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Jiddu Krishnamurti
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/3/20



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Jiddu Krishnamurti
J. Krishnamurti c. 1920s
Born: 11 May 1895, Madanapalle (now Andhra Pradesh State), Madras Presidency, British India
Died: 17 February 1986 (aged 90), Ojai, California, U.S.
Occupation: Philosopher author public speaker
Parent(s): Jiddu Narayaniah and Sanjeevamma. Annie Besant and Charles Webster Leadbeater (adopted).

Jiddu Krishnamurti (/ˈdʒɪduːkrɪʃnəˈmuːrti/; 11 May 1895 – 17 February 1986) was an Indian philosopher, speaker and writer. In his early life he was groomed to be the new World Teacher but later rejected this mantle and withdrew from the Theosophy organization behind it.[1] His interests included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about radical change in society. He stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasised that such revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social.

Krishnamurti was born in south India in what is now the modern day Madanapalle of Andhra Pradesh. In early adolescence he met occultist and theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater on the grounds of the Theosophical Society headquarters at Adyar in Madras. He was subsequently raised under the tutelage of Annie Besant and Leadbeater, leaders of the Society at the time, who believed him to be a 'vehicle' for an expected World Teacher. As a young man, he disavowed this idea and dissolved the Order of the Star in the East, an organisation that had been established to support it.

Krishnamurti said he had no allegiance to any nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, and spent the rest of his life travelling the world, speaking to large and small groups, as well as individuals. He wrote many books, among them The First and Last Freedom, The Only Revolution, and Krishnamurti's Notebook. Many of his talks and discussions have been published. His last public talk was in Madras, India, in January 1986, a month before his death at his home in Ojai, California. His supporters — working through non-profit foundations in India, Great Britain and the United States — oversee several independent schools based on his views on education. They continue to transcribe and distribute his thousands of talks, group and individual discussions, and writings by use of a variety of media formats and languages.

Krishnamurti was unrelated to his contemporary U. G. Krishnamurti (1918–2007), although the two men had a number of meetings.[2]

Biography

Family background and childhood


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Krishnamurti in 1910

The date of birth of Krishnamurti is a matter of dispute. Mary Lutyens determines it to be 12 May 1895[3] but Christine Williams notes the unreliability of birth registrations in that period and that statements claiming dates ranging from 4 May 1895 to 25 May 1896 exist. He used calculations based on a published horoscope to derive a date of 11 May 1895 but "retains a measure of scepticism" about it.[4] His birthplace was the small town of Madanapalle in Madras Presidency (modern-day Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh). He was born in a Telugu-speaking Brahmin family.[5] His father, Jiddu Narayaniah, was employed as an official of the British colonial administration. Krishnamurti was fond of his mother Sanjeevamma, who died when he was ten.[6] His parents had a total of eleven children, of whom six survived childhood.[7]

In 1903 the family settled in Cudappah, where Krishnamurti had contracted malaria during a previous stay. He would suffer recurrent bouts of the disease over many years.[8] A sensitive and sickly child, "vague and dreamy", he was often taken to be intellectually disabled, and was beaten regularly at school by his teachers and at home by his father.[9] In memoirs written when he was eighteen years old Krishnamurti described psychic experiences, such as seeing his sister, who had died in 1904, and his late mother.[10] During his childhood he developed a bond with nature that was to stay with him for the rest of his life.[11]

Krishnamurti's father retired at the end of 1907. Being of limited means he sought employment at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar. Narayaniah had been a Theosophist since 1882. He was eventually hired by the Society as a clerk, moving there with his family in January 1909.[12] Narayaniah and his sons were at first assigned to live in a small cottage which was located just outside the society's compound.[13]

Discovered

In April 1909, Krishnamurti first met Charles Webster Leadbeater, who claimed clairvoyance. Leadbeater had noticed Krishnamurti on the Society's beach on the Adyar river, and was amazed by the "most wonderful aura he had ever seen, without a particle of selfishness in it."[a] Ernest Wood, an adjutant of Leadbeater's at the time, who helped Krishnamurti with his homework, considered him to be "particularly dim-witted".[15] Leadbeater was convinced that the boy would become a spiritual teacher and a great orator; the likely "vehicle for the Lord Maitreya" in Theosophical doctrine, an advanced spiritual entity periodically appearing on Earth as a World Teacher to guide the evolution of humankind.[15]

In her biography of Krishnamurti, Pupul Jayakar quotes him speaking of that period in his life some 75 years later: "The boy had always said "I will do whatever you want". There was an element of subservience, obedience. The boy was vague, uncertain, woolly; he didn't seem to care what was happening. He was like a vessel with a large hole in it, whatever was put in, went through, nothing remained."[16]

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Krishnamurti by Tomás Povedano

Following his discovery by Leadbeater, Krishnamurti was nurtured by the Theosophical Society in Adyar. Leadbeater and a small number of trusted associates undertook the task of educating, protecting, and generally preparing Krishnamurti as the "vehicle" of the expected World Teacher. Krishnamurti (often later called Krishnaji)[17] and his younger brother Nityananda (Nitya) were privately tutored at the Theosophical compound in Madras, and later exposed to a comparatively opulent life among a segment of European high society as they continued their education abroad. Despite his history of problems with schoolwork and concerns about his capacities and physical condition, the 14-year-old Krishnamurti was able to speak and write competently in English within six months.[18] Lutyens says that later in life Krishnamurti came to view his "discovery" as a life-saving event. When he was asked in later life what he thought would have happened to him if he had not been 'discovered' by Leadbeater he would unhesitatingly reply "I would have died".[19]

During this time Krishnamurti had developed a strong bond with Annie Besant and came to view her as a surrogate mother. His father, who had initially assented to Besant's legal guardianship of Krishnamurti,[20] was pushed into the background by the swirl of attention around his son. In 1912 he sued Besant to annul the guardianship agreement. After a protracted legal battle Besant took custody of Krishnamurti and Nitya.[21] As a result of this separation from family and home Krishnamurti and his brother (whose relationship had always been very close) became more dependent on each other, and in the following years often travelled together.[22]

In 1911 the Theosophical Society established the Order of the Star in the East (OSE) to prepare the world for the expected appearance of the World Teacher. Krishnamurti was named as its head, with senior Theosophists assigned various other positions. Membership was open to anybody who accepted the doctrine of the Coming of the World Teacher. Controversy soon erupted, both within the Theosophical Society and outside it, in Hindu circles and the Indian press.[ b]

Growing up

Mary Lutyens, a biographer and friend of Krishnamurti, says that there was a time when he believed that he was to become the World Teacher after correct spiritual and secular guidance and education.[23] Another biographer describes the daily program imposed on him by Leadbeater and his associates, which included rigorous exercise and sports, tutoring in a variety of school subjects, Theosophical and religious lessons, yoga and meditation, as well as instruction in proper hygiene and in the ways of British society and culture.[24] At the same time Leadbeater assumed the role of guide in a parallel mystical instruction of Krishnamurti; the existence and progress of this instruction was at the time known only to a select few.[25]

While he showed a natural aptitude in sports, Krishnamurti always had problems with formal schooling and was not academically inclined. He eventually gave up university education after several attempts at admission. He did take to foreign languages, in time speaking several with some fluency.[26]

His public image, cultivated by the Theosophists, "was to be characterized by a well-polished exterior, a sobriety of purpose, a cosmopolitan outlook and an otherworldly, almost beatific detachment in his demeanor."[27] Demonstrably, "all of these can be said to have characterized Krishnamurti's public image to the end of his life."[27] It was apparently clear early on that he "possessed an innate personal magnetism, not of a warm physical variety, but nonetheless emotive in its austerity, and inclined to inspire veneration."[28] However, as he was growing up, Krishnamurti showed signs of adolescent rebellion and emotional instability, chafing at the regimen imposed on him, visibly uncomfortable with the publicity surrounding him, and occasionally expressing doubts about the future prescribed for him.[c]

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Krishnamurti in England in 1911 with his brother Nitya and the Theosophists Annie Besant and George Arundale

Krishnamurti and Nitya were taken to England in April 1911.[29] During this trip Krishnamurti gave his first public speech to members of the OSE in London.[30] His first writings had also started to appear, published in booklets by the Theosophical Society and in Theosophical and OSE-affiliated magazines.[31] Between 1911 and the start of World War I in 1914, the brothers visited several other European countries, always accompanied by Theosophist chaperones.[32] Meanwhile, Krishnamurti had for the first time acquired a measure of personal financial independence, thanks to a wealthy benefactress, American Mary Melissa Hoadley Dodge, who was domiciled in England.[33]

After the war, Krishnamurti embarked on a series of lectures, meetings and discussions around the world, related to his duties as the Head of the OSE, accompanied by Nitya, by then the Organizing Secretary of the Order.[34] Krishnamurti also continued writing.[35] The content of his talks and writings revolved around the work of the Order and of its members in preparation for the Coming. He was initially described as a halting, hesitant, and repetitive speaker, but his delivery and confidence improved, and he gradually took command of the meetings.[36]

In 1921 Krishnamurti fell in love with Helen Knothe, a 17-year-old American whose family associated with the Theosophists. The experience was tempered by the realisation that his work and expected life-mission precluded what would otherwise be considered normal relationships and by the mid-1920s the two of them had drifted apart.[37]

Life-altering experiences

In 1922 Krishnamurti and Nitya travelled from Sydney to California. In California they stayed at a cottage in the Ojai Valley. It was thought that the area's climate would be beneficial to Nitya, who had been diagnosed with tuberculosis. Nitya's failing health became a concern for Krishnamurti.[38][39] At Ojai they met Rosalind Williams, a young American who became close to them both, and who was later to play a significant role in Krishnamurti's life.[40] For the first time the brothers were without immediate supervision by their Theosophical Society minders.[41] They found the Valley to be very agreeable. Eventually a trust, formed by supporters, bought a cottage and surrounding property there for them. This became Krishnamurti's official residence.[42]

At Ojai in August and September 1922 Krishnamurti went through an intense 'life-changing' experience.[43] This has been variously characterised as a spiritual awakening, a psychological transformation, and a physical reconditioning. The initial events happened in two distinct phases: first a three-day spiritual experience, and two weeks later, a longer-lasting condition that Krishnamurti and those around him referred to as the process. This condition recurred, at frequent intervals and with varying intensity, until his death.[44]

According to witnesses it started on 17 August 1922 when Krishnamurti complained of a sharp pain at the nape of his neck. Over the next two days the symptoms worsened, with increasing pain and sensitivity, loss of appetite, and occasional delirious ramblings. He seemed to lapse into unconsciousness, but later recounted that he was very much aware of his surroundings, and that while in that state he had an experience of "mystical union". The following day the symptoms and the experience intensified, climaxing with a sense of "immense peace".[45] Following — and apparently related to — these events[46] the condition that came to be known as the process started to affect him, in September and October that year, as a regular, almost nightly occurrence. Later the process resumed intermittently, with varying degrees of pain, physical discomfort and sensitivity, occasionally a lapse into a childlike state, and sometimes an apparent fading out of consciousness, explained as either his body giving in to pain or his mind "going off".[d]

These experiences were accompanied or followed by what was interchangeably described as, "the benediction," "the immensity," "the sacredness," "the vastness" and, most often, "the otherness" or "the other."[48] It was a state distinct from the process.[49] According to Lutyens it is evident from his notebook that this experience of otherness was "with him almost continuously" during his life, and gave him "a sense of being protected."[48] Krishnamurti describes it in his notebook as typically following an acute experience of the process, for example, on awakening the next day:

... woke up early with that strong feeling of otherness, of another world that is beyond all thought ... there is a heightening of sensitivity. Sensitivity, not only to beauty but also to all other things. The blade of grass was astonishingly green; that one blade of grass contained the whole spectrum of colour; it was intense, dazzling and such a small thing, so easy to destroy ...[50]


This experience of the otherness would be present with him in daily events:

It is strange how during one or two interviews that strength, that power filled the room. It seemed to be in one's eyes and breath. It comes into being, suddenly and most unexpectedly, with a force and intensity that is quite overpowering and at other times it's there, quietly and serenely. But it's there, whether one wants it or not. There is no possibility of getting used to it for it has never been nor will it ever be ..."[50]


Since the initial occurrences of 1922, several explanations have been proposed for this experience of Krishnamurti's.[e] Leadbeater and other Theosophists expected the "vehicle" to have certain paranormal experiences, but were nevertheless mystified by these developments.[51] During Krishnamurti's later years, the nature and provenance of the continuing process often came up as a subject in private discussions between himself and associates; these discussions shed some light on the subject, but were ultimately inconclusive.[52] Whatever the case, the process, and the inability of Leadbeater to explain it satisfactorily, if at all, had other consequences according to biographer Roland Vernon:

The process at Ojai, whatever its cause or validity, was a cataclysmic milestone for Krishna. Up until this time his spiritual progress, chequered though it might have been, had been planned with solemn deliberation by Theosophy's grandees. ... Something new had now occurred for which Krishna's training had not entirely prepared him. ... A burden was lifted from his conscience and he took his first step towards becoming an individual. ... In terms of his future role as a teacher, the process was his bedrock. ... It had come to him alone and had not been planted in him by his mentors ... it provided Krishna with the soil in which his newfound spirit of confidence and independence could take root.[53]


As news of these mystical experiences spread, rumours concerning the messianic status of Krishnamurti reached fever pitch as the 1925 Theosophical Society Convention was planned, on the 50th anniversary of its founding. There were expectations of significant happenings.[54] Paralleling the increasing adulation was Krishnamurti's growing discomfort with it. In related developments, prominent Theosophists and their factions within the Society were trying to position themselves favourably relative to the Coming, which was widely rumoured to be approaching. He stated that "Too much of everything is bad"."Extraordinary" pronouncements of spiritual advancement were made by various parties, disputed by others, and the internal Theosophical politics further alienated Krishnamurti.[55]

Nitya's persistent health problems had periodically resurfaced throughout this time. On 13 November 1925, at age 27, he died in Ojai from complications of influenza and tuberculosis.[56] Despite Nitya's poor health, his death was unexpected, and it fundamentally shook Krishnamurti's belief in Theosophy and in the leaders of the Theosophical Society. He had received their assurances regarding Nitya's health, and had come to believe that "Nitya was essential for [his] life-mission and therefore he would not be allowed to die," a belief shared by Annie Besant and Krishnamurti's circle.[57] Jayakar wrote that "his belief in the Masters and the hierarchy had undergone a total revolution."[58] Moreover, Nitya had been the "last surviving link to his family and childhood. ... The only person to whom he could talk openly, his best friend and companion."[59] According to eyewitness accounts, the news "broke him completely."[60] but 12 days after Nitya's death he was "immensely quiet, radiant, and free of all sentiment and emotion";[58] "there was not a shadow ... to show what he had been through."[61]

Break with the past

Over the next few years, Krishnamurti's new vision and consciousness continued to develop. New concepts appeared in his talks, discussions, and correspondence, together with an evolving vocabulary that was progressively free of Theosophical terminology.[62] His new direction reached a climax in 1929, when he rebuffed attempts by Leadbeater and Besant to continue with the Order of the Star.

Krishnamurti dissolved the Order during the annual Star Camp at Ommen, the Netherlands, on 3 August 1929.[63] He stated that he had made his decision after "careful consideration" during the previous two years, and that:

I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path. ... This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies.[64]


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Krishnamurti in the early 1920s.

Following the dissolution, prominent Theosophists turned against Krishnamurti, including Leadbeater who is said to have stated, "the Coming had gone wrong."[65] Krishnamurti had denounced all organised belief, the notion of gurus, and the whole teacher-follower relationship, vowing instead to work on setting people "absolutely, unconditionally free."[64] There is no record of his explicitly denying he was the World Teacher;[66] whenever he was asked to clarify his position he either asserted that the matter was irrelevant[67] or gave answers that, as he stated, were "purposely vague."[68]

In hind-sight it can be seen that the ongoing changes in his outlook had begun before the dissolution of the Order of the Star.[69] The subtlety of the new distinctions on the World Teacher issue was lost on many of his admirers, who were already bewildered or distraught because of the changes in Krishnamurti's outlook, vocabulary and pronouncements–among them Besant and Mary Lutyens' mother Emily, who had a very close relationship with him.[70][71] He soon disassociated himself from the Theosophical Society and its teachings and practices,[f] yet he remained on cordial terms with some of its members and ex-members throughout his life.[citation needed]

Krishnamurti would often refer to the totality of his work as the teachings and not as my teachings.[72]

Krishnamurti resigned from the various trusts and other organisations that were affiliated with the defunct Order of the Star, including the Theosophical Society. He returned the money and properties donated to the Order, among them a castle in the Netherlands and 5,000 acres (2,023 ha) of land, to their donors.[73]

Middle years

From 1930 through 1944 Krishnamurti engaged in speaking tours and in the issue of publications under the auspice of the "Star Publishing Trust" (SPT), which he had founded with Desikacharya Rajagopal, a close associate and friend from the Order of the Star.[g] Ojai was the base of operations for the new enterprise, where Krishnamurti, Rajagopal, and Rosalind Williams (who had married Rajagopal in 1927) resided in the house known as Arya Vihara (meaning Realm of the Aryas i.e. those noble by righteousness in Sanskrit). The business and organizational aspects of the SPT were administered chiefly by D. Rajagopal, as Krishnamurti devoted his time to speaking and meditation. The Rajagopals' marriage was not a happy one, and the two became physically estranged after the 1931 birth of their daughter, Radha.[74] In the relative seclusion of Arya Vihara Krishnamurti's close friendship with Rosalind deepened into a love affair which was not made public until 1991. According to Radha Rajagopal Sloss, the long affair between Krishnamurti and Rosalind began in 1932 and it endured for about twenty-five years. [h][ i]

During the 1930s Krishnamurti spoke in Europe, Latin America, India, Australia and the United States. In 1938 he met Aldous Huxley.[75] The two began a close friendship which endured for many years. They held common concerns about the imminent conflict in Europe which they viewed as the outcome of the pernicious influence of nationalism.[76] Krishnamurti's stance on World War II was often construed as pacifism and even subversion during a time of patriotic fervor in the United States and for a time he came under the surveillance of the FBI.[77] He did not speak publicly for a period of about four years (between 1940 and 1944). During this time he lived and worked at Arya Vihara, which during the war operated as a largely self-sustaining farm, with its surplus goods donated for relief efforts in Europe.[78] Of the years spent in Ojai during the war he later said: "I think it was a period of no challenge, no demand, no outgoing. I think it was a kind of everything held in; and when I left Ojai it all burst."[79]

Krishnamurti broke the hiatus from public speaking in May 1944 with a series of talks in Ojai. These talks, and subsequent material, were published by "Krishnamurti Writings Inc" (KWINC), the successor organisation to the "Star Publishing Trust." This was to be the new central Krishnamurti-related entity worldwide, whose sole purpose was the dissemination of the teaching.[80] He had remained in contact with associates from India, and in the autumn of 1947 embarked on a speaking tour there, attracting a new following of young intellectuals.[j] On this trip he encountered the Mehta sisters, Pupul and Nandini, who became lifelong associates and confidants. The sisters also attended to Krishnamurti throughout a 1948 recurrence of the "process" in Ootacamund.[81] In Poona in 1948, Krishnamurti met Iyengar, who taught him Yoga practices every morning for the next three months, then on and off for twenty years.[82]

When Krishnamurti was in India after World War II many prominent personalities came to meet him, including Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In his meetings with Nehru Krishnamurti elaborated at length on the teachings, saying in one instance, "Understanding of the self only arises in relationship, in watching yourself in relationship to people, ideas, and things; to trees, the earth, and the world around you and within you. Relationship is the mirror in which the self is revealed. Without self-knowledge there is no basis for right thought and action." Nehru asked, "How does one start?" to which Krishnamurti replied, "Begin where you are. Read every word, every phrase, every paragraph of the mind, as it operates through thought."[83]

Later years

Krishnamurti continued speaking in public lectures, group discussions and with concerned individuals around the world. In the early 1960s, he made the acquaintance of physicist David Bohm, whose philosophical and scientific concerns regarding the essence of the physical world, and the psychological and sociological state of mankind, found parallels in Krishnamurti's philosophy. The two men soon became close friends and started a common inquiry, in the form of personal dialogues–and occasionally in group discussions with other participants–that continued, periodically, over nearly two decades.[k] Several of these discussions were published in the form of books or as parts of books, and introduced a wider audience (among scientists) to Krishnamurti's ideas.[84] Although Krishnamurti's philosophy delved into fields as diverse as religious studies, education, psychology, physics, and consciousness studies, he was not then, nor since, well known in academic circles. Nevertheless, Krishnamurti met and held discussions with physicists Fritjof Capra and E. C. George Sudarshan, biologist Rupert Sheldrake, psychiatrist David Shainberg, as well as psychotherapists representing various theoretical orientations.[85] The long friendship with Bohm went through a rocky interval in later years, and although they overcame their differences and remained friends until Krishnamurti's death, the relationship did not regain its previous intensity.[citation needed][l][m]

In the 1970s, Krishnamurti met several times with then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, with whom he had far ranging, and in some cases, very serious discussions. Jayakar considers his message in meetings with Indira Gandhi as a possible influence in the lifting of certain emergency measures Gandhi had imposed during periods of political turmoil.[86]

Meanwhile, Krishnamurti's once close relationship with the Rajagopals had deteriorated to the point where he took D. Rajagopal to court to recover donated property and funds as well as publication rights for his works, manuscripts, and personal correspondence, that were in Rajagopal's possession.[n] The litigation and ensuing cross complaints, which formally began in 1971, continued for many years. Much property and materials were returned to Krishnamurti during his lifetime; the parties to this case finally settled all other matters in 1986, shortly after his death.[o]

In 1984 and 1985, Krishnamurti spoke to an invited audience at the United Nations in New York, under the auspices of the Pacem in Terris Society chapter at the United Nations.[87] In October 1985, he visited India for the last time, holding a number of what came to be known as "farewell" talks and discussions between then and January 1986. These last talks included the fundamental questions he had been asking through the years, as well as newer concerns about advances in science and technology, and their effect on humankind. Krishnamurti had commented to friends that he did not wish to invite death, but was not sure how long his body would last (he had already lost considerable weight), and once he could no longer talk, he would have "no further purpose". In his final talk, on 4 January 1986, in Madras, he again invited the audience to examine with him the nature of inquiry, the effect of technology, the nature of life and meditation, and the nature of creation.[citation needed]

Krishnamurti was also concerned about his legacy, about being unwittingly turned into some personage whose teachings had been handed down to special individuals, rather than the world at large. He did not want anybody to pose as an interpreter of the teaching.[88] He warned his associates on several occasions that they were not to present themselves as spokesmen on his behalf, or as his successors after his death.[89]

A few days before his death, in a final statement, he declared that nobody among either his associates or the general public had understood what had happened to him (as the conduit of the teaching). He added that the "supreme intelligence" operating in his body would be gone with his death, again implying the impossibility of successors. However, he stated that people could perhaps get into touch with that somewhat "if they live the teachings".[90] In prior discussions, he had compared himself with Thomas Edison, implying that he did the hard work, and now all that was needed by others was a flick of the switch.[91]

Death

Krishnamurti died of pancreatic cancer on 17 February 1986, at the age of 90. His remains were cremated. The announcement of KFT (Krishnamurti Foundation Trust) refers to the course of his health condition until the moment of death. The first signs came almost nine months before his death, when he felt very tired. In October 1985 he went from England (Brockwood Park School) to India and after that he suffered from exhaustion, fevers, and lost weight. Krishnamurti decided to go back to Ojai (10 January 1986) after his last talks in Madras, which necessitated a 24-hour flight. Once he arrived at Ojai he underwent medical tests that revealed he was suffering from pancreatic cancer. The cancer was untreatable, either surgically or otherwise, so Krishnamurti decided to go back to his home at Ojai, where he spent his last days. Friends and professionals nursed him. His mind was clear until the very last. Krishnamurti died on 17 February 1986, at ten minutes past midnight, California time.

Schools

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Krishnamurti on a 1987 stamp of India

Krishnamurti founded several schools around the world, including Brockwood Park School, an international educational center. When asked, he enumerated the following as his educational aims:

1. Global outlook: A vision of the whole as distinct from the part; there should never be a sectarian outlook, but always a holistic outlook free from all prejudice.
2. Concern for man and the environment: Humanity is part of nature, and if nature is not cared for, it will boomerang on man. Only the right education, and deep affection between people everywhere, will resolve many problems including the environmental challenges.
3. Religious spirit, which includes the scientific temper: The religious mind is alone, not lonely. It is in communion with people and nature.[92]

The Krishnamurti Foundation, established in 1928 by him and Annie Besant, runs many schools in India and abroad.[93]

Influence

Krishnamurti attracted the interest of the mainstream religious establishment in India. He engaged in discussions with several well known Hindu and Buddhist scholars and leaders, including the Dalai Lama.[p] Several of these discussions were later published as chapters in various Krishnamurti books. Those influenced by Krishnamurti include Toni Packer,[citation needed] Achyut Patwardhan,[94] and Dada Dharmadhikari.[95]

Interest in Krishnamurti and his work has persisted in the years since his death. Many books, audio, video, and computer materials, remain in print and are carried by major online and traditional retailers. The four official Foundations continue to maintain archives, disseminate the teachings in an increasing number of languages, convert print to digital and other media, develop websites, sponsor television programs, and organise meetings and dialogues of interested persons around the world.[96]

Works

Main article: Jiddu Krishnamurti bibliography

See also: List of works about Jiddu Krishnamurti

• At the Feet of the Master (1910)
• The First and Last Freedom (1954)
• Commentaries on Living (1956–1960)
• Freedom from the Known (1969)
• Krishnamurti's Notebook (1976)
• Krishnamurti's Journal (1982)
• Krishnamurti to Himself (1987)

References

Notes


1. According to occult and Theosophical lore, auras are invisible emanations related to each individual's so-called subtler planes of existence, as well as her or his normal plane. The ability to discern a person's aura is considered one of the possible effects of clairvoyance. Leadbeater's occult knowledge and abilities were highly respected within the Society.[14]
2. Lutyens (1975), pp. 40–63 [cumulative]. The news regarding Krishnamurti and the World Teacher were not universally welcomed by Theosophists and led to upheavals in the Society; Lutyens (1983a), pp. 15–19, 40, 56. Part of the controversy was Leadbeater's role. He had a history of being in the company of young boys–pupils under his spiritual and Theosophical instruction, and there was gossip about child abuse — although no accusations were ever proven.
3. Lutyens (1975), "Chapter 10: Doubts and Difficulties" through "Chapter 15: In Love" pp. 80–132 [cumulative].
4. Lutyens (1975), "Chapter 18: The Turning Point" through "Chapter 21: Climax of the Process" pp. 152–188 [cumulative]. The use of the term "going off" in the accounts of the early occurrences of the process apparently signified so-called out-of-body experiences.[47] In later usage the meaning of "going off" was more nuanced.
5. Jayakar (1986), p. 46n. and Lutyens (1975), p. 166 provide a frequently given explanation, that it represented the so-called awakening of kundalini, a process that according to Hindu mysticism culminates in transcendent consciousness. Others view it in Freudian terms. Aberbach (1993) contends that the experiences were a projection of Krishnamurti's accumulated grief over the death of his mother. Sloss (1993), p. 61 considers the process to be a purely physical event centred on sickness or trauma, and suggest the possibility of epilepsy, a possibility that Lutyens (1990) rejects. According to Lutyens (1990), pp. 45–46., Krishnamurti believed the process was necessary for his spiritual development and not a medical matter or condition. As far as he was concerned, he had encountered Truth; he thought the process was in some way related to this encounter, and to later experiences.
6. Lutyens considers the last remaining tie with Theosophy to have been severed in 1933, with the death of Besant. He had resigned from the Society in 1930 (Lutyens, 1975; pp. 276, 285).
7. Born in India in 1900 and of Brahmin descent, Rajagopal had moved in Krishnamurti's circle since early youth. Although regarded as an excellent editor and organizer, he was also known for his difficult personality and high-handed manner. Upon Nitya's death, he had promised Besant that he would look after Krishnamurti. See Henri Methorst, Krishnamurti A Spiritual Revolutionary, Edwin Publishing House, 2003, ch 12.
8. The two also shared an interest in education: Krishnamurti helped to raise Radha, and the need to provide her with a suitable educational environment led to the founding of the Happy Valley School in 1946. The school has since re-established itself as an independent institution operating as the Besant Hill School Of Happy Valley. See Sloss, "Lives in the Shadow," ch 19.
9. Radha's account of the relationship, Lives in the Shadow With J. Krishnamurti, was first published in England by Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd. in 1991, and was soon followed by a rebuttal volume written by Mary Lutyens, Krishnamurti and the Rajagopals, Krishnamurti Foundation of America, 1996, in which she acknowledges the relationship.
10. These included former freedom campaigners from the Indian Independence Movement, See Vernon, "Star in the East," p 219.
11. Bohm would eventually serve as a Krishnamurti Foundationtrustee.
12. Their falling out was partly due to questions about Krishnamurti's private behaviour, especially his long and secret love affair with Rosalind Williams-Rajagopal, then unknown to the general public.[citation needed]
13. After their falling out, Bohm criticised certain aspects of the teaching on philosophical, methodological, and psychological grounds. He also criticised what he described as Krishnamurti's occasional "verbal manipulations" when deflecting challenges. Eventually, he questioned some of the reasoning about the nature of thought and self, although he never abandoned his belief that "Krishnamurti was onto something". See Infinite Potential: The Life and times of David Bohm, by F. David Peat, Addison Wesley, 1997.
14. D. Rajagopal was the head or co-head of a number of successive corporations and trusts, set up after the dissolution of the Order of the Star and chartered to publish Krishnamurti's talks, discussions and other writings.
15. Formation of the Krishnamurti Foundation of America and the Lawsuits Which Took Place Between 1968 and 1986 to Recover Assets for Krishnamurti's Work, by Erna Lilliefelt, Krishnamurti Foundation of America, 1995. The complicated settlement dissolved the K & R Foundation (a previous entity), and transferred assets to the Krishnamurti Foundation of America(KFA). However certain disputed documents remained in the possession of Rajagopal, and he received partial repayment for his attorney's fees.
16. The Dalai Lama characterised Krishnamurti as a "great soul"(Jayakar, "Krishnamurti" p 203). Krishnamurti very much enjoyed the Lama's company and by his own admission could not bring up his anti-guru views, mindful of the Lama's feelings.

Citations

1. "Jiddu Krishnamurti". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
2. Mind is a Myth
3. Lutyens (1995), footnotes 1, 2.
4. Williams (2004), p. 465.
5. Lutyens (1975). p. 7.
6. Lutyens (1975). p. 5.
7. Williams (2004), pp. 471–472.
8. Lutyens (1975), pp.2–4.
9. Lutyens (1975), pp. 3–4, 22, 25.
10. Lutyens (1983a), pp. 5, 309
11. J. Krishnamurti (2004), p. 16.
12. Lutyens (1983a), pp. 7–8.
13. Star In The East: The Invention of A Messiah, by Roland Vernon, Palgrave 2001, p 41.
14. Lutyens (1975), pp. 15, 20–21
15. Jump up to:a b Lutyens (1975), p. 21.
16. Pupul (1986), p. 28.
17. Jayakar (1986), p. xi. The suffix –ji in Hindu names is a sign of affection or respect.
18. Vernon (2001), pp. 51–72.
19. Lutyens (1995)
20. Lutyens (1975), p. 40.
21. Lutyens (1975), pp. 54–63, 64–71, 82, 84.
22. Lutyens (1975), pp. 3, 32.
23. Lutyens (1975), p. 10-11, 93.
24. Vernon (2001), p. 57.
25. Lutyens (1975), "Chapter 4: First Initiation" and "Chapter 5: First Teaching" pp. 29–46 [cumulative].
26. Lutyens (1997), pp. 83, 120, 149.
27. Jump up to:a b Vernon (2001), p. 53.
28. Vernon (2001), p. 52.
29. Lutyens (1975), pp. 50–51.
30. Lutyens (1975), pp. 51–52.
31. Lutyens (1997), pp. 46, 74–75, 126. Krishnamurti was named Editor of the Herald of the Star, the official bulletin of the OSE. His position was mainly as a figurehead, yet he often wrote editorial notes, which along with his other contributions helped the magazine's circulation.
32. Vernon (2001), p. 65.
33. Lutyens (1975), pp. 4, 75, 77.
34. Lutyens (1975), p. 125.
35. See Jiddu Krishnamurti bibliography.
36. Lutyens (1975), pp. 134–35, 171–17.
37. Lutyens (1975), pp. 114, 118, 131–132, 258.
38. Vernon (2001), p. 97.
39. Lutyens (1975), pp. 149, 199, 209, 216–217.
40. Lutyens (1991), p. 35.
41. Vernon (2001), p. 113.
42. Lutyens (1983b), p. 6.
43. Jayakar (1986), pp. 46–57.
44. Vernon (2001), p. 282.
45. Lutyens (1975), pp. 158–160.
46. Lutyens (1975), p. 165.
47. Lutyens (1990), pp. 134–135.
48. Jump up to:a b Lutyens, M. (1988). J. Krishnamurti: The Open Door.Volume 3 of Biography, p. 12. ISBN 0-900506-21-0. Retrieved on: 19 November 2011.
49. "J. Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti's Notebook, Foreword by Mary Lutyens". jkrishnamurti.org. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
50. Jump up to:a b Krishnamurti, J. (1976). Krishnamurti's Notebook, Part 3 Gstaad, Switzerland 13th July to 3rd September 1961. J. Krishnamurti online. ISBN 1-888004-63-0, ISBN 978-1-888004-63-2.
51. Lutyens (1975), pp. 163–4, 188–9.
52. Jayakar (1986), p. 133.
53. Vernon (2001), pp. 131–132.
54. Lutyens (1975), p. 223.
55. Lutyens (1990), pp. 57–60.
56. Lutyens (1975), p. 219.
57. Lutyens (1975), pp. 219, 221.
58. Jump up to:a b Jayakar (1986), p. 69.
59. Vernon (2001), p. 152.
60. Lutyens (1975), pp. 220, 313 (note to p. 220).
61. Lutyens (1975), p. 221.
62. Lutyens (1983c), p. 234.
63. Lutyens (1975), p. 272.
64. Jump up to:a b J. Krishnamurti (1929).
65. Lutyens (1997), pp. 277–279.
66. Vernon (2001), pp. 166–167.
67. J. Krishnamurti (1972), p. 9. "I think we shall have incessant wrangles over the corpse of Krishnamurti if we discuss this or that, wondering who is now speaking. Someone asked me: 'Do tell me if it is you speaking or someone else'. I said: 'I really do not know and it does not matter'." From the 1927 "Question and answer session" at Ommen. [Note weblink in reference is not at official Krishnamurti-related or Theosophical Society website].
68. J. Krishnamurti (1928a), p. 43. "I am going to be purposely vague, because although I could quite easily make it definite, it is not my intention to do so. Because once you define a thing it becomes dead." Krishnamurti on the World Teacher, from "Who brings the truth," an address delivered at Ommen 2 August 1927. Note weblink in reference is not at official Krishnamurti-related or Theosophical Society website. Link-specific content verified against original at New York Public Library Main Branch, "YAM p.v. 519" [call no..
69. Lutyens (1975), p. 262.
70. Vernon (2001), p. 189.
71. Lutyens (1975), p. 236.
72. Lutyens (1990), p. 210. Emphasis in source.
73. Lutyens (1975), pp. 276–284.
74. Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti by Radha Rajagopal Sloss, Bloomsbury Publishing, 1991, ch 12.
75. Vernon, "Star in the East," p 205.
76. "Journal of the Krishnamurti Schools". Retrieved 4 June2018.
77. Vernon, "Star in the East," p 209.
78. Vernon, "Star in the East," p 210.
79. Jayakar, "Krishnamurti" p 98.
80. Lutyens, "Fulfillment," Farrar, Straus hardcover, p 59-60. Initially, Krishnamurti (along with Rajagopal and others) was a trustee of KWINC. Eventually he ceased being a trustee, leaving Rajagopal as President–a turn of events that according to Lutyens, constituted "... a circumstance that was to have most unhappy consequences."
81. See Jayakar, "Krishnamurti," ch 11 for Pupul Mehta's (later Jayakar) eyewitness account.
82. Elliot Goldberg, The Path of Modern Yoga (Rochester VT: Inner Traditions 2016), p. 380.
83. Jayakar, "Krishnamurti," p 142.
84. See Selected Publications/List of Books subsection.
85. See On Krishnamurti, by Raymond Martin, Wadsworth, 2003, for a discussion on Krishnamurti and the academic world.
86. See Jayakar, "Krishnamurti" pages 340–343.
87. Lutyens, "The Open Door," p 84-85. Also Lutyens, "The Life and Death of Krishnamurti," p. 185.
88. Lutyens, "Fulfilment," Farrar, Straus hardcover, p 171, statement of Krishnamurti published in the Foundation Bulletin, 1970.
89. Lutyens, "Fulfilment," Farrar, Straus hardcover, p 233.
90. See Lutyens, "The Life and Death of Krishnamurti," London: John Murray, p 206. Quoting Krishnamurti from tape-recording made on 7 February 1986.
91. Lutyens, "Fulfilment" Farrar, Straus hardcover, p 119.
92. See As The River Joins The Ocean: Reflections about J. Krishnamurti, by Giddu Narayan, Edwin House Publishing 1999, p 64.
93. Evangelos Grammenos. Krishnamurti and the Fourth Way. p. 200. ISBN 9788178990057.
94. "Obituary: Achyut Patwardhan". The Independent. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
95. "Dada Dharmadhikari Biography". mkgandhi-sarvodaya.org. Archived from the original on 9 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
96. See also The Complete Teachings Project Archived 2 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, an ambitious effort to collect the entire body of Krishnamurti's work into a coherently edited master reference.

Bibliography

• Aberbach, David (1 July 1993). "Mystical Union and Grief: the Ba'al Shem Tov and Krishnamurti". Harvard Theological Review. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 86 (3): 309–321. doi:10.1017/s0017816000031254. ISSN 0017-8160. JSTOR 1510013.(subscription required)
• Jayakar, Pupul (1986). Krishnamurti: a biography (1st ed.). San Francisco: Harper & Row. ISBN 978-0-06-250401-2.
• Jiddu, Krishnamurti (1 January 1926). "Editorial Notes". The Herald of the Star. London: Theosophical Publishing House. XV (1): 3. OCLC 225662044.
• Jiddu, Krishnamurti (1928a). "Who brings the truth?". The pool of wisdom, Who brings the truth, By what authority, and three poems. Eerde, Ommen: Star Publishing Trust. pp. 43–53. OCLC 4894479. Saaremaa, Estonia: jiddu-krishnamurti.net [web publisher]. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
• Jiddu, Krishnamurti (September 1929). "The dissolution of the Order of the Star: a statement by J. Krishnamurti". International Star Bulletin. Eerde, Ommen: Star Publishing Trust. 3 (2 [issues renumbered starting August 1929]): 28–34. OCLC 34693176. J.Krishnamurti Online [web publisher]. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
• Jiddu, Krishnamurti (1 August 1965). "Tenth public talk at Saanen". J.Krishnamurti Online. Krishnamurti Foundations. JKO 650801. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
• Jiddu, Krishnamurti (1972). "Eerde Gathering 1927, Questions and Answers". Early Writings of J. Krishnamurti. Early Writings. II [Offprints from Chetana 1970]. Bombay: Chetana. pp. 6–14. OCLC 312923125. Saaremaa, Estonia: jiddu-krishnamurti.net [web publisher]. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
• Jiddu, Krishnamurti (1975b) [1969]. Lutyens, Mary (ed.). Freedom from the Known (reprint, 1st Harper paperback ed.). San Francisco: Harper San Francisco. ISBN 978-0-06-064808-4. JKO 237.
• Jiddu, Krishnamurti (2004) [originally published 1982. San Francisco: Harper & Row]. Krishnamurti's Journal. Bramdean: Krishnamurti Foundation Trust. ISBN 978-0-900506-23-9.
• Lutyens, Mary (1975). Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening (1st US ed.). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-18222-9.
• Lutyens, Mary (1983b). Krishnamurti: The Years of Fulfilment (1st US ed.). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-18224-3.
• Lutyens, Mary (1990). The life and death of Krishnamurti (1st UK ed.). London: John Murray. ISBN 978-0-7195-4749-2.
• Lutyens, Mary (1995). The boy Krishna: the first fourteen years in the life of J. Krishnamurti (pamphlet). Bramdean: Krishnamurti Foundation Trust. ISBN 978-0-900506-13-0.
• Sloss, Radha Rajagopal (1991). Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti (1st ed.). London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7475-0720-8.
• Vernon, Roland (2001). Star in the east: Krishnamurti: the invention of a messiah. New York: Palgrave. ISBN 978-0-312-23825-4.
• Williams, Christine V. (2004). Jiddu Krishnamurti: world philosopher (1895–1986): his life and thoughts. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-2032-6. Retrieved 3 October 2011.

External links

• Works by Jiddu Krishnamurti at Project Gutenberg
• J. Krishnamurti Online Official website — making available thousands of transcripts as well as many audio and video recordings. An international joint venture of the four Krishnamurti Foundations.
• Krishnamurti Foundation Trust – Established in 1968 as an educational charitable trust, the Foundation exists to preserve and make available the teachings of J. Krishnamurti.
• Krishnamurti and the Ojai Valley
• The Bohm-Krishnamurti Project: Exploring the Legacy of the David Bohm and Jiddu Krishnamurti Relationship
• The Krishnamurti Study Centre A retreat centre in England
• J Krishnamurti Study Centre in Hyderabad, India
• The Levin Interviews - Bernard Levin's interviews with Jiddu Krishnamurti
• Newspaper clippings about Jiddu Krishnamurti in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Dhammakaya Tradition UK [William Purfurst/Richard Randall/Kapilavaddho Bhikkhu]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/3/20



Image
Dhammakaya International Society of the UK
Known locally as "Dhammakaya London"
Religion: Affiliation Theravāda Buddhism, Dhammakaya
Location 2 Brushfield Way, Knaphill, Woking, Surrey, GU21 2TG
Country: United Kingdom
Founder: Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Thailand
Completed: 2005
Website: dhammakaya.london

The Dhammakaya Tradition is one distinctive tradition of Thai Buddhism that has had a pioneering role in establishing Buddhist practice in England since 1954.

Origins

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Kapilavaḍḍho Bhikkhu visits Christmas Humphreys at the Buddhist Society 30th Anniversary celebration, 1955

The Dhammakaya Tradition has been known as a specific lineage of Thai Buddhism in Britain since Ţhitavedo visited in October 1953.[1] His protégé William Purfurst (a.k.a. Kapilavaḍḍho Bhikkhu, Richard Randall)(1906–71) travelled to Thailand with Ṭhitavedo as a novice in March 1954 and took higher ordination at Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, the first European to ordain in Thailand. As the result of subsequent training with Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro, he said to have attained the Dhammakaya[2] and returning to England on 12 November 1954, visiting London and Manchester and founding the English Sangha Trust in July 1955.[3][4] Three disciples travelled with Kapilavaḍḍho to Thailand on 30 December 1955 and took higher ordination at Wat Paknam on 27 January 1956. These ordinands were Peter Morgan (a.k.a. Paññavaḍḍho Bhikkhu), Robert Albison (a.k.a. Saddhāvaḍḍho Bhikkhu) and George Blake (a.k.a. Vijjāvaḍḍho Bhikkhu). After some time, all four bhikkhus moved to Wat That Thong, Sukhumvit Road,[5] from which time onwards Kapilavaḍḍho and all his subsequent disciples appear to have practised a more eclectic form of Buddhism.[6] Ananda Bodhi (a.k.a. Leslie Dawson, Namgyal Rinpoche), who may have met Paññavaḍḍho in the period 1956-61, went to Wat Paknam for training in the period 1963-4 and returned to England to teach the Dhammakaya method in April 1964 at Biddulph Old Hall,[7] but by August 1964 had changed to teach Burmese Insight meditation.[8] Remnants of Dhammakaya teaching were perpetuated by Acharn Kaew Potikanok's (1926–86) student Fuengsin (née Sarayutpitak) Trafford (1936–95) who practised Dhammakaya meditation until her death. She claims to have fulfilled a prophecy Kaew Potikanok made 15 years earlier that she would spread Buddhism in England, having taught meditation from c.1975 at Birmingham Buddhist Vihara to children on Sundays and English adults each Monday. She also edited the newsletter Children & Dharma for that temple. She taught Buddhism and meditation in various mainstream schools, colleges, universities and prisons. In 1984, Sister Dr. Mary Hall (1928–2008) invited her to teach Buddhism in the Multi-Faith Centre, Harborne Hall, Birmingham and to graduate groups. She was for a time a Buddhist Prison Chaplain from 1986.[9] She also taught as part of Religious Education in schools such as King Edward VI College, Stourbridge, under the direction of Alan Keightley.[10]

1980s and 1990s

A second phase of the spread of the Dhammakaya tradition in the UK started in the wake of the Thai migration phenomenon – one monk from Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Pathum Thani being sent to study for a bachelor's degree at University of Oxford in 1986 and attracting a succession of English people to visit Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Thailand in the period 1987-1991. Phra Maha Wirat Manikanto completed an MA in Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol in 1997 and during his stay built up a group of Thai supporters mostly from London and Cheltenham who started to organize the first Sunday of the month celebrations from 1998. These were initially at a house in Bristol in 1997. From 21 April 1999 a small house was rented in Wimbledon (within earshot of Wat Buddhapadipa), with Phra Maha Wirat as abbot and Phra Jirasak Caranasampanno, two laymen, Anuchit Treerattanajutawat and Phibul Choompolpaisal supporting the monks while studying for master's degrees in London universities and for a short time a laywoman Sriwan. The tradition registered as a non-profit organization “the Dhammakaya International Society of the United Kingdom” or ‘DISUK’ on 16 April 2002. Later in the same year, in keeping with Dhammakaya Foundation’s policy of rotating personnel, Phra Asadang Siripuñño took over as abbot, moving the temple to a much larger rented premises in Norbury on 7 July 2002. The temple was named Wat Charoenbhavana London. A new abbot, Phrakru Sangharak Wairot Virojano and Phra Thammasarn Cittabhārano took over the running of the temple for the Buddhist lent of 2003. DISUK was granted charitable status on 26 May 2004. At the same time the search continued for a permanent premises for the London temple.

Establishment of the Manchester Branch

In the meanwhile, a second support group in Manchester requested Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Thailand to set up a temple on 18 December 2003. Phra Asadang and Upasaka Anuchit moved north as the pioneering team, with Phra Wut Suvuddhiko succeeding as abbot in 2004. The temple found its first location in rented accommodation at a large former curtain-rail factory at Cheltenham Street, Salford. Phra Praphit Brahmasubho succeeded as abbot in 200?. Various uncanny events surrounded the establishment of Wat Charoenbhavana Manchester including the finding of a 2-metre tall Buddha Image at the side of a road in Wales – which was salvaged as the temples’ first Buddha image. In 2008 the temple moved to a permanent premises in Edgeley and was renamed 'Wat Phra Dhammakaya (Manchester)' or the 'North-West Centre for Buddhist Meditation' - being granted status as a place of worship in 2009. Phra Maha Sairung Thirarojano has been abbot of the new premises from 2009 to present.

Establishment of the London Branch

The London temple negotiated the purchase of the old Brookwood Hospital Chapel at Knaphill in 2004 – a building which had previously been derelict for six years at the time of purchase. The first incumbent was Phra Kru Sangarak Wairot Vairochano who used his considerable construction experience and the architectural designs of Phra Pichit Thitachayo to convert and refurbish the building into a functioning Buddhist centre in 2005. The centre was brought up to UK safety requirements and officially opened by Woking’s Mayor Cllr. Bryan Cross on 28 October 2007. Wat Charoenbhavana London officially changed its name to Wat Phra Dhammakaya London in 200?.

Establishment of other branches

A centre has also been established in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the derelict Saint Andrews Church. The church is a Grade II listed building which was built in 1872 by shipbuilding magnate Andrew Leslie of the Hawthorn Leslie shipyard. Preparing the centre required a huge refurbishment. As of 2015, the refurbishment was in progress, and attempts were made to try and maintain the heritage. The centre has activities for both Thai immigrants and English local inhabitants.[11] The centre also holds traditional ceremonies open to the public, which are sometimes joined by the local mayor and mayoresse.[12] The center also organizes teachings in the local area, such as the Beacon Museum. As of 2015, the center was run by Phra Samuh Phichit Thitachayao.[13]

In 2016, another centre was founded in Helensburgh, Scotland. As of 2016, the centre was run by Phramaha Amaro, and holds meditation classes regularly.

The Present Day

The Dhammakaya temples in the UK are the hubs of a network of Dhammakaya practitioners extending from Scotland to the West country. As with many Asian-rooted Buddhist centres in the west, two distinct interest groups frequent the Dhammakaya temples. The first group is predominantly Thai expatriates with a congregation up to 300 strong in Manchester and 400 strong in London and a mailing list of previous visitors reaching the thousands. The second group is the English speaking (convert) group of practitioners which in London is up to fifty strong with a mailing list of up to 400 previous visitors. Other groups regularly visiting the temple are Buddhist families from the expatriate Singhalese, Bangladeshi and Nepalese communities.

Ten years on, the Dhammakaya practice community of the UK has established a network of local support groups presently in Doncaster, Sheffield, Scotland and Cyprus for the Manchester temple. Brighton, Worthing, Cheltenham, Kent, Swindon and Ireland have monthly groups served by the London temple – and monks are sent regularly to support English language meditation activities in Zurich, Geneva and Ireland. The temples have also been involved with policy-making concerning Buddhism in the UK with participation in TBSUK, NBO, Greenwich Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education, chaplaincy, the SE Buddhist Forum and in 2006 was the first temple to introduce Sanam Luang Dhamma Studies in Europe.

References

1. Terry Shine (2002) Honour Thy Fathers (Wembley:self-published), p.84
2. Rawlinson, A. (1994) The Transmission of Theravada Buddhism to the West, in: P. Masefield & D. Wiebe (Eds) Aspects of Religion: Essays in Honour of Ninian Smart (New York, Lang), p.360.
3. Oliver, I. (1979) Buddhism in Britain (London, Rider & Company), p.102.
4. Snelling, J. (1987) The Buddhist Handbook: A Complete Guide to Buddhist Teaching, Practice, History, and Schools (London, Rider), p.262.
5. Terry Shine (2002) Honour Thy Fathers (Wembley:self-published), 119pp. available online at http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/honourfathers.pdf
6. Waterhouse, H. (1997) Buddhism in Bath: Adaptation and Authority (Leeds, University of Leeds), p.73
7. Terry Shine (2002) Honour Thy Fathers (Wembley:self-published), p.89
8. Sangharakshita (2003) Moving Against the Stream: The Birth of a New Buddhist Movement (Windhorse, Birmingham), p.60
9. Anusorn dae Acharn Kaew Potikanok [Memorial Volume to Acharn Kaew Potikanok - printed on occasion of his cremation] (1986), pp 15-16 (translated from the Thai)
10. pers. comm. Paul Trafford (2009)
11. Proud, Derek (2015-02-25). "Church turned into Buddhist centre in £500,000 refurbishment". ITV plc. ITV News. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
12. "Mayor joins Buddhist ceremony". The Shields Gazette. Johnston Publishing Ltd. 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
13. Fallowfield, Carl (2015-06-02). "Mindfulness Buddhist karma descends on The Beacon Museum". Cumbria Crack. Cumbria Crack. Retrieved 2016-08-24.

External links

• Dhammakaya Meditation Centre Newcastle's activities
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Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro [Luang Por Sodh] [Luang Pu Wat Paknam] [Phramongkolthepmuni] [Phra Mongkolthepmuni]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/3/20

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Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro
Other names: Luang Por Sodh; Luang Pu Wat Paknam
Personal
Born: October 10, 1884[note 1], Song Phi Nong, Suphanburi, Siam
Died: February 3, 1959 (aged 73), Bangkok, Thailand
Religion: Buddhism
Nationality: Thai
School: Theravāda, Mahānikāya
Dharma names Phramongkolthepmuni
Senior posting
Based in Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, Thonburi, Thailand

Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro (10 October 1884 – 3 February 1959), also known as Phramongkolthepmuni (Thai: พระมงคลเทพมุนี), was the abbot of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen from 1916 until his death in 1959.[note 2]

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Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen (Thai: วัดปากน้ำภาษีเจริญ, RTGS: Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen) is a royal wat ('temple') located in Phasi Charoen district, Bangkok, at the Chao Phraya River. It is part of the Maha Nikaya fraternity and is the origin of the Dhammakaya tradition.

The Mahā Nikāya (literal translation: "great order") is one of the two principal monastic orders, or fraternities, of modern Thai and Cambodian Buddhism. The term is used to refer to any Theravada monks not within the Dhammayuttika Nikaya, the other principal monastic order. The Maha Nikaya is the largest order of Theravada Buddhism in Thailand and Cambodia, in Thailand taking up over 90% of the Buddhist monks in the country.

After the founding of the Dhammayuttika Nikāya by the then-monk Prince Mongkut in 1833, decades later all recognized monks not ordained in the Dhammayuttika order were considered to be part of the maha nikāya, the "great collection" of those outside the new Dhammayuttika fraternity. As such, most monks in Thailand belong to the Maha Nikāya more or less by default; the order itself did not originally establish any particular practices or views that characterized those adhering to its creed.
There were in reality hundreds of different Nikayas throughout the Thai areas that were lumped together as the "Maha Nikāya".

In Cambodia, a similar situation exists. The Dhammayuttika Nikāya was supposedly imported from Thailand in 1855, and those monks remaining outside the Dhammayuttika order were recognized as being members of the Maha Nikāya (Khmer: មហានិកាយ Mohanikay). A separate supreme patriarch for the Dhammayuttika Nikāya was appointed by King Norodom. The previous national supreme patriarch then became the titular head of the Cambodian Maha Nikāya.

In Thailand, a single supreme patriarch is recognized as having authority over both the Maha Nikāya and the Dhammayuttika Nikāya. In recent years some Maha Nikāya monks have campaigned for the creation of a separate Maha Nikāya patriarch, as recent Thai supreme patriarchs have invariably been drawn from the royalty-supported Dhammayuttika Nikāya, despite Dhammayuttika Nikāya monks making up only six percent of the monks in Thailand.

-- Maha Nikaya, by Wikipedia


It is a large and popular temple, supported by prosperous community members.

Wat Paknam was established in 1610, during the Ayutthaya period, and received support from Thai kings until the late nineteenth century. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the temple had become nearly abandoned and had fallen into disrepair. The temple underwent a major revival and became widely known under the leadership of the meditation master Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro, who was abbot there in the first half of the twentieth century.


-- Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, by Wikipedia


He founded the Thai Dhammakāya school in the early 20th century. As the former abbot of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, he is often called Luang Pu Wat Paknam, meaning 'the Venerable Father of Wat Paknam'. He became a well-known meditation master during the interbellum and the Second World War, and played a significant role in developing Thai Buddhism during that period.[6] He is considered by the Dhammakaya tradition to have rediscovered Vijja Dhammakaya, a meditation method believed to have been used by the Buddha himself.[7]

Dhammakaya meditation (also known as Sammā Arahaṃ meditation) is a method of Buddhist meditation developed and taught by the Thai meditation teacher Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro (1885–1959).[note 1] In Thailand, it is known as vijjā dhammakāya, which translates as 'knowledge of the dhamma-body'. The Dhammakaya meditation method is popular in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia, and has been described as a revival of samatha (tranquility) meditation in Thailand.

The Dhammakaya tradition believes the method to be the same as the original method the Buddha used to attain enlightenment, which was lost and then rediscovered by Luang Pu Sodh in the 1910s. The most important aspect of the meditation method is the focus on the center of the body, which leads to the attainment of the Dhammakāya, the Dhamma-body, found within every human being. The Dhammakaya tradition believes the meditation technique leads to the attainment of Nirvana, and in advanced stages, can give the meditator various supernatural abilities, or abhiñña.

Dhammakaya meditation is taught at several temples of the tradition, and consists of a stage of samatha (tranquility) and vipassana (insight), following the structure of the Visuddhimagga, a standard fifth-century Theravāda guide about meditation. In the method, the stages are described in terms of inner bodies (Pali: kāya), but also in terms of meditative absorptions (Pali: jhānas).

Scholars have proposed several possibilities for the origin of the method, with the Yogavacara tradition as the likely source, as well as acknowledging that Luang Pu Sodh may have independently developed it through his own psychic experiences.

Dhammakaya meditation has been the subject of considerable discussion among Buddhists as to its authenticity and efficacy, and also has been the subject of several scientific studies...

In 19th and early 20th-century Thailand, public perception of the practice of Buddhism changed. Originally, Thai people saw meditation mostly as a personal and quite esoteric practice. In response to threats of colonial powers, the Thai kings and the reformed Dhammayut fraternity attempted to modernize Buddhism. Mahayana and Tantric practices were considered "devotional and degenerate", while the orthodox Theravada tradition as the more legitimate one with closed canonical scriptures.

The royal family of Thailand sought to reform Thai Buddhism with its ritualized and mystical practices, encouraging instead the direct study and adherence to the Pali canonical and commentarial texts. This was, in part, similar to the European Protestant tradition, reaching back to normative scriptures, in this case the 5th-century Visuddhimagga of Buddhaghosa. In this process, meditation tradition was devalued among monastics, as the study of scriptures was more valued. Thai temples in the Mahānikāya fraternity were forced to adjust to new reforms, including the meditation method used and taught. Education in Buddhist doctrine was standardized and centralized, and some local meditation lineages such as of Ajarn Mun gradually died out.

Meditation traditions responded by reforming their methods, and looking for textual support for their meditation system in the Buddhist scriptures, in an attempt to establish orthodoxy and survive. Meditation became less esoteric, as temple traditions and their local teachers adapted to this pressure for uniform orthodox meditation practice.

According to biographies published by Dhammakaya-related temples, the principles of Dhammakaya meditation were rediscovered by Luang Pu Sodh at Wat Botbon, in Nonthaburi Province sometime between 1915–1917. The tradition was started by Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro in the early twentieth century.

One night, after three hours of meditating on the mantra sammā araham, "his mind [suddenly] became still and firmly established at the very centre of his body," and he experienced "a bright and shining sphere of Dhamma at the centre of his body, followed by new spheres, each "brighter and clearer." According to Luang Pu Sodh, this was the true Dhamma-body, or Dhammakaya, the "spiritual essence of the Buddha and nibbana [which] exists as a literal reality within the human body," what became known as the attainment of the Dhammakaya, the eternal Buddha within all beings. The dhammakaya is Nibbāna, and Nibbāna is equated with the true Self (as opposed to the non-self).


-- Dhammakaya meditation, by Wikipedia


Since the 2000s, some scholars have pointed out that Luang Pu Sodh also played an important role in introducing Theravāda Buddhism in the West, a point previously overlooked.[8][9]

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An image of Luang Pu Sodh at Wat Song Phi Nong, the temple at his birthplace

Biography

Early life


According to traditional biographies, Luang Pu Sodh was born as Sodh Mikaewnoi[note 3] on 10 October 1884 to a relatively well-off family of rice merchants in Amphoe Song Phi Nong, Suphan Buri, a province 102 kilometres (63 mi) west of Bangkok in central Thailand. His father was called Ngen and his mother Soodjai. When he was nine years old, he received his first schooling in the temple in his village, by his uncle who was a Buddhist monk. He therefore became familiar with Buddhism from an early age. He also showed qualities of being an intelligent autodidact.[8][10][11] Another habit of him was that he was compassionate towards animals. For example, he would not allow them to be in the sun too long or put them to work for too long.[12]

When Sodh's uncle moved to Wat Hua Bho, he took Sodh with him to teach him further. After a while his uncle left the monkhood, but Ngen managed to send Sodh to study with Luang Por Sap, the abbot of Wat Bangpla. This is where Sodh learnt the Khmer language. When he was 13 years old, he finished his Khmer studies there and returned home to help his father. Father Ngen ran a rice-trading business, shipping rice by boat from Suphanburi to sell to mills in Bangkok and Nakhon Chai Si District. At the age of 14, Ngen died, and Sodh had to take responsibility for the family business, being the first son. This affected him: thieves and other threats brought home to him the futility of the household life, and at the age of 19, he desired to be ordained as a monk.[13] One day he was particularly aware of the risk of thieves that might steal his rice and the crew being killed in the process, and he imagined what would happen if he would die that day. Then he took a vow that as long as he would survive his job, he would attempt to become ordained.[14] He had to take care of his family first though, and saved up enough money for them that he would able to leave them.[8][10] The biography of Wat Phra Dhammakaya says that he had to calculate the rate of inflation for this, and work harder than before, but finally managed to gather enough funds when he was 22 years old.[15] He left the family company in the hands of employees he trusted.[16]

Ordination

Sodh was ordained at Wat Songpinong in his hometown and was given the Pāli language monastic name Candasaro Phra (phra meaning 'monk, venerable') Sodh started to study meditation and scripture, as he came across a word in Pāli language which drew his attention: aviccāpaccaya ('the factor of ignorance'). He wanted to know the meaning of the word, but his local fellow monks could not answer his question. They recommended him to further his studies in Bangkok to find an answer, which is what he did, though his mother was unwilling to see him leave.[17]

In the area of Bangkok, Phra Sodh studied both under masters of the oral meditation tradition as well as experts in scriptural analysis, which was uncommon during that period.[18] He learnt about a broad range of things. He also learnt many traditional arts and lores that were taught in Buddhist temples in those days, including astrology and magical practices, but later devoted himself to meditation only.[19] In his autobiographical notes, he wrote that he practiced meditation every day, from the first day following his ordination.[20]

After his third year after monk's ordination, Phra Sodh traveled to many places in Bangkok to study scriptures and meditation practice with teachers from established traditions. He studied scriptures at Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Wat Mahadhatu, among others, and learnt about meditation during approximately 10 years (at eight temples, including Wat Ratchasittharam [th], Wat Pho and Wat Chakkrawat [th; de].[21] At Wat Ratchasittharam, he studied a visualization meditation method with Luang Por Aium, and experienced a development in meditation regarded as important. Buddhist Studies scholar Catherine Newell states that he perceived a sphere of light there in meditation, seen as a sign of progress in meditation,[22][note 4] but a traditional biography written in the time of Luang Pu Sodh states this perceived breakthrough occurred at a lesser known temple called Wat Lakhontham.[24] Buddhist Studies scholars Kate Crosby and Newell argue Wat Ratchasittharam to be crucial in Luang Pu Sodh's development, where he learnt practices of Yogavacara.[8][25]

In his first years as a monk, living at Wat Pho, he had difficulty obtaining food on traditional alms rounds, where monks go house to house looking for laypeople to offer them food. This hardship led him to resolve that he would one day build a kitchen for monastics, who would then enjoy convenience in the spiritual life.[26][27] During the same period, Phra Sodh persuaded his younger brother and novice (Thai: สามเณร, romanized: samanen) Samruai to join him at Wat Pho, which he did. However, in his fourth year as a monk, both Phra Sodh and his brother Samanen Samruai fell seriously ill because of smallpox. They went to a nearby hospital, and Phra Sodh recovered, but his brother did not. As a last resort, Phra Sodh brought his brother back home to Song Pi Nong to recover there, but to no avail: Samanen Samruai died, 18 years old. Before the two got ill, Phra Sodh had a dream that someone offered a bag of sand to them as a gift. He ate one handful of sand from the bag, but his brother ate two.[19]

Development of Dhammakāya meditation

See also: Dhammakaya meditation § The samatha stage

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Luang Pu Sodh chanting a text after the meal

Although Phra Sodh had studied with many masters, and had mastered many important Pāli texts, he was not satisfied. He withdrew himself in the more peaceful area of his hometown twice. Some sources state he also withdrew himself in the jungles to meditate more, but Newell doubts this.[4][28] In the 11th rains retreat (vassa) after his ordination, in 1916, he stayed at Wat Botbon at Bangkuvieng, Nonthaburi Province. Wat Botbon was the temple where he used to receive education as a child.[29] As seen from Luang Pu Sodh's autobiographical notes, he reflected to himself that he had been practicing meditation for many years and had still not understood the essential knowledge which the Buddha had taught.[20]

Thus, on the full-moon day in the 10th lunar month of 1916, he sat down in the main shrine hall of Wat Botbon, resolving not to waver in his practice of meditation. He meditated for three hours on the mantra sammā araham, which means "righteous Absolute of Attainment which a human being can achieve."[30] Then "his mind [suddenly] became still and firmly established at the very centre of his body," and he experienced "a bright and shining sphere of Dhamma at the centre of his body, followed by new spheres, each "brighter and clearer."[30] According to Luang Pu Sodh, this was the true Dhamma-body, or Dhammakāya, the "spiritual essence of the Buddha and nibbana [which] exists as a literal reality within the human body,"[30][4][31] and the true Self (as opposed to the non-self).[32][note 5] According to Mackenzie, "Luang Phaw Sot sought to relate his breakthrough to the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. He interpreted a phrase which is normally understood as 'contemplating the body as a body' as 'contemplating the body in the body'[30].

Convinced that he had attained the core of the Buddha's teaching, Phra Sodh started a new chapter in his life, which marked the start of Dhammakāya meditation as a tradition.[4][31] Phra Sodh devoted the rest of his life to teaching and furthering the depth of knowledge of Dhammakāya meditation, a meditation method which he also called Vijjā Dhammakāya, 'the direct knowledge of the Dhammakāya'. Temples in the tradition of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, together called the Dhammakaya tradition, believe that this method was the method the Buddha originally used to attain enlightenment, but was lost 500 after the Buddha passed away.[34][4]
The event of the attainment of the Dhammakāya is usually described by the Dhammakaya tradition in miraculous and cosmic terms. For example, it is mentioned that heavy rains preceded the event.[35]

Life as an abbot

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Statue of Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro at Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, placed above his coffin.

Phra Sodh spent much time teaching. Even when he was still at Wat Pho, he would teach Pāli language in his own monastic cell to other monks and novices.[1] He had also restored an abandoned temple in his hometown Song Phi Nong and set up a school for Buddhist studies for lay people in Wat Phrasriratanamahathat in Suphanburi. He enrolled for the reformed Pāli examinations, but did not pass. He did not enroll again, even though he was a more than capable scholar: he believed that having obtained an official Pāli degree, he might be recruited for administrative work in the Saṅgha (monastic community), which he did not aim for.[8][36] Phra Sodh recalled that if he had passed, it would have been detrimental for his meditation practice. Newell suggests that he may have failed the exam on purpose in response to ongoing monastic reforms.[8][37]

Nevertheless, because of his work, he was noticed by leading monks in the Saṅgha.[38] Still in 1916, Somdet Phuean, the monastic governor of Phasi Charoen and one of Phra Sodh's teachers, appointed Phra Sodh as a caretaker abbot (Thai: ผู้รักษาการเจ้าอาวาส) of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, then located in Thonburi.[39] Somdet Phuean did not want Phra Sodh to travel around without belonging to a single temple, and having a position as a caretaker abbot would connect Phra Sodh's life to one.[40] Initially, Somdet Phuean appointed Phra Sodh for a temporary position of only three months, to which Phra Sodh reluctantly agreed. However, shortly after Phra Sodh had installed himself in Wat Paknam, Somdet Phuean gave him the full position of abbot. To make it impossible to leave the job, in 1921, Somdet Phuean gave an honorary title to Phra Sodh that was connected with the position: "Phrakhru Samanadham-samathan".[41] However, Phra Sodh is usually referred to as "Luang Por Sodh" or "Luang Pu Sodh".

In 1916, Thonburi was not part of Bangkok yet, and had no bridge to connect it to Bangkok.[8] Wat Paknam looked neglected, with grass growing on the buildings, and only 13 monks lived there.[42] Wat Paknam faced social and disciplinary problems, and required a good leader.[1] Luang Pu Sodh promoted and enforced strict monastic discipline.[3][43] He was able to change Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, a temple that was almost vacant, into a temple with hundreds of monks, a school for Buddhist studies, but also a government-approved primary school with a mundane curriculum, and a kitchen to make the temple self-sufficient.[1][44] Apart from monastic residents, the kitchen would also provide food for all the lay visitors of the temple.[45] The fact Luang Pu Sodh was able to provide for his monks and novices through a kitchen was a feat at the time, when most monastics would have to rely on alms. Later, after Luang Pu Sodh's death, Phra Thammathassanathon, then abbot of Wat Chana Songkhram, admitted that this achievement made him want to know more about Luang Pu Sodh and keep in contact with him.[40]

Wat Paknam became a popular center of meditation teaching.[8] Luang Pu Sodh emphasized the development of people more than construction:[46] besides developing a large community of monks in the temple (in 1959, 500 monks, the highest in Thailand at the time),[47] he also set up a community of mae chis (nuns), with separate monastic cells and meditation rooms. Mae chis played an important role in Wat Paknam's propagation of Buddhism.[48] In the first period, Luang Pu Sodh's work was not appreciated by the monastic governor of the village, some other monks and many lay people who, according to biographies, formerly ran illegal businesses within the temple and did not appreciate Luang Pu Sodh changing the temple. Once he was even shot at, though not hurt.[49][note 6] Luang Pu Sodh had such a strong relationship with the temple, that he hardly ever left it. He seldom accepted invitations that involved accommodation outside the temple.[43] He became known for his motto "We monks should not fight back, neither flee, and we will win each time".[51]

Soon after his appointment as temporary abbot, he was appointed fully as abbot of Wat Paknam, where he remained until his death in 1959.[7] For his life and work he was given monastic and royal honorific names, that is Phrakhru Samanadham-samathan (in 1921), Phrabhavanakosolthera (in 1949), Phramongkolratmuni (in 1955), and finally Phramongkolthepmuni (in 1957).[52][53][54] The last three royal titles were given late, due to the fact that the temple was not under royal patronage, and therefore received less attention from the royal family than other temples.[55][56][note 7]

Teaching meditation

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The Ubosot hall of Wat Bot Bon

During a ministry of over half-a-century, Luang Pu Sodh taught Dhammakāya meditation continuously, guiding meditation every Thursday and preaching on Buddhism on Sundays and uposatha days. Luang Pu Sodh would distribute an introductory book about meditation to practitioners.[57] At first, the Dhammakāya meditation method drew criticism from the Thai Saṅgha authorities, because it was a new method.[58] Discussion within the Saṅgha led to an inspection at Wat Paknam, but it was concluded that Luang Pu Sodh's method was correct.[31]

In teaching meditation, Luang Pu Sodh would challenge others to meditate so that they might verify for themselves the benefits of Dhammakāya meditation. He organized a team of his most gifted meditation practitioners and set up a 'meditation factory of direct knowledge' (Thai: โรงงานทำวิชชา). These practitioners, mostly monks and mae chis, would meditate in an isolated location at the temple, in shifts for 24 hours a day, one shift lasting for six hours.[59][60] Their "brief" was to devote their lives to meditation research for the common good of society. In the literature of the Dhammakāya tradition many accounts are found about Dhammakāya meditation solving problems in society and the world at large. Dhammakāya meditation was—and still is—believed to bring forth certain psychic powers (Pali: abhiññā), such as travelling to other spheres of existence, and reading people's minds.[61][62] Publications describe that Dhammakāya meditation was used during the Second World War to prevent Thailand from being bombed. Luang Pu Sodh also used meditation in healing people, for which he became widely known.
[58][63][64] An often quoted anecdote is the story of Somdet Puean, the abbot of Wat Pho, who, after meditating with Luang Pu Sodh, recovered from his illness.[65] An important student in the meditation factory was Maechi Chandra Khonnokyoong, who Luang Pu Sodh once described as "first among many, second to none" in terms of meditation skill, according to the biography of Wat Phra Dhammakaya.[66]

Death

In 1954, Luang Pu Sodh made an announcement that he would die soon, and instructed his students to continue their duties without him, especially to propagate Dhammakāya meditation.[43][67] A year later, he began to suffer from a disease and his condition became less and less stable.[40] In 1956, he was diagnosed with hypertension and spent some time in a military hospital.[68] He complained little and was in good spirits, eventually dying in peace on 3 February 1959 in Wat Paknam.[40] His body was not cremated as was common, but embalmed, so that after his death people would still come to see his coffin and support Wat Paknam.[8]

Legacy

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Golden statue of Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro, as used in a ceremony organized by Wat Phra Dhammakaya

Besides meditation, Luang Pu Sodh promoted the study of Buddhism as well. In this combination he was one of the pioneers in Thai Buddhism.[69] In 1939, Luang Pu Sodh set up a Pāli Institute at Wat Paknam, which is said to have cost 2,500,000 baht. Luang Pu Sodh financed the building through the production of amulets, which is common in Thai Buddhism. [70] The institute became the most modern educational institute in Buddhism for that time.[40] The kitchen which he built was the fulfillment of an intention which he had since his first years at Wat Pho, when he experienced difficulty in finding food. It also resulted in monks having more time to study Buddhism.[8]

Luang Pu Sodh took part in the construction of the Phutthamonthon, an ambitious project of Prime Minister Phibun Songkhram in the 1950s. The park was built to host the 2500 Buddha Jayanti celebrations.

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Phutthamonthon (Thai: พุทธมณฑล, pronounced [pʰút.tʰā.mōn.tʰōn]; also spelled Buddha Monthon; from Sanskrit Buddha Máṇḍala, 'Buddha's sphere') is a Buddhist park in the Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom Province of Thailand, west of Bangkok. It is highlighted by a 15.87 m (52 ft) high Buddha statue by Corrado Feroci, which may be the tallest free-standing Buddha statue in the world.

The park was created in 1957 (the year 2500 in the Thai Buddhist Era) on the basis of an idea of Thailand's prime minister, Phibunsongkhram. The park covers an area of about 400 hectares, which in traditional Thai units is 2500 rai. Construction started 29 July 1955, and the park was inaugurated on the Vaisakh Bucha day, 13 May 1957.

-- Phutthamonthon, by Wikipedia


Judging from the chapel at the centre of the Phutthamonthon, dedicated to Luang Pu Sodh and Dhammakāya meditation, as well as the amulets Luang Pu Sodh issued to raise funds for the park, Newell speculates Luang Pu Sodh assumed a significant role in building the park and had an important relation with PM Phibun [Prime Minister Phibun Songkhram].[71]

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Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram (Thai: แปลก พิบูลสงคราม [plɛ̀ːk pʰí.būːn.sǒŋ.kʰrāːm]; alternatively transcribed as Pibulsongkram or Pibulsonggram; 14 July 1897 – 11 June 1964), locally known as Marshal P. (Thai: จอมพล ป.;[tɕɔ̄ːm.pʰōn.pɔ̄ː]), contemporarily known as Phibun (Pibul) in the West, was a Thai military officer and politician who served as the Prime Minister of Thailand and dictator from 1938 to 1944 and 1948 to 1957.

Phibunsongkhram was a member of the Royal Siamese Army wing of Khana Ratsadon, the first political party in Thailand,...


Khana Ratsadon (Thai: คณะราษฎร, pronounced [kʰā.náʔ râːt.sā.dɔ̄ːn]; meaning 'People's Party') was a Siamese group of military and civil officers, and later a political party, which staged a bloodless coup against King Prajadhipok's government and transformed the country's absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy on 24 June 1932.

In 1927, the Kingdom of Siam was under the absolutist rule of the House of Chakri, under King Prajadhipok, Rama VII. Under his reign, the nation experienced troubles stemming from an archaic government confronted with serious economic problems and threats from abroad, the British and French Empires. The country was also experiencing a dramatic social change as the urban and middle classes of Bangkok were starting to grow, slowly demanding more rights from their government, criticizing it as ineffective. These changes were mostly led by men, civilians and military, who had graduated or travelled abroad. They wanted to transform Siam into a modern country along the lines of a Western democracy.

In February 1927, a group of seven Siamese students, later known as the "promoters", met at a hotel on the Rue Du Sommerard in Paris and founded what would become Khana Ratsadon. For five days they met and proposed arguments for and against various aspects of the movement, the men were:

1. Lieutenant Prayoon Pamornmontri (Thai: ร.ท. ประยูร ภมรมนตรี), Army officer, formerly of King Vajiravudh's Royal Guards
2. Lieutenant Plaek Khittasangkha (Thai: ร.ท. แปลก ขีตตะสังคะ), later Luang Phibulsonggram, Army officer, student, School of Applied Artillery, France
3. Lieutenant Thatsanai Mitphakdi (Thai: ร.ต. ทัศนัย มิตรภักดี), Army officer, student, French Cavalry Academy
4. Tua Lophanukrom (Thai: ตั้ว ลพานุกรม), scientist studying in Switzerland
5. Luang Siriratchamaitri (Thai: หลวงสิริราชไมตรี), diplomat, officer at the Siamese Embassy in Paris
6. Naep Phahonyothin (Thai: แนบ พหลโยธิน), law student studying in England
7. Pridi Banomyong (Thai: ปรีดี พนมยงค์), law student studying at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris

The revolutionaries made Pridi Panomyong their president and termed themselves the "promoters" (Thai: ผู้ก่อการ; RTGS: Phu Ko Kan).


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Praditmanutham (Thai: หลวงประดิษฐ์มนูธรรม) was a Siamese/Thai politician and professor.[2]:13 He was a Thai Regent, prime minister and senior statesman of Thailand; he also held multiple ministerial posts. He was a leader of the civilian wing of Khana Ratsadon, founder of University of Moral and Political Sciences and Bank of Thailand.

Born to a poor family of farmers in Ayutthaya Province, he nonetheless received good education. He became one of the nation's youngest barristers in 1919, at the age of nineteen. In 1920, he won scholarship to study in France, where he graduated from University of Caen with a master's degree, and completed his doctorage from University of Paris in 1927. In the same year, he co-founded Khana Ratsadon with the same-minded Siamese overseas students. After returning to Siam, he worked as a judge, judicial secreteriat, and professor. In the aftermath of 1932 Siamese Revolution, he played an important role in drafting two of the country's first constitutions, and proposed a socialist economic plan. The stark reaction to the plan made him briefly self-exiled. He then took many ministerial posts in Khana Ratsadon's governments. His significant contributions include, but not limited to, modernizing of Thai legal codes, laying foundation for the country's local government system, negotiation to cancel unequal treaties with the West, and tax reform.

He then diverged from Plaek Phibunsongkhram after his tendency for dictatorship, he was made a reagent during 1941 to 1945, a post deemed powerless, and leader of domestic Free Thai Movement during World War II. His move to legitimate Phibun's [Plaek Phibunsongkhram] declaration of war against the Allies proved fruitful and after the war, the King revered him as a senior statesman.

He became a Prime Minister for a brief period in 1946. His political opponents painted him as the mastermind behind the assassination of King Ananda Mahidol. The coup in 1947 cost him his political power. An attempt to stage a counter coup in 1949 was failed and he continued to live in exile since. He died in Paris, France in 1983.
His ash was brought to Thailand in 1986.

His image ranged from a anti-monarchist democrat to a republican. His branding as a communist and a mastermind of a King's death was a political dirt which his opponents continued to weaponize even after his death. However, he won every libel lawsuit in Thailand filed against those who advertise it. He became a symbol of resistance against military dictatorships, as well as a symbol of liberalism, and Thammasat University. The centenary of his birth was celebrated by UNESCO in 2000.

-- Pridi Banomyong, by Wikipedia


The party determined a sixfold objective which was later called the "Six Principles" (Thai: หลักหกประการ; RTGS: Lak Hok Prakan), as follows:

1. To maintain the supreme power of the Thai people.
2. To maintain national security.
3. To maintain the economic welfare of the Thai people in accordance with the National Economic Project.
4. To protect the equality of the Thai people.
5. To maintain the people's rights and liberties, insofar as they are not inconsistent with any of the above-mentioned principles.
6. To provide public education for all citizens.

To achieve these goals, the party determined that they must overthrow, using force if necessary, the present government and the system of absolute monarchy and turn the Asian kingdom into a modern constitutional monarchy. Most of the members were students educated abroad, mostly in the United Kingdom and France.

When the group returned to Siam, they enlisted members from among the army and navy, the merchant class, civil servants and others. Their membership eventually reached 102, separated into four main branches. These included the civilians, led by Pridi Banomyong; the navy, led by Luang Sinthusongkhramchai; the junior army officers, led by Major Phibulsonggram; and finally the senior officers, led by Colonel Phot Phahonyothin.


-- Khana Ratsadon, by Wikipedia


and a leader of the Siamese revolution of 1932 transforming Thailand from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Phibun became the third Prime Minister of Thailand in 1938 as Commander of the Royal Siamese Army, established a de facto military dictatorship inspired by the Italian fascism of Benito Mussolini, promoted Thai nationalism and sinophobia,...

Anti-Chinese sentiment or Sinophobia (from Late Latin Sinae "China" and Greek φόβος, phobos, "fear") is a sentiment against China, its people, overseas Chinese, or Chinese culture. It often targets Chinese minorities living outside of China and involves immigration, development of national identity in neighbouring countries, disparity of wealth, the past central tributary system, majority-minority relations, imperial legacies, and racism.

-- Anti-Chinese Sentiment, by Wikipedia


and allied Thailand with Imperial Japan in World War II. Phibun launched a modernization campaign known as the Thai Cultural Revolution that included a series of cultural mandates, changing the country's name from "Siam" to "Thailand", and promotion of the common Thai language.

Phibun was ousted as Prime Minister by the National Assembly in 1944 and replaced by members of the Free Thai Movement until returning to power in the Siamese coup d'état of 1947 led by the Coup Group.

Thailand's Coup Group was composed of powerful military officers who planned and carried out a coup d'état in November 1947. Their prestige and influence were quickly enhanced by Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram's return to politics. They would however outlast him and dominate Thai politics for the next two decades. Most would eventually receive high ranks, becoming generals and field marshals.

The Coup Group consisted of approximately forty junior army officers led by a small number of commanding officers, many of whom had been forced into retirement by Pridi Phanomyong at the end of the Second World War—men with little other than conspiracy to keep themselves occupied.

The coterie's leading members were Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, commander of the Bangkok-based First Division, Police General Phao Siyanon, the powerful chief of police, Field Marshal Phin Chunhawan, Phao's father-in-law, the politically prominent Lieutenant-General Kat Katsongkhram, and Marshal of the Royal Thai Air Force Fuen Ronnaphakat, the air force's combat-experienced commander.

-- 1947 Coup Group (Thailand), by Wikipedia


Phibun aligned Thailand with anti-communism in the Cold War, entered the Korean War under the United Nations Command, and abandoned fascism for a façade of democracy. Phibun's second term as Prime Minister was plagued by political instability and was subject to several attempted coup d'etats to remove him including the Army General Staff plot in 1948, the Palace Rebellion in 1949, and the Manhattan Rebellion in 1951. Phibun attempted to transform Thailand into a electoral democracy from the mid-1950s, but was overthrown in 1957 and entered exile in Japan where he died in 1964.

Phibun is the longest serving Prime Minister of Thailand to-date at 15 years and one month.

-- Plaek Phibunsongkhram, by Wikipedia


According to the biography by Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Luang Pu Sodh did not endorse "magical practices" that are common in Thai Buddhism, such as fortune-telling and spells for good luck. He did, however, often heal people through meditation, and Luang Pu Sodh's amulets were—and are still—widely venerated for their attributed powers.[55][72]
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Part 2 of 2

Introducing Buddhism in the world

See also: Dhammakaya Movement UK

Image
Booklet distributed during the ordination of British monks. 10,000 copies were made, says the cover.

Luang Pu Sodh had a great interest to introduce Dhammakāya meditation outside of Thailand.[73] Wat Paknam already published international magazines and leaflets in the time Kapilavaḍḍho, his first Western student, started living under the guidance of Luang Pu Sodh. The periodical of the temple was in both Thai and English, and at certain occasions booklets would be published in Chinese as well. In old periodicals of the temple visits from high-standing monks from Japan and China have been recorded,[74] and Dhammakāya meditation is still passed on by Japanese Shingon Buddhists that used to practice at Wat Paknam.[75]

The only sect which has openly rebelled against the present established Sangha and criticized the practices and teachings of all the leading Elders calls itself Santiasoka, with its headquarters in Bangkok. The founder, Phra Bodhiraksha (b. 1934) was ordained in both the Dhammayutika and Mahanikaya orders, but was dissatisfied with both of them. His new sect dated from 1975 when he gave ordination disregarding the Ecclesiastical Law of 1962. He has also attracted some lay followers by being puritanical and fundamental, refusing to take meat (which is not normally the case in Theravada tradition), soft drinks, tea or coffee and not taking part in all kinds of ceremonies. He also claims to be enlightened spiritually-combining scholarship with meditation, stressing social reform rather than upholding the status quo. Yet, he lacks deep insight into Buddhist studies. He has not mastered the Pali language nor the social realities of Thai society. One wonders whether Santiasoka will really become a movement of any significance in the future, despite the fact that it has attracted support from some important people. This has led the Government and the Supreme Council of the Sangha to ignore its challenge rather than to challenge it legally.

Another movement, contemporary to Santiasoka, bases its authority on the Ven. Luang Poh Sod (1884-1959), abbot of a small temple in Thonburi, who claimed to have rediscovered a Dhammakaya lost to the Sangha for hundreds of years, presumably since the Thai were converted to Sinhala Buddhism. This meditation technique, akin to some Vajarayana or Tibetan practices, has become popular especially among Japanese Buddhists of Shingon sect, who came to practise at his temple. In 1957, the first batch of British monks were also ordained by him. One is still in the northeast where he has been reordained in the Dhammayutika order and is a close disciple of the Ven. Acariya Maha Boowa.

Of Luang Poh Sod's Thai followers, the most well known or notorious is Kittivuddho Bhikkhu, (b. 1936) who once said that to kill a communist is to preserve the nation, the religion and the monarchy and is not sinful. He works closely with the military and embraces the materiality of the modern world. Many Buddhists doubt whether peace and nonviolence are still of importance any more to this monk and his admirers.

The Dhammakaya School was formally established in 1970. It has attracted a number of young Thai with university education who have been ordained in the traditional Mahanikaya order, but stresses this special techniques of meditation. Hitherto Thai laymen were usually ordained only temporarily. Only poor peasants remained monks for a long period. The Dhammakaya School stresses lifelong ordination.

This new school claims to represent the only authentic teaching of the Buddha not revealed in the Scriptures, although it has not attacked the established Orders of the Sangha. It also works closely with the capitalist elements in the Thai society, and is closely linked with the royal palaces and the military. Buddhist clubs in most universities are now dominated by lay followers of this Dhammakaya school. It hopes to convert the whole Thai population and the world through its missionary zeal which sounds both unThai and unBuddhistic. None of their leading monks are critical scholars of any attainment, nor have they any message for social reform. They have, however, designed a new religious architecture and ceremonies based on older tradition, and have sent one monk to study Pali and Sanskrit at an English university.


-- Thai Spirituality, by Journal of The Siam Society, 1987



Thailand Under Political Crisis And Militant Buddhism (1973-1976)

On October 6, 1973, the NSCT's [National Student Center of Thailand] role moved from the economic to the political arena. Thirteen university students and professors distributed leaflets at the Monument to Democracy in Bangkok urging the people to rally for a new constitution. All of them were arrested and charged with treason for hatching a communist plot to overthrow the government. This incident led to massive demonstrations against the government, a brutal clash of police with a group of demonstrators, and a collapse of Thanom's government.97 From 1973 to 1975, a socialist viewpoint spread rapidly in Thailand because of the increasing freedom of speech and action. Several books on Marxism and Maoism were widely published, read, and used by students and scholars.98 At this time, the Rightists (an anti-Communist group) began to move against the NSCT and its supporters, accusing them of being enemies of the nation, the religion, and the king.

The so-called Rightist movement against the NSCT led to the emergence of militant Buddhism headed by Kittivuddho Bhikkhu, a nationalist Buddhist monk. Ordained in 1957, Kittivuddho rapidly developed a reputation as a public speaker and a persuasive expositor of Buddhist scriptures. In 1967, he established the Abhidhamma Foundation College at Wat Mahadhatu, and the Cittabhavana College at Chonburi province. The former was intended to provide an education based on the Abhidhamma which Kittivuddho considered important for a proper knowledge of Buddhism; the latter emphasized social activism and the promulgation of the Buddhist faith.100 At Cittabhavana College, monks and novices were taught and trained to "guide those who are Buddhists in finding moral bases for their actions, and to convert those who are not Buddhists."101 By the end of 1975, Kittivuddho openly declared himself a leader of the Nawaohon movement, a Rightist movement claiming to protect the institutions of the nation, the religion, and the king against Leftists (pro-Communists). In the middle of 1976, Kittivuddho's role shifted from a Buddhist interpreter to a militant religious leader who claimed that killing Communists was not a sin. In the Thai magazine Jaturat of June 29, 1976, Kittivuddho offered this justification:


Whoever destroys the nation, the religion, or the monarchy, such bestial types (man) are not complete persons. Thus, we must intend not to kill people, but to kill the Devil (Mara); this is the duty of all Thais. . . . When we kill a fish to make a stew to place in the alms bowl for a monk, there is certainly demerit in killing the fish, but, we place it in the alms bowl of a monk and gain much greater merit.102


Outfitted with that understanding of Buddhist precepts, Kittivuddho, the Nawaphon. and other Rightist groups such as the Village Scouts initiated a violent massacre at Thammasat University, in October 1976, where many students whom they believed to be Communists and communist supporters were killed or injured. Understandably, this event raised several searching questions for Thai Buddhists, for example, whether Buddhism can allow the killing of living beings, or whether Buddhism can be a militant religion.

-- The Concept of 'Dhamma' in Thai Buddhism: A Study in the Thought of Vajiranana and Buddhadasa, by Pataraporn Sirikanchana, University of Pennsylvania, 1985


Luang Pu Sodh was one of the first Thai preceptors to ordain people outside Thailand as Buddhist monks. He ordained the Englishman William Purfurst (a.k.a. Richard Randall) as "Kapilavaḍḍho" at Wat Paknam in 1954.[76] Kapilavaḍḍho returned to Britain to found and help lead the English Sangha Trust and English Sangha Association.[77]

27th May 1951

“Those present at the inaugural meeting were Venerable U Thittila, Mr W. Purfurst, Mr and Mrs C.J. Bartlett, Mr F. Murie, Mr J. Garry, Mr S.H. Vincent, Mr H. Jones, Miss C. [Connie] E. Waterton, Miss D. Westwell, Miss K. Knibbs.”

“This hard-working group of people under the able Secretary Miss Connie Waterton never did much shouting about their accomplishments. They showed their great worth by what their efforts produced. It was this same group, with a few friends in London, who fostered and helped the work of Venerable Kapilavaddho.

They helped create the English Sangha Trust Ltd. and also founded the English Sangha Association from their membership. Additionally, they organised the first week long course in Vipassana in England. They continued to hold these courses while the demand was there. In addition, this group created the Dāna Fund, which was used to support members in distress, maintenance of bhikkhus, and lecturer expenses. The fund was eventually handed over to the London Buddhist Society.”


-- Honour Thy Fathers: A Tribute to the Venerable Kapilavaddho ... And brief History of the Development of Theravāda Buddhism in the UK, by Terry Shine


Former director of the trust Terry Shine described Kapilavaḍḍho as the "man who started and developed the founding of the first English Theravada Sangha in the Western world".[78][79] He was the first Englishman to be ordained in Thailand, but disrobed in 1957, shortly after his mentor Phra Ṭhitavedo [Ṭhitavedo is variously spelt Thiṭavedho, Ṭhittavedho, Thiṭavaḍḍho, Thiṭavedo and Thitavedo in sources.] had a disagreement with Luang Pu Sodh and left Wat Paknam.[9][79] [Accusation of financial irregularities in relation to temple funds; the formal meeting from which Kapilavaḍḍho walked away was a disciplinary meeting in relation to Ṭhitavedo.]. He was ordained again in England under Chao Khun Sobhana, and became the director of the English Sangha Trust in 1967.[80]

Born in a remote village in North-eastern Thailand, Dhiravamsa grew up in a rather primitive world, helping his parents grow rice and rear animals. He joined the Buddhist Monastic Order at the age of thirteen. During those twenty-three years he became one of the well-educated and well-trained monks both at the Traditional Monastic Schools for Dharma and Pali Studies and at the Buddhist University, Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya. His accomplishments in the Thai Buddhist Monastery include attaining the position of Preceptor (Upajjháya), becoming Abbot of the Thai Temple (Wat Buddhapadípa) in London, England, and being appointed Chief of the Thai Buddhist Mission [to Great Britain] in the West and an International Insight Meditation Master. In addition, he achieved the appointment to the rank of Chao Khun (equivalent to Bishop) with the Royal Name of Phra Sobhana Dhammasudhí (the wise and beautiful in the Dharma,) a highly respected position in the Thai Monastic System when he was only thirty-two years old (1966). He is also a Vipassana Master.

Immediately after obtaining the First Degree in Buddhist Studies, Comparative Religion, and Modern Subjects, he was appointed an Instructor in Educational Psychology and in English language at the Mahachulalongkorn University. Also here at his beloved educational institution he rendered special services for two years, establishing, administering, and teaching the First Buddhist Sunday School for Thai children and young people. Before accompanying his Principal Vipassana Master (the late Most Venerable Phra Dhammadhiraraj Mahamuni of Wat Mahadhatu, Bangkok) to Britain, 1964, he held the position of Headmaster of a private school in Prachinburi Province and raised the standard of education to the point where the Provincial Authority of Education at the Ministry of Education recognized it.

He began his psycho-spiritual work in the capacity of a Teacher/Helper in Britain in 1965. He gradually became internationally known, particularly in Europe and North America, where he rendered most of his services to those seeking psycho-spiritual advice and assistance. At the Chapter House in England, the spiritual/therapeutic community and retreat center was established under his personal advice and guidance. Also, he did a similar thing in the United States and established another Vipassana (Insight) Meditation Center on San Juan Island, Washington State to use for his psycho-spiritual work as well as his home base. Here he began to use extensively (1983) the Enneagram System of Personality to help him work more successfully with those coming to study and practice with him the Holistic Vipassana Meditation in which he incorporates the compatible Western Psychology (e.g. Jungian, Gestalt, and Humanistic Psychologies) and certain therapeutic techniques.

Dhiravamsa has lectured and taught Vipassana Meditation extensively in United Kingdom, on the Continent of Europe, in North America, and in Australia. He first visited the United States in January 1969, when he conducted a meditation workshop at Oberlin College and lectured at several colleges and universities. Since then he has regularly returned to Canada and to the States for periods of two to five months, invited by many universities and colleges including Swarthmore, Haverford, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Colgate, Amherst, Earlham, Carlton, Middlebury, Florida State, and Chicago Presbyterian Seminary.

In October 1971, Dhiravamsa gave up the robe after twenty-three years as a Buddhist monk. Now he leads a simple, meditative life in the world and in the Dharma, continuing his work of teaching Vipassana Meditation and other related activities such as Vipassana Dream work, Active Imagination, and Holistic Healing.

With regard to literary works he wrote and published several articles and books on the subject of Vipassana and self-growth, and some of which have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Dutch.

In addition to teaching courses in meditation and related activities, he spends his time writing and living a married life. He travels a great deal to carry out his work in all the Continents of the Western world, including the Continent of Australia; and loves it with all his heart and mind. Methodically speaking, he has honored both Apollo (the god of light, order, and structure) and Dionysus (the god of ecstasy, experience, and play). It has proved wonderful for him to be able to leap up to the transpersonal realm of spiritual experience and yet, be grounded and firmly connected to the earthly realm. In other words, he balances heaven and earth within himself. On the physical plane he becomes king ...symbolically speaking ...and inwardly he is a sage. All these symbolic notions indicate the union of opposites on the energy level within human consciousness.

-- Dhiravamsa's Biography [Chao Khun Phra Sobhana Dhammasudhí], by dhiravamsa.com


Luang Pu Sodh ordained another British monk, Peter Morgan, with the name Paññāvaḍḍho Bhikkhu. After his death he would continue under the guidance of Ajahn Maha Bua. Phra Paññāvaḍḍho remained in the monkhood until his death in 2004, when he had ordained for the longest of all westerners in Thailand.[81] He hardly ever returned to the West, however.[82] A third monk, formerly known as George Blake, was a Brit of Jamaican origin, and was the first Jamaican to be ordained as a Buddhist monk.[83] He was ordained as Vijjāvaḍḍho, and later disrobed, becoming a well-known therapist in Canada.[84][85]

Image
Luang Pu Sodh (centre left) sitting with the monks of Wat Paknam

The ordination of Vijjāvaḍḍho, Paññāvaḍḍho and another British monk called Saddhāvaḍḍho (Robert Albison) was a major public event in Thailand, attracting an audience of 10,000 people.[86][87] Namgyal Rinpoché (Leslie George Dawson), a teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, also studied for a while under Luang Por Sodh, but he was not ordained under him. One of the last Western students in the time of Luang Pu Sodh was Terrence Magness, who learnt Dhammakāya meditation at Wat Paknam as well, from the lay teacher Achan Kalayawadee. He was ordained under the name Suratano, and wrote a biography about Luang Pu Sodh.[10][88]

In summary, Luang Pu Sodh had a significant impact on Thai Buddhism, both in Thailand and abroad.[6] He helped pioneer the combination of study and meditation, traditionally two separate monastic vocations. Newell points out that in this he even preceded Phra Phimontham, the administrator monk who introduced the New Burmese Method of meditation in Thailand. Luang Pu Sodh ordained a British monk that helped pioneer Buddhism in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, he started many developments that were continued by Wat Phra Dhammakaya, later to become the largest temple of Thailand.[89]

In Wat Phra Dhammakaya a memorial hall was built in honor of Luang Pu Sodh,[90] and in Wat Paknam, a charity foundation was started in his name.[91] In some years, on 3 February, Wat Paknam holds a national memorial of him, which is joined by hundreds of monks.[92] Wat Phra Dhammakaya holds city pilgrimages along important places in the life of Luang Pu. In 2020, the pilgrimage was held for the eighth time.[93]

Publications

• Phramonkolthepmuni (2006) "Visudhivaca: Translation of Morradok Dhamma of Luang Phaw Wat Paknam" (Bangkok,60th Dhammachai Education Foundation) ISBN 978-974-94230-3-5
• Phramonkolthepmuni (2008) "Visudhivaca: Translation of Morradok Dhamma of Luang Phaw Wat Paknam", Vol.II (Bangkok,60th Dhammachai Education Foundation) ISBN 978-974-349-815-2

Notes

1. Some sources state 1885 as year of birth.[1][2]
2. There are differing timelines on when this occurred. Some scholars indicate 1915,[3] others 1916[4] or 1917.[5]
3. All traditional biographies relate that this was Sodh's surname. However, surnames only became current in Thailand many years later.
4. In Theravāda Buddhist meditation tradition, the appearance of a bright object (Pali: nimitta) is a sign of developed concentration.[23]
5. In some respects its teachings resemble the Buddha-nature doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism. Paul Williams has commented that this view of Buddhism is similar to ideas found in the shentong teachings of the Jonang school of Tibet made famous by Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen.[33]
6. In another version of the story, eight criminals came at night to kill Luang Pu Sodh. Luang Pu Sodh was not shot, however, as a close aide who protected him came to his rescue in time, using a sword to ward the delinquents off. The criminals left.[50]
7. In modern times, Thai monks are given titles by the royal family in credit for their merits in developing Buddhism.

References

1. Fuengfusakul 1998, p. 23.
2. Scott 2009, p. 52.
3. Jump up to:a b Harvey 2013, p. 389.
4. Jump up to:a b c d e Newell 2008, p. 82.
5. Awirutthapanich & Pantiya 2017.
6. Newell 2008, p. 106.
7. Dhammakaya Foundation 2010.
8. Newell 2008.
9. Skilton 2013, p. 165.
10. Bhikkhu 1960.
11. Scott 2009, p. 66.
12. Vuddhasilo 2003, p. 14.
13. Vuddhasilo 2003, pp. 14–15.
14. Vuddhasilo 2003, p. 18.
15. Dhammakaya Foundation 2010, p. 28.
16. Vuddhasilo 2003, pp. 18–19.
17. Vuddhasilo 2003, p. 20.
18. Newell 2008, p. 80.
19. Vuddhasilo 2003, p. 21.
20. Phramongkolthepmuni. "อัตชีวประวัติ พระมงคงเทพมุนี (สด จนฺทสโร) หลวงปู่วัดปากน้ำ [Autobiography of Phramongkolthepmuni (Sodh Candasaro)]". Moradoktham, Book 1 (in Thai). Dhammakaya Foundation. pp. 29–39. ISBN 978-616-7200-36-1.
21. See Dhammakaya Foundation (2010), Bhikkhu (1960) and Newell (2008, p. 81, 95). For the study of scriptures, see Witaya, An (9 August 2019). "หลวงพ่อสด จันทสโร วัดปากน้ำ ภาษีเจริญ" [Luang Por Sodh Candasaro, Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen]. Khao Sod (in Thai). Archived from the original on 23 December 2019. For the names of the temples where he learnt meditation, see Tanachito & Piphitvarakijjanukarn (2016, pp. 99–100). For the period of learning meditation, see "ประวัติโดยสังเขป หลวงพ่อสด วัดปากน้ำภาษีเจริญ" [Brief biography of Luang Por Sodh, Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen]. Kom Chad Luek(in Thai). 31 May 2015. Archived from the original on 5 May 2019.
22. Newell 2008, pp. 81–2.
23. Harvey 2013, p. 329.
24. Vuddhasilo 2003, p. 24.
25. Crosby, Skilton & Gunasena 2012.
26. Chattinawat 2009, p. 63.
27. Vuddhasilo 2003, pp. 22–23.
28. Bhikkhu 1960, p. 34.
29. พระมงคลเทพมุนี (สด จนฺทสโร)[Phramongkolthepmuni, Sodh Candasaro]. Wat Luang Por Sodh Dhammakayarama (in Thai). 1999. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
30. Mackenzie 2007, p. 31.
31. Fuengfusakul 1998, p. 24.
32. Williams 2009, p. 126.
33. Williams 2009, p. 237.
34. Mackenzie 2007, p. 76.
35. Scott 2009, p. 79.
36. Vuddhasilo 2003.
37. Cholvijarn 2019, p. 26-27.
38. Scott 2009, p. 67.
39. See Scott (2009, p. 67). For the fact that Somdet Phuean was Phra Sodh's teacher, see Vuddhasilo (2003, p. 30).
40. "ประวัติโดยสังเขป หลวงพ่อสด วัดปากน้ำภาษีเจริญ" [Brief biography of Luang Por Sodh, Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen]. Kom Chad Luek (in Thai). 31 May 2015. Archived from the original on 5 May 2019.
41. Vuddhasilo 2003, p. 30.
42. For the neglect, see Singhon (2003, p. 38). For the 13 monks, see Vuddhasilo (2003, p. 32).
43. Witaya, An (9 August 2019). "หลวงพ่อสด จันทสโร วัดปากน้ำ ภาษีเจริญ" [Luang Por Sod Candasaro, Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen]. Khao Sod(in Thai). Archived from the original on 23 December 2019.
44. Chattinawat 2009, pp. 55–6,58.
45. Mackenzie 2007, p. 36.
46. Chattinawat 2009, p. 54.
47. Fuengfusakul 1998, pp. 23, 25.
48. Newell 2008, pp. 84–5.
49. For the illegal businesses, see Scott (2009, p. 67). For the governor, see Vuddhasilo (2003, p. 30).
50. Vuddhasilo 2003, p. 31.
51. Vuddhasilo (2003, p. 31), "Phra rao tong mai su, tong mai ni, chana thukthi." [พระเราต้องไม่สู้ ต้องไม่หนี ชนะทุกที]
52. Thatkaew, Worathan (9 March 2008).วัดปากน้ำภาษีเจริญ สำนักงานแม่กองบาลีสนามหลวง [Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, Office of Pali Studies Coordination, Sanam Luang]. Post Today (in Thai). The Post Publishing. p. B4.
53. Fuengfusakul 1998, pp. 24–5.
54. Vasi 1998, p. 7.
55. Litalien 2010, p. 130.
56. Mackenzie 2007, p. 32.
57. Chattinawat 2009, pp. 56–7.
58. Scott 2009, p. 68.
59. Fuengfusakul 1998, pp. 24, 99.
60. Chattinawat 2009, p. 59.
61. Newell 2008, p. 241.
62. Newell 2008, pp. 80–1.
63. Cheng & Brown 2015.
64. Mackenzie 2007, p. 34–5.
65. Newell 2008, p. 94.
66. Scott 2009, p. 72.
67. Cook 1981, p. 76.
68. See Witaya, An (9 August 2019). "หลวงพ่อสด จันทสโร วัดปากน้ำ ภาษีเจริญ" [Luang Por Sod Candasaro, Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen]. Khao Sod(in Thai). Archived from the original on 23 December 2019; Cook (1981, p. 76); and "ประวัติโดยสังเขป หลวงพ่อสด วัดปากน้ำภาษีเจริญ" [Brief biography of Luang Por Sodh, Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen]. Kom Chad Luek (in Thai). 31 May 2015. Archived from the original on 5 May 2019. For the type of hospital, see the Kom Chad Luek article.
69. Newell 2008, p. 107.
70. See Newell (2008). Vuddhasilo (2003, p. 34) mentions an institute of Buddhist education which Luang Pu Sodh built in 1950, costing 3,000,000 baht.
71. Newell 2008, pp. 84–5, 99–106.
72. Newell 2008, p. 96.
73. Newell 2008, p. 89.
74. Buddhabhavana Society (Ngee Hua), 1956, pp. 1–10.
75. Sivaraksa 1987, p. 85.
76. Rawlinson 1994, p. 360.
77. See Oliver (1979, p. 102) and Snelling (1987, p. 262). For the association, see Webb (2016, p. 185).
78. Shine, Terry. "Honour Thy Fathers"(PDF). Buddhanet. Buddha Dharma Education Association. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
79. Newell 2008, p. 86.
80. See Skilton (2013, p. 165) and Newell (2008, p. 91). For the person ordaining him, see Webb (2016, p. 187).
81. Newell 2008, pp. 86, 91.
82. Webb 2016, p. 186.
83. Jet magazine, 1955.
84. Rinaldi 2014.
85. "2014 Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. B. George Blake". African Canadian Achievement Awards. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
86. Skilton 2013, p. 151.
87. Newell 2008, p. 90.
88. Newell 2008, pp. 91, 116.
89. Newell 2008, pp. 106–7.
90. Scott 2009, p. 69.
91. ถวายปริญญาศิลปศาสตรดุษฎีบัณฑิตกิตติมศักดิ์ แด่สมเด็จพระมหารัชมังคลาจารย์ [Offering an Honorary Arts Degree to Somdet Phramaharachamangalacharn]. Thai Rath (in Thai). Wacharapol. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
92. "ครบ 58 ปีมรณภาพหลวงปู่สดพุทธศาสนิกชนเนื่องแน่น" [58 years after Luang Pu Sodh's passing: many Buddhists join]. Daily News (in Thai). 3 February 2017. Archived from the original on 4 January 2020.
93. "โครงการธรรมยาตรา เส้นทางพระผู้ปราบมาร ปีที่ 8" [The eighth pilgrimage along the path of the Vanquisher of Mara]. Kom Chad Luek (in Thai). 5 January 2020. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020.

Sources

• Awirutthapanich, Pichit; Pantiya, Punchai (2017), หลักฐาน ธรรมกายในคัมภีร์พุทธโบราณ ฉบับวิชาการ 1 [Dhammakaya Evidence in Ancient Buddhist Books, Academic Version 1], Songklanakarin Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 23 (2)
• Bhikkhu, Suratano (1960), The Life and Teaching of Chao Khun Mongkol-Thepmuni and The Dhammakāya (PDF), (Terry Magness), triple-gem.net, archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2016
• Buddhabhavana Society (Ngee Hua) (1956), คณะสงฆ์อังกฤษ (ที่ระลึกในงานอุปสมนทคณะสงฆ์อังกฤษ) [The English Sangha (gift at ordination ceremony of English Sangha)] (in Thai), Watanatham Publishers
• Chattinawat, Nathathai (2009), สถานภาพของแม่ชี: กรณีศึกษาแม่ชีวัดปากน้ําภาษีเจริญ กรุงเทพฯ [Nun's status: A Case Study of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen] (M.A. thesis) (in Thai), College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Thammasat University, archived from the original on 23 March 2016
• Cheng, Tun-jen; Brown, Deborah A. (2015), Religious Organizations and Democratization: Case Studies from Contemporary Asia, Routledge, ISBN 978-1-317-46105-0, retrieved 19 September 2016
• Cholvijarn, P. (2019), The Origins and Development of Sammā Arahaṃ Meditation: From Phra Mongkhon Thepmuni (Sot Candasaro) to Phra Thep Yan Mongkhon (Sermchai Jayamaṅgalo) (PhD thesis), University of Bristol
• Cook, Nerida M. (1981), The position of nuns in Thai Buddhism: The parameters of religious recognition (Ph.D. Thesis), Research School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University
• Crosby, Kate; Skilton, Andrew; Gunasena, Amal (12 February 2012), "The Sutta on Understanding Death in the Transmission of Borān Meditation From Siam to the Kandyan Court", Journal of Indian Philosophy, 40 (2): 177–198, doi:10.1007/s10781-011-9151-y
• Dhammakaya Foundation (2010), The Life and Times of Luang Phaw Wat Paknam (4th ed.), ISBN 978-974-89409-4-6
• Fuengfusakul, Apinya (1998), ศาสนาทัศน์ของชุมชนเมืองสมัยใหม่: ศึกษากรณีวัดพระธรรมกาย [Religious Propensity of Urban Communities: A Case Study of Phra Dhammakaya Temple] (PDF) (published Ph.D.), Buddhist Studies Center, Chulalongkorn University
• Harvey, Peter (2013), An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-85942-4
• "Ordain Buddhist Monk", Jet, Johnson, 8 (26), 3 November 1955
• Litalien, Manuel (January 2010), Développement social et régime providentiel en thaïlande: La philanthropie religieuse en tant que nouveau capital démocratique [Social Development and a Providential Regime in Thailand: Religious Philanthropy as a New Form of Democratic Capital] (PDF) (Ph.D. Thesis, published as a monograph in 2016) (in French), Université du Québec à Montréal
• Mackenzie, Rory (2007), New Buddhist Movements in Thailand: Towards an understanding of Wat Phra Dhammakaya and Santi Asoke (PDF), Routledge, ISBN 978-0-203-96646-4
• Newell, Catherine Sarah (2008), Monks, meditation and missing links: continuity, "orthodoxy" and the vijja dhammakaya in Thai Buddhism (Ph.D. Thesis), Department of the Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
• Oliver, I. (1979), Buddhism in Britain, Rider and Company, ISBN 978-0-09-138161-5
• Rinaldi, Luc (29 June 2014), "'Are you sure you're not doing some African black magic?'", Maclean's, Rogers Media, retrieved 25 September 2016
• Scott, Rachelle M. (2009), Nirvana for Sale? Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakāya Temple in Contemporary Thailand (PDF), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-1-4416-2410-9
• Skilton, Andrew (28 June 2013), "Elective affinities: the reconstruction of a forgotten episode in the shared history of Thai and British Buddhism – Kapilavaḍḍho and Wat Paknam", Contemporary Buddhism, 14 (1): 149–168, doi:10.1080/14639947.2013.785247
• Tanachito, Phramaha Chit; Pipithvarakijjanukorn, Phrakhru, การปฏิบัติ และการสอบอารมณ์กรรมฐานตามหลักพระพุทธศาสนาเถรวาทในประเทศไทย [The Practice and Personal Teaching of Meditation Methods in Thai Theravāda Buddhism], Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University
• Rawlinson, A. (1994), "The Transmission of Theravada Buddhism to the West", in Masefield, P.; Wiebe, D. (eds.), Aspects of Religion: Essays in Honour of Ninian Smart, Lang, p. 360, ISBN 978-0-8204-2237-4
• Singhon (2003) [1954], "วัดปากน้ำปี พ.ศ ๒๔๙๗ [Wat Paknam in 1954]", in Singhon (ed.), People from the Beginning of Vijjā (in Thai), 3, Sukhumwit Printing, ISBN 978-974-91493-7-9
• Sivaraksa, Sulak (1987), "Thai Spirituality" (PDF), Journal of the Siam Society, 75: 85
• Snelling, J. (1987), The Buddhist Handbook: A Complete Guide to Buddhist Teaching, Practice, History, and Schools, Inner Traditions, ISBN 978-0-89281-319-3
• Vasi, Prawase (1987), สวนโมกข์ ธรรมกาย สันติอโศก [Suan Mokh, Thammakai, Santi Asok], Mo Chaoban Publishing
• Vuddhasilo, Phramaha Wichai (2003) [1954], "ชีวประวัติหลวงพ่อวัดปากน้ำ ภาษีเจริญ พระภาวนาโกศลเถร [The history of Luang Phor Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, Phrabhavanakosolthera]", in Singhon (ed.), People from the Beginning of Vijjā (in Thai), 3, Sukhumwit Printing, ISBN 978-974-91493-7-9
• Webb, Russell (3 June 2016), "Hampstead Buddhist Vihāra", Contemporary Buddhism, 17 (1): 184–194, doi:10.1080/14639947.2016.1189132
• Williams, Paul (2009), Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations (PDF) (2 ed.), Routledge, ISBN 978-1-134-25057-8

Biographies

• Official biography by Wat Phra Dhammakaya, compiled based on numerous Thai sources
• Biography by British Malaysian who ordained at Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen and met Luang Pu Sodh
• Biography by close lay student

External links

• Video about life of Luang Pu Wat Paknam on YouTube
• Recordings of Luang Pu Sodh teaching
• The ordination of Robert Albison, George Blake and Peter Morgan, January 1956
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Ajahn Maha Bua
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/3/20

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Ajahn Maha Bua อาจารย์มหาบัว
Personal
Born: Bua Lohitdi บัว โลหิตดี, 12 August 1913, Udon Thani, Thailand
Died: 30 January 2011 (aged 97), Udon Thani, Thailand
Religion: Buddhism
Nationality: Thai
School: Theravāda
Lineage: Thai Forest Tradition
Dharma names: Ñāṇasampanno ญาณสมฺปนฺโน
Monastic name: Phra Dhamma­visuddhi­maṅgala พระธรรมวิสุทธิมงคล
Order: Dhammayuttika Nikaya
Senior posting
Teacher: Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta
Ordination: 12 May 1934 (aged 20)
Post: Abbot of Wat Pa Baan Taad
Website: Luangta.eu

Ajahn Maha Bua[a] (12 August 1913 – 30 January 2011) was a Thai Buddhist monk. He was thought by many of his followers to be an Arahant (someone who has attained Enlightenment). He was a disciple of the esteemed forest master Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta, and was himself considered a master in the Thai Forest Tradition. Following the death of Ajahn Thate in 1994, he was considered to be the Ajahn Yai (or head monk) of the Thai Forest Tradition lineage until his death in 2011.[1]

Biography

Early years


Bua was born in Baan Taad village in the northeastern province of Udon Thani. He was one of 16 children of a rich family of rice farmers.[2] When he was 21, his parents asked him to enter the monkhood for a season, a Thai tradition to show gratitude towards one's parents. He entered Yothanimit monastery and was ordained on 12 May 1934, with Venerable Chao Khun Dhammachedi as his preceptor. His preceptor gave him the Pali name Ñāṇasampanno, meaning 'one endowed with wisdom'. At the time, Bua had no intention of remaining a monk for the rest of his life.

As Phra Ñāṇasampanno, he studied the incarnations of the Buddha and his Arahant Disciples. He has said he was so impressed that he decided to seek the same enlightenment as had the Buddha's original disciples. He tried to understand the ways of practicing the Dhamma (Dharma) which would eventually lead to Nibbana (Nirvana).

He studied Pali, the language of the Theravada Buddhist scriptures, as well as the Vinaya (the monastic rules of correct conduct). After seven years, he passed the third level of Pali studies, and achieved the highest level in Dhamma and Vinaya studies. He then concentrated entirely on the practice of Dhamma in hopes of studying with Venerable Ajahn Mun, one of the most renowned meditation masters of his time.[3]

Venerable Ajahn Mun

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From left: Ven. Ajahn Chob, Ven. Luangpu Khao Analayo, Ven. Luangpu Louis Chandasaro and Ven.Luang Pu Bunpeng. The picture was probably taken at old main sala of Wat Pa NongphueNa Nai in Sakok Nakhon.

Nanasampanno then went in search of Venerable Ajahn Mun. When he finally met him, he was pleased with his efforts, since it seemed as if Mun already knew his desires, intentions, and doubts. Mun clarified the questions in his mind and showed him the paths leading to Nibbana still exist. Nanasampanno said to himself:

"Now, I have come to the real thing. He has made everything clear and I no longer have doubts. It is now up to me to be true or otherwise. I'm determined to be true!"


He learned the meditation methods followed by Mun, based on the principles of Buddhism and the code of Buddhist discipline. He continued to follow these methods in his own teaching of monks and novices. Due to his deep respect and admiration for Mun, whom he likens to a father and mother to his students, he was inspired to write a biography of Mun to disseminate his methods of practice and document his character for coming generations. He has also written 'Wisdom develops samadhi' and "Patipada.' His transcribed talks he gave to laypeople and monks have formed several hundred books in Thai language, but only a few of his talks have been translated into English. He solely focuses on the practice of Buddhist meditation and has only one aim for his disciples: Reaching the end of dukkha. Several hundred of talks given to his monk disciples were recorded and several thousand of talks given to laypeople, normally after the meal or in the evening were also recorded. He allowed them to be recorded, so that his fellow practitioners may have a guide in the practice of meditation.[4]

Seclusion and establishing a monastery

In 1950, after the death of Mun, Bua sought a secluded place. He went to Huey Sai village in Mukdahan province. He was very strict and serious in teaching the monks and novices, both in the austere dhutanga practices and in meditation. He continued his teaching until these same principles became established amongst his followers.

Learning that his mother was ill, he returned home to look after her. Villagers and relatives requested that he settle permanently in the forest south of the village and no longer wander in the manner of a forest monk. As his mother was very old and that it was appropriate for him to look after her, he accepted the offer. With a donation of 64 acres (26 ha) of land, he began to build his monastery in November 1955. It was given the name Wat Pa Baan Taad.[4]

Wat Pa Ban Taad

Bua said:

"This monastery has always been a place for meditation. Since the beginning it has been a place solely for developing the mind. I haven't let any other work disturb the place. If there are things which must be done, I've made it a rule that they take up no more time than is absolutely necessary. The reason for this is that, in the eyes of the world and the Dhamma, this is a meditation temple. We're meditation monks. The work of the meditation monk was handed over to him on the day of his ordination by his Preceptor — in all its completeness. This is his real work, and it was taught in a form suitable for the small amount of time available during the ordination ceremony — five meditation objects to be memorized in forward and reverse order — and after that it's up to each individual to expand on them and develop them to whatever degree of breadth or subtlety he is able to. In the beginning the work of a monk is given simply as: Kesa — hair of the head, Loma — hair of the body, Nakha — nails, Danta — teeth, Taco — the skin which enwraps the body. This is the true work for those monks who practice according to the principles of Dhamma as were taught by the Lord Buddha."


The wilderness surrounding the monastery has vanished, as it has now been cleared for cultivation. The forest inside the monastery is all that remains. Wat Pa Baan Taad preserves this remnant in its original condition, so that monks, novices, and lay people can use its tranquility for the practice of the Dhamma as taught by the Lord Buddha.[4]

Rise to fame

Bua has traveled to London to give lectures. He also founded the Help Thai Nation Project, a charitable effort dedicated to helping the Thai economy. He has been visited and supported by the King and Queen of Thailand.

Bua's biographer wrote:

"Ven. Ajahn Maha Bua is well known for the fluency and skill of his Dhamma talks, and their direct and dynamic approach. They obviously reflect his own attitude and the way he personally practiced Dhamma. This is best exemplified in the Dhamma talks he gives to those who go to meditate at Wat Pa Bahn Tahd. Such talks usually take place in the cool of the evening, with lamps lit and the only sound being the insects and cicadas in the surrounding jungle. He often begins the Dhamma talk with a few moments of stillness — this is the most preparation he needs — and then quietly begins the Dhamma exposition. As the theme naturally develops, the pace quickens and those listening increasingly feel its strength and depth."[1]


Some basic teachings on the 'Citta'

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Ajahn Maha Bua led the monks (in this photo, he is followed by Phra Maha Amborn Ambaro, later the 20th Supreme Patriarch of Thailand) for morning alms around Baan Taad, Udon Thani, in 1965.

See also: Atman (Buddhism) § Current_disputes

Bua observes the essential enduring truth of the sentient being as constituted of the indestructible reality of the citta (heart/mind), which is characterized by the attribute of Awareness or Knowingness. This citta, which is intrinsically bright, clear, and Aware, gets superficially tangled up in samsara but ultimately cannot be destroyed by any samsaric phenomenon. Although Bua is often at pains to emphasise the need for meditation upon the non-Self (anatta), he also points out that the citta, while getting caught up in the vortex of conditioned phenomena, is not subject to destruction as are those things which are impermanent, suffering, and non-Self (anicca, dukkha, anatta). The citta is ultimately not beholden to these laws of conditioned existence. The citta is bright, radiant, and deathless, and is its own independent reality.[5]

The fundamental problem that besets human beings, according to Bua, is that they have taken fake and false things as their true self and lack the necessary power to be their 'own true self'; they allow the wiles and deceits of the mental defilements to generate fear and anxiety in their minds. Fear and anxiety are not inherent within the citta; in fact, the citta is ultimately beyond all such things and indeed is beyond time and space. But it needs to be cleansed of its inner defilements (the kilesas) before that truth can be realised.[6]

Bua goes on to attempt to describe the inner stages and experience of the cleansed citta. When its purgation of defilements is complete, it itself does not disappear -– only the impermanent, suffering, and the non-Self disappear. The citta remains, experientially abiding in its own firm foundation, yet ultimately indescribable.[7]

Some of the notions found here are reminiscent of the Tathagatagarbha tradition — although the latter posits an original, primordial purity to the mind, whereas Bua sees that purity as needing to be established through mental and moral cultivation.[8]


Kammatthana

Kammatthana literally means "basis of work" or "place of work". It describes the contemplation of certain meditation themes used by a meditating monk so the forces of defilement (kilesa), craving (tanha), and ignorance (avijja) may be uprooted from the mind. Although kammatthana can be found in many meditation-related subjects, the term is most often used to identify the forest tradition (the Kammatthana tradition) lineage founded by Ajahn Sao Kantasilo Mahathera and his student Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera.[1]

Notes

1. Ajahn Maha Bua (Thai: อาจารย์มหาบัว) was also commonly known as Luang Ta Maha Bua (Thai: หลวงตามหาบัว). His birth name was Bua Lohitdi (Thai: บัว โลหิตดี). His Dhamma name (in the Pali language) was Ñāṇasampanno (Thai: ญาณสมฺปนฺโน; RTGS: Yanasampanno). His monastic title was Phra Dhammavisuddhimaṅgala (Thai: พระธรรมวิสุทธิมงคล; RTGS: Phra Thammawisutthimongkhon).

References

1. Buddhanet's page on Ajahn Maha Bua.
2. Luang Ta Maha Boowa - AmuletForums.com - Thai Amulets & Buddhism Online Discussion Forums
3. http://www.luangta.com/English/site/history.php History of the Monastery Barn Tard
4. http://www.luangta.com/English/site/history.php
5. Maha Boowa, Arahattamagga, Arahattaphala: the Path to Arahantship – A Compilation of Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa’s Dhamma Talks about His Path of Practice, translated by Bhikkhu Silaratano, 2005, https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Maha ... ntship.pdf (consulted 19 March 2009)p.99
6. Maha Boowa, Arahattamagga, Arahattaphala: the Path to Arahantship – A Compilation of Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa’s Dhamma Talks about His Path of Practice, translated by Bhikkhu Silaratano, 2005, https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Maha ... ntship.pdf (consulted 16 March 2009), p. 100
7. pp. 101–103 Maha Boowa, Arahattamagga, Arahattaphala: the Path to Arahantship – A Compilation of Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa’s Dhamma Talks about His Path of Practice, translated by Bhikkhu Silaratano, 2005, https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Maha ... ntship.pdf (consulted 16 March 2009)
8. Maha Boowa, op. cit. p. 101

External links

• Luangta Maha Bua's homepage
• Luangta Maha Bua's biography, Cremation, Legacy and history of Wat Pa Baan Taad
• Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - The Path to Arahantship
• Luangta Maha Bua's biography of Ajahn Mun
• English Books
• Dhammatalks in Thai
• Straight from the Heart as translated from the Thai by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu at dhammatalks.org
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:11 am

Ajaan Paññāvaddho
by forestdhamma.org
Accessed: 8/3/20

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VENERABLE AJAAN PAÑÑĀVAḌḌHO WAS FOR FORTY-ONE YEARS the senior-most Western monk following Ajaan Mun’s path of practice. Ajaan Paññā, as he was called, was a man of intellectual brilliance who, through his own efforts in meditation, was able to establish a strong spiritual foundation in his heart. While showing a selfless devotion to the task of presenting Ajaan Mun’s Dhamma to his many disciples, his calm and purposeful presence touched the lives of so many people. He became a pioneer of the Western Sangha whose leadership influenced countless monks and laypeople to practice Ajaan Mun’s teachings; and whose translations and interpretations of Ajaan Mahā Boowa’s Dhamma talks introduced generations of Buddhists to the Thai Forest Tradition.

Ajaan Paññā was born Peter John Morgan of Welsh parents on the 19th of October 1925. His birth took place in Mysore state in South India at the Kolar Gold Fields, where his father was working as a mining engineer. At the age of seven he was sent to the United Kingdom by his parents to begin his formal education. He lived with his grandparents in Wales until the rest of his family returned from India several years later.

His family then settled in the English midlands where he completed his primary education. Because of the Second World War his family was forced to move several times before he finally completed his secondary education. In his mid-teens young Peter contracted bovine tuberculosis in his right foot, probably due to drinking contaminated milk. He underwent several unsuccessful treatments before having the infected bone surgically removed from his foot, causing his ankle bones to be fused together. This resulted in a lifelong disability which, though a misfortune in one way was a blessing in another—he was not required to serve in the military during the war, and thus avoided making a lot of bad kamma for himself. Peter was then free to further his education at Faraday House in London, where he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering just as the war ended.

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Following graduation, he spent two years in India working as an electrical engineer in the Kolar gold mines. Upon his return to England, he continued working as an engineer for a further seven years—first in Stafford, then in London. It was during this period of his life that Peter became deeply interested in Buddhism. He began to contemplate the value and purpose of birth and life in this world in light of its inevitable march toward sickness, old age and death. He began to question the very nature of existence and concluded that popular religious and scientific explanations were seriously flawed. In his quest for the truth, he discovered that the Buddha’s teaching provided a firm basis in theory and practice, which could serve as a platform for thoroughly investigating these issues. He read Buddhist doctrine extensively and joined several Buddhist organizations. Finally, inspired by the example of Bhikkhu Kapilavaḍḍho, who had ordained in Thailand, Peter decided to renounce the worldly life in order to fully pursue his search for the truth unhindered by the burden of worldly concerns. He was ordained as a sāmanera at the London Buddhist Vihāra on the 31st of October 1955. He was given the name Paññāvaḍḍho.

In December of that year Paññāvaḍḍho and two other sāmaneras flew to Bangkok, Thailand, together with Bhikkhu Kapilavaḍḍho, with the intention of ordaining as bhikkhus. After staying at Wat Paknam with Luang Paw Soth for a month, on the 27th of January 1956 the three sāmaneras were duly ordained as bhikkhus.

In mid-July of that year they all returned to London where they settled into a small vihāra provided by the English Sangha Trust. Gradually the others all returned to lay life, leaving Bhikkhu Paññāvaḍḍho to look after the vihāra alone. He remained in charge of the vihāra for a full five years before another bhikkhu arrived to take his place. During that time he selflessly devoted himself to the task of presenting the Dhamma to the best of his ability, not only by teaching at the vihāra, but also by giving public lectures and by organizing countryside retreats. At the same time, he fulfilled his obligation to the monk’s life, practicing meditation as thoroughly and strictly as possible.

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Still, at times he became discouraged, as the experience that he gained in this way was not sufficient to eliminate his doubts. He deeply felt the lack of a reliable mentor, a good teacher who could assure him that the noble goals of the Buddha’s teaching were still attainable in the modern era. Were there any living Arahants who could guide him along the path to Nibbāna? If he could find such a guide he would wholeheartedly dedicate himself to that goal.

To that end, Bhikkhu Paññāvaḍḍho decided that he must return to Thailand and look for a noble teacher, one who could command his full trust. He flew back to Thailand in November of 1961. At first he went to stay with Venerable Ajaan Paññānanda at Wat Cholapratan near Bangkok. While there he asked a Thai friend to scout out the best, most revered meditation masters in the country and report back to him. Eventually this friend took him to meet Venerable Ajaan Mahā Boowa, a longtime disciple of Venerable Ajaan Mun, who was widely renowned to be an Arahant. Impressed by Ajaan Mahā Boowa’s resolute character and profound wisdom, Bhikkhu Paññāvaḍḍho moved to his monastery, Baan Taad Forest Monastery in Udon Thani province, and became his devoted disciple. He arrived on the 16th of February 1963 and remained resident there for the rest of his life.

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Ajaan Mahā Boowa soon shortened his name to Paññā, and from then on he was known simply as Ajaan Paññā. He remained a close disciple of Ajaan Mahā Boowa for the next 41 years. He said that he was able to put up with the hardships of living in the remote jungles of Northeast Thailand mainly due to the strong faith he had in Ajaan Mahā Boowa and his teaching methods. The climate was hot and uncomfortable, the food was simple and rough, there was a language barrier to overcome, and his fused ankle left him with limited mobility; but his heart was bolstered by his faith in the teacher and his perseverance in the practice. Ajaan Paññā’s mind tended naturally toward wisdom, and that allowed him to progress quickly in meditation. With the benefit of Ajaan Mahā Boowa’s careful guidance, his understanding of Dhamma deepened and became more comprehensive with each passing year.

In 1965, at Ajaan Mahā Boowa’s insistence, Ajaan Paññā re-ordained into the Dhammayut Nikāya. With the future Sangharāja—Somdet Phra Ñānasamvāra—as his preceptor, he took re-ordination at Wat Boworniwes on June 22 of that year.

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Ajaan Paññā possessed a very subtle and refined nature. His practice was beyond reproach. He was always composed and circumspect, and displayed wisdom in everything he did. Not only did he develop himself to the fullest, but his exemplary life and practice influenced many people from all over the world. From the beginning he worked tirelessly to translate Ajaan Mahā Boowa’s writings into English, publishing translations that were distributed free of charge around the world. Gradually he became a source of strength and inspiration to the Buddhists from many countries who traveled to Thailand to meet him. This is especially true of the Western bhikkhus who joined the Sangha at Baan Taad Forest Monastery after his arrival. He always showed a selfless devotion to the task of instructing those monks, and they always relied on him to teach them the correct way to practice Buddhism.

In 1974 the English Sangha Trust invited Ajaan Mahā Boowa to visit London, England with the intention of trying to establish a Theravada Sangha there. Ajaan Paññā accompanied his teacher to London where he helped to communicate the essence of Ajaan Mahā Boowa’s Dhamma teaching to the Buddhist faithful. It was to be the last time that Ajaan Paññā returned to England. But, although no Sangha was established at that time, their inspiring presence laid the groundwork for the future English Sangha.

His knowledge of engineering became a valuable asset to the monastery. From the time he arrived, he was involved in almost every building project carried out at Baan Taad Forest Monastery—often designing the project and overseeing the construction himself. Ajaan Mahā Boowa had so much faith in his wisdom and engineering skills that he rarely questioned Ajaan Paññā’s judgment in those matters. Whether the engineering was electrical or mechanical, structural or electronic, he had mastered them all on his own initiative, and could apply them with a skill and grace that constantly amazed his fellow monks. The ease with which Baan Taad Forest Monastery developed from a simple forest monastery into a thriving monastic center is a testament to Ajaan Paññā’s ability to manage a forest monastery’s resources while protecting its traditions and its meditative environment.

In September of 2003 the first symptoms appeared of a disease that would eventually cause his death. He was diagnosed with colon cancer, and he decided to treat it with natural herbal remedies. He appeared unfazed by his condition, and he felt quite sure that the medicine was working. Over the following nine months the cancer appeared to gradually regress, but in June of 2004 it resurfaced and began to spread rapidly. He showed great equanimity as death approached, never displaying any concern for the failing condition of his body. Ajaan Paññā passed away in complete stillness at 8:30 AM on August 18, 2004. He was two months shy of his 79th birthday. He died as he lived—with his heart purely and simply at peace.

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Ajaan Paññā’s remains were cremated at Baan Taad Forest Monastery ten days later. His funeral ceremony was at that time the largest event ever held there—an estimated 50,000 people attended to pay their final respects, including over 4,000 monks. Something extraordinary occurred on the day of his cremation. The sky was clear and cloudless. Yet, on three separate occasions, a circular rainbow appeared in the clear blue sky, each time encircling the sun like a large, luminous halo. The rainbow first appeared as his casket was being placed on the funeral pyre; it appeared again later when his life story was being read aloud; and yet a third time when Ajaan Mahā Boowa lit the funeral pyre. It was as though the power of Ajaan Paññā’s spiritual attainment had induced this image to reflect the depth and subtlety of his virtue for all to witness. That vivid testimony to Ajaan Paññā’s profound spiritual awakening marked a supremely graceful conclusion to the life and practice of a monk whose kindness and humility radiated softly from his being to encompass the whole sentient universe.

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For Ajaan Paññāvaḍḍho’s complete biography, please read Uncommon Wisdom: Life and Teachings of Ajaan Paññāvaḍḍho in the English Books section of our website.

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Venerable Ajaan Mahā Boowa’s Eulogy
by forestdhamma.org
Accessed: 8/3/20

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VENERABLE AJAAN PAÑÑĀVAḌḌHO WAS AN ENGLISH MONK who arrived at Baan Taad Forest Monastery in 1963 and stayed here for the rest of his life. Not only did he develop himself to the fullest, his life was also one that greatly benefited people from all over the world. From the day he came to stay here, he became a source of strength and inspiration to the Buddhists from many countries who have come to respect his wisdom. His presence has touched the lives of countless people over the years.

This is especially true of the Western monks who have come to Baan Taad Forest Monastery since his arrival. He has always shown a selfless devotion to the task of instructing these monks. They have always relied on Ajaan Paññā to teach them the correct way to practice Buddhism. He acted as an example and a mentor to the Westerners who came to Thailand to ordain as monks and follow the Buddha’s Noble Path.

Ajaan Paññā passed away on August 18th at 8:30 a.m. Baan Taad Forest Monastery has benefited in so many ways from his presence. Ajaan Paññā was a trained engineer with a very broad knowledge about all things electrical and mechanical. Whenever I asked him a question about a piece of machinery -– whether it was a car, train, airplane or orbiting satellite -– he always knew the answer. I asked him if he could construct these things himself and he replied that although he understood in principle how they worked, their construction would require a factory and a large workforce. One person could never do it all. It was a very clever answer. His knowledge of engineering gave us the impression that he must be a nuclear scientist. Because he was never at a loss when giving clear and coherent explanations, we felt that he knew everything there was to know about these matters.

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Occasionally, someone’s car broke down in the monastery. Ajaan Paññā repaired it right away so the owner could drive it home. He was an expert at repairing clocks and watches, tape recorders and radios. Those in the monastery who needed help in repairing those things always turned to Ajaan Paññā -– and he never let them down. That’s one reason why I say that Baan Taad Forest Monastery has benefited from his presence in so many ways.

On a more profound level, Ajaan Paññā was a great communicator. He was responsible for instructing and training all of the foreigners who have come to Baan Taad Forest Monastery. In this respect, his death is a tremendous loss to our monastery. His engineering skills will not be missed nearly so much as his teaching skills. He was always the first person to receive foreign visitors, and they relied on his wisdom to guide them. His teachings on Buddhism were comprehensive and invariably correct.

Ajaan Paññāvaḍḍho died in a calm and peaceful manner, as befits a practicing monk. His mental condition was excellent and beyond reproach. He had truly developed a strong spiritual foundation in his heart. Of this I have no doubt. When he passed away, he went with quiet dignity. And I myself have taken full responsibility for his funeral arrangements.

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Ajaan Paññā told me that he had one regret. He said that it was a shame that Westerners, who are so clever when it comes to worldly affairs, are actually stupid when it comes to spiritual ones. Even though the Buddha’s Teaching is superior to everything that the world has to offer, very few Westerners make an effort to learn about it. He felt that this was their own kamma, their own misfortune. When people use their intelligence solely for material purposes, they remain ignorant of matters of real substance -– spiritually they are very weak and stupid. This he felt was their true misfortune. And he was exactly right.

It is impossible to equate worldly intelligence with the wisdom of Dhamma. The defilements are one thing, and Dhamma is another. Ajaan Paññā told me that he wanted to see intelligent people turn away from the world and turn their attention to the practice of Buddhism. If those people would practice Buddhist meditation, they could greatly benefit the world we live in. His main regret was that so few showed an interest. He saw them as very intelligent in one way and very ignorant in another.

Ajaan Paññā possessed a very subtle and refined nature. He was beyond reproach. The whole time I knew him, I never had a reason to reprimand him -– never. He was always composed and circumspect, and displayed wisdom in everything he did. His death is a loss to faithful Buddhists everywhere.
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Tendai
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/3/20

Tendai (天台宗, Tendai-shū) is a Mahayana Buddhist school established in Japan in the year 806 by the monk named Saichō, posthumously known as Dengyō Daishi. The Tendai school rose to prominence during the Heian period (794-1185), gradually eclipsing the powerful Yogācāra school (Hossō-shū) and competing with the upcoming Shingon Buddhism to become the most influential at the Imperial court.

However, political entanglements during the Genpei War (1180–1185) led many disaffected monks to leave, and in some cases to establish their own schools of Buddhism such as Jōdo-shū, Nichiren-shū and the Sōtō school of Zen. Destruction of the head temple of Mount Hiei by warlord Oda Nobunaga, as well as the geographic shift of the capital away from Kyoto to Edo, further weakened Tendai's influence.

In Chinese and Japanese, its name is identical to Tiantai, its parent school of Chinese Buddhism; both Tiantai and Tendai hold the Lotus Sutra as the ultimate teaching of the Buddha and revere the teachings of Tiantai's founder Zhiyi. In English, the Japanese romanization distinguishes the particularly Japanese history of the school and its innovations. These include an exclusive use of the Bodhisattva Precepts for ordination, an emphasis on the "Four Integrated Schools", and Saichō's focus on the "One Vehicle" teaching.

David W. Chappell frames the relevance of Tendai for a universal Buddhism:[1]

Although Tendai (Chin., T'ien-t'ai) has the reputation of being a major denomination in Japanese history, and the most comprehensive and diversified school of Chinese Buddhism, it is almost unknown in the West. This meagre presence is in marked contrast to the vision of the founder of the movement in China, T'ien-t'ai Chih-i (538–597), who provided a religious framework which seemed suited to adapt to other cultures, to evolve new practices, and to universalize Buddhism.


History

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Painting of Saichō, founder of the Tendai sect in Japan

Foundation

Although Jianzhen (Jp. Ganjin) had brought Tiantai teachings to Japan as early as 754,[2] its teachings did not take root until generations later when Saichō, a monk, joined the Japanese missions to Imperial China in 804. The future founder of Shingon Buddhism, Kūkai, also traveled on the same mission; however, the two were on separate ships and never saw one another once they arrived in China.

From the city of Ningbo (then called Míngzhōu 明州), Saichō was introduced by the governor to Dàosuì (道邃), who was the seventh Tiantai patriarch, and later he journeyed to Tiantai Mountain for further study.[3] After receiving initiations in Chan and Chinese Esoteric traditions at Tiantai Mountain, Saichō devoted much of his time to making accurate copies of Tiantai texts and studying under Dàosuì. By the sixth month of 805, Saicho had returned to Japan along with the official mission to China.

Because of the Imperial Court's interest in Tiantai as well as esoteric Buddhism, Saichō quickly rose in prominence upon his return. He was asked by Emperor Kanmu to perform various esoteric rituals, and Saichō also sought recognition from the Emperor for a new, independent school of Tiantai in Japan. Because the emperor sought to reduce the power of the Hossō school, he granted this request, but with the stipulation that the new "Tendai" school would have two programs: one for esoteric Buddhism and one for meditation.
However, Emperor Kanmu died shortly thereafter, and Saichō was not allocated any ordinands until 809 with the reign of Emperor Saga.

Saichō's choice of establishing his community at Mount Hiei also proved fortuitous because it was located to the northeast of the new capital of Kyoto and thus was auspicious in terms of Chinese geomancy as the city's protector.[4]

The remainder of Saichō's life was spent in heated debates with notable Hossō figures, particularly Tokuitsu, and maintaining an increasingly strained relationship with Kūkai to broaden his understanding of esoteric Buddhism.

Finally, Saichō's efforts were also devoted to developing a "Mahayana-only" ordination platform that required the Bodhisattva Precepts of the Brahmajala Sutra only, and not the pratimokṣa code of the Dharmaguptaka vinaya, which was traditionally used in East Asian Buddhist monasticism. By the time that Saichō died in 822, his yearly petition was finally granted and the traditional "Four Part Vinaya" (Chinese: 四分律) was replaced by the Bodhisattva Precepts for the Tendai.

Growth and Development after Saichō

Seven days after Saichō died, the Imperial Court granted permission for the Tendai to exclusively use the Bodhisattva Precepts for its ordination process. This effectively allowed Tendai to use an ordination platform separate from the powerful schools in Nara. Gishin, Saichō's disciple and the first zasu (座主, "Head of the Tendai Order"), presided over the first allotted ordinands in 827.[citation needed]

Further, the Tendai order underwent efforts to deepen its understanding of teachings that Saichō had brought back, particularly esoteric Buddhism. Saichō had only received initiation in the Diamond Realm Mandala, and since the rival Shingon school under Kūkai had received deeper training, early Tendai monks felt it necessary to return to China for further initiation and instruction. Saichō's disciple Ennin went to China in 838 and returned ten years later with a more thorough understanding of esoteric, Pure Land, and Tiantai teachings.[5]

By 864, Tendai monks were now appointed to the powerful sōgō (僧綱, "Office of Monastic Affairs") with the naming of An'e (安慧) as the provisional vinaya master. Other examples include Enchin's appointment to the Office of Monastic Affairs in 883. While Saichō had opposed the Office during his lifetime, within a few generations disciples were now gifted with positions in the Office by the Imperial Family. By this time, Japanese Buddhism was dominated by the Tendai school to a much greater degree than Chinese Buddhism was by its forebearer, the Tiantai.

Head of the Tendai Order

For reference, the first eight zasu (座主, "Head of the Tendai Order") after Saichō were:[5]

1. Gishin (義真)
2. Enchō (円澄)
3. Ennin (円仁)
4. An'e (安慧)
5. Enchin (円珍)
6. Yuishu (惟首)
7. Yūken(猷憲)
8. Kōsai (康済)

Appointments as zasu typically only lasted a few years, thus among the same generation of disciples, a number could be appointed zasu in one's lifetime.

Divisions within the Order

Philosophically, the Tendai school did not deviate substantially from the beliefs that had been created by the Tiantai school in China. However, what Saichō transmitted from China was not exclusively Tiantai, but also included Zen (禪), the esoteric Mikkyō (密教), and Vinaya School (戒律) elements. The tendency to include a range of teachings became more marked in the doctrines of Saichō's successors, such as Ennin (圓仁) and Enchin (圓珍). However, in later years, this range of teachings began to form sub-schools within Tendai Buddhism. By the time of Ryōgen, there were two distinct groups on Mt. Hiei, the Jimon and Sanmon: the Sammon-ha "Mountain Group" (山門派) followed Ennin and the Jimon-ha "Temple Group" (寺門派) followed Enchin.

Later Years

Although the Tendai sect flourished under the patronage of the Imperial House of Japan and the noble classes, by the end of the Heian, it experienced an increasing breakdown in monastic discipline, plus political entanglements with rival factions of the Genpei War, namely the Taira and Minamoto clans. Due to its patronage and growing popularity among the upper classes, the Tendai sect became not only respected, but also politically and even militarily powerful, with major temples each fielding their own monastic armies of sōhei (warrior-monks). This was not unusual for major temples at the time, as rival schools also fielded armies, such as the head temple of the Yogācāra school, Kōfuku-ji. With the outbreak of the Genpei War, Tendai temples even fought one another, such as Mount Hiei clashing with Mii-dera depending on their political affiliations.

A number of low-ranking monks of the Tendai became dissatisfied and sought to establish independent schools of their own. Such founders as Nichiren, Hōnen, Shinran, Eisai and Dōgen—all famous thinkers in non-Tendai schools of Japanese Buddhism—were all initially trained as Tendai monks. Tendai practices and monastic organization were adopted to some degree or another by each of these new schools, but one common feature of each school was a more narrowly-focused set of practices (e.g. daimoku for the Nichiren school, zazen for Zen, nembutsu for Pure Land schools, etc.) in contrast to the more integrated approach of the Tendai.

Although a number of breakaway schools rose during the Kamakura period, the Tendai school used its patronage to try to oppose the growth of these rival factions—particularly Nichiren Buddhism, which began to grow in power among the merchant middle class, and Pure Land Buddhism, which eventually came to claim the loyalty of many of the poorer classes.
Enryaku-ji, the temple complex on Mount Hiei, became a sprawling center of power, attended not only by ascetic monks, but also by brigades of sōhei who fought in the temple's interest. As a result, in 1571 Enryaku-ji was razed by Oda Nobunaga as part of his campaign to unify Japan. Nobunaga regarded the Mount Hiei monks as a potential threat or rival, as they could employ religious claims to attempt to rally the populace to their side. The temple complex was later rebuilt, and continues to serve as the head Tendai temple today.

Tendai doctrine

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A priest from the Japanese Tendai school of Buddhism

Tendai Buddhism can be summed up in the following quotation:

The first characteristic of the Japanese Tendai school is its advocacy of a comprehensive Buddhism, ... the idea that all the teachings of the Buddha are ultimately without contradiction and can be unified in one comprehensive and perfect system. Chih-i, founder of T'ien-t'ai philosophy and practice, attempted this synthesis on the basis of the ekayāna doctrine of the Lotus Sutra.[6]


Tendai Buddhism has several philosophical insights which allow for the reconciliation of Buddhist doctrine with aspects of Japanese culture such as Shinto and traditional aesthetics. It is rooted in the idea, fundamental to Mahayana Buddhism, that Buddha-hood, the capability to attain enlightenment, is intrinsic in all things. Also central to Mahayana is the notion that the phenomenal world, the world of our experiences, fundamentally is an expression of the Buddhist law (Dharma). This notion poses the problem of how we come to have many differentiated experiences. Tendai Buddhism claims that each and every sense phenomenon just as it is is the expression of Dharma. For Tendai, the ultimate expression of Dharma is the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, the fleeting nature of all sense experiences consists in the Buddha's preaching of the doctrine of Lotus Sutra. The existence and experience of all unenlightened beings is fundamentally equivalent and undistinguishable from the teachings of the Lotus Sutra.

Lotus Sutra as the Highest Teaching in Buddhism

Tendai Buddhism, in keeping with Tiantai, reveres the Lotus Sutra as the highest teaching in Buddhism. In Saichō's writings, he frequently used the terminology hokke engyō (法華円教, "Perfect Teaching of the Lotus Sutra") to imply it was the culmination of the previous sermons given by Gautama Buddha.[5] Further, because of the central importance of the Lotus Sutra, Tendai Buddhism includes such teachings as:

• All Buddhist teachings and practices fit into a single "vehicle". Saichō frequently used the term ichijō bukkyō (一乗仏教, "One Vehicle Buddhism") and referred to the second chapter of the Lotus Sutra for his scriptural basis.
• All beings have the potential for full buddhahood. This teaching in particular was a major point of contention with the powerful Hossō school in Japan who espoused the Five Natures Doctrine (五姓各別, goshō kakubetsu). The heated debates between Saichō and Tokuitsu frequently addressed this controversy and mirrored similar debates in China.
• The importance of upāya (方便, hōben, expedient means).

Tendai Buddhism uses a similar hierarchy as the Tiantai in to classify the various other sutras in the canon in relation to the Lotus Sutra, and it also follows Zhiyi's original conception of Five Periods Eight Teachings or gojihakkyō (五時八教). This is based on the doctrine of expedient means, but was also a common practice among East Asian schools trying to sort the vast corpus of writing inherited from Indian Buddhism.

Integrating the Four Schools of Practice

A feature unique to Japanese Tendai Buddhism from its inception was the concept of shishūyūgō (四宗融合, "Integrating the Four Schools"). Under the umbrella of the Lotus Sutra, Tendai integrates four different aspects of practice:

• Pure Land practices - veneration of Amitābha, recitation of the Buddha's name (nembutsu), etc.
• Dhyana meditation - which comprises both samatha and vipassanā meditation. In Japanese Tendai, this is called shikan (止観, "Calming-Insight") meditation. Much of this comes from the writings of Zhiyi and Tiantai.
• Esoteric practices, also known as taimitsu (台密).
• Precepts, in particular the Bodhisattva Precepts.


Senior teachers, or ajari, train in all four schools.[5]

In addition, sutras from each of these schools are revered, chanted and studied in Tendai.

The Doctrine of Original Enlightenment

Main article: Hongaku

Stone holds that:

In the early decades of the twentieth century, Buddhologist Shimaji Daito (1875–1927) introduced to the Japanese academic world a new interpretive category, which he called "original enlightenment thought" (Jpn. hongaku shiso). By this term he meant, in general, those strands of Buddhist thought, most prominent in East Asia and especially in Japan, that regard enlightenment or the ideal state as inherent from the outset and as accessible in the present, rather than as the fruit of a long process of cultivation. More specifically, Shimaji used "original enlightenment thought" to designate the intellectual mainstream of medieval Japanese Tendai Buddhism. In this medieval Tendai context, "original enlightenment thought" denotes an array of doctrines and concepts associated with the proposition that all beings are enlightened inherently. Not only human beings, but ants and crickets, mountains and rivers, grasses and trees are all innately Buddhas. The Buddhas who appear in sutras, radiating light and endowed with excellent marks, are merely provisional signs. The "real" Buddha is the ordinary worldling. Indeed, the whole phenomenal world is the primordially enlightened Tathāgata.[7]


Tendai and Pure Land Buddhism

Practices related to and veneration of Amitābha and his Sukhavati in the Tendai tradition began with Saichō's disciple, Ennin. After journeying to China for further study and training, he brought back a practice called the "five-tone nembutsu" or goe nenbutsu (五会念仏), which was a form of intonation practiced in China for reciting the Buddha's name. This contrasted with earlier practices in Japan starting in the Nara period, where meditation on images of the Pure Land, typically in the form of mandala, were practiced.[5][8]

However, both meditation on the Pure Land (kansō nenbutsu 観想念仏) and recitation of the Buddha's name (shōmyō nenbutsu 称名念仏) became an integral part of Pure Land practices in the Tendai tradition. In addition to the five-tone nembutsu brought back from China, Ennin also integrated a special monastic training program called the jōgyō zanmai (常行三昧, "Constantly Walking samadhi") originally promulgated by Zhiyi. In this practice, monks spend 90 days in retreat, circumambulating a statue of Amitābha constantly reciting his name.[5]

In addition to increasing monastic practices related to the Pure Land, monks also taught Pure Land practices to the lay community in the form of reciting the Buddha's name. The most famous of these nenbutsu hijiri (念仏聖, "Itinerant Pure Land teachers") was a monk named Kūya (空也, 903-972).

Pure Land Buddhist thought was further developed by a Tendai monk named Genshin (源信, 942-1017) who was a disciple of Ryōgen, the 18th chief abbot or zasu (座主) of Mount Hiei. Genshin wrote an influential treatise called Ōjōyōshū (往生要集, "The Essentials of Rebirth in the Pure Land"), which vividly contrasted the Sukhavati Pure Land of Amitābha with the descriptions of the hell realms in Buddhism. Further, Genshin promoted the popular notion of the Latter Age of the Dharma, which posited that society had degenerated to a point when they could no longer rely on traditional Buddhist practices, and would instead need to rely solely on Amitābha's grace to escape saṃsāra. Genshin drew upon past Chinese Pure Land teachers such as Daochuo and Shandao.[8]

Finally, Pure Land practices in Tendai were further popularized by former Tendai monk Hōnen, who established the first independent Pure Land school, the Jōdo-shū, and whose disciples carried the teachings to remote provinces in one form or another. This includes another ex-Tendai monk named Shinran, who eventually established the related Jōdo Shinshū.

Tendai and Esoteric Buddhism

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A statue of Ennin, an important disciple of Saicho

One of the adaptations by the Tendai school was the introduction of esoteric ritual into Tendai Buddhism, which was later named Taimitsu "Tendai Esotericism" (台密), distinguishing it from the Shingon Buddhist esoteric lineage known as Tōmitsu "Eastern Esotericism" (東密). Eventually, according to Taimitsu doctrine, the esoteric rituals came to be considered of equal importance with the exoteric teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, by chanting mantras, maintaining mudras, or performing certain meditations, one is able to see that the sense experiences are the teachings of Buddha, have faith that one is inherently an enlightened being, and one can attain enlightenment within this very body.

The origins of Taimitsu are found in Chinese Esoteric Buddhism similar to the lineage of Kūkai, and Saichō's disciples were encouraged to study under him.[9] As a result, Tendai esoteric ritual bears much in common with the explicitly Vajrayana tradition of Shingon, though the underlying doctrines may differ somewhat. Where Shingon sees esoteric teachings as the highest teachings in Buddhism, Tendai sees esoteric teachings as a means to an end in order to understand the profundity of the Lotus Sutra.

Another difference is the sutras and mandalas used. Where Shingon emphasizes the Mandala of the Two Realms, and by extension the Mahavairocana Tantra and the Vajrasekhara Sutra, for its esoteric practices, esoteric Tendai adds a third sutra called the Susiddhikāra Sūtra or Soshitsu Jikyō (蘇悉地経) and its related tantric practices.[5] Other differences mainly relate to lineages and outlook.

The existing lineage began with Saichō; however, his training had largely been limited to the Diamond Realm Mandala only.[2] After Saichō died, Ennin journeyed to China on the last diplomatic mission to China, and after extensive training, returned with both esoteric and Pure Land practices.

Tendai and Shinto

Tendai doctrine allowed Japanese Buddhists to reconcile Buddhist teachings with the native religion of Japan, Shinto, and with traditional Japanese aesthetics. In the case of Shinto, the difficulty is the reconciliation of the pantheon of Japanese gods, as well as with the myriad spirits associated with places, shrines or objects, with the Buddhist doctrine that one should not concern oneself with any religious practice save the pursuit of enlightenment. However, priests of the Tendai sect argued that Kami are simply representations of the truth of universal buddhahood that descend into the world to help mankind. Thus, they were seen as equivalent with Buddhas. This doctrine, however, regards Kami as more sacred. While Buddhas represent the possibility of attaining enlightenment through many lifetimes of work and devotion to Dharma, Kami are seen to be manifest representations of universal buddhahood. They exemplify the doctrine that all things are inherently enlightened and that it is possible for a person of sufficient religious faculties to attain enlightenment instantly within this very body. Those Kami that Shinto regards as violent or antagonistic to mankind are considered as simply supernatural beings that are violent and evil.

Tendai and Japanese aesthetics

The Buddha taught a Middle Way between the extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification. In the context of the Four Noble Truths this meant ceasing the craving (Sanskrit tṛṣṇā) of worldly desire and attachment, thus putting an end to suffering (dukkha). In early Buddhism, the emphasis, especially for monastics, was on avoiding activities that might arouse worldly desires. Buddhist art and poetry focused on overtly Buddhist themes. This tendency toward renunciation created a potential conflict with mainstream culture in China and Japan when Buddhism was introduced. Shedding worldly pleasures and attachments might seem to require that such flowers of culture as poetry, literature, and visual arts be given up.

However, later Mahayana views developed a different emphasis. By claiming that the phenomenal world is not distinct from Dharma, Tendai doctrine allows for the reconciliation of beauty and aesthetics with Buddhist teachings. Things are to be seen just as they are, as expressions of Dharma. Poetry, instead of being a potential distraction, now in fact can lead to enlightenment. Contemplation of poetry, provided that it is done in the context of Tendai doctrine, is simply contemplation of Dharma. This same thing can be said of other forms of art. Therefore, it is possible to construct an aesthetic that is not in conflict with Buddhism.

Notable Tendai scholars

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Ryōgen is known generally by the name of Gansan Daishi (left) or Tsuno Daishi ("Horned Great Master", right). Tsuno Daishi is said to be a portrait of him subjugating yūrei.

In the history of Tendai school, a number of notable monks have contributed to Tendai thought and administration of Mt. Hiei:

• Saichō – Founder.
• Gishin – Second zasu (座主, "Head priest") of the Tendai School, who travelled with Saicho to China and ordained alongside him.
• Ennin – Saicho's successor, the first to try to merge esoteric practices with exoteric Tendai School theories (this merger is now known as "Taimitsu"), as well as promote nianfo.
• Enchin – Gishin successor, junior to Ennin. The first to successfully assimilate esoteric buddhism to Tendai, and a notable administrator as well.
• Annen - Henjō (Ennin's disciple)'s successor, junior to Enchin. An influential thinker who's known having finalized the assimilation of esoteric and exoteric buddhism within Tendai.
• Ryōgen – Annen's successor, and skilled politician who helped ally the Tendai School with the Fujiwara clan.
• Toba Sōjō (1053–1140) – the 48th zasu and a satirical artist. Sometimes he is credited as the author of Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga, one of the earliest manga, but this attribution is highly disputed.
• Sengaku (1203 – c. 1273) – a Tendai scholar and literary critic, who authored an influential commentary on the Man'yōshū, the oldest extant Japanese poetry.
• Gien (1394–1441) – the 153rd zasu, who later returned to secular life and reigned Japan as Ashikaga Yoshinori, the sixth shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate.
• Tenkai (1536–1643) – a Tendai dai-sōjō (大僧正, "archbishop"), who served as an entrusted advisor of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate.

See also

• Tiantai Buddhism, the Chinese sect that Tendai developed from
• Nichiren Buddhism, which developed the Tendai emphasis on the Lotus Sutra into a distinctive Japanese Buddhist school
• Enryaku-ji, the headquarters of Tendai Buddhism on Mount Hiei
• Kaihōgyō
• Hongaku

Notes

1. Chappell, David W. (1987). 'Is Tendai Buddhism Relevant to the Modern World?' in Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1987 14/2-3. Source: Nanzan Univ.; accessed: Saturday August 16, 2008. p.247
2. Groner, Paul (2000). Saicho: The Establishment of the Japanese Tendai School. Hawaii University Press. p. 7. ISBN 0824823710.
3. Groner, Paul (2000). Saicho: The Establishment of the Japanese Tendai School. Hawaii University Press. pp. 41–47. ISBN 0824823710.
4. Groner, Paul (2000). Saicho: The Establishment of the Japanese Tendai School. Hawaii University Press. p. 31. ISBN 0824823710.
5. うちのお寺は天台宗 (双葉文庫) [My Temple is Tendai] (in Japanese). 双葉社. ISBN 4575714577.
6. Hazama, Jiko (1987). The Characteristics of Japanese Tendai, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 14 (2-3), p. 102 PDF
7. Stone, Jacqueline Ilyse (2003). Original enlightenment and the transformation of medieval Japanese Buddhism. Issue 12 of Studies in East Asian Buddhism. A Kuroda Institute book: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2771-6, ISBN 978-0-8248-2771-7. Source: [1] (accessed: Thursday April 22, 2010), p.3
8. "Early Japanese Pure Land Masters, Jodo Shu homepage Homepage". Retrieved 2018-08-25.
9. Abe, Ryuichi (1999). The Weaving of Mantra: Kukai and the Construction of Esoteric Buddhist Discourse. Columbia University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-231-11286-6.

References

• Chappell, David W. (1987). "Is Tendai Buddhism Relevant to the Modern World?", Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1987 14/2-3, pp 247–266.
• Covell, Stephen (2001). "Living Temple Buddhism in Contemporary Japan: The Tendai Sect Today", Comparative Religion Publications. Paper 1. (Dissertation, Western Michigan University)
• Groner, Paul. Saicho: The Establishment of the Japanese Tendai School. University of Hawaii Press 2000.
• Matsunaga, Daigan; Matsunaga, Alicia (1996), Foundation of Japanese Buddhism, Vol. 1: The Aristocratic Age, Los Angeles; Tokyo: Buddhist Books International. ISBN 0-914910-26-4
• Matsunaga, Daigan, Matsunaga, Alicia (1996), Foundation of Japanese Buddhism, Vol. 2: The Mass Movement (Kamakura and Muromachi Periods), Los Angeles; Tokyo: Buddhist Books International, 1996. ISBN 0-914910-28-0
• McMullin, Neil (1984). The Sanmon-Jimon Schism in the Tendai School of Buddhism: A Preliminary Analysis, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 7 (1), 83-105
• Stone Jacqueline 1999. Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, HI, ISBN 0-8248-2026-6.
• Swanson, Paul L. (1986). "T'ien-t'ai Studies in Japan", Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 2 (2), 219–232
• Ziporyn, Brook (2004). "Tiantai School" in Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Robert E. Buswell, Ed., McMillan USA, New York, NY, ISBN 0-02-865910-4.

External links

• A History of Tendai lineages up through the end of the Heian Period, Jodo Shu Research Institute
• Digital Dictionary of Buddhism (log in with userID "guest")
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 1 of 3

Oscar Wilde
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/4/20

Sir Richard Somers Travers Christmas Humphreys (4 August 1867 – 20 February 1956) was a noted British barrister and judge who, during a sixty-year legal career, was involved in the cases of Oscar Wilde and the murderers Hawley Harvey Crippen, George Joseph Smith and John George Haigh, the 'Acid Bath Murderer', among many others.

Travers Humphreys was born in Doughty Street in Bloomsbury in London, the fourth son and sixth child of solicitor Charles Octavius Humphreys, and his wife, Harriet Ann (née Grain), the sister of the entertainer Richard Corney Grain. Humphreys was educated at Shrewsbury School and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, graduating BA in 1889. He was called to the Bar from the Inner Temple in 1889 and entered the chambers of E. T. E. Besley, where he concentrated on practice in the criminal courts.

On 1 March 1895 Oscar Wilde, Lord Alfred Douglas and Robbie Ross approached [his father] Charles Octavius Humphreys with the intention of suing the Marquess of Queensberry, Douglas' father, for criminal libel. Humphreys applied for a warrant for Queensberry's arrest and approached Sir Edward Clarke and Charles Willie Mathews to represent Wilde. Travers Humphreys appeared as a Junior Counsel for the prosecution in the subsequent case of Wilde vs Queensbury.

On 28 May 1896 Humphreys married the actress Zoë Marguerite (1872–1953), the daughter of Henri Philippe Neumans, an artist from Antwerp. In 1895 she had appeared in An Artist's Model with Marie Tempest, Marie Studholme, Letty Lind and Hayden Coffin. They had two sons, the elder of whom, Richard Grain Humphreys (1897-28 September 1917) was killed in France in the Third Battle of Ypres during World War I; the younger son was the noted barrister and judge Christmas Humphreys, who prosecuted Ruth Ellis for the murder of her lover David Blakely in 1955 [and Founder of The Buddhist Society]

-- Travers Humphreys, by Wikipedia


James Martineau, by Wikipedia: (Unitarian): Oscar Wilde references him in his prose.

***

George Bernard Shaw, by Wikipedia: Of contemporary dramatists writing for the West End stage he rated Oscar Wilde above the rest: "... our only thorough playwright. He plays with everything: with wit, with philosophy, with drama, with actors and audience, with the whole theatre".

***

W.B. Yeats, by Wikipedia: The influence of Oscar Wilde is evident in Yeats's theory of aesthetics, especially in his stage plays, and runs like a motif through his early works. The theory of masks, developed by Wilde in his polemic The Decay of Lying can clearly be seen in Yeats's play The Player Queen, while the more sensual characterisation of Salomé, in Wilde's play of the same name, provides the template for the changes Yeats made in his later plays, especially in On Baile's Strand (1904), Deirdre (1907), and his dance play The King of the Great Clock Tower (1934).

***

Julius Evola, by Wikipedia: In his teenage years, Evola immersed himself in painting—which he considered one of his natural talents—and literature, including Oscar Wilde and Gabriele d'Annunzio.

***

Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton, by Wikipedia: Oscar Wilde dedicated his play Lady Windermere's Fan to him.

***

Florence Farr [Mary Lester], by Wikipedia: Beatrice Emery (née) Farr was a British West End leading actress, composer and director. She was also a women's rights activist, journalist, educator, singer, novelist, and leader of the occult order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. She was a friend and collaborator of Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats, poet Ezra Pound, playwright Oscar Wilde, artists Aubrey Beardsley and Pamela Colman Smith, Masonic scholar Arthur Edward Waite, theatrical producer Annie Horniman, and many other literati of London's Fin de siècle era.

***

John Ruskin, by Wikipedia: Most controversial, from the point of view of the University authorities, spectators and the national press, was the digging scheme on Ferry Hinksey Road at North Hinksey, near Oxford, instigated by Ruskin in 1874, and continuing into 1875, which involved undergraduates in a road-mending scheme. The scheme was motivated in part by a desire to teach the virtues of wholesome manual labour. Some of the diggers, which included Oscar Wilde, Alfred Milner and Ruskin's future secretary and biographer, W. G. Collingwood, were profoundly influenced by the experience: notably Arnold Toynbee, Leonard Montefiore and Alexander Robertson MacEwen.

***

Max Stirner [Johann Kaspar Schmidt], by Wikipedia: Stirner's main work is The Ego and Its Own (Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum), which appeared in Leipzig in October 1844, with as year of publication mentioned 1845. In The Ego And Its Own, Stirner launches a radical anti-authoritarian and individualist critique of contemporary Prussian society and modern western society as such. He offers an approach to human existence in which he depicts himself as "the unique one", a "creative nothing", beyond the ability of language to fully express:

If I concern myself for myself, the unique one, then my concern rests on its transitory, mortal creator, who consumes himself, and I may say: All things are nothing to me.

The book proclaims that all religions and ideologies rest on empty concepts. The same holds true for society's institutions that claim authority over the individual, be it the state, legislation, the church, or the systems of education such as universities…

In the time of spirits thoughts grew till they overtopped my head, whose offspring they yet were; they hovered about me and convulsed me like fever-phantasies – an awful power. The thoughts had become corporeal on their own account, were ghosts, e. g. God, Emperor, Pope, Fatherland, etc. If I destroy their corporeity, then I take them back into mine, and say: "I alone am corporeal." And now I take the world as what it is to me, as mine, as my property; I refer all to myself…


Oscar Wilde's The Soul of Man Under Socialism has caused some historians to speculate that Wilde (who could read German) was familiar with the book.

***

-- Jawaharlal Nehru: An Autobiography, 1936: My general attitude to life at the time was a vague kind of cyrenaicism, partly natural to youth, partly the influence of Oscar Wilde and Walter Pater. It is easy and gratifying to give a long Greek name to the desire for a soft life and pleasant experiences. But there was something more in it than that for I was not particularly attracted to a soft life. Not having the religious temper and disliking the repressions of religion, It was natural for me to seek some other standard. I was superficial and did not go deep down into anything. And so the aesthetic side of life appealed to me, and the idea of going through life worthily, not indulging it in the vulgar way, but still making the most of it and living a full and many-sided life attracted me. I enjoyed life and I refused to see why I should consider it a thing of sin. At the same time risk and adventure fascinated me; I was always, like my father, a bit of a gambler, at first with money and then for higher stakes, with the bigger issues of life. Indian politics in 1907 and 1908 were in a state of upheaval and I wanted to play a brave part in them, and this was not likely to lead to a soft life. All these mixed and sometimes conflicting desires led to a medley in my mind. Vague and confused it was but I did not worry, for the time for any decision was yet far distant. Meanwhile, life was pleasant, both physically and intellectually, fresh horizons were ever coming into sight, there was so much to be done, so much to be seen, so many fresh avenues to explore. And we would sit by the fireside in the long winter evenings and talk and discuss unhurriedly deep into the night till the dying fire drove us shivering to our beds. And sometimes, during our discussions, our voices would lose their even tenor and would grow loud and excited in heated argument. But it was all make-believe. We played with the problems of human life in a mock-serious way; for they had not become real problems for us yet, and we had not been caught in the coils of the world's affairs. It was the pre-war world of the early twentieth century. Soon this world was to die, yielding place to another, full of death and destruction and anguish and heart-sickness for the world's youth. But the veil of the future hid this and we saw around us an assured and advancing order of things and this was pleasant for those who could afford it.

I write of cyrenaicism and the like and of various ideas that influenced me then. But it would be wrong to imagine that I thought clearly on these subjects then or even that I thought it necessary to try to be clear and definite about them. They were just vague fancies that floated in my mind and in this process left their impress in a greater or less degree. I did not worry myself at all about these speculations. Work and games and amusements filled my life and the only thing that disturbed me sometimes was the political struggle in India.


Image
Oscar Wilde
Wilde in 1882
Born: Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, 16 October 1854, Dublin, Ireland
Died: 30 November 1900 (aged 46), Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, France
Buried: Père Lachaise Cemetery
Occupation: Author, poet, playwright
Language: English, French, Greek
Nationality: Irish
Education: Portora Royal School
Alma mater: Trinity College, Dublin; Magdalen College, Oxford
Period: Victorian era
Genre: Epigram, drama, short story, criticism, journalism
Literary movement: Aesthetic movement; Decadent movement
Notable works: The Picture of Dorian Gray; The Importance of Being Earnest
Spouse: Constance Lloyd (m. 1884; died 1898)
Children: Cyril Holland; Vyvyan Holland
Relatives: Sir William Wilde (father); Lady Jane Wilde (mother); Willie Wilde (brother); Isola Wilde (Sister)

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, the early 1890s saw him become one of the most popular playwrights in London. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for gross indecency for consensual homosexual acts, imprisonment, and early death at age 46.

Wilde's parents were Anglo-Irish intellectuals in Dublin.
A young Wilde learned to speak fluent French and German. At university, Wilde read Greats; he demonstrated himself to be an exceptional classicist, first at Trinity College Dublin, then at Oxford. He became associated with the emerging philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles.

As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new "English Renaissance in Art" and interior decoration, and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversational skill, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day. At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into what would be his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). The opportunity to construct aesthetic details precisely, and combine them with larger social themes, drew Wilde to write drama. He wrote Salome (1891) in French while in Paris but it was refused a licence for England due to an absolute prohibition on the portrayal of Biblical subjects on the English stage.



Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late-Victorian London.

At the height of his fame and success, while The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) was still being performed in London, Wilde prosecuted the Marquess of Queensberry for criminal libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The libel trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with men. After two more trials he was convicted and sentenced to two years' hard labour, the maximum penalty, and was jailed from 1895 to 1897. During his last year in prison, he wrote De Profundis (published posthumously in 1905), a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. On his release, he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life.

Early life

Image
The Wilde family home on Merrion Square

Oscar Wilde was born at 21 Westland Row, Dublin (now home of the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College), the second of three children born to an Anglo-Irish couple: Jane, née Elgee and Sir William Wilde. Oscar was two years younger than his brother, William (Willie) Wilde.

Jane Wilde was a niece (by marriage) of the novelist, playwright and clergyman Charles Maturin (1780 – 1824), who may have influenced her own literary career. She had distant Italian ancestry,[1] and under the pseudonym "Speranza" (the Italian word for 'hope'), she wrote poetry for the revolutionary Young Irelanders in 1848; she was a lifelong Irish nationalist.[2] Jane Wilde read the Young Irelanders' poetry to Oscar and Willie, inculcating a love of these poets in her sons.[3] Her interest in the neo-classical revival showed in the paintings and busts of ancient Greece and Rome in her home.[3]

Jane Francesca Agnes, Lady Wilde (née Elgee; 27 December 1821 – 3 February 1896) was an Irish poet under the pen name "Speranza" and supporter of the nationalist movement. Lady Wilde had a special interest in Irish folktales, which she helped to gather.

She married Sir William Wilde, an eye and ear surgeon (and also a researcher of folklore)
,...

The Rosicrucians searched and studied the Gospels, particularly that of St. John, from the point of view of their esoteric teachings, and found content for meditation in their wisdom. They taught by means of pictures and symbols, appealing to imagination rather than intellect. They can only be understood if the student himself is able to develop imaginative faculties. The Rosicrucians tried to evoke imaginative effort and ability in all sorts of ways, not only through pictures and tablets, but through a wealth of fairy tales, legends proverbs and songs -- even to children's games and acrobatic feats. By all these means, they were able to bring the content of esoteric wisdom to the people, in the form of picture and parable, and at the same time to educate in the people the faculties needed to understand them. By thus educating the individual imagination of ordinary folk, they developed initiative and resource, abilities very necessary to deal with the new experiences brought by scientific discoveries to ordinary men.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it was essential to hide religious and philosophical ideas if they did not coincide with the dogmas of the Church, for this was the era of the Inquisition. Here was another reason for the need to hide the new spiritual teachings in parables and allegory. Hieronymus Bosch had cause to fear the Inquisition which took an ever firmer grip on the people of the Netherlands in his time. He was one of the most important transmitters of Rosicrucian teachings.

Beside his imaginations and symbols, there appears many a "sign" in which he characterises the spiritual difficulties of his time, or answers the persecutors. One can recognise throughout a sort of secret language through which the intimate members of the Rosicrucian brotherhood communicated.


-- The Pictorial Language of Hieronymus Bosch, by Clement A. Wertheim Aymes


on 12 November 1851 in St. Peter's church in Dublin, and they had three children: William Charles Kingsbury Wilde (26 September 1852 – 13 March 1899), Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900), and Isola Francesca Emily Wilde (2 April 1857 – 23 February 1867). Her eldest son William Wilde became a journalist and poet, her younger son Oscar Wilde became a prolific and famous writer, and her daughter Isola Wilde died in childhood.

Jane was the last of the four children of Charles Elgee (1783–1824), a Wexford solicitor, and his wife Sarah (née Kingsbury, d. 1851). Her great-grandfather was an Italian who had come to Wexford in the 18th century. Lady Wilde, who was the niece of Charles Maturin, wrote for the Young Ireland movement of the 1840s, publishing poems in The Nation under the pseudonym of Speranza. Her works included pro-Irish independence and anti-British writing; she was sometimes known as "Speranza of the Nation". Charles Gavan Duffy was the editor when "Speranza" wrote commentary calling for armed revolution in Ireland. The authorities at Dublin Castle shut down the paper and brought the editor to court. Duffy refused to name who had written the offending article. "Speranza" reputedly stood up in court and claimed responsibility for the article. The confession was ignored by the authorities. But in any event the newspaper was permanently shut down by the authorities.

Young Ireland was a political, cultural and social movement of the mid-19th century. It began as a tendency within Daniel O'Connell's Repeal Association, associated with The Nation newspaper, but eventually split to found the Irish Confederation in 1847. Young Ireland led changes in Irish nationalism, including an abortive rebellion known as the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848. Many of the rebellion's leaders were tried for sedition and sentenced to penal transportation to Van Diemen's Land. From its beginnings in the late 1830s, Young Ireland grew in influence and inspired following generations of Irish nationalists. Some of the junior members of the movement went on to found the Irish Republican Brotherhood...

The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland between 1858 and 1924. Its counterpart in the United States of America was initially the Fenian Brotherhood, but from the 1870s it was Clan na Gael. The members of both wings of the movement are often referred to as "Fenians". The IRB played an important role in the history of Ireland, as the chief advocate of republicanism during the campaign for Ireland's independence from the United Kingdom, successor to movements such as the United Irishmen of the 1790s and the Young Irelanders of the 1840s.

As part of the New Departure of the 1870s–80s, IRB members attempted to democratise the Home Rule League, and its successor, the Irish Parliamentary Party, as well as taking part in the Land War. The IRB staged the Easter Rising in 1916, which led to the establishment of the first Dáil Éireann in 1919. The suppression of Dáil Éireann precipitated the Irish War of Independence and the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, ultimately leading to the establishment of the Irish Free State, which excluded the territory of Northern Ireland.

-- Irish Republican Brotherhood, by Wikipedia


Young Ireland traced its origins to the new College Historical Society, founded on 29 March 1839, at a meeting at Francis Kearney's chambers, 27 College. Among the members of this new society were Charles Gavan Duffy; Jane Wilde; Margaret Callan; John Mitchel; Thomas Meagher; William Smith O'Brien; John Blake Dillon, Thomas MacNevin, William Eliot Hudson and Thomas Davis, who was elected its president in 1840. While still at Trinity College, Davis had addressed the Dublin Historical Society, which met at the Dorset Institute in Upper Sackville Street from 1836 to 1838. Davis became president and gave two lectures. (Available from the National Library of Ireland, the lectures clearly show that Davis had become a convinced Irish nationalist by this period.

-- Young Ireland, by Wikipedia


She was an early advocate of women's rights, and campaigned for better education for women. She invited the suffragist Millicent Fawcett to her home to speak on female liberty. She praised the passing of the Married Women's Property Act of 1883, which prevented a woman from having to enter marriage 'as a bond slave, disenfranchised of all rights over her fortune'.

William Wilde was knighted in January 1864, but the family celebrations were short-lived, for in the same year Sir William and Lady Wilde were at the centre of a sensational Dublin court case regarding a young woman called Mary Travers, the daughter of a colleague of Sir William's, who claimed that he had seduced her and who then brought an action against Lady Wilde for libel. Mary Travers won the case and costs of £2,000 were awarded against Lady Wilde. Then on 23 February 1867, their daughter Isola died of fever at the age of nine. In 1871 the two illegitimate daughters of Sir William burned to death in an accident and in 1876 Sir William himself died. The family discovered that he was virtually bankrupt.

Lady Wilde left Dublin for London in 1879, where she joined her two sons, Willie, a journalist, and Oscar, who was making a name for himself in literary circles. She lived with her older son in poverty, supplementing their meagre income by writing for fashionable magazines and producing books based on the researches of her late husband into Irish folklore.

Lady Wilde contracted bronchitis in January 1896 and, dying, asked for permission to see Oscar, who was in prison. Her request was refused. It was claimed that her "fetch" (i.e. her apparition) appeared in Oscar's prison cell as she died at her home, 146 Oakley Street, Chelsea, on 3 February 1896. Willie Wilde, her older son, was penniless, so Oscar paid for her funeral, which was held on 5 February at Kensal Green Cemetery in London.[10] A headstone proved too expensive and she was buried anonymously in common ground.

-- Jane Wilde, by Wikipedia


Annie Besant (née Wood; 1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933) was a British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer, orator, educationist, and philanthropist. Regarded as a champion of human freedom, she was an ardent supporter of both Irish and Indian self-rule....

Her mother was an Irish Catholic, from a family of more modest means. Besant would go on to make much of her Irish ancestry and supported the cause of Irish self-rule throughout her adult life. Her cousin Kitty O'Shea (born Katharine Wood) was noted for having an affair with Charles Stewart Parnell [an Irish nationalist politician who served as Leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party from 1882 to 1891 and Leader of the Home Rule League from 1880 to 1882.], leading to his downfall...

In 1867, at age twenty, she married 26-year-old clergyman Frank Besant (1840–1917), younger brother of Walter Besant. He was an evangelical Anglican who seemed to share many of her concerns. On the eve of her marriage, she had become more politicised through a visit to friends in Manchester, who brought her into contact with both English radicals and the Manchester Martyrs of the Irish Republican Fenian Brotherhood, as well as with the conditions of the urban poor...


The Fenian Brotherhood (Irish: Bráithreachas na bhFíníní) was an Irish republican organisation founded in the United States in 1858 by John O'Mahony and Michael Doheny. It was a precursor to Clan na Gael, a sister organisation to the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Members were commonly known as "Fenians". O'Mahony, who was a Gaelic scholar, named his organisation after the Fianna, the legendary band of Irish warriors led by Fionn mac Cumhaill.

The Fenian Brotherhood trace their origins back to 1790s, in the rebellion, seeking an end to British rule in Ireland initially for self-government and then the establishment of an Irish Republic. The rebellion was suppressed, but the principles of the United Irishmen were to have a powerful influence on the course of Irish history.

-- Fenian Brotherhood, by Wikipedia


Besant built close contacts with the Irish Home Rulers and supported them in her newspaper columns during what are considered crucial years, when the Irish nationalists were forming an alliance with Liberals and Radicals. Besant met the leaders of the Irish home rule movement. In particular, she got to know Michael Davitt, who wanted to mobilise the Irish peasantry through a Land War, a direct struggle against the landowners. She spoke and wrote in favour of Davitt and his Land League many times over the coming decades...

In 1916 Besant launched the All India Home Rule League along with Lokmanya Tilak, once again modelling demands for India on Irish nationalist practices.


-- Annie Besant, by Wikipedia


William Wilde was Ireland's leading oto-ophthalmologic (ear and eye) surgeon and was knighted in 1864 for his services as medical adviser and assistant commissioner to the censuses of Ireland.[4] He also wrote books about Irish archaeology and peasant folklore. A renowned philanthropist, his dispensary for the care of the city's poor at the rear of Trinity College, Dublin, was the forerunner of the Dublin Eye and Ear Hospital, now located at Adelaide Road.[4] On his father's side Wilde was descended from a Dutchman, Colonel de Wilde, who went to Ireland with King William of Orange's invading army in 1690, and numerous Anglo-Irish ancestors. On his mother's side, Wilde's ancestors included a bricklayer from County Durham, who emigrated to Ireland sometime in the 1770s.[5][6]

Wilde was baptised as an infant in St. Mark's Church, Dublin, the local Church of Ireland (Anglican) church. When the church was closed, the records were moved to the nearby St. Ann's Church, Dawson Street.[7] Davis Coakley mentions a second baptism by a Catholic priest, Father Prideaux Fox, who befriended Oscar's mother circa 1859. According to Fox's testimony in Donahoe's Magazine in 1905, Jane Wilde would visit his chapel in Glencree, County Wicklow, for Mass and would take her sons with her. She asked Father Fox in this period to baptise her sons.[8]

Fox described it in this way:

"I am not sure if she ever became a Catholic herself but it was not long before she asked me to instruct two of her children, one of them being the future erratic genius, Oscar Wilde. After a few weeks I baptized these two children, Lady Wilde herself being present on the occasion.


In addition to his children with his wife, Sir William Wilde was the father of three children born out of wedlock before his marriage: Henry Wilson, born in 1838 to one woman, and Emily and Mary Wilde, born in 1847 and 1849, respectively, to a second woman. Sir William acknowledged paternity of his illegitimate or "natural" children and provided for their education, arranging for them to be reared by his relatives rather than with his legitimate children in his family household with his wife.[9]

In 1855, the family moved to No. 1 Merrion Square, where Wilde's sister, Isola, was born in 1857. The Wildes' new home was larger. With both his parents' success and delight in social life, the house soon became the site of a "unique medical and cultural milieu". Guests at their salon included Sheridan Le Fanu, Charles Lever, George Petrie, Isaac Butt, William Rowan Hamilton and Samuel Ferguson.[3]

Until he was nine, Oscar Wilde was educated at home, where a French nursemaid and a German governess taught him their languages.[10] He attended Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, from 1864 to 1871.[11] Until his early twenties, Wilde summered at the villa, Moytura House, which his father had built in Cong, County Mayo.[12] There the young Wilde and his brother Willie played with George Moore.


Isola died at age nine of meningitis. Wilde's poem "Requiescat" is written to her memory.[13]

"Tread lightly, she is near
Under the snow
Speak gently, she can hear
the daisies grow"


University education: 1870s

Trinity College, Dublin


Wilde left Portora with a royal scholarship to read classics at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1871 to 1874,[14] sharing rooms with his older brother Willie Wilde. Trinity, one of the leading classical schools, placed him with scholars such as R. Y. Tyrell, Arthur Palmer, Edward Dowden and his tutor, Professor J. P. Mahaffy, who inspired his interest in Greek literature. As a student Wilde worked with Mahaffy on the latter's book Social Life in Greece.[15] Wilde, despite later reservations, called Mahaffy "my first and best teacher" and "the scholar who showed me how to love Greek things".[16] For his part, Mahaffy boasted of having created Wilde; later, he said Wilde was "the only blot on my tutorship".[17]

Oscar Wilde was a student of [John Pentland Mahaff] at Trinity and he is said to have influenced Wilde’s conversational style. The two were close for a time, visiting Greece together; Wilde proofread the first edition of Mahaffy’s Social Life in Greece (1874), which contained a remarkably open consideration of Greek homosexuality (removed from later editions). But the friendship cooled over political and aesthetic differences, and after Wilde’s conviction Mahaffy declined to refer to him and refused to sign a petition calling for his early release.

-- Battle of wits – An Irishman’s Diary on Trinity and John Pentland Mahaffy, by Brian Maye, The Irish Times, 4/23/19


The University Philosophical Society also provided an education, as members discussed intellectual and artistic subjects such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Algernon Charles Swinburne weekly. Wilde quickly became an established member -– the members' suggestion book for 1874 contains two pages of banter (sportingly) mocking Wilde's emergent aestheticism. He presented a paper titled "Aesthetic Morality".[18] At Trinity, Wilde established himself as an outstanding student: he came first in his class in his first year, won a scholarship by competitive examination in his second and, in his finals, won the Berkeley Gold Medal in Greek, the University's highest academic award.[19] He was encouraged to compete for a demyship to Magdalen College, Oxford –- which he won easily, having already studied Greek for over nine years.

Magdalen College, Oxford

At Magdalen, he read Greats from 1874 to 1878, and from there he applied to join the Oxford Union, but failed to be elected.[20]

Image
Oscar Wilde at Oxford

Attracted by its dress, secrecy, and ritual, Wilde petitioned the Apollo Masonic Lodge at Oxford, and was soon raised to the "Sublime Degree of Master Mason".[21] During a resurgent interest in Freemasonry in his third year, he commented he "would be awfully sorry to give it up if I secede from the Protestant Heresy".[22] Wilde's active involvement in Freemasonry lasted only for the time he spent at Oxford; he allowed his membership of the Apollo University Lodge to lapse after failing to pay subscriptions.[23]

Apollo University Lodge No 357 is a Masonic Lodge based at the University of Oxford aimed at past and present members of the university. It was consecrated in 1819, and its members have met continuously since then.

Membership of the lodge is restricted to those who have matriculated as members of the University of Oxford. The Lodge's historic records, from its foundation until 2005, are housed in the university's Bodleian Library. The lodge is primarily a part of university social life, but is also involved in other areas of university life through projects such as the Apollo Bursary, administered by the university, through which lodge members provide financial support to certain students.

Due to its association with the university it has had famous members such as Cecil Rhodes, Oscar Wilde, and Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.

-- Apollo University Lodge, by Wikipedia


Catholicism deeply appealed to him, especially its rich liturgy, and he discussed converting to it with clergy several times. In 1877, Wilde was left speechless after an audience with Pope Pius IX in Rome.[24] He eagerly read the books of Cardinal Newman, a noted Anglican priest who had converted to Catholicism and risen in the church hierarchy. He became more serious in 1878, when he met the Reverend Sebastian Bowden, a priest in the Brompton Oratory who had received some high-profile converts. Neither his father, who threatened to cut off his funds, nor Mahaffy thought much of the plan; but Wilde, the supreme individualist, balked at the last minute from pledging himself to any formal creed, and on the appointed day of his baptism, sent Father Bowden a bunch of altar lilies instead. Wilde did retain a lifelong interest in Catholic theology and liturgy.[25]

While at Magdalen College, Wilde became particularly well known for his role in the aesthetic and decadent movements. He wore his hair long, openly scorned "manly" sports though he occasionally boxed,[21] and he decorated his rooms with peacock feathers, lilies, sunflowers, blue china and other objets d'art. He once remarked to friends, whom he entertained lavishly, "I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china."[26] The line quickly became famous, accepted as a slogan by aesthetes but used against them by critics who sensed in it a terrible vacuousness.[26]
Some elements disdained the aesthetes, but their languishing attitudes and showy costumes became a recognised pose.[27] Wilde was once physically attacked by a group of four fellow students, and dealt with them single-handedly, surprising critics.[28] By his third year Wilde had truly begun to develop himself and his myth, and considered his learning to be more expansive than what was within the prescribed texts. This attitude resulted in his being rusticated for one term, after he had returned late to a college term from a trip to Greece with Mahaffy.[29]

Wilde did not meet Walter Pater until his third year, but had been enthralled by his Studies in the History of the Renaissance, published during Wilde's final year in Trinity.[30] Pater argued that man's sensibility to beauty should be refined above all else, and that each moment should be felt to its fullest extent. Years later, in De Profundis, Wilde described Pater's Studies... as "that book that has had such a strange influence over my life".[31] He learned tracts of the book by heart, and carried it with him on travels in later years. Pater gave Wilde his sense of almost flippant devotion to art, though he gained a purpose for it through the lectures and writings of critic John Ruskin.[32] Ruskin despaired at the self-validating aestheticism of Pater, arguing that the importance of art lies in its potential for the betterment of society. Ruskin admired beauty, but believed it must be allied with, and applied to, moral good. When Wilde eagerly attended Ruskin's lecture series The Aesthetic and Mathematic Schools of Art in Florence, he learned about aesthetics as the non-mathematical elements of painting. Despite being given to neither early rising nor manual labour, Wilde volunteered for Ruskin's project to convert a swampy country lane into a smart road neatly edged with flowers.[32]

Wilde won the 1878 Newdigate Prize for his poem "Ravenna", which reflected on his visit there the year before, and he duly read it at Encaenia.[33] In November 1878, he graduated with a double first in his B.A. of Classical Moderations and Literae Humaniores (Greats). Wilde wrote to a friend, "The dons are 'astonied' beyond words – the Bad Boy doing so well in the end!"[34][35]

Apprenticeship of an aesthete: 1880s

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1881 caricature in Punch, the caption reads: "O.W.", "Oh, I eel just as happy as a bright sunflower, Lays of Christy Minstrelsy, "Æsthete of Æsthetes!/What's in a name!/The Poet is Wilde/But his poetry's tame." "The Big Sunflower'" was a time-honoured blackface minstrel song. W. Sheppard of the Original Christy Minstrels made it famous and other performers sang it for decades afterwards.[36]

Debut in society

After graduation from Oxford, Wilde returned to Dublin, where he met again Florence Balcombe, a childhood sweetheart. She became engaged to Bram Stoker and they married in 1878.[37] Wilde was disappointed but stoic: he wrote to her, remembering "the two sweet years – the sweetest years of all my youth" during which they had been close.[38] He also stated his intention to "return to England, probably for good." This he did in 1878, only briefly visiting Ireland twice after that.[38][39]

Unsure of his next step, Wilde wrote to various acquaintances enquiring about Classics positions at Oxford or Cambridge.[40] The Rise of Historical Criticism was his submission for the Chancellor's Essay prize of 1879, which, though no longer a student, he was still eligible to enter. Its subject, "Historical Criticism among the Ancients" seemed ready-made for Wilde –- with both his skill in composition and ancient learning -– but he struggled to find his voice with the long, flat, scholarly style.[41] Unusually, no prize was awarded that year.[41][note 1]

With the last of his inheritance from the sale of his father's houses, he set himself up as a bachelor in London.[43] The 1881 British Census listed Wilde as a boarder at 1 (now 44) Tite Street, Chelsea, where Frank Miles, a society painter, was the head of the household.[44] Wilde spent the next six years in London and Paris, and in the United States, where he travelled to deliver lectures.

He had been publishing lyrics and poems in magazines since entering Trinity College, especially in Kottabos and the Dublin University Magazine. In mid-1881, at 27 years old, he published Poems, which collected, revised and expanded his poems.[45]

The book was generally well received, and sold out its first print run of 750 copies. Punch was less enthusiastic, saying "The poet is Wilde, but his poetry's tame". By a tight vote, the Oxford Union condemned the book for alleged plagiarism. The librarian, who had requested the book for the library, returned the presentation copy to Wilde with a note of apology.[46][47] Biographer Richard Ellmann argues that Wilde's poem "Hélas!" was a sincere, though flamboyant, attempt to explain the dichotomies the poet saw in himself; one line reads: "To drift with every passion till my soul / Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play".[48]

The book had further printings in 1882. It was bound in a rich, enamel parchment cover (embossed with gilt blossom) and printed on hand-made Dutch paper; over the next few years, Wilde presented many copies to the dignitaries and writers who received him during his lecture tours.[49]

America: 1882

Aestheticism was sufficiently in vogue to be caricatured by Gilbert and Sullivan in Patience (1881). Richard D'Oyly Carte, an English impresario, invited Wilde to make a lecture tour of North America, simultaneously priming the pump for the US tour of Patience and selling this most charming aesthete to the American public. Wilde journeyed on the SS Arizona, arriving 2 January 1882, and disembarking the following day.[50][note 2] Originally planned to last four months, it continued for almost a year due to the commercial success.[52] Wilde sought to transpose the beauty he saw in art into daily life.[36] This was a practical as well as philosophical project: in Oxford he had surrounded himself with blue china and lilies, and now one of his lectures was on interior design.

When asked to explain reports that he had paraded down Piccadilly in London carrying a lily, long hair flowing, Wilde replied, "It's not whether I did it or not that's important, but whether people believed I did it".[36] Wilde believed that the artist should hold forth higher ideals, and that pleasure and beauty would replace utilitarian ethics.[53]

Wilde and aestheticism were both mercilessly caricatured and criticised in the press; the Springfield Republican, for instance, commented on Wilde's behaviour during his visit to Boston to lecture on aestheticism, suggesting that Wilde's conduct was more a bid for notoriety rather than devotion to beauty and the aesthetic. T. W. Higginson, a cleric and abolitionist, wrote in "Unmanly Manhood" of his general concern that Wilde, "whose only distinction is that he has written a thin volume of very mediocre verse", would improperly influence the behaviour of men and women.[54]

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Keller cartoon from the Wasp of San Francisco depicting Wilde on the occasion of his visit there in 1882

According to biographer Michèle Mendelssohn, Wilde was the subject of anti-Irish caricature and was portrayed as a monkey, a blackface performer and a Christy's Minstrel throughout his career.[36] "Harper's Weekly put a sunflower-worshipping monkey dressed as Wilde on the front of the January 1882 issue. The magazine didn't let its reputation for quality impede its expression of what are now considered odious ethnic and racial ideologies. The drawing stimulated other American maligners and, in England, had a full-page reprint in the Lady's Pictorial. ... When the National Republican discussed Wilde, it was to explain 'a few items as to the animal's pedigree.' And on 22 January 1882 the Washington Post illustrated the Wild Man of Borneo alongside Oscar Wilde of England and asked 'How far is it from this to this?'"[36] Though his press reception was hostile, Wilde was well received in diverse settings across America; he drank whiskey with miners in Leadville, Colorado, and was fêted at the most fashionable salons in many cities he visited.[55]

London life and marriage

His earnings, plus expected income from The Duchess of Padua, allowed him to move to Paris between February and mid-May 1883. While there he met Robert Sherard, whom he entertained constantly. "We are dining on the Duchess tonight", Wilde would declare before taking him to an expensive restaurant.[56]

The Duchess of Padua is a play by Oscar Wilde. It is a five-act melodramatic tragedy set in Padua and written in blank verse. It was written for the actress Mary Anderson in early 1883 while in Paris. After she turned it down, it was abandoned until its first performance at the Broadway Theatre in New York City under the title Guido Ferranti on 26 January 1891, where it ran for three weeks. It has been rarely revived or studied.

-- The Duchess of Padua, by Wikipedia


In August he briefly returned to New York for the production of Vera, his first play, after it was turned down in London. He reportedly entertained the other passengers with "Ave Imperatrix!, A Poem on England", about the rise and fall of empires. E. C. Stedman, in Victorian Poets, describes this "lyric to England" as "manly verse – a poetic and eloquent invocation".[57][note 3]

Wilde had to return to England, where he continued to lecture on topics including Personal Impressions of America, The Value of Art in Modern Life, and Dress.

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No. 34 Tite Street, Chelsea, the Wilde family home from 1884 to his arrest in 1895. In Wilde's time this was No. 16 – the houses have been renumbered.[60]

In London, he had been introduced in 1881 to Constance Lloyd, daughter of Horace Lloyd, a wealthy Queen's Counsel, and his wife. She happened to be visiting Dublin in 1884, when Wilde was lecturing at the Gaiety Theatre. He proposed to her, and they married on 29 May 1884 at the Anglican St James's Church, Paddington, in London.[61][62] Although Constance had an annual allowance of £250, which was generous for a young woman (equivalent to about £26,300 in current value), the Wildes had relatively luxurious tastes. They had preached to others for so long on the subject of design that people expected their home to set new standards.[63] No. 16, Tite Street was duly renovated in seven months at considerable expense. The couple had two sons together, Cyril (1885) and Vyvyan (1886). Wilde became the sole literary signatory of George Bernard Shaw's petition for a pardon of the anarchists arrested (and later executed) after the Haymarket massacre in Chicago in 1886.[64]

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Robert Ross at twenty-four

Robert Ross had read Wilde's poems before they met at Oxford in 1886. He seemed unrestrained by the Victorian prohibition against homosexuality, and became estranged from his family. By Richard Ellmann's account, he was a precocious seventeen-year-old who "so young and yet so knowing, was determined to seduce Wilde".[65]According to Daniel Mendelsohn, Wilde, who had long alluded to Greek love, was "initiated into homosexual sex" by Ross, while his "marriage had begun to unravel after his wife's second pregnancy, which left him physically repelled".[66]

Prose writing: 1886–91

Journalism and editorship: 1886–89


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Wilde reclining with Poems, by Napoleon Sarony in New York in 1882. Wilde often liked to appear idle, though in fact he worked hard; by the late 1880s he was a father, an editor, and a writer.[67]

Criticism over artistic matters in The Pall Mall Gazette provoked a letter in self-defence, and soon Wilde was a contributor to that and other journals during 1885–87. He enjoyed reviewing and journalism; the form suited his style. He could organise and share his views on art, literature and life, yet in a format less tedious than lecturing. Buoyed up, his reviews were largely chatty and positive.[68] Wilde, like his parents before him, also supported the cause of Irish nationalism. When Charles Stewart Parnell was falsely accused of inciting murder, Wilde wrote a series of astute columns defending him in the Daily Chronicle.[64]

Charles Stewart Parnell (27 June 1846 – 6 October 1891) was an Irish nationalist politician who served as Leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party from 1882 to 1891 and Leader of the Home Rule League from 1880 to 1882. He served as a member of parliament (MP) from 1875 to 1891. His party held the balance of power in the House of Commons during the Home Rule debates of 1885–1890...

Parnell's leadership was first put to the test in February 1886, when he forced the candidature of Captain William O'Shea, who had negotiated the Kilmainham Treaty, for a Galway by-election. Parnell rode roughshod over his lieutenants Healy, Dillon and O'Brien who were not in favour of O'Shea. Galway was the harbinger of the fatal crisis to come. O'Shea had already separated from his wife Katharine O'Shea [born Katharine Wood, cousin of Annie Wood Besant], but would not divorce her as she was expecting a substantial inheritance. Mrs. O'Shea acted as liaison in 1885 with Gladstone during proposals for the First Home Rule Bill. Parnell later took up residence with her in Eltham, Kent, in the summer of 1886, and was a known overnight visitor at the O'Shea house in Brockley, London. When Mrs O'Shea's aunt died in 1889, her money was left in trust.

On 24 December 1889, Captain O'Shea filed for divorce, citing Parnell as co-respondent, although the case did not come for trial until 15 November 1890. The two-day trial revealed that Parnell had been the long-term lover of Mrs. O'Shea and had fathered three of her children. Meanwhile, Parnell assured the Irish Party that there was no need to fear the verdict because he would be exonerated. During January 1890, resolutions of confidence in his leadership were passed throughout the country. Parnell did not contest the divorce action at a hearing on 15 November, to ensure that it would be granted and he could marry Mrs O'Shea, so Captain O'Shea's allegations went unchallenged. A divorce decree was granted on 17 November 1890, but Parnell's two surviving children were placed in O'Shea's custody.

News of the long-standing adultery created a huge public scandal. The Irish National League passed a resolution to confirm his leadership. The Catholic Church hierarchy in Ireland was shocked by Parnell's immorality and feared that he would wreck the cause of Home Rule. Besides the issue of tolerating immorality, the bishops sought to keep control of Irish Catholic politics, and they no longer trusted Parnell as an ally. The chief Catholic leader, Archbishop Walsh of Dublin, came under heavy pressure from politicians, his fellow bishops, and Cardinal Manning; Walsh finally declared against Parnell. Larkin (1961) says, "For the first time in Irish history, the two dominant forces of Nationalism and Catholicism came to a parting of the ways.

In England one strong base of Liberal Party support was Nonconformist Protestantism, such as the Methodists; the 'nonconformist conscience' rebelled against having an adulterer play a major role in the Liberal Party. Gladstone warned that if Parnell retained the leadership, it would mean the loss of the next election, the end of their alliance, and also of Home Rule. With Parnell obdurate, the alliance collapsed in bitterness...

Parnell next became the centre of public attention when in March and April 1887 he found himself accused by the British newspaper The Times of supporting the brutal murders in May 1882 of the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and the Permanent Under-Secretary, Thomas Henry Burke, in Dublin's Phoenix Park, and of the general involvement of his movement with crime (i.e., with illegal organisations such as the IRB [Irish Republican Brotherhood]). Letters were published which suggested Parnell was complicit in the murders...

However, a Commission of Enquiry, which Parnell had requested, revealed in February 1889, after 128 sessions that the letters were a fabrication created by Richard Pigott, a disreputable anti-Parnellite rogue journalist. Pigott broke down under cross-examination after the letter was shown to be a forgery by him with his characteristic spelling mistakes. He fled to Madrid where he committed suicide. Parnell was vindicated, to the disappointment of the Tories and the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury.


-- Charles Stewart Parnell, by Wikipedia


Her mother was an Irish Catholic, from a family of more modest means. Besant would go on to make much of her Irish ancestry and supported the cause of Irish self-rule throughout her adult life. Her cousin Kitty O'Shea (born Katharine Wood) was noted for having an affair with Charles Stewart Parnell, leading to his downfall.

-- Annie Besant, by Wikipedia


His flair, having previously been put mainly into socialising, suited journalism and rapidly attracted notice. With his youth nearly over, and a family to support, in mid-1887 Wilde became the editor of The Lady's World magazine, his name prominently appearing on the cover.[69] He promptly renamed it as The Woman's World and raised its tone, adding serious articles on parenting, culture, and politics, while keeping discussions of fashion and arts. Two pieces of fiction were usually included, one to be read to children, the other for the ladies themselves. Wilde worked hard to solicit good contributions from his wide artistic acquaintance, including those of Lady Wilde and his wife Constance, while his own "Literary and Other Notes" were themselves popular and amusing.[70]

The initial vigour and excitement which he brought to the job began to fade as administration, commuting and office life became tedious.[71] At the same time as Wilde's interest flagged, the publishers became concerned anew about circulation: sales, at the relatively high price of one shilling, remained low.[72] Increasingly sending instructions to the magazine by letter, Wilde began a new period of creative work and his own column appeared less regularly.[73][74] In October 1889, Wilde had finally found his voice in prose and, at the end of the second volume, Wilde left The Woman's World.[75] The magazine outlasted him by one issue.[73]

If Wilde's period at the helm of the magazine was a mixed success from an organizational point of view, it played a pivotal role in his development as a writer and facilitated his ascent to fame. Whilst Wilde the journalist supplied articles under the guidance of his editors, Wilde the editor was forced to learn to manipulate the literary marketplace on his own terms.[76]

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Wilde in 1889

During the late 1880s, Wilde was a close friend of the artist James McNeill Whistler and they dined together on many occasions. At one of these dinners, Whistler said a bon mot that Wilde found particularly witty, Wilde exclaimed that he wished that he had said it, and Whistler retorted "You will, Oscar, you will".[77] Herbert Vivian—a mutual friend of Wilde and Whistler— attended the dinner and recorded it in his article The Reminiscences of a Short Life which appeared in The Sun in 1889. The article alleged that Wilde had a habit of passing off other people's witticisms as his own—especially Whistler's. Wilde considered Vivian's article to be a scurrilous betrayal, and it directly caused the broken friendship between Wilde and Whistler.[78] The Reminiscences also caused great acrimony between Wilde and Vivian, Wilde accusing Vivian of "the inaccuracy of an eavesdropper with the method of a blackmailer"[79] and banishing Vivian from his circle.[78]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 2 of 3

Shorter fiction

Main articles: The Happy Prince and Other Tales, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories, A House of Pomegranates, and The Portrait of Mr. W. H.

Wilde published The Happy Prince and Other Tales in 1888, and had been regularly writing fairy stories for magazines. In 1891 he published two more collections, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories, and in September A House of Pomegranates was dedicated "To Constance Mary Wilde".[80] "The Portrait of Mr. W. H.", which Wilde had begun in 1887, was first published in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine in July 1889.[81] It is a short story, which reports a conversation, in which the theory that Shakespeare's sonnets were written out of the poet's love of the boy actor "Willie Hughes", is advanced, retracted, and then propounded again. The only evidence for this is two supposed puns within the sonnets themselves.[82]

The anonymous narrator is at first sceptical, then believing, finally flirtatious with the reader: he concludes that "there is really a great deal to be said of the Willie Hughes theory of Shakespeare's sonnets."[83] By the end fact and fiction have melded together.[84] Arthur Ransome wrote that Wilde "read something of himself into Shakespeare's sonnets" and became fascinated with the "Willie Hughes theory" despite the lack of biographical evidence for the historical William Hughes' existence.[85] Instead of writing a short but serious essay on the question, Wilde tossed the theory amongst the three characters of the story, allowing it to unfold as background to the plot. The story thus is an early masterpiece of Wilde's combining many elements that interested him: conversation, literature and the idea that to shed oneself of an idea one must first convince another of its truth.[86] Ransome concludes that Wilde succeeds precisely because the literary criticism is unveiled with such a deft touch.

Though containing nothing but "special pleading", it would not, he says "be possible to build an airier castle in Spain than this of the imaginary William Hughes" we continue listening nonetheless to be charmed by the telling.[87] "You must believe in Willie Hughes," Wilde told an acquaintance, "I almost do, myself."[84]

Essays and dialogues

Main articles: The Soul of Man under Socialism, The Decay of Lying, and The Critic as Artist

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Sheet music cover, 1880s

Wilde, having tired of journalism, had been busy setting out his aesthetic ideas more fully in a series of longer prose pieces which were published in the major literary-intellectual journals of the day. In January 1889, The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue appeared in The Nineteenth Century, and Pen, Pencil and Poison, a satirical biography of Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, in The Fortnightly Review, edited by Wilde's friend Frank Harris.[88] Two of Wilde's four writings on aesthetics are dialogues: though Wilde had evolved professionally from lecturer to writer, he retained an oral tradition of sorts. Having always excelled as a wit and raconteur, he often composed by assembling phrases, bons mots and witticisms into a longer, cohesive work.[89]

Wilde was concerned about the effect of moralising on art; he believed in art's redemptive, developmental powers: "Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. There lies its immense value. For what it seeks is to disturb monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine."[90] In his only political text, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, he argued political conditions should establish this primacy –- private property should be abolished, and cooperation should be substituted for competition. At the same time, he stressed that the government most amenable to artists was no government at all. Wilde envisioned a society where mechanisation has freed human effort from the burden of necessity, effort which can instead be expended on artistic creation. George Orwell summarised, "In effect, the world will be populated by artists, each striving after perfection in the way that seems best to him."[91]

This point of view did not align him with the Fabians, intellectual socialists who advocated using state apparatus to change social conditions, nor did it endear him to the monied classes whom he had previously entertained.[92][93] Hesketh Pearson, introducing a collection of Wilde's essays in 1950, remarked how The Soul of Man Under Socialism had been an inspirational text for revolutionaries in Tsarist Russia but laments that in the Stalinist era "it is doubtful whether there are any uninspected places in which it could now be hidden".[93]

Wilde considered including this pamphlet and The Portrait of Mr. W.H., his essay-story on Shakespeare's sonnets, in a new anthology in 1891, but eventually decided to limit it to purely aesthetic subjects. Intentions packaged revisions of four essays: The Decay of Lying; Pen, Pencil and Poison; The Truth of Masks (first published 1885); and The Critic as Artist in two parts.[94] For Pearson the biographer, the essays and dialogues exhibit every aspect of Wilde's genius and character: wit, romancer, talker, lecturer, humanist and scholar and concludes that "no other productions of his have as varied an appeal".[95] 1891 turned out to be Wilde's annus mirabilis; apart from his three collections he also produced his only novel.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Main article: The Picture of Dorian Gray

The first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray was published as the lead story in the July 1890 edition of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, along with five others.[96] The story begins with a man painting a picture of Gray. When Gray, who has a "face like ivory and rose leaves", sees his finished portrait, he breaks down. Distraught that his beauty will fade while the portrait stays beautiful, he inadvertently makes a Faustian bargain in which only the painted image grows old while he stays beautiful and young. For Wilde, the purpose of art would be to guide life as if beauty alone were its object. As Gray's portrait allows him to escape the corporeal ravages of his hedonism, Wilde sought to juxtapose the beauty he saw in art with daily life.[97]

Reviewers immediately criticised the novel's decadence and homosexual allusions; The Daily Chronicle for example, called it "unclean", "poisonous", and "heavy with the mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction".
[98] Wilde vigorously responded, writing to the editor of the Scots Observer, in which he clarified his stance on ethics and aesthetics in art –- "If a work of art is rich and vital and complete, those who have artistic instincts will see its beauty and those to whom ethics appeal more strongly will see its moral lesson."[99] He nevertheless revised it extensively for book publication in 1891: six new chapters were added, some overtly decadent passages and homo-eroticism excised, and a preface was included consisting of twenty two epigrams, such as "Books are well written, or badly written. That is all."[100][101]

Contemporary reviewers and modern critics have postulated numerous possible sources of the story, a search Jershua McCormack argues is futile because Wilde "has tapped a root of Western folklore so deep and ubiquitous that the story has escaped its origins and returned to the oral tradition."[102] Wilde claimed the plot was "an idea that is as old as the history of literature but to which I have given a new form".[103] Modern critic Robin McKie considered the novel to be technically mediocre, saying that the conceit of the plot had guaranteed its fame, but the device is never pushed to its full.[104] On the other hand, Robert McCrum of The Guardian deemed it the 27th best novel ever written in English, calling it "an arresting, and slightly camp, exercise in late-Victorian gothic."[105]

Theatrical career: 1892–95

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Jokanaan and Salome. Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley for the 1893 edition of Salome.

Salomé

Main article: Salome (play)

The 1891 census records the Wildes' residence at 16 Tite Street,[106] where he lived with his wife Constance and two sons. Wilde though, not content with being better known than ever in London, returned to Paris in October 1891, this time as a respected writer. He was received at the salons littéraires, including the famous mardis of Stéphane Mallarmé, a renowned symbolist poet of the time.[107]

Stéphane Mallarmé, 18 March 1842 – 9 September 1898), pen name of Étienne Mallarmé, was a French poet and critic. He was a major French symbolist poet, and his work anticipated and inspired several revolutionary artistic schools of the early 20th century, such as Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, and Surrealism.

Stéphane Mallarmé was born in Paris. He was a boarder at the Pensionnat des Frères des écoles chrétiennes à Passy between 6[4] or 9 October 1852 and March 1855.[5] He worked as an English teacher and spent much of his life in relative poverty but was famed for his salons, occasional gatherings of intellectuals at his house on the rue de Rome for discussions of poetry, art and philosophy. The group became known as les Mardistes, because they met on Tuesdays (in French, mardi), and through it Mallarmé exerted considerable influence on the work of a generation of writers. For many years, those sessions, where Mallarmé held court as judge, jester, and king, were considered the heart of Paris intellectual life. Regular visitors included W.B. Yeats, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Valéry, Stefan George, Paul Verlaine, and many others...

Mallarmé's earlier work owes a great deal to the style of Charles Baudelaire who was recognised as the forerunner of literary Symbolism. Mallarmé's later fin de siècle style, on the other hand, anticipates many of the fusions between poetry and the other arts that were to blossom in the next century. Most of this later work explored the relationship between content and form, between the text and the arrangement of words and spaces on the page. This is particularly evident in his last major poem, Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard ('A roll of the dice will never abolish chance') of 1897.

-- Stéphane Mallarmé, by Wikipedia


Wilde's two plays during the 1880s, Vera; or, The Nihilists and The Duchess of Padua, had not met with much success.

Vera; or, The Nihilists is a play by Oscar Wilde. It is a melodramatic tragedy set in Russia and is loosely based on the life of Vera Zasulich. It was Wilde's first play, and the first to be performed. In 1880, with only a few copies privately printed, arrangements were made with noted actresses for a production in the United Kingdom, but this never materialized. The first public performance was in New York City in 1883 at the Union Square Theatre, based on revisions made by Wilde while lecturing in America in 1882. The play was not a success and folded after only one week. It is rarely revived...

Vera is a barmaid in her father's tavern, which is situated along a road to the prison camps in Siberia. A gang of prisoners stop at the tavern. Vera immediately recognises her brother Dmitri as one of the prisoners. He begs her to go to Moscow and join the Nihilists, a terrorist group trying to assassinate the Czar, and avenge his imprisonment. She and her father's manservant Michael leave to join the Nihilists.

Five years later, Vera has become the Nihilists' top assassin, and is wanted across Europe. She is in love with a fellow Nihilist named Alexis: however, Nihilists are sworn never to marry. A Nihilist meeting is nearly broken up by soldiers, but Alexis thwarts the soldiers by revealing his true identity: he is the Tsarevich, heir to the Russian throne. This act earns him the further admiration of Vera and the hatred of the Nihilists.

At a council meeting, Tsar Ivan and his cruel epigrammatic minister Prince Paul Maraloffski criticise Tsarovitch Alexis's democratic leanings, but the Tsar is assassinated by Michael after the Tsarovitch opens the window.

Alexis ascends the throne and exiles Prince Paul Maraloffski, not to Siberia, but to Paris. Maraloffski joins the Nihilists to kill Alexis. The task of assassinating the Tsar is given to Vera. She must infiltrate the palace, stab the Tsar and throw the dagger out the window as a signal to Nihilist agents below. If she does not, the agents will break in and kill him. Vera is reluctant to kill the man she loves, though.

Alexis returns to the palace after his coronation, intending to end injustice in Russia during his reign. Vera enters the palace, knife at the ready. Alexis asks her to marry him. She accepts, but then she hears the agents outside crying out for the signal. She stabs herself and throws the dagger out the window, and the agent departs satisfied.

Alexis: Vera, what have you done?

Vera: I have saved Russia. [dies]


-- Vera; or, The Nihilists, by Wikipedia


He had continued his interest in the theatre and now, after finding his voice in prose, his thoughts turned again to the dramatic form as the biblical iconography of Salome filled his mind.[108] One evening, after discussing depictions of Salome throughout history, he returned to his hotel and noticed a blank copybook lying on the desk, and it occurred to him to write in it what he had been saying. The result was a new play, Salomé, written rapidly and in French.[109]

A tragedy, it tells the story of Salome, the stepdaughter of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, who, to her stepfather's dismay but mother's delight, requests the head of Jokanaan (John the Baptist) on a silver platter as a reward for dancing the Dance of the Seven Veils. When Wilde returned to London just before Christmas the Paris Echo referred to him as "le great event" of the season.[110] Rehearsals of the play, starring Sarah Bernhardt, began but the play was refused a licence by the Lord Chamberlain, since it depicted biblical characters.[111] Salome was published jointly in Paris and London in 1893, but was not performed until 1896 in Paris, during Wilde's later incarceration.[112]


Comedies of society

Main articles: Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, and An Ideal Husband

Wilde, who had first set out to irritate Victorian society with his dress and talking points, then outrage it with Dorian Gray, his novel of vice hidden beneath art, finally found a way to critique society on its own terms. Lady Windermere's Fan was first performed on 20 February 1892 at St James's Theatre, packed with the cream of society. On the surface a witty comedy, there is subtle subversion underneath: "it concludes with collusive concealment rather than collective disclosure".[113] The audience, like Lady Windermere, are forced to soften harsh social codes in favour of a more nuanced view. The play was enormously popular, touring the country for months, but largely trashed by conservative critics.[114] It was followed by A Woman of No Importance in 1893, another Victorian comedy, revolving around the spectre of illegitimate births, mistaken identities and late revelations.[115] Wilde was commissioned to write two more plays and An Ideal Husband, written in 1894,[116] followed in January 1895.[117]

Peter Raby said these essentially English plays were well-pitched, "Wilde, with one eye on the dramatic genius of Ibsen, and the other on the commercial competition in London's West End, targeted his audience with adroit precision".[118]

Queensberry family

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Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas in 1893

In mid-1891 Lionel Johnson introduced Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, Johnson's cousin and an undergraduate at Oxford at the time.[119]

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Lionel Pigot Johnson (15 March 1867 – 4 October 1902) was an English poet, essayist, and critic.

Johnson was born in Broadstairs, Kent, England in 1867 and educated at Winchester College and New College, Oxford, graduating in 1890. He became a Catholic convert in June 1891. Also in June 1891 Johnson introduced his cousin Lord Alfred Douglas to his friend Oscar Wilde. He later repudiated Wilde in "The Destroyer of a Soul" (1892), deeply regretting initiating what became the highly scandalous love affair between the two men.

The Destroyer of a Soul
by Lionel Pigot Johnson

I HATE you with a necessary hate.
First, I sought patience: passionate was she:
My patience turned in very scorn of me,
That I should dare forgive a sin so great,
As this, through which I sit disconsolate;
Mourning for that live soul, I used to see;
Soul of a saint, whose friend I used to be:
Till you came by! a cold, corrupting, fate.
Why come you now? You, whom I cannot cease
With pure and perfect hate to hate? Go, ring
The death-bell with a deep, triumphant toll!
Say you, my friend sits by me still? Ah, peace!
Call you this thing my friend? this nameless thing?
This living body, hiding its dead soul?


In 1893 he published what some would consider his greatest work, "Dark Angel". During his lifetime were published: The Art of Thomas Hardy (1894), Poems (1895), and Ireland and Other Poems (1897).

He was one of the Rhymers' Club, and cousin to Olivia Shakespear (who dedicated her novel The False Laurel to him). Johnson lived a solitary life in London, struggling with alcoholism and repressed homosexuality. He died of a stroke in 1902, after either a fall in the street, or a fall from a barstool in the Green Dragon on Fleet Street.

-- Lionel Johnson, by Wikipedia


Known to his family and friends as "Bosie", he was a handsome and spoilt young man. An intimate friendship sprang up between Wilde and Douglas and by 1893 Wilde was infatuated with Douglas and they consorted together regularly in a tempestuous affair. If Wilde was relatively indiscreet, even flamboyant, in the way he acted, Douglas was reckless in public. Wilde, who was earning up to £100 a week from his plays (his salary at The Woman's World had been £6), indulged Douglas's every whim: material, artistic, or sexual.

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Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas (22 October 1870 – 20 March 1945) was a British poet and journalist best known as the lover of Oscar Wilde.

While studying at Oxford, he edited an undergraduate journal, The Spirit Lamp, which carried a homoerotic subtext, and met Wilde, with whom he started a close but stormy relationship. Douglas' father, the Marquess of Queensberry, disapproved strongly of the affair, and set out to humiliate Wilde, publicly accusing him of homosexuality. Wilde sued him for criminal libel, but some of his intimate notes were discovered, and he was duly jailed. On his release, Wilde briefly lived with Douglas in Naples, but they were separated by the time Wilde died in 1900.

Douglas married Olive Custance in 1902, and they had a son, Raymond. Converting to Roman Catholicism in 1911, he openly repudiated Wilde’s homosexuality, and in a High-Catholic magazine, Plain English, he expressed views that were openly anti-Semitic, though he rejected the policies of Nazi Germany. He was also jailed for libeling Winston Churchill over claims of wartime misconduct.

Douglas wrote several books of verse, some of it classified in the homoerotic Uranian genre.


The Uranians were a small and clandestine group of male homosexual poets who published works between 1858, when William Johnson Cory published Ionica, and 1930. Although most of them were English, they had counterparts in the United States and France.

The work of the Uranian poets was characterized by an idealised appeal to the history of Ancient Greece and a "sentimental infatuation" of older men for adolescent boys, as well as by a use of conservative verse forms.


The chief poets of this clique were William Johnson Cory, Lord Alfred Douglas, Montague Summers, John Francis Bloxam, Charles Kains Jackson, John Gambril Nicholson, E. E. Bradford, John Addington Symonds, Edmund John, John Moray Stuart-Young, Charles Edward Sayle, Fabian S. Woodley, and several pseudonymous authors such as "Philebus" (John Leslie Barford) and "A. Newman" (Francis Edwin Murray). The flamboyantly eccentric novelist Frederick Rolfe (also known as "Baron Corvo") was a unifying presence in their social network, both within and without Venice.

Historian Neil McKenna has argued that Uranian poetry had a central role in the upper-class homosexual subcultures of the Victorian period. He insisted that poetry was the main medium through which writers such as Oscar Wilde, George Ives and Rennell Rodd, 1st Baron Rennell sought to challenge the anti-homosexual prejudices of the age.

Marginally associated with their world were more famous writers such as Edward Carpenter, as well as the obscure but prophetic poet-printer Ralph Chubb. His majestic volumes of lithographs celebrated the adolescent boy as an Ideal. The Uranian quest to revive the Greek notion of paiderastia was not successful.

-- Uranian poetry, by Wikipedia


The phrase "The love that dare not speak its name" came from one of Douglas' poems, though it is widely misattributed to Wilde.

-- Lord Alfred Douglas, by Wikipedia


Douglas soon initiated Wilde into the Victorian underground of gay prostitution and Wilde was introduced to a series of young working-class male prostitutes from 1892 onwards by Alfred Taylor.

Alfred Waterhouse Somerset Taylor, the son of a cocoa manufacturer, was born in 1863. He was educated by a private tutor at Preston Village, near Brighton, and at Marlborough College. After finishing his education he joined the 4th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers.

On the death of his father in 1883 he inherited ₤45,000. He later admitted that after he came "into a fortune I have since that time had no occupation but have lived a life of pleasure." 1894 Taylor and Arthur Marling, a female impersonator, were arrested for wearing female clothing at a party given by John Preston on Fitzroy Street.

Taylor met Oscar Wilde and it is claimed that he introduced him to several young men. In 1895 the 9th Marquess of Queensberry, discovered that his son, Alfred Douglas, was having a sexual relationship with Wilde. He planned to disrupt the opening night of The Importance of Being Earnest, at St James's Theatre on 14th February, 1895, by throwing a bouquet of rotten vegetables at the playwright when he took his bow at the end of the show. Wilde learned of the plan and arranged for policemen to bar his entrance.

Two weeks later, Queensbury left his card at Wilde's club, the Albemarle, accusing him of being a "somdomite". Wilde, Douglas and Robert Ross approached solicitor Charles Octavius Humphreys with the intention of suing Queensberry for criminal libel. Humphreys asked Wilde directly whether there was any truth to Queensberry's allegations of homosexual activity between Wilde and Douglas. Wilde claimed he was innocent of the charge and Humphreys applied for a warrant for Queensberry's arrest.

Queensberry entered a plea of justification on 30th March. Owen Dudley Edwards has pointed out: "Having belatedly assembled evidence found for Queensberry by very recent recruits, it declared Wilde to have committed a number of sexual acts with male persons at dates and places named. None was evidence of sodomy, nor was Wilde ever charged with it. Queensberry's trial at the central criminal court, Old Bailey, on 3–5 April before Mr Justice Richard Henn Collins ended in Wilde's attempt to withdraw the prosecution after Queensberry's counsel, Edward Carson QC MP, sustained brilliant repartee from Wilde in the witness-box on questions about immorality in his works and then crushed Wilde with questions on his relations to male youths whose lower-class background was much stressed." Richard Ellmann, the author of Oscar Wilde (1988), has argued that Wilde abandoned the case rather than call Douglas as a witness.

Queensberry was found not guilty and his solicitors sent its evidence to the public prosecutor. Wilde was arrested on 5th April and taken to Holloway Prison. The following day, Alfred Taylor was also arrested. Taylor refused to give evidence against Wilde and both men were charged with offences under the Criminal Law Amendment Act (1885). The police found a considerable collection of female clothing in his room. Taylor refused to turn Queen’s Evidence against Wilde, and the two men were tried together.

The trial of Wilde and Taylor began before Justice Arthur Charles on 26th April. Of the ten alleged sexual partners Queensberry's plea had named, five were omitted from the Wilde indictment. The trial under Charles ended in jury disagreement after four hours. The second trial, under Justice Alfred Wills, began on 22nd May. Douglas was not called to give evidence at either trial, but his letters to Wilde were entered into evidence, as was his poem, Two Loves. Called on to explain its concluding line - "I am the love that dares not speak its name" Wilde answered that it meant the "affection of an elder for a younger man".

Both men were found guilty and sentenced to two years' penal servitude with hard labour. The two known persons with whom Oscar Wilde was found guilty of gross indecency were male prostitutes, Wood and Parker. Wilde was also found guilty on two counts charging gross indecency with a person unknown on two separate occasions in the Savoy Hotel. These may in fact have related to acts committed by Douglas, who had also been Wood's lover.

On release Taylor emigrated to the United States where nothing is known of him except that in the 1920s he was working as a waiter in Chicago.

-- Alfred Taylor, by Spartacus Educational


These infrequent rendezvous usually took the same form: Wilde would meet the boy, offer him gifts, dine him privately and then take him to a hotel room. Unlike Wilde's idealised relations with Ross, John Gray, and Douglas, all of whom remained part of his aesthetic circle, these consorts were uneducated and knew nothing of literature. Soon his public and private lives had become sharply divided; in De Profundis he wrote to Douglas that "It was like feasting with panthers; the danger was half the excitement... I did not know that when they were to strike at me it was to be at another's piping and at another's pay."[120]

Explicit documents prepared for the Oscar Wilde libel case have come to light, offering a revealing new glimpse of the double life led by the celebrated Irish writer.
The shocking witness statements, previously unseen, were drawn up by employees at Day Russell of the Strand, solicitors for the defence in Wilde's disastrous 1895 legal action against the Marquis of Queensberry. Most of the papers were filed away and never used in court.


While Wilde is remembered today as the dandy-about-town, sporting bespoke suits and habitually wearing a green carnation in his buttonhole, these statements -- from chamber-maids, valets, bell-boys and even a lamp-wick seller portray his private life in lurid detail.

Seedy descriptions of Wilde's bedroom are included in the damaging file
, which was instrumental in Wilde's downfall and formed the background for one of the most famous cases in British legal history.

Wilde took legal action against the Marquis, father of his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, after he found a visiting card left by Queensberry at the Albermarle club. It was inscribed with the words: 'For Oscar Wilde posing Somdomite [ sic ]' [Sodomite].

The 52 pages of statements from 32 witnesses have never been published and are hand-written on heavy sheets of paper. They were picked up in a London junk shop for a pittance during the Fifties by a private collector whose widow is now selling them at Christie's on 6 June. The historic bundle, wrapped in pink string, is expected to fetch £12,000.

Among the more sordid details are those revealed by Margaret Cotta, a chambermaid at the Savoy Hotel, a favourite rendezvous for Wilde and his series of young male 'renters'. Describing a prolonged visit to the hotel by Wilde and Alfred Douglas, who was affectionately known as Bosie, Miss Cotta said she found a 'common boy, rough looking, about 14 years of age' in Wilde's bed, the sheets of which 'were always in a most disgusting state... [with] traces of vaseline, soil and semen'.

Instructions were given that the linen should be kept apart and washed separately. Miss Cotta added that a stream of page boys delivering letters were usually kissed by Wilde, who then tipped them two shillings and sixpence for their trouble.

Thomas Venning, a manuscripts specialist at Christie's, said the documents provided a new account of Wilde's undoing and had 'very detailed sexual content which was only mentioned in the trial euphemistically'.

The statements also show Wilde's carefree attitude to discovery. Wallis Grainger, an apprentice electrician from Oxford, told how Wilde took him to a cottage in nearby Goring-on-Thames which he had rented and where he wrote An Ideal Husband.

On the second or third night, said Grainger, Wilde 'came into my bedroom and woke me up and told me to come into his bedroom which was next door... he worked me up with his hand and made me spend in his mouth'. The former butler of the Marquis of Queensberry was in the next room.

On another occasion, during the Goring regatta, Gertrude Simmons, governess to Wilde's two sons, reported seeing him 'holding the arm of a boat boy called George Hughes and patting him very familiarly'. During the same visit she came across a carelessly discarded letter to Wilde from Bosie which was signed 'your own loving darling boy to do what you like with'.

Another statement came from a 20-year-old called Fred Atkins, who Wilde had met at the Café Royale. Atkins said Wilde 'took me to the hairdresser and had my hair curled'. Wilde later took him off to Paris as his secretary, Atkins said. The job involved 'writing out only half a page of a manuscript which took about 10 minutes' after which Wilde 'made improper proposals'.


Queensberry had used detectives to track down a circle of male prostitutes, and some of their statements are among those being sold. Wilde's action against Queensberry opened on 3 April 1895 at the Old Bailey but collapsed with a not guilty verdict. At noon on 5 April, the evidence gathered by solicitor Charles Russell was immediately forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions and Wilde was arrested on a charge of gross indecency.

On 24 May, after two further trials, he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment with hard labour, which broke his health. After his release he lived abroad as a bankrupt under the pseudonym Sebastian Melmoth. He died in Paris on 30 November 1900.

-- Wilde's sex life exposed in explicit court files: Under the hammer: unpublished witness statements tell of 'rough' teenage boys and soiled sheets, by Vanessa Thorpe and Simon de Burton, May 5, 2001, theguardian.com


While he is one of the most celebrated Irish writers, many experts and academics express concern about his lack of morality when it came to sex.

Professor Colbert Kearney, expert on Irish writers, said the young boys he hired as prostitutes were from the poorest section of society.

“Oscar and his friends had a predilection for young boys. These young boys were not from the upper classes. They were from the lower classes, the very poor,” said the former head of the Department of English at University College Cork.


“He actually said once that there was a special pleasure in danger. That was true but his love of danger was his undoing.”

Historian Pat Liddy said his sexual encounters with 16-year-old and 17-year-old boys were laid bare during his criminal trial for gross indecency.

Dr Noreen Doody, head of the English Department at St Patrick’s College, said the writer had even coined a phrase for his encounters with the young prostitutes:

“Wilde talks of his appetite for affairs with young male prostitutes as ‘feasting with panthers’, a wonderful phrase he used to express his dangerous desires.”

-- Wilde’s lust for young boys in the spotlight, by irishexaminer.com


Douglas and some Oxford friends founded a journal, The Chameleon, to which Wilde "sent a page of paradoxes originally destined for the Saturday Review".[121] "Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young" was to come under attack six months later at Wilde's trial, where he was forced to defend the magazine to which he had sent his work.[122] In any case, it became unique: The Chameleon was not published again.

Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young
by Oscar Wilde
1894

• The first duty in life is to be as artificial as possible. What the second duty is no one has as yet discovered.
• Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.
• If the poor only had profiles there would be no difficulty in solving the problem of poverty.
• Those who see any difference between soul and body have neither.
• A really well-made buttonhole is the only link between Art and Nature.
• Religions die when they are proved to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.
• The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.
• Nothing that actually occurs is of the smallest importance.
• Dullness is the coming of age of seriousness.
• In all unimportant matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential. In all important matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential.
• If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.
• Pleasure is the only thing one should live for. Nothing ages like happiness.
• It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.
• No crime is vulgar, but all vulgarity is crime. Vulgarity is the conduct of others.
• Only the shallow know themselves.
• Time is a waste of money.
• One should always be a little improbable.
• There is a fatality about all good resolutions. They are invariably made too soon.
• The only way to atone for being occasionally a little over-dressed is by being always absolutely over-educated.
• To be premature is to be perfect.
• Any preoccupation with ideas of what is right and wrong in conduct shows an arrested intellectual development.
• Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.
• A truth ceases to be true when more than one person believes in it.
• In examinations the foolish ask questions that the wise cannot answer.
• Greek dress was in its essence inartistic. Nothing should reveal the body but the body.
• One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.
• It is only the superficial qualities that last. Man's deeper nature is soon found out.
• Industry is the root of all ugliness.
• The ages live in history through their anachronisms.
• It is only the gods who taste of death. Apollo has passed away, but Hyacinth, whom men say he slew, lives on. Nero and Narcissus are always with us.
• The old believe everything: the middle-aged suspect everything: the young know everything.
• The condition of perfection is idleness: the aim of perfection is youth.
• Only the great masters of style ever succeed in being obscure.
• There is something tragic about the enormous number of young men there are in England at the present moment who start life with perfect profiles, and end by adopting some useful profession.
• To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.


Lord Alfred's father, the Marquess of Queensberry, was known for his outspoken atheism, brutish manner and creation of the modern rules of boxing.[note 4]

John Douglas was born in Florence, Italy, the eldest son of Conservative politician Archibald, Viscount Drumlanrig, and Caroline Margaret Clayton. He had three brothers, Francis, Archibald, and James, and two sisters, Gertrude and Florence. He was briefly styled Viscount Drumlanrig following his father's succession in 1856, and on the latter's death in 1858 he inherited the Marquessate of Queensberry. The 9th Marquess was educated in the training ships Illustrious and Britannia at Portsmouth, and served in the Royal Navy until resigning in 1864. He was Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the 1st Dumfriesshire Rifle Volunteers from 1869 to 1871.

In 1864, Lord Queensberry entered Magdalene College, Cambridge, which he left two years later without taking a degree. He was more distinguished in sport, playing college cricket as well as running, hunting, and steeplechasing. He married Sibyl Montgomery in 1866. They had four sons and a daughter; his wife successfully sued for divorce in 1887 on the grounds of his adultery.
She survived him to the age of 90, dying in 1935. Queensberry married Ethel Weeden in 1893 but this marriage was annulled the following year...

He died, two months after a stroke, and after a period of mental decline believed to be caused by syphilis, in his club room in Welbeck Street, west London, aged 55, nearly a year before Oscar Wilde's death...

His eldest son and heir apparent was Francis, Viscount Drumlanrig, who was rumored to have been engaged in a homosexual relationship with the Liberal Prime Minister, The 5th Earl of Rosebery. Lord Drumlanrig died from a gunshot wound, unmarried and without children.

Douglas's second son, Lord Percy Douglas (1868–1920), succeeded to the peerage instead.[6] Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas, his third son, was a close friend of famous author and poet Oscar Wilde. Eventually it became known that Lord Alfred and Wilde had engaged in sexual intercourse on multiple occasions, severely damaging the reputation of both men and enraging Queensberry. Queensberry's efforts to end that relationship ultimately lead to his famous dispute with Wilde, which would cumulate to Wilde's eventual imprisonment, decline, and fall.

-- John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry, by Wikipedia


Queensberry, who feuded regularly with his son, confronted Wilde and Lord Alfred about the nature of their relationship several times, but Wilde was able to mollify him. In June 1894, he called on Wilde at 16 Tite Street, without an appointment, and clarified his stance: "I do not say that you are it, but you look it, and pose at it, which is just as bad. And if I catch you and my son again in any public restaurant I will thrash you," to which Wilde responded: "I don't know what the Queensberry rules are, but the Oscar Wilde rule is to shoot on sight".[124] His account in De Profundis was less triumphant: "It was when, in my library at Tite Street, waving his small hands in the air in epileptic fury, your father... stood uttering every foul word his foul mind could think of, and screaming the loathsome threats he afterwards with such cunning carried out".[125][126] Queensberry only described the scene once, saying Wilde had "shown him the white feather", meaning he had acted in a cowardly way.[126] Though trying to remain calm, Wilde saw that he was becoming ensnared in a brutal family quarrel. He did not wish to bear Queensberry's insults, but he knew to confront him could lead to disaster were his liaisons disclosed publicly.

Limited Omniscient. The narrator that is limited in omniscience presents the thoughts or feelings of only one of the characters, usually the main character. This method presents an appearance of objectivity. However, by focusing on only one character and on that character’s inner life, the narrator can make readers more sympathetic to that character, or if needed, more skeptical toward that character.

-- The Narrator and Point of View, by Lyman Grant


The Importance of Being Earnest

Main article: The Importance of Being Earnest

Wilde's final play again returns to the theme of switched identities: the play's two protagonists engage in "bunburying" (the maintenance of alternative personas in the town and country) which allows them to escape Victorian social mores.[97] Earnest is even lighter in tone than Wilde's earlier comedies. While their characters often rise to serious themes in moments of crisis, Earnest lacks the by-now stock Wildean characters: there is no "woman with a past", the principals are neither villainous nor cunning, simply idle cultivés, and the idealistic young women are not that innocent. Mostly set in drawing rooms and almost completely lacking in action or violence, Earnest lacks the self-conscious decadence found in The Picture of Dorian Gray and Salome.[127]

The play, now considered Wilde's masterpiece, was rapidly written in Wilde's artistic maturity in late 1894.[128] It was first performed on 14 February 1895, at St James's Theatre in London, Wilde's second collaboration with George Alexander, the actor-manager. Both author and producer assiduously revised, prepared and rehearsed every line, scene and setting in the months before the premiere, creating a carefully constructed representation of late-Victorian society, yet simultaneously mocking it.[129] During rehearsal Alexander requested that Wilde shorten the play from four acts to three, which the author did. Premieres at St James's seemed like "brilliant parties", and the opening of The Importance of Being Earnest was no exception. Allan Aynesworth (who played Algernon) recalled to Hesketh Pearson, "In my fifty-three years of acting, I never remember a greater triumph than [that] first night."[130] Earnest's immediate reception as Wilde's best work to date finally crystallised his fame into a solid artistic reputation.[131] The Importance of Being Earnest remains his most popular play.[132]

Wilde's professional success was mirrored by an escalation in his feud with Queensberry. Queensberry had planned to insult Wilde publicly by throwing a bouquet of rotting vegetables onto the stage; Wilde was tipped off and had Queensberry barred from entering the theatre.[133] Fifteen weeks later Wilde was in prison.

Trials

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The Marquess of Queensberry's calling card with the handwritten offending inscription "For Oscar Wilde posing Somdomite [sic]" [Sodomite]. The card was marked as exhibit 'A' in Wilde's libel action.

Wilde v. Queensberry

On 18 February 1895, the Marquess left his calling card at Wilde's club, the Albemarle, inscribed: "For Oscar Wilde, posing somdomite" [sodomite][sic].[134][note 5] Wilde, encouraged by Douglas and against the advice of his friends, initiated a private prosecution against Queensberry for libel, since the note amounted to a public accusation that Wilde had committed the crime of sodomy.

Queensberry was arrested for criminal libel; a charge carrying a possible sentence of up to two years in prison. Under the 1843 Libel Act, Queensberry could avoid conviction for libel only by demonstrating that his accusation was in fact true, and furthermore that there was some "public benefit" to having made the accusation openly.[135] Queensberry's lawyers thus hired private detectives to find evidence of Wilde's homosexual liaisons.[136]

Wilde's friends had advised him against the prosecution at a Saturday Review meeting at the Café Royal on 24 March 1895; Frank Harris warned him that "they are going to prove sodomy against you" and advised him to flee to France.[137]


Frank Harris (14 February 1855 – 26 August 1931) was an Irish-American editor, novelist, short story writer, journalist and publisher, who was friendly with many well-known figures of his day.

Born in Ireland, he emigrated to the United States early in life, working in a variety of unskilled jobs before attending the University of Kansas to read (study) law. After graduation, he quickly tired of his legal career and returned to Europe in 1882. He traveled on continental Europe before settling in London to pursue a career in journalism. In 1921, in his sixties, he became a US citizen. Though he attracted much attention during his life for his irascible, aggressive personality, editorship of famous periodicals, and friendship with the talented and famous, he is remembered mainly for his multiple-volume memoir My Life and Loves, which was banned in countries around the world for its sexual explicitness...

In 1922 he travelled to Berlin to publish his best-known work, his autobiography My Life and Loves (published in four volumes, 1922–1927). It is notorious for its graphic descriptions of Harris' purported sexual encounters and for its exaggeration of the scope of his adventures and his role in history. Years later, Time magazine reflected in its 21 March 1960 issue "Had he not been a thundering liar, Frank Harris would have been a great autobiographer ... he had the crippling disqualification that he told the truth, as Max Beerbohm remarked, only 'when his invention flagged'."...

Harris also wrote short stories and novels, two books on Shakespeare, a series of biographical sketches in five volumes under the title Contemporary Portraits and biographies of his friends Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw...

Married three times, Harris died in Nice aged 75 on 26 August 1931, of a heart attack.


-- Frank Harris, by Wikipedia


Wilde and Douglas walked out in a huff, Wilde saying "it is at such moments as these that one sees who are one's true friends". The scene was witnessed by George Bernard Shaw who recalled it to Arthur Ransome a day or so before Ransome's trial for libelling Douglas in 1913. To Ransome it confirmed what he had said in his 1912 book on Wilde; that Douglas's rivalry for Wilde with Robbie Ross and his arguments with his father had resulted in Wilde's public disaster; as Wilde wrote in De Profundis. Douglas lost his case. Shaw included an account of the argument between Harris, Douglas and Wilde in the preface to his play The Dark Lady of the Sonnets.[138][139]

The libel trial became a cause célèbre as salacious details of Wilde's private life with Taylor and Douglas began to appear in the press. A team of private detectives had directed Queensberry's lawyers, led by Edward Carson QC, to the world of the Victorian underground. Wilde's association with blackmailers and male prostitutes, cross-dressers and homosexual brothels was recorded, and various persons involved were interviewed, some being coerced to appear as witnesses since they too were accomplices to the crimes of which Wilde was accused.[140]

The trial opened on 3 April 1895 before Justice Richard Henn Collins amid scenes of near hysteria both in the press and the public galleries. The extent of the evidence massed against Wilde forced him to declare meekly, "I am the prosecutor in this case".[141] Wilde's lawyer, Sir Edward George Clarke, opened the case by pre-emptively asking Wilde about two suggestive letters Wilde had written to Douglas, which the defence had in its possession. He characterised the first as a "prose sonnet" and admitted that the "poetical language" might seem strange to the court but claimed its intent was innocent. Wilde stated that the letters had been obtained by blackmailers who had attempted to extort money from him, but he had refused, suggesting they should take the £60 (equal to £7,000 today) offered, "unusual for a prose piece of that length". He claimed to regard the letters as works of art rather than something of which to be ashamed.[142]


Wilde was represented by Sir Edward Clarke, Q.C., M.P., Mr. Charles Mathews, and Mr. Travers Humphreys. The Marquess of Queensberry was defended by Mr. Edward Carson, Q.C., M.P., and a former classmate of Wilde's at Trinity College, Dublin, by Mr. Charles Gill, and Mr. Arthur Gill. The defense counsels were instructed by Mr. Charles Russell. Mr. Besley, Q.C., and Mr. Monckton were also present in Court to observe the case on behalf of Lord Douglas of Hawick...

The defense also planned to introduce into evidence two letters written by Wilde to Lord Douglas, both of which had been used in failed attempts to blackmail Wilde. In a tactical maneuver calculated to defuse any possible impact that might arise from a more dramatic presentation by the defense, Clarke elected to introduce one of the letters first. The letter, described as a "prose sonnet," read as follows:

My own boy, Your sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those red roseleaf lips of yours should have been made no less for music of song than for madness of kissing. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I think Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days.

Why are you alone in London, and when do you go to Salisbury? Do go there, and cool your hands in the grey twilight of Gothic things, and come here whenever you like. It is a lovely place -- it only lacks you: but go to Salisbury first. Always, with undying love, yours, Oscar.


Clarke admitted that the wording of the letter might appear extravagant to those more accustomed to writing "ordinary letters" or commercial correspondence, but argued that Wilde was in no way ashamed of this letter or of the poetical feelings that were expressed within it. Clarke's differentiation between the "artistic" and "literary" qualities of Wilde's letter and the pedestrian prose that characterized the "ordinary" letters of the average person was intended to give the jury pause over the vast cultural gulf that separated them from Wilde, and to call into question the Court's ability to interpret "works of art." At the conclusion of his opening statement, Clarke challenged Carson to "get from [the literary evidence] anything that in the remotest degree suggests anything hostile to the moral character of Mr. Wilde."

-- The Trials of Oscar Wilde: Deviance, Morality, and Late-Victorian Society, by Michael S. Foldy


Carson, a fellow Dubliner who had attended Trinity College, Dublin at the same time as Wilde, cross-examined Wilde on how he perceived the moral content of his works. Wilde replied with characteristic wit and flippancy, claiming that works of art are not capable of being moral or immoral but only well or poorly made, and that only "brutes and illiterates", whose views on art "are incalculably stupid", would make such judgements about art. Carson, a leading barrister, diverged from the normal practice of asking closed questions. Carson pressed Wilde on each topic from every angle, squeezing out nuances of meaning from Wilde's answers, removing them from their aesthetic context and portraying Wilde as evasive and decadent. While Wilde won the most laughs from the court, Carson scored the most legal points.[143] To undermine Wilde's credibility, and to justify Queensberry's description of Wilde as a "posing somdomite", Carson drew from the witness an admission of his capacity for "posing", by demonstrating that he had lied about his age on oath. Playing on this, he returned to the topic throughout his cross-examination.[144] Carson also tried to justify Queensberry's characterisation by quoting from Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, referring in particular to a scene in the second chapter, in which Lord Henry Wotton explains his decadent philosophy to Dorian, an "innocent young man", in Carson's words.[145]

Carson then moved to the factual evidence and questioned Wilde about his friendships with younger, lower-class men. Wilde admitted being on a first-name basis and lavishing gifts upon them, but insisted that nothing untoward had occurred and that the men were merely good friends of his. Carson repeatedly pointed out the unusual nature of these relationships and insinuated that the men were prostitutes. Wilde replied that he did not believe in social barriers, and simply enjoyed the society of young men. Then Carson asked Wilde directly whether he had ever kissed a certain servant boy, Wilde responded, "Oh, dear no. He was a particularly plain boy -– unfortunately ugly -– I pitied him for it."[146] Carson pressed him on the answer, repeatedly asking why the boy's ugliness was relevant. Wilde hesitated, then for the first time became flustered: "You sting me and insult me and try to unnerve me; and at times one says things flippantly when one ought to speak more seriously."[146]

In his opening speech for the defence, Carson announced that he had located several male prostitutes who were to testify that they had had sex with Wilde. On the advice of his lawyers, Wilde dropped the prosecution. Queensberry was found not guilty, as the court declared that his accusation that Wilde was "posing as a Somdomite [sic]" was justified, "true in substance and in fact".[147] Under the Libel Act 1843, Queensberry's acquittal rendered Wilde legally liable for the considerable expenses Queensberry had incurred in his defence, which left Wilde bankrupt.
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Part 3 of 3

Regina v. Wilde

After Wilde left the court, a warrant for his arrest was applied for on charges of sodomy and gross indecency. Robbie Ross found Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel,[148] Pont Street, Knightsbridge, with Reginald Turner; both men advised Wilde to go at once to Dover and try to get a boat to France; his mother advised him to stay and fight. Wilde, lapsing into inaction, could only say, "The train has gone. It's too late."[149] On 6 April 1895, Wilde was arrested for "gross indecency" under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, a term meaning homosexual acts not amounting to buggery (an offence under a separate statute).[150][151] At Wilde's instruction, Ross and Wilde's butler forced their way into the bedroom and library of 16 Tite Street, packing some personal effects, manuscripts, and letters.[152] Wilde was then imprisoned on remand at Holloway, where he received daily visits from Douglas.

Image
Wilde in the dock, from The Illustrated Police News, 4 May 1895

Events moved quickly and his prosecution opened on 26 April 1895, before Mr Justice Charles. Wilde pleaded not guilty. He had already begged Douglas to leave London for Paris, but Douglas complained bitterly, even wanting to give evidence; he was pressed to go and soon fled to the Hotel du Monde. Fearing persecution, Ross and many others also left the United Kingdom during this time. Under cross examination Wilde was at first hesitant, then spoke eloquently:

Charles Gill (prosecuting): What is "the love that dare not speak its name"?

Wilde: "The love that dare not speak its name" in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare. It is that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art, like those of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine, such as they are. It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as "the love that dare not speak its name", and on that account of it I am placed where I am now. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an older and a younger man, when the older man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it.
[153][154]


This response was counter-productive in a legal sense as it only served to reinforce the charges of homosexual behaviour.

The trial ended with the jury unable to reach a verdict. Wilde's counsel, Sir Edward Clarke, was finally able to get a magistrate to allow Wilde and his friends to post bail.[155] The Reverend Stewart Headlam put up most of the £5,000 surety required by the court, having disagreed with Wilde's treatment by the press and the courts.[156]

Stewart Duckworth Headlam (1847–1924) was an English Anglican priest who was involved in frequent controversy in the final decades of the nineteenth century. Headlam was a pioneer and publicist of Christian socialism, on which he wrote a pamphlet for the Fabian Society, and a supporter of Georgism. He is noted for his role as the founder and warden of the Guild of St Matthew and for helping to bail Oscar Wilde from prison at the time of his trials...

The Guild of St Matthew was an English high-church Christian socialist association led by Stewart Headlam from its establishment in Bethnal Green on 29 June 1877 to its dissolution in 1909. While the guild never had a membership of more than about 400 people, it was "the pioneer Christian socialist society of the revival period in Britain", breaking the ground for other Christian socialist organisations yet to come, such as the Christian Social Union. Kenneth Leech described it as "the first explicitly socialist group in Britain". For many years, it published the periodical The Church Reformer.

-- Guild of St Matthew, by Wikipedia


From 1860-65 (ages 13–18) Headlam attended Eton College. There he was influenced by a teacher, William Johnson, who was a disciple of the Christian Socialism of Frederick Denison Maurice and Charles Kingsley.

When he attended Cambridge University, Headlam was taught by the Professor of Moral Theology, F. D. Maurice, the primary influence in his life. Headlam came to agree with Maurice that God's Kingdom on earth would replace a "competitive, unjust society with a co-operative and egalitarian social order."

Maurice's teaching and example shaped Headlam's life, starting with his decision to be ordained. Years later, Headlam told colleagues in the Fabian Society: that he had been delivered from "the belief that a large proportion of the human race are doomed to endless misery" by Maurice's teachings. Maurice instilled a "Christian humanism" in Headlam. In his Fabian Society Tract on "Christian Socialism," Headlam wrote, "I learnt the principles and was familiar with the title of 'Christian Socialism' from Maurice and Kingsley."...

In 1873, after leaving St John's, Headlam received a curacy from Septimus Hansard, the rector of St Matthew's Church in Bethnal Green in London's East End, where poverty was the intrusive fact of social life. His response, in the form of a synthesis of ideas going back a generation to the Oxford Movement with socialist thinking, was startling although not entirely original. He attributed it in part to Charles Kingsley, but more especially to F. D. Maurice, whose incarnational theology he embraced while a student at Cambridge University. He added to the ideas of these early Christian Socialists a profound commitment to the creeds and to sacramental worship which he drew from the Anglo-Catholic ritualists whose work in the London slums he deeply admired. He was also a harsh critic of evangelicalism, condemning it as individualistic and otherworldly. He befriended working-class secularists and their leader, Charles Bradlaugh, even as he fought secularism itself....

In December 1886, Headlam joined the Fabian Society and for several years served on the society's executive committee. In 1888, he and Annie Besant were elected to the London School Board as members of Progressive Party, a broad coalition of London liberals, radicals and socialists.
In 1902 the Conservative government abolished school boards across England and transferred their responsibilities to the county councils. Although this was a reform designed in large part by his fellow Fabian, Sidney Webb, and endorsed by the Fabian Society, Headlam, like many others on the Left, denounced it as undemocratic. The new Education Act spared the London School Board, but only temporarily. It was also abolished in 1904. Despite his expectation that he would be able run as a Progressive candidate for the London County Council that year and be given a seat on the education committee, the Progressives did not nominate him, perhaps because of pressure from Webb and his allies. It was not until 1907 that he was elected to the council where he continued to be a tireless advocate for working-class children and their teachers. In the same year he published The Socialist's Church. He continued as a political figure for the rest of his life.

On 3 April 1895 the first trial of Oscar Wilde began. This trial ended with a jury deadlocked on most of the charges. A second trial was scheduled in three weeks. During the interim, Wilde could be released if his bail requirements were met.

Bail for the three weeks of freedom "on his own recognizance" between criminal trials was set at a total of £5,000. Headlam, who did not know Wilde personally, put up half the £5,000 bail required for Wilde's release. Headlam stated his motive as "concern for the arts and freedom".

At his second trial, Wilde was found guilty, and sentenced to two years of hard labor. When Wilde was released after serving his sentence, Headlam was there to meet him at six o'clock in the morning on 19 May 1897.

Headlam did not condone homosexuality. However, his willingness to help Wilde may have been connected with the fact that "others close to him had been caught in similar sexual tangles". Headlam's own short-lived marriage in 1878 had been to a lesbian, Beatrice Pennington.

Headlam's close relations with other homosexuals included his Eton master William Johnson and his friend C. J. Vaughan.


-- Stewart Headlam, by Wikipedia


Wilde was freed from Holloway and, shunning attention, went into hiding at the house of Ernest and Ada Leverson, two of his firm friends. Edward Carson approached Frank Lockwood QC, the Solicitor General and asked "Can we not let up on the fellow now?"[154] Lockwood answered that he would like to do so, but feared that the case had become too politicised to be dropped.

The final trial was presided over by Mr Justice Wills. On 25 May 1895 Wilde and Alfred Taylor were convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years' hard labour.[155] The judge described the sentence, the maximum allowed, as "totally inadequate for a case such as this", and that the case was "the worst case I have ever tried".[157] Wilde's response "And I? May I say nothing, my Lord?" was drowned out in cries of "Shame" in the courtroom.[158]

Imprisonment

When first I was put into prison some people advised me to try and forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realising what I am that I have found comfort of any kind. Now I am advised by others to try on my release to forget that I have ever been in a prison at all. I know that would be equally fatal. It would mean that I would always be haunted by an intolerable sense of disgrace, and that those things that are meant for me as much as for anybody else – the beauty of the sun and moon, the pageant of the seasons, the music of daybreak and the silence of great nights, the rain falling through the leaves, or the dew creeping over the grass and making it silver – would all be tainted for me, and lose their healing power, and their power of communicating joy. To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.

-- De Profundis


Further information: De Profundis (letter)

Wilde was incarcerated from 25 May 1895 to 18 May 1897.

He first entered Newgate Prison in London for processing, then was moved to Pentonville Prison, where the "hard labour" to which he had been sentenced consisted of many hours of walking a treadmill and picking oakum (separating the fibres in scraps of old navy ropes),[159] and where prisoners were allowed to read only the Bible and The Pilgrim's Progress.[160]

A few months later he was moved to Wandsworth Prison in London. Inmates there also followed the regimen of "hard labour, hard fare and a hard bed", which wore harshly on Wilde's delicate health.[161] In November he collapsed during chapel from illness and hunger. His right ear drum was ruptured in the fall, an injury that later contributed to his death.[162][163] He spent two months in the infirmary.[162][31]

Richard B. Haldane, the Liberal MP and reformer, visited Wilde and had him transferred in November to Reading Gaol, 30 miles (48 km) west of London[164] on 23 November 1895. The transfer itself was the lowest point of his incarceration, as a crowd jeered and spat at him on the railway platform.[162] He spent the remainder of his sentence there, addressed and identified only as "C.3.3" – the occupant of the third cell on the third floor of C ward.


Image
Wilde's cell in Reading Gaol as it appears today

About five months after Wilde arrived at Reading Gaol, Charles Thomas Wooldridge, a trooper in the Royal Horse Guards, was brought to Reading to await his trial for murdering his wife on 29 March 1896; on 17 June Wooldridge was sentenced to death and returned to Reading for his execution, which took place on Tuesday, 7 July 1896 -– the first hanging at Reading in 18 years. From Wooldridge's hanging, Wilde later wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Wilde was not, at first, even allowed paper and pen but Haldane eventually succeeded in allowing access to books and writing materials.[165] Wilde requested, among others: the Bible in French; Italian and German grammars; some Ancient Greek texts, Dante's Divine Comedy, Joris-Karl Huysmans's new French novel about Christian redemption En route, and essays by St Augustine, Cardinal Newman and Walter Pater.[166]

Between January and March 1897 Wilde wrote a 50,000-word letter to Douglas. He was not allowed to send it, but was permitted to take it with him when released from prison.[167] In reflective mode, Wilde coldly examines his career to date, how he had been a colourful agent provocateur in Victorian society, his art, like his paradoxes, seeking to subvert as well as sparkle. His own estimation of himself was: one who "stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age".[168] It was from these heights that his life with Douglas began, and Wilde examines that particularly closely, repudiating him for what Wilde finally sees as his arrogance and vanity: he had not forgotten Douglas' remark, when he was ill, "When you are not on your pedestal you are not interesting."[169] Wilde blamed himself, though, for the ethical degradation of character that he allowed Douglas to bring about in him and took responsibility for his own fall, "I am here for having tried to put your father in prison."[131] The first half concludes with Wilde forgiving Douglas, for his own sake as much as Douglas's. The second half of the letter traces Wilde's spiritual journey of redemption and fulfilment through his prison reading. He realised that his ordeal had filled his soul with the fruit of experience, however bitter it tasted at the time.


... I wanted to eat of the fruit of all the trees in the garden of the world ... And so, indeed, I went out, and so I lived. My only mistake was that I confined myself so exclusively to the trees of what seemed to me the sun-lit side of the garden, and shunned the other side for its shadow and its gloom.[170]


Wilde was released from prison on 19 May 1897[171] and sailed that evening for Dieppe, France.[172] He never returned to the UK.

On his release, he gave the manuscript to Ross, who may or may not have carried out Wilde's instructions to send a copy to Douglas (who later denied having received it). The letter was partially published in 1905 as De Profundis; its complete and correct publication first occurred in 1962 in The Letters of Oscar Wilde.[note 6]

Decline: 1897–1900

Exile


See also: The Ballad of Reading Gaol

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Oscar Wilde's visiting card after his release from gaol

Though Wilde's health had suffered greatly from the harshness and diet of prison, he had a feeling of spiritual renewal. He immediately wrote to the Society of Jesus requesting a six-month Catholic retreat; when the request was denied, Wilde wept.[173] "I intend to be received into the Catholic Church before long", Wilde told a journalist who asked about his religious intentions.[174]

The Society of Jesus (SJ; Latin: Societas Iesu) is a religious order of the Catholic Church headquartered in Rome. It was founded by Ignatius of Loyola and six companions with the approval of Pope Paul III in 1540. The members are called Jesuits (/ˈdʒɛzjuɪt/; Latin: Iesuitæ). The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.

The Society of Jesus is consecrated under the patronage of Madonna Della Strada, a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is led by a Superior General. The headquarters of the society, its General Curia, is in Rome. The historic curia of Ignatius is now part of the Collegio del Gesù attached to the Church of the Gesù, the Jesuit mother church.

The Society of Jesus as a congregation had some militaristic tendencies. This was so because St. Ignatius who was its leading founder was a nobleman who had a military background. An example of these military tendencies is that members of the society were expected to accept orders to go anywhere in the world, where they might be required to live in extreme conditions. Accordingly, the opening lines of the founding document declared that the society was founded for "whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God[a] to strive especially for the defence and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine". Jesuits are thus sometimes referred to colloquially as "God's soldiers", "God's marines", or "the Company", which evolved from references to Ignatius' history as a soldier and the society's commitment to accepting orders anywhere and to endure any conditions. The society participated in the Counter-Reformation and, later, in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council.

-- Society of Jesus, by Wikipedia


[b]He spent his last three years impoverished and in exile. He took the name "Sebastian Melmoth", after Saint Sebastian...

Saint Sebastian (c. AD 256 – 288) was an early Christian saint and martyr. According to traditional belief, he was killed during the Roman emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians. He was initially tied to a post or tree and shot with arrows, though this did not kill him. He was, according to tradition, rescued and healed by Saint Irene of Rome, which became a popular subject in 17th-century painting. In all versions of the story, shortly after his recovery he went to Diocletian to warn him about his sins, and as a result was clubbed to death. He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

-- Saint Sebastian, by Wikipedia


and the titular character of Melmoth the Wanderer (a Gothic novel by Charles Maturin, Wilde's great-uncle).[175]

Melmoth the Wanderer is an 1820 Gothic novel by Irish playwright, novelist and clergyman Charles Maturin. The novel's titular character is a scholar who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for 150 extra years of life, and searches the world for someone who will take over the pact for him, in a manner reminiscent of the Wandering Jew.

The novel is composed of a series of nested stories, gradually revealing the story of Melmoth's life. The novel offers social commentary on early-19th-century England, and denounces Roman Catholicism in favour of the virtues of Protestantism.

-- Melmoth the Wanderer, by Wikipedia


Wilde wrote two long letters to the editor of the Daily Chronicle, describing the brutal conditions of English prisons and advocating penal reform. His discussion of the dismissal of Warder Martin for giving biscuits to an anaemic child prisoner repeated the themes of the corruption and degeneration of punishment that he had earlier outlined in The Soul of Man under Socialism.[176]

Wilde spent mid-1897 with Robert Ross in the seaside village of Berneval-le-Grand in northern France, where he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol, narrating the execution of Charles Thomas Wooldridge, who murdered his wife in a rage at her infidelity. It moves from an objective story-telling to symbolic identification with the prisoners.[177] No attempt is made to assess the justice of the laws which convicted them but rather the poem highlights the brutalisation of the punishment that all convicts share. Wilde juxtaposes the executed man and himself with the line "Yet each man kills the thing he loves".[178] He adopted the proletarian ballad form and the author was credited as "C33", Wilde's cell number in Reading Gaol. He suggested that it be published in Reynolds' Magazine, "because it circulates widely among the criminal classes –- to which I now belong –- for once I will be read by my peers -– a new experience for me".[179] It was an immediate roaring commercial success, going through seven editions in less than two years, only after which "[Oscar Wilde]" was added to the title page, though many in literary circles had known Wilde to be the author.[180][181] It brought him a small amount of money.

Although Douglas had been the cause of his misfortunes, he and Wilde were reunited in August 1897 at Rouen. This meeting was disapproved of by the friends and families of both men. Constance Wilde was already refusing to meet Wilde or allow him to see their sons, though she sent him money -– three pounds a week. During the latter part of 1897, Wilde and Douglas lived together near Naples for a few months until they were separated by their families under the threat of cutting off all funds.[182]

Wilde's final address was at the dingy Hôtel d'Alsace (now known as L'Hôtel), on rue des Beaux-Arts in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. "This poverty really breaks one's heart: it is so sale [filthy], so utterly depressing, so hopeless. Pray do what you can" he wrote to his publisher.[183] He corrected and published An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, the proofs of which, according to Ellmann, show a man "very much in command of himself and of the play" but he refused to write anything else: "I can write, but have lost the joy of writing".[184]

He wandered the boulevards alone and spent what little money he had on alcohol.[172] A series of embarrassing chance encounters with hostile English visitors, or Frenchmen he had known in better days, drowned his spirit. Soon Wilde was sufficiently confined to his hotel to joke, on one of his final trips outside, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go".[185] On 12 October 1900 he sent a telegram to Ross: "Terribly weak. Please come".[186] His moods fluctuated; Max Beerbohm relates how their mutual friend Reginald 'Reggie' Turner had found Wilde very depressed after a nightmare. "I dreamt that I had died, and was supping with the dead!" "I am sure", Turner replied, "that you must have been the life and soul of the party."[187][188] Turner was one of the few of the old circle who remained with Wilde to the end and was at his bedside when he died.


Reginald "Reggie" Turner was an English author, an aesthete and a member of the circle of Oscar Wilde. He worked as a journalist, wrote twelve novels, and his correspondence has been published, but he is best known as one of the few friends who remained loyal to Wilde when he was imprisoned, and who supported him after his release.

Turner never knew who his parents were, but was an illegitimate member of, and raised by, the Levy-Lawson family, owners of the newspaper, The Daily Telegraph. He was educated at Hurstpierpoint College and Merton College, Oxford. On leaving Oxford he trained briefly as a barrister under Travers Humphreys, but was too lazy for the Law; having a leaning towards writing he joined The Daily Telegraph, where he inaugurated the paper's gossip column. Between 1901 and 1911 he published a dozen novels...

Turner numbered among his friends Max Beerbohm, Lord Alfred Douglas, H. G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, Somerset Maugham, D. H. Lawrence, Oscar Wilde, Osbert Sitwell and others of the London literary scene during the late 19th and early 20th century. S. N. Behrman said of him, "He was one of those men who talk like angels and write like pedestrians". Harold Acton agreed, writing of Turner's conversation, "One forgot to eat while he spun his fantasies." Beerbohm said, "He would be eloquent even were he dumb," and Maugham wrote, "Reggie Turner was, on the whole, the most amusing man I have known."...

Turner was one of the very few of the old circle who remained with Wilde after his release from prison, and he was at his bedside when he died. Beerbohm relates how, a few days before Wilde's death, Turner had found Wilde very depressed after a nightmare. "I dreamt that I had died, and was supping with the dead!" said Wilde. "I am sure", Turner replied, "that you must have been the life and soul of the party." Turner, with Robbie Ross and Frank Harris, supported Wilde to the end...

After Wilde's death, Turner, who was homosexual, felt few ties to England. Weintraub writes, "He felt alienated from an England which had driven Oscar to his death, and realised that some of the hostility toward Wilde might now continue to be directed toward those who had stood by him, and were similarly suspect." Turner thereafter lived abroad for much of the time. His royalties from his novels were modest, but together with his income from the Levy-Lawson family, they supported him in Paris and in French resorts. In his later years he lived in Florence, where he died at the age of 69 and was buried in the Cimitero Evangelico degli Allori.

-- Reginald Turner, by Wikipedia


Death

By 25 November 1900 Wilde had developed meningitis, then called "cerebral meningitis". Robbie Ross arrived on 29 November, sent for a priest, and Wilde was conditionally baptised into the Catholic Church by Fr Cuthbert Dunne, a Passionist priest from Dublin,[189][190] Wilde having been baptised in the Church of Ireland and having moreover a recollection of Catholic baptism as a child, a fact later attested to by the minister of the sacrament, Fr Lawrence Fox.[191] Fr Dunne recorded the baptism,

As the voiture rolled through the dark streets that wintry night, the sad story of Oscar Wilde was in part repeated to me... Robert Ross knelt by the bedside, assisting me as best he could while I administered conditional baptism, and afterwards answering the responses while I gave Extreme Unction to the prostrate man and recited the prayers for the dying. As the man was in a semi-comatose condition, I did not venture to administer the Holy Viaticum; still I must add that he could be roused and was roused from this state in my presence. When roused, he gave signs of being inwardly conscious... Indeed I was fully satisfied that he understood me when told that I was about to receive him into the Catholic Church and gave him the Last Sacraments... And when I repeated close to his ear the Holy Names, the Acts of Contrition, Faith, Hope and Charity, with acts of humble resignation to the Will of God, he tried all through to say the words after me.[192][note 7]


Wilde died of meningitis on 30 November 1900.[194] Different opinions are given as to the cause of the disease: Richard Ellmann claimed it was syphilitic; Merlin Holland, Wilde's grandson, thought this to be a misconception, noting that Wilde's meningitis followed a surgical intervention, perhaps a mastoidectomy; Wilde's physicians, Dr Paul Cleiss and A'Court Tucker, reported that the condition stemmed from an old suppuration of the right ear (from the prison injury, see above) treated for several years (une ancienne suppuration de l'oreille droite d'ailleurs en traitement depuis plusieurs années) and made no allusion to syphilis.[195]

Burial

Main article: Oscar Wilde's tomb

Image
The tomb of Oscar Wilde in Père Lachaise Cemetery

Wilde was initially buried in the Cimetière de Bagneux outside Paris; in 1909 his remains were disinterred and transferred to Père Lachaise Cemetery, inside the city.[196] His tomb there was designed by Sir Jacob Epstein.[note 8] It was commissioned by Robert Ross, who asked for a small compartment to be made for his own ashes, which were duly transferred in 1950. The modernist angel depicted as a relief on the tomb was originally complete with male genitalia, which were initially censored by French Authorities with a golden leaf. The genitals have since been vandalised; their current whereabouts are unknown. In 2000, Leon Johnson, a multimedia artist, installed a silver prosthesis to replace them.[197] In 2011, the tomb was cleaned of the many lipstick marks left there by admirers and a glass barrier was installed to prevent further marks or damage.[198]

The epitaph is a verse from The Ballad of Reading Gaol,

And alien tears will fill for him
Pity's long-broken urn,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.[199]


Posthumous pardon

In 2017, Wilde was among an estimated 50,000 men who were pardoned for homosexual acts that were no longer considered offences under the Policing and Crime Act 2017. The Act is known informally as the Alan Turing law.[200]

The "Alan Turing law" is an informal term for the law in the United Kingdom, contained in the Policing and Crime Act 2017, which serves as an amnesty law to pardon men who were cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts. The provision is named after Alan Turing, the World War II codebreaker and computing pioneer, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952. Turing received a royal pardon (posthumously) in 2013. The law applies in England and Wales...

The law only provides pardons for men convicted of acts that are no longer offences; those convicted under the same laws of offences that would now be classified as cottaging, underage sex, or rape will not be pardoned.

-- Alan Turing law, by Wikipedia


Honours

In 2014 Wilde was one of the inaugural honorees in the Rainbow Honor Walk, a walk of fame in San Francisco's Castro neighbourhood noting LGBTQ people who have "made significant contributions in their fields."[201][202][203]

The Oscar Wilde Temple, an installation by visual artists McDermott & McGough, opened in 2017 in cooperation with Church of the Village in New York City,[204] then moved to Studio Voltaire in London the next year.[205][206]

Biographies

Main article: Biographies of Oscar Wilde

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A Conversation with Oscar Wilde – a civic monument to Wilde by Maggi Hambling, on Adelaide Street, near Trafalgar Square, London

Wilde's life has been the subject of numerous biographies since his death. The earliest were memoirs by those who knew him: often they are personal or impressionistic accounts which can be good character sketches, but are sometimes factually unreliable.[207] Frank Harris, his friend and editor, wrote a biography, Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions (1916); though prone to exaggeration and sometimes factually inaccurate, it offers a good literary portrait of Wilde.[208] Lord Alfred Douglas wrote two books about his relationship with Wilde. Oscar Wilde and Myself (1914), largely ghost-written by T. W. H. Crosland, vindictively reacted to Douglas's discovery that De Profundis was addressed to him and defensively tried to distance him from Wilde's scandalous reputation. Both authors later regretted their work.[209] Later, in Oscar Wilde: A Summing Up (1939) and his Autobiography he was more sympathetic to Wilde. Of Wilde's other close friends, Robert Sherard; Robert Ross, his literary executor; and Charles Ricketts variously published biographies, reminiscences or correspondence. The first more or less objective biography of Wilde came about when Hesketh Pearson wrote Oscar Wilde: His Life and Wit (1946).[210] In 1954 Wilde's son Vyvyan Holland published his memoir Son of Oscar Wilde, which recounts the difficulties Wilde's wife and children faced after his imprisonment.[211] It was revised and updated by Merlin Holland in 1989.

Oscar Wilde, a critical study by Arthur Ransome was published in 1912. The book only briefly mentioned Wilde's life, but subsequently Ransome (and The Times Book Club) were sued for libel by Lord Alfred Douglas. In April 1913 Douglas lost the libel action after a reading of De Profundis refuted his claims.[212][213][214]

Richard Ellmann wrote his 1987 biography Oscar Wilde, for which he posthumously won a National (USA) Book Critics Circle Award in 1988[215] and a Pulitzer Prize in 1989.[216] The book was the basis for the 1997 film Wilde, directed by Brian Gilbert and starring Stephen Fry as the title character.[217]

Neil McKenna's 2003 biography, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, offers an exploration of Wilde's sexuality. Often speculative in nature, it was widely criticised for its pure conjecture and lack of scholarly rigour.[218][219] Thomas Wright's Oscar's Books (2008) explores Wilde's reading from his childhood in Dublin to his death in Paris.[220] After tracking down many books that once belonged to Wilde's Tite Street library (dispersed at the time of his trials), Wright was the first to examine Wilde's marginalia.

Later on, I think everyone will recognise his achievements; his plays and essays will endure. Of course, you may think with others that his personality and conversation were far more wonderful than anything he wrote, so that his written works give only a pale reflection of his power. Perhaps that is so, and of course, it will be impossible to reproduce what is gone forever.

-- Robert Ross, 23 December 1900[221]


In 2018, Matthew Sturgis' "Oscar: A Life," was published in London. The book incorporates rediscovered letters and other documents and is the most extensively researched biography of Wilde to appear since 1988.[222]

Parisian literati, also produced several biographies and monographs on him. André Gide wrote In Memoriam, Oscar Wilde and Wilde also features in his journals.[223] Thomas Louis, who had earlier translated books on Wilde into French, produced his own L'esprit d'Oscar Wilde in 1920.[224] Modern books include Philippe Jullian's Oscar Wilde,[225] and L'affaire Oscar Wilde, ou, Du danger de laisser la justice mettre le nez dans nos draps (The Oscar Wilde Affair, or, On the Danger of Allowing Justice to put its Nose in our Sheets) by Odon Vallet, a French religious historian.[226]

Selected works

For a more comprehensive list, see Oscar Wilde bibliography.

• Ravenna (1878)
• Poems (1881)
• The Happy Prince and Other Stories (1888, fairy stories)
• Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories (1891, stories)
• A House of Pomegranates (1891, fairy stories)
• Intentions (1891, essays and dialogues on aesthetics)
• The Picture of Dorian Gray (first published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine July 1890, in book form in 1891; novel)
• The Soul of Man under Socialism (1891, political essay)
• Lady Windermere's Fan (1892, play)
• A Woman of No Importance (1893, play)
• An Ideal Husband (performed 1895, published 1898; play)
• The Importance of Being Earnest (performed 1895, published 1898; play)
• De Profundis (written 1897, published variously 1905, 1908, 1949, 1962; epistle)
• The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898, poem)

See also

• Oscar Wilde Memorial Sculpture

Notes

1. The essay was later published in "Miscellanies", the final section of the 1908 edition of Wilde's collected works.[42]
2. Wilde reputedly told a customs officer that "I have nothing to declare except my genius", although the first recording of this remark was many years later, and Wilde's best lines were often quoted immediately in the press.[51]
3. Ave Imperatrix had been first published in The World, an American magazine, in 1880, having first been intended for Time magazine. Apparently the editor liked the verse, so switched it to the other magazine so as to attain "a larger and better audience". It was revised for inclusion in Poems the next year.[58] The play was initially well received by the audience, but when the critics wrote lukewarm reviews, attendance fell sharply and the play closed a week after it had opened.[59]
4. Queensberry's oldest son, Francis Douglas, Viscount Drumlanrig, possibly had an intimate association with Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, the Prime Minister to whom he was private secretary, which ended with Drumlanrig's death in an unexplained shooting accident. In any case the Marquess of Queensberry came to believe his sons had been corrupted by older homosexuals or, as he phrased it in a letter in the aftermath of Drumlanrig's death: "Montgomerys, The Snob Queers like Rosebery and certainly Christian Hypocrite like Gladstone and the whole lot of you".[123]
5. Queensberry's handwriting was almost indecipherable: The hall porter initially read "ponce and sodomite", but Queensberry himself claimed that he'd written "posing 'as' a sodomite", an easier accusation to defend in court. Merlin Holland concludes that "what Queensberry almost certainly wrote was "posing somdomite [sic]".[134]
6. Ross published a version of the letter expurgated of all references to Douglas in 1905 with the title De Profundis, expanding it slightly for an edition of Wilde's collected works in 1908, and then donated it to the British Museum on the understanding that it would not be made public until 1960. In 1949, Wilde's son Vyvyan Holland published it again, including parts formerly omitted, but relying on a faulty typescript bequeathed to him by Ross. Ross's typescript had contained several hundred errors, including typist's mistakes, Ross's "improvements" and other inexplicable omissions.[167]
7. Robert Ross, in his letter to More Adey (dated 14 December 1900), described a similar scene: "(Wilde) was conscious that people were in the room, and raised his hand when I asked him whether he understood. He pressed our hands. I then went in search of a priest and with great difficulty found Fr Cuthbert Dunne, of the Passionists, who came with me at once and administered Baptism and Extreme Unction – Oscar could not take the Eucharist".[193]
8. Epstein produced the design with architect Charles Holden, for whom Epstein produced several controversial commissions in London.

References

Citations


1. Hesketh Pearson, The Life of Oscar Wilde, reprinted by Penguin Books, 1985. p. 18.
2. "Literary Encyclopedia – Oscar Wilde". Litencyc.com. 25 January 2001. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
3. Sandulescu, pp. 53.
4. McGeachie, James (2004). "Wilde, Sir William Robert Wills (1815–1876)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
5. Pearce, Joseph (2004). "Mask of Mysteries". The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-58617-026-4.
6. Google Books link to Pearce, Joseph The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde
7. "St. Ann's Church website". Stann.dublin.anglican.org. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
8. Davis Coakley. The Importance of Being Irish. 1994. pp 113–14.
9. Ellmann, pp. 13.
10. Ellmann, pp. 18.
11. Ellmann, pp. 20.
12. Sandulescu, pp. 55-56.
13. Poems: Oscar Wilde. (1881) p. 37.
14. Ellmann, pp. 25.
15. Sandulescu, pp. 59.
16. Ellmann, pp. 26.
17. Ellmann, pp. 27.
18. Ellmann, pp. 29.
19. Sandulescu, pp. 154.
20. Toughill, pp. 183-185.
21. Ellmann, pp. 39.
22. Ellmann, pp. 65.
23. "OSCAR WILDE A University Mason". PS Review of Freemasonry.
24. Ellmann, pp. 70.
25. Sandulescu, pp. 375-376.
26. Ellmann, pp. 43-44.
27. Breen (1977, 2000) pp22–23
28. Ellmann, pp. 44.
29. Ellmann, pp. 78.
30. Ellmann, pp. 46.
31. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 735.
32. Ellmann, pp. 95.
33. Ellmann, pp. 93.
34. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 70.
35. Ellmann, pp. 94.
36. Mendelssohn, Michèle (2018). Making Oscar Wilde. Oxford University Press. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-19-880236-5.
37. Kifeather (2005), page 101
38. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 71.
39. Ellmann, pp. 99.
40. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 72-78.
41. Ellmann, pp. 102.
42. Mason, pp. 486.
43. Ellmann, pp. 105.
44. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1881 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Source Citation: Class: RG11; Piece: 78; Folio: 56; Page: 46; GSU roll: 1341017. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
45. Ellmann, pp. 131.
46. Morley, pp. 36.
47. Hyde 1948, pp. 39.
48. Ellmann, pp. 132-133.
49. Mason, pp. 282.
50. Cooper, John. "S.S. Arizona". Oscar Wilde in America. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
51. Cooper, John. "Attribution of 'I have nothing to declare except my genius'". Oscar Wilde in America. Retrieved 12 August2012.)
52. Cooper, John. "The Lecture Tour of North America 1882". Oscar Wilde in America. Archived from the original on 16 October 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
53. Kiberd 2000, pp. 329–330.
54. Higginson, Thomas Wentworth (4 February 1882). "Unmanly Manhood". Woman's Journal. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
55. King, Steve. "Wilde in America". Today in Literature. Retrieved 14 April 2010. Regarding Wilde's visit to Leadville, Colorado, 24 December 1881.
56. Ellmann, pp. 205.
57. Mason, pp. 232.
58. Mason, pp. 233.
59. Ellmann, pp. 228.
60. Bristow, Joseph (2009). Oscar Wilde and Modern Culture: The Making of a Legend. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press. p. xli. ISBN 978-0-8214-1837-6.
61. "Oscar & Constance Wilde". Saint James, Sussex Gardens, London. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
62. Fitzsimons, Eleanor (26 September 2017). Wilde's Women: How Oscar Wilde Was Shaped by the Women He Knew. The Overlook Press. ISBN 978-1-4683-1326-0. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
63. UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
64. Ellmann, pp. 273.
65. Ellmann, pp. 275.
66. Mendelsohn, Daniel (2008). "The two Oscar Wildes". How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken: Essays By Daniel Mendelsohn. New York: HarperCollins. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-06-145644-2.
67. Ellmann, pp. 289.
68. Ellmann, pp. 247-248.
69. Mason, pp. 219.
70. Ellmann, pp. 276.
71. Clayworth, pp. 91.
72. Clayworth, pp. 95.
73. Mason, pp. 202.
74. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 404.
75. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 413.
76. Clayworth, pp. 85, 86.
77. Raby.
78. Ellmann.
79. Spoo, pp. 31.
80. Mason, pp. 360-362.
81. Mason, pp. 6.
82. Lezard, Nicholas (29 March 2003). "Oscar Wilde's other portrait". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
83. Raby, pp. 109.
84. Ellmann, pp. 280.
85. Ransome, pp. 101.
86. Ransome, pp. 102.
87. Ransome.
88. Mason, pp. 71.
89. Raby, pp. 98.
90. Wilde, O. The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, Collins.
91. Orwell, George Review: The Soul of Man under Socialism by Oscar Wilde Archived 29 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine The Observer 8 May 1948. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
92. Kiberd 1996, pp. Ch. 2.
93. Pearson, H. Essays of Oscar Wilde London: Meuthen & Co (1950:xi) Catalogue no:5328/u
94. Mason, pp. 355-357.
95. Pearson, H. Essays of Oscar Wilde London: Meuthen & Co (1950:x) Catalogue no:5328/u
96. Mason, pp. 105.
97. Mendelsohn, Daniel (10 October 2002). "The Two Oscar Wildes". New York Review of Books. Vol. 49 no. 15. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
98. Ross, Alex (1 August 2011). "Deceptive Picture: How Oscar Wilde painted over "Dorian Gray"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
99. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 433, 435, 438, 441, 446.
100. "Preface". The Picture of Dorian Gray. From Project Gutenberg transcription. October 1994.
101. Mason, pp. 341.
102. Raby, pp. 111.
103. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 435.
104. McKie, Robin (25 January 2009). "Classics Corner: The Picture of Dorian Gray". The Guardian (London).
105. McCrum, Robert (24 March 2014). "The 100 best novels: No 27 – The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891)". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
106. "Registrar General Records". Wilde, Oscar O'Flahertie Wills (1856–1900), author. National Archives. Retrieved 12 March2010.
107. Ellmann, pp. 316.
108. Ellmann, pp. 322.
109. Ellmann, pp. 323.
110. Ellmann, pp. 326.
111. Mason, pp. 371.
112. Mason, pp. 369.
113. Ellmann, pp. 344.
114. Ellmann, pp. 347.
115. Ellmann, pp. 360.
116. Wilde, Oscar. An ideal husband. Act III: London: typescript with extensive autograph revisions, 1894. OCLC 270589204.
117. Ellmann, pp. 404.
118. Raby, pp. 146.
119. Riley, Kathleen; Blanshard, Alastair; Manny, Iarla (2018). Oscar Wilde and classical antiquity (First ed.). Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-878926-0. OCLC 986815031.
120. Holland & Hart-Davis.
121. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 702.
122. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 703.
123. Ellmann, pp. 402.
124. Ellmann, pp. 421.
125. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 699-700.
126. Ellmann, pp. 396.
127. Raby, pp. 166-167.
128. Ellmann, pp. 398.
129. Raby, pp. 161.
130. Pearson (1946:257)
131. Wheatcroft, G. "Not Green, Not Red, Not Pink" The Atlantic Monthly, May 2003.
132. Raby, pp. 165.
133. Morley, pp. 102.
134. Holland 2004, pp. 300.
135. Moran, Leslie (2002). The Homosexual(ity) of law. Routledge. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-134-89645-5.
136. Frankel, Nicholas (2017). Oscar Wilde: The Unrepentant Years. Harvard University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-674-98202-4.
137. Belford 2000, p. 251.
138. The Autobiography of Arthur Ransome pp 151–152 (1976, Jonathan Cape, London) ISBN 0-224-01245-2
139. The Life of Arthur Ransome by Hugh Brogan p85 (1984, Jonathan Cape, London) ISBN 0-224-02010-2
140. Ellmann, pp. 415.
141. Ellmann, pp. 418.
142. Foldy, pp. 3.
143. Foldy, pp. 8.
144. Marjoribanks, Edward (1932). Carson the Advocate. London: Macmillan. p. 213. OCLC 679460. Carson had again and again used the word "pose" with ironic emphasis.
145. Stern (2017):758. "Carson began by emphasizing that at this point in the novel, Dorian is an 'innocent young man'.")
146. Foldy, pp. 17.
147. Foldy, pp. 19.
148. (5 April 2013). The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel – 6 April 1895. Hartlepool Mail. British Newspaper Archive. Bloomington, Indiana.
149. Ellmann, pp. 455.
150. See Offences Against the Person Act 1861, ss 61, 62
151. Hyde 1948, pp. 5.
152. Ellmann, pp. 429.
153. Transcript of Wilde's trial, published online by University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School Archived 23 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
154. Ellmann, pp. 435.
155. Old Bailey Proceedings Online (accessed 22 April 2010), Trial of Oscar Fingal O'Fflahartie Wills Wilde, Alfred Waterhouse Somerset Taylor. (t18950520-425, 22 April 1895).
156. Foldy, pp. 40.
157. Foldy, pp. 47.
158. Sentencing Statement of Justice Wills.
159. Ellmann, pp. 769.
160. Ellmann, pp. 777.
161. Ellmann, pp. 474.
162. Ellmann, pp. 465.
163. Medina, John J. (1997). The Clock of Ages: Why We Age, How We Age, Winding Back the Clock. Cambridge University Press. p. 250. ISBN 978-0-521-59456-1.
164. Ellmann, pp. 456.
165. Ellmann, pp. 475.
166. Ellmann, pp. 477-478.
167. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 683.
168. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 737–738.
169. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 700.
170. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 739.
171. Ellmann, Richard (1988). Oscar Wilde. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 527. ISBN 978-0-394-55484-6.
172. Ellmann, pp. 528.
173. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 841-842.
174. Pearce, Joseph The Picture of Dorian Gray (Introduction), p. X, Ignatius Press, 2008.
175. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 842.
176. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 847–855.
177. Sandulescu, pp. 308.
178. Sandulescu, pp. 310.
179. Kiberd 2000, pp. 336.
180. Mason, pp. 408-410.
181. Ellmann, pp. 526.
182. Hyde 1948, pp. 308.
183. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 1092.
184. Ellmann, pp. 527.
185. Ellmann, pp. 546.
186. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 1119.
187. M. Beerbohm (1946) "Mainly on the Air"
188. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 1213.
189. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 1224.
190. Cavill, Paul, Heather Ward, Matthew Baynham, and Andrew Swinford, The Christian tradition in English literature: poetry, plays, and shorter prose, p. 337, Zondervan 2007.
191. Pearce, Joseph, The unmasking of Oscar Wilde, pp. 28–29, Ignatius Press, 2004
192. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 1223.
193. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 1219–1220.
194. "DEATH OF OSCAR WILDE; He Expires at an Obscure Hotel in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Is Said to Have Died from Meningitis, but There Is a Rumor that He Committed Suicide". The New York Times. 1 December 1900. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
195. Ellmann, pp. 92, 582.
196. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 1230.
197. Johnson, Leon (2000). "(Re)membering Wilde". Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
198. John Tagliabue (15 December 2011) "Walling Off Oscar Wilde's Tomb From Admirers' Kisses", The New York Times. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
199. Ellmann, pp. 553.
200. "Turing's Law: Oscar Wilde among 50,000 convicted gay men granted posthumous pardons". The Daily Telegraph. 31 January 2017.
201. Shelter, Scott (14 March 2016). "The Rainbow Honor Walk: San Francisco's LGBT Walk of Fame". Quirky Travel Guy. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
202. "Castro's Rainbow Honor Walk Dedicated Today: SFist". SFist – San Francisco News, Restaurants, Events, & Sports. 2 September 2014. Archived from the original on 10 August 2019. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
203. Carnivele, Gary (2 July 2016). "Second LGBT Honorees Selected for San Francisco's Rainbow Honor Walk". We The People. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
204. "McDermott & McGough to Open Temple Dedicated to Oscar Wilde in New York's Church of the Village". ArtNews. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
205. "Oscar Wilde: Gay martyr with complex faith journey honored in art". Q Spirit. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
206. Oscar Wilde Temple
207. Raby, pp. 6, 10.
208. Raby, pp. 9.
209. Raby, pp. 8.
210. Raby, pp. 5.
211. "Great Britain: A Life of Concealment". Time. 27 September 1954. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
212. The Autobiography of Arthur Ransome, pp. 146–154 (1976, Jonathan Cape, London) ISBN 0-224-01245-2.
213. The Life of Arthur Ransome by Hugh Brogan, pp. 77–90 (1984, Jonathan Cape, London) ISBN 0-224-02010-2
214. The Last Englishman by Roland Chambers pp 61–69 (2009, Faber and Faber, London) ISBN 978-0-571-22261-2.
215. "All Past National Book Critics Circle Award Winners and Finalists: 1988 Awards". National Book Critics Circle. Archived from the original on 4 June 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2010..
216. "Autobiography or Biography". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
217. Ebert, Roger (12 June 1998). "Wilde". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
218. Bedell, Geraldine (26 October 2003). "It was all Greek to Oscar". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
219. Parker, Peter (26 October 2003). "The Secret Life of Oscar". The Times. London. Retrieved 22 February 2010. (subscription required)
220. Dugdale, John (26 September 2009). "Oscar's Books by Thomas Wright". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 February2010.
221. Holland & Hart-Davis, pp. 1229.
222. Quinn, Anthony (1 October 2018). "Oscar: A Life by Matthew Sturgis". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
223. Gide, André (1905). In Memoriam, Oscar Wilde. Paris: Editions Mercure De France.
224. Louis, Thomas. L'esprit d'Oscar Wilde. Collection Anglia (4th ed.). Paris: G. Crès & Cie. OCLC 3243250.
225. Jullian, Philippe (6 April 2000). Oscar Wilde. Paris: Editions Christian de Bartillat. ISBN 978-2-84100-220-7.
226. Vallet, Odon (1995). L'affaire Oscar Wilde ou Du danger de laisser la justice mettre le nez dans nos draps. Paris: Editions Albin Michel. ISBN 978-2-226-07952-7.

Sources

• Breen, Richard (2000). Oxford, Oddfellows & Funny Tales. London: Penny Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-1-901374-00-1.
• Belford, Barbara (2000). Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-679-45734-3.
• Clayworth, Anna (Summer 1997). "'The Woman's World': Oscar Wilde as Editor: 1996 Vanarsdel Prize". Victorian Periodicals Review. 30 (2): 84–101. JSTOR 20082977.
• Coakley, Davis (1994). Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Irish. Dublin: Town House. ISBN 978-0-948524-97-4.
• Cox, Devon (2015). The Street of Wonderful Possibilities: Whistler, Wilde and Sargent in Tite Street. London: Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-0-7112-3673-8.
• Ellmann, Richard (1988). Oscar Wilde. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-394-75984-5.
• Foldy, Michael S. (1997). The Trials of Oscar Wilde Deviance, Morality and Late-Victorian Society. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07112-4.
• Igoe, Vivien (1994). A Literary Guide to Dublin: Writers in Dublin, Literary Associations and Anecdotes. London: Methuen. ISBN 978-0-413-67420-3.
• Holland, Merlin; Hart-Davis, Rupert (2000). The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde. New York: Henry Holt and Co. ISBN 978-0-8050-5915-1.
• Holland, Merlin, ed. (2003). The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde. London: Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-714436-5.
• Holland, Merlin (2004). The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-715805-8.
• Hyde, H. Montgomery (1948). The Trials of Oscar Wilde.
• Hyde, H. Montgomery (1963). Famous Trials: Oscar Wilde. Baltimore: Penguin Books.
• Hyde, H. Montgomery (1964). Oscar Wilde: The Aftermath. New York: Farrar Straus Ltd.
• Kiberd, Declan (1996). Inventing Ireland: The Literature of a Modern Nation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-46363-9.
• Kiberd, Declan (2000). Irish Classics. Granta Books. ISBN 9781862073869..
• Kilfeather, Siobhán Marie (2005). Dublin, a Cultural History. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-518202-6.
• Mason, Stuart (1914). Bibliography of Oscar Wilde (1972 ed.). Rota pub; Haskell House Pub. ISBN 978-0-8383-1378-7..
• Morley, Sheridan (1976). Oscar Wilde. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-297-77160-9.
• Raby, Peter, ed. (1997). The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde. London: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-47987-5.
• Ransome, Arthur (1912). Oscar Wilde: A Critical Study. New York: Mitchell Kennerly.
• Spoo, Robert (2018). Modernism and the Law. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4742-7580-4.
• Stern, Simon (2017). "Wilde's Obscenity Effect: Influence and Immorality in the Picture of Dorian Gray". The Review of English Studies. 68 (286): 756–772. doi:10.1093/res/hgx035.
• Sandulescu, C. George, ed. (1994). Rediscovering Oscar Wilde. Gerrards Cross, England: C. Smythe. ISBN 978-0-86140-376-9.
• Toughill, Thomas (2008). The Ripper Code. The History Press.

Further reading

• Beckson, Karl E. (1998). The Oscar Wilde Encyclopedia. AMS Studies in the Nineteenth Century, no. 18. New York: AMS Press. ISBN 978-0-404-61498-0. Detailed reference work on Wilde, the majority of entries discuss his works; his biography, times, and contemporary literary movements are also covered.
• Ellmann, Richard (1988). Oscar Wilde. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0-394-55484-1.
• Gal, Michalle. Aestheticism: Deep Formalism and the Emergence of Modernist Aesthetics. Peter Lang AG International Academic Publishers, 2015.
• Ghosal, Sukriti (2015). Theorist Under-rated: Oscar Wilde the Critic. New Delhi, Sarup Book Publishers (P) Ltd. ISBN 978-93-5208-004-5.
• Harris, Frank (1916). Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions. New York: Printed and published by the author.
• Holland, Merlin, ed. (2003). Irish Peacock and Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde. London: Fourth Estate.
• Mendelssohn, Michèle (2007). Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Aesthetic Culture. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
• Sturgis, Matthew (2018). Oscar: A Life. London: Head of Zeus Ltd. ISBN 9781788545976.

External links

Historical societies

• The Oscar Wilde Society (UK)

Historical notes

• Record of Wilde's indictment and conviction – official Old Bailey website.
• Details including court transcriptions of the trials of Wilde
• Oscar Wilde in America including The American Lecture Tour 1882
• References to Oscar Wilde in historic European newspapers
• "Archival material relating to Oscar_Wilde". UK National Archives.
• Archival material at Leeds University Library
• Newspaper clippings about Oscar Wilde in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
Radio programmes[edit]
• Oscar Wilde on In Our Time at the BBC
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