Over the holiday weekend, students do not need to be in the dorms by midnight". This announcement implies that normally students do have to be in by midnight. Here is a discussion of that explanation.

In either case, the cliche is not about waving away objections.

Appeal To Widespread Belief (Bandwagon Argument, Peer Pressure, Appeal to Common Practice):

the claim, as evidence for an idea, that many people believe it, or used to believe it, or do it.

If the discussion is about social conventions, such as "good manners", then this is a reasonable line of argument.

However, in the 1800's there was a widespread belief that bloodletting cured sickness. All of these people were not just wrong, but horribly wrong, because in fact it made people sicker. Clearly, the popularity of an idea is no guarantee that it's right.

Similarly, a common justification for bribery is that "Everybody does it". And in the past, this was a justification for slavery.

Fallacy Of Composition:

assuming that a whole has the same simplicity as its constituent parts. In fact, a great deal of science is the study of emergent properties. For example, if you put a drop of oil on water, there are interesting optical effects. But the effect comes from the oil/water system: it does not come just from the oil or just from the water.

Another example: "A car makes less pollution than a bus. Therefore, cars are less of a pollution problem than buses."

Another example: "Atoms are colorless. Cats are made of atoms, so cats are colorless."

Fallacy Of Division:

assuming that what is true of the whole is true of each constituent part. For example, human beings are made of atoms, and human beings are conscious, so atoms must be conscious.

Complex Question (Tying):

unrelated points are treated as if they should be accepted or rejected together. In fact, each point should be accepted or rejected on its own merits.

For example, "Do you support freedom and the right to bear arms?"

Slippery Slope Fallacy (Camel's Nose)

there is an old saying about how if you allow a camel to poke his nose into the tent, soon the whole camel will follow.

The fallacy here is the assumption that something is wrong because it is right next to something that is wrong. Or, it is wrong because it could slide towards something that is wrong.

For example, "Allowing abortion in the first week of pregnancy would lead to allowing it in the ninth month." Or, "If we legalize marijuana, then more people will try heroin." Or, "If I make an exception for you then I'll have to make an exception for everyone."

Argument By Pigheadedness (Doggedness):

refusing to accept something after everyone else thinks it is well enough proved. For example, there are still Flat Earthers.

Appeal To Coincidence:

asserting that some fact is due to chance. For example, the arguer has had a dozen traffic accidents in six months, yet he insists they weren't his fault. This may be Argument By Pigheadedness. But on the other hand, coincidences do happen, so this argument is not always fallacious.

Argument By Repetition (Argument Ad Nauseam):

if you say something often enough, some people will begin to believe it. There are some net.kooks who keeping reposting the same articles to Usenet, presumably in hopes it will have that effect.

Argument By Half Truth (Suppressed Evidence):

this is hard to detect, of course. You have to ask questions. For example, an amazingly accurate "prophecy" of the assassination attempt on President Reagan was shown on TV. But was the tape recorded before or after the event? Many stations did not ask this question. (It was recorded afterwards.)

A book on "sea mysteries" or the "Bermuda Triangle" might tell us that the yacht Connemara IV was found drifting crewless, southeast of Bermuda, on September 26, 1955. None of these books mention that the yacht had been directly in the path of Hurricane Iona, with 180 mph winds and 40-foot waves.

Argument By Selective Observation:

also called cherry picking, the enumeration of favorable circumstances, or as the philosopher Francis Bacon described it, counting the hits and forgetting the misses. For example, a state boasts of the Presidents it has produced, but is silent about its serial killers. Or, the claim "Technology brings happiness". (Now, there's something with hits and misses.)

Casinos encourage this human tendency. There are bells and whistles to announce slot machine jackpots, but losing happens silently. This makes it much easier to think that the odds of winning are good.

Argument By Selective Reading:

making it seem as if the weakest of an opponent's arguments was the best he had. Suppose the opponent gave a strong argument X and also a weaker argument Y. Simply rebut Y and then say the opponent has made a weak case.

This is a relative of Argument By Selective Observation, in that the arguer overlooks arguments that he does not like. It is also related to Straw Man (Fallacy Of Extension), in that the opponent's argument is not being fairly represented.

Argument By Generalization:

drawing a broad conclusion from a small number of perhaps unrepresentative cases. (The cases may be unrepresentative because of Selective Observation.) For example, "They say 1 out of every 5 people is Chinese. How is this possible? I know hundreds of people, and none of them is Chinese." So, by generalization, there aren't any Chinese anywhere. This is connected to the Fallacy Of The General Rule.

Similarly, "Because we allow terminally ill patients to use heroin, we should allow everyone to use heroin."

It is also possible to under-generalize. For example,

"A man who had killed both of his grandmothers declared himself rehabilitated, on the grounds that he could not conceivably repeat his offense in the absence of any further grandmothers."

-- "Ports Of Call" by Jack Vance

Argument From Small Numbers:

"I've thrown three sevens in a row. Tonight I can't lose." This is Argument By Generalization, but it assumes that small numbers are the same as big numbers. (Three sevens is actually a common occurrence. Thirty three sevens is not.)

Or: "After treatment with the drug, one-third of the mice were cured, one-third died, and the third mouse escaped." Does this mean that if we treated a thousand mice, 333 would be cured ? Well, no.

Misunderstanding The Nature Of Statistics (Innumeracy):

President Dwight Eisenhower expressed astonishment and alarm on discovering that fully half of all Americans had below average intelligence. Similarly, some people get fearful when they learn that their doctor wasn't in the top half of his class. (But that's half of them.)

"Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive."

-- Wallace Irwin.

Very few people seem to understand "regression to the mean". This is the idea that things tend to go back to normal. If you feel normal today, does it really mean that the headache cure you took yesterday performed wonders? Or is it just that your headaches are always gone the next day?

Journalists are notoriously bad at reporting risks. For example, in 1995 it was loudly reported that a class of contraceptive pills would double the chance of dangerous blood clots. The news stories mostly did not mention that "doubling" the risk only increased it by one person in 7,000. The "cell phones cause brain cancer" reports are even sillier, with the supposed increase in risk being at most one or two cancers per 100,000 people per year. So, if the fearmongers are right, your cellphone has increased your risk from "who cares" to "who cares".


for example, the declining life expectancy in the former Soviet Union is due to the failures of communism. But, the quite high infant mortality rate in the United States is not a failure of capitalism.

This is related to Internal Contradiction.

Non Sequitur:

something that just does not follow. For example, "Tens of thousands of Americans have seen lights in the night sky which they could not identify. The existence of life on other planets is fast becoming certainty!"

Another example: arguing at length that your religion is of great help to many people. Then, concluding that the teachings of your religion are undoubtably true.

Or: "Bill lives in a large building, so his apartment must be large."

Meaningless Questions:

irresistible forces meeting immovable objects, and the like.

Argument By Poetic Language:

if it sounds good, it must be right. Songs often use this effect to create a sort of credibility - for example, "Don't Fear The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. Politically oriented songs should be taken with a grain of salt, precisely because they sound good.

Argument By Slogan:

if it's short, and connects to an argument, it must be an argument. (But slogans risk the Reductive Fallacy.)

Being short, a slogan increases the effectiveness of Argument By Repetition. It also helps Argument By Emotive Language (Appeal To The People), since emotional appeals need to be punchy. (Also, the gallery can chant a short slogan.) Using an old slogan is Cliche Thinking.

Argument By Prestigious Jargon:

using big complicated words so that you will seem to be an expert. Why do people use "utilize" when they could utilize "use"?

For example, crackpots used to claim they had a Unified Field Theory (after Einstein). Then the word Quantum was popular. Lately it seems to be Zero Point Fields.

Argument By Gibberish (Bafflement):

this is the extreme version of Argument By Prestigious Jargon. An invented vocabulary helps the effect, and some net.kooks use lots of CAPitaLIZation. However, perfectly ordinary words can be used to baffle. For example, "Omniscience is greater than omnipotence, and the difference is two. Omnipotence plus two equals omniscience. META = 2." [From R. Buckminster Fuller's No More Secondhand God.]

Gibberish may come from people who can't find meaning in technical jargon, so they think they should copy style instead of meaning. It can also be a "snow job", AKA "baffle them with BS", by someone actually familiar with the jargon. Or it could be Argument By Poetic Language.

An example of poetic gibberish: "Each autonomous individual emerges holographically within egoless ontological consciousness as a non-dimensional geometric point within the transcendental thought-wave matrix."


using a word to mean one thing, and then later using it to mean something different. For example, sometimes "Free software" costs nothing, and sometimes it is without restrictions. Some examples:

"The sign said 'fine for parking here', and since it was fine, I parked there."

All trees have bark.
All dogs bark.
Therefore, all dogs are trees.

"Consider that two wrongs never make a right, but that three lefts do."

- "Deteriorata", National Lampoon


the use of words that sound better. The lab rat wasn't killed, it was sacrificed. Mass murder wasn't genocide, it was ethnic cleansing. The death of innocent bystanders is collateral damage. Microsoft doesn't find bugs, or problems, or security vulnerabilities: they just discover an issue with a piece of software.

This is related to Argument By Emotive Language, since the effect is to make a concept emotionally palatable.

Weasel Wording:

this is very much like Euphemism, except that the word changes are done to claim a new, different concept rather than soften the old concept. For example, an American President may not legally conduct a war without a declaration of Congress. So, various Presidents have conducted "police actions", "armed incursions", "protective reaction strikes," "pacification," "safeguarding American interests," and a wide variety of "operations". Similarly, War Departments have become Departments of Defense, and untested medicines have become alternative medicines. The book "1984" has some particularly good examples.

Error Of Fact:

for example, "No one knows how old the Pyramids of Egypt are." (Except, of course, for the historians who've read records and letters written by the ancient Egyptians themselves.)

Typically, the presence of one error means that there are other errors to be uncovered.

Argument From Personal Astonishment:

Errors of Fact caused by stating offhand opinions as proven facts. (The speaker's thought process being "I don't see how this is possible, so it isn't.") An example from Creationism is given here.

This isn't lying, quite. It just seems that way to people who know more about the subject than the speaker does.


intentional Errors of Fact. In some contexts this is called bluffing.

If the speaker thinks that lying serves a moral end, this would be a Pious Fraud.

Contrarian Argument:

in science, espousing some thing that the speaker knows is generally ill-regarded, or even generally held to be disproven. For example, claiming that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, or claiming that homeopathic remedies are not just placebos.

In politics, the phrase may be used more broadly, to mean espousing some position that the establishment or opposition party does not hold.

This is sometimes done to make people think, and sometimes it is needling, or perhaps it supports an external agenda. But it can also be done just to oppose conformity, or as a pose or style choice: to be a "maverick" or lightning rod. Or, perhaps just for the ego of standing alone:

"It is not enough to succeed. Friends must be seen to have failed."

-- Truman Capote

"If you want to prove yourself a brilliant scientist, you don't always agree with the consensus. You show you're right and everyone else is wrong."

-- Daniel Kirk-Davidoff discussing Richard Lindzen

Calling someone contrarian risks the Psychogenetic Fallacy. People who are annoying are not necessarily wrong. On the other hand, if the position is ill-regarded for a reason, then defending it may be uphill.

Trolling is Contrarian Argument done to get a reaction. Trolling on the Internet often involves pretense.

Hypothesis Contrary To Fact:

arguing from something that might have happened, but didn't.

Internal Contradiction:

saying two contradictory things in the same argument. For example, claiming that Archaeopteryx is a dinosaur with hoaxed feathers, and also saying in the same book that it is a "true bird". Or another author who said on page 59, "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writes in his autobiography that he never saw a ghost." But on page 200 we find "Sir Arthur's first encounter with a ghost came when he was 25, surgeon of a whaling ship in the Arctic.."

This is much like saying "I never borrowed his car, and it already had that dent when I got it."

This is related to Inconsistency.

Changing The Subject (Digression, Red Herring, Misdirection, False Emphasis):

this is sometimes used to avoid having to defend a claim, or to avoid making good on a promise. In general, there is something you are not supposed to notice.

For example, I got a bill which had a big announcement about how some tax had gone up by 5%, and the costs would have to be passed on to me. But a quick calculation showed that the increased tax was only costing me a dime, while a different part of the the bill had silently gone up by $10.

This is connected to various diversionary tactics, which may be obstructive, obtuse, or needling. For example, if you quibble about the meaning of some word a person used, they may be quite happy about being corrected, since that means they've derailed you, or changed the subject. They may pick nits in your wording, perhaps asking you to define "is". They may deliberately misunderstand you:

"You said this happened five years before Hitler came to power. Why are you so fascinated with Hitler? Are you anti-Semitic?"

It is also connected to various rhetorical tricks, such as announcing that there cannot be a question period because the speaker must leave. (But then he doesn't leave.)

Argument By Fast Talking:

if you go from one idea to the next quickly enough, the audience won't have time to think. This is connected to Changing The Subject and (to some audiences) Argument By Personal Charm.

However, some psychologists say that to understand what you hear, you must for a brief moment believe it. If this is true, then rapid delivery does not leave people time to reject what they hear.

Having Your Cake (Failure To Assert, or Diminished Claim):

almost claiming something, but backing out. For example, "It may be, as some suppose, that ghosts can only be seen by certain so-called sensitives, who are possibly special mutations with, perhaps, abnormally extended ranges of vision and hearing. Yet some claim we are all sensitives."

Another example: "I don't necessarily agree with the liquefaction theory, nor do I endorse all of Walter Brown's other material, but the geological statements are informative." The strange thing here is that liquefaction theory (the idea that the world's rocks formed in flood waters) was demolished in 1788. To "not necessarily agree" with it, today, is in the category of "not necessarily agreeing" with 2+2=3. But notice that writer implies some study of the matter, and only partial rejection.

A similar thing is the failure to rebut. Suppose I raise an issue. The response that "Woodmorappe's book talks about that" could possibly be a reference to a resounding rebuttal. Or perhaps the responder hasn't even read the book yet. How can we tell ? [I later discovered it was the latter.]

Ambiguous Assertion:

a statement is made, but it is sufficiently unclear that it leaves some sort of leeway. For example, a book about Washington politics did not place quotation marks around quotes. This left ambiguity about which parts of the book were first-hand reports and which parts were second-hand reports, assumptions, or outright fiction.

Of course, lack of clarity is not always intentional. Sometimes a statement is just vague.

If the statement has two different meanings, this is Amphiboly. For example, "Last night I shot a burglar in my pyjamas."

Failure To State:

if you make enough attacks, and ask enough questions, you may never have to actually define your own position on the topic.

Outdated Information:

information is given, but it is not the latest information on the subject. For example, some creationist articles about the amount of dust on the moon quote a measurement made in the 1950's. But many much better measurements have been done since then.

Amazing Familiarity:

the speaker seems to have information that there is no possible way for him to get, on the basis of his own statements. For example: "The first man on deck, seaman Don Smithers, yawned lazily and fingered his good luck charm, a dried seahorse. To no avail! At noon, the Sea Ranger was found drifting aimlessly, with every man of its crew missing without a trace!"

Least Plausible Hypothesis:

ignoring all of the most reasonable explanations. This makes the desired explanation into the only one. For example: "I left a saucer of milk outside overnight. In the morning, the milk was gone. Clearly, my yard was visited by fairies."

There is an old rule for deciding which explanation is the most plausible. It is most often called "Occam's Razor", and it basically says that the simplest is the best. The current phrase among scientists is that an explanation should be "the most parsimonious", meaning that it should not introduce new concepts (like fairies) when old concepts (like neighborhood cats) will do.

On ward rounds, medical students love to come up with the most obscure explanations for common problems. A traditional response is to tell them "If you hear hoof beats, don't automatically think of zebras".

Argument By Scenario:

telling a story which ties together unrelated material, and then using the story as proof they are related.

Affirming The Consequent:

logic reversal. A correct statement of the form "if P then Q" gets turned into "Q therefore P".

For example,

"All cats die; Socrates died; therefore Socrates was a cat."

Another example: "If the earth orbits the sun, then the nearer stars will show an apparent annual shift in position relative to more distant stars (stellar parallax). Observations show conclusively that this parallax shift does occur. This proves that the earth orbits the sun." In reality, it proves that Q [the parallax] is consistent with P [orbiting the sun]. But it might also be consistent with some other theory.
(Other theories did exist. They are now dead, because although they were consistent with a few facts, they were not consistent with all the facts.)

Another example: "If space creatures were kidnapping people and examining them, the space creatures would probably hypnotically erase the memories of the people they examined. These people would thus suffer from amnesia. But in fact many people do suffer from amnesia. This tends to prove they were kidnapped and examined by space creatures." This is also a Least Plausible Hypothesis explanation.

Moving The Goalposts (Raising The Bar, Argument By Demanding Impossible Perfection):

if your opponent successfully addresses some point, then say he must also address some further point. If you can make these points more and more difficult (or diverse) then eventually your opponent must fail. If nothing else, you will eventually find a subject that your opponent isn't up on.

This is related to Argument By Question. Asking questions is easy: it's answering them that's hard.

If each new goal causes a new question, this may get to be Infinite Regression.

It is also possible to lower the bar, reducing the burden on an argument. For example, a person who takes Vitamin C might claim that it prevents colds. When they do get a cold, then they move the goalposts, by saying that the cold would have been much worse if not for the Vitamin C.

Appeal To Complexity:

if the arguer doesn't understand the topic, he concludes that nobody understands it. So, his opinions are as good as anybody's.

Common Sense:

unfortunately, there simply isn't a common-sense answer for many questions. In politics, for example, there are a lot of issues where people disagree. Each side thinks that their answer is common sense. Clearly, some of these people are wrong.

The reason they are wrong is because common sense depends on the context, knowledge and experience of the observer. That is why instruction manuals will often have paragraphs like these:

When boating, use common sense. Have one life preserver for each person in the boat.

When towing a water skier, use common sense. Have one person watching the skier at all times.

If the ideas are so obvious, then why the second sentence? Why do they have to spell it out? The answer is that "use common sense" actually meant "pay attention, I am about to tell you something that inexperienced people often get wrong."

Science has discovered a lot of situations which are far more unfamiliar than water skiing. Not surprisingly, beginners find that much of it violates their common sense. For example, many people can't imagine how a mountain range would form. But in fact anyone can take good GPS equipment to the Himalayas, and measure for themselves that those mountains are rising today.

If a speaker tells an audience that he supports using common sense, it is very possibly an Ambiguous Assertion.

Argument By Laziness (Argument By Uninformed Opinion):

the arguer hasn't bothered to learn anything about the topic. He nevertheless has an opinion, and will be insulted if his opinion is not treated with respect. For example, someone looked at a picture on one of my web pages, and made a complaint which showed that he hadn't even skimmed through the words on the page. When I pointed this out, he replied that I shouldn't have had such a confusing picture.

Disproof By Fallacy:

if a conclusion can be reached in an obviously fallacious way, then the conclusion is incorrectly declared wrong. For example,

"Take the division 64/16. Now, canceling a 6 on top and a six on the bottom, we get that 64/16 = 4/1 = 4."
"Wait a second! You can't just cancel the six!"
"Oh, so you're telling us 64/16 is not equal to 4, are you?"

Note that this is different from Reductio Ad Absurdum, where your opponent's argument can lead to an absurd conclusion. In this case, an absurd argument leads to a normal conclusion.

Reductio Ad Absurdum:

showing that your opponent's argument leads to some absurd conclusion. This is in general a reasonable and non-fallacious way to argue. If the issues are razor-sharp, it is a good way to completely destroy his argument. However, if the waters are a bit muddy, perhaps you will only succeed in showing that your opponent's argument does not apply in all cases, That is, using Reductio Ad Absurdum is sometimes using the Fallacy Of The General Rule. However, if you are faced with an argument that is poorly worded, or only lightly sketched, Reductio Ad Absurdum may be a good way of pointing out the holes.

An example of why absurd conclusions are bad things:

Bertrand Russell, in a lecture on logic, mentioned that in the sense of material implication, a false proposition implies any proposition. A student raised his hand and said "In that case, given that 1 = 0, prove that you are the Pope". Russell immediately replied, "Add 1 to both sides of the equation: then we have 2 = 1. The set containing just me and the Pope has 2 members. But 2 = 1, so it has only 1 member; therefore, I am the Pope."

False Compromise:

if one does not understand a debate, it must be "fair" to split the difference, and agree on a compromise between the opinions. (But one side is very possibly wrong, and in any case one could simply suspend judgment.) Journalists often invoke this fallacy in the name of "balanced" coverage.

"Some say the sun rises in the east, some say it rises in the west; the truth lies probably somewhere in between."

Television reporters like balanced coverage so much that they may give half of their report to a view held by a small minority of the people in question. There are many possible reasons for this, some of them good. However, viewers need to be aware of this tendency.

Fallacy Of The Crucial Experiment:

claiming that some idea has been proved (or disproved) by a pivotal discovery. This is the "smoking gun" version of history.

Scientific progress is often reported in such terms. This is inevitable when a complex story is reduced to a soundbite, but it's almost always a distortion. In reality, a lot of background happens first, and a lot of buttressing (or retraction) happens afterwards. And in natural history, most of the theories are about how often certain things happen (relative to some other thing). For those theories, no one experiment could ever be conclusive.

Two Wrongs Make A Right (Tu Quoque, You Too, What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander):

a charge of wrongdoing is answered by a rationalization that others have sinned, or might have sinned. For example, Bill borrows Jane's expensive pen, and later finds he hasn't returned it. He tells himself that it is okay to keep it, since she would have taken his.

War atrocities and terrorism are often defended in this way.

Similarly, some people defend capital punishment on the grounds that the state is killing people who have killed.

This is related to Ad Hominem (Argument To The Man).

Pious Fraud:

a fraud done to accomplish some good end, on the theory that the end justifies the means.

For example, a church in Canada had a statue of Christ which started to weep tears of blood. When analyzed, the blood turned out to be beef blood. We can reasonably assume that someone with access to the building thought that bringing souls to Christ would justify his small deception.

In the context of debates, a Pious Fraud could be a lie. More generally, it would be when an emotionally committed speaker makes an assertion that is shaded, distorted or even fabricated. For example, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was accused in 2003 of "sexing up" his evidence that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Around the year 400, Saint Augustine wrote two books, De Mendacio[On Lying] and Contra Medacium[Against Lying], on this subject. He argued that the sin isn't in what you do (or don't) say, but in your intent to leave a false impression. He strongly opposed Pious Fraud. I believe that Martin Luther also wrote on the subject.
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