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Part 5 of 5

X. The Vision Revisited

The Queen said. “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam today.”
“It must come sometimes to ‘jam to-day,’ ” Alice objected.
“No it can't,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every other day: to-day isn’t any other day . . . but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s memory works both ways.”

We are now in a round-about with three great avenues leading off to the future

1. Faculty housing, campus enlargement and enhancement

2. Development plans for endowments, buildings and landscaping

3. Building a true partnership between the recently established Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts and the Happy Valley School.

For over twelve years one housing plan after another has been considered and then elbowed aside by more urgent projects. The foundation has considered nearly half a dozen different architects or schemes and as many building sites. Until two years ago, no consensus had been reached. As Interim Director, David Anderson was a crucial factor in resolving the location dilemma. A commitment to “green” building was fast developing. The realization that all projects on the land should reflect a vision of protecting and nurturing the environment had finally taken hold. In this climate the search for the appropriate architects gained momentum.

Two professors at CalPoly, San Luis Obispo had formed a partnership called M:OME. Examples of their work, followed by their on-site presentation, achieved the long sought consensus for design. Likewise, site location was agreed upon by David Anderson and the trustees, all of whom were persuaded that faculty housing close to the campus reflected the educational philosophy and sense of community intrinsic to the Happy Valley vision. M:OME was retained to prepare a master plan, incorporating faculty housing, with several necessary classroom additions, music practice rooms, an art room atelier, a swimming pool and a new dining hall (See: Appendix H).

Matt Storey and Family

In order to implement these plans, along with the need for substantial endowment and increased faculty benefits, the foundation and school launched a serious effort to establish a Development Office with a Director of Development. The Santa Barbara Non- Profit Center was again consulted, as well as investigating the development departments of several private schools. Of three possible candidates, Matt Storey was chosen. He had a daughter in the school, a wife teaching in Oxnard and considerable experience fundraising for the YMCA. As space at the school was limited, the foundation elected to transform the garage at Logan House into a Development Office. Under Matt Storey’s initiative, an active alumni committee was organized, lost alumni were found, and two alumni reunions took place within two years. The capital campaign goal was topped and willingness to give from all corners of the Happy Valley Community was ignited. There is a long and unending road ahead in this department but Matt Storey has made a significant beginning.

By summer of 2005, the five-year process of liquidating Beato’s legacy was winding down. It had been an expensive process and the hope for a large reserve of bankable funds had not been realized. But a good basis for establishing a center for the arts had been created.

Kevin Wallace, Curator of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts

As if on cue, a talented young curator, Kevin Wallace, introduced himself to the foundation in autumn 2005. He offered to install, around the walls of her studio, a pictorial history of Beato and her connection to Happy Valley. This display was part of a current, about to close, exhibition of Beato’s works that Kevin Wallace had arranged for the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. The value of Kevin’s input in the process of transmuting from a largely sales operation to an educational and art facility was soon apparent. Under his guidance, a series of guest artists’ exhibitions, workshops, and artist-in-residence programs was organized and running within a few months. A resident manager, Janat Dundas was engaged to oversee and implement the programs. And a vision statement was installed on the new center website.

“The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts fulfills much of Annie Besant’s original vision, as a place where arts and education are paramount. It is closely affiliated to the Happy Valley School that will benefit from and contribute to its activities. Aside from a regular exhibition schedule, there are artist workshops and performances. The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts presents a continuum joining the artists, writers and others who shaped Happy Valley and the Happy Valley School and those who are working today, as well as a bridge between the International Art World and the local community.”

True to this vision, the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts has already been effective in bringing the world to Happy Valley and Happy Valley to the world. The noted Austrian Composer, Hans Joachim Roedelius, created a commissioned work for Happy Valley, and Roedelius traveled from Austria to give a rare live public performance on the terrace of the Center in May 2006.

The issue of greatest urgency in the past two years has been the search for a long-term new Head of School. After several meetings of the specially established Director Search Committee, the board concluded that once again professional guidance to this end was needed. The firm, Educational Directions, came highly recommended by another local school and the consultant assigned to Happy Valley, found a resonance in the Happy Valley vision and history that enabled him to produce a remarkable list of promising candidates. Eventually, through a complex arrangement of phone interviews and meetings involving all members of the committee, the list of candidates was reduced to three, all of whom visited the school for a day and a half. At this point the entire community of students, staff, faculty and parents became engaged in the process. The result was that the final choice for the new Head of School had 100% support from the Happy Valley community.

Paul Amadio brings to this job a background in areas much needed at Happy Valley: origins in the performing arts including extensive acting and directing in theater, experience in strategic planning, school financial consulting and admissions. He is young, vital, talented and brings with him a supportive and lovely family.

Paul Amadio, Head of Happy Valley School 2006

The Queen was right. In our effort to move forward on new fronts we must reflect the past onto the future, without becoming crystallized or impeded by it. In many ways, Happy Valley is closer to its origins than ever before. As Annie Besant envisioned, Happy Valley should seek perfection in the forefront of human endeavor. Our daily life can contribute to the process of awakening and re-awakening us to those aspects of existence that will lead toward a more humane culture – a culture that can appreciate the strange and different as well as the familiar.

XI. Down the Rabbit Hole

The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts,
All on a summer day:
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts
And took them quite away!

Five Years Later

All organizations have their ups and downs, and Happy Valley is no exception. There are paths we might better not have walked and people we might better not have met. But despite these often unsettling vicissitudes, our path has been guided by friends and trustees of the Happy Valley Foundation so as to leave the core of Annie Besant’s vision intact and respected. This guidance has carried us through a warren of changes and choices, some fruitful – others problematic.

Besant Hill School: Center for the Arts

Among the more controversial changes, suggested in 2006 by the newly appointed Head of School, was to change the name of the School. To some, the idea of this change brought a loss of affinity with what had been for them, a life shaping institution. To others, the original name had been a source of embarrassment. These, the majority, prevailed and the onerous and costly process of name change began (even though the new Head of School who suggested it would soon be replaced.) Finally, after much ado, Besant Hill School of Happy Valley was chosen.

The Board took this as an opportunity to honor that person most responsible for the existence of Happy Valley, Annie Besant. As the Chairman of the Happy Valley Foundation explained: “Our primary concern was to find a name that best honored our past and our principles as formulated by the founders. Annie Besant had a vision in 1927, sitting on a hill overlooking the vernal pond, that the Happy Valley acreage was a place where the ideals she espoused could be fulfilled in the future; a place to establish an educational center that would nurture spiritual, artistic and intellectual growth as well as physical and mental well-being. She also knew that sustainable worldwide improvement in the human condition begins with the individual. She appointed trustees to further her vision of a non-sectarian foundation, ‘without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color,’ that she named The Happy Valley Foundation.”

Happy Valley as Annie saw it. Photo: David R. White

XII. Wonderland

“Curiouser and Curiouser” said Alice

The Happy Valley Foundation Board of Trustees has, since its inception, referred to itself collectively as a “self-perpetuating” board; meaning, in the broad sense, that the board as a whole should be vigilant in sustaining Annie Besant’s vision, and it should also renew itself by pursuing goals that would move it forward into a developing world. It has been the consensus that:

1. The board should remain small (usually about twelve trustees)

2. The various activities of the foundation should be fairly represented

3. The trustees should be chosen for their skills and ideals, not for their wealth.

These guidelines required a firm but gentle anchorage in that formative element of Happy Valley ideals, the interconnectedness that Annie Besant had described as the progression from family to tribe to nation to world as a foundation for true community and which Rosalind Rajagopal had found reflected in these lines of Edwin Markham

He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle that took him in.

A consistent thread through all the statements, visions, and hopes of the Happy Valley Foundation has been the importance of embracing our differences. As Aldous Huxley often said, “we should like each other not IN SPITE of our differences but BECAUSE of them.”

Differences generate curiosity and as Alice found out – curiosity is the gateway to discovery.


In the next few years the Board would be faced with yet another change in the school’s directorship. However, this time it had not far to look. Randy Bertin, with his wife and four little boys had come to Happy Valley in 2006 as assistant to the new Head. With his innate capability Randy had already shouldered much of the responsibility for administering the School. He was now well prepared to provide a sound transition in restoring financial stability and administrative integrity.

Randy Bertin, 2015 Besant Hill School graduation

In 2011, as the new Head of Besant Hill School, Randy moved forward on the Happy Valley Foundation’s master plan with faculty housing, a swimming pool, and an impressive improvement in the campus’ appearance. He travelled the earth in a successful effort to draw students from abroad. At present more than eighteen countries are represented in a student body of one hundred. Randy understands that all activities on Happy Valley should exist and act in a partnership, supporting, benefitting and enhancing each other. In his own words:

“Here, every member of the community contributes to each other so that his or her full potential and success can be reached . . . an educational environment that’s centered on maximizing individual potential, intellectual curiosity, integrity and renewedopportunity.”

Aerial photo, school campus (far left: four new faculty houses – far right: new swimming pool). Photo: Jesse Kaplan

Each senior class reflects in its parting words, an intense appreciation of the love and community support that the School has offered: the beauty of the landscape, but above all the sanctuary that is extended to them as well as to the wildlife.

Snow on Topa Topa. Photo: Janat Dundas


In 2006 Happy Valley lost one of its dearest friends, Gladys Lacey, the widow of Franklin Lacey. Gladys had bequeathed to the Foundation a share of the Music Man, that immortal play that Franklin had co-written with Meredith Willson. From their long association with Happy Valley, the Laceys understood the difficulties in balancing financial prudence with the demands of developing new projects. While making her preferences known, Gladys left no restrictions regarding the use of Music Man income. This freedom allowed the Foundation to complete struggling projects and to start new ones that had always been hoped for but were seemingly out of reach.

Gladys & Franklin Lacey




Rosalind and Beato had built their adjacent houses on Happy Valley with a future Cultural Center in mind. Beato’s house included display rooms and a ceramics workshop and it was her hope that her library and collection of international folk art would be utilized for education. Rosalind’s house included a “great room” that could accommodate exhibitions, lectures, and chamber music.

Lili Kraus’ Steinway, donated to the Happy Valley Foundation by her daughter, Ruth Pope

Under the guidance and creative energy of founding director Kevin Wallace, the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts was established as a branch of the Happy Valley Cultural Center; a manifestation of the vision of the founders, who saw the activities of the Happy Valley Foundation as a testing ground for its principles. The BWCA presents exhibitions, workshops, a children’s art program and an intern program for graduate students.

As Director of the Center, Kevin is also mindful of partnership with the School. The Center offers Besant Hill students the opportunity to attend workshops and to plan exhibitions of their work in order to better relate to the role of the artist in today’s environment.

Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts Permanent Collection

Children’s Art Workshop


“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” The Queen remarked.

Carl Jung reputedly found these words of Lewis Carroll supportive of his synchronicity theory: simply put – that some coincidences are independent of cause but meaningfully related. An occurrence one spring day in 2013 can well be identified as a meaningful coincidence.

A basic objective of the Foundation had been to provide a fertile environment committed to classical music. In the 1950s, Lili Kraus had spent time at the Happy Valley School giving intimate musical events as well as master classes. By the early ‘60s, she was no longer able to make this invaluable contribution. Over the next half century, except for a few independent events, a dedicated music program at Happy Valley remained hoped for but dormant.

Heidi Lehwalder was born in 1949 into a family of musicians and theosophists. Her uncle Austin Bee was for many years, Chairman of the Happy Valley Foundation. She had grown up hearing tales of Happy Valley from Uncle Austin who had also shared stories of Heidi’s prowess with his fellow trustees.

At the age of nine Heidi made her debut as a performing harpist with the Seattle Symphony and soon after began studying with the great harpist, Carlos Salzedo. Over the next thirty years she performed as guest artist with sixty-five orchestras throughout the world. In 1988 she founded the Fredericksburg Festival of Arts and served as artistic director for twenty years. And then – she had a calling. Something was beckoning her to California.

Heidi Lehwalder with the harp designed by her teacher Carlos Salzedo

Heidi as Artistic Director of Chamber On The Mountain with the same Salzedo harp, and the Arianna String Quartet. Photo: Christine Gregory

It was immediately clear in the first meeting between Heidi, Jimmy, and Radha that there was a convergence of purpose – namely to offer the students of Besant Hill School the ineffable experience of classical music performances by outstanding young talents of multifarious origin, and to draw the community of Ojai closer to Happy Valley. With her experience and connections in this sphere, Heidi organized a concert series that would present at least five events a year.

The name – Chamber On The Mountain, came to Heidi as she climbed the mountains around Ojai with the sunset reflected off Topa Topa. She thought, “the same high level and beauty of music should match that magnificence.”

Sunset on Topa Topa


Annie Besant often observed “we have centuries in which to work.” What would she have thought today, sitting on that hill above the vernal pond? She would see a thriving School, a blossoming Cultural Center and the beauty of protected acreage. There is awareness in all the Foundation’s activities that it is as important how we build as what we build. And we hope she would find happiness in the still fragile but evident community that is emerging.



1 From an announcement in The Ojai, by Annie Besant January 21, 1927 and later reprinted in The Theosophist, April, 1927.

2 From the diary of Frank Gerard, January 1923 to December 1931

3 Robert Logan later bought these fifteen acres and eventually gave them to HVF. The Casitas Water District condemned over three acres decades later and placed a large water tank there obliterating the well.

4 From the diary of Frank Gerard

5 Ibid

6 Arthur H. Nethercott, The Last Four Lives of Annie Besant, (University of Chicago Press, 1963) p.393

7 From the diary of Frank Gerard

8 The organizing Committee as announced in The Ojai: Dr. Annie Besant, president of the Theosophical Society; The Lady Emily Lutyens of London; Dr. John Ingelman (chiropractor & businessman) of Hollywood; Mr.Henry Hotchener of Hollywood; C.F. Holland (Attorney) of Los Angeles; Captain Max Wardall of Pasadena; D. Rajagopal of Eerde Castle, Holland; Mrs. George Porter of Chicago; Mr. Robert Logan of Philadelphia; Mr. Fritz Kunz of Ojai; Mr. Frank Gerard of Ojai; Mr. George Hall (Realtor) of Ojai; Mr. George B. Hastings of Buffalo; Mr. Louis Zalk (Businessman) of Duluth; Miss Mary Dodge of London; and, Muriel, Countess De La Warr of London

9 From the diary of Frank Gerard

10 Ibid

11 Ibid

12 Ibid

13 Ibid

14 Ibid

15 Ibid

16 Annie Besant’s Millennial Movement: Its History, Impact, and Implications Concerning Authority, Catherine Wessinger, Loyola University, New Orleans

17 Major Myers’ dedication to Happy Valley would be reflected in his daughter Mary who was a 1957 graduate of Happy Valley School. She recently wrote these words. “[the school] enriched my life so much being exposed to those special people and their expansive ideas and lives… It changed my life as well, paving the way for my getting into a good college and… the work in art which has been so rewarding for me.”

18 Annie Besant, “The Happy Valley Foundation,” The Theosophist, August 1928

19 The correspondence referred to in this chapter resides in the minutes of the Happy Valley Foundation where it was entered by resolution.

20 Minute Book of the Happy Valley Foundation

21 Minute Book of the Happy Valley Foundation

22 Minute Book of the Board of Directors, Happy Valley School, November 1946. Below: notes of this meeting in Aldous Huxley’s hand.


School founded autumn 1946
10 pupils.
Dormitories being built. In autumn 1947, 20 pupils. School will remain at this figure for at least a year, then may go to a maximum of 40 pupils.

The aim is to keep it small because the purposes of the school can only be achieved in such a small unit school.

(1) classes must be small, so that they may be an intimate relation between pupil and teacher. Also this permits more efficient intellectual teaching.

(2) Small total numbers permit better relation between pupils and teachers outside school hours. The aim is to develop well-balanced personality in which the full potentialities of the individual are developed to the full.

(3) Small total numbers permit of better health supervision. The physical side is held to be as important as the mental.

23 Minute Book of the Happy Valley Foundation

24 Minute Book of the Board of Directors, Happy Valley School, November 1950

25 Quoted and paraphrased by Trustee Jorge Uribe from the January 11, 1973 HVF minutes

26 This narrative is indebted for this and many of the following anecdotes and insights to Jorge Uribe who has to this date of writing served on the Happy Valley Foundation Board for the past thirty years.

27 Recently, Franklin’s widow Gladys Lacey set up a trust in which she left their rights to the Music Man to Happy Valley. There is seldom a day when somewhere in the world, a theater is not lit up for a performance of this all-time popular musical.

28 Minute Book of the Happy Valley Foundation, May 20, 1966

29 The foundation received a bequest of $86,000 in 1971 from Robert Logan’s secretary, Mabel Zimmers.

30 As stated by Helen Bee in a meeting of the Happy Valley Foundation, February 19, 1989

31 Average Walnut production per year

59 - 64 ( 5 years) $18,607
64 - 73 (10 years) $22,251
74 - 83 (10 years) $18,124
84 - 93 (10 years) $ 4,591
91 - 94 ( 5 years) $ 383

32 Financing details of the Campus Completion Project. The Happy Valley Foundation borrowed $147,000 for the new classroom and $600,000 for the completion of the $1,100,000 new dormitory (the balance was from donations). The classroom loan was to be paid back in four years and the dormitory loan in seven years. Since these loans were guaranteed by C.D.s for the corresponding amount, and therefore the bank was at no risk, Jimmy was able to negotiate the favorable interest rate on the loans of one and a half per cent above the prevailing C.D. rate, to be adjusted once a year. The principal and interest payments were well within projected income due to the increased student population available from the demographic bubble.

Appendix A: “The Guest Lecturer”

Presented at a school conference by Rosalind Rajagopal, Director, The Happy Valley School

The problem of the gifted student who falls into poor work habits in the average class environment can in part be resolved by the use of lectures and programs which stimulate him to extracurricular studies and projects. Without such stimulus it is sometimes difficult for the classroom teacher to encourage proper incentive, for with his exceptional intelligence he is already doing better work than the average without much effort. It may remain for a writer, an artist, an actor, a musician, a scientist, or a statesman to come from outside, and, by speaking or performing for the entire student body, to give the gifted child the exhilarating experience of true challenge and lofty example.

Of course, many exceptionally bright students are inspired to a self-reliant attitude by their own teachers, and the periodic guests merely provide direction and fresh impetus. In whatever manner the limiting concept of study as comparative and competitive is shattered, once it happens, the teacher is drawn along in the wake of inspiration as a resource person, providing the material and suggestions needed for extra research. The teacher may find that the speaker repeats things he has been saying all along, but somehow the guest says them in a fresh manner outside the class setting and they get across at last.

The outside speaker or performer, and there can well be one each week, should be himself, and not play down to a hypothetical student level. It is surprising how much of his performance will be understood by the entire student body (the best programs are suited in differing ways to all), but if even the gifted child cannot follow everything, he will often be stimulated to find that there is something which he does not understand readily.

The assembly is an exciting diversion for all students. It is one hour when they have no class worries, no responsibilities other than to be quiet. This creates a relaxed atmosphere in which the guest can operate for the best possible effect. If the program is announced the morning of each assembly day, the students will prepare themselves to enjoy it, to laugh at the feeblest jokes, and to strain to understand difficult material, even through a foreign accent. It is found that the youngest students enjoy a difficult program vicariously through the appreciation of the older ones; they appreciate the privilege of attending, and gain much from observing the personality and behavior of the guest.

The personality of the guest is an important factor for the older listeners as well. A colorful style, a seriousness of purpose, a willingness to have fun, and a well-known name all contribute to the effect which the program has on the students. For gifted child, the performance has the additional impact of pointing another possible way for him to develop, for he senses his exceptional capacities, and needs the highest possible concrete examples of what he can become.

Private schools can often get successful artists, writers, or musicians to teach once or twice a week, and to inject in this way a continuity of inspiration for the exceptional student, and indeed for all the students. Non-professional teachers, incidentally, often provide the stimulus needed in the school to shatter educational precedent for the ever unique case of the gifted child.

A student sometimes finds early in life that he has a facility in mathematics, or poetry, or music. Generally such a child has the capacity to develop in other directions also but his competitive situation requires that he shine only to a certain degree brighter than the others, and only in one or two fields. He may rely on his natural ability to carry him along and be quite lazy about exploring areas where he does not have complete confidence. It is therefore important that speakers and performers present a wide variety of material, and that the school be prepared to follow up that material according to needs expressed and sensed. At our school we have found that a latent appreciation for music is quite widespread among all young people. Although it is not easy to find musicians or musical groups who will appear without their usual fee, there are always professionals and talented amateurs who are sufficiently interested in the eager response of a young audience to give their services. The school can enrich its musical program by adding a good daily record concert in the morning assembly, and by recordings played during the lunch hour or in a class set aside for music appreciation. The students themselves can be drawn into the planning for these programs. The gifted child in particular will build a mature understanding of music, and incidentally, an interesting record collection, simply as the result of daily exposure to a wide variety of fine music from many cultures.

Experience shows that it is fairly easy to obtain speakers who will appear without charge, or with very small charge. Sometimes an administrator can even persuade a speaker to make a two or three hour trip, at the cost only of a stamp or a long-distance phone call. By keeping in touch with those speakers proven most stimulating and popular who may come from a distance or be on tour, and by holding an hour free each week, he is usually able to fit them into the school schedule at short notice.

Speaking before an alert student group, whose questions are sometimes keener than those from a comfortably adult audience, can be a rewarding experience for a speaker who recognizes the importance of inspiring future leadership in a changing world. The school bears an enormous responsibility to discover ways to inspire this potential leadership; and by planning frequent serious programs deliberately designed for this purpose, and by following up those programs as student needs require, it can meet some of the demands of our rapidly unfolding society.

Reprinted from “The Challenge of the Gifted,” the Introduction to the 38th edition of the annual Handbook of Private Schools, Boston: Porter Sargent.

Appendix B: “Aun Aprendo” (I am still learning)

Commencement Address by Aldous Huxley
June 14, 1951
The Happy Valley School, Ojai, California

It seems at first sight rather paradoxical that the end of a scholastic year, the termination of a course of studies, should be called a ‘commencement’. There are, of course, good historical reasons for this -– reasons going far back into the medieval past, to the time when candidates for the Master’s degree engaged in the public disputation which qualified them to embark on the career of teaching. For years they had been at the receiving end of a scholastic education. Now, at long last, they were in a position to ‘dish it out’. This was the principium, or beginning, of a new and, as the budding Masters fondly believed, a happier life. Hence our use of the word, ‘commencement’.

It is good that the past should thus live on in the present, reminding the members of each succeeding generation that they are not the first to face the problems of human existence -– that, after all, this sort of thing has been going on for quite some time. Education is an immemorial institution, and it is very fitting that, in this brand new California, we should be commemorating, albeit unconsciously, the scholastic achievements of a distant past. By ending its year on a commencement, Ojai is paying tribute to Paris and thirteenth-century Oxford, to Bologna and Cologne.

We see, then, that the word ‘commencement’ is a legacy from the Middle Ages. But, by a happy accident, it is also more than a reminder of man’s earlier efforts to better himself. It is also a reminder that, in the educational process, there is, or at least there should be, no end -– only a continuous transition, only a series of new beginnings.

What looks like an end -– graduation from high school, graduation from college, graduation from post graduate school -– is always a commencement, is always the start of yet another phase in the never-ending educational process. In the Prado at Madrid there is a very striking drawing by Goya. It represents an old, old man, bent double by age and infirmities, tottering along with the help of a staff. Under it is scrawled the caption: AUN APRENDO – “I am still learning”. Goya himself was one of those who went on learning to the very end. He was over eighty when he set himself to learn the newly invented technique of lithography. He mastered it so successfully that his prints of bull-fighting are among the most brilliant and powerful examples of the lithographer’s art.

Goya was by no means the only great artist who went on learning to the very close of a long life. Titian really got into his stride when he was about seventy and, at ninety-nine, a few weeks before his death, remarked rather wistfully that he was just beginning to understand something about painting. In the course of a very long life Verdi assimilated all the developments of nineteenth-century music, selected those which were best suited to his purposes, and wrote his greatest works after the age of sixty. As a poet, W B. Yeats set out as a rather arty exponent of the Celtic twilight and ended as the master of a style, almost unique in modern English literature for its austere and yet splendid and pregnant conciseness.

Great poets, great painters and composers are uncommon. But fortunately there are many fields besides that of artistic achievement, in which men and women can go on learning. There are the fields of science and technology, the fields of history and sociology, the fields of artistic appreciation, of erudition, of education, and finally the supremely important fields of human relations, of self-knowledge with a small ‘s’ and of Self-knowledge with a large one. AUN APRENDO. The process goes on from the cradle to the grave and, doubtless, beyond.

This is what can happen, what ought to happen. But, alas, in practice how very often it doesn’t happen! In all too many cases life is not treated as a continuing process of education. In all too many cases men and women do not wish to go on learning. Instead they treat their last official commencement as the end of education, so far as they are concerned, and settle down to an existence as nearly static as they can make it -– the existence of creatures confined to ruts and grooves, and rejoicing in that confinement, bitterly resenting any break with established habit, and attempt to make them leave their rails and take to the open road. They are like the young man of that ancient limerick, the young man who... (pardon the expression)

.... said “Damn,
It is borne in on me that I am
A creature that moves
In determinate grooves;
I’m not even a bus, I’m a tram!”

And these people do not even say Damn. On the contrary, they delight in being streetcars rather than buses; they are proud of their incapacity for further education. In reality, of course, they are not incapable of education. For when destiny goes to work on them (as it goes to work on most of us, sooner or later) they are compelled to learn -– to learn with a vengeance, to learn in the most painful way possible. The learning process might have been a good deal less uncomfortable if they had prepared themselves for it by a voluntary course in human relationships, in self-understanding and in understanding of the world in which, whether we like it or not, we have to live.

Not long ago I visited a book-store on the fringes of the campus of a large university. The proprietor was a man who liked books, not merely as merchandise, but as things to read, to enjoy, to learn from. Taking me to his second-hand department, he showed me rows and rows of the English poets and novelists, the essayists and dramatists. All these, he told me, had been turned in by graduating students. There was a glut of these texts and my friend could pay very little for them. “Wouldn’t you prefer to keep them?” he always asked. And the answer was always the same. “Thank heaven, we shall never have to read that sort of stuff again!” And so a four-dollar anthology of the world’s noblest verse would be turned in for the price of a hamburger. The book-seller did good business; but his heart was sad. And so was mine. For here were boys and girls in their early twenties who had already decided to cut themselves off from one of the main sources of continuing education. The chances were that they were already closed and barricaded in many other directions.

Hardening of the arteries is a disease of later life. But there is a mental sclerosis, a spiritual setting and hardening and clogging that strikes when its victims are in the prime of youthful vigor. What is the cause of this and how is it to be prevented? Frankly, I do not know. And, so far as I am aware, nobody else knows. Does the fault lie with our methods of education? To some extent, no doubt, it does. But, in fairness to educators, it must be remembered that some boys and girls emerge from college with minds completely open and receptive, and that they retain their mental elasticity, their desire and capacity for learning, unimpaired into extreme old age. These individuals receive exactly training as is given to those who sell their books and decide to learn no more. This would seem to exonerate, at least in part, the current methods of education. The mystery of premature hardening of the mental arteries would seem to be a special case of that more general mystery -– the mystery of temperament, of inherited constitution, of original sin, as the theologians like to call it. But meanwhile something can be done to postpone the onset of the disease. A steady will to go on learning, an effort to remain open and elastic -– these will certainly be helpful. And so will a method of education aimed at encouraging such efforts and evoking such a will. At the Happy Valley School we hope that we may have such a method. Our purpose is to teach our students to wish to go on educating themselves. And for our graduates our valedictory wishes can be summed up in a single phrase:

May you go on learning!

Appendix C: Qualifications of Trustees

As adopted by board resolution, May 16, 1987

(1) Any prospective Trustee should be familiar with – or willing to become familiar with – the history of the Happy Valley Foundation, including the work and ideals of Dr. Annie Besant in securing the land and establishing the Foundation. In addition, the prospective Trustee should be genuinely interested in and sympathetic to Dr. Besant’s vision for Happy Valley, as expressed in the article she wrote, published in THE THEOSOPHIST, April, 1927.

(2) As a result of familiarity with Dr. Besant’s ideals and vision, the prospective Trustee should be motivated toward the creative and dynamic activation of that vision, in terms of the development of the land.

(3) The prospective Trustee should be familiar with, and interested in, the development of the Happy Valley School, since this is, at present, the chief activity sponsored by the Foundation.

(4) Inasmuch as the theosophical world view constituted the primary influence in Dr. Besant’s life, at the time she raised funds for the purchase of the land, and inasmuch as it was members of the Theosophical Society- of which she was then president- to whom she turned in appealing for funds toward that purchase, the prospective Trustee should be familiar with and sympathetic to the theosophical worldview [sic] and with the aims and objectives of the Theosophical Society, which may be demonstrated by membership in some Theosophical Group, but need not be.

(5) The prospective Trustee should have some background, experience, or training in an area of significant value to the work of the Foundation.

(6) The prospective Trustee needs to be open to new ideas, willing to examine them fairly and impartially, also should be familiar with what may be called the “new age” scene, yet have a sense of discrimination regarding what aspects of the “new” may be appropriate for development at Happy Valley in terms of its philosophical background.

(7) The prospective Trustee should be able to attend meetings (at least annually), and contribute actively to the discussions and deliberations.

It is assumed that any prospective Trustee would be compatible with the other Trustees of the Foundation, would be a person of integrity and high ideals, an individual whose presence on the Foundation Board would be an asset to the Foundation.


The Theosophical World View

THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, while reserving for each member full freedom to interpret those teachings known as theosophy, is dedicated to preserving and realizing the ageless wisdom, which embodies both a world view and a vision of human self-transformation.

This tradition is founded upon certain fundamental propositions:

The universe and all that exists within it are one interrelated and interdependent whole.

Every existent being – from atom to galaxy – is rooted in the same universal, lifecreating Reality. This Reality is all-pervasive, but it can never be summed up in its parts, since it transcends all its expressions. It reveals itself in the purposeful, ordered, and meaningful processes of nature as well as in the deepest recesses of the mind and spirit.

Recognition of the unique value of every living being expresses itself in reverence for life, compassion for all, sympathy with the need of all individuals to find truth for themselves, and respect for all religious traditions. The ways in which these ideals become realities in individual life are both the privileged choice and the responsible act of every human being.

Central to the concerns of theosophy is the desire to promote understanding and brotherhood among people of all races, nationalities, philosophies, and religions. Therefore, all people, whatever their race, creed, sex, caste, or color, are invited to participate equally in the life and work of the Society. The Theosophical Society imposes no dogmas, but points toward the source of unity beyond all differences. Devotion to truth, love for all living beings, and commitment to a life of active altruism are the marks of the true theosophist.

Appendix D: Frank Gerard’s Map


Rough Sketch of part of Ojai Valley showing land under purchase (Jan 15, 1927)

A. The 15 acres we bought from Marengo on which we put the well for Arya Vihara.
B. The 70 acres on the ridge, bought from Savzotti
C. The 80 acre piece Fritz Kunz bought for himself
D. The 160 part of the Tucker farm, owned by young Tucker (in trust for an estate)
E. The 148 part of the Tucker farm, owned by Old Man Tucker

Appendix E. Happy Valley Foundation Study Map 1981


Appendix F. List of Happy Valley Trustees

Annie Besant, President 1930-1933
Louis Zalk 1930-1964 (President 1933-1964)
Robert Logan 1930-1956 (Vice President 1930-1956)
Sara Logan 1933-1938
George Hall 1930-1959
C.F Holland 1930-1938
Max Wardall 1930-1934
Devereaux Myers 1934-1940
George Ragan 1934-1959
William Mayes 1940-1947
Erma Williams (Zalk) 1940-1959
Rosalind Rajagopal 1943-1989 (Chair/Pres. 1965-1988)
James Moore 1949-1954
D. Rajagopal 1953-1958
Mima Porter 1953-1964
James Vigeveno 1956-1964
Byron Casselberry 1957-1963
Franklin Lacey 1959-1986 (HVS Director 1968-1970)
William Ross 1960-1968
Margot Wilkie 1960-1973
James Sloss 1960-1966 & 1989 → (Chair 1996 →)
Harriet Von Breton 1962-1968
Erna Lilliefelt 1965-1967
John Rupp 1965-1990
Joseph Lodge 1966-1971
Joseph Margon 1966-1971
Webster Cotton 1968-1972
Jorge A. Uribe 1968-2000 (Pres 1989-2000)
Nandini Iyer 1969-1986
Joseph Pollock 1970-1975
Peggy Kiskadden 1972-1974
Joy Mills 1973-2003
David Drapeau 1974-1975
Austin Bee 1974-2001 (Chair 1989-’93)
Emily Sellon 1974-1994
Michael Hathaway 1975-1977
Helen Bee 1979-1995
Diana Dunningham-Chapotin 1985-1992
John Kern 1985-2002
Raymond Neutra 1986→
Radha Sloss 1986→
Ken Tennen 1990-2003
Ann Brand 1992-2002
Paola Cohen 1993-2004
Anne Friend Thacher 1997→
Rolf Eriksen 1999-2002
Robert Sloss 2000→
Sandhya Jade Khurana 2001-2003
Rashmi Goel 2003-2005
Gerald Larson 2003→
Nicholas Schneider 2003→
David Anderson, tenure as Head of School 2004-2006
Josie Sutton 2005→
Paul Amadio tenure as Head of School 2006→

Appendix G. Happy Valley Cultural Center Events 2001–2005

March 2001: Lucifer’s Child, by William Luce, based on Isak Dinesen’s Africa Stories Performed by Daphne Field
November 2001: The Social Life of Jackals & the Wild African Ass, by Dr. Patricia Moehlman
December 2001: Criminal Law & Felons, by Judge Joseph Lodge
February 2002: What I’ve Learned About Life from Gardening, by horticulturist Raymond Sodomka
March 2002: A Violin/Dance Performance, by Malcom Watson
April 2002: Zen and Psychotherapy, by Dr. Joseph Bobrow
May 2002: Louise Nevelson and Georgia O’Keeffe, Helena Hale/One woman Theatre
September 2002: South Indian Classical Music, by Dr. L. Subramaniam, world acclaimed violinist
October 2002: Cutting Through to Freedom: a demonstration of Meditation & Martial Arts, by Michele B. Miki
November 2002: Faces of Change,Grass Root Reformers in the former Soviet Union, by Amanda Pope
February 2003: Local Marine Mammals, by Channel Island Naturalists and a Day of Whale Watching
March 2003: Artemesia Gentileschi: Of Lies and Truth, Helena Hale/One woman Theatre
April 2003: Vanessa Isaac and Hip Brazil Dance Company
October 2003: The Relational Self, by Dr. Susan Andersen, Professor of Psychology & Public Policy, NYU
October 2003: Lili Kraus Commemorative Concert, performed by Eugenio Urratia acclaimed Chilean pianist
December 2003: An Old Tale from India: The Dilemma of Violence & Non-Violence, by Professor Gerald Larson
January 2004: Love, Power and Transcendence, a dance/drama performed by Lark Batteau-Bailey
January 2004: Non-Violent Principles of Aikido and Sword Forms of Iaido, by Michele B. Miki
February 2004: Brave New World, HVS reading of Franklin Lacey’s musical based on Huxley’s novel
April 2004: Vanessa Isaac and Hip Brazil Dance Company, return
May 2004: Mary Cassatt Speaks, Helena Hale/One woman Theatre, followed by “high tea” on school lawn
November 2004: Waging Peace, Changing Self, Changing the World, by Dr. Joseph Bobrow, Zen teacher & Psychoanalyst
December 2004: A Joyous Concert of European Madrigals and Songs, Performed by the SBCC Chamber Singers
January 2005: Sharing the World With Wildlife, a lecture/discussion with M. Engebretson of Animal Protection Inst.
March 2005: The Sandman’s Garden, Documentary Film by Arthur Crenshaw on the life and art of Lonnie Holley

Appendix H. M:OME Renditions

Beato Atelier

Dining Commons

Student / Faculty Housing

Family Faculty Housing


A Adams, Mike 105
Adobe House 51, 59, 67, 106
Adyar (India)
Annie Besant died at 42
Theosophical Golden Jubilee, 1925 19
Amadio, Paul 122, 153
American Transcendentalists
lectures by Guido Ferrando 72
Anderson, David 118-120, 153
Arya Vihara 18
as Happy Valley School dormitory 75
Frank Gerard caretaker of 18, 21
orange ranch managed by Willie
Weidemann 69
residence of Krishnamurti and Nitya 17
top bananas visit 20
water supply 19
assembly/ theater
campus completion project,
donations for 109
part of Paul Hoag’s plan 104
Atlantic Richfield 91–93
Avasthology, World Institute of 88
Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts 121, 130
Beato Atelier 129
Bee, Austin 153
as ranch manager of the Happy Valley
Foundation 85
chairman of the Happy Valley
Foundation 102
death of, in 2001 117
instrumental in land purchase 91
meets Annie Besant 20
on Happy Valley Foundation Board 85
Bee, Helen 153
on Happy Valley Foundation Board 99
school board 101
Bennett, Ronald 79
Randy Bertin 126
Besant, Annie 13, 15, 17–20, 23, 26, 29, 31–33,
35, 37–42, 44–46, 49–50, 62, 72, 78, 83–88, 90–
91, 94–96, 102–103, 109, 111–112, 123-124, 125,
134, 135-136
background 15
death in India, 1933 42
description of by G.B. Shaw 23–24
description of Happy Valley, and vision 13
entourage and arrival in Ojai 1926 16–17
faith in future 95
further fulfillment of vision in Beatrice
Wood studio 95
guidelines for Happy Valley 46–47
ideas on education as Fabian Socialist 16
influence on Rosalind Rajagopal 49
last seen by Frank Gerard 34
parallels in Felix Greene’s concept for
Happy Valley 56
relationship with
Krishnamurti 21, 23, 29–30
seeing and purchasing Happy Valley 29–
vision materialized 76, 78, 112
Besant Hill School 123-124
Blavatsky, H.P. 15–16, 24
terminology 49
Brand, Ann 141
Burr, Wallace 71, 79
Caldwell, Alice 79
Cameron, James 114
Casselberry, Byron 74
Chamber On The Mountain 134
Chumash, The
Happy Valley land sacred to 17, 51
Clark, Mary 90
Cohen, Paola 153
Cotton, Webster 152
The Divine Comedy
lectures by Guido Ferrando 72
Drapeau, David 153
Dundas, Janat 121
Dunningham-Chapotin, Diana 152
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
class about, taught by Guido Ferrando 81
Eriksen, Rolf 111, 153
F Ferrando, Guido, director of Happy Valley
School 72–82
Gerard, Frank 17, 42, 55, 91, 93, 123
and Happy Valley 19–22, 24–33
and Krishnamurti 22, 34
arrives in Ojai 17
at Arya Vihara 21
at Thacher School 18
comments on Annie Besant and “top
bananas” 20
comments on George Hall 32
editor of The Ojai 18, 31
Goel, Rashmi 153
Gorsuch, John 106
Greene, Elena 51–60, 64
teaching at Happy Valley School 79
Greene, Felix 51–67, 90
Halifax, Joan 97
Hall, George 24, 27, 30–33, 55, 123, 140
and Saro Vihara 40, 94
and the Greenes 54–56
defense of Happy Valley 63, 85
involvement in Happy Valley
purchase 24, 26–28, 31
letter to Zalk 64
opposition to Rosalind 49
Hall, Grace 40
Happy Valley, map of 136
Happy Valley Cultural Center 115, 130
Happy Valley Foundation 130
Hassall, Walter 73
Hathaway, Michael 153
Heard, Gerald 51
High Winds 90–91, 93
Hoag, Paul 94–95
Holland, C.F 152
Holland, C.F. 28–29, 40, 42, 44, 123
Hotchener, Henry 28–29, 123
Human Dimensions West 97
Huxley, Aldous 126
and founding of Happy Valley School and
as board member 72–73, 79
associated with Vedantist circle 51
comment on Rosalind 89
guest lecturer 87, 130–133
pacifist 47
Ingelman, John 28–29, 123
Isherwood, Christopher 51
Iyer, Nandini 153
Kellogg-Smith, Ogden 74
Kern, John 153
Kern Foundation 109
Kiskadden, Peggy 153
Khurana, Sandhya Jade 153
Kraus, Lili 80, 132, 134
Krishnamurti Writings, Inc. 46, 70
Krishnamurti, J. 16–17, 20, 33, 34, 38–39, 75,
86–87, 94
and founding of
Happy Valley School 71–73
as World Teacher 16, 18
departure from Theosophy 30, 34
granting use of Arya Vihara for school
dormitory 75
illness in 1946 75
Logan’s view of 38
name involved in criticism of Happy
Valley Foundation 86
pacifist 47
Krotona 17–18, 24, 29
Kunz, Fritz 17, 123
and Happy Valley 18–27
problems with “top bananas” 25
acey, Franklin 128, 152
Happy Valley Board and school
director 90
Meeting with Annie Besant 1926 90
Music Man 90
Lacey, Gladys 126, 128
Larson, Gerald 153
Leadbeater, Charles Webster 19–20, 30, 73
Lehwalder, Heidi 132-134
Lilliefelt, Erna 152
Lodge, Joseph 152
Logan, Deborah 113
Logan, Robert 24, 37–41, 43–46, 49–51,
57–58, 63, 72, 81, 86, 94, 98, 123, 152
a founder of the Happy Valley
Foundation 24–46
a founder of the Happy Valley
School 70–85
backing of Rosalind 49
death of, in 1956 85
pacifist 47
philosophic background 37–38
Logan, Sara 24, 26, 38–40, 152
death of, in 1939 42
faith in Rosalind 49
Mack, Katherine 106
Margon, Joseph 152
Mayes, William 42, 152
Mills, Joy 141
M:OME 120
Moore, James 152
Morgando, John and Wendy 106
The Music Man 126
Myers, Devereaux 42, 49, 124, 152
N Neutra, Raymond 104, 141
Nitya, brother of Krishnamurti 17–20
O’Gallagher, Liam 96–97, 115
Ojai Foundation 97
Ojai Valley School 49
Order of the Star 20, 25, 30, 46
P Pattee, Howard 82
Pollock, Joseph 141
Porter, Mima 152
agan, Eleanor (Nell) 74, 79, 82
Ragan, George 42, 62–63, 78, 140
Rajagopal, D. 18–20, 21, 24–26, 39, 69, 75, 80,
91, 95, 123, 152
founding of Happy Valley School 72
Happy Valley Foundation trustee 90–91
in Ojai with Annie Besant 16, 18, 20, 25
pacifist 47–48
Rajagopal, Rosalind (née Williams) 17, 18–
20, 26, 42, 48–50, 57, 63–64, 69–72, 75–76,
79, 82, 85, 88–89, 93–94, 98–100, 103, 106,
125, 130, 152
appointed director of the school 82
chair/president of the Happy Valley
Foundation 88
character of 49–50
death of, in 1996 113
discussions with other founders 72
influenced by Annie Besant 49
Ojai Valley School Board 71
on Happy Valley with Annie Besant 26
pacifist 47–48
real estate dealings 91–94
searches for new school director 89
setting up the school 74–76
withdrawing from the Happy Valley
Foundation 102–103, 106
Rheem, Robert 115
Rice, Dennis (formerly Rice-Leary) 100,
director of the Happy Valley
School 101, 118
Roedelius, Hans Joachim 121
Ross, William 152
Rupp, John 152
aro Vihara (Logans’ Ojai House) 94
Sellon, Emily 153
Schneider, Nicholas 153
Sloss, James 85, 106, 110, 133
Sloss, Radha (née Rajagopal) 71, 133, 153
Sloss, Robert 153
Star camp 33
Storey, Matt 120
Stuurman, Douwe 87
Sutton, Josie 153
T Tennen, Ken 105, 110, 153
Thacher School 18
Thacher, Anne Friend 153
Theosophical Society 15–17, 20–21, 38, 42, 84–
85, 123
Tree, Iris
pacifist, actress in Checkov group 47
Tucker 19, 26, 69, 85
U Uribe, Jorge A. 110, 117, 153
importance to the
Happy Valley board 85–86, 92
president and legal counsel 106
reorganizing School Board 101
igeveno, James 152
Von Breton, Harriet 140
W Wallace, Kevin 121, 130
Wardall, Max 140
Watts, Alan 87
Weidemann, William 69, 91
Wellesly-Miller, Sean 97
Welton Beckett 86
Wilkie, Margot (formerly Morrow) 140
Williams, Erma (later Zalk) 42, 49, 56–57,
99, 140
Wood, Beatrice (Beato) 94–95, 111, 130
death of, in 1998
Y Yeomans, Edward 49, 71
Young, David 80, 82
alk, Louis 33, 40–42, 44, 55–56, 59–62, 65,
67, 69–71, 76, 83, 85–86, 113, 123, 152
a founder of the
Happy Valley Foundation 37
a founder of the
Happy Valley School 72–78
death of, in 1964 88
instructive letter to
Happy Valley trustees 65–67
manager of Star camp 33
philosophic background 39
vis-à-vis the Greenes 51–67
Zalk Theater 114
Zimmerman, Jack 97
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 1 of 2

Robert Thurman [Bob Thurman] [Alexander Thurman] [Alecsander Thermen]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/29/20

The Kalachakra temple in St. Petersburg

There is a simple reason for Dorjiev’s enthusiasm for Russia. He was convinced that the Kalachakra system and the Shambhala myth had their origins in the Empire of the Tsar and would return via it. In 1901 the Buriat had received initiations into the Time Tantra from the Ninth Panchen Lama which were supposed to have been of central significance for his future vision. Ekai Kawaguchi, a Buddhist monk from Japan who visited Tibet at the turn of the last century, claims to have heard of a pamphlet in which Dorjiev wrote “Shambhala was Russia. The Emperor, moreover, was an incarnation of Tsongkhapa, and would sooner or later subdue the whole world and found a gigantic Buddhist empire” (Snelling, 1993, p. 79). Although it is not certain whether the lama really did write this document, it fits in with his religious-political ideas. Additionally, the historians are agreed: “In my opinion,” W.A. Unkrig writes, “the religiously-based purpose of Agvan Dorjiev was the foundation of a Lamaist-oriented kingdom of the Tibetans and Mongols as a theocracy under the Dalai Lama ... [and] under the protection of Tsarist Russia ... In addition, among the Lamaists there existed the religiously grounded hope for help from a ‘Messianic Kingdom’ in the North ... called 'Northern Shambhala’” (quoted by Snelling, 1993, p. 79).

At the center of Dorjiev’s activities in Russia stood the construction of a three-dimensional mandala — the Buddhist temple in St. Petersburg. The shrine was dedicated to the Kalachakra deity. The Dalai Lama’s envoy succeeded in bringing together a respectable number of prominent Russians who approved of and supported the project. The architects came from the West. A painter by the name of Nicholas Roerich, who later became a fanatic propagandist for Kalachakra doctrine, produced the designs for the stained-glass windows. Work commenced in 1909. In the central hall various main gods from the Tibetan pantheon were represented with statues and pictures, including among others Dorjiev’s wrathful initiation deity, Vajrabhairava. Regarding the décor, it is perhaps also of interest that there was a swastika motif which the Bolsheviks knocked out during the Second World War. There was sufficient room for several lamas, who looked after the ritual life, to live on the grounds. Dorjiev had originally intended to triple the staffing and to construct not just a temple but also a whole monastery. This was prevented, however, by the intervention of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The inauguration took place in 1915, an important social event with numerous figures from public life and the official representatives of various Asian countries. The Dalai Lama sent a powerful delegation, “to represent the Buddhist Papacy and assist the Tibetan Envoy Dorjiev” (Snelling, 1993, p. 159). Nicholas II had already viewed the Kalachakra temple privately together with members of his family several days before the official occasion.

Officially, the shrine was declared to be a place for the needs of the Buriat and Kalmyk minorities in the capital. With regard to its occult functions it was undoubtedly a tantric mandala with which the Kalachakra system was to be transplanted into the West. Then, as we have already explained, from the lamas’ traditional point of view founding a temple is seen as an act of spiritual occupation of a territory. The legends about the construction of first Buddhist monastery (Samye) on Tibetan soil show that it is a matter of a symbolic deed with which the victory of Buddhism over the native gods (or demons) is celebrated. Such sacred buildings as the Kalachakra temple in St. Petersburg are cosmograms which are — in their own way of seeing things — employed by the lamas as magic seals in order to spiritually subjugate countries and peoples. It is in this sense that the Italian, Fosco Maraini, has also described the monasteries in his poetic travelogue about Tibet as “factories of a holy technology or laboratories of spiritual science” (Maraini, 1952, p. 172). In our opinion this approximates very closely the Lamaist self-concept. Perhaps it is also the reason why the Bolsheviks later housed an evolutionary technology laboratory in the confiscated Kalachakra shrine of St. Petersburg and performed genetic experiments before the eyes of the tantric terror gods.

The temple was first returned to the Buddhists in June 1991. In the same year, a few days before his own death, the English expert on Buddhism, John Snelling, completed his biography of the god-king’s Buriat envoy. In it he poses the following possibility: “Who knows then but what I call Dorjiev's Shambhala Project for a great Buddhist confederation stretching from Tibet to Siberia, but now with connections across to Western Europe and even internationally, may well become a very real possibility” (Snelling, 1993, xii). Here, Snelling can only mean the explosive spread of Tantric Buddhism across the whole world.

If we take account of the changes that time brings with it, then today the Kalachakra temple in Petersburg would be comparable with the Tibet House in New York. Both institutions function(ed) as semi-occult centers outwardly disguised as cultural institutions. In both instances the spread of the Kalachakra idea is/was central as well. But there is also a much closer connection: Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman, the founder and current leader of the Tibet House, went to Dharamsala at the beginning of the sixties. There he was ordained by the Dalai Lama in person. Subsequently, the Kalmyk, Geshe Wangyal (1901-1983), was appointed to teach the American, who today proclaims that he shall experience the Buddhization of the USA in this lifetime. Thurman thus received his tantric initiations from Wangyal.

This guru lineage establishes a direct connection to Agvan Dorjiev. Namely, that as a 19-year-old novice Lama Wangyal accompanied the Buriat to St. Petersburg and was initiated by him. Thus, Robert Thurman’s “line guru” is, via Wangyal, the old master Dorjiev. Dorjiev — Wangyal — Thurman form a chain of initiations. From a tantric viewpoint the spirit of the master live on in the figure of the pupil. It can thus be assumed that as Dorjiev’s “successor” Thurman represents an emanation of the extremely aggressive protective deity, Vajrabhairava, who had incarnated himself in the Buriat. At any rate, Thurman has to be associated with Dorjiev’s global Shambhala utopia. His close interconnection with the Kalachakra Tantra is additionally a result of his spending several months in Dharamsala under the supervision of Namgyal monks, who are specialized in the time doctrine...

We have described often enough the political goal of this much-admired religious movement. It involves the establishment of a global Buddhocracy, a Shambhalization of the world, steered and governed, where possible, from Potala, the highest “Seat of the Gods” From there the longed-for Buddhist world ruler, the Chakravartin, ids supposed to govern the globe and its peoples. Of course, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama would never speak so directly about this vision. But his prophet in the USA, Robert Thurman, is less circumspect.

Robert A. Thurman: “the academic godfather of the Tibetan cause”

Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman, the founder and current head of the Tibet House in New York, traveled to Dharamsala in the early 1960s. There he was introduced to the Dalai Lama as “a crazy American boy, very intelligent, and with a good heart” who wanted to become a Buddhist monk. The Tibetan hierarch acceded to the young American’s wish, ordained him as the first Westerner to become a Tibetan monk, and personally supervised his studies and initiatory exercises. He considered Thurman’s training to be so significant that he required a weekly personal meeting. Thurman’s first teacher was Khen Losang Dondrub, Abbot of the Namgyal monastery which was specifically commissioned to perform the so-called Kalachakra ritual. Later, the Kalmyk Geshe Wangal (1901–1983) was appointed as teacher of the “crazy” American (born 1941), who today maintains that he will be able to celebrate the Buddhization of the USA within his lifetime.

Having returned from India to the United States, Thurman began an academic career, studying at Harvard and translating several classic Buddhist texts from Tibetan. He then founded the “Tibet House” in New York, a missionary office for the spread of Lamaism in America disguised as a cultural institute.

Alongside the two actors Richard Gere and Steven Segal, Thurman is the crowd puller of Tibetan Buddhism in the USA. His famous daughter, the Hollywood actress Uma Thurman, who as a small child sat on the lap of the Tibetan “god-king”, has made no small contribution to her father’s popularity and opened the door to Hollywood celebrities. The Herald Tribune called Thurman “the academic godfather of the Tibetan cause” (Herald Tribune, 20 March 1997, p. 6) and in 1997 Time magazine ranked him among the 25 most influential opinion makers of America. He is described there with a telling ironic undertone as the “Saint Paul or Billy Graham of Buddhism” (Time, 28 April 1997, p. 42) Thurman is in fact extremely eloquent and understands how to fascinate his audience with powerful polemics and rhetorical brilliance. For example, he calls the Tibetans “the baby seals of the human right movement”.

In the Shugden affair, Thurman naturally took the side of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and proceeded with the most stringent measures against the “sectarians”, publicly disparaging them as the “Taliban of Buddhism”. When three monks were in stabbed to death in Dharamsala he saw this murder as a ritual act: “The three were stabbed repeatedly and cut up in a way that was like exorcism” (Newsweek, 5 May 1997, p. 43).

Thurman is the most highly exposed intellectual in the American Tibet scene. His profound knowledge of the occult foundations of Lamaism, his intensive study of Tibetan language and culture, his initiation as the first Lamaist monk from the western camp, his rhetorical brilliance and not least his close connection to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, which is more than just a personal friendship and rests upon a religious political alliance, all make this man a major figure in the Lamaist world. The American is — as we shall see — the exoteric protagonist of an esoteric drama, whose script is written in what is known as the Kalachakra Tantra. He promotes a “cool revolution of the world community” and understands by this “a cool restoration of Lamaist Buddhism on a global scale”.

We met Robert Thurman in person at a Tibet Conference in Bonn (“Myth Tibet” in 1996). He was without doubt the most prominent and theatrical speaker and far exceeded the aspirations laid out by the conference. The organizers wanted to launch an academically aseptic discussion of Tibet and its history under the motto that our image of Tibet is a western projection. In truth, Tibet was and is a contradictory country like any other, and the Tibetans like other peoples have had a tumultuous history. The image of Tibet therefore needs to be purged of any occultism and one-sided glorification. Thus the most well-known figures of modern international Tibetology were gathered in Bonn. The proceedings were in fact surprisingly critical and an image of Tibet emerged which was able to peel away some illusions. There was no more talk of a faultless and spiritual Shangri-La up on the roof of the world.

Despite this apparently critical approach, the event must be described as a manipulation. First of all, the cliché that the West alone is responsible for the widespread image of Tibet found here was reinforced. We have shown at many points in our book that this blissful image is also a creation of the lamas and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama himself. Further, the fact that Lamaism possesses a world view in which western civilization is to be supplanted via a new Buddhist millennium and that it is systematically working towards this goal was completely elided from the debate in Bonn. It appears the globalizing claims of Tibetan Buddhism ought to be passed over silently. At this conference Tibet continued to be portrayed as the tiny country oppressed by the Chinese giant, and the academics, the majority of whom were practicing Buddhists, presented themselves as committed ethnologists advocating, albeit somewhat more critically than usual, the rescue of an endangered culture of a people under threat. By and large this was the orientation of the conference in Bonn. It was hoped to create an island of “sober” scholarliness and expertise in order to inject a note of realism into the by now via the media completely exaggerated image of Tibet — in the justifiable fear that this could not be maintained indefinitely.

This carefully considered objective of the assembled Tibetologists was demolished by Thurman. In a powerfully eloquent speech entitled “Getting beyond Orientalism in approaching Buddhism and Tibet: A central concept”, he sketched a vision of the Buddhization of our planet, and of the establishment of a worldwide “Buddhocracy”. Here he dared to go a number of steps further than in his at that stage not yet published book, Inner Revolution. The quintessence of his dedicated presentation was that the decadent, materialistic West would soon go under and a global monastic system along Tibetan lines would emerge in its stead. This could well be based on traditional Tibet, which today at the end of the materialistic age appears modern to many: “Three hundred years before, this is the time, what I called modern Tibet, which is the Buddhocratic, unmilitaristic, mass-monastic society …” (Thurman at the conference in Bonn).

Such perspectives clearly much irritated the conference organizers and immensely disturbed their ostensible attempt to introduce a note of academic clarity. The megalomaniac claims of Tibetan neo-Buddhism plainly and openly forced their way into the limelight during Thurman’s speech. A spectacular row with the officials resulted and Thurman left Bonn early.

Irrespective of one’s opinion of Thurman, his speech in Bonn was just plain honest; it called a spade a spade and remains an eminently important record since it introduced the term “Buddhocracy” into the discussion as something desirable, indeed as the sole safety anchor amid the fall of the Western world. Those who are familiar with the background to Lamaism will recognize that Thurman has translated into easily understood western terms the religious political global pretensions of the Tibetan system codified in the Kalachakra Tantra. The American “mouthpiece of the Dalai Lama” is the principal witness for the fact that a worldwide “Buddhocracy” is aspired to not just in the tantric rituals but also by the propagandists of Tibetan Buddhism. Thurman probably revised and tamed down his final manuscript for Inner Revolution in light of events in Bonn. There, the emotive terms Buddhocracy and Buddhocratic are no longer so central as they were in his speech in Bonn. Nonetheless a careful reading of his book reveals the Buddhocratic intentions are not hidden in any way. In order to more clearly give prominence to these intentions, however, we will review his book in connection with his speech in Bonn.

The stolen revolution

Anybody who summarizes the elements of the political program running through Thurman’s book Inner Revolution from cover to cover will soon recognize that they largely concern the demands of the “revolutionary” grass roots movement of the 70s and 80s. Here there is talk of equality of the sexes, individual freedom, personal emancipation, critical thought, nonconformity, grass roots democracy, human rights, a social ethos, a minimum income guaranteed by the state, equality of access to education, health and social services for all, ecological awareness, tolerance, pacifism, and self-realization. In an era in which all these ideas no longer have the same attraction as they did 20 years ago, such nostalgic demands are like a balsam. The ideals of the recent past appear to have not been in vain! The utopias of the 1960s will be realized after all, indeed, according to Thurman, this time without any use of violence. The era of “cool revolution” has just begun and we learn that all these individual and social political goals have always been a part of Buddhist cultural tradition, especially Tibetan-style Lamaism.

With this move, Thurman incorporates the entire set of ideas of a protest generation which sought to change the world along human-political lines and harnesses it to a Tibetan/Buddhist world view. In this he is a brilliant student of his smiling master, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Tens of thousands of people in Europe and America (including Petra Kelly and the authors) became victims of this skillful manipulation and believed that Lamaism could provide the example of a human-politically committed religion. Thousands stood up for Tibet, small and oppressed, because they revered in this country a treasure trove of spiritual and ethical values which would be destroyed by Chinese totalitarianism. Tibetan Buddhism as the final refuge of the social revolutionary ideals of the 70s, as the inheritance of the politically involved youth movement? This is — as we shall show — how Lamaism presents itself in Thurman’s book, and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama gives this interpretation his approval. “Thurman explained to me how some Western thinkers have assumed that Buddhism has no intention to change society ... Thurman’s book provides a timely correction to any lingering notions about Buddhism as an uncaring religion.” (Thurman1998, p. xiii)

But anyone who peeps behind the curtains must unfortunately ascertain that with his catalog of political demands Thurman holds a mirror up to the ideals of the “revolutionary” generation of the West, and that he fails to inform them about the reality of the Lamaist system in which used to and still does function along completely contrary social political lines.

Thurman’s forged history

In order to prevent this abuse of power becoming obvious, the construction of a forged history is necessary, as Thurman conscientiously and consistently demonstrates in his book. He presents the Tibet of old as a type of gentle “scholarly republic” of introspective monks, free of the turbulence of European/imperialist politics of business and war. In their seclusion these holy men performed over centuries a world mission, which is only now becoming noticeable. Since the Renaissance, Thurman explains, the West has effected the “outer modernity”, that is the “outer enlightenment” through the scientific revolution. At the same time (above all since the rule of the Fifth Dalai Lama in the seventeenth century) an “inner revolution” has taken place in the Himalayas, which the American boldly describes as “inner modernity”: “So we must qualify what we have come to call ‘modernity’ in the West as ‘materialistic’ or ‘outer’ modernity, and contrast it with a parallel but alternative Tibetan modernity qualified as ‘spiritualistic’ or ‘inner’ modernity” (Thurman 1998, p. 247). At the 1996 conference in Bonn he did in fact refer to the “inner modernization of the Tibetan society”.

Committed Buddhism, according to Thurman, is instigating a “cool revolution” (in the sense of ‘calm’).It is “cool” in contrast to the “hot” revolutions of the Western dominated history of the world which demanded so many casualties. The five fundamental principles of this “cool revolution” are cleverly assigned anew to a Western (and not Oriental) system of values: transcendental individualism, nonviolent pacifism, educational evolutionism, ecosocial altruism, universal democratism.

For Thurman, the Tibetan culture of “sacralization”, “magic”, “enlightenment”, “spiritual progress”, and “peaceful monasticism” stands in opposition to a Western civilization of “secularization”, “disenchantment”, “rationalization”, “profane belief in material progress”, and “materialism, industrialism, and militarism” (Thurman 1998, p. 246).Even though the “inner revolution” is unambiguously valued more highly, the achievements of the West ought not be totally abandoned in the future. Thurman sees the world culture of the dawning millennium in a hierarchical (East over West) union of both. Upon closer inspection, however, this “cool revolution” reveals itself to be a “cool restoration” in which the world is to be transformed into a Tibetan-style Buddhist monastic state.

To substantiate Lamaism’s global mission (the “cool revolution”) in his book, Thurman had to distort Tibetan history, or the history of Buddhism in general. He needed to construct a pure, faultless and ideal history which from the outset pursued an exemplary, highly ethical task of instruction, aimed to culminate eschatologically in the Buddhization of the entire planet. The Tibetan monasteries had to be portrayed as bulwarks of peace and spiritual development, altruistically at work in the social interests of all. The image of Tibet of old needed to appear appropriately noble-minded, “with”, Thurman says, “the cultivation of scholarship and artistry; with the administration of the political system by enlightened hierarchs; with ascetic charisma diffused among the common people; and with the development of the reincarnation institution. It was a process of the removal of deep roots in instinct and cultural patterns” (Thurman 1998, p. 231). A general misrepresentation in Thurman’s historical construction is the depiction of Buddhist society and especially Lamaism as fundamentally peaceful (to be played out in contrast to the deeply militaristic West): “[T]he main direction of the society was ecstatic and positive; intrigues, violence and persecution were rarer than in any other civilization” (Thurman 1998, p.36). Although appeals may be made to relevant sutras in support of such a pacifist image of Tibetan Buddhism, as a social reality it is completely fictive.

As we have demonstrated, the opposite is the case. Lamaism was caught up in bloody struggles between the various monastic factions from the outset. There was a terrible “civil war” in which the country’s two main orders faced one another as opponents. Political murder has always been par for the course and even the Dalai Lamas have not been spared. Even in the brief history of the exiled Tibetans it is a constant occurrence. The concept of the enemy was deeply anchored in ancient Tibetan culture, and persists to this day. Thus the destruction of “enemies of the teaching” is one of the standard requirements of all tantric ritual texts. The sexual magic practices which lie at the center of this religion and which Thurman either conceals or interprets as an expression of cooperation and sexual equality are based upon a fundamental misogyny. The social misery of the masses in old Tibet was shocking and repulsive, the authority of the priestly state was absolute and extended over life and death. To present Tibet’s traditional society as a political example for modernity, in which the people had oriented themselves toward a “broad social ethic” and in which anybody could achieve “freedom and happiness” (Thurman 1998, p. 138) is farcical.

Thus one shudders at the thought when Thurman opens up the following perspective for the world to come: “In the sacred history of the transformation of the wild frontier [pre-Buddhist] land of Tibet [into a Buddhocracy], we find a blueprint for completing the taming of our own wild world” (Thurman 1998, p. 220)

Thurman introduces the Buddhist emperor Ashoka (regnant from 272 to 236 B.C.E.), who “saw the practical superiority of moral and enlightened policy” (Thurman 1998, p. 115), as a political example for the times ahead. He portrays this Indian emperor as a “prince of peace” who — although originally a terrible hero of the battlefield — following a deep inner conversion abjured all war, transformed hate and pugnacity into compassion and nonviolence, and conducted a “spiritual revolution” to the benefit of all suffering beings. In the chapter entitled “A kingly revolution” (Thurman 1988, pp.109ff.), the author suggests that the Ashoka kingdom’s form of government, oriented along monastic lines, could today once again function as a model for the establishment of a worldwide Buddhist state. Thurman says that “[t]he politics of enlightenment since Ashoka proposes a truth-conquest of the planet—a Dharma-conquest, meaning a cultural, educational, and intellectual conquest” (Thurman 1998, p. 282).

Thurman wisely remains silent about the fact that this Maurya dynasty ruler was responsible for numerous un-Buddhist acts. For instance, under his reign the death penalty for criminals was not abolished, among whom his own wife, Tisyaraksita, must have been counted, as he had her executed. In a Buddhist (!) description of his life, a Sanskrit work titled Ashokavandana, it states that he at one stage had 18,000 non-Buddhists, presumably Jainas, put to death, as one of them had insulted the “true teaching”, albeit in a relatively mild manner. In another instance he is alleged to have driven a Jaina and his entire family into their house which he then ordered to be burnt to the ground.

Nonetheless, Emperor Ashoka is a “cool revolutionary” for Thurman. His politics proclaimed “a social style of tolerance and admiration of nonviolence. They made the community a secure establishment that became unquestioned in its ubiquitous presence as school for gentleness, concentration, and liberation of critical reason; asylum for nonconformity; egalitarian democratic community, where decisions were made by consensual vote” (Thurman 1998, p. 117). To depict the absolutist emperor Ashoka as a guarantor and exemplar of an “egalitarian democratic community”, is a brilliant feat of arbitrary historical interpretation!

With equal emphasis Thurman presents the Indian/Buddhist Maha Siddhas (‘Grand Sorcerers’) as exemplary heroes of the ethos for whom there was no greater wish than to make others happy. However, as we have described in detail, these “ascetics who tamed the world” employed extremely dubious methods to this end, namely, they cultivated pure transgression in order to prove the vanity of all being. Their tantric, i.e., sexual magic, practices, in which they deliberately did evil (murder, rape, necrophagy) with the ostensible intention of creating something good, should, according to Thurman, be counted among the most significant acts of human civilization. Anyone who casts a glance over the “hagiographies” of these Maha Siddhas will be amazed at the barbaric consciousness possessed by these “heroes” of the tantric path. Only very rarely can socially ethical behavior be ascertained among these figures, who deliberately adopted asociality as a lifestyle.

But for Thurman these Maha Siddhas and their later Tibetan imitations are “radiant bodies of energy” upon whom the fate of humanity depends. “It is said that the hillsides and retreats of central Tibet were ablaze with the light generated by profound concentration, penetrating insights, and magnificent deeds of enthusiastic practitioners. The entire populace was moved by the energy released by individuals breaking through their age-old ignorance and prejudices and realizing enlightenment.” (Thurman 1998, pp. 227-228) When one compares the horrors of Tibetan history with the horrors in the tantric texts followed by the “enthusiastic practitioners”, then Thurman may indeed be correct. It is just that it was primarily dark energies which affected the Tibetan population and kept them in ignorance and servitude. Serfdom and slavery are attributes of old Tibetan society, just like an inhumane penal code and a pervasive oppression of women.

Padmasambhava, the supreme ambivalent founding figure of Tibetan Buddhism, is also celebrated by Thurman as a committed scholar of enlightenment. (Thurman 1998, 210). Nothing could be less typical of this sorcerer, who covered the Land of Snows with his excommunications and introduced the wrathful gods of pre-Buddhist Tibet in a horror army of aggressive protective spirits, not so that their terrible character could be transformed, but rather so that they could now protect with sword and fright the “true teaching of Buddha” from its enemies. Great scholars of the Gelugpa order have time and again pointed out the ambivalence of this iridescent “cultural founder” (Padmasambhava), among whose deeds are two brutal infanticides, and expressly distanced themselves from his barbaric lifestyle.

When the Indian scholar Atisha began his work in Tibet in the 11th century, he encountered a completely dissolute monastic caste in total chaos and where one could no longer speak of morals. At least this is what the historical records (the Blue Annals) report. Thurman suppresses this Lamaist moral collapse and simply maintains the opposite: “When Atisha arrived in Tibet, monastic practitioners were limiting themselves to strict moral and ritual observances” (Thurman 1998, p. 226). This is indeed a very euphemistic representation of the whoring and secularized monasteries against which Atisha took to the field with a new moral codex.

For Thurman, the Great Prayer Festival (Mönlam) institutionalized by Tsongkhapa and reactivated by the Fifth Dalai Lama, a raw Lamaist carnival in which monks were allowed absolutely everything and a truly horrible scapegoat ritual was performed, was a sacred event where “the power of compassion is manifest, the immediacy of grace is experienced” (Thurman 1998, p. 235). At another stage he says that, “[i]n Tibet, the Great Prayer Festival guaranteed the best of possibilities for everyone. People’s feelings of being in an apocalyptic time in a specially blessed and chosen land—in their own form of a “New Jerusalem”, a Kingdom of Heaven manifest on earth—had a powerful effect on the whole society” (Thurman 1998, pp. 238-239). When we compare this apotheosis of the said event with the already cited eyewitness report by Heinrich Harrer, we see the lack of restraint with which Thurman reveres the Tibet of old. Harrer, whose portrayal is confirmed by many other travel accounts, regarded the scenario completely differently: “As if emerging from hypnosis”, writes the mentor of the young Dalai Lama, “at this moment the tens of thousands spring from order in to chaos. The transition is so sudden, that one is speechless. Shouting, wild gesticulation .. they trample over one another, almost murder each other. The still-weeping prayers, ecstatically absorbed, become ravers. The monastic soldiers begin their duty! Huge fellows with stuffed shoulders and blackened faces — so that the deterrent effect becomes even stronger. Ruthlessly they lay into the crowd with their batons ... one takes the blows wailing, but even the beaten return again. As if they were possessed by demons” (Heinrich Harrer, 1984, p. 142). — Thurman’s “New Jerusalem”, possessed by demons on the roof of the world? —an interesting scenario for a horror film!

We find a further pinnacle of Thurman’s historical falsification in the portrait of the greatest Lamaist potentate, the Fifth Dalai Lama. Of all people, this “Priest-King” attuned to the accumulation of external power and pomp is built up by the author in to a hero of the “inner revolution”. He paints the picture of a prudent and farsighted fathers of his country (“a gentle genius, scholar, and reincarnate saint” — Thurman 1998, p. 248), who is compelled — against his will and his fundamentally Buddhist attitude — to conduct a horrific “civil war” (in which he lets great numbers of monks from other orders be massacred by the Mongol warriors summoned to the country). Thurman presents the conflict as a quarrel between various warlords in which the “peaceful” monks become embroiled.

Here again, the opposite was the case: the two chief Tibetan Buddhist orders of the time (Gelugpa and Kagyupa) were pulling the strings, even if they let worldly armies battle for them. Thurman misrepresents this monastic war as a battle between cliques of nobles and ultimately “the final showdown in Tibet between militarism and monasticism” (Thurman 1998, p. 249), whereby the latter as the party of peace is victorious thanks to the genius of the Fifth Dalai Lama and goes on to all but establish a “Buddha paradise” on earth.

All this is a pious/impudent invention of the American Tibetologist. The merciless warrior mentality of the Fifth Dalai Lama spread fear and alarm among his foes. His dark occult side, his fascination for the sexual magic of the Nyingmapa (which he himself practiced), his unrestrained rewriting of history and much more; these are all highly unpleasant facts, which are deliberately concealed by Thurman, since an historically accurate portrait of the “Great Fifth” could have embarrassing consequences, as the Fourteenth Dalai Lama constantly refers to this predecessor of his and has announced him to be his greatest example.

It would be wrong to deny the Fifth Dalai Lama any political or administrative skill; he was, just like his contemporary, Louis the Fourteenth, to whom he is often compared, an “ingenious” statesman. But this made him no prince of peace. His goal consisted of resolutely placing the fate of the country in the hands of the clergy with himself as the undisputed spiritual and secular leader. To this end (like the Fourteenth Dalai Lama today) he played the various orders off against one another. The Fifth Dalai Lama formulated the political foundations of a “Buddhocracy” which Robert Thurman would be glad to see as the model for a future worlds community, and which we wish to examine more closely in the next section.

A worldwide Buddhocracy

At the conference on Tibet in Bonn mentioned above (“Mythos Tibet”, 1996) Robert Thurman with stirring pathos prophesied the “fall of the West” and left no doubt that the future of our planet lies in a worldwide, as he stressed literally, “Buddhocracy”. Europe has renounced its sacred past, demystified its natural environment, established a secular realm, and closed off access to the sacred “represented by monasticism and its organized striving for perfection”. Materialism, industrialization and militarization have taken the place of the sacred (Thurman 1998, p. 246).

At the same time a reverse process has taken place in Tibet. Society has become increasingly sacralized and devoted itself to the creation of a “buddhaverse”. (In the wake of the Tibetologists’ criticisms in Bonn, Thurman appears to have opted for his own neologism “buddhaverse” in place of the somewhat offensive “Buddhocracy”; the meaning intended remains the same.) A re-enchantment of reality has taken place in Tibet, and the system is dedicated to the perfection of the individual. The warrior spirit has been dismantled. All these claims are untrue, and can be disproved by countless counterexamples. Nevertheless, Thurman presumes to declare them expressions of traditional Tibet’s “inner modernity”, which is ultimately superior to Europe’s “outer modernity”: “As Europe was pushing away the Pope, the Church, and the enchantment of everyday life, Tibet was turning over the reins of its country to a new kind of government, which cannot properly be called ‘theocratic’, since the Tibetans do not believe in an omnipotent God, but which can be called ‘Buddhocratic’” (Thurman 1998, p. 248). This form of government is supposed to guide our future. At the Tibet conference in Bonn, Thurman made this clearer: “Yes, not theocratic, because that brings [with it a] comparison to the Holy Roman Empire ... because it has the conception of an authoritarian God controlling the universe” (Thurman at the conference in Bonn). Thurman seems to think the concept of an “authoritarian Buddha” does not exist, although this is precisely what may be found at the basis of the Lamaist system.

For the author, the monasticization of Tibetan society was a lucky millennial event for humanity which reached its preliminary peak in the era in which the Gelugpa order was founded by Tsongkhapa (1357–1419) and the institution of the Dalai Lama was established. In Bonn Thurman praised this period as “the millennium of the fifteenth century of the planetary unique form of modern Tibetan society ... [which] led to the unfolding in the seventeenth century [of] what I call post-millennial, inwardly modern, mass-monastic, or even Buddhocratic [society]”. Tsongkhapa is presented as the founding father of this “modern Tibet”: he “was a spiritual prodigy. ... He perceived a cosmic shift from universe to buddhaverse” (Thurman 1998, pp. 232–233).

The Tibet of old was, according to Thurman, just such a buddhaverse, an earthly “Buddha paradise”, governed by nonviolence and wisdom, generosity, sensitivity, and tolerance. An exemplary enlightened consciousness was cultivated in the monastic Jewel Community. The monasteries provided the guarantee that politics was conducted along ethical lines: “The monastic core provides the cocoon for the free creativity of the lay Jewel Community” (Thurman 1998, p. 294).

This “monastic form of government”, pre-tested by Old Tibet, provides a vision for the future for Thurman: “I am very interested in this. I feel a very strong trend in this [direction]” (Thurman’s presentation in Bonn). The “monasticization” which was then (i.e., in the fifteenth century) spreading through Asia whilst the doors to the monasteries of Europe were closing, has once again become significant on a global political level. “And if you study Max Weber carefully... in fact what secularization and industrial progress brought had a lot to do with the slamming of the monastery doors. ... So, a monastic form of government is an unthinkable thing for Western society. We often say Tibet is frozen in the Middle Ages because Tibet is not secularized in the way the Western world is! It moved out of the balance between sacred and secular and went into a sacralization process and enchanted the universe. The concrete proof of that was that the monasteries provided the government” (Thurman in Bonn).

Here, Thurman is paraphrasing Weber’s thesis of the “disenchantment of the world” which accompanied the rise of capitalism. The “re-enchantment of the world” is a political program for him, which can only be carried out by Lamaist monks. Monasticism “is the shelter and training ground for the nonviolent ‘army’, the shock troops for the sustained social revolution the Buddha initiated ...” (Thurman 1998, p. 294, § 15). The monastic clergy would progressively assume control of political matters via a three-stage plan. In the final phase of this plan, “the society is able to enjoy the universe of enlightenment, and Jewel Community institutions [the monasteries] openly take responsibility for the society’s direction” (Thurman 1998, p. 296, § 24).

But this is no unreal utopia, since “Tibetan society is the only one in planetary history in which this third phase has been partially reached” (Thurman 1998, p. 296, § 25).In this sentence Thurman quite plainly proclaims a Buddhocracy along Lamaist lines to be the next model for the world community! Elsewhere, the Tibetologist is more precise: “The countercultural monastic movement no longer needs to lie low and is able to give the ruling powers advice, spiritual and social. Enlightened sages can begin to advise their royal disciples on how to conduct the daily affairs of society, such as what should be their policies and practices. Likewise, after a long period of such evolution, the entire movement can reach a cool fruition, when the countercultural enlightenment movement becomes mainstream and openly takes responsibility for the whole society, which eventually happened in Tibet” (Thurman 1998, p. 166, footnote).

According to Thurman, the Lamaist clergy assumes political power with — as we shall see — the incarnation of a super-being at its helm, an absolute monarch, who unites spiritual and worldly power within himself. The triumphant advance of the monastic system began in India in around 500 B.C.E. and spread throughout all of Asia in the intervening years. But this, Thurman says, is only a prelude: “The phenomenal success of monasticism, eventually Eurasia-wide, can be understood as the progressive truth-conquest of the world” (Thurman 1998, p. 105). Pie in the sky, or a event soon to come? Thurman’s statements on this are contradictory. In his book he talks of a “hope for the future”. But in interviews with the press, he has let it be known that he will experience the Buddhization of America in his own lifetime. In 1997, his friend, the Hollywood actor Richard Gere, was also convinced that the transformation of the world into a Buddhocracy would occur suddenly, like an atomic explosion, and that the “critical mass” would soon be reached (Herald Tribune, 20 March 1997, p. 6).

According to the author, the Lamaist power elite of the coming “Buddhocracy” is basically immortal because of the incarnation system. They already pulled the political strings in Tibet in the past, and will, in the author’s opinion, assume this role for the entire world in future: “Whatever the spiritual reality of these reincarnations, the social impact of this form of leadership was immense. It sealed the emerging spirituality of Tibetan society, in that death, which ordinarily interrupts progress in any society, could no longer block positive development. Just as Shakyamuni could be present to the practitioner through the initiation procedure and the sophisticated visualization techniques, so fully realized saints and sages were not withdrawn by death from their disciples, who depended on them to attain fulfillment (Thurman 1998, p. 231).

One can only be amazed — at the impudence with which Thurman praises the “Buddhocracy” of the Lamas as the highest form of “democracy”; at how he portrays Tibetan Buddhism, which is based upon a ritual dissolution of the individual, as the highest level of individual development; at how he depicts Tantrism, with its morbid sexual magic techniques for male monks to absorb feminine energies, as the only religion in which god and goddess are worshipped as balanced equals; at how he glorifies the cruel war gods and warrior monks of the Land of Snows as pacifists; at how he presents the medieval/monastic social form of Tibet as an expression of the modern and as offering the only model for a global world-society.

Tibet a land of enlightenment?

The Tibet of old, with its monastic culture was, according to Thurman, the cosmic energy body which irradiated our world in enlightened consciousness. “Hidden in the last thousand years of Tibet’s civilization”, the author says, “is a continuous process of inner revolution and cool evolution. In spiritual history, Tibet has been the secret dynamo that throughout this millennium has slowly turned the outer world toward enlightenment. Thus Tibetan civilization’s unique role on the inner plane of history assumes a far greater importance than material history would indicate” (Thurman 1998, p. 225). In Thurman’s version of history, it was not the Western bourgeoisie which fought for its freedoms and human rights in battle with the institutions of the Church; rather, all this was thought out in advance by holy men meditating among the Himalayan peaks: “The recent appearance of modern consciousness in the industrial world is not something radically new or unprecedented. Modern consciousness has been developed all over Asia in the Buddhist subcultures for thousands of years” (Thurman 1998, p. 255). —And it flowed into the consciousness of the modern, Western cultural elite as an Eastern energy source. That is, to speak clearly, the Tibetan monks meditating were one of the causes of the European Enlightenment. A bold thesis indeed, in which a Tibet controlled by a belief in ghosts, oracles, torture chambers, the oppression of women, and human super-beings becomes the cradle of modern rationalism.

The enlightening radiation began, says Thurman, with the Tibetan scholar Tsongkhapa’s edifice of teachings and the founding of the Gelugpa order: “This tremendous release of energy caused by thousands of minds becoming totally liberated in a short time was a planetary phenomenon, like a great spiritual pulsar emitting enlightenment in waves broadcast around the globe” (Thurman 1998, p. 233). Accordingly, Thurman considers all of the great Tibetan scholars of past centuries to be more significant and comprehensive than their European “peers”. They were “scientific heroes”, “”the quintessence of scientists in this nonmaterialistic civilization [i.e., Tibet]” (quoted by Lopez in Prisoners of Shangri-La, p. 81). As “psychonauts” they conquered inner space in contrast to the western “astronauts” (again quoted by Lopez, 1998, p. 81). But the “stars” of modern European philosophy like Hume and Kant, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, Hegel and Heidegger, Thurman speculates, could also at some future time turn out to be line-holders for and emanations of the Bodhisattva of knowledge, Manjushri (Lopez, 1998, p. 264). Ex oriente lux — now also true for occidental science.

This incorporation of the Western cultural heroes is an underground current which flows through the entire neo-Buddhist scene. It is outwardly strictly denied, through the Dalai Lama’s demands for tolerance in broad publicity. In contrast, writings accumulate in the milieu, which celebrate Jesus Christ as an avatar of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara for example, the same super-being who has also been incarnated as the Dalai Lama. A recurrent image of modern myth building is the placement of the Tibetans on a par with the Nazarene.

Thurman as “high priest” of the Kalachakra Tantra

A worldwide Buddhocratic vision of Tibetan Buddhism is contained in what is known as the Kalachakra Tantra (the “Wheel of Time”). We have studied and commented upon this central Lamaist ritual in detail. The goal of the Kalachakra Tantra is the construction of a superhuman being, the ADI BUDDHA, whose control encompasses the entire universe, both spiritually and politically, “a mythical world-conqueror” (Thurman 1998, p. 292, § 5).

From a metapolitical point of view, Robert Thurman appears to have been appointed to implant the ideas of the Kalachakra Tantra in the West. We have already noted that the teacher the Dalai Lama assigned him to was Khen Losang Dondrub, Abbot of the Namgyal monastery which is especially commissioned to perform the Kalachakra ritual. In the USA he was in constant contact with the Kalmyk lama Geshe Wangyal (1901–1983). Lama Wangyal was Robert Thurman’s actual “line guru”, and this line leads via Wangyal directly to the old master Agvan Dorjiev (Lama Wangyal’s guru). Dorjiev the Buriat, Wangyal the Kalmyk, and Thurman the American thus form a chain of initiation. From a tantric point of view the spirit of the master lives on in the form of the pupil. One can thus assume that Thurman as Dorjiev’s successor represents an emanation of the extremely aggressive protective divinity Vajrabhairava who is supposed to have become incarnate in the Buriat. At any rate the American must be drawn into the context of the global Shambhala utopia, which was the principal concern of Dorjiev’s metapolitics.

What Thurman understands by this can be most clearly illustrated by a vision which was bestowed upon him in a dream in September 1979, before he saw the Dalai Lama again for the first time in eight years: “The night before he landed in New York, I dreamed he was manifesting the pure land mandala palace of the Kalachakra Buddha right on top of the Waldorf Astoria building. The entire collection of dignitaries of the city, mayors and senators, corporate presidents and kings, sheikhs and sultans ,celebrities and stars—all of them were swept up into the dance of 722 deities of the three buildings of the diamond palace like pinstriped bees swarming on a giant honeycomb. The amazing thing about the Dalai Lama’s flood of power and beauty was that it appeared totally effortless. I could feel the space of His Holiness’s heart, whence all this arose. It was relaxed, cool, an amazing well of infinity” (Thurman 1998, p. 18).

The magic projection of the Tibetan “god-king” as ADI BUDDHA and world ruler cannot be illustrated more vividly. He reigns as some kind of queen bee in the middle of New York, and lets the world’s greatest, whom he has bewitched with sweet honey, dance to his tune. It is typical that there is no mention of grass roots democracy here, and that it is just the political, business, and show business Establishment which performs the sweet dance of the bees. Anyone who is aware how much significance is granted to such dreams in the world of Tibetan initiation will without further ado recognize a metapolitical program in Thurman’s vision. [1]

In 1992, as Director of Tibet House in New York City which he co-founded with Richard Gere, he sponsored “the Kalachakra Initiation at New York’s Madison Square Garden.” (Farrer-Halls 1998, p. 92) The Tibet Center houses a three dimensional Kalachakra Mandala and the only life sized statue of the Kalachakra deity outside of Tibet. Following the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, “The Samaya Foundation, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Port Authority jointly sponsored the Wheel of Time (Kalachakra) Sand Mandala, or Circle of Peace, in the lobby of Tower 1.” (Darton 1999, p. 219) For over thirty days, many of the World Trade Center workers and visitors were invited by the Namgyal Monks to participate in the construction of the mandala. It is said that, “ Its shape symbolized nature’s unending cycle of creation and destruction and in the countless grains of its material, it celebrated life’s energy taking ephemeral form, then returning to its source. At the end of the mandala’s month long lifespan, the monks swept up the sand and “offered it to the Hudson River.” This ritual, they believed, purified the environment. (Darton 1999, p. 219)

Report of a former participant of the Kalachakra Ceremony in New York: “Get a call from one of my Kalachakra sisters I haven't heard from since the Indiana Kalachakra in '99. […] The topic shifted to the Kalachakra mandala that was made at One World Trade Center. I was at the dissolution ceremony there, may be around '96. The monks gathered up all the sand from the mandala at 1WTC, put it in a vase, then carried it across the bridge into World Financial Center through the Winter Garden, then dumped the sand ceremoniously into the Hudson River for the sake of World Peace. The surface of the river glittered with the afternoon sun, and I cried. 5 years later, the whole building is gone, just like the sand mandala.” See:

Thurman’s devoted commitment as Lamaist initiand, his absolute loyalty to the Dalai Lama, his consistent vision of an earthly “Buddha paradise”, his uncompromising affirmation of a Buddhocratic state, his involvement with the world of the Tibetan gods which reaches even into his own dreams, his systematic training by the highest Tibetan lamas over many years—all these certify Thurman to be a “Shambhala warrior”, a Buddhist hero, who according to legend prepares for the establishment of the kingdom of Shambhala over our globe. This is the goal of the Kalachakra ritual (the “Wheel of Time” ritual) performed all over the world by the Dalai Lama. Thurman has, he reports, seen the Dalai Lama in a vision as the supreme time god above the Waldorf Astoria. But even here he conceals that the Shambhala myth is not peaceful, and can only be realized after a world war in which all nonbelievers (non-Buddhists) are destroyed.

Perhaps such a perspective frightens some Western intellectuals? No worries, Thurman reassumes them, “who is afraid of the Dalai Lama? Who is afraid of Avalokiteshvara? No Tibetans are afraid” (Thurman in Bonn). How could one be afraid of the supreme enlightened being currently on earth? He, in whom all three levels are compressed, “that of the selfless monk, the king, and the great adept” (Thurman), who is (as great adept) preparing the creation of “a buddhaversal human society” (Thurman 1998, p. 39), even if he (as king and statesman) is still concentrating chiefly on the concerns of Tibet. Then, “Tibet’s unique focus on enlightenment civilization makes the nation crucial to the world’s development of spiritual and social balance” (Thurman 1998, p. 39).

Thurman is convinced that the Dalai Lama represents a projection of the ADI BUDDHA, who can liberate the world from its valley of sorrows. He describes very precisely the micro- and macrocosmic dimensions of such a redemptive being in the form of the Fifth Dalai Lama. If humanity were to recognize the divine presence behind the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, it could calmly place its political matters in his hands, just as the Tibetan populace did in the time of the “Great Fifth”: “Small wonder”, Thurman tells his readers. “Suppose the people of a catholic country were to share a perception of a particular spiritual figure as not simply a representative of God, as in the Pope being the vicar of Christ, but as an actual incarnation of the Savior—or, say an incarnation of the Archangel Gabriel. In such a situation it would not be strange for the nation to reach a point where the divine would actually take responsibility for the government. In Tibet, this moment was the culmination of centuries of grass-roots millennial consciousness, the political ratification of the millennial direction that had been intensifying since the Great Prayer Festival tradition had begun in 1409. The sense of the presence of an enlightened being was widespread enough for the people to join together after the last conflict and entrust to him their land and their fate” (Thurman 1998, pp. 250–251).

There is no need to read between the lines, simply paying close attention to the text of his book is enough to be able to recognize that, for Thurman, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama represents the quintessence of political wisdom and decisive power for the coming millennium. The author draws attention to the five principles of his planetary political program: “nonviolence, individualism, education, and altruistic correctedness. The fifth [principle], global democratism, is exemplified in His Holiness the Great Fourteenth Dalai Lama himself” (Thurman 1998, p. 279). The Tibetan “god-king” as the incarnation of universal democracy—a true piece of bravura in Thurman’s “political theology”. No wonder the “god-king” applauds him so roundly in his foreword: “I commend him for his careful study and clear explanations, and I recommend his insights for your own reflections” (Thurman 1998, p. xiv).

According to Thurman, the USA is the first western country in which the lamas’ Buddhocratic vision will prevail: “Most of the teachers from the various enlightenment movements seem to agree on one thing: If there is to be a renaissance of enlightenment sciences in our times, it will have to begin in America. America is the land of extreme dichotomies: the great materialism and the greatest disillusionment with materialism; great self-indulgence and great self-transcendence” (Thurman 1998, p. 280). The Dalai Lama (“the fifth [principle of] global democratism”) as the next American president? —But if he dies?—No worries, thanks to the system of incarnation he may remain among us as priest and king for ever.

Thurman’s methods, adapting himself to the point of self-deception to the consciousness and the customs of his environment (in this case the western democratic environment), but without losing sight of the actual grand metapolitical goal, has a long tradition in Tibet. Padmasambhava, for instance, Buddhized the Land of Snows by integrating with aplomb the various tribal cultures which he encountered on his missionary travels into his tantric system, together with their particular ideas and cultic practices. In doing so he was so skillful that the pre-Buddhist inhabitants of Tibet believed Buddhism to be no more than the realization of their own traditional expectations of salvation. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama is masterfully repeating this heuristic principle from his eighth-century incarnation on the world stage. In the meantime he knows all the variations and rules of the game of Western civilization and has managed to generate a public image as a great reformer and democrat who brilliantly combines modern political fundamentals with old Eastern teachings of wisdom. There are countless sermons from him in which he strongly advises his audience to stay true to their own religious tradition, since in the end they all come to the same thing. Such superior invitations have as we shall see a double-bind effect. People are so enthused by the ostensible tolerance of Tibetan Buddhism and its supreme representative that they become converts to the Dharma and ensnared in the tantric web.[/size][/b]

-- The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism, by Victor and Victoria Trimondi
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Part 2 of 2

Geshe Wangyal, the CIA's Mongolian translator...

Following World War II, the United States remained on hand to administer the Northern Mariana Islands. In July 1947, this role was codified under a trustee-ship agreement with the new United Nations, which specifically gave the U.S. Navy responsibility for the chain. In practice, this trusteeship translated into an exceedingly small U.S. presence. With Japan's wartime population either dead or repatriated, the chain boasted few settlements of any note; only Saipan hosted anything approaching the size of a town. Even its airfields -- which had once been so critical during the War -- now fell largely dormant after being vastly overshadowed by the sprawling U.S. military bases in neighboring Guam and the Philippines.

For the CIA, however, the tranquility of the Marianas held appeal. Looking for a discreet locale to build a Far East camp to instruct agents and commandos from friendly nations, the agency in 1950 established the Saipan Training Station. Officially known by the cover title Naval Technical Training Unit, Saipan station took up much of the island's northern peninsula and featured numerous segregated compounds where groups of Asian trainees from various nations could spend several months in isolation. "We did not even let two classes from the same country know one another," underscored one case officer. [3]

The course work offered at Saipan station ran the gamut of unconventional warfare and espionage tradecraft. By 1956, Chinese Nationalists, Koreans, Lao, and Vietnamese had passed through its gates for commando instruction; a Thai class had been coached as frogmen; and other Vietnamese had been preened to form their own version of the CIA. In some cases, classes consisted of just one or two key individuals who were going to blend into their central government structure. "There were no standard lessons," said one CIA officer. "Each cycle was custom tailored." [4]

None of the prospective trainees presented more of a challenge than the newly arrived Tibetans. The six recruits were to act as the CIA's eyes and ears back inside Tibet, John Reagan explained to the resident instructor cadre. This necessitated that they absorb not only communications and reporting skills but also a general knowledge of guerrilla warfare techniques, as well as a limited understanding of tradecraft. Although such a broad curriculum would normally require a full year, Saipan station was told to ready the subjects in a quarter of that time. [5]

Under such strict time constraints, three different CIA training teams were assembled to begin instruction. The first team offered the Khampas an extremely rudimentary course on classic espionage tactics. The second started coaching them in Morse communications and use of the RS- shortwave radio and its hand-cranked generator. The final team initiated a primer on guerrilla warfare and paramilitary operations.

Very quickly, problems became apparent. Having had almost no schooling, the Khampas had trouble with such essential concepts as the twenty-four-hour clock. They also had difficulty quantifying distances and numbers. Precise reporting would be vital once they were back in the field, emphasized one agency officer, "but too often they tended to use vague descriptions such as 'many' or 'some."' [6]

To overcome some of these challenges, the CIA instructors had to rely on visual demonstrations. "We had to physically show them," said one trainer, "not simply use a classroom." To clarify the construction of ground signals for an aerial resupply, for example, scaffolding was assembled atop the island's northern cliffs. Below, firepots were arranged on the beach so the Tibetans could visualize how they would appear from the air. [7]

Communications training proved even more difficult. The main stumbling block: Khampas traditionally received little formal language instruction. The six students, who were barely able to read or write, could hardly be expected to transmit coherent radio messages. Not realizing the seriousness of this critical deficiency until nearly halfway through the training cycle, the CIA instructors scrambled to find someone who could teach basic Tibetan grammar. [Thubten] Norbu [the Dalai Lama's oldest brother], who was acting as primary interpreter for the other course work, could not be spared for double duty. Neither could Jentzen [Thondup] [Thubten Norbu's loyal servant], who in any event was weak in language skills.

Enter Geshe Wangyal.

As a result of the unique symbiosis between Tibetan lamas and Mongol khans during centuries past, Tibetan Buddhism had converts spread across the Mongolian steppes of Central Asia. Some of these Mongolians, being a nomadic people, had wandered far with their adopted religion. By the early seventeenth century, one such band had settled in the Kalmykia region of Russia just north of the Caspian Sea.

Blavatsky's family was aristocratic. Her mother was Helena Andreyevna von Hahn (Russian: Елена Андреевна Ган, 1814–1842; née Fadeyeva), a self-educated 17-year-old who herself was the daughter of Princess Yelena Pavlovna Dolgorukaya, a similarly self-educated aristocrat. Blavatsky's father was Pyotr Alexeyevich von Hahn (Russian: Пётр Алексеевич Ган, 1798–1873), a descendant of the German von Hahn aristocratic family, who served as a captain in the Russian Royal Horse Artillery, and would later rise to the rank of colonel. Pyotr had not been present at his daughter's birth, having been in Poland fighting to suppress the November Uprising against Russian rule, and first saw her when she was six months old. As well as her Russian and German ancestry, Blavatsky could also claim French heritage, for a great-great grandfather had been a French Huguenot nobleman who had fled to Russia to escape persecution, there serving in the court of Catherine the Great.

As a result of Pyotr's career, the family frequently moved to different parts of the Empire, accompanied by their servants, a mobile childhood that may have influenced Blavatsky's largely nomadic lifestyle in later life. A year after Pyotr's arrival in Yekaterinoslav, the family relocated to the nearby army town of Romankovo. When Blavatsky was two years old, her younger brother, Sasha, died in another army town when no medical help could be found. In 1835, mother and daughter moved to Odessa, where Blavatsky's maternal grandfather Andrei Fadeyev, a civil administrator for the imperial authorities, had recently been posted. It was in this city that Blavatsky's sister Vera Petrovna was born.

After a return to rural Ukraine, Pyotr was posted to Saint Petersburg, where the family moved in 1836. Blavatsky's mother liked the city, there establishing her own literary career, penning novels under the pseudonym of "Zenaida R-va" and translating the works of the English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton for Russian publication. When Pyotr returned to Ukraine circa 1837, she remained in the city.[22] After Fadeyev was assigned to become a trustee for the Kalmyk people of Central Asia, Blavatsky and her mother accompanied him to Astrakhan, where they befriended a Kalmyk leader, Tumen. The Kalmyks were practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, and it was here that Blavatsky gained her first experience with the religion.

-- Helena Blavatsky, by Wikipedia

Geshe Wangyal, the CIA's Mongolian translator. (Courtesy Joshua Culter)

As an ethnic and religious anomaly, the Mongolians were initially ignored by their host country. By the early twentieth century, however, their mastery of Tibetan Buddhism eventually brought them to the attention of the Russian czars. Looking to outwit the British in the great game of colonial competition, the Russians sought to use a particularly gifted Mongolian monk named Agvan Dorzhiev to court favor with Lhasa.

The task proved deceptively easy. A true scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, Dorzhiev (who hailed from a displaced Mongolian clan in Siberia) not only won an introduction to the thirteenth Dalai Lama but also was retained as a palace tutor and confidant for ten years. Through this inside connection, the relationship between Tibet and Russia had the makings of a close alliance. In 1904, however, chances for this were dashed when the Dalai Lama briefly fled to Mongolia following a British incursion from India. Dorzhiev was dispatched to plead for emergency Russian support, but he returned with nothing more than moral encouragement. Having just been humiliated in the Russo-Japanese War, the czar had little time to spare for Tibet.

The Russians never had a chance to make amends. In 1917, the czar was overthrown by Bolshevik communists, and Russia became the Soviet Union. By that time, Dorzhiev had settled among his ethnic relatives in Kalmykia and opened a pair of monastic schools. Tibet never strayed far from his mind, however, and shortly after the Bolshevik revolution he personally selected several of his best pupils to continue their studies in Lhasa. Among them was a prodigy named Wangyal.

Born in 1901, Wangyal had started monastic life at age six. He was known for his ability to memorize several pages of Buddhist text in a single sitting, and he regularly excelled in class. Switching briefly to medical school, he again took top honors before reverting back to religious course work following the untimely death of his professor.

After being selected to study in Lhasa, Wangyal learned that he would be part of a larger expedition with ulterior motives. As the Bolsheviks still harbored the czarist desire to court Tibet, one of his co-travelers was a communist functionary who intended to offer Lhasa weapons as a sign of good faith. Having Moscow's obvious blessing did not ease the physical challenges of journeying to the Tibetan plateau. What was expected to take four months instead took fourteen and claimed the life of one apprentice in a blinding snowstorm.

Once in Lhasa, Wangyal enrolled at the prestigious Drepung Monastic University. Located on a high ridge eight kilometers west of the capital, Drepung had once been the largest monastery in the world (its population in the seventeenth century was a staggering 10,000 monks), Setting his sights high, the newly arrived Mongolian intended to become geshe (doctor of divinity) -- a title that can take up to thirty-five years of study to achieve.

Rigorous study was not Wangyal's only challenge. He ran short of finances and was forced to leave Lhasa in 1932 to seek funds at home. Planning to return by way of China, he got as far as Beijing before hearing stories of Soviet repression back in Kalmykia. This led him to look for an alternative source of financing in Beijing, and eventually he was able to earn a good living translating Tibetan texts.

By 1935, Wangyal had amassed enough cash and headed back toward Tibet via India. Making his way to Calcutta, he had a chance meeting with Sir Charles Bell, a senior British colonial official and noted Tibetan scholar who, ironically, had earlier displaced Agvan Dorzhiev as the closest foreign confidant of the thirteenth Dalai Lama. Given his linguistic skills -- Chinese, Mongolian, Tibetan, and a smattering of English -- Wangyal was hired as Bell's translator during an extended tour of China and Manchuria.

Following these exhaustive travels -- including a four-month visit to England -- Wangyal finally made it to Lhasa. There he earned his geshe degree after just nine years of study. Though this was an impressive scholastic accomplishment, he found himself under a cloud of suspicion. His foreign heritage, coupled with extended time spent in China and service to the British, did not sit well among the xenophobes of the Tibetan court.

Not fully welcome in the homeland of his religion, Geshe Wangyal limited his time in Lhasa to the summer months. Winters were spent in Kalimpong, where he displayed pronounced entrepreneurial skills as a trader. Although this was financially rewarding, he yearned to open his own religious school. Stonewalled in Tibet, he instead targeted Beijing -- only to cancel those plans when the communists came to power in 1949. Figuring that he would give Tibet a second chance, he again ventured to Lhasa but was forced to flee upon hearing that the PLA was approaching the Tibetan capital in late 1951. ]

Back in Kalimpong, Geshe Wangyal grew restless. China, Tibet, Mongolia, and his native Kalmykia were all under communist occupation, but wasting away the months in tiny Kalimpong lacked both mental and spiritual stimulation.

There was one attractive alternative, however. In late 1951, the United States accepted 800 Kalmyk Mongolians who had been languishing in refugee camps since the end of World War II. These refugees were drawn from two waves that had fled the Soviet Union during the preceding decades. The first had departed Kalmykia shortly after the Bolshevik revolution; the second left in late 1943 after Joseph Stalin adopted a ruthless line against minorities and started deporting the Mongolians to Siberia aboard cattle cars. Once in the United States, the older wave of emigres settled around Philadelphia. The newer ones -- no more than seventy families -- established a small but vibrant community near Freewood Acres, New Jersey.

Hearing of this, Geshe Wangyal contemplated a move to the United States. His first several visa applications were rejected, and it was not until mid-1954, following introductions by a British acquaintance, that the U.S. vice consul in Calcutta processed his papers with a favorable recommendation.

Arriving on American soil in February 1955, Geshe Wangyal found that word of his religious accomplishments in Tibet had already made him famous among his fellow Kalmyk Mongolians. With an instant audience, he opened a modest temple in a converted New Jersey garage.

Geshe Wangal's fame was not limited to his ethnic home crowd. As the first (and to that time, only) qualified scholar of Tibetan Buddhism in the United States, he soon came in contact with Norbu, who at the time was also living in New Jersey and teaching Tibetan at Columbia University. Out of mutual respect between geshe and incarnation, Norbu was given an honorary chair at the New Jersey temple.

The two cooperated in another way as well. Following Norbu's lead, Geshe Wangyal began teaching languages -- first Mongolian, then Tibetan -- at Columbia University in 1956. Having dissected Tibetan grammar during years of poring over Buddhist texts, he had a particularly deep appreciation for its written form. His extended time as Bell's interpreter had left him with reasonably good English skills. The U.S. government, for one, found his linguistic talents more than adequate: among his first Tibetan students at Columbia were two from the U.S. Army.

Given this background, Geshe Wangyal was the perfect choice to instruct the Khampas about their own language. Having already been indirectly exposed to the U.S. government while teaching the army students -- and after being informed that Norbu was already involved -- the monk offered his cooperation and was soon en route to Saipan.

-- The CIA's Secret War in Tibet, by Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison

Robert Thurman
Thurman in 2014
Born: Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman, August 3, 1941 (age 78), New York City, U.S.
Other names Bob Thurman, Alexander Thurman, Alecsander Thermen
Alma mater: Phillips Exeter Academy (1958); Harvard University (B.A., M.A., Ph.D.)
Spouse(s): Marie-Christophe de Menil (m. 1960; div. 1961); Nena von Schlebrügge (m. 1967)
Children: 5, including Uma Thurman
Scientific career
Fields: Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies
Institutions: Columbia University
Doctoral advisor: Daniel H.H. Ingalls, Sr.
Doctoral students: Christian K. Wedemeyer

Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman (born August 3, 1941) is an American Buddhist author and academic who has written, edited, and translated several books on Tibetan Buddhism. He is the father of actress Uma Thurman. He was the Je Tsongkhapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, before retiring in June of 2019.[1] "Robert Thurman held the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West."[1] He also is the co-founder and president of the Tibet House US New York. He translated the Vimalakirti Sutra from the Tibetan Kanjur into English.

He is the recipient of India's highly prestigious award Padma Shri 2020 for his work in the field of literature and education.[2][3]

Early life

Thurman was born in New York City, the son of Elizabeth Dean Farrar (1907–1973), a stage actress, and Beverly Reid Thurman, Jr. (1909–1962), an Associated Press editor and U.N. translator (French and English).[4] He is of English, German, Scottish, and Irish descent.[4] His brother, John Thurman, is a professional concert cellist who performs with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy from 1954 to 1958, followed by Harvard University, where he obtained his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.[5]

In 1959, at age 18, he married Marie-Christophe de Menil, daughter of Dominique de Menil and John de Menil and heiress to the Schlumberger Limited oil-equipment fortune.[5][6] In 1961 Thurman lost his left eye in an accident while he was using a jack to lift an automobile, and the eye was replaced with an ocular prosthetic.[7]


After the accident Thurman decided to refocus his life, divorcing de Menil and traveling from 1961 to 1966 in Turkey, Iran and India.[5][8] In India he taught English to exiled tulkus (reincarnated Tibetan lamas).[5] After his father's death in 1962, Thurman came back to the United States and in New Jersey met Geshe Wangyal, a Buddhist monk from Mongolia who became his guru.[5] Thurman became a Buddhist and went back to India where, due to Wangyal's introduction, Thurman studied with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.[8][9] Thurman was ordained by the Dalai Lama in 1965, the first American Buddhist monk of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition,[10] and the two became close friends.[9][11]

In 1967, Thurman returned to the United States and renounced his monk status (which required celibacy) to marry his second wife, German-Swedish model and psychotherapist Nena von Schlebrügge, who was divorced from Timothy Leary.[8] Thurman obtained an M.A in 1969 and a Ph.D. in Sanskrit Indian Studies in 1972 from Harvard. He was professor of religion at Amherst College from 1973 to 1988, when he accepted a position at Columbia University as professor of religion and Sanskrit.[5] At Amherst College Thurman met his lifelong friend Prof. Lal Mani Joshi, a distinguished Indian Buddhist scholar.

In 1986, Thurman created Tibet House US with Nena von Schlebrügge, Richard Gere and Philip Glass at the request of the Dalai Lama.[12] Tibet House US is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help preserve Tibetan Culture in exile. In 2001, the Pathwork Center, a 320-acre (1.3 km2) retreat center on Panther Mountain in Phoenicia, New York, was donated to Tibet House US. Thurman and von Schlebrügge renamed the center Menla Retreat and Dewa Spa. Menla (the Tibetan name for the Medicine Buddha) was developed into a state-of-the-art healing arts center grounded in the Tibetan Medical tradition in conjunction with other holistic paradigms.[13]

Personal life

Robert Thurman 14 Jan 2006

Twice married, Robert Thurman is the father of five children and grandfather to eight grandchildren. With Marie-Christophe de Menil, he has one daughter, Taya; their grandson was the late artist Dash Snow.[5] He also has a great-granddaughter through his late grandson.[14] Robert and Nena Thurman have four children, including Ganden, who is Executive Director of Tibet House US, actress Uma Thurman, Dechen, and Mipam.[8][15] Robert and Nena's children grew up in Woodstock, NY, where the Thurmans had bought nine acres of land with a small inheritance Nena had received. The Thurmans built their own house there.[15]


Thurman is known for translations and explanations of Buddhist religious and philosophical material, particularly that pertaining to the Gelugpa (dge-lugs-pa) school of Tibetan Buddhism and its founder, Je Tsongkhapa.[8]

Public reception

Time named Thurman one of the 25 most influential Americans of 1997.[16] In 2003 he received the Light of Truth Award, a human rights award from the International Campaign for Tibet. New York Magazine named him as one of the "Influentials" in religion in 2006.[17]

Thurman is considered a pioneering, creative and talented translator of Buddhist literature by many of his English-speaking peers. Speaking of Thurman's translation of Tsongkhapa's Essence of Eloquence (Legs bshad snying po), Matthew Kapstein (professor at the University of Chicago and Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris) has written that, "The Essence of Eloquence is famed in learned Tibetan circles as a text of unparalleled difficulty. ... To have translated it into English at all must be reckoned an intellectual accomplishment of a very high order. To have translated it to all intents and purposes correctly is a staggering achievement."[18] Similarly, prominent Buddhologist Jan Nattier has praised the style of Thurman's translation of the Vimalakīrti Sūtra, praising it as among the very best of translations of that important Indian Buddhist scripture.[19]

Selected publications

• The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: A Mahayana Scripture, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000, ISBN 9780271012094
• The Central Philosophy of Tibet: A Study and Translation of Jey Tsong Khapa's Essence of True Eloquence, Princeton University Press, 1991 ISBN 9780691020679
• The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Natural Liberation Through Understanding in the Between Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1994 (translations in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Russian) ISBN 9780553370904
• Essential Tibetan Buddhism, Castle Books, 1995 ISBN 9780062510518
• Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, with Marilyn Rhie Abrams, 1996 ISBN 0810939851
• Mandala: The Architecture of Enlightenment,with Denise P. Leidy, Shambhala Publications, 1997 ISBN 9780500280188, ISBN 978-0500280188
• World of Transformation: Masterpieces of Tibetan Sacred Art in the Donald Rubin Collection, with Marilyn Rhie, Tibet House US/Abrams, 1999 ISBN 9780810963870
• Inner Revolution: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Real Happiness, Penguin, 1999 ISBN 9781573227193
• Circling the Sacred Mountain: A Spiritual Adventure Through the Himalayas with Tad Wise, Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1999 ISBN 9780553103465
• Infinite Life: Seven Virtues for Living Well, Riverhead Books, 2004, ISBN 9781594480690
• The Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature (with Lozang Jamspal, et al.), Columbia University Press, 2005 ISBN 9780975373408
• The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism, Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2005 ISBN 9780743257633
• Visions of Tibet: Outer, Inner, Secret, photographs by Brian Kistler, introduction by Robert Thurman, ed. Thomas Yarnell, Overlook Duckworth, 2005, ISBN 978-1585677412
• Anger: of the Seven Deadly Sins, Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 9780195169751
• Life and Teachings of Tsongkhapa, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 2006, ISBN 9788186470442
• Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet and the World, Atria Books/Beyond Words, 2008, ISBN 9781582702209
• A Shrine for Tibet: The Alice Kandell Collection with Marylin Rhie, Overlook, 2010 ISBN 9780967011578, ISBN 978-1590203101
• Tsong Khapa’s Extremely Brilliant Lamp, Robert Thurman, 2010, ISBN 978-1-935011-00-2
• Brilliant Illumination of the Lamp of the Five Stages, Columbia University Press, 2011, ISBN 9781935011002
• Love Your Enemies: How To Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier with Sharon Salzberg, Hay House, 2013 ISBN 9781401928148
• My Appeal to the World, 14th Dalai Lama, Sofia Stril-Rever, compiler, Robert Thurman, foreword, Tibet House US, Hay House, 2015, ISBN 978-0967011561
• Man of Peace: The Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet, graphic novel, William Meyers, Robert Thurman, Michael G. Burbank, initiated artistically by Rabkar Wangchuk, art a team effort of five artists coordinated by Steve Buccellato and Michael Burbank, Tibet House US, ISBN 978-1941312032
• The Treasury of Buddhist Sciences, series, editors, Robert Thurman, Thomas Yarnall and The Treasury of Indic Sciences, series, editors Robert Thurman, Gary Tubb and Thomas Yarnall, are copublished with the American institute of Buddhist Studies and the Columbia University Center for Buddhist Studies; distributed by the Columbia University Press:


1. "Robert A. F. Thurman | Department of Religion". Columbia University. 2019-12-21. Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-10. Robert Thurman held the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West, , the Jey Tsong Khapa Chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies (...)
2. "Padma Awards 2020 Announced".
3. Desk, The Hindu Net (26 January 2020). "Full list of 2020 Padma awardees". The Hindu.
4. "Ancestry of Uma Thurman".
5. Binelli, Mark (1 August 2013). "Robert Thurman, Buddha's Power Broker". Men's Journal.
6. Foege, Alec (13 July 1998). "Guiding Light". People. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
7. Roberts, John B.; Roberts, Elizabeth A. (2009), "Freeing Tibet: 50 years of struggle, resilience, and hope", AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn: 160, ISBN 978-0-8144-0983-1, retrieved 2011-09-19
8. Kamenetz, Rodger (5 May 1996). "Robert Thurman Doesn't Look Buddhist". The New York Times Magazine.
9. Valpy, Michael (1 September 2006). "Bob Thurman's Cool Revolution". Lion's Roar.
10. Kamenetz, Rodger (May 5, 1996). "Robert Thurman Doesn't Look Buddhist". New York Times. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
11. "Why We Need Monasticism". Lion's Roar. 1 June 2010.
12. Hoban, Phoebe (15 March 1998). "Thurmans All Come Out to Play". The New York Times.
13. Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman. Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2007.
14. Feuer, Alan; Salkin, Allen (24 July 2009). "Terrible End for an Enfant Terrible". The New York Times.
15. Green, Penelope (20 May 2017). "50 Years of Marriage and Mindfulness With Nena and Robert Thurman". The New York Times.
16. Time's 25 most influential Americans. Time, 21 April 1997
17. Heilemann, John (May 15, 2006). "The Influentials: Religion". New York Magazine. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
18. "Review of Robert Thurman, Tsong Khapa's Speech of Gold in the Essence of True Eloquence in Philosophy East and West XXXVI.2 (1986): 184
19. “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti (Vimalakīrtinirdeśa): A Review of Four English Translations” by Jan Nattier in Buddhist Literature 2 (2000), pg. 234-258

External links

• Official website
• Tibet House Thurman Biography
• Tibet House, New York City
• First 30 Years of Tibet House film
• Tibet House US Channel
• Menla Retreat, Resort and Spa in upstate New York, the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, Spiritual Directors
• Sharon Salzberg + Robert Thurman, Meeting Our Enemies and Our Suffering, On Being with Krista Tippett unedited interview
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Carl Jung, Stanislav Grof, and New Age Medical Mysticism
by E. Patrick Curry
Center for Inquiry: The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine
Originally published in SRAM Vol. 6, No. 2
Spring 2002

Magic relates to the hidden part of the psyche. It might be called the science of exploring man’s hidden powers. . . . It is the recognition of this reality that is the basis of the psychology of Jung.

-- Colin Wilson, The Occult: A History1

Depth psychology . . . in the last 20 or 30 years has evolved into transpersonal psychology and archetypal psychology . . . through people like Jung and Grof, there has been a real awakening to the spiritual dimensions of the human psyche.

-- Richard Tarnas, interview in Towards a New World View: Conversations at the Leading Edge2

The most neglected area in critiques of New Age mysticism and mind-body alternative medicine is the influence of Carl Jung’s model of the mind. Since the early 1970s Jungianism has helped transform the Human Potential Movement of the 1960s into today’s New Age, postmodernist, mystical, alternativehealing movement. More than any other single figure, Jung has given an appearance of scientific legitimacy to alternative medicine’s “irrational reformation”3,4 and its array of practices based on assumed intuitive access to a subconscious “realm of healing.”

Paranormal research of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) shows Jungian influence. All 3 codirectors of the original Mind-Body Panel of the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM), which established the direction of such research in the early 1990s,5 demonstrate features traceable to Jung.

Codirector Dr Larry Dossey, explicator of “distant healing,” reveals Jungian roots in his paranormal bestseller, Healing Words,6(pp81–82) where he praises Jung for discovering the “timeless psychic forces” buried in the unconscious. He credits his own conversion to mind-body medicine to codirector Jeanne Achterberg and her husband, Frank Lawlis.6(pp26–28) Codirector Achterberg, an expert in shamanism and guided imagery, is a past president of the Association of Transpersonal Psychology. She is a professor at the Jungian-oriented Saybrook Institute and director of research at the Transpersonal Psychology Institute. Achterberg’s version of guided imagery, pioneered by Carl and Stephanie Simonton, is based on Jung’s paranormal theory of the “active imagination.”7(chap10) Achterberg has trained Russian psychedelic therapists in guided imagery.8

The third codirector, Dr James S. Gordon,9 the first chair of OAM’s Program Advisory Council, considers his own entry into alternative medicine to be an example of Jungian “synchronicity.”10(p60) Gordon’s spiritual teacher, the Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh, criticized Freudian theory in terms very similar to Jung.11(p33) Gordon believed Jung to be the only psychoanalytic theorist to understand the “higher aims and aspirations” of humanistic psychology.11(p63) Gordon has been so influential that in July 2000, President Clinton appointed him chairman of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy (WHCCAMP).12


To locate Jung relative to the other main 20th-century currents of psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy, one must first identify and understand concepts of depth psychology. Sigmund Freud located neurosis in unresolved conflicts from early childhood sexuality. The Freudian-oriented analyst probes the “depths” of early childhood emotional memory and creates a therapeutic relationship intended to eventually resolve conflicts. Dominant from the 1920s through the 1970s, Freudian depth theory, in the wake of dramatic progress in pharmaceutical treatments for many psychological disorders, has been effectively criticized as being nonempirically based pseudoscience.

Freud’s apostate disciple Otto Rank postulated a second layer of depth beyond the Freudian model. Rank believed that the birth experience had profound psychological effects upon the child, and that in therapy, a therapist could guide or regress a patient to the point of birth in order to reexperience and resolve what he called the birth trauma. Psychiatrist Arthur Janov is a modern proponent of this type of therapy. Therapists using Janov’s Primal Scream believe that they can regress patients to reenactments of primal (birth) traumas, even claiming that the birthing obstetrician’s fingerprints can occasionally be made to reappear on a patient’s body.13(p319) Rebirthing, the procedure that in spring 2000 resulted in the smothering death of a Colorado girl wrapped in a blanket to simulate the womb, is a variant of Janov’s therapy.14

One can easily dismiss Freud, Rank, and Janov as pseudoscientists. However, since they located mind within the material, physical development of the brain, they were not spiritualists. Freud’s most famous apostate disciple, Carl Jung, a true prophet of the New Age, pioneered the exploration of a third layer of depth—a spiritual layer of mind—that he believed was based in realities beyond the brain.


Jung kept going “deeper,” formulating the idea that mental health, while affected by birth and sexuality, was rooted in the ego’s relationship to the collective unconscious, which pushes beyond the bounds of the individual physical brain. The unconscious became almost identical to the Theosophical spiritualism with which Jung had dabbled as a youth.15(chap2)

Jung’s collective unconscious is a murky concept. When thinking more scientifically, he described it as racially or genetically inherited memory, using the language of Darwin’s German follower Ernst Haeckel (ontology recapitulates phylogeny), who believed that all human evolutionary memory was encapsulated in genetic material. Jung thought ordinary memory and dreams were aspects of this unconscious.16(chap3) Jung first called his discovery the racial unconscious until, in his haste to distance himself from Nazism, a movement to which he had initially been sympathetic, he renamed this mystical substrate the collective unconscious.

Jung then moved beyond late-19th-century speculations on racial memory transmission, and interpreted the collective unconscious as a spiritual realm that patients could access by using therapeutic dream interpretation, active imagination, and forceful persuasion. Jung compiled a vast literature on world symbology, believing that every race or culture had a symbolic language, called archetypes or archetypal, representing expressions of the collective unconscious. Dream interpretations used by therapists trained to identify, interpret and manipulate archetypes became a favored way of accessing the collective unconscious.

Two recent biographies have shed light on both Jung’s long-standing paranormal beliefs and the cultic nature of his inner circle.17,18 Authors Frank McLynn and Ronald Hayman both agree with noted Jung critic Richard Noll that Jung had a psychotic episode in 1913 in which he believed he had been deified under the guidance of an ancient “spirit guide” named Philemon. Jung believed that he had conjured up Philemon from the collective unconscious through his own active imagination. After this resolution of this psychotic episode, Jung became increasingly committed to a spiritual interpretation of the collective unconscious.

Princeton University Press, the publisher of most of Jung’s writings, has provided 2 useful volumes of Jung’s writings on paranormal topics19 and on the active imagination. The influence of Jung’s method of dealing with psychosis is illustrated by this quotation from the editor of the second volume:

Jung’s analytic method is based on the natural healing function of the imagination. . . . All the creative art psychotherapies (art, dance, music, drama, poetry) as well as Sandplay can trace their roots to Jung’s early contribution.20(p1)

To Jung, psychology also explained biological disease. He believed that cancer was caused by frustrated creative development. If a person’s inner process of psychological growth were delayed, terminal cancer might result.17(p38) He also believed that his psychotherapy, through constellation of the synchronicity archetype, could produce spontaneous healing.17(p519)

The Jungian therapist’s task is to integrate the subject’s ego with the creative, healthy source of the collective unconscious through the evocation of symbolic archetypes. The ego, and therefore rationality itself, must be suppressed in order to allow the intuitive collective unconscious to assert itself.

By the end of his life, Jung was so immersed in spiritualistic and paranormal thinking that he refused to fly in jet planes, believing that their speed would outrace his soul. He elaborated on his theory of Synchronicity. He proclaimed that meaningful coincidences were non-causally arranged by the collective unconscious. He speculated that UFO sightings might herald the advent of the Age of Aquarius. Wolfgang Pauli, a Nobel Prize–winning physicist who was also an early pioneer of quantum mysticism, helped Jung develop his theory of Synchronicity.17(chap25) Pauli had been a patient of Jung’s since 1933.18(pp326–330)

By the late 1950s, Carl Jung and his followers had begun exploring the use of the newly discovered psychedelic drug LSD as a tool to reduce rational faculties so that the mind would be open to the archetypes of the collective unconscious.17(pp518–519) While Jung was concerned about the dangers of LSD triggering uncontrollable psychosis, in the last weeks before his death on June 6, 1961, he was still praising the use of LSD as a therapeutic tool.18(p449)


The postmodernist belief in multiple ways of knowing is consistent with the Jungian concept that each culture, each race, has its symbolic path to truth. Some of these symbols overlap; some are universal, others are not. Postmodernist relativism is consistent with the Jungian perspective of the many ways of access to the collective unconscious. The concept is seen in the New Age ways: the Way of the Shaman, the Way of the Healer, the Way of Psychedelics.

New Age concepts, paranormal claims, and Jungianism are looked to by spiritualists and psychotherapists alike for validation. Psychedelic therapists believe that psychedelics, especially LSD, are an efficient means of accessing and activating the collective unconscious. In recent years New Age Jungian theorists, such as psychiatrist Stanislav Grof and parapsychologist Stanley Krippner, have also endorsed the use of MDMA (Ecstasy) to achieve the same purpose.

The same concepts are increasingly found in standard texts and references and manifested in people in important policy-making positions. Krippner recently joined fellow Jungian and Saybook Institute faculty member Jeanne Achterberg in writing a proparanormal chapter on anomalous healing experiences in a book published by the American Psychological Association (APA).21 The book also contains a discussion of the LSD mysticism theories of Stanislav Grof as well as a chapter on psi-related experiences by Elisabeth Targ and Marilyn Schlitz. Schlitz, research director of the paranormal Institute of Noetic Sciences, was appointed scientific advisor to the WHCCAMP. Krippner, who coedited the APA book, wrote a seminal paranormal medicine book, The Realms of Healing, in 1976.22

While most official Jungian therapists restricted their depth probing to dream interpretation and interviewing, by the 1950s and 1960s there was increased interest among some in finding more efficient methods and new classes of psychedelics to access the collective unconscious. Jung was a great friend of Duke Parapsychology Laboratory ESP researcher J. B. Rhine. The paranormal community, which intersected the Jungians, sponsored conferences as early as the 1950s discussing whether psychedelic drugs enhanced paranormal powers.


A famous American Jungian, Ira Progoff, was a participant in one such conference.23 His books, The Death and Rebirth of Psychology and Depth Psychology and Modern Man, were influential in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. Doctors at Johns Hopkins and the Menniger Clinic praised them and they received favorable reviews in the New York Times Book Review. Progoff is known for his technique of “journaling,” using daily journal writing to reinforce Jungian therapeutic breakthroughs. The Jungian mechanism is described in his 1973 book, Jung, Synchronicity and Human Destiny: Non-Causal Dimensions of Human Experience.24 While not explicitly mentioning psychedelics, this book opens a window into how Jungians think. Progoff maintained that many events are “noncausal.” He embraced Jung’s paranormal concept of Synchronicity, a scientific-sounding word explaining “meaningful coincidence.” A meaningful coincidence occurs when the collective unconscious arranges—or, rather, synchronizes—significant events into one’s life. One of his chapters is titled “The Synchronistic Ground of Parapsychic Events.”

Progoff’s description of Jungian therapy might concern ethical therapists because of its manipulation of vulnerable patients. Through unspecified methods, the therapist reduces the influence of the rational ego, something he and Jung call abaissement, using the French term meaning “lowering, falling, abatement, depression, humiliation, abasement.” With the ego defenses lowered, the therapist “activates” the powers of archetypal symbols, which, connecting to the “collective unconscious,” cause a “reconstellation” of the personality with “intuition” dominating thought. The Jungian term for this process is integration—therefore “the integrated personality” is in constant connection with the intuitive, creative font of the “collective unconscious.” This is the Jungian model of mental health.

Progoff’s book illustrates the links between conversion therapy and paranormal thought liberated from the rational ego. Progoff was only one of many Jungians and other “mind explorers” inside and outside academia who became influential in the 1960s.


From the late 1950s through, possibly, the early 1970s, the federal government was surreptitiously financing academic LSD research as part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s investigation of “brainwashing.”25 Under a barrage of criticism and scandals, LSD research was finally discontinued. American Medical Association president Roy Grinkler called for the elimination of psychedelic studies, saying that “at one time it was impossible to find an investigator willing to work with LSD-25 who was not himself an ‘addict.’ ”26(p91)

One LSD investigator, Stanislav Grof, left Czechoslovakia in early 1967 during a period of post-Stalin liberalization, having received a fellowship from the Foundation’s Fund for Research in Psychiatry at Yale University.* Grof, an early convert to LSD spiritualism through his own personal use,† had conducted multiple-session serial LSD therapy on psychiatric patients and terminal cancer patients at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague.27 (pp19–21)
A sympathetic account of this research is given in a book of Grof’s close friend, Jungian editor, scholar, and mystic Joseph Campbell:

“The patients,” states Dr. Grof, “spent hours in agonizing pain, gasping for breath with the color of their faces changing from dead pale to dark purple. They were rolling on the floor and discharging extreme tensions in muscular tremors, twitches and complex twisting movements. The pulse rate was frequently doubled, and it was threadlike; there was often nausea with occasional vomiting and excessive sweating. . . . Subjectively,” he continues, “these experiences were of a transpersonal nature—they had a much broader framework than the body and lifespan of a single individual. . . . The identification involved all suffering mankind, past, present and future.”28 (pp258–262)

Campbell believed that Grof ’s patients’ LSD-induced hallucinations contained mythological material that provided empirical evidence for the existence of Carl Jung’s collective unconscious.

Soon after his arrival in the United States in March 1967, Grof became involved the Maryland Psychiatric Institute’s LSD research at Spring Grove State Hospital near Baltimore. The research—the last clinical LSD research carried out in the United States—was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health.‡ Grof is best known for his research combining Jungian psychotherapy with LSD-invoked near-death experiences to treat anxiety in terminally ill cancer patients.

Walter Pahnke, a Harvard associate of Timothy Leary with degrees in medicine and theology, originally organized this experiment. After Dr Pahnke’s disappearance and presumed death, Grof assumed control of the research in 1971, using his then-wife, Joan Halifax, as archetypal therapist. Halifax had received her Jungian training with Joseph Campbell, her teacher and mentor at Sarah Lawrence College. Therapists and nurses underwent “psychedelic training sessions” themselves so that they could empathize with the “death and rebirth” experiences of the 100 patients enrolled in the research.27(pp31,130) Terminally ill cancer patients were given LSD to facilitate the intense Jungian therapy intended to treat their anxiety about death. Grof claimed great success, even bragging that he could convert a Jewish rabbi into a Zen Buddhist using this method. Given that the patients were all deceased within months, no study of the long-term consequences of this therapy was undertaken.

Grof and Halifax’s book about this research, The Human Encounter with Death (foreword by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross), was written after the Spring Grove research was shut down in 1974 and Grof became Scholar in Residence at the Esalen Institute.27(pxii) The Esalen Institute is generally considered a birthplace of the New Age movement.

Grof’s main interest in this research was in having the opportunity to explore in extremis what he calls “the cartography” of the mind. His aim was to probe the deepest strata of the mind, from the Freudian layer to the Rankian layer to the Jungian “transpersonal” layer, the level of the collective unconscious where he believed that the subject makes contact with the “spiritual” side—with cosmic consciousness. Grof describes at great length the terror and hallucinations of his patients experiencing “life/death struggles” on their way to spiritual peace. One example:

LSD subjects in this state experience powerful currents of energy streaming through their bodies and accumulation of enormous tensions alternating with explosive discharges. This is typically accompanied by images of raging elements of nature, apocalyptic war scenes . . . and vivid destructive and self-destructive experiences. These involve bestial murders, tortures of all kinds, mutilations, executions, rapes, and bloody sacrifices.27(p50)

Among Grof’s advisors and supporters in this “stress reduction” research were Joseph Campbell, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Margaret Mead,>** and Mead’s daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson. Mead’s former husband, Gregory Bateson—friend of both Grof and Dr James S. Gordon11(pvii)—was a founder of the Esalen Institute, Grof’s base of operations after leaving academic LSD research.

Grof, his many prominent supporters, and the National Institutes of Health never questioned the ethics of using human subjects in this type of research.


Grof represents the apex of New Age Jungianism—a parapsychological experimenter willing to use extreme methods to “transform” subjects into spiritual beings like himself. Grof’s magnum opus is his book Beyond the Brain: Birth, Transformation and Transcendence in Psychotherapy, published in 1985 by the State University of New York Press as part of its Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology.†† In this book—based on his experience in supervising more than 3000 LSD sessions— Grof outlines all the psychological “depths,” cataloging them as a series of 4 “Basic Perinatal Matrices” (BPM) from prenatal (or preconception) to birth itself. The moment of birth, at BPM IV, is typified by feelings of “total annihilation” changing to “light of supernatural radiance and beauty.”29(p123) At BPM III, the life-death movement through the birth canal, patients report “crushing mechanical pressures . . . anoxia and suffocation.”29(p116) BPM II, the preparation for birthing, is typified by fear of “cosmic engulfment.”29(p111)

At the deepest BPM I level, where “transpersonal” cosmic consciousness is accessed, Grof claims his subjects share “the consciousness of animals, plants, or inanimate objects . . . of all creation, of the entire planet, or of the entire universe.”29(p42) At this level, he discerns “transpersonal experiences” involving “telepathy, psychic diagnosis, clairvoyance, clairaudience, precognition, psychometry, out-of-body experiences, traveling clairvoyance, and other paranormal phenomena.”29(p44)

Documenting his research are paintings of the oftengrotesque visions of LSD-hallucinating patients that are interpreted according to Jungian symbology and/or Rankian theory. He gives credit to Freud, Rank, Jung, Wilhelm Reich, and Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard. He describes how these phenomena—especially what Grof calls his theory of the Holotropic Universe—can be explained by the New Physics.

Grof claims that his “altered states” therapy can radically alter the belief structure of his patients away from a standard scientific worldview. He states:

After the individual has been confronted with a considerable sample of transpersonal experiences, the Newtonian-Cartesian world view becomes untenable as a serious philosophical concept. . . . At this point, the mystical alternatives appear to be much more appropriate and reasonable.29(p50)

Thus, Grof’s psychotherapy is used to undermine a patient’s belief in the modernist view of science. The achievement of a mystical worldview is Stanislav Grof’s measure of mental health.

A number of persons involved in Grof’s original Spring Grove research have become important “alternative” medicine figures. Grof’s former wife, Joan Halifax, with whom he wrote The Human Encounter with Death, had a major nervous breakdown due to LSD usage while still married to him.30 She is now a Buddhist teacher Roshi, teaching New Age geriatrics from her Upaya Institute in New Mexico.31 At Upaya, Halifax organizes “Being with Dying” seminars with former OAM Mind-Body Panel leaders Larry Dossey and Jean Achterberg. They train health professionals in spiritualistic geriatrics.32 Ram Dass (formerly psychology professor Richard Alpert), Timothy Leary’s former collaborator at Harvard, shares her involvement with the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Halifax was invited to give the Harold Witt lecture at Harvard Divinity School, following the path of another Jungian LSD researcher, Jean Houston, to prominence on the Harvard Divinity School stage.

Another alumna of Spring Grove is the pioneer of paranormal music therapy Helen Bonny,27(p33) who prepared the music to accompany the LSD sessions.33 Bonny found “alternative” medicine success through advocating the paranormal healing powers of music. The Bonny Method has been used to help access not only prior, but future lives.34 Helen Bonny is a founder of the World Congress of Music Therapy and developer of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), which purports to “to integrate mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of well-being, as well as awaken to a greater transcendent identification.”35

Even in his first book on the Spring Grove research, Grof portrayed his therapy as affecting the human body as well as the mind. He claimed that his research unearthed evidence that LSD therapy strengthens the body’s resistance to cancer. The claim supports another tangent of Jungian theory, the “visualization therapy” of Carl and Stephanie Simonton. The Simontons—supported by OAM advisor Jeanne Achterberg—claimed that emotional blockages cause cancer.27(p109) A wing of the burgeoning field of psychoneuroimmunology currently supports the Simonton approach.

Grof was Scholar in Residence at the Esalen Institute from 1972 until the early 1990s, where he collaborated with a variety of mystics, healers, psychotherapists, and parapsychologists, including “remote viewer” Russell Targ and his daughter, Elisabeth.36(pp105–110) There he taught hundreds of Esalen students LSD and MDMA therapy and Holotropic Breathwork. The latter, an apparently legal yet dangerous method, attempts to produce hallucinatory altered states through severe cerebral hypoxia by reducing oxygen to the cortex of the brain.37 Grof’s influence today is seen in “rebirthing” science, parapsychology, “alternative” medicine, and the New Consciousness movement. He and Arthur Janov are considered by the Primal Psychotherapy movement to be the most significant living birth trauma theorists.

Grof is considered the central founder of the mystically oriented Transpersonal Psychology Movement, which has spun off several educational institutions producing “spiritual” psychotherapists.‡‡ In the late 1960s Grof joined Abraham Maslow in founding the Association for Transpersonal Psychology. In 1978 he and Esalen founders Michael Murphy and Richard Price launched the International Transpersonal Association.29(ppxvi–xvii)

In November 2001 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved research proposals for MDMA (Ecstasy) treatment based on Grof’s LSD research protocols, combined with Grof’s Holotropic Breathwork, as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder.38 On July 10, 2002, an independent Institutional Review Board approved the research, involving 20 assault victims, after its proponents failed in their attempt to gain sponsorship from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The principal investigator will be MUSC clinical assistant professor of psychiatry Dr Michael Mithoefer, a Grof-trained Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. A second FDA-approved study, using psilocybin as a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, is currently in progress at the University of Arizona. In this case, the research staff themselves are undergoing Holotropic Breathwork therapy in order to empathize with the altered states of their subjects.38

All of this research is organized by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research Studies (MAPS),38 whose president, Rick Doblin, is a longtime user of both LSD and Ecstasy. Doblin was first introduced to Ecstasy therapy by Grof at Esalen Institute sessions in the early 1980s.

Richard Yensen, Grof’s former research colleague, is seeking FDA approval to resume the 1960s LSD research. Grof himself continues to be at the center of an underground LSD therapy movement consisting of hundreds of illegal practitioners. The Secret Chief, a book describing this movement with a prologue by Grof, is available on the Web site of MAPS.39

Popular “alternative” psychologies have shifted from the materialist-based hypothetical proposals of Freud to the paranormal spirituality of Jung and his followers. This is the terrain of New Age psychotherapy and much of mind-body medicine today. Numerous leaders of “alternative” medicine—from Norman Shealy,40 founder of the American Holistic Medical Association, to Andrew Weil—are educated by or associated with the transpersonal psychology movement.


What makes Jungianism so influential? Two reasons come to mind. First, Jungian method and its variants make people more irrational, with the therapist or therapeutic circle having suggestive influence over the subject. The model values intuition over rational objectivity. The addition of psychedelics or other severe consciousness-altering methods amplifies this effect.

Second and equally important, because of Jung’s pop reputation as a psychotherapeutic scientist, equal to or surpassing Freud, his collective unconscious provides a pseudoscientific rationale for a variety of speculative claims. The placebo effect, distant healing, homeopathy, bioenergetics, intuitive diagnostics, paranormal guided imagery, Q’i Gong, and Therapeutic Touch energies can all be attributed to Jungian-type unconscious and spiritual forces.

Science-oriented critics are frustrated by the lack of clear mechanism in mind-body spiritualism. However, to the Jungian mindset, spiritualism is mechanism and intuition is evidence. Research—to a Jungian—consists of manipulating the symbols of science in order to arrive at a result already intuitively known. When research does not confirm that result, the research must be wrong or improperly designed. The mechanism of assumed “spontaneous” healing is attributed to the spiritual realm of the collective unconsciousness, which the natural mind, freed from the restrictions of ego skepticism, can creatively access. This is what Andrew Weil writes in his book The Natural Mind. He praises psychedelic drugs and Carl Jung. He posits the Jungian-based theory that psychotics, whose natural minds are unimpeded by rational ego control, are the vanguard of evolution.41 Weil stated at a recent conference of the Association of Transpersonal Psychology that he credits the development of his own “natural mind” to LSD, and still occasionally uses LSD.42

One cannot attribute all of modern mind-body medicine and New Age concepts to Jungianism and the LSD mysticism and conversion therapy of Stanislav Grof. However, advocates of the ideology nest at the center of the mind-body mystical movement. The ideology features mind manipulation and drug-induced revelations, while it diminishes or “abases” rationality in the process. The New Age movement’s variations and permutations have created a large pool of dedicated followers, many of whom adhere to the Jungian model of the mind. They influence many in the federal government and in medicine who believe their claims and who seek an alternative, cheaper, and more spiritually based medicine. Pseudoscientific mind theories, psychedelics, disillusionment with contemporary society, formation of alternative communities, romantic wishes to return to “nature,” old-fashioned quackery, and a society that is focused on new economic opportunities all contribute to the popular confusion.


* In 1967 Robert Jay Lifton held the foundation’s Fund for Research in Psychiatry professorship at Yale. Lifton is the nation’s most prominent scholar of brainwashing theory and coercive persuasion. Lifton completed his classic study, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China, while a research associate at Harvard in 1961.

†Grof recounts his personal conversion from rationalism to mysticism under the influence of LSD in The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives. New York, NY: Harper/SanFrancisco; 1993: 14–17.

‡The Maryland Department of Mental Hygiene and the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation provided additional funding.27(pxi)

** Prominent skeptic Martin Gardner has written about Margaret Mead’s various paranormal interests and endeavors. In addition to supporting Russell Targ’s research on “remote viewing,” Mead, as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in 1969 convinced the AAAS board to admit J. B. Rhine’s Parapsychological Association as a member organization. Gardner M. The New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books; 1991: 19–24.

†† In 2000 SUNY Press published Grof’s latest book, Psychology of the Future: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research.

‡‡ Transpersonal Psychology institutions include Saybrook Graduate School, California Institute of Integral Studies, John F. Kennedy University, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Naropa Institute, the Association for Transpersonal Psychology (ATP), the International Association of Spiritual Psychiatry, the Council on Spiritual Practices (CSP), Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). Links to these sites along with other information is available at the Guide to the Transpersonal Internet Web site,


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9. Curry EP. Notes on James S. Gordon, MD, chair of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. Sci Rev Alt Med. 2001; 5(4): 229–231.
10. Gordon JS. Manifesto for a New Medicine. Reading, Mass: Perseus Books; 1996.
11. Gordon JS. The Golden Guru: The Strange Journey of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Lexington, Mass: Stephen Greene Press; 1987.
12. Gorski T. White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy: a membership directory. Sci Rev Alt Med. 2001; 5(4): 211–212. 213.
13. Janov A. The Biology of Love. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books; 2000.
14. Gardner M. Primal scream: a persistent New Age therapy. Skeptical Inquirer. 2001; 25(3): 17–19.
15. Noll R. The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung. New York, NY: Random House; 1997.
16. Noll R. The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster; 1994.
17. McLynn F. Carl Gustaf Jung. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press; 1997.
18. Hayman R. A Life of Jung. New York, NY: W. W. Norton; 1999.
19. Main R. Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1997.
20. Chodorow J. Jung on Active Imagination. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1997.
21. Cardena E, Lynn SJ, Krippner S. Varieties of Anomalous Experience. Washington DC: American Psychological Association; 2000.
22. Krippner S, Volloldo A. The Realms of Healing. Millbrae, Calif: Celestial Arts; 1976.
23. Parapsychology Foundation list of international conferences, Conference on Parapsychology and Psychedelics (1958). Available at: activities.conferences/intl.cfm. Accessed January 22, 2002.
24. Progoff I. Jung, Synchronicity and Human Destiny: Non-Causal Dimensions of Human Experience. New York, NY: Julian Press; 1973.
25. Marks J. The Search for the Manchurian Candidate. NewYork, NY: W. W. Norton; 1979.
26. Lee MA, Shlain B. Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond. New York, NY: Grove Press; 1992.
27. Grof S, Halifax J. The Human Encounter with Death. New York, NY: E. P. Dutton; 1977.
28. Campbell J. Myths to Live By: How We Recreate Legends in Our Daily Lives to Release Human Potential. New York, NY: Arkana; 1993.
29. Grof S. Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press; 1985.
30. Halifax J. A Buddhist Life in America: Simplicity in the Complex. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press; 1998. Available at: Accessed April 17, 1999.
31. Upaya Institute Web site,
32. The Project on Being with Dying. Available at: Accessed December 16, 1996.
33. Excerpts from Presentation by Helen Lindquist Bonny at the World Congress of Music Therapy Plenary Session, Panel of Founders, November 19, 1999, Washington, DC. Available at: html. Accessed January 28, 2002.
34. Association for Preand Perinatal Psychology and Health Web site, point.html. Accessed May 7, 1998.
35. The Bonney Method Web site, http://www.bonny Accessed January 28, 2002
36. Targ R, Harary K. The Mind Race: Understanding and Using Psychic Abilities. New York, NY: Balantine Books; 1985. 37.
37. The Association for Holotropic Breathwork International Web site, Accessed January 28, 2002.
38. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Web site, Accessed August 10, 2002.
39. Stolaroff M. The Secret Chief. Charlotte, NC: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies; 1997. Available at: http:// Accessed January 26, 2002.
40. Dr Norm Shealy’s Web site, Accessed January 28, 2002.
41. Relman A. A trip to Stonesville: Andrew Weil, the boom in alternative medicine and the retreat from science. New Republic, December 14, 1998. Available at: ... 21498.html. Accessed January 28, 2002.
42. The psychedelic vision at the turn of the millennium: discussion with Andrew Weil, M.D. Bulletin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. 1998; 8(1): 28–37. Available at: 08128wei.html. Accessed January 28, 2002.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:49 am

Moral Re-Armament
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/2/20

Moral Re-Armament
Successor Initiatives of Change
Founded 1938
Dissolved 2001
Key people
Frank Buchman, Peter Howard

Moral Re-Armament (MRA) was an international moral and spiritual movement that, in 1938, developed from American minister Frank Buchman's Oxford Group. Buchman headed MRA for 23 years until his death in 1961. In 2001, the movement was renamed Initiatives of Change.



In 1938, Europe was rearming militarily. Frank Buchman, who had been the driving force behind the Oxford Group, was convinced that military rearmament alone would not resolve the crisis. At a meeting of 3,000 in East Ham Town Hall, London, on 29 May 1938, he launched a campaign for Moral Re-Armament. "The crisis is fundamentally a moral one," he said. "The nations must re-arm morally. Moral recovery is essentially the forerunner of economic recovery. Moral recovery creates not crisis but confidence and unity in every phase of life."[1]

The phrase caught the mood of the time, and many public figures in Britain spoke and wrote in support. British tennis star H. W. Austin edited the book Moral Rearmament (The Battle for Peace), which sold half a million copies.[2]

There was a similar response in the United States. The Mayor of New York City declared 7-14 May to be "MRA week', and 14,000 people came to Madison Square Garden on 14 May for the public launch. Three weeks later Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. was the site of another launch, to which 240 British Members of Parliament sent a message of support.[3] And on 19 July 1939, 30,000 people attended the launch of Moral Re-Armament in the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles.[4]


Moral Re-Armament also became established in many countries of continental Europe, but it was suppressed in all the countries occupied by Nazi Germany. In Norway and elsewhere MRA leaders were imprisoned.[5] In 1945, during the Allied invasion of Europe a 126-page Gestapo report on Buchman, the Oxford Group and Moral Re-Armament was discovered. Die Oxfordgruppenbewegung denounces Dr Buchman and Moral Re-Armament for "uncompromisingly taking up a frontal position against National Socialism… It preaches revolution against the National State, and has quite evidently become its Christian opponent."[6]

In 1940, the novelist Daphne du Maurier published Come Wind, Come Weather, stories of ordinary Britons who had found hope and new life through MRA. She dedicated it to "Frank Buchman, whose initial vision made possible the world of the living characters in these stories," and added, "What they are doing up and down the country in helping men and women solve their problems, and prepare them for whatever lies ahead, will prove to be of national importance in the days to come." The book sold 650,000 copies in Britain alone.[7]

When war broke out, many of those active in the campaign for Moral Re-Armament joined the Allied forces. Others worked to heighten morale and overcome bottlenecks, particularly in war-related industries. Senator (later President) Harry Truman, Chair of the Senate's Truman Committee investigating war contracts, told a Washington press conference in 1943: "Suspicions, rivalries, apathy, greed lie behind most of the bottlenecks. This is where the Moral Re-Armament group comes in. Where others have stood back and criticised, they have rolled up their sleeves and gone to work. They have already achieved remarkable results in bringing teamwork into industry, on the principles not of 'who's right' but of 'what's right'."[8]

In Britain, about 30 MRA workers were exempted from military service to continue this work. But, when Ernest Bevin became Minister of Labour in 1940, he decided to conscript them. Over 2,500 clergy and ministers signed a petition opposing this, and 174 Members of Parliament put down a motion stating the same. Bevin made clear that he would resign from the Government if he was defeated, and the Government put a three-line whip upon its supporters. As a result, the Oxford Group workers were excluded from the Exemption from Military Service bill.

After the war

At the end of the war, the MRA workers returned to the task of establishing a lasting peace. In 1946, 50 Swiss families active in the work of MRA bought and restored a large, derelict hotel at Caux, Switzerland. This became a centre of European reconciliation, attended by thousands in the following years, including German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman.[9] Buchman was awarded the Croix de Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by the French Government, and also the German Grand Cross of the Order of Merit.[10] The historians Douglas Johnston and Cynthia Sampson described the work as an "important contribution to one of the greatest achievements in the entire record of modern statecraft: the astonishingly rapid Franco-German reconciliation after 1945."[11]

In Britain, hundreds donated money for the purchase of the Westminster Theatre in London, as a living memorial to the men and women of Moral Re-Armament who had died in war service. Many servicemen gave their gratuities.[12] For the next 50 years the Theatre presented a host of plays and musicals. One of the best-known was the pantomime Give a Dog a Bone, which ran every Christmas for many years, to the delight of thousands of children.

In France, the well-known philosopher Gabriel Marcel edited a book, Un Changement d'Espérance à la Rencontre du Réarmament Moral, which brings together the stories of a French socialist leader, a Brazilian docker, an African chief, a Buddhist abbot, a Canadian industrialist and many others who found a new approach through MRA.[13] The English edition, published by Longman, was titled Fresh Hope for the World.

MRA began holding conferences on Mackinac Island, Michigan, in 1942, first in a leased hotel and then at the island's Grand Hotel. By the early 1950s they acquired considerable land holdings on the island. Between 1954 and 1960 they constructed an extensive training center including a theatre and a soundstage. The soundstage was used for the production of motion pictures, including The Crowning Experience, Voice of the Hurricane, and Decision at Midnight.

In 1966, MRA deeded much of the property on the island to Mackinac College. Several new facilities, including a classroom building and a library were constructed. This independent and non-sectarian institution of higher education operated from 1966 until 1970. It developed programs in statesmanship and leadership, as well as more traditional curricula.

Global spread

In the 1950s and 1960s, MRA's work expanded across the globe. Buchman was a pioneer in multi-faith initiatives. As he said, "MRA is the good road of an ideology inspired by God upon which all can unite. Catholic, Jew and Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Confucianist – all find they can change, where needed, and they can travel along this good road together.".[14]

These ideas appealed to many in the African and Asian countries which were then moving towards independence from colonial rule. Leaders of these independence struggles have paid tribute to MRA for helping to bring about unity between groups in conflict, and for helping to ease the transition to independence. In 1956 King Mohammed V of Morocco sent a message to Buchman: "I thank you for all you have done for Morocco in the course of these last testing years. Moral Re-Armament must become for us Muslims as much an incentive as it is for you Christians and for all nations."[15] In 1953, Kim Beazley Sr. the future Minister for Education in Australia, joined the movement following a visit to Switzerland. For him, "the need to uphold truth and reconciliation, and abjure expediency and acrimony, became ever more imperative.[16] In 1960 Archbishop Makarios and Dr Kucuk, President and Vice-President of Cyprus, jointly sent the first flag of independent Cyprus to Frank Buchman at Caux in recognition of MRA's help.[17]


Some attacked the movement. MRA was regularly attacked in the 1950s by the Radio Moscow Overseas Service. In November 1952 it said, "Moral Re-Armament supplants the inevitable class war by the 'permanent struggle between good and evil'," and "has the power to attract radical revolutionary minds."[18]

The Catholic theologian John Hardon claimed that the movement's political ideas were naive, since they appeared to assume that moral awakening would solve "social problems that have vexed humanity since the dawn of history".[19] Other Catholics took a different view. In 1993 Cardinal Franz Koenig, Archbishop of Vienna, wrote that "Buchman was a turning-point in the history of the modern world through his ideas."[20]

The actress Glenn Close, whose parents were part of the movement, has described it as a cult.[21]


MRA has always been active in industry and business. In Buchman's view, management and labour could "work together like the fingers on the hand", and in order to make that possible he aimed to answer "the self-will in management and labour who are both so right, and so wrong". MRA's role was to offer the experience which would free those people's hearts and minds from the motivations or prejudices which prevent just solutions.

William Grogan, an International Vice-President of the Transport Workers Union of America, said that "between 1946 and 1953 national union leaders, local union officials, shop stewards and rank and file union members from 75 countries had received training" in MRA principles.[22] Evert Kupers, for 20 years President of the Dutch Confederation of Trades Unions, stated that "the thousands who have visited Caux have been deeply impressed by its message for our age and by the real comradeship they found there".[23] In France Maurice Mercier, Secretary-General of the textile workers within the Force Ouvriere, said: "Class war today means one half of humanity against the other half, each possessing a powerful arsenal of destruction... Not one cry of hatred, not one hour of work lost, not one drop of blood shed - that is the revolution to which MRA calls bosses and workers."[24]

Today the Caux Round Table Principles for Business are being implemented by businesses in many countries.[25]


The movement had Christian roots, but it grew into an informal, international network of people of all faiths and backgrounds. It advocated what it called the 'Four Absolutes' (absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love) and it encouraged its members to be actively involved in political and social issues. One of the movement's core ideas was the belief that changing the world starts with seeking change in oneself.

Rename "Initiatives of Change"

Main article: Initiatives of Change

In 2001, the MRA movement changed its name to Initiatives of Change (IofC). A non-governmental organization based in Caux, Switzerland, Initiatives of Change International serves as the legal and administrative entity to federate the national bodies of Initiatives of Change for purposes of cooperation with the entities such as the United Nations and the Council of Europe.[26]

National initiatives include Hope in the Cities in the United States,[27] the Caux Forum for Human Security in Switzerland,[28] Global Indigenous Dialogue in Canada and the IC Centre for Governance in India.[29]

In the media

In 2014, Initiatives of Change was awarded the Ousseimi Prize for Tolerance. The Ousseimi Foundation produced a booklet outlining the work of Moral Re-Armament and Initiatives of Change in peace-building and change-making since 1946.[citation needed]

In a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, American actress Glenn Close who was raised by parents involved in MRA–characterized MRA as a cult that attempted to control every aspect of its members' lives.[30]

The group is also mentioned in Raymond Chandler's book Farewell, My Lovely. A cop says to Philip Marlowe: "I think we gotta make this little world all over again. Now take Moral Rearmament. There you've got something. M. R. A. There you've got something, baby."[31]

See also

• Up with People
• Michael Henderson (author)


1. Buchman, Frank N.D., Remaking the World (London, 1955), p. 46.
2. Lean, Garth, Frank Buchman: A Life, p. 279.
3. Washington Post, 5 June 1939.
4. Los Angeles Times, 20 July 1939.
5. Sunday Times UK, 29 Dec 1940 and 5 Jan 1941.
6. The Times, London, 29 December 1945.
7. Lean, p. 300.
8. Lean, p. 324.
9. Lean, p. 382.
10. Edward Luttwak, "Franco-German Reconciliation: The Overlooked Role of the Moral Re-Armament Movement", in Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft, Douglas Johnston and Cynthia Sampson (editors), Oxford University Press, 1994.
11. Johnston and Sampson, Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft, Oxford University Press, 1994.
12. Lean, p. 340.
13. Marcel, Gabriel ed. Un Changement d'Espérance à la Rencontre du Réarmament Moral, Librarie Plon, 1958.
14. Buchman, Remaking the World, p. 166.
15. Lean, p. 454.
16. "A Christian in Politics – Quadrant Online". Retrieved 2020-04-29.
17. Lean, p. 524.
18. Lean, p. 418.
19. "Fr. Hardon Archives - An Evaluation of Moral Rearmament". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
20. Lean, p. 2.
21. ... arent.html
22. Grogan, William, John Riffe of the Steelworkers, Coward, McCann, 1959, p. 140.
23. Foreword to World Labour and Caux, Caux, 1950.
24. Piguet and Sentis, Ce Monde que Dieu nous confie, Centurion, 1979, p. 64.
25. See
26. "History - IofC International". Retrieved 8 June2018.
27. "Hope in the Cities - IofC US". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
28. "Caux Forum - IofC Caux". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
29. "IC Centre for Governance". Retrieved 8 June2018.
30. "Glenn Close Returns to Stage, Reveals Remarkable Childhood in Cult". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
31. Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely (Tower "Books in Wartime" Edition, 1944), p. 161
• Preliminary Guide to the Albert Heman Ely, Jr. Family Papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, Materials document the 1930 meeting of Ely and his wife, Constance Jennings Ely with Frank Buchman, and their subsequent involvement in the Moral Re-armament movement, Yale Library.

External links

• Initiatives of Change, successor of MRA
• Timeline of the organizations' history, Initiatives of Change
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:54 am

Ojai Valley School
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/2/20

Osel [Rangdrol Mukpo/Sakyong Mipham] was in boarding school in Ojai, California. We thought that an intense residential situation might help overcome his difficulties learning to read and write in English...

The day of his enthronement [1976], Gesar and I were driven by members of the Dorje Kasung to the dharmadhatu in Berkeley... Osel was also there to witness the enthronement. He was in boarding school at the Ojai Valley School near Santa Barbara at this time, a school founded on, the teachings of Krishnamurti and Rudolf Steiner. He was maturing into a much more confident and outgoing young man [14 yrs. old].

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian

Ojai Valley School
Location: Ojai, CA, United States
Coordinates 34°27′0″N 119°9′38″WCoordinates: 34°27′0″N 119°9′38″W
Type: Private, Boarding, Day
Established: 1911
President: Michael J. Hall-Mounsey
Faculty: 60
Campus size: 425 acres (1.72 km2)
Color(s): Green and White
Mascot: Spud

Ojai Valley School is a co-educational independent boarding school in the Ojai Valley near the city of Ojai, California, United States. The school was founded in 1911 and offers pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education. [1]

The motto of the school is Integer Vitae. In English it means, "wholeness of life" or "symmetry of life".[2]

Ojai Valley School was one of the first boarding schools in the Western United States to establish English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for all ability levels.[3]

Campus and facilities

The school is located on two campuses in the Ojai Valley. The Lower Campus, located near downtown Ojai, enrolls day and resident students in grades pre-kindergarten to eight. The facilities include a performing arts center, cottage-style classrooms, dormitories, library, art studio, woodshop, technology center, athletic fields, a swimming pool, and stables for the equestrian program.

The Upper Campus, located seven miles (11 km) from downtown Ojai, is nestled amid orange groves and rolling hills in the east of the valley in Upper Ojai. The 195 acres (0.79 km2) campus enrolls day and resident students in grades nine to twelve. The campus is situated on a former cattle ranch and features dormitories, classrooms, athletic fields, climbing wall and ropes course, a swimming pool, as well as art and ceramics studios. The academic program on both campuses is challenging and well-rounded, encouraging students to explore their interests, know themselves, and develop a respect for others. Students participate in outdoor education, equestrian, fine and performing arts programs, as well as athletics and community service.


In the early part of the 20th century, an Eastern couple settled in the Ojai Valley and opened a small private school. Edward Yeomans, a Chicagoan educated at Phillips Academy and Princeton University, had written a series of articles in the Atlantic Monthly on the need for educational reform. The articles caught the eye of a wealthy businessman, Frank Frost, who persuaded Yeomans to move to Ojai and create a school that would embody his modern ideas.

At the core of Yeomans’ beliefs was the concept that children learn best through experience. Yeomans considered his own education to have been dull and stifling, and wanted to establish a school that would emphasize experiential learning and a love for the outdoors. He envisioned a place where music, art, and woodshop would be taught alongside math, history, and languages. Yeomans declared that “Integer Vitae” – meaning the wholeness of life, symmetry of life, and soundness of life would become the school’s motto and philosophy. The school has grown from a one-room classroom serving 12 pupils to a two-campus boarding and day school for more than 300 students in pre-kindergarten to 12th grades.

The school was heavily damaged by the Thomas Fire in December 2017. The fire destroyed two buildings on Upper Ojai campus, a dormitory and a science and technology building.[4][5]


1. Stats
2. Information
3. Information
4. D'Angelo, Alexa (December 8, 2017). "Thomas Fire hits Ojai Valley School: 'It's a miracle there's anything left at all'". Ventura County Star. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
5. Hamilton, Matt (December 6, 2017). "Fire damages Ojai Valley School's upper campus, but administrators are determined to reopen for spring semester". LA Times. Retrieved 30 December 2017.

External links

• Ojai Valley School Official Website
• The Association of Boarding Schools profile


by Ojai Valley School
Accessed: 7/2/20

In the early part of the 20th century, a distinguished Eastern couple settled in the beautiful Ojai Valley and opened a small private school. Little did they know it would be flourishing more than 100 years later. Edward Yeomans, a Chicagoan educated at Phillips Academy and Princeton University, had written a series of articles in the Atlantic Monthly on the need for educational reform. The articles caught the eye of a wealthy businessman, Frank Frost, who persuaded Yeomans to move to Ojai and create a school that would embody his very modern ideas.

At the core of Yeomans’ beliefs was the concept that children learn best through experience. Yeomans considered his own education to have been dull and stifling, and wanted to establish a school that would emphasize experiential learning and a love for the outdoors. He envisioned a place where music, art, and woodshop would be taught alongside math, history, and languages. Yeomans declared that Integer Vitae – meaning the wholeness of life, symmetry of life, soundness of life, and, therefore poise and strength of life – would become the school’s motto and philosophy.

Today, the breadth of learning experiences offered at OVS is Yeomans’ legacy. The school has grown from a one-room classroom serving 12 pupils to a two-campus boarding and day school for nearly 300 students in pre-kindergarten to 12th grades. But its values and spirit remain the same.


Ojai Valley School merged educators dreams
by David Mason
Ojai Valley News
October 1, 1999

Frost Hall, designed by Wallace Neff.

“[The Ojai Valley School] So far it has proven very successful, combining as it does the most intelligent educational methods of the best city schools and the beautiful and healthful environment of the Ojai.”

-– Country Life Magazine, September 1924

During 1909, Walter W. Bristol organized the Nordhoff Union High School in the town of Nordhoff, now Ojai, and became the school’s first principal.

He held that position until 1919, when he resigned to assist his wife in the running of a small country school that she was operating, known as the Bristol School.

Mrs. Bristol’s school had started in the fall of 1912, with two students. Classes were held in her home on the northwest corner of Ojai Avenue and Bristol Road. The house had been built in 1911, and it was typical wooden construction with a screened-in sleeping porch that ran across one end.

By 1913, the sleeping porch had been divided into classrooms and desks were installed, so as to accommodate more pupils.

The need for a progressive private school was very much in evidence in the small western town.

Before long, a separate school building was erected farther north on their property. The Bristols felt that their new building would probably accommodate up to 15 pupils, but before long that total had reached 25 pupils. It was indeed a crowded little school.

The great forest fire of 1917, which had burned the Foothills Hotel and 60 other building in the Ojai Valley, also destroyed the charming little Bristol School. The fire, however, did not burn the cottages that were on the same property, so classes continued. The Bristols had been asked to board students at the their school, but there had not been enough room. Now that the building was to be rebuilt, they made plans to include rooms for boarding students and three classrooms. It was a very successful school. The outdoor life in a superb winter climate and amidst charming scenery made the school life both wholesome and attractive.

Another person who had a profound interest in the local children’s education was Edward Yeomans. Arriving in the valley for the winter of 1912, Yeomans was not happy about coming to California from his home in the east. He was working for the family business, Yeomans Brothers Co., a water pump manufacturing company, and his feelings about California were that it was merely a vacation spot for rich bankers with whom he had absolutely nothing in common. However, the beauty of the Ojai Valley and the simplicity of life here convinced him that he could find no better place in which to spend the winter.

Yeomans wrote to his friends in the east: “I felt this valley to be the most beautiful spot in the world. Fruit orchards and their blossoms, and the entire 15 miles from Ventura to Ojai, not a house visible! They valley itself was fully planted in orange groves, or left as God made it; acres of live oak trees and acres of wild wheat growing under the live oaks awaiting harvesting. Olive and fig trees line all roads and mark the divisions of property.”

Deciding to stay in the Ojai Valley, Yeomans resigned his position at the family-owned company. His desire to start a school of a progressive nature took full charge of his thinking. He had found the perfect spot for his new school, the Ojai Valley, a place he had grown to love. A valley “completely unspoiled by man — nature so generously holding her beauty and rich gifts for man’s careful husbanding on so vast a scale that man was rarely visible.”

Yeomans heard that the Bristols would be interested in selling their school and property, but Yeomans was not interested in the Bristol property or the buildings, so the Bristols agreed to sell him only the goodwill in the school.

A meeting of the prominent local residents was called to discuss the plans of Yeomans’ new school. A name was decided upon, the Ojai Valley School, and it would need to have beautiful buildings in order to be a credit to the community.

Mary Bard, the wife of Senator Thomas Bard, attended the school meetings, and she was the most enthusiastic person there. Mary Bard had married the senator in 1878, and they had seven children. It was not surprising that she was interested in education.

Thomas R. Bard
United States Senator from California
In office: February 7, 1900 - March 3, 1905
Born: December 8, 1841, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Died: March 5, 1915 (aged 73), Port Hueneme, California
Nationality: American
Political party: Republican
Military service
Branch/service: Union Army
Battles/wars: American Civil War

Thomas Robert Bard (December 8, 1841 – March 5, 1915) was a political leader in California who assisted in the organization of Ventura County and represented the state in the United States Senate from 1900 to 1905 as a Republican. He is known as the "Father of Port Hueneme" for his efforts in building and expanding the city, as well as the first and only deep water port in the area. He is one of the founders of the UNOCAL company.

Early life

Born in Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania on December 8, 1841, Bard attended the common schools, and graduated from the Chambersburg Academy in 1858. He studied law in school, and before his graduation, he secured a job with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Later, he became an assistant to the superintendent of the Cumberland Valley Railroad. Other business ventures included the grain business in Hagerstown, Maryland. During the early part of the Civil War, Bard served as a volunteer Union scout during the invasions of Maryland and Pennsylvania by the Confederates.

In 1865, Bard arrived in Ventura County, California to develop his uncle Thomas A. Scott's properties in Ojai. In 1867, Bard would become the first person in California to produce oil from a drilled well.[1]

Political career

Senator Thomas R. Bard

Thomas R. Bard moved to Ventura County, California in 1864 and served as a member of the board of supervisors of Santa Barbara County from 1868 to 1873. In 1871, he was appointed as a commissioner to organize Ventura County. During this time, he purchased and subdivided Rancho El Rio de Santa Clara o la Colonia and laid out the plans for Port Hueneme, California, the future site of his Berylwood estate.

Bard was the California delegate to the 1884 Republican National Convention, and later served as the director of the California state board of agriculture from 1886 to 1887. In 1887, Bard became a founding board member of Occidental College. He was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill a vacancy in the term that began on March 4, 1899. He served from February 7, 1900 to March 3, 1905. Bard was unsuccessful in his 1904 reelection bid. During his term Bard served as the chairman of the Committee of Fisheries (for the Fifty-seventh Congress) and served on the Committee on irrigation (for the Fifty-eighth Congress). One of Thomas R. Bard's notable achievements during his time in office was to appoint George S. Patton, later General Patton, to West Point.[2]

Family and later life

Contemporary photo of Bard Mansion on his Berylwood estate.

Thomas R. Bard became a successful business man, and held profitable interests in several oil companies. Thomas R. Bard and his brother, Dr. Cephas Little Bard, established the Elizabeth Bard Memorial Hospital in Ventura as a memorial to their mother.[3] His son, Archibald Philip Bard, became a noted physiologist and the dean of Johns Hopkins Medical School.

He died at his Berylwood home in Port Hueneme, California on March 5, 1915 and was interred in the family cemetery on his estate. His remains were moved to Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura, California by the military.[4]


1. Nelson, Mike (2020). "The Hunt for California Crude". AAPG Explorer. 41 (2): 18. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2012-03-29. The United States Army. "History of the Army Olympians: A General Athlete" http://WWW.ARMY.MIL
3. City of Ventura. Detail Sheet #19 accessed 29 September 2013 from link on City Map with Historic Landmarks
4. "Thomas R. Bard". Ivy Lawn Memorial Park & Funeral Home. Retrieved 29 September 2016.

Further reading

• Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
• Hutchinson, William Henry. Oil, Land, and Politics: The California Career of Thomas R. Bard. 2 vols. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965.
• Lawrence Kestenbaum. The Political Graveyard

External links

• Works by or about Thomas R. Bard at Internet Archive

-- Thomas R. Bard, by Wikipedia

When asked what type of school Yeomans was interested in starting, he responded, “A school whose main subjects are music, nature study and shop work. No languages for little children and no English grammar taught to them. No arithmetic at first, except what we need for work in construction. No desks fastened to floors, just desks that could easily be moved for acting of ballads or poetry. No examinations, no discipline for its own sake, but inner control, and consideration for all working in the school, and so, good citizenship.”

Mary Bard was much stirred and inspired by Yeomans’ talk and said she wanted to do whatever she could in order to help start such a school. Frank Frost, another valley resident, also wanted to do his share of work toward the new school.

E. D. Libbey, Ojai’s greatest benefactor, had just subdivided a large tract of land and had named it the Arbolada; and Frost felt that the lots in the subdivision would sell more rapidly if there were a school nearby. Frost wrote to Libbey in Toledo, Ohio and said, “You never can sell your land unless you can also say there is a good school nearby.” It was just the right message. Libbey donated a parcel of land to the group with only one restriction. They could have any amount of land they required, but it had to remain in the ownership of Libbey until three years had passed and the school had succeeded. The Ojai Valley School officially opened for business in October 1923.

With so many students requesting to attend the new school and wanting to be boarding students, Frost decided that to do his part, he would build a dormitory for the school. He supervised the building, which originally would hold 30 students, and it was filled to capacity the first day.

Yeomans wrote to Mrs. Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen to see if she could be persuaded to leave the Francis Parker School of Chicago and come to the Ojai Valley and be principal of the new school. Thorne-Thomsen accepted the position and arrived in the valley, only to be sick most of the first year; so it was up to Yeomans to be in charge during that time. He thought of himself more in the capacity of janitor rather that principal. He felt that “a school and its faculty are not a group working together for the benefit of the school on equal footing always, the school has no power of growth.”

As word spread up and down the state about this new school and the progressive learning that was taught there, people became anxious to hear all they could about it. Invited to speak at a large function in Los Angeles, Yeomans found himself extremely nervous in front of the crowd of people. Once he had spoken a few words, in which he referred to himself “as a pump manufacturer, not an educator,” he became at ease. He said he “was there as a rebel against his own painful and unhappy education in childhood, where fear ruled his entire life and school was a prison.” At that time he had promised himself when he grew up, he would try to save other children from such an unhappy life.

Libbey advertised the new school in his sales brochures for his Arbolada lots. “In this lovely sport, far away from the noise and crowding of city schools, children are given a superior training” and a far finer appreciation of life. The purpose of the school is “to cherish and develop the individuality of each pupil rather than to turn out a rubber stamp product.” This proved to be a successful move for both.


Ojai Valley School
by Lynn Yoakum Taylor

Karen Morse.
One: A Little History. The Threshold. Over the course of OVS's first 100 years, more than 5,340 children have enrolled to be educated by dedicated teachers who measure their own success by the success of their students. Students from 34 countries have come to seek the academic and social guidance that would allow them to contribute to the diverse global community. More than 2,400 students have come from the United States, with the remainder from as far away as China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea. From its roots in 1911, the school has followed the same motto: "Nothing less than your best." Each student is encouraged to reach his or her full potential, both academically and socially. This book describes the experiences of those students during the school's first century. Over this span of years, there have been 23 heads of school at the Upper and Lower Campuses. Karen Morse, seen here at the threshold of the Lower Campus in 2012.

Paradise. The Name Ojai, derived from the Chumash Indian word A'bwai ("moon"), was given to an inland California valley by early Spanish settlers. A.H. Campbell's 1854 lithograph (pictured), part of a survey for a transcontinental railroad from California to Mississippi, is the earliest known image of the Ojai Valley. The village began in 1874 as the dusty western town of Nordhoff, named for author and journalist Charles Nordhoff. The name was changed to Ojai in 1917 for three reasons: people were already calling the village Ojai; Nordhoff was a German name, unpopular during World War I; and mail was being erroneously delivered to Norwalk, California, instead of Nordhoff. In 1997, Don Weinman noted, "Most residents are sure Ojai means 'nest' in the Chumash language, but experts disagree. They say it means 'moon.' Those of us who live here say it doesn't matter. To us, it means paradise.' (OVM.)

Edward Libbey. Edward Drummond Libbey, founder of the Libbey Glass Company of Toledo, Ohio, and his wife, Florence, loved to vacation in the Ojai Valley, staying at the exquisite Foothills Hotel. They and other guests arrived by horse-drawn conveyance, such as Thomas Clark's "six-in-hand" (below). In 1911, the Libbeys built a home on Foothill Road. Thus began the great influence Libbey would have on Ojai and Ojai Valley School. Libbey, a leading benefactor of the Ojai Valley, tried to market 360 acres west of Nordhoff, which he referred to as "the Arbolada," to Easterners. Although The Thacher School for boys had been established about five miles east of Ojai in 1889, people advised Libbey that potential home buyers would be more interested if a private, coeducational school existed in the area. Libbey agreed to donate three acres for this purpose. (Both, OVM.)


Before the Arcade. The above image shows downtown Nordhoff in 1915 before the arcade was added. Horses and buggies moved lazily down the dirt road that was Main Street, late named Ojai Avenue. The businesses ranged from a drugstore, a barbershop, and a clothing emporium to mercantile stores and a telegraph office. Electricity did not come to the valley until 1913. The arcade, shown below soon after construction in 1917, looks very much the same today. Vehicles of the 1900s parked at an angle to the shops but later had to park parallel to the curb because of increased traffic. Unfortunately, the stately oaks and sycamore trees that Libbey once protected eventually had to be removed for safety reasons. The citizens of Ojai still take pride in keeping their village quaint, minimizing or prohibiting modern developments such as parking meters and fast-food franchises. (Both, OVM.)


Civic Center Park. Edward Libbey, pictured [below] with his wife, Florence, around 1901, saw a need to improve the downtown business area, so changes in the valley accelerated sharply after he arrived. His most notable project was financing a face-lift of Main Street. Storefronts were transformed in the Spanish style, a Mission Revival arcaded walkway went down the side of the business area, a Spanish-style tower was constructed for the main post office, and the same style continued with a pergola and a city park across from the arcade. Here, families enjoyed picnics and listened to music. The photograph above, with a view looking west toward the tower, shows the entrance to the park. This became the site of the renowned Ojai Music Festival, which began in 1947 and continues today. (Above, David Mason collection, below, OVM.)


Very Little Change. When Ojai Valley School opened at its Arbolada location in 1923, the town of Ojai looked very much as it does today. In 1917, the citizens wanted to have a special day to honor Libbey's contributions to the town. The name "Ojai Day" was given to this special occasion, and it is still celebrated. The above image shows the paved Ojai Avenue in 1930. Between 1960 and 1990, the structures and even the park began to deteriorate, but by 1990, there was an increased emphasis on preservation and renovation. The same view in 2011 is shown below. (Above, OVM; below, photograph by author.)


The Ojai. Tennis came to the valley in 1892 when Sherman Thacher and his brother William built the first packed-dirt courts marked with chalk on Thacher property. The first tournament was held there in 1893, and subsequent tournaments began drawing tourists. Men's dress code early in the 20th century required long pants. By 1907, women's interscholastic competition was introduced, and the ladies wore white dresses. By 1912, the Ojai Tournament was the largest amateur tournament held in the United States. In 1917, courts were constructed on land donated by Edward Libbey in the middle of town, and over the years, this tournament, known as "the Ojai," has attained national status. The Ojai tennis tournament celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2000. (Both, OVM.)


The Foothills Hotel. Given the need for more accommodations, the Foothills Hotel was constructed in the west end of the valley and opened on January 19, 1903. This facility attracted the wealthy clientele that Libbey hoped would purchase property in the Ojai Valley. The hotel burned to the ground in 1917, but was rebuilt in 1918. It continued to flourish until the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. The hotel finally met its demise in 1976, and an Ojai treasure was lost. (OVM.)

Benefactors. After purchasing the Bristol School, Edward Yeomans opened Ojai Valley School (with 38 students) in the winter of 1923, on land donated by Edward Libbey for a "private co-educational school." Funds for a dormitory, classrooms, and a shop were provided by Frank Frost. Land for the athletic and gymkhana fields was donated by Mary Ford [Mrs. William Ford].

William Ford was a successful businessman from the Midwest with an impressive resume and eclectic interests. Inheriting his father’s insurance empire, he used some of the capital to found the Ford Plate Glass Corp. becoming an important figure in the production of modern industrial glass. Later he was appointed president of the Bolsa Chica Oil Corporation after the unexpected death of its founder and his friend, Irving Augur. Though his primary residence was in Ohio, Ford had a number of homes across the country including a working cattle ranch in Montana that was rumored to have the world’s largest herd of Holsteins. One of his favorite retreats, however, was his winter estate in Ojai, California. (Sheet Metal Worker. Vol. 26 1935)

After WW I Ojai (originally named Nordhoff) became a winter destination for many American millionaires looking for healthy air and a temperate climate. In 1908 Edward D. Libbey, a glass manufacturer from Ohio, bought a large tract of this undeveloped land and commissioned Myron Hunt to design a Spanish-revival style home for his property. (Libbey continued to add to his home, hiring Los Angeles architect Wallace Neff in 1923 to design an elaborate stable complex.) In 1917 after fire destroyed much of Nordhoff, Libbey personally oversaw its revitalization to recreate his “version of castles in Spain.” (Westways. July, 1937) Libbey hired the architectural firm of Mead and Requa to implement his ideas. The town of 500 officially became Ojai in 1921 and Libbey began promoting its livability to many of his friends and colleagues. Among those who followed him to Ojai were Irving Augur and William Ford. Auger and Ford selected Paul R. Williams to design their winter residences.

Architectural “revival styles” were the rage in Southern California before WWII. Spanish Colonial dominated both commercial and residential construction. With its characteristic clay tile roof, arches, balconies and stucco-like finishes, the style was believed to compliment California’s moderate climate and outdoor living. Ford commissioned Paul Williams in 1928 to plan a residence sympathetic with Ojai’s new aesthetic. Williams was already recognized for his mastery of the revival genre. Williams used period styles as inspiration and skillfully combined the “historic” with modern function, current technology and client lifestyle to create a unique home. The Ford “hacienda” built around a landscaped courtyard (image 2) with a tiled 3-tiered fountain and rooms with panoramic views of the Ojai Valley was his design for this family. (Architect and Engineer. March, 1946)

Ford purchased property in Ojai’s Country Club Estates and his 16-room, 14,000-square-foot home was the first built in the development. While Ford wanted his home to have a heritage look, he insisted on the latest modern building materials and gadgets. Williams, a master of architectural disguise, successfully concealed the modern features behind white paint, plasterwork, wrought iron details, wooden shutters and thousands of handmade decorative tiles. (San Valle Tile Kilns featured photographs of the house in its print advertisements.) Using concrete blocks on the exterior, Williams and the contractor created the impression of aged adobe brick. The result was a new home with an instant California pedigree.

“This artistic country home is designed in Antique Spanish Architecture to harmonize with the magnificent surrounding scenery.” (Southwest Builder and Contractor. May 2, 1930)

The Ford residence was well known throughout Southern California for its comfort, beauty, extensive outdoors entertaining areas and natural setting. Though Ojai was located in a rural California outpost, the house included a tennis court, swimming pool, elaborate outdoor areas for entertaining and Blackburn’s Disappearing Rollup Window Screens. Images of the house appeared in popular contemporary magazines as an example of ideal California living, attracting both the wealthy and those aspiring to live like them to Ojai.

William Ford died in Ojai within five years of completing his home. The Los Angeles Times reported, “He had been ill only a few days, having suffered a stroke after returning from an eastern business trip.” (May 3, 1935)

Thanks to historian Charles J. Fisher for his insights into the Williams Ford residence and use of his images.






-- William Ford Residence, Ojai, CA, by Paul Revere Williams American Architect

Renowned architect Wallace Neff designed the new school.

Two, Wanting a Little More for the Children.
A Simple Beginning. In 1911, Dr. Philip Schuyler Van Patten; his wife, Emily Adams Van Patten; and their two small sons, Philip, age six (left), and Charles, almost four (right), settled in the Ojai Valley. The Van Pattens wanted structure and a broad exposure to life and nature in their sons' lives and thought a small school situation within the home would be idea. They hired Ida Belle Lamb as a tutor for two hours per day. A year later, Ida Belle, who was getting married, recommended her sister, Olive Bristol, as a teacher for the boys. Olive and her husband, Walter Bristol, taught classes in their own home, located near the present-day northwest corner of Ojai Avenue and Bristol Road. The young boys, along with the Bristols' seven-year-old daughter, Esther, began their studies in the fall of 1912. A large sleeping porch at their home was divided into classrooms to accommodate desks for more pupils. (OVM.)

Earliest Photograph. This 1914 school photograph is the earliest image of Olive Bristol (standing, far right) and the Bristol School. The school filled a void in many people's plans for their children, and so it continued to grow. By 1915, a small school building was erected to house 12 to 15 pupils, but it was not long until it was bursting at the seams with 25 children. In 1916, at age 11, Philip Van Patten became the first graduate of the Bristol School. The disastrous Ojai fire of 1917 destroyed most of the Bristol School, which was also the family's home. Only the cottages remained, but the Bristols continued educating children. When reconstruction was planned, there was a request for boarding accommodations for six girls. In 1922, Olive retired, and Edward Yeomans bought the school. He reopened it as Ojai Valley School in 1923 on land donated by Edward Libbey between El Paseo Road and Ojai Avenue. While the dorm and classrooms were being constructed, the children remained at the Bristols' home.

Progressive Educator. Edward "Ned" Yeomans married Julia Day at Lake Forest, Illinois, in 1904. He and his wife adopted a baby, Andrew, in 1911, and three years later, another son, Edward Jr., was born. Desiring a better education for their boys, Yeomans became instrumental in promoting progressive education in the public schools of Winnetka, Illinois. His system encouraged students to progress at their own rates and to be responsible for their own learning. In 1919, the family returned to the Chicago area to give their boys a year in the Francis Parker School. While in Chicago, Yeomans published his progressive ideas on education in his book Shackled Youth. The 1922 photograph above includes, from left to right, Ned, Ed, Julia, and Andrew.


Frank Jefferson Frost. Frank Frost was born in Missouri and earned an engineering degree from the University of Missouri. He had worked in a number of professions, most recently as the treasurer of the Standard Oil Company of New York. As a winter visitor to the Ojai Valley, Frost had read Yeomans's Shackled Youth, and his pamphlets on progressive education with extreme interest. Frost wanted more for his only son, Morris, and had yet to find a suitable school. Encouraged by his wife, his mother, and Frost, Yeomans was persuaded to leave Illinois and set up residence in Ojai, where Morris Pratt Frost and the Yeomans' boys could experience the outdoor life of the West. In addition, Yeomans could create a school that would put into practice his unique perspective on childhood education. Frost approached Edward Libbey and asked him to donate a parcel of land from his Arbolada tract for this purpose.

Philosopher. When Edward Yeomans, pictured here in 1941, first arrived in the Ojai Valley, he was awed by its simplicity and beauty. He was amazed by the orange groves and fruit orchards that ran from Ventura to Ojai. He saw the grandeur of the mountains and the stark beauty of the trees and shrubs on their slopes. Yeomans said, "It was the most beautiful spot on earth." In a sense, Yeomans's educational philosophy was fulfilled by the beauty of the Ojai Valley. Here, he could put the philosophy he had carefully crafted in Shackled Youth into practice. Here, he could create a school focused on experiential learning. In his words, "Unless a community is a good place for children, unless it can take care of their growth intelligently, it cannot stand the test of time."

Basic Principles. Yeomans never compromised his educational ideals; educational reform was his dream and desire. He was motivated by the beauty of nature and intriguing conversation and was inspired by life outdoors. He felt compelled to speak on behalf of children across the country. Teaching was an art, and he felt that each teacher must be an artist. "Experiencing instead of telling" was one of his core principles. He envisioned a school where children could pursue artistic expression alongside mathematics, history, and science. Yeomans's precepts in action can be seen in this image, which shows children painting in the great outdoors.

Ned's Shop. Written over the doorway of the OVS shop (this image shows the shop's interior) are the words of Horace, Integer Vitae, principles upon which Yeomans based his school.

Early Donors. In 1923, Katharine Twichell [Mrs. Burton Twichell], one of the founding members of the holding company that owned the school prior to incorporation in 1925, donated money for the first primary classroom building at OVS (above). While construction on new classrooms and the Frost Hall dormitory (below) was being completed, students continued their studies and residence at the Bristol cottages. Mary Bard, a charter member of the board of trustees, donated funds for additional classrooms, an assembly hall, and offices. In 1926, all OVS activities were moved to its present Lower Campus location.

Frost Hall dormitory.

All-School Photographs. From its beginning, the school established a tradition of taking all-school photographs. This tradition has continued as the school has grown. This 1938 picture shows the 45 students enrolled that year.

Ojai Valley School Lower Campus 2010-2011
The School Has Grown. This image shows the Lower Campus in 2011. There are nearly five times as many students as in the 1938 image. Note that the dress code has changed but the venerable oak trees remain.

Boarding Student. In 1923, at age seven, Morris Frost was among the first boarders to attend OVS. He took up residence in the Bristol School cottages until the completion of Frost Hall in 1924. Morris's father, Frank, was more than willing to donate anything the school needed to give his son the education that followed Yeomans's beliefs. This image shows Morris at age 10 or 11.

Reading. One of Edward Yeomans's legacies is the belief that reading is the foundation of lifelong learning. Even before a student arrived on campus, he or she was expected to prepare for the upcoming year by reading five or six books over the summer and being prepared for an in-depth discussion during the first week of the fall term. Here, Kitty Bragg manages her reading class with quiet firmness. All the children loved and respected her.

Early Growth. Frank Frost was a widower when he and his son Morris moved to Ojai. Morris attended the Bristol School until the opening of Ojai Valley School in October 1923. As he had promised, Frost supplied the funds to build a shop and a dormitory to hold 30 boarding children. By the fall of 1924, the dorm was filled to capacity. Almost 100 years later, this little school has grown to two campuses, accommodating more than 300 boarders and day students from prekindergarten to 12th grade.

Wallace Burr.
Pioneers. Ojai Valley School began as a tutoring program in the home of Phillip and Emily Van Patten. It grew under the guidance of Olive Bristol and flourished under the vision and philosophy of Edward Yeomans. Although Yeomans's view remained important to the ethos of Ojai Valley School, the "real world" of education inevitably intervened. Issues of funding and concerns that students were not receiving a conventional education were raised by parents and faculty. This eventually led to a restructuring of the school's daily schedule and curriculum. Classes were set up to be better aligned with standard subject matter, all the while retaining an emphasis on creativity, experiential learning, and individuality. This transition was orchestrated by a series of exceptional individuals, beginning with Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen and continuing with Wallace Burr (pictured). Teachers often worked without pay for long periods because they believed in the education of children and the values of the school's founders.

Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen.
First Lady in Charge. Olive Bristol was contemplating retirement in 1921, and Yeomans saw an opportunity to open his own school with the existing Bristol enrollment. He agreed to purchase the school from the Bristols in 1922. The transfer took place on March 15, 1923, when the Bristol School became Ojai Valley School, continuing to operate on the Bristol property while the new campus was being completed. Then, tuition was $200 a year. Yeomans selected Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen (pictured), an advocate of progressive education and a Norse mythology teacher whom he had met in Chicago in 1919, as the first headmistress. One of her teachers, Kitty Bragg, admired her administrative abilities. "Mrs. Thorne-Thomsen was an exacting headmistress, but supported and defended her teachers, if necessary, until they proved inadequate or unworthy, in which latter case they didn't stay long at the school."

A Woman of Many Talents. When the Bristol School became Ojai Valley School in 1923, it was agreed that Thorne-Thomsen would make decisions regarding educational and disciplinary matters as the new headmistress. She was known for her lectures on children's literature and on improve the standards of education. She authored several children's books and was a much-loved storyteller. Thorne-Thomsen was a stern disciplinarian and served as headmistress from 1923 to 1936.

In 1925, during her term, the first board of trustees was appointed. Those selected to serve on the board were Morgan Barnes, Frank Frost, Georg Thorne-Thompson [Georg Thorne-Thomsen; B. 1871 (Norway); D. May 28, 1936 (Ventura, Calif.); Spouse: Gudrun Nielsen Thorne-Thomsen (1873-1956); children: Francis Thorne-Thomsen (1897-1987) & Leif Thorne-Thomsen (1907-1994)], Carl Lindin [Mrs. Carl Eric Lindin], Mary Bard, and Edward Yeomans. When the school and its students moved to the new campus, there were 48 day students and 17 boarders.


The graphic relief map, North America. Designed and drawn by Georg Thorne-Thomsen. 1:6,336,000. A.J. Nystrom & Co., Chicago [1915].

The graphic relief map, South America. Designed and drawn by Georg Thorne-Thomsen. 1:6,336,000. A.J. Nystrom & Co., Chicago (1915].

Nystrom (A.J.) and Company, Chicago. The Webster-Knowlton_Hazen European history maps; a teacher's manual, by Georg Thorne-Thomsen. © 15Sep24, Nystrom & Co.

-- Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, Volume 47, by American Geographical Society of New York

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen (1873-1956) [Excerpt] from
Storytelling: Art and Technique: Art and Technique, Third Edition
by Ellin Greene

In 1944 a group of children’s librarians at the New York Public Library listened to a small, quiet, unassuming woman tell “East of the Sun and West of the Moon.” The story came alive as this master storyteller used only her lovely voice, perfect timing, and unobtrusive, spontaneous gestures to tell the tale. The storyteller was Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen.

Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen was born on April 8, 1873, in Trondheim, located on one of Norway’s beautiful fjords. When she was four years old the family moved to Bergen, Norway’s chief seaport, where she saw ships of many countries and listened to the sailors’ tales from other lands. Her grandmother read to her and to the other children in the family and told them stories about the great Norse heroes and about trolls and nissen.

Some Santa researchers associate Santa with the Norse "god" of Odin or Woden. Crichton describes Odin as riding through the sky on an eight-legged, white horse name Sleipnir. (Santa originally had eight reindeers, Rudolph was nine). Odin lived in Valhalla (the North) and had a long white beard. Odin would fly through the sky during the winter solstice (December 21-25) rewarding the good children and punishing the naughty. (Crichton, Robin. Who is Santa Claus? The Truth Behind a Living Legend. Bath: The Bath Press, 1987, pp. 55-56)

Mythologist Helene Adeline Guerber presents a very convincing case tracing Santa to the Norse god Thor in Myths of Northern Lands:

Thor was the god of the peasants and the common people. He was represented as an elderly man, jovial and friendly, of heavy build, with a long white beard. His element was the fire, his color red. The rumble and roar of thunder were said to be caused by the rolling of his chariot, for he alone among the gods never rode on horseback but drove in a chariot drawn by two white goats (called Cracker and Gnasher). He was fighting the giants of ice and snow, and thus became the Yule-god. He was said to live in the "Northland" where he had his palace among icebergs. By our pagan forefathers he was considered as the cheerful and friendly god, never harming the humans but rather helping and protecting them. The fireplace in every home was especially sacred to him, and he was said to come down through the chimney into his element, the fire. (Guerber, H.A. Myths of Northern Lands. New York: American Book Company, 1895, p. 61)

The unusual and common characteristics of Santa and Thor are too close to ignore.

• An elderly man, jovial and friendly and of heavy build.
• With a long white beard.
• His element was the fire and his color red.
• Drove a chariot drawn by two white goats, named called Cracker and Gnasher.
• He was the Yule-god. (Yule is Christmas time).
• He lived in the Northland (North Pole).
• He was considered the cheerful and friendly god.
• He was benevolent to humans.
• The fireplace was especially sacred to him.
• He came down through the chimney into his element, the fire.

Even today in Sweden, Thor represents Santa Claus. The book, The Story of the Christmas Symbols, records:

Swedish children wait eagerly for Jultomten, a gnome whose sleigh is drawn by the Julbocker, the goats of the thunder god Thor. With his red suit and cap, and a bulging sack on his back, he looks much like the American Santa Claus. (Barth, Edna. Holly, Reindeer, and Colored Lights, The Story of the Christmas Symbols. New York: Clarion Books, 1971, p. 49)

Thor was probably history’s most celebrated and worshipped pagan god. His widespread influence is particularly obvious in the fifth day of the week, which is named after him – Thursday (a.k.a. Thor’s Day).

It is ironic that Thor’s symbol was a hammer. A hammer is also the symbolic tool of the carpenter – Santa Claus. It is also worth mentioning that Thor’s helpers were elves and like Santa’s elves, Thor’s elves were skilled craftsman. It was the elves who created Thor’s magic hammer.

In the Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, author Francis Weiser traces the origin of Santa to Thor: "Behind the name Santa Claus actually stands the figure of the pagan Germanic god Thor." (Weiser, Francis X. Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1952, p. 113)

After listing some the common attributes of Thor and Santa, Weiser concludes:

Here, [Thor] then, is the true origin of our "Santa Claus." ... With the Christian saint whose name he still bears, however, this Santa Claus has really nothing to do. (Weiser, Francis X. Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1952, p. 114)

Another interesting trait of Thor is recorded by H.R. Ellis Davidson in Scandinavian Mythology, "It was Thor who in the last days of heathenism was regarded as the chief antagonist of Christ." (Davidson, H.R. Ellis. Scandinavian Mythology. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1982, p. 133) In case you are not aware, an "antagonist" is an enemy, adversary or replacement.

The bizarre and mutual attributes of Thor and Santa are no accident.

-- Santa Claus: The Great Imposter, by Dr. Terry Watkins, Th.D.

Gudrun’s mother, Fredrikke Nielsen, was an actress, famous for her portrayal of the women in Henrik Ibsen’s plays. The home Gudrun grew up in was an exciting place, frequented by musicians, poets, and writers, and alive with amateur theatricals, singing, and storytelling in which the entire family took part. It is little wonder that she grew up to love literature, to understand the strength and power of words, and to scorn careless speech.

When Gudrun was 15 years old, she came to Chicago to live with her mother’s sister. There she trained to be a teacher at the Cook County Normal School and came under the influence of Colonel Francis W. Parker, whom John Dewey called “the father of progressive education.” In 1893, she married Georg Thorne-Thomsen and the young couple made their home in Chicago.

Gudrun joined the staff of Colonel Parker’s new school. Parker’s innovative ideas in education attracted the attention of William Rainey Harper, then president of the University of Chicago. Harper invited Parker to bring his school to the university as part of the newly formed School of Education and to become director of the Laboratory Elementary School. John Dewey, already at the university as head of the Elementary School of the Department of Pedagogy, was appointed head of the Laboratory High School. The laboratory schools were Froebel-inspired, and storytelling was prominent in the curriculum. Harper, active in the Chautauqua movement and a storyteller himself, strongly supported the 1901 appointment of Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen to the faculty of the university as teacher of third grade in the elementary school, critic teacher and instructor in the School of Education. She taught courses in oral reading, history, and literature for lower grades; reading in primary grades; children’s literature; and storytelling.

During 1908-1909 Thorne-Thomsen was on leave from the University of Chicago to serve as a storyteller in branch libraries opened by the Chicago Public Library in park recreation buildings. These programs were jointly sponsored by the Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Association of Collegiate Alumnae, and the Chicago Woman’s Club. The program was so successful that story hours became a regular part of the library’s service to children. Thorne-Thomsen began retelling the old Norse folktales for children, and out of this came her first book, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, in 1912.

Her reputation as a gifted storyteller grew and Thorne-Thomsen was invited to lecture on storytelling throughout the Midwest, California, Oregon, and Hawaii. She annually lectured on storytelling and folklore at the Western Reserve Library School and the Carnegie Library School of Pittsburgh. In 1923 she and her husband joined the faculty of the Ojai Valley School near Santa Barbara, California, and she became the school’s first principal.

Soon after her husband’s death in 1936, Thorne-Thomsen retired as principal and launched a new career both as a visiting storyteller and as a recording artist for the Library of Congress and, later, for the Victor Company. Two books, The Sky Bed and In Norway, followed in the 1940s. In 1953 she was still training librarians in the art of storytelling in formal workshops and at informal gatherings.

“Perhaps the most wonderful thing of all,” one of her students of that period reported, “was to make us feel that we could tell stories too; that it was not some difficult art to be mastered by only a few gifted individuals, but the rightful heritage of us all and a source of great joy.”5

She died in 1956, but not before she knew – and took joy in the knowledge – that she would be honored with a day of storytelling at the storytelling festival to be held in Miami Beach during the 1956 American Library Association conference. “You librarians who work with children,” she wrote in acknowledgement of the honor, “I congratulate you on keeping alive the art of storytelling.”6


7: The German Millennium, [Excerpt] from The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology: The Arisophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935, by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

FRITZ SAXL, the German historian of Renaissance ideas, was an early observer of the renewed interest in fortune-telling at the beginning of the twentieth century. He dated its origins to around 1910, while noting that a number of periodicals devoted to astrology sprang up over the next decade in Germany, accompanied by textbooks, prophecies and reprints of astrological classics. In due course palmistry, numerology, cabbalism and tarot supplemented astrology to form the principal scientific bases of a popular divinatory movement which grew prodigiously in the 1920s....He considered its modern manifestation to be one of the omens of the First World War.

[Guido von] List's prophecies were addressed collectively to the German nation and appeared to fulfil a similar function to individual fortune-telling. He foretold that an age of universal prosperity was approaching to alleviate the tribulations of German nationalists in Central Europe... The prophecy of a happy national future complemented his nostalgia for a lost golden age inasmuch as it denoted the restoration of his imaginary traditional world. Past and future represented the twin poles of a counter-ideal in time generated by a profound disenchantment with the present; the secret Armanist heritage throughout the allegedly benighted Christian epoch formed a bridge between these two ideal ages; such Armanist survivals were both the relics of the old dispensation and the heralds of the new order....

[Guido von] List's cyclical vision of time was derived from his three sources of theological inspiration: the holy world of Nature, Norse mythology and modern theosophy. It has already been shown how the elementary content of Armanist doctrine focused upon the 'laws of nature', which ostensibly determined the periodicity of all planetary and organic cycles in the cosmos. List frequently invoked these cosmic rhythms in his early pieces on national landscape: that their sustaining laws assumed the status of a divine principle in his later writings testifies to his belief in cyclical time. Secondly, one must consider the import of Norse myths in this respect. List's references to the Fimbulwinter and the Gotterdammerung suggest that he was familiar with those pagan legends, according to which there came a mighty winter after which the whole earth was consumed by fire and flood before rising anew, 'fertile, green and fair as never before, cleansed of all its sufferings and evil'. According to these myths, the cycle of destruction and creation was repeated indefinitely. Lastly, List's adoption of theosophy with its cosmic rounds, and the individual's successive reincarnation in each round, served to confirm his conviction in the recurrence of all things...

Both Jewish and Christian apocalypses distinguish themselves from other forms of prophecy by asserting an absolute and qualitative difference between the present age and the future. This dualistic and linear time scheme is represented by the juxtaposition of a pessimistic view of the present with a fantastic and joyful image of the future. The present age is devalued by a depressing account of the hardships and misfortunes that have befallen the people. The apocalyptic writer often indicates that the world is subject to an increasing physical and moral degeneration: mundus iam senescit. These complaints can extend to the charge that the world is under the dominion of Satan or other evil powers. At a point in the narrative coincident with the time of the apocalypse's composition, this historical survey gives way to prophecy proper. It is predicted that the former ills will be exacerbated by yet worse adversities. There will be signs of an ultimate catastrophe, such as violent climatic changes, drought, earthquakes and fire. Finally the evil spirit of this first age may appear as a dragon or other beast to torment mankind. The end of this age approaches as these so-called 'messianic woes' become increasingly intolerable. A divine warrior-leader will suddenly intervene to liberate his chosen people from their affliction. This messiah will bind or destroy the evil tyrant before establishing his own divine and incorruptible kingdom on earth. These acts initiate a new second age, when the joyful elect of the redeemed will know no suffering nor want; this new world will not be subject to the ordinary laws of nature and physical limitation; happiness and good fortune will reign eternally...

List echoed traditional apocalyptic by expressing extreme pessimism about many aspects of modern Austrian society. His concern was greatest with regard to the nationality question. The status of German language and culture in Austria had been increasingly challenged by the Slavs of the empire over the preceding decades... List fulminated against the clerical and socialist parties that favoured Slav interests and, drawing on the contemporary slogans of the Schonererite Pan-German and Los von Rom movements, he denounced the national outrage of Czech priests being appointed to German parishes in the ethnic borderlands and decried the preponderance of Slav civil servants in the bureaucracy.

His critique of contemporary Austria also embraced wider social and economic issues. He bemoaned the current economic tendencies towards laissez-faire capitalism and large-scale enterprise, because they undermined the existence of artisans, craftsmen and small middleclass entrepreneurs. He complained that commerce had lost its former ethical code and regarded the decline of the guilds as the collapse of the 'bastions of the burgher-world'... He condemned all finance as usury and indulged in period anti-Semitic sentiments culled from the newspapers of Georg von Schonerer and Aurelius Polzer...

List was no less pessimistic concerning modern political and cultural tendencies. A staunch defender of the monarchical principle and the Habsburg dynasty, he denounced all popular and democratic institutions of representation. Parliamentarianism was pure nonsense since it was based on the premiss that a majority of votes, however well or ill informed, should determine policy. Contemporary cultural movements were condemned likewise: feminism testified to the worthlessness of the age; modern painting (the Seccessionists) represented the rape of German art; theatre was dominated by foreign and Jewish patrons...

Following the idiom of other contemporary volkisch writers, List regarded the rural peasantry as the physical guarantors of a healthy nation. As a result of urban migration in the late nineteenth century, this peasantry was decreasing. List visited abandoned and depopulated farmsteads in Lower Austria, forming a dismal opinion of their wider implications... This physical decay of the nation was accompanied by moral degeneration...

It is evident that List's description of contemporary Austria amounted to a fundamental devaluation of the present. The entire industrial-urban complex together with its emergent social and political institutions was utterly condemned. List followed the apocalyptic model even further by claiming that this situation was due to the dominion of evil powers. The dissolution of traditional social practices and institutions posited, in List's view, a simpler and more conscious agent of change than the play of market forces, social circumstances, and structural changes of the economy. List sought a more concrete personification of these widespread socio-economic transformations in the monolithic conspiracy of the Great International Party...Its origins could be detected in the Christian conspiracy against the old Ario-Germanic hierarchy. In the present the wiles of the Great International Party could be discerned in the financial institutions, the political parties and their neglect of German national interests, and in the advocates of emancipation, reform and international co-operation...The Great International Party was the satanic incarnation of the present age, intangible yet monstrous and malevolent.

In the face of this oppression List began to search for the signs of national salvation in accordance with the traditional apocalyptic model. He devised several theories to prove that these signs were already evident by borrowing chronological notions from Hindu cosmology and Western astrology. By 1910 he had developed an interest in cosmic cycles following their theosophical popularization as rounds. These speculations concerning the regular creation and destruction of all organisms within the cosmos enabled List to invoke apocalyptic hopes by positing the end of a cycle close in time to his own day: the start of another cycle corresponded to the advent of a new age. List indulged in abstruse calculations based on Blavatsky's figures concerning the cycles, in order to conclude that a significant cycle had terminated in 1897. A further quarry of apocalyptic calculation was found in the materials of the contemporary German astrological revival amongst theosophists. Blavatsky had already referred to the solar or sidereal year, which was the time taken by the planets to take up their original alignment in the next house of the zodiac. She defined this period as c.25,868 terrestrial years. List quoted this very figure and thus derived the sidereal season, which 12.sted c.6,467 terrestrial years... Within this astrological framework of speculation, the 'messianic woes' appeared as the cosmically determined heralds of redemption.

Another sign, which gave List cause for messianic optimism, was his receipt of a letter in November 1911 from an individual calling himself Tarnhari. This man, whose name literally meant 'the hidden lord', claimed to be descended from the ancient tribe of the Wolsungen. This mysterious emissary from the distant past assured List that his rediscoveries concerning the Ario-Germanic past tallied with his own ancestral-clairvoyant memories. Tarnhari also confirmed the existence of the Armanenschaft: he claimed that he had been earlier reincarnated as a leading priest- king of the old elite. Although Tarnhari primarily vindicated the past pole of his fantasy, List regarded the appearance of this reincarnated chieftain as a good omen of imminent national redemption on the future pole...

These various signs indicated the imminent destruction of the satanic antagonist. List demanded the annihilation of the Great International Party in order that the Ario-Germans could enter the promised land of happiness and prosperity. In 1911 he voiced a prophecy of millenarian combat, which strangely anticipated the naval and military hostilities of the First World War:

Yes, the Ario-German-Austrian battleships shall once more send sparks flying, Donar's lightning shall once more shoot sizzling from the giant guns of our dreadnoughts, our national armies shall once more storm southwards and westwards to smash the enemy and create order]

These battles are consistent with the apocalyptic model. An enormous revolt, redolent of the twilight of the gods or the barbarian migrations, will smash the infernal enemy to create a righteous and pan-German order...

The outbreak of the First World War was greeted with jubilation in all belligerent countries. Some historians have suggested that this popular response evidenced a widespread desire for novelty after several seemingly stagnant decades. Others have noted a burgeoning imperialism coupled with the wish for distraction from pressing social reforms. In Germany there flourished the 'Ideas of 1914', an intellectual formulation of the general feeling of relief that national unity had overcome social division in the face of a foreign enemy. The pre-war cultural pessimists identified the former national ills with the insidious influence of the western democracies, which were now to be vanquished by the sword. It is against this euphoric reaction that List's apocalyptic attitude to the war must be understood.

In April 1915 List convened a meeting of the HAO [High Armanen-Order] in Vienna. He delivered an Easter oration in which he welcomed the war as the onset of a millenarian struggle that would usher in the new age. He warned that this age of transition would initially witness a sharpening of adversity, 'frightful outrages and maddening torments'. But these trials would eventually separate the good from the bad for all time, since all true Germans 'were preparing a new age, in which nothing pertaining to the old age could survive unless it was Armanist in nature'...

This positive attitude towards suffering prompts its comparison with a phenomenon that Michael Barkun has defined as the 'disaster utopia'. Barkun observes the ambiguity of disaster which, while obviously subjecting people to deprivation, can also produce unusual feelings of well-being. He notes that disasters often induce a temporary sense of common purpose and that 'invidious social distinctions disappear in a suddenly opened and democratized atmosphere'. This evaluation accords well with the euphoria implicit in the 'Ideas of 1914', and also illuminates List's enthusiasm for the actual hardships of war. Because a belief in the millennium often assumes the occurrence of disasters that precede the epiphany, the sense of fellowship in the midst of actual disasters can appear to confirm the millenarian expectations. For List, suffering augured salvation.

How did List actually envisage this collective salvation? For his descriptions of the millennium he tended to make use of mythological materials drawn from medieval German apocalyptic, Norse legends, and modern theosophy in order to convey its fantastic nature. He related the medieval tale of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa who lay sleeping inside the Kyffhauser mountain. Once he awakened, Barbarossa would unleash a wave of Teutonic fury across the world prior to the establishment of German hegemony. This tale owed its inspiration to a complex of medieval millenarian hopes which had originally crystallized around the Hohenstauffen emperors in the thirteenth century. Owing to a variety of historical and cultural circumstances, these hopes later lit upon the Habsburg emperors Frederick IV and Maximilian I in the fifteenth century. One millenarian tract of the period entitled Gamaleon had told of a future German emperor who was to overthrow the French monarchy and the Papacy. The Church of Rome would be expropriated and all its clergy exterminated. Once their oppressors had been vanquished, the Germans would be exalted over all other peoples. In place of the Pope a new German patriarch at Mainz would preside over a new Church subordinate to the emperor, a new Frederick, whose dominion would embrace the entire earth.

List's own vision of the Armanist millennium owed much to this mixture of crude early nationalism with the tradition of popular eschatology. As in those early modern manifestoes one finds the same belief in a primitive German world in which the divine will was once realized and which had been the source of all good until it was undermined by a conspiracy of inferior, non-Germanic peoples, the Church, the capitalists, the Jews, the liberals, or whatever. This ideal world would be restored by a new aristocracy under a God-sent saviour who would fulfil the religious and political expectations of the oppressed. List drew upon the traditions of this obscure historical chiliasm by claiming that the reigns of Frederick IV and Maximilian I betokened a renaissance of the Armanist spirit, the thrust of which had been sadly aborted by the conspiratorial Lutheran Reformation. It is further significant that List was attracted to the ideas of Giordano Bruno, the sixteenth-century philosopher and heretic. Bruno had proclaimed that Judaism and Christianity had corrupted the ancient and true religion, by which he meant the mysticism and the magic of the Egyptian Hermetica, which had enjoyed considerable popularity amongst the Neoplatonists of the Renaissance. Bruno also wanted a new dispensation based on the rediscovered ancient gnosis. This conjunction of millenarian hopes and cabbalistic thought also appeared in List's vision of the new Germany. With great approval he quoted Bruno: 'O Jove, let the Germans realise their own strength ... and they will not be men, but gods'.

A particular Norse legend offered another vision of the millenium which is important for this analysis. As early as 1891, List had discovered a verse of the 'Voluspa' which invoked an awesome and benevolent messianic figure:

A wealthy man joins the circle of counsellors, A Strong One from Above ends the faction, He settles everything with fair decisions, Whatever he ordains shall endure for ever.

This Starke von Oben (Strong One from Above) became a stock phrase in all List's subsequent references to the millennium. An ostensibly superhuman individual would end all human factions and confusion with the establishment of an eternal order. This divine dictator possessed particular appeal for those who lamented the uncertain nature of industrial society. List eagerly anticipated the advent of this leader, whose monolithic world of certainties would fulfil the sociopolitical conditions of his national millennium.

Lastly, theosophy offered an occult vision of the millennium. Towards the end of the war, List suggested that the Austrian and German victims of the slaughter on the battle-fronts would be reincarnated as a collective messianic body. He applied the principle of karma to claim that the hundred thousands of war-dead would be reborn with innate millenarian fervour: these young men would then form the elite messianic corps in a later post-war national revolution. From his calculations based on 'cosmic and astrological laws', List deduced that the years 1914, 1923 and 1932 had an intimate relation with the coming Armanist millennium. He favoured the year 1932 as the time when a divine force would possess the collective unconsciousness of the German people. This generation of resurrected revolutionaries would become sensitive to the divine force and constitute a fanatic league which would usher in the new age. Order, national revenge, and fervour would then transform modern pluralist society into a monolithic, eternal, and incorruptible state. This totalitarian vision was List's blueprint for the future Greater Germanic Reich. In his anticipation of Nazi Germany, his calculation was only one year out.
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Muriel de la Warr
by Spartacus Educational
Accessed: 7/3/20

The organizing Committee [of the Happy Valley Foundation] as announced in The Ojai: Dr. Annie Besant, president of the Theosophical Society; The Lady Emily Lutyens of London; Dr. John Ingelman (chiropractor & businessman) of Hollywood; Mr.Henry Hotchener of Hollywood; C.F. Holland (Attorney) of Los Angeles; Captain Max Wardall of Pasadena; D. Rajagopal of Eerde Castle, Holland; Mrs. George Porter of Chicago; Mr. Robert Logan of Philadelphia; Mr. Fritz Kunz of Ojai; Mr. Frank Gerard of Ojai; Mr. George Hall (Realtor) of Ojai; Mr. George B. Hastings of Buffalo; Mr. Louis Zalk (Businessman) of Duluth; Miss Mary Dodge of London; and, Muriel, Countess De La Warr of London

-- The Story of Happy Valley [Ojai Valley School, Upper Campus] [The Ojai Foundation] [Besant Hill School of Happy Valley], Compiled and Narrated by Radha Rajagopal Sloss


Muriel Brassey, the daughter of Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl of Brassey (1836-1918), Lord of the Admiralty, was born in 1873. Muriel's grandfather was Thomas Brassey (1805-1870), the successful railway contractor.

Brassey was the eldest son of the railway magnate Thomas Brassey (1805-1870), by his wife Maria Harrison, a daughter of Joseph Harrison, a forwarding and shipping agent. He was the elder brother of Henry Brassey and Albert Brassey. He was educated at Rugby and University College, Oxford, and was called to the Bar, Lincoln's Inn, in 1864.

Brassey was briefly Member of Parliament (MP) for Devonport in 1865, winning the seat at a by-election in June and then losing it again the general election in July. He returned to Parliament three years later as the representative for Hastings at the 1868 general election, holding that seat until he was defeated at the 1886 general election. He was President of the first day of the 1874 Co-operative Congress. He served under William Ewart Gladstone as Civil Lord of the Admiralty from 1880 to 1884 and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty from 1884 to 1884. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1881 and raised to the peerage as Baron Brassey, of Bulkeley in the County of Chester, in 1886. He again held office under Gladstone and then Lord Rosebery as a Lord-in-waiting from 1893 to 1895. In 1893 Queen Victoria appointed nine members as the Royal Opium Commission, which consisted of seven British and two Indian members, which was headed by Lord Brassey, who served as the Chairman. The Commission was to report on whether India Opium export trade to far east (China) should be ended and, further, whether poppy growing and consumption of Opium in India itself should be prohibited save for medical purpose.

From 1895 to 1900 he was Governor of Victoria, a colony in Australia, and lived in its capital, Melbourne, in Government House. He returned to the United Kingdom in March 1900, by way of Colombo....

He was a freemason. He was initiated to the craft as an Oxford student. In 1868, he became a member of Abbey Lodge No. 1184 and remained for 48 years. He was also a member of Derwent Lodge No. 4 and a founding brother of Navy Lodge No. 2612. When he was appointed Governor of Victoria, while he had never held any Lodge office, he was appointed Honorary Past Junior Grand Warden. In Melbourne, became a member of Clarke Lodge No. 98 and became its Senior Warden in 1896 and its Worshipful Master in 1897. On 4 May 1896 two days before being installed as Senior Warden, he was installed Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Victoria. His becoming of Grand Master was a bit controversial because many members preferred then-current Grand Master Sir William Clarke, 1st Baronet to stay and nominated him again. Clarke said that he would like the nomination to be withdrawn if Brassey was willing to serve. Brassey approved and Clarke withdrew the nomination, so Brassey was the sole candidate and therefore elected Grand Master.

-- Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey, by Wikipedia

Muriel Brassey married Gilbert Sackville, 8th Earl De La Warr (1869-1915) on 4th August 1891. Muriel gave birth to Idina (1893), Avice (1897) and Herbrand (1900).

According to The East Grinstead Observer: "Lord De La Warr left England for South Africa in October, 1899, returning in the following July. Since his return the relations between him and his wife had entirely changed owing to the conduct of the husband, and the family circle became very unhappy. In June 1901, the Earl withdrew from the family home and has never been back since." The marriage was dissolved in 1902 on the grounds of Gilbert's adultery with an actress.

Muriel, Countess De La Warr, was an active supporter of the Liberal Party but joined the Labour Party during the struggle for women's suffrage. The Countess De La Warr and her daughter Idina Sackville were both founder members of the East Grinstead Suffrage Union. So also was the Countess De La Warr's younger sister, Helen Brassey.

Muriel was originally a supporter of the Women's Social and Political Union. However, she broke with the WSPU during its arson campaign. In April 1912, the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies announced that it intended to support Labour Party candidates in parliamentary by-elections. The NUWSS established an Election Fighting Fund (EFF) to support these Labour candidates. The EFF Committee, which administered the fund, included Muriel de la Warr, Margaret Ashton, Henry N. Brailsford, Kathleen Courtney, Millicent Fawcett, Catherine Marshall, Isabella Ford, Laurence Housman, Margory Lees and Ethel Annakin Snowden.

In 1913 Muriel de la Warr became president of of the East Grinstead Women's Suffrage Society. The following year she joined the United Suffragists. During this period she lived with Mary Dodge, the heiress to the automobile millions. They were also both members of The Theosophical Society.

A close friend, George Lansbury, later claimed that De La Warr played a very important role in the feminist and socialist movement but it was "little known, because she always insisted on being kept in the background". Lansbury pointed out that her money helped to support many campaigns such as the fights for women's suffrage, trade union rights and self-determination for India. Lansbury argues that without De La Warr's financial contributions the Daily Herald would have been forced to close.

Muriel's son, Herbrand Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr (1900-1976) was the first hereditary peer to take his seat in the House of Lords as a supporter of the Labour Party. He was later to become one of Britain's youngest ever cabinet ministers.

Muriel Sackville, Countess De La Warr, died on 8th August 1930.


Lady Idina Sackville
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/3/20

Lady Idina Soltau
Born: Lady Myra Idina Sackville, 26 February 1893
Died: 5 November 1955 (aged 62)
Spouse(s): Euan Wallace (m. 1913; div. 1919); Charles Gordon (m. 1919; div. 1923); Josslyn Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll (m. 1923; div. 1929); Donald Carmichael Haldeman (m. 1930; div. 1938); William Vincent Soltau ;(m. 1939; div. 1946)
Children: David John Wallace; Gerard Euan Wallace; Diana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll
Parent(s): Gilbert Sackville, 8th Earl De La Warr; Lady Muriel Agnes Brassey

Lady Myra Idina Sackville (26 February 1893 – 5 November 1955) was an English aristocrat and member of the Happy Valley set. Her behaviour and lifestyle scandalised middle class society.

Early life

Lady Myra Idina Sackville was born on 26 February 1893 and was known by her middle name, Idina. She was the daughter of Gilbert Sackville, 8th Earl De La Warr (1869–1915) and the former Lady Muriel Agnes Brassey. She had two younger siblings, sister Lady Avice (wife of Sir Stewart Menzies) and brother Herbrand Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr. After her mother died in August 1930, her father remarried to Hilda Mary Clavering Tredcroft, daughter of Colonel Charles Lennox Tredcroft.[1]

Her paternal grandparents were Reginald Sackville, 7th Earl De La Warr and the Hon. Constance Baillie-Cochrane (daughter of Alexander Baillie-Cochrane, 1st Baron Lamington). Her cousin was the writer Vita Sackville-West (only child of cousins Victoria Sackville-West and Lionel Sackville-West, 3rd Baron Sackville). Her mother was the daughter of Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey, and Anna Allnutt (daughter of merchant John Allnutt). Her uncle was Thomas Brassey, 2nd Earl Brassey and her aunt was Marie Freeman-Thomas, Marchioness of Willingdon.[1]

Personal life

Portrait of Lady Idina Wallace, by William Orpen, 1915.

Lady Idina was married, and divorced, five times throughout her lifetime.[1] At the age of 20, she married Rt. Hon. Captain David Euan Wallace (d. 1941),[2] the son of John Wallace of Glassingall, on 26 November 1913.[3] In homage to her childhood home, Lady Idina designed Kildonan House, Barrhill, South Ayrshire with the architect James Miller.[4] She never saw the building finished, however, having split from Wallace before its completion. Before their divorce in 1919, they were the parents of two sons:

• David John Wallace (1914–1944), who married Joan Prudence Magor in 1939. He was killed in action in Greece during World War II and she remarried to Gerald Frederick Walter de Winton in 1948.
• Gerard Euan Wallace (1915–1943), who married Elizabeth Lawson, in 1940. He was also killed in action during World War II.

After their divorce, her first husband took custody of their sons and he remarried to Barbara Lutyens (the daughter of Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens) in May 1920.[2]

On 27 March 1919, she married Capt. Charles Gordon of Park Hill, Aberdeen, the second son of Alexander Gordon-Cuming-Skene (later Gordon) of Pitlurg and the former Ada Wilson. They moved to Kenya in 1919. They divorced, without issue, in 1923.[1]

On 22 September 1923, she married for the third time, to Josslyn Hay, Lord Kilmarnock and was thus styled Lady Kilmarnock. They moved to Kenya in 1924, financing the move with Idina's money. Their home was a bungalow on the slopes of the Aberdare Range which they called Slains, after the former Hay family seat of Slains Castle which had been sold by Hay's grandfather, the 20th Earl, in 1916. The bungalow was sited alongside the high altitude farms which other white Kenyans were establishing at the time. After his father's death in 1928, he became the 22nd Earl of Erroll and Idina became the Countess of Erroll.[5] The Happy Valley set were a group of elite, colonial expatriates who became notorious for drug use, drinking, adultery and promiscuity, among other things.

The Happy Valley set was a group of hedonistic, largely British and Anglo-Irish aristocrats and adventurers who settled in the "Happy Valley" region of the Wanjohi Valley, near the Aberdare mountain range, in colonial Kenya and Uganda between the 1920s and the 1940s. In the 1930s, the group became infamous for its decadent lifestyles and exploits amid reports of drug use and sexual promiscuity.

The area around Naivasha was one of the first to be settled in Kenya by white people and was one of the main hunting grounds of the 'set'. The colonial town of Nyeri, Kenya, to the east of the Aberdare Range, was the centre of Happy Valley settlers.

In the mid-2000s, descendants of the Happy Valley set appeared again in the news, thanks to the legal troubles of Tom Cholmondeley, the great-grandson of Lord Delamere.

Some of the notable members of the Happy Valley set were: The 3rd Baron Delamere and his son and heir The 4th Baron Delamere; Denys Finch Hatton; Sir Jock Delves Broughton and wife Diana Delves Broughton; The 22nd Earl of Erroll; Lady Idina Sackville; Alice, Countess de Janze (cousin of J. Ogden Armour) and her husband Count Frederic de Janzé.

-- Happy Valley set, by Wikipedia

Her husband soon became a part of this group and accumulated debts. Before Lady Idina divorced him in 1929 because he was cheating her financially,[6] they were the parents of one child:[7]

• Diana Denyse Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll (1926–1978),[8] who married Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk in 1946. They divorced in 1964 and, later that year, she married Maj. Raymond Carnegie, a grandson of Charles Carnegie, 7th Earl of Southesk.[7]

After their divorce, their daughter was taken home to England to be raised firstly by her uncle Herbrand Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr, and then by her aunt Lady Avice Spicer in Wiltshire. In 1930, Lord Erroll married Edith Maude ("Molly") Ramsay-Hill, who had been named in their divorce.[6][9] She died in 1939 and the following year, Lord Erroll met, and subsequently had an affair with Diana, Lady Broughton, the wife of Sir Jock Delves Broughton, Bt.[10] Sir Jock found out about the affair and in 1941, Lord Erroll was found shot dead in his Buick in Kenya.[11][12][13] The murder was never solved but Sir Jock committed suicide not long thereafter.[14]

On 22 November 1930, Lady Idina married Donald Carmichael Haldeman, at the Shoreham Register Office in London.[15] Haldeman, an Eton graduate and former soldier with the 19th Royal Hussars, was a son of John Haldeman.[16] They divorced in 1938, without issue. In 1939, she married F/Lt William Vincent Soltau of the Royal Air Force. They divorced, without issue, in 1946.[1]

Lady Idina died in 1955 at the age of 62. Soltau died on 1 August 1964.[1]


Through her eldest son David, she was a grandmother of Cary Davina Wallace (wife of David Howell, Baron Howell of Guildford and mother of Frances (née Howell) Osborne, the author of The Bolter, a biography of Idina, and wife of former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne),[17] and Laura Jacqueline Wallace (b. 1941), who married Dominic Paul Morland in 1963, and, secondly, Keith Fitchett, in 2003.

In popular culture

• The notorious Happy Valley set was depicted in White Mischief, a film dramatising the events surrounding the murder of Lady Idina's third husband Josslyn Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll based on the book of the same name by James Fox.[18]
• Nancy Mitford based her character "the Bolter" on Lady Idina in three of her books including The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate.[citation needed]
• Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh is also based on Lady Idina's character and lifestyle.[citation needed]
• In the 1920s, the writer Michael Arlen wrote a book The Green Hat where the heroine Iris Storm is based on a portrait of Lady Idina Sackville. This book was turned into a movie A Woman of Affairs starring Greta Garbo.[citation needed]
• Lady Idina's great-granddaughter through her eldest son David Wallace, Frances Osborne, wrote a biography, The Bolter, which was published in 2008 by Virago Press. The 2009 paperback edition has a revealing Afterword following a letter from Vincent Soltau's daughter, who with her brother was cared for by Lady Idina at her house 'Clouds' in Kenya for eight years.


1. "De La Warr, Earl (GB, 1761)". Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
2. "EUAN WALLACE, 48, BRITISH OFFICIAL Minister of Transport Under Chamberlain and World War Hero Dies in England HELD SEAT IN COMMONS Ex-Regional Commissioner for Civil Defense of London Served in Washington". The New York Times. 11 February 1941. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
3. The Genealogy of the Wallace Family
4. Historic Environment Scotland. "Kildonan House (LB1052)". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
5. "EARL OF ERROLL DIES SUDDENLY; British High Commissioner in Rhineland Is Stricken While at Coblentz. SCOTLAND'S HIGHEST PEER Descendant of William 11 and Godson of Victoria--Noted for HisCharm and Tact". The New York Times. 21 February 1928. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
6. "DIVORCES EARL OF ERROLL.; Countess Gets Judgment Against Him and Corespondent". The New York Times. 25 June 1929. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
7. "Erroll, Earl of (S, 1452)". Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
8. Slains Castle and The Hays of Erroll, Aberdeen Civic Society Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
9. "Earl of Errol Named in Divorce". The New York Times. 19 June 1928. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
10. Woods, Judith. "Revealed: the White Mischief murderer". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
11. "HINTS EARL OF ERROLL WAS MURDER VICTIM; Doctor Finds Pistol Wound After Kenya Auto Accident". The New York Times. 28 January 1941. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
12. "KENYA KILLING LAID TO TITLED OFFICER; Sir Delves Broughton Accused of Murder of Earl of Erroll After Fashionable Party MISSING PISTOLS HUNTED Younger Victim Had Escorted Bride of Suspect Home -Suicide 'Ruse' Rejected". The New York Times. 12 March 1941. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
13. "EARL OF ERROLL SEEN AS A BRITISH FASCIST; Political Motive in His Murder Hinted as Kenya Trial Opens". The New York Times. 27 May 1941. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
14. "FREED IN KENYA MURDER; Broughton Acquitted in 3 1/2 Hours of Killing Earl of Errol". The New York Times. 3 July 1941. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
15. TIMES, Special Cable to THE NEW YORK (19 November 1930). "TO WED AFTER 3 DIVORCES.; Idina, Countess of Erroll, Will Marry Donald Halderman". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
16. TIMES, Wireless to THE NEW YORK (23 November 1930). "COUNTESS WEDS 4TH TIME; Divorced Wife of Earl of Erroll Marries Again in England". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
17. Osborne, Frances (2008). The Bolter. Vintage. pp. 368. ISBN 978-0-307-47642-5.
18. Fox, James (1988). White Mischief, The Murder of Lord Erroll. Vintage. pp. 328. ISBN 978-0-394-75687-5.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:12 am

Meet Sarat Chandra Das: The spy who came in from the cold of Tibet and wrote a book about it
Book Excerpt from the Introduction of Journey to Lhasa: The Diary of a Spy, Sarat Chandra Das, by Parimal Bhattacharya
October 27, 2017, 08:30 am


How did a middle-class Bengali become a British agent in the forbidden kingdom?

On the fringe of Darjeeling town, where the Hill Cart Road winds into a thick urban sprawl, is a neighbourhood known as Lhasa Villa. One needs to ask around to find the origin of this name, a nineteenth-century villa that still stands somewhere here. But only a dogged spirit with a pair of strong legs can find it in the forest of concrete and tin 50 feet below the road, at the end of a steep pebbled path.

It is an old derelict cottage, the remains of what had once been a pretty structure, now indistinguishable from the tenements that have grown around it. One must exercise the imagination to remember that a century ago this was a place of solitude, filled with the call of crickets and murmuring pines, and that a spy once lived here. He was a spy who had fallen in love with the land of his mission and remained its lifelong lover.

But Sarat Chandra Das was more than a spy.

Trained as an engineer, he went to Tibet in the late nineteenth century on a secret mission, became a well-known Buddhist scholar on his return, and even wrote a thousand-page dictionary of the Tibetan language. He also became a Rai Bahadur, a Companion of the Indian Empire, won a medal from the Royal Geographic Society and was supposedly the model for a character in a Rudyard Kipling novel.

Born in 1849 in a middle-class Bengali family in the Chittagong district of East Bengal, now Bangladesh, Sarat Chandra Das studied civil engineering in Calcutta’s Presidency College. A sharp and diligent student, he soon attracted the attention of his sahib teachers and, even before he had obtained the degree, was appointed the headmaster of Bhutia Boarding School in Darjeeling.

It was 1874. The school had been newly set up to teach the rudiments of English and science, particularly the skills of cartographic survey, to boys in the hills. Darjeeling, too, was a new hill station surrounded by verdant mountains and the majestic Kanchenjunga towering in the sky. Coming from the at Gangetic plains, young Sarat Chandra was captivated by such beauty. He explored the hills around town and made a trip to the neighbouring kingdom of Sikkim.

But his destiny lay elsewhere, across snow-covered ranges to the north, in the mysterious land on the roof of the world. After he had read a book of travel into Tibet by two Englishmen in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century (the book was lent to him by the deputy commissioner of Darjeeling) Sarat Chandra felt “a burning desire for visiting Tibet and for exploring its unknown tracts”. That is what he writes in his brief autobiographical sketch.

Old map of Tibet | Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

However, there was the larger picture. Across Tibet lay the two mighty empires of Russia and China, and the British were uneasy about their imperialist designs, particularly that of Russia. A thorough knowledge of this buffer kingdom – mostly unknown and ten times the size of England – was imperative for them to come to grips with the geopolitical reality of the subcontinent.

But Tibet had always been wary of outsiders, except the Chinese, and the forbidding mountains and hostile tribes inhabiting its frontiers had kept it virtually cut off from the rest of the world.

This had also deepened its mysterious charm. Since the early nineteenth century, the presence of foreign powers like Russia and Britain in Asia had prompted Tibet to tightly shut its doors to outsiders. It was almost impossible for Indians from the plains, let alone white-skinned Westerners, to enter this kingdom of snow.

But trade had been going on between India and Tibet along the high mountain routes since ancient times. It was monopolised by Tibetans and the hill tribes of the border region. The only other people who had access to these routes were the Buddhist monks, a tradition that had continued for centuries.

The British began to exploit this chink. They sent spies into Tibet disguised as Buddhist monks in secret and dangerous missions. These spies were called Pundits. Pawns in the so- called Great Game played by Russia and Britain on the high chessboard of central Asia, these men were drafted from among the hill people. They were given a basic training in land survey and specially made instruments that they could conceal in their baggage to hoodwink the border guards.

With sextants and theodolites in secret chambers of their boxes, compasses fitted on walking staffs, paper and hypsometers tucked in hollowed-out prayer wheels, and rosaries with one hundred beads instead of the sacred hundred and eight, they measured distances by keeping count of their paces and mapped swathes of the Tibetan territory. Some of these Pundits had shown remarkable acumen and grit, a few had perished or been killed, and one of them, Nain Singh Rawat, had even won a gold medal from the Royal Geographic Society for exemplary work.

But these men lacked the formal education required to gather the kind of in-depth knowledge of the land, particularly its people and culture, that the British government in India hungered after. As an English-educated young man with a training in civil engineering, Sarat Chandra Das was cut out for the job. And his “burning desire” for Tibet was matched by an eager nod from the top bureaucracy; it was never known which of these occurred first.

But setting up a boarding school for hill boys in Darjeeling and installing a young Bengali engineer as its headmaster, must have been part of a larger design. The new school was on the radar of the government. It was patronised by Sir Alfred Croft, the director of public instruction and Sarat Chandra’s mentor, and was even visited by the Viceroy.

Ugyen Gyatso was an assistant teacher in the school. He was a lama from the Rinchenpong monastery in Sikkim, which was affiliated to Tashilhunpo lamasery in Shigatse, eastern Tibet. It was Ugyen who procured from Tashilhunpo a passport for Sarat Chandra and accompanied him to Tibet. For the secret mission, Sarat Chandra’s salary was raised from one hundred and fifty rupees to three hundred rupees a month. He was married. Before setting off, Sarat Chandra had told his wife that he was going to Shigatse for a few days on some official business. Naturally, she had no idea where Shigatse was or what was the nature of the “business”; neither did she know that a pension of one hundred rupees had been fixed by the government for her if her husband didn’t return from the mission.

Sarat Chandra went to Tibet twice; first in 1879, for four months, and then in 1881 for an extended stay of fourteen months.

This book, fist published in 1902, is based on the extensive notes he had taken during his second journey. Much of its materials – which he had used to prepare two reports for the intelligence and survey departments – were strictly classified until the end of the nineteenth century. Before him, other English travellers had written about their journeys into Tibet, notably George Bogle, an East India Company officer, explorer Thomas Manning and the great botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker. Sarat Chandra had read them carefully and had more or less followed the route Hooker had taken through Sikkim and Nepal during his foray into the Tibetan territory in 1849.

Old map of Lhasa

Lama Sengchen Dorjechen was an unusual man. Being a part of the ruling establishment in a land caught in a time warp – a land that did not have material uses of the wheel! – he had an avid interest in Western science and had procured through Sarat Chandra some of its wonders, including smallpox vaccine, a photographic camera, magic lanterns and even a complete lithographic press. While Sarat Chandra studied Buddhist literature in the lamasery’s library, Sengchen took a sabbatical from his ministerial duties to learn arithmetic and English from him. He had even begun to write a handbook on photography in the Tibetan language.

Sarat Chandra was taken by the Tibetans as one among the long line of scholars who had brought new knowledge and wisdom from India, the land of the Buddha. He himself, on the other hand, had seen Tibet as a high and dry repository of priceless ancient texts and belief systems that had been ravaged in India by bigots and tropical climate. The fascination and respect was mutual. And he returned with two yak-loads of rare books and manuscripts, splendidly pulling off a mission fraught with great hardship and danger. He was feted by the British government for this, was sent to China as part of a diplomatic mission and he became quite a name in the Himalayan explorers’ circuit.

Satellite view of Tibet

But there was a dark aftermath.

Soon after Sarat Chandra returned to India, his true identity and the purpose of his mission came to light in Tibet. The people who had hosted him and assisted him inadvertently during his stay were charged with sedition. They were arrested, mutilated and thrown into dungeons. Sengchen Dorjechen was drowned alive in the river Tsangpo in a public spectacle of capital punishment. Such brutality was wired into the Tibetan culture, and Sarat had witnessed it during his stay there. In this book there are descriptions of petty criminals begging on the streets of Shigatse—manacled, mutilated and their eyes gouged out. There are also other murky shadows of a closed theocratic society.

But that is only a small part of Journey to Lhasa. Page after page, what comes forth in this book is a spirit of inquiry and wide-eyed fascination for everything that the author had seen and come in contact with – from architectural details to aspects of cuisine, from customs of polyandry to etiquettes of drinking tea, from the rhythms of village life to the politics of Lamaism. And then there is the grandeur of nature, the animal world, the rich and varied aspects of Tibet’s material and spiritual life. It all reads as if a besotted lover is recounting all the details of his paramour’s beauty, spot by spot, but in a lucid and precise prose.

This lucidity and precision in describing a little-known land helped Francis Younghusband lead a military expedition there in 1903. Tibet was prised open like an oyster. Thousands of Tibetans defending their land with crude weapons were killed, the temples and lamaseries were sacked. And yes, a few of the still-surviving prisoners who had befriended Sarat Chandra were freed after thirty years of incarceration.

This also ended the Great Game and drew a curtain on a fascinating chapter of espionage that had continued for most of the nineteenth century. Overnight, men like Sarat Chandra became redundant, forgotten, a relic from the past. We find him making an appearance in the caricature of an English-educated Bengali spy in the figure of Hurree Chunder Mukherjee [R17] [Hurree Babu] [Babu] [Hakim] [The Seeker] in Rudyard Kipling’s famous novel Kim.

In the autumn of his life Sarat Chandra Das was a bitter man, recounting in his autobiography the raw deal he had been given by the British government and quoting stoical lines from Hafiz’s poetry.

He even sued the government on pension-related matters and published his autobiographical sketch in Modern Review, a mouthpiece of Indian nationalists.

But Sarat Chandra also embraced Buddhism with zeal, wrote copiously on spiritualism and founded the Buddhist Texts Society. A year before his death, he visited Japan accompanied with Ekai Kawaguchi, a Japanese monk and a Tibetologist like him. Sarat Chandra’s home in Darjeeling, named Lhasa Villa, was a most sought-after address for the scholars of the world who had anything to do with Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism.

As I write these lines, Lhasa Villa, or what has remained of it, still stands. But nobody remembers Sarat Chandra Das anymore, nobody knows what happened to those books, thangkas and manuscripts that he had brought from Tibet. Standing before the rickety cottage, it is now difficult to imagine that this remarkable man had spent the creative years of his life here. He had named it after the city of his dreams and had written here his books and a dictionary of the Tibetan language, in what was almost a Borgesian quest, cataloguing bit by bit the semantic dimension of a world that he had been able to trespass.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:04 pm

Tibetan Communist Party
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/10/20


Before he had to flee, the young Dalai Lama had a number of meetings with the “Great Chairman” and was very impressed by him. As he shook Mao Zedong by the hand for the first time, the Kundun in his own words felt he was “in the presence of a strong magnetic force” (Craig, 1997, p. 178). Mao too felt the need to make a metaphysical assessment of the god-king: “The Dalai Lama is a god, not a man”, he said and then qualified this by adding, “In any case he is seen that way by the majority of the Tibetan population” (Tibetan Review, January 1995, p. 10). Mao chatted with the god-king about religion and politics a number of times and is supposed to have expressed varying and contradictory opinions during these conversations. On one occasion, religion was for him “opium for the people” in the classic Marxist sense, on another he saw in the historical Buddha a precursor of the idea of communism and declared the goddess Tara to be a “good woman”.

The twenty-year-old hierarch from Tibet looked up to the fatherly revolutionary from China with admiration and even nurtured the wish to become a member of the Communist Party. He fell, as Mary Craig puts it, under the spell of the red Emperor (Craig, 1997, p. 178). “I have heard chairman Mao talk on different matters”, the Kundun enthused in 1955, “and I received instructions from him. I have come to the firm conclusion that the brilliant prospects for the Chinese people as a whole are also the prospects for us Tibetan people; the path of our entire country is our path and no other” (Grunfeld, 1996, p. 142)...

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama and communism:

The Kundun’s constant attestations that Buddhism and Communism have common interests should also be seen as a further currying of favor with the Chinese. One can thus read numerous statements like the following from His Holiness: "The Lord Buddha wanted improvement in the spiritual realm, and Marx in the material; what alliance could be more fruitful?” (Hicks and Chogyam, 1990, p. 143); “I believe firmly there is common ground between communism and Buddhism” (Grunfeld, 1996, p. 188); “Normally I describe myself as half Marxist, half monk” (Zeitmagazin 1988, no. 44, p. 24; retranslation). He is even known to have made a plea for a communist economic policy: “As far as the economy is concerned, the Marxist theory could possibly complement Buddhism...” (Levenson, 1992, p. 334). It is thus no wonder that at the god-king’s suggestion, the “Communist Party of Tibet” was founded. The Dalai Lama has become a left-wing revolutionary even by the standards of those western nostalgics who mourn the passing of communism.

Up until in the eighties the Dalai Lama’s concern was to create via such comments a good relationship with the Soviet Union, which had since the sixties become embroiled in a dangerous conflict with China. As we have seen, even the envoy of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Agvan Dorjiev, was a master at changing political fronts as he switched from the Tsar to Lenin without a problem following the Bolshevist seizure of power. Yet it is interesting that His Holiness has continued to make such pro-Marxist statements after the collapse of most communist systems. Perhaps this is for ethical reasons, or because China at least ideologically continues to cling to its communist past?

These days through such statements the Kundun wants to keep open the possibility of a return to Tibet under Chinese control. In 1997 in Taiwan he explained that he was neither anti-Chinese nor anti-communist (Tibetan Review, May 1997, p. 14). He even criticized China because it had stepped back from its Marxist theory of economics and the gulf between rich and poor is thus becoming ever wider (Martin Scheidegger, speaking at the Gesellschaft Schweizerisch Tibetische Freundschaft [Society for Swiss-Tibetan Friendship], August 18, 1997).

-- The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism, by Victor and Victoria Trimondi

Tibetan Communist Party
Leader Phuntsok Wangyal
Founders Phuntsok Wangyal
Ngawang Kesang
Founded 1939 (as the TDYL)
1943 (as the TCP)
Dissolved 1949
Merged into Communist Party of China
Ideology Communism
Political position Far-left
Politics of Tibet

The Tibetan Communist Party (Tibetan: བོད་གུང་ཁྲན་ཏང, Wylie: bod gung khran tang; Chinese: 西藏共产党; pinyin: Xīzàng Gòngchǎndǎng) was a small communist party in the Kingdom of Tibet, which functioned in secrecy under various names. The group was founded by Phuntsok Wangyal and Ngawang Kesang in 1943. It emerged from a group called the Tibetan Democratic Youth League created by Wangyal and other Tibetan students in Lhasa in 1939.[1][2]

Phuntsog Wangyal (far left) with the Dalai Lama, Chen Yi, and the Panchen Lama in Lhasa,1956

“Phunwang showed that you could be a true Communist while at the same time proud of your Tibetan heritage,” stated the Dalai Lama.

-- Phuntsog Wangyal - obituary, by The Telegraph

The Party sought to unite all Tibetans into one entity, compassing Kham, Amdo, and Ü-Tsang.[3] The Party contacted the embassy of the Soviet Union asking for its assistance as it began planning a socialist uprising in Tibet and Kham. Later Wangyal also contacted the Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of India.[4]

The Tibetan communists prepared guerrilla struggles against the ruling Kuomintang, whilst promoting democratic reforms inside Tibet.

In 1949, the party merged into the Communist Party of China.[5]


1. New Left Review - Tsering Shakya: The Prisoner
2. "Case anthropologist tells story of Tibet Communist Party founder". 2 July 2004. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
3. Goldstein, Melvyn C. Goldstein/Sherap, Dawei Sherap/Siebenschuh, William R.. A Tibetan Revolutionary: The Political Life and Times of Bapa Phüntso Wangye. University of California Press, 2004. p. xiii
4. Goldstein, Melvyn C. Goldstein/Sherap, Dawei Sherap/Siebenschuh, William R.. A Tibetan Revolutionary: The Political Life and Times of Bapa Phüntso Wangye. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. p. 42-44, 78-82
5. Melvyn C. Goldstein; Dawei Sherap; William R. Siebenschuh. "A Tibetan Revolutionary". Retrieved 21 June 2008.
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