Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Introduction, Excerpt from "A Modern Buddhist Bible: Essential Readings from East and West"
by Donald S. Lopez, Jr.
2002

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Contents

• Introduction vii
• Helena Petrovna Blavatsky 1
• Sir Edwin Arnold 6
• Henry Steel Olcott 15
• Paul Carus 24
• Shaku Soen 35
• Dwight Goddard 49
• Anagarika Dharmapala 54
• Alexandra David-Neel 59
• D. T. Suzuki 68
• W. Y. Evans-Wentz 78
• T'ai Hsu 85
• B. R. Ambedkar 91
• Lama Govinda 98
• R. H. Blyth 106
• Mahasi Sayadaw 116
• Shunryu Suzuki 127
• Buddhadasa 138
• Philip Kapleau 146
• William Burroughs 154
• Alan Watts 159
• Jack Kerouac 172
• Ayya Khema 182
• Sangharakshita 186
• Allen Ginsberg 194
• Thich Nhat Hanh 201
• Gary Snyder 207
• Sulak Sivaraksa 211
• The Dalai Lama 217
• Cheng Yen 227
• Fritjof Capra 236
• Chogyam Trungpa 244
• Glossary 255
• Acknowledgments 265

Introduction

By 7 a.m. on the morning of 26 August 1873, a crowd of some five thousand had gathered around a raised platform especially constructed for the occasion in the town of Panadure outside Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The platform was divided in two. One side had a table covered in white cloth and adorned with evergreens. This was the side occupied by the Christian party and their spokesman. The other side of the platform was more richly decorated and filled by some two hundred Buddhist monks and their spokesman. A debate was to take place over the next two days, with sessions from 8 to 10 each morning and 3 to 5 each afternoon, each speaker being given one hour to speak in both the morning and afternoon sessions. A journalist described the scene:

Larger crowds may often be seen in very many places in Europe, but surely such a motley gathering as that which congregated on this occasion, can only be seen in the East. Imagine them all seated down and listening with wrapt [sic] attention to a yellow robed priest, holding forth from the platform filled with Budhist [sic] priests, clergymen, and Singhalese clad in their national costume, and your readers can form some idea -- a very faint one indeed - of the heterogeneous mass that revelled in a display of Singhalese eloquence seldom heard in this country.1


The coastal areas of Ceylon had been conquered by the Portuguese in the early sixteenth century and Roman Catholic missions were soon established. The Portuguese were supplanted by the Dutch in 1636, who were in turn supplanted by the British, who brought the entire island under their control in 1815. Under the British, a number of Protestant missions were established in the nineteenth century, seeking to convert the Buddhist populace to Christianity, and they achieved a certain degree of success. In 1862 a Buddhist monk named Gunananda had founded the Society for the Propagation of Buddhism and established his own printing press, publishing pamphlets attacking Christianity. A number of Wesleyan converts responded in both speeches and in print. And so in 1873 a public debate between Gunananda and a Christian representative, the Reverend David de Silva, was arranged.2

Each of the parties sought to demonstrate the fallacies of the other's sacred scriptures. The Reverend de Silva spoke first, making extensive references to the Pali scriptures that declare that there is no soul, that the person is only the aggregation of various impermanent constituents. According to Buddhism, then, human beings have no immortal soul and are 'on a par with the frog, pig, or any other member of the brute creation'.3 Furthermore, if there is no soul there can be no punishment for sin and reward for virtue in the next life. Hence, 'no religion ever held out greater inducements to the unrighteous than Buddhism did'.4

The Buddhist monk Gunananda then rose to speak. He was described by the Ceylon Times (presumably partial to the Christian faction) as 'a well-made man of apparently forty-five or fifty years, rather short, very intellectual looking, with eyes expressive of great distrust, and a smile which may either mean profound satisfaction or supreme contempt.'5 He began by stating that Reverend de Silva's knowledge of Pali was clearly deficient. It was therefore not surprising that he had misunderstood the Buddha's teachings on the nature of the person. He explained that in fact, according to the Buddhist doctrine of rebirth, the person reborn was neither precisely the same as nor different from the person who had previously died. He then turned to the shortcomings of Christianity, noting that in Genesis God regrets having created man and in Exodus instructs the Hebrews to mark their doors with blood so that he will know which houses to pass over as he kills the firstborn of the Egyptians. He concluded that neither of these appears to be the deed of an omniscient god.

And so the debate continued on into the afternoon and into the following day, with Gunananda being declared the winner by the acclamation of the multitude. This was not the first time that Buddhists and Christians had debated the primacy of their respective faiths. In 1550 the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier had discussed the dharma with a Zen abbot in Japan. Around 1600 Matteo Ricci was denouncing Buddhism, in Chinese, to Buddhist monks in China. And in 1717 another Jesuit, Ippolito Desideri -- living in the great monastery of Sera, outside Lhasa, in Tibet - was debating with monks the doctrine of rebirth and whether there can be creation without God. However, these three Jesuits were missionaries whose missions would ultimately fail; these lands and the souls who inhabited them would not be conquered and converted by Europe and its church. But Ceylon in the nineteenth century was a British colony, and Gunananda's denunciation of Christianity had strong, and far-reaching, ramifications. Regardless of what the intentions of the participants had been, the debate at Panadure marked the beginning of modern Buddhism.

What is this form of Buddhism, and in what sense is it modern? The relation between classical Buddhism and what I refer to as modern Buddhism is more than a matter of simple chronology or a standard periodization into the primitive, classical, medieval, premodern and modern. Certainly, modern Buddhism shares many of the characteristics of other projects of modernity, including the identification of the present as a standpoint from which to reflect upon previous periods in history and to identify their deficiencies in relation to the present. Modern Buddhism rejects many of the ritual and magical elements of previous forms of Buddhism, it stresses equality over hierarchy, the universal over the local, and often exalts the individual above the community. Yet, as will be clear in what follows, modern Buddhism does not see itself as the culmination of a long process of evolution, but rather as a return to the origin, to the Buddhism of the Buddha himself. There is certainly criticism of the past, but that critique is directed not at the most distant Buddhism, but at the most recent. Modern Buddhism seeks to distance itself most from those forms of Buddhism that immediately precede it, that are even contemporary with it. It is ancient Buddhism, and especially the enlightenment of the Buddha 2,500 years ago, that is seen as most modern, as most compatible with the ideals of the European Enlightenment that occurred so many centuries later, ideals embodied in such concepts as reason, empiricism, science, universalism, individualism, tolerance, freedom and the rejection of religious orthodoxy. Indeed, for modern Buddhists, the Buddha knew long ago what Europe would only discover much later. Yet what we regard as Buddhism today, especially the common portrayal of the Buddhism of the Buddha, is in fact a creation of modern Buddhism. Its widespread acceptance, both in the West and in much of Asia, is testimony to the influence of the thinkers whose words are collected here.

These considerations seem to preclude such mundane matters as identifying the precise dates at which periods begin and end. For the purposes of this anthology, however, modern Buddhism comprises the period from 1873 to 1980. The former is the date of the famous debate in Ceylon between Gunananda and Reverend de Silva. The latter date is more arbitrary, chosen in large part to provide a vague line of demarcation between the modern and the contemporary. It will be clear that the concerns of modern Buddhism, although developing more than a century ago, extend to the present. Yet, without the advantage of a certain hindsight (itself a characteristic of modernity), it is often difficult to judge the ultimate influence of figures who have appeared most recently. Therefore, in an effort to limit the scope of this book, I have reluctantly decided to exclude those authors whose rise to stature in contemporary Buddhism has occurred after 1980.

Like all religions, Buddhism has evolved over the centuries, and that evolution has moved at a rapid pace and in myriad directions in the last two centuries, during which traditional Buddhist societies encountered modernity (often through the route of colonialism). During the same period European and American scholars began to translate Buddhist texts into Western languages, thus making Buddhism available to a large reading public. Interest in Buddhism increased even further in the second half of the last century, when, as a result of the political upheaval caused by the Vietnam War and the Chinese invasion of Tibet, large Buddhist populations (including Buddhist monks) emigrated to the West.

The Buddhism encountered today, both in Asia and the West, is very much the product of this historical evolution. The starting point of that evolution would seem to be with the founder of Buddhism, the Buddha himself, a yogin who wandered with his followers through northern India more than two millennia ago. Yet it is difficult to describe his original teachings, for none of the words traditionally attributed to the Buddha were written down until some four centuries after his death. Over the centuries Buddhists have sought to represent his original teachings and true intentions in an effort to secure the acceptance of a wide variety of developments in Buddhist thought and practice. During the past two centuries, Buddhist thinkers from across Asia and the West began to describe a Buddhism that transcends the concerns of locale and sect. This version of Buddhism, what I refer to as modern Buddhism, although hardly monolithic, has a number of characteristics (discussed below) that have been widely accepted around the world.

Despite the importance of the thinkers, both Asian and Western, who have created and developed modern Buddhism, their writings have not heretofore been gathered into a single volume. Some of the major figures in the evolution of modern Buddhism are not well known in the West, or have been forgotten. The works of others, although widely read, have not been presented in the context of the evolution of modern Buddhism. This book is the first to present some of the major works of modern Buddhism in a single anthology.

Several features of the debate in Ceylon bear identification as we begin to sketch the contours of modern Buddhism. First, Gunananda was clearly an educated monk, who not only knew h is own scriptures but had studied the Bible as well. The leaders of the various modern Buddhist movements in Asia would be drawn from the small minority of learned monks, and not from the vast majority who chanted scriptures, performed rituals for the dead and maintained monastic properties. Second, the Buddhism that was portrayed in the debate, and in modern Buddhism more generally, tended to be that of technical doctrine and philosophy, rather than that of daily practice. Buddhism was portrayed as an ancient and profound philosophical system, fully the equal of anything that had developed in the Christian West. Indeed, Buddhism came to be portrayed -- whether that portrayal was made in Sinhalese, Chinese or Japanese -- as a world religion, fully the equal of Christianity in antiquity, geographical expanse, membership and philosophical profundity, with its own founder, sacred scriptures and fixed body of doctrine.

But before considering the characteristics of modern Buddhism in more detail, it is important not to lose sight of the more direct historical effects of the 1873 debate in Ceylon. Five years later an embellished account of the debate, entitled Buddhism and Christianity Face to Face, was published in Boston by James M. Peebles. It was read by Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, a journalist and veteran of the American Civil War. In New York in 1875, Olcott and Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a Russian emigre, had founded the Theosophical Society, whose goals were 'to diffuse among men a knowledge of the laws inherent in the universe; to promulgate the knowledge of the essential unity of all that is, and to determine that this unity is fundamental in nature; to form an active brotherhood among men; to study ancient and modern religion, science, and philosophy; and to investigate the powers innate in man.' The Theosophical Society arose as one of several responses to Darwin's theory of evolution during the late nineteenth century. Rather than seeking a refuge from science in religion, Blavatsky and Olcott were attempting to found a scientific religion, one that accepted the new discoveries in geology and archaeology while proclaiming an ancient and esoteric system of spiritual evolution more sophisticated than the physical evolution described by Darwin.

Madame Blavatsky claimed to have spent seven years in Tibet as an initiate of a secret order of enlightened masters called the Brotherhood of the White Lodge, who watch over and guide the evolution of humanity, preserving the ancient truths. These masters, whom she called 'mahatmas' ('great souls'), Jived in Tibet but were not themselves Tibetan. In fact, the very presence of the mahatmas in Tibet was unknown to ordinary Tibetans. These masters had once lived throughout the world but had congregated in Tibet to escape the onslaught of civilization. The mahatmas had instructed her in the ancient truths of the mystic traditions, or Theosophy, which she also referred to as 'Esoteric Buddhism', of which the Buddhism being practised in Asia, including Tibet, was a corruption.

Throughout her career, she (and later, other members of the society) claimed to be in esoteric communication with the mahatmas, sometimes through dreams and visions, but most commonly through letters that either materialized in a cabinet in Madame Blavatsky's room or that she transcribed through automatic writing. The mahatmas' literary output was prodigious, conveying instructions on the most mundane matters of the functions of the Theosophical Society, as well as providing the content of the canonical texts of the society, such as A. P Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism (1885) and Madame Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine (1888). Despite its unlikely beginnings, the Theosophical Society would play a profound role in the formation of modern Buddhism.

By 1878 Blavatsky and Olcott had shifted the emphasis of the society away from the investigation of psychic phenomena towards a broader promotion of a universal brotherhood of humanity, claiming affinities between Theosophy and the wisdom of the East, specifically Hinduism and Buddhism. Inspired by Olcott's reading of the account of Gunananda's defence of the dharma, they were determined to join the Buddhists of Ceylon in their battle against Christian missionaries. Thus they sailed to India, arriving in Bombay in 1879, where they proclaimed themselves to be Hindus. The following year they proceeded to Ceylon, where they both took the vows of lay Buddhists. Blavatsky's interest in Buddhism remained peripheral to her Theosophy. Olcott, however, enthusiastically embraced his new faith, being careful to note that he was a 'regular Buddhist' rather than a 'debased modern' Buddhist, and decried what he regarded as the ignorance of the Sinhalese about their own religion. As one of the founding figures of modern Buddhism, he identified his Buddhism with that of the Buddha himself: 'Our Buddhism was that of the Master-Adept Gautama Buddha, which was identically the Wisdom Religion of the Aryan Upanishads, and the soul of the ancient world-faiths. Our Buddhism was, in a word, a philosophy, not a creed.'6

Olcott took it as his task to restore 'true' Buddhism to Ceylon and to counter the efforts of the Christian missionaries on the island. In order to accomplish this aim, he adopted many of their techniques, founding the Buddhist Theosophical Society to disseminate Buddhist knowledge (and later assisted in the founding of the Young Men's Buddhist Association) and publishing in 1881 The Buddhist Catechism, modelled on works used by the Christian missionaries. Olcott shared the view of many enthusiasts in Victorian Europe and America, who saw the Buddha as the greatest philosopher of India's Aryan past and regarded his teachings as a complete philosophical and psychological system, based on reason and restraint, as opposed to ritual, superstition and sacerdotalism, demonstrating how the individual could live a moral life without the trappings of institutional religion. This Buddhism was to be found in texts, rather than in the lives of modern Buddhists of Ceylon, who, in Olcott's view, had deviated from the original teachings.

This would not be his only contribution to modern Buddhism. In 1885 the British government agreed to Olcott's demand that Wesak, the day conveniently marking the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and passage into nirvana, be observed as a national holiday in Ceylon. To mark the occasion, the Buddhist flag (which Olcott had helped to design) was unfurled. The person chosen to raise the flag was Gunananda, who twelve years before had participated in the debate that brought Olcott to Ceylon. Raising a Buddhist flag over Ceylon had obvious symbolic meanings for the anti-colonial movement. However, Olcott hoped it might also serve as a symbol under which all Buddhists could unite, like the cross in Christianity. In 1885 he set out on the grander mission of healing the schism he perceived between 'the Northern and Southern Churches' -- that is, between the Buddhists of Ceylon and Burma ('Southern') and those of China and Japan ('Northern').

Olcott was referring to the division of the Buddhist world into what is known as the Theravada and the Mahayana. After the death of the Buddha, a number of sects developed in India, distinguished formally by the particular rendition of the monastic code they followed. One of the sects that was established in Ceylon, the Sthaviravada ('Tradition of the Elders' in the Sanskrit language), evolved into the Theravada ('Tradition of the Elders' in the Pali language), eventually becoming the orthodox form of Buddhism throughout Southeast Asia many centuries later. In India, some four centuries after the Buddha's death, a movement arose that came to be known as the Mahayana ('Great Vehicle'), which offered a different conception of the Buddha and of the path to enlightenment. In the mainstream (that is, non-Mahayana) traditions of India, the Buddha had passed into nirvana upon his death, never to return, although his relics remained as potent sources of blessing. In the Mahayana, the Buddha who appeared on earth was but a physical manifestation of an eternally enlightened being, one of thousands who populated the universe to deliver all beings from suffering. According to some schools of the Mahayana, all beings were destined to follow the path of the bodhisattva and become a buddha. In the mainstream schools, the traditional goal was to become an arhat, one who works to destroy the bonds of birth and death in order to pass into nirvana at death. The arhat was disparaged in much Mahayana literature for his limited aspiration and deficient compassion, and labelled as a follower of the Hinayana ('Vile Vehicle' or 'Base Vehicle'; often euphemized in English as 'Lesser Vehicle').

In descriptions of Buddhism from Olcott's day (and long after) one sometimes encounters the term 'Southern Buddhism' to describe the Buddhism of Ceylon, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Laos and parts of Vietnam, and the term 'Northern Buddhism', used in reference to China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia. It was often said that Southern Buddhism is Theravada and Northern Buddhism is Mahayana. This is not historically accurate. Theravada has been the dominant school of Buddhism in most of Southeast Asia since the thirteenth century, with the establishment of the monarchies in Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos. Prior to that period, however, many other strands of Buddhism were also widely present, including other mainstream sects, in addition to Mahayana and tantric groups. The great monument at Borobudur in Java reflects Mahayana doctrine and there are reports of Indian monks travelling to Sumatra to study with Mahayana and tantric masters there. Buddhist Bengal exerted a strong influence from the ninth to thirteenth centuries, and Sanskrit Mahayana and tantric texts were donated to Burmese monasteries as late as the fifteenth century. It was only after the demise of Buddhism in India that the Southeast Asian societies looked especially to Ceylon for their Buddhism, where the Theravada had become the orthodoxy.

Just as Southeast Asian Buddhism was not always Theravada, so 'Northern Buddhism' was not always Mahayana. The monastic codes practised in China, Japan, Korea and Tibet all were derived from the Indian mainstream orders. Furthermore, several of these orders flourished in Central Asia (including parts of modern-day Iran and Afghanistan), whence Buddhism was first introduced into China via the Silk Route. Recent scholarship has also suggested that the lines of doctrine and practice long thought to divide Theravada and Mahayana are not as sharply drawn as once imagined. Rather than being a popular (and largely lay) revolution against the Theravada, the Mahayana is seen as a variation on mainstream practices, divided largely over which texts are accepted as the word of the Buddha. As a seventh-century Chinese pilgrim observed about India, 'those who worship bodhisattvas and read Mahayana sutras are called the Mahayana, while those who do not do this are called the Hinayana'.

Yet in the five hundred years since the demise of Buddhism in India, contact between Theravada monks and Mahayana monks had been limited, and to the extent that each had any knowledge about the other, it tended to fall into stereotypes presented in their texts. The Theravadins perceived the followers of the Mahayana as worshippers of non-Buddhist deities who kept inauthentic monastic vows and revered inauthentic texts. Those from Mahayana traditions regarded the Theravadins as practitioners of the Hinayana who sought enlightenment only for themselves and who lacked access to the complete (and more advanced) teachings of the Buddha.

Olcott believed that a great rift had occurred in Buddhism 2,300 years earlier and that if he could simply persuade representatives of the Buddhist nations to agree to his list of 'fourteen items of belief' (he also referred to them as 'Fundamental Buddhistic Beliefs'), then ir might be possible to create a 'United Buddhist World'. Olcott thus travelled to Burma and Japan, where he negotiated with Buddhist leaders until he could find a formulation to which they could assent. He also implored them to send missionaries to spread the dharma. His fourteen principles were sufficiently bland as to be soon forgotten even by those who had agreed to them. But Olcott was again shown to be prescient, for many others would later attempt not only to reduce the essence of Buddhism to a single book, as Olcott had done in his Buddhist Catechism, but to reduce it further to a series of propositions, as he had also attempted to do. Olcott was also the first to try to unite the various Asian forms of Buddhism into a single organization, an effort that bore fruit long after his death when the first world Buddhist organization, the World Fellowship of Buddhists, was founded in 1950.

In the end, however, Olcott's expression of his beliefs led to another schism. He incurred the wrath of Sinhalese Buddhist leaders when he mocked their belief in the authenticity of the precious tooth relic of the Buddha at Kandy by stating that it was in fact a piece of deer's horn. Shortly afterwards the monk who had certified the authenticity of Olcott's catechism found seventeen answers that were 'opposed to orthodox views of the Southern Church' and withdrew his certification. (Certification was restored after Olcott made revisions to a subsequent edition of the catechism, although he refused to endorse the traditional view that the Buddha was eighteen feet tall.) Even here, Olcott presages a common characteristic of modern Buddhism, which tends to see Buddhism as above all a system of rational and ethical philosophy, divorced from the daily practices of the vast majority of Buddhists, such as the worship of relics, which are dismissed as superstitious.

Olcott left one further legacy. Authority in Buddhism is often a matter of lineage, traced backwards in time from student to teacher, ideally ending with the Buddha himself. If one were to imagine a lineage of modern Buddhism traced forwards in time, one might begin with Gunananda (who clearly saw himself as representing the original teachings of the Buddha) to Colonel Olcott, to a young Sinhalese named David Hewaviratne, better known as Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933).

Hewaviratne was born into the small English-speaking middle class of Colombo. His family was Buddhist; at the age of nine he sat with his father in the audience of the Panadure debate, cheering for Gunananda. But like many middle-class children, he was educated in Catholic and Anglican schools. He met Blavatsky and Olcott during their first visit to Ceylon in 1880 and was initiated into the Theosophical Society four years later. In 1881 he changed his name to Anagarika Dharmapala ('Homeless Protector of the Dharma') and, although remaining a layman until late in life, wore the robes of a monk. In 1884, when Blavatsky departed for the Theosophical Society's headquarters in Adyar, India, after a subsequent visit to Ceylon, Dharmapala accompanied her. Upon his return to Ceylon, he became Colonel Olcott's closest associate, accompanying him on a trip to Japan in 1889. In 1898 he worked with Olcott to found the short-lived Dravidian Buddhist Society, dedicated to converting (or, according to Dharmapala, 'returning') the untouchables of south India to Buddhism. Clearly more political than Olcott in both Ceylon and India, he declared that 'India belongs to the Buddhas'.

In 1891, inspired by Edwin Arnold's account of the sad state of the site of the Buddha's enlightenment and by his own trip to the site that year, he founded the Maha Bodhi Society, whose aim was to wrest Bodh Gaya from Hindu control and make it a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from around the world. Dharmapala achieved international fame after his bravura performance at the World's Parliament of Religions, held in conjunction with the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. His eloquent English and ability to quote from the Bible captivated the audience as he argued that Buddhism was clearly the equal, if not the superior, of Christianity in both antiquity and profundity, noting, for example, its compatibility with science. While in Chicago, he met not only the other Buddhist delegates to the parliament, such as the Japanese Zen priest Shaku Soen, but American enthusiasts of Buddhism, including [url=x]Paul Carus[/url].

The lineage of modern Buddhism was passed to China, when Dharmapala stopped in Shanghai in 1893 on his journey back from the World's Parliament of Religions, where he met Yang Wen-hui (1837- 1911). Yang was a civil engineer who had become interested in Buddhism after happening upon a copy of The Awakening of Faith, an important Mahayana treatise. He organized a lay society to disseminate the dharma by carving woodblocks for the printing of the Buddhist canon (a traditional form of merit-making). After serving at the Chinese embassy in London (where he met Max Muller, editor of the 'Sacred Books of the East' series, and his Japanese student Nanjo Bun'yu), he resigned from his government position to devote all of his energies to the publication of Buddhist texts.

Accompanying Dharmapala to Shanghai was the famous Baptist missionary Reverend Timothy Richard, who had also attended the parliament in Chicago. After an unsuccessful attempt by Dharmapala to enlist Chinese monks into the Maha Bodhi Society, Reverend Richard arranged for him to meet Yang Wen-hui. Yang did not think it possible for Chinese monks to go to India to assist in the cause of restoring Buddhism in India, but he suggested that Indians be sent to China to study the Buddhist canon. Here, we note another element of modern Buddhism. Dharmapala felt that the Buddhism of Ceylon was the most pure and authentic version of the Buddha's teachings and would have rejected as spurious most of the texts that Yang had been publishing. Yang, on the other hand, felt that the Buddhism of China was the most complete and authentic, such that the only hope of restoring Buddhism in India lay in returning the Chinese canon of translated Indian texts (including many Mahayana sutras) to the land of their birth. The ecumenical spirit found in much of modern Buddhism does not preclude the valuation of one's own form of Buddhism as supreme.

Yang and Dharmapala seem to have begun a correspondence that lasted over the next fifteen years, in which they agreed on the importance of spreading Buddhism to the West. Towards that end, Yang collaborated with Reverend Richard in an English translation of The Awakening if Faith, and in 1908 established a school to train Buddhist monks to serve as foreign missionaries, with Yang himself serving on the faculty, perhaps the first time in the history of Chinese Buddhism that monks had received instruction from a layman. Yang's contact with figures such as Muller and Dharmapala had convinced him that Buddhism was a religion compatible with the modern scientific world.

The situation faced by Buddhist monks in China was different from that in Ceylon. The challenge came not so much from Christian missionaries, although they were also a strong presence in China, but from a growing community of intellectuals who saw Buddhism as a form of primitive superstition impeding China's entry into the modern world. Buddhism had periodically been regarded with suspicion by the state over the course of Chinese history, and such suspicions were intensified in the early decades of the twentieth century (especially after the Republican revolution of 1911) when Buddhism was denounced both by Christian missionaries and by Chinese students returning from abroad imbued with the ideas of Dewey, Russell and Marx. In 1898 the emperor had issued an edict ordering many Buddhist temples (and their often substantial land holdings) to be converted into secular schools. Although the order was rescinded in 1905, a number of Buddhist schools and academies for the training of monks were founded at monasteries in an effort to prevent the seizure of the property and the establishment of secular schools. The monastic schools set out to train monks in the Buddhist classics, who would in turn go out in public and teach to the laity (as Christian missionaries did). Yang's academy was one such school. Although most were short-lived, they trained many of the future leaders of modern Buddhism in China, who sought to defend the dharma through founding Buddhist organizations, publishing Buddhist periodicals and leading lay movements to support the monastic community. One of the students at Yang's school was the monk T'ai Hsu [Taixu], later to become one of the most famous Chinese Buddhists of the twentieth century. New organizations included the Buddhist Pure Karma Society, founded in 1925 in Shanghai, which ran an orphanage and a free outpatient clinic, sponsored public lectures on Buddhist texts, published the Pure Karma Monthly and operated radio station XMHB, 'The Voice of the Buddha'. The Chinese Metaphysical Society was founded in 1919 in Nanjing. Originally intended for laymen, monks were later allowed to attend, on the condition that they not meditate, recite the Buddha's name, or perform services for the dead. Here Buddhism was presented as a philosophy rather than a religion, and the emphasis was placed not on the recitation of the scriptures (sutras) but on the study of the scholastic treatises, especially those of the Fa-hsiang school, regarded as a form of Buddhist Idealism. For many who participated in these groups, the support and study of Buddhism served as a means of maintaining their Chinese identity during a period of sometimes chaotic social and political change.7

An important characteristic of modern Buddhism, especially in contrast to some early forms, has been the active and visible role of women. Women have contributed to modern Buddhism in a number of domains, but no issue has been more important, perhaps, than the question of the ordination of women as nuns. The Buddha is reported to have asserted that women are capable of following the path to enlightenment, but had only grudgingly permitted the founding of an order of nuns. He is said to have established an additional set of rules for nuns (including the rule that the most senior nun must always defer to the most junior monk) and to have predicted that as a consequence of his allowing women to enter the order, his teaching would only remain in the world for five hundred years. If he had not admitted women, he predicted, it would have lasted for one thousand years. Yet an order of fully ordained nuns was established and it eventually spread to Sri Lanka, Burma, China, Vietnam, Korea and Japan. However, it was difficult for this order to survive periods of social upheaval; the rules of discipline required that ten fully ordained nuns be present to confer ordination on a new nun, after which she was required to have a second ordination ceremony at which ten monks must be present. The order of nuns died out in Sri Lanka around the end of the tenth century. As a result of a protracted war with a king from southern India, Buddhist institutions were devastated to the point that there was no longer the requisite number of monks to provide for the ordination of new monks. The Sri Lankan king brought monks from Burma to revive the order of monks, but he did not make similar efforts for the order of nuns. Thus, although the order of nuns survives in China, Korea and Vietnam, it has died out in the Theravada countries of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.

In tracing the place of women in the lineage of modern Buddhism, Dharmapala again played a role, albeit indirectly. As mentioned above, in 1891 he had founded the Maha Bodhi Society, with the aim of uniting Buddhists from around the world and restoring Bodh Gaya (then under Hindu control) as a sacred centre and place of pilgrimage for all Buddhists. Dharmapala did not live to see this latter goal achieved; Bodh Gaya would not be returned to Buddhists until after India gained its independence from Britain in 1947. But in the decades that followed, Dharmapala's dream was realized, and Bodh Gaya became again a meeting place for Buddhists from across Asia, a place where a Buddhist woman from Thailand could meet a Chinese nun from Taiwan.

Voramai Kabilsingh was born near Bangkok, Siam (Thailand), in 1908, the youngest of six children. She was educated at a Catholic school and later worked as a teacher in a girls' school. She married a politician in 1942 and gave birth to a daughter in 1944. After undergoing surgery in 1955, Kabilsingh developed a strong interest in Buddhism and the practice of meditation, starting a monthly Buddhist magazine that same year. In 1956 she received the eight precepts of a Buddhist layperson, shaved her head and began to wear robes that were light yellow in colour. The order of nuns had never been established in Thailand, and the only Buddhist vocation for women has been that of the mae ji, women who shave their heads and wear white robes and keep some of the vows of a novice, although they are not ordained and have no official status in the Buddhist community. Typically coming from rural backgrounds and with little formal education, mae ji, in many cases widows and women without family support, do not occupy a high status in Thai society. They often live in temple compounds, where they receive food in exchange for cooking and cleaning duties, while others living elsewhere have to beg for their food.

Kabilsingh did not fall into this category and hence created a new one for herself, wearing robes that were neither the white colour of the mae ji or the dark ochre of the monks. The local Buddhist authorities lodged a protest against her, claiming that a woman wearing a yellow robe defiled the monastic order. However, Kabilsingh was exonerated because the shade of yellow that she wore was not permitted for monks. In 1957 she purchased land and constructed the first Thai Buddhist temple for women. She also founded an orphanage and a school. Because the order of nuns in the Theravada tradition had become extinct many centuries before, she was told that it was impossible for her to receive full ordination. Undaunted, she travelled to India and to Bodh Gaya, the site of Buddha's enlightenment, and prayed to the Buddha himself for ordination.

Bodh Gaya is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from around the world, and while she was there Kabilsingh met a Chinese Buddhist nun. The lineage of fully ordained Buddhist nuns had been introduced to China in the fifth century BCE, by a delegation of nuns from Sri Lanka, in fact. Since then, the order of nuns had died out in Sri Lanka but had continued in China, thriving also in Taiwan after the Communist revolution. But because Chinese nuns were adherents of the Mahayana, the Theravada monks of Thailand did not consider the Chinese ordination lineage of nuns to be authentic.

In 1971 Kabilsingh and her daughter (who had researched the origins of the Chinese lineage during her graduate study in Canada) travelled to Taiwan, where she received full ordination as a Buddhist nun, perhaps the first Thai woman in history to do so. Upon her return to Thailand, she continued the traditional merit-making deeds of a Buddhist laywoman, such as presenting offerings of food and robes to monks and having Buddha images made for temples. She also engaged in more modern charitable activities, such as providing food, clothing and books to impoverished schoolchildren. In addition, she did things that Thai Buddhist women had not done in the past, performing some of the traditional roles of a monk, such as teaching the dharma and giving instruction in meditation. Despite her fame, she has not been accepted as a member of the Thai order, many of whose members consider her simply a mae ji.8

In 1868 in Japan, the shogun was deposed and the emperor restored to power. One of the first acts of his new Meiji government was to establish Shinto as the state religion, with the emperor as its head priest. Prior to this time, Buddhism had effectively become the state religion of Japan with each household required by law to be registered at a nearby Buddhist temple. Shinto and Buddhist deities had been worshipped together, but now Buddhist images had to be removed from Shinto shrines and Buddhist monks were prohibited from performing rituals there. The new policies represented not only the creation of state Shinto but a suppression of Buddhism with such slogans as 'Exterminate the buddhas and destroy Shakyamuni (the Buddha)'. Buddhism was regarded as a foreign religion and hence not purely Japanese, as Shinto was considered to be. Over four thousand Buddhist temples were eliminated and thousands of monks were returned to lay life; many were drafted into the imperial army. In some parts of Japan the new policies sparked riots that had to be suppressed by the authorities.
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In the face of these various policies directed against Buddhism, Buddhist leaders undertook measures to demonstrate their importance to the Japanese nation. In 1896 representatives of a number of sects joined together (for the first time in the history of Japanese Buddhism) to form the Alliance of United Sects for Ethical Standards, proclaiming support for the emperor and calling for the expulsion of the truly foreign religion in Japan, Christianity. Such acts met with the approval of the government, and Buddhist priests were allowed to serve in a newly established system of teaching academies for the promulgation of patriotic principles. With the identification of Shinto and the state, priests certified to teach in these academies (located at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines) were expected to wear Shinto robes and recite Shinto prayers. Buddhist priests who did not receive certification to teach were prohibited from giving public teachings, performing rites or residing at Buddhist temples. The policy to establish teaching academies was soon abandoned, but the reforms of Buddhism continued.

A further assault on Buddhism took place in 1872, when the Meiji government removed any special status from monkhood. Henceforth, monks had to register in the household registry system and were subject to secular education, taxation and military conscription. Most controversially, the government declared that 'from now on Buddhist clerics will be free to eat meat, marry, grow their hair, and so on'. The new regulations, and especially the regulation permitting marriage, were met with alarm by the hierarchs of many of the Buddhist sects of Japan9 They feared that rescinding the law against clerical marriage would destroy the distinction between monk and layperson, bringing chaos to the state. For centuries Buddhist leaders in Japan had represented the dharma as having the power to protect the Japanese nation, a power that derived from the monks' strict observance of their vows, especially the vow of celibacy. The maintenance of the monastic code therefore provided what they regarded as Buddhism's greatest service, and hence its closest link, to the state. The Meiji government, however, sought to remove the marks that distinguished Buddhist monks from other subjects of the emperor, the most obvious of which were the shaved head, the vegetarian diet and celibacy. Indeed, the new law had been requested by a monk of the Zen sect who wished to put an end to the government's suppression of Buddhism by demonstrating the willingness of Buddhist priests to serve the nation. In response to protests from Buddhist leaders, the government subsequently issued an addendum to the law, stating that although meat eating and marriage were no longer criminal offences, the individual sects were free to regulate these activities as they saw fit. Most sects subsequently issued regulations either condemning or prohibiting marriage for its monks. None the less, it became increasingly common for monks to marry, and today less than one per cent of monks in Japan observe the code of monastic discipline of a fully ordained monk.

In the last decades of the nineteenth century, Buddhist intellectuals strove to demonstrate the relevance of Buddhism to the interests of the Japanese nation by promoting a new Buddhism that was fully consistent with Japan's attempts to modernize and expand its realm. Buddhism had been attacked in the early years of the Meiji as a foreign and anachronistic institution, riddled with corruption, a parasite on society and the purveyor of superstition, standing in the way of progress and Japan's entry into the modern world. This New Buddhism was represented as both purely Japanese and purely Buddhist, more Buddhist, in fact, than the other forms of Buddhism in Asia. It was also committed to social welfare, urging education for all, and the foundation of hospitals and charities. New Buddhism was fully consistent with modern science. And it supported the expansion of the Japanese empire. Indeed, Buddhist leaders were united in their call to restore true Buddhism (that they believed to exist only in Japan) throughout the rest of Asia, beginning with the Sino-Japanese War of 1894- 5 and continuing until the defeat of Japan by the Allies in 1945.10

One of the leading figures of the New Buddhism was Shaku Soen (1859-1919). Ordained as a novice of the Rinzai Zen sect at the age of twelve, he studied under the Rinzai master Imakita Kosen (1816- 92), who had served as one of the government-certified teachers during the 1870s. Shaku Soen trained under Imakita at the famous Engakuji monastery in Kamakura, receiving 'dharma transmission', and hence authority to teach, at the age of twenty-four. Seeking to combine both Buddhist training and Western-style education, he attended Keio University, and then travelled to Ceylon to study Pali and live as a Theravada monk. Upon his return, he was chosen by a conference of abbots to be one of the four editors of a book entitled The Essentials of Buddhism -- All Sects. Like many of the leading figures of modern Buddhism, he was devoted to teaching meditation to laypeople, providing instruction both in Tokyo and at his monastery. He was selected to be one of the Japanese representatives to the World's Parliament of Religions in 1893, his address being translated into English by one of his lay disciples, D. T. Suzuki. In his report on the parliament, he described the work of the Japanese delegation:

We invited the attention of the participants, both foreign and Japanese, to the following points at least: that the Japanese are people with abundantly loyal and patriotic spirits; that Buddhism has exercised great influence on Japanese spirituality, and had had influence on successive emperors too; that Buddhism is a universal religion and it closely corresponds to what science and philosophy say today; that we cleared off the prejudice that Mahayana Buddhism was not the true teaching of the Buddha; that Mr Straw, a wealthy merchant in New York, had a conversion ceremony carried on at the congress hall in which he became a Buddhist; that a leading Japanese staying in the United States arranged a Buddhist lecture meeting twice for us in the Exposition building, and so on."


Soen served as a Buddhist chaplain in Manchuria during the Russo- Japanese War of 1904-5. He had become sufficiently well known by that time that Leo Tolstoy sought to enlist his support in condemning the war between their two nations, a request that Soen refused.

Soen had, in a way, entered the lineage of modern Buddhism some years before, when he met Dharmapala during his studies in Ceylon. But Soen's presence in Chicago was an important moment in the history of modern Buddhism, not so much for his address, but for his meeting with Paul Carus, a German immigrant living in Illinois and the proponent of the Religion of Science, something which Carus would see most perfectly embodied in Buddhism. Soen later arranged for D. T. Suzuki to stay with Carus in La Salle, Illinois, a period that was to prove important for Suzuki's representation of Zen, and hence for modern Buddhism.12 According to legend, Zen began when the Buddha silently held up a flower. Only one monk in the audience smiled in recognition, receiving from the Buddha a 'mind-to-mind transmission', allowing him to see into his true nature and become enlightened. This teaching is said to have been passed from teacher to student, from India to China (where it was called Chan, meaning 'meditation') to Japan, where it was called Zen (the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese character Chan). Over the course of his long life after leaving La Salle, Suzuki wrote many words about this tradition that did not rely on words. His books came to play a profound role in the propagation of Zen in the West, especially in intellectual and artistic circles. Indeed, many of the extracts presented in this book are by writers who were inspired by Suzuki. The place of the Beat writers, for example, in the lineage of modern Buddhism, can be traced directly to Suzuki, the disciple of Shaku Soen.

The practice of Zen meditation in the West arrived via different routes. In the first decades of the twentieth century, a Zen priest named Harada Daiun (1871-1961) began giving instruction in Zen meditation to both priests and laypeople in Japan. His meditation retreats became famous for their rigour and for Harada's emphasis on kensho, an experience of enlightenment. Although many in the Zen establishment considered the achievement of kensho to be a rare event, Harada taught that it was within the reach of everyone who received the proper instruction, whether they be ordained priests or ordinary laypeople. Like many New Buddhists, Harada was a strong defender of Japanese imperialism and remained on the far right wing of the Japanese political spectrum after 1945. His successor was Yasutani Hakuun (1885-1973), a Zen priest who worked as a schoolteacher before beginning to practise under Harada in 1925. Harada granted him permission to teach in 1943, and after the war he started a meditation group for laypeople on the northern island of Hokkaido. Despite being a priest of the Soto sect of Zen, he became increasingly critical of the Soto establishment and in 1954 he declared his independence from the sect and founded the Sanbokyodan ('Three Treasures Association'). Yasutani criticized and dispensed with those elements of traditional Zen monastic life that he deemed superfluous, especially the wearing of monastic robes, the performance of liturgies and ceremonial rites, and the study of Buddhist scriptures. His emphasis on a streamlined practice and rapid attainment of kensho was ideally suited to laypeople, and especially to foreigners in Japan who had become interested in Zen through the writings of D. T. Suzuki, but whose knowledge of Japanese was insufficient to allow them to enrol in the traditional Zen training monasteries. Two American disciples of Yasutani, Philip Kapleau (1912- ) and Robert Aitken (1917- ), would become among the first American Zen masters, and Japanese disciples of Yasutani, such as Maezumi Roshi and Eido Roshi, would become prominent Zen teachers. In this way, a relatively marginal Zen teacher in Japan established what would become mainstream Zen practice in America. 13

In the Theravada nations of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia there has been a long tradition of dividing monastic practice into two categories: the vocation of texts and the vocation of meditation. In commentaries dating from as early as the fifth century, a preference was expressed for the former. Strong and able monks were expected to devote themselves to study, with meditation regarded as the vocation of those who were somehow less able, especially those who became monks late in life. It was also widely believed that after the first generations of disciples of the Buddha, it was impossible to achieve nirvana in the human realm. This is not to suggest that meditation was not practised; it remained the vocation of small groups called 'forest monks' who lived in remote areas, but it was not the focus of the majority of monks and monasteries.

A revival of meditation practice began in Burma in the late nineteenth century. Like Sri Lanka, Burma was formerly a British colony and had been under British control since 1885. Without its traditional royal patronage, the monastic community lost much of its state support, yet Buddhism became strongly associated with Burmese national identity, with leadership provided by both monks and laymen during and after the struggle for independence, achieved in 1948. One of the key figures in the resurgence of meditation practice was Mahasi Sayadaw (1904-82). He became a novice monk at the age of twelve, deciding not to return to lay life when he became an adult (as was commonly done in Burma) but to become a fully ordained monk, taking his vows at the age of nineteen. After completing advanced scriptural studies in Mandalay, he returned to a monastery in the countryside to teach. Shortly afterwards he met the famous monk Mingun Jetavan Sayadaw, who was teaching a form of meditation known as vipassana.

Buddhist meditation is traditionally divided into two forms. The first is called samatha, or serenity meditation, and is intended to lead to a deep level of concentration, in which one is able to focus the mind one-pointedly on an object, without distraction. Serenity is generally presented as a prerequisite for the second form of meditation, vipassana or insight meditation. Here, the concentrated mind is used to analyse the constituents of experience in an effort to discover their true nature. Insight into this nature is a form of wisdom which, when deepened, results in enlightenment and liberation from future rebirth. Mingun Sayadaw was teaching a form of meditation that he had learned from a forest monk, based on teachings ascribed to the Buddha in a text called the Discourse on the Establishment of Mindfulness (Satipatthana Sutta).

According to the technique that Mahasi Sayadaw learned from his teacher, the formal practice of serenity is dispensed with, and one begins immediately with the development of insight by focusing attention on the rising and falling of the abdomen that occurs with each inhalation and exhalation of the breath. In 1941 Mahasi began teaching this technique to both monks and laypeople in his native village, located in a region that did not suffer greatly during the Japanese invasion and occupation of Burma. In [947 a wealthy lay disciple of Mahasi donated land for a meditation centre in Rangoon. By this time Mahasi Sayadaw's fame was such that the prime minister of the newly independent Burma, U Nu, invited him to be the resident teacher at this new meditation centre in the capital. Over the next decade, Mahasi established similar centres throughout Burma and in Thailand and Ceylon, providing meditation instruction (in what came to be known as 'the Burmese method', also taught, with some variations, by the Burmese lay teacher U Ba Khin) to hundreds of thousands of Buddhist monks and laypeople in the Theravada countries, and later in Europe and America. 'Insight meditation' would (together with Zen meditation) become a primary practice of modern Buddhism, and Mahasi Sayadaw is honoured in the lineage of modern Buddhism as the teacher who brought it to the world.

Modern Buddhism did not come to Tibet. There were no movements to ordain women, no publication of Buddhist magazines, no formation of lay Buddhist societies, no establishment of orphanages, no liberal critique of Buddhism as contrary to scientific progress, no Tibetan delegates to the World's Parliament of Religions, no efforts by Tibetans to found (or join) world Buddhist organizations. Tibet remained relatively isolated from the forces of modern Buddhism, in part because it never became a European colony. Christian missionaries never became a significant presence, Buddhist monks were not educated in European languages, European educational institutions were not established, the printing press was not introduced. Indeed, because of its relative isolation, many, both in Asia and the West, considered Tibet to be a pure abode of Buddhism, unspoiled by the forces of modernity. There was, however, one Tibetan who might be considered a modern Buddhist. He was the monk Gendun Chopel (Dge 'dun chos 'phel, 1903- 51), who spent the years 1934-46 travelling in rndia and Ceylon, where he encountered many of the constituents of modern Buddhism, writing about them in his travel journals. There one finds scathing criticisms of the avaricious European colonial powers, speculations on the compatibility of Buddhism and science, and even an assessment of Madame Blavatsky. In describing the pilgrimage site of Bodh Gaya in 1939, he writes:

Then, because of the troubled times, the place [Bodh Gaya] fell into the hands of heretical [i.e. Hindu] yogins. They did many unseemly things such as building a non-Buddhist temple in the midst of the stupas, erecting a statue of Shiva in the temple, and performing blood sacrifices. The novice Dharmapala was not able to bear this. He died as a result of his great efforts to bring lawsuits in order that the Buddhists could once again gain possession [of Bodh Gaya]. Still, despite his efforts in the past and the passage of laws, his noble vision has not yet come to fruition. Therefore, Buddhists from all of our governments must unite and make all possible effort so that this special place of blessings, which is like the heart inside us, will come into the hands of the Buddhists who are its rightful owners.14


Here Gendun Chopel belatedly adds a Tibetan voice in support of the goals of Dharmapala's Maha Bodhi Society, founded almost fifty years earlier. Adopting the stance of a modern Buddhist, he calls on Tibetans to join with Buddhists from around the world in the crusade to return the most sacred Buddhist site to Buddhist control. But he was an exception among Tibetans. He was imprisoned by the Tibetan government shortly after returning to Tibet in 1946 and died in 1951. Tibet was invaded by China in 1950, and after a decade of increasing tensions, the young Dalai Lama escaped to India during a popular uprising against the Chinese army in Lhasa. Since then, he has become an eloquent spokesman for many of the concerns of modern Buddhism, including the compatibility of Buddhism and science, the rights of women, concern for the environment, and the role of Buddhism in the promotion of world peace.

It is clear from this desultory series of vignettes of modern Buddhist figures from Sri Lanka, China, Thai land, Japan, Burma and Tibet that each of these nations has its own history and its own Buddhism, suggesting that it may be a mistake to speak of something called 'modern Buddhism', at least in the singular. At the same time, there are a remarkable number of links and connections among the figures whose words appear in this anthology. And although it may be misleading to speak of a single form of modern Buddhism in the traditionally Buddhist nations of Asia, the various trends that began at disparate locations throughout the continent of Asia over the past 150 years have made their way, through a variety of conduits, to Europe and America, where they have been combined, sometimes uneasily, and condensed not into a particular variety of Buddhism, such as Burmese Buddhism or Korean Buddhism, but rather something simply called Buddhism. This Buddhism has a number of characteristics, many of which originated not with the Buddha but with Buddhist reformers of the nineteenth century who were themselves responding to the colonial situation.

In 1909, before she found magic and mystery in Tibet, Alexandra David-Neel published a book in Paris entitled Le modernisme Bouddhist et Ie Bouddhisme du Bouddha. She was not contrasting Buddhist modernism and the Buddhism of the Buddha but rather equating them. Like all Buddhist reform movements over the centuries, modern Buddhism has been represented as a return to the teachings of the Buddha, or better, to his ineffable experience beneath the Bodhi tree on that night of the full moon in May. Implicit in this most traditional of claims, however, was a criticism of traditional Buddhism, of the Buddhism of Asia in 1909. The call to return to original Buddhism allowed modern Buddhists like David-Nee! to concede many of the charges made by its critics, whether they were Orientalists, colonial officials, Christian missionaries, or Asian secularists, who found contemporary Buddhists to be benighted idolaters, crushed by centuries of superstition, exploited by an effete and corrupt monastic order. Such charges were made with a remarkable consistency in European accounts of societies as different as Ceylon, Tibet, China, and Japan. Rather than seeking co defend the Buddhism that they knew, many of the leading figures of modern Buddhism sought to accept the claim that Buddhism had suffered an inevitable decline since the master passed into nirvana. The time was ripe to remove the encrustations of the past centuries and return to the essence of Buddhism.

This Buddhism is above all a religion of reason dedicated to bringing an end to suffering. Suffering was often interpreted by modern Buddhists to mean not the sufferings of birth, ageing, sickness and death, but the sufferings caused by poverty and social injustice. The Buddha's ambiguous statements on caste (he did not reject the caste system but regarded caste as irrelevant to success on the path) were selectively read by Victorian readers, both in Europe and in South Asia, to portray him as a crusader against inequality and a social hierarchy based on birth rather than merit. One of the constituents of modern Buddhism is, therefore, the promotion of the social good, whether it be in the form of rebellion against political oppression (especially by colonial powers), of projects on behalf of the poor, or in the more general claim that Buddhism is the religion most compatible with the technological and economic benefits that result from modernization.

Efforts on behalf of the poor were often made in direct response to the criticisms levelled at Buddhist monks by Christian missionaries. With some important exceptions, Buddhist monks had not traditionally been concerned with the needs of laypeople in this life. Their talents (the performance of rituals, the chanting of scriptures) were better directed towards the needs of the future life. Monks were not meant to provide charity to laypeople, their vocation instead was to receive charity from them, serving as a pure 'field of merit' for their donations, thereby causing the donors to accumulate the good karma that would result in a happy rebirth for them and their departed loved ones. These were deemed more important concerns than the vicissitudes of this life, which were caused by not having accumulated such good karma in the past. As a result, and again with some exceptions, Buddhist charitable organizations have been founded by reformist monks or by laypeople, a trend that continues today in 'Engaged Buddhism'.

The Buddhism of the Buddha was also said to be free from the veneration of images. To the extent that reverence was offered to an image of the Buddha, it was a simple expression of thanksgiving for his teachings, given in full recognition that the Buddha had long ago entered into nirvana. This modern portrayal of Buddhist icons was also at odds with traditional practice. In the first centuries of its introduction into China, Buddhism was known as 'the religion of images', suggesting the central importance that images of the Buddha have held, and continue to hold, throughout Buddhist Asia. Although there is no historical evidence of images of the Buddha being made until centuries after h is death, there are a number of images whose sanctity derives from the belief that the Buddha posed for the artists who created them, and these are among the most venerated images in Asia, serving as important actors in the histories of those kings and emperors who possessed them. Relics of the Buddha are believed to be infused with his living presence and thus capable of bestowing all manner of blessings upon those who venerate them. That modern Buddhists (especially in the West) either ignored this most pervasive of Buddhist practices or dismissed it as superstition again demonstrates the importance of the colonial legacy of Christian missionaries (who consistently labelled Buddhists as idolaters) in the formation of modern Buddhism.

The domain in which modern Buddhists most consistently proclaimed the superiority of their religion over Christianity was that of science. The compatibility of Buddhism and science has been asserted by such disparate figures as Dharmapala in Ceylon, T'ai Hsu in China, Shaku Soen in Japan, and more recently by the Dalai Lama. The focus is again on the Buddha himself, who is seen as denying the existence of a creator deity, rejecting a world view in which the universe is controlled by the sacraments of priests, and setting forth instead a rational approach in which the universe operates through the mechanisms of causation. These and other factors make Buddhism, more than any other religion, compatible with modern science and hence able to thrive in the modern age. Elements of traditional cosmology that did not accord with science (such as a flat earth) were generally dismissed as cultural accretions that were incidental to the Buddha's original teaching.

Eastern Monachism opened with an unequivocal statement of the historical humanity of Gautama. “About two thousand years before the thunders of Wycliffe were rolled against the mendicant orders of the west, Gotama Budha [sic] commenced his career as a mendicant in the east, and established a religious system that has exercised a mightier influence upon the world than the doctrines of any other uninspired teacher." By opening with a reference to the fourteenth-century reformer John Wycliffe, Hardy immediately introduced two now familiar features of Western interpretation: the origin of Buddhism as a reaction against the priestcraft and ritual of institutionalized religion, and the role of the Buddha as a social reformer. The body of the work, as the title suggested, compared the Ceylonese sangha (clerical community) to the Roman Catholic clergy and implied that the modern Buddhist teachings are as far removed from the teachings of the Founder, as in his Wesleyan view, the Church of Rome is from the teachings of Jesus. Buddhism, as it is practiced in Ceylon, he wrote, is a degeneration from and ritual elaboration of the Buddha’s original teaching...

This historical displacement between the life of the Buddha and the texts of Buddhism was crucial for T. W. Rhys Davids. The great value of Buddhism to him was that the vast collection of its extant sacred texts preserved a record of the evolution of its religious thought from its development out of Brahmanism in the fifth century BCE right through to the present. He first presented this theme, one that would inform his life’s work, in a public lecture in 1877 titled “What Has Buddhism Derived from Christianity?” which Mrs. Rhys Davids chose to publish in the memorial volume of the Journal of the Pāli Text Society following her husband’s death in 1922.

After explaining in detail the extraordinary similarities between the two great religions, he established that, not only did Buddhism derive nothing from Christianity, there could have been very little influence in either direction. The similarities therefore were the result of the working out of a universal principle, “the same laws acting under similar conditions”. His lesson was that the transformation of Gautama into the Buddha that could be so clearly traced through the texts allowed Christians to see more clearly how Jesus had been transformed into the Christ. In particular, the Buddhist texts showed how a charismatic human being, a great humanist philosopher who had risen up against the ritual, priestcraft, and institutional religion of his time, had over time been deified by his followers. The extraordinary similarities in their lives, the parallel events, strengthened his case. Buddhism was a “religion whose development runs entirely parallel with that of Christianity, every episode, every line of whose history seems almost as if it might have been created for the very purpose of throwing the clearest light on the most difficult and disputed questions of the origins of the European faith”.

This was not only the theme of the first lecture, Mrs. Rhys Davids relays, but a passion he retained throughout his life. She recalls that only weeks before his death he encouraged three Japanese students who visited him to follow the path: “Can you trace in the history of your Buddhism,” he asked, “at what time its votaries began to ascribe divine attributes and status to the Buddha? This is worth your investigating.” It was the basis of the Hibbert Lectures and recurs throughout his work. Both Rhys Davids use the name Gautama (alternately Gotama) very pointedly to emphasize that the hero was a man. The title “Buddha” was for them evidence of precisely the deification process they worked to expose, the process whereby “Jesus, who recalled man from formalism to the worship of God, His Father and Their Father, became the Christ, the only begotten son of God Most High, while Gotama, the Apostle of Self-Control and Wisdom and Love, became the Buddha, the Perfectly Enlightened, Omniscient one, the Saviour of the World.” Buddhism was, to use T. W. Rhys Davids’s expression, “a mirror which allowed Christians to see themselves more clearly.” As a foreign religion its very “otherness” provided the emotional distance, the unfamiliarity, and the lack of attachment necessary for people to be able to see how the process of the deification of a great man and the manufacture of sacred texts operated. The principle could then be applied to reveal how the words of Jesus, his humanist morality, had similarly become obscured and sacralized through the well-intentioned, and thoroughly natural, elaborations of his disciples.

It was a call for reform within his own society and offered a solution to the question of the time: what does Christianity mean in an age of science that calls into question “its divine origin and supernatural growth”? His consistent refrain was that Christianity, like any other religion, should be able to stand scientific scrutiny.

-- Defining Modern Buddhism: Mr. and Mrs. Rhys Davids and the Pali Text Society, by Judith Snodgrass


Despite general agreement that the Buddha had long ago anticipated the discoveries of modern science, modern Buddhists were not unanimous in their views of science. Some saw Buddhism, with its denial of a creator deity and emphasis on causation, to anticipate theories of a mechanistic universe. Others predicted that the East would receive technology from the West and the West would receive spiritual peace from the East, because the West excelled in investigating the external world of matter while the East excelled in investigating the inner world of consciousness. One finds here yet another characteristic of modern Buddhism. It had become a commonplace of European colonial discourse that the West was more advanced than the East because Europeans were extroverted, active and curious about the external world, while Asians were introverted, passive and obsessed with the mystical. It was therefore the task of Europeans to bring Asians into the modern world. In modern Buddhism this apparent shortcoming is transformed into a virtue, with Asia, and especially Buddhists, endowed with a peace, a contentment and an insight that the acquisitive and distracted Western mind sorely needs.

Prior to the development of modern Buddhism, the many forms of Buddhism in Asia had developed regionally, with contacts among various traditions occurring across local borders. The lineage of monastic ordination in the Theravada had been established in Burma by monks from Sri Lanka, spreading from Burma to Thailand. When that lineage became threatened in Sri Lanka as a result of wars, a delegation of monks was invited from Burma around 1070 and later from Siam in 1753 to ordain Sinhalese monks, thereby reviving the lineage in the nation from whence it had come. In the early centuries of Japanese Buddhism, monks would often make the perilous sea voyage to China to retrieve texts and teachings. Tibetans invited Indian Buddhist masters to Tibet and Indian masters would sail to Sumatra to study. Yet, as each national tradition developed, the importance placed on such contacts diminished, and each type of Buddhism developed its own character and its own sense of being the repository of the true teaching. Monks from Sri Lanka regarded monks from East Asia as inauthentic because they did not hold the Theravada ordination. Monks from East Asia or Tibet regarded the Theravada monks as lacking the full dispensation of the Buddha's teachings found in the Mahayana sutras, texts that Theravada monks considered spurious. Yet such characterizations were largely rhetorical, since travel over long distances was difficult and India, the common place of pilgrimage for all Buddhists, had long since lost its own Buddhist tradition.

All of this changed with the advent of modern Buddhism and the modern age, with greater opportunities for foreign travel. As we have seen, Dharmapala's vision was to develop a world Buddhist mission, one which would restore the great pilgrimage places of India to Buddhist control. But this immediately raised the question of what was meant by 'Buddhism'. Dharmapala regarded the Theravada, especially as it was practised in Ceylon, to be the true Buddhism, the Buddhism of the Buddha, a view supported by many of the scholars of the day. Hence, there is a tendency in some branches of modern Buddhism to represent the Theravada, despite its considerable regional variations in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma and Cambodia, as a monolith and as the purest form of Buddhism. Consequently, foreign monks from East Asia who visited Ceylon were often encouraged to take a second ordination there, to return them to the original monastic order. At the same time, modern Buddhists from China and Japan were intent on demonstrating that the Mahayana or, as it was often referred to at that time, 'Northern Buddhism', was the word of the Buddha. D. T. Suzuki's first book in English, Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism (1907), was essentially an apology for the Mahayana. His teacher, Shaku Soen, as we have seen, had defended its authenticity at the World's Parliament of Religions.

But the question of the authenticity of the Mahayana and the historical primacy of the Theravada was not to be resolved by the modern Buddhists. Instead, many sought to identify something that had not existed before, a Buddhism that was free of sectarian concerns and historical developments. There was a sense among many that the various forms of Buddhism in Asia had been polluted by all manner of cultural influences, making them more and more distant from the original teachings of the Buddha. This was not a new idea. Indeed, from early on in India there was the doctrine of the 'decline of the dharma', that in the centuries that followed the death of the Buddha it would become harder and harder to maintain the precepts and follow the path that the Buddha had set forth. In the Pure Land schools of Japanese Buddhism, it was deemed impossible to follow the path of the great saints of the past during the present degenerate age; the only recourse was to accept the grace of the buddha Amitabha and be delivered upon death into h is pure land. In much of the Theravada world, it was held that it was no longer possible to attain nirvana. Instead, one should accumulate merit in order to be reborn as a disciple of the next buddha, Maitreya, in the far future.

What was different about modern Buddhism was the conviction that centuries of cultural and clerical ossification could be stripped from the teachings of the Buddha to reveal a Buddhism that was neither Theravada or Mahayana, neither monastic or lay, neither Sinhalese, Japanese, Chinese or Thai. This was a form of Buddhism whose essential teachings could be encompassed within the pages of a single book. Hence, for the first time in the history of Buddhism, we find in modern Buddhism the tendency to summarize Buddhism in one volume. And it is noteworthy that the first attempts to do so were made not by Buddhist monks in Asia, but by Americans. In 1881, when Colonel Olcott published the first edition of The Buddhist Catechism, it was immediately translated into Sinhala by Dharmapala. In the preface to the thirty-sixth edition he wrote: 'It has always seemed incongruous that an American making no claims at all to scholarship, should be looked to by the Sinhalese nation to help them teach the Dharma to their children, and as I believe I have said in an earlier edition, I only consented to write the Buddhist Catechism after I found that no Bhikkhu [monk] would undertake it.'15 That no such monk was forthcoming suggests more about Olcott's assumptions about Buddhism than it does about any deficiencies in the Sinhalese clergy. In 1894 Paul Carus published The Gospel of the Buddha According to Old Records, a work that D. T. Suzuki, on the instructions of Shaku Soen, translated into Japanese for use in Buddhist seminaries in Japan. In T938 Dwight Goddard published A Buddhist Bible, in which he included texts of his own composition. Thus, when Christmas Humphreys, who had founded the Buddhist Society in London in 1924 (originally as a branch of the Theosophical Society), published the third edition of his Buddhism (1962), he would explain that his 'interest is in world Buddhism as distinct from any of its various Schools', believing 'that only in a combination of all Schools can the full grandeur of Buddhist thought be found'. 16 Such a 'world Buddhism', transcending all regional designation and sectarian affiliation, had not existed prior to the advent of modern Buddhism. The contact of the various forms of Buddhism in Asia during the nineteenth century required the quest to separate what was essential from what was merely cultural, to create something simply called Buddhism.

[t was only in this sense that Buddhism could be regarded as a universal religion. As such, many of the distinctions of other forms of Buddhism faded. For example, whereas it was traditionally held that Buddhism could not exist without the presence of an ordained clergy, many of the leaders of modern Buddhism were laypeople and many of the monks who became leaders of modern Buddhism did not always enjoy the respect, and sometimes not even the cognizance, of the monastic establishment. Indeed, one of the characteristics of modern Buddhism is that teachers who were marginal figures in their own cultures became central on the international scene. Freed from the sexism that has traditionally pervaded the Buddhist monastic orders, women played key roles in the development of modern Buddhism. But modern Buddhism did not dispense with monastic concerns. Instead, it blurred the boundary between the monk and the layperson, with laypeople taking on the vocations of the traditionally elite monks: the study and interpretation of scriptures and the practice of meditation. Each of these factors contributes to a sense of modern Buddhism as shifting emphasis away from the corporate community (especially the community of monks) to the individual, who was able to define for him- or herself a new identity that had not existed before, sometimes even designing new robes that marked a status between the categories of monk and layperson.

The essential practice of modern Buddhism was meditation. In keeping with the quest to return to the origin, modern Buddhists looked back to the central image of the tradition, the Buddha seated in silent meditation beneath a tree, contemplating the ultimate nature of the universe. This silent practice allowed modern Buddhism generally to dismiss the rituals of consecration, purification, expiation and exorcism so common throughout Asia as extraneous elements that had crept into the tradition in response to the needs of those unable to follow the higher path. Silent meditation allowed modern Buddhism once again to transcend local expressions, which required form and language. At the same time, its very silence provided a medium for moving beyond sectarian concerns of institutional and doctrinal formulations by making Buddhism, above all, an experience. Although found in much of modern Buddhism, this view was put forth most strongly in the case of Zen, moving it outside the larger categories of Buddhism and even religion into a universal sensibility of the sacred in the secular.

The strong emphasis on meditation as the central form of Buddhist practice marked one of the most extreme departures of modern Buddhism from previous forms. The practice of meditation had been throughout Buddhist history the domain of monks, and even here meditation was merely one of many vocations within the monastic institution. In China it is estimated that 80 per cent of Buddhist monks resided not in the large training monasteries but in hereditary temples where they earned their livelihood by performing funeral rites and memorial services, and rarely practised meditation. In modern Japan the great majority of Zen priests are the sons of Zen priests and administer the family temple, again devoting much of their energies to services for the dead. They would have received instruction in meditation (as well as other ritual forms) during a stay of one month to three years at a Zen training monastery, usually when they were in their early twenties. During their stay they would receive 'dharma transmission' and hence permission to serve as the head priest of a Zen temple. In Sri Lanka monks who are scholars have traditionally been regarded more highly than meditators. In modern Buddhism, however, meditation is a practice recommended for all, with the goal of enlightenment moved from the distant future to the immediate present.

What, then, is modern Buddhism? The question of the extent to which it is authentically Buddhist is difficult to answer, without first defining what authentic Buddhism might be, a question that has occupied so many modern Buddhists. It seems clear that much of what we regard as Buddhism today is, in fact, modern Buddhism. And modern Buddhism seems to have begun, at least in part, as a response to the threat of modernity, as perceived by certain Asian Buddhists, especially those who had encountered colonialism. Yet these modern Buddhists were very much products of modernity, with the rise of the middle class, the power of the printing press, the ease of international travel. Many of these leaders were deeply involved in independence movements and identified Buddhism with the interests of the state; one thinks of Dharma pal a in Ceylon, T'ai hsu in China, Shaku Soen in Japan, Ledi Sayadaw in Burma and, more recently, the Dalai Lama in exile from Tibet. Yet together they have forged an international Buddhism that transcends cultural and national boundaries, creating in the following generation a cosmopolitan network of intellectuals, writing most often in English.

It is perhaps best to consider modern Buddhism not as a universal religion beyond sectarian borders, but as itself a Buddhist sect. There is Thai Buddhism, there is Tibetan Buddhism, there is Korean Buddhism, and there is Modern Buddhism. Unlike previous forms of national Buddhism, this new Buddhism does not stand in a relation of mutual exclusion to these other forms. One may be a Chinese Buddhist and also be a modern Buddhist. Yet one may also be a Chinese Buddhist without being a modern Buddhist. Like other Buddhist sects, modern Buddhism has its own lineage, its own doctrines, its own practices, some of which have been outlined above. And like other Buddhist sects, modern Buddhism has its own canon of sacred scriptures, many of which appear in the pages that follow.

This book presents selections from the works of thirty-one figures -- monks and laymen, nuns and laywomen, poets and missionaries, meditation masters and social revolutionaries - who have figured in the formation of modern Buddhism. Each extract is preceded by a short introduction, providing a biographical sketch of the author in question and brief comment on the reading. What is remarkable about the lives of these figures is the degree of their interconnection. There is not a single author included here who was not acquainted with at least one other, thus creating the lineage so essential to modern Buddhism. In order to emphasize the development of this lineage, the authors are presented chronologically, in order of the year of their birth. The passages from their works are presented as they appear in the editions from which they are drawn, preserving the variant spellings, transliteration and punctuation (or lack of it). A few misprints have been silently emended, and some elements of presentation (such as footnote markers) made consistent.

This anthology is very much a preliminary work. The lives and works of the authors included here deserve much more comment and analysis than I have been able to provide. And many other figures might have been included. For example, none of the major scholars in the development of the academic discipline of Buddhist Studies are discussed, despite their great importance in the formation of popular conceptions of Buddhism. And many of the more recent leaders of modern Buddhism deserve study. The present work seeks more modestly to offer a small sample of the remarkable group of men and women whose works and lives -- some peripherally, some directly -- have created a form of Buddhism that is both so new, and so familiar.

_______________

Notes:

1. A Full Account if the Buddhist Controversy, held at Pantura, in August, 1873. By the 'Ceylon Times' Special Reporter: with the Addresses Revised and Amplified by the Speakers (Colombo: Ceylon Times Office, 1873), p. 2.

2. For a detailed study of the debate, its antecedents and aftermath, see R. F. Young and G. P.V Somaratna, Vain Debates: The Buddhist-Christian Controversies of Nineteenth-Century Ceylon (Vienna: de Nobili Research Library, 1996).

3. A Full Account of the Buddhist Controversy, held at Pantura, i,n August, 1873, pp. 10-11.

4. Ibid., p. 13.

5. Ibid., pp. 2-3.

6. Cited in Stephen Prothero, The White Buddhist: The Asian Odyssey if Henry Steel Olcott (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), P.96.

7. This description of Chinese Buddhism is drawn from what remains the standard work on the subject: Holmes Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968).

8. The biography of the Venerable Voramai Kabilsingh was drawn from Chatsumarn Kabilsingh, 'Voramai Kabilsingh' in Spring Wind: Buddhist Cultural Forum, vol. 6, nos. 1-3: pp. 202-9.

9. On the debates over clerical marriage, see Richard Jaffe, Neither Monk Nor Layman: Clerical Marriage in Modern Japanese Buddhism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001).

10. On Meiji policies regarding Buddhism and Buddhist responses, see Richard Jaffe, Neither Monk Nor Layman: Clerical Marriage in Modern Japanese Buddhism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); James Edward Ketelaar, Of Heretics and Martyrs in Meiji Japan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990); and Brian Victoria, Zen at War (New York: Weatherhill, 1997).

11. Shokin Furuta, 'Shaku Soen: The Footsteps of a Modern Japanese Zen Master' in The Modernization of Japan, a Special Edition in the Philosophical Studies of Japan series, vol. 7 (Tokyo: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 1967), p. 76. The biography of Soen presented here is drawn largely from this source.

12. See Robert Sharf, 'The Zen of Japanese Nationalism' in Donald S. Lopez, Jr (ed.), Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism Under Colonialism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), pp. 107-60.

13. On Yasutani and his influence, see Robert Sharf, 'Sanbokyodan: Zen and Way of the New Religions,' Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 22, 3- 4 (Autumn 1995): pp. 417- 58.

14. Dge 'dun chos 'phel, Rgya gar gyi gnas chen khag la bgrod pa'i lam yig (Guide to the Holy Places of India) in Hor khang bsod nams dpal 'bar (ed.), Dge 'dun chos 'phel gyi gsung rtsom, vol. 2 (Gang can rig mdzod 12; Lhasa: Bod ljongs bod yig dpe rnying dpe skrun khang, 1990), p. 319.

15. Henry S. Olcott, The Buddhist Catechism, 44th edition (Adyar, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1947), p. xii. It is important to note that Gunananda, who had fallen out with Olcott over matters both financial and ideological, wrote his own 'catechism' in 1887 (see Young and Somaratna, pp. 206-9). Gunananda particularly objected to Olcott's condemnation of traditional forms of Buddhist devotion. In 1888 he denounced Theosophy as a heresy and a threat to Buddhism (see Young and Somaratna, p. 212).

16. Christmas Humphreys, Buddhism, 3rd edition (London: Penguin, 1962), p. i.
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London Buddhist Vihara
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/18/20

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London Buddhist Vihara
The main building at London Buddhist Vihara, London
Religion
Affiliation: Theravada Buddhism
Leadership: Anagarika Dharmapala, founder
Location: Dharmapala Building, The Avenue, London W4 1UD
Country: United Kingdom
Architect(s): E. J. May
General contractor: R. N. Shaw
Completed: c. 1877
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name: London Buddhist Vihara (Former CAV Social Club)
Designated: 2 February 1970
Reference no. 1079469
Website: http://www.londonbuddhistvihara.org

The London Buddhist Vihara (Sinhala:ලන්ඩන් බෞද්ධ විහාරය) is one of the main Theravada Buddhist temples in the United Kingdom. The Vihara was the first Sri Lankan Buddhist monastery to be established outside Asia.

Established in 1926, the Vihara is managed by the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust in Colombo.
The current chief bhikkhu of the Vihara is Ven Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera, who is also the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain.[1]

History

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Founder Anagarika Dharmapala

The London Buddhist Vihara was founded in 1926 by Anagarika Dharmapala.[2]

One of the temple's main benefactors during its early days was Mary Foster, who financed ‘Foster House’ in Ealing.[3] This was the first Sri Lankan Buddhist temple established outside Asia and was named the London Buddhist Vihara in 1926. Shortly afterwards, the Vihara moved to Gloucester Road in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where it continued until the Second World War. During the war, the temple premises were requisitioned, and the monks returned to Ceylon.

In 1955, the Vihara reopened in Ovington Square, Knightsbridge under the initiative of Sir Cyril de Zoysa.[4]


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Sir Cyril de Zoysa (26 October 1896 – 2 January 1978) was a Sri Lankan industrialist, Senator and a philanthropist. The President of the Senate of Ceylon from 1960 to 1965, he was a leader in the Buddhist revival movement in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the 20th century. He was distantly related to Sri Lankan tycoon Sir Ernest de Silva...

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Sir Albert Ernest de Silva (26 November 1887 – 9 May 1957) was a Ceylonese business magnate, banker, barrister and public figure, considered to be the most prominent Ceylonese philanthropist of the 20th century. A wealthy and influential polymath, he was the founder-chairman of the largest bank in Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka), the Bank of Ceylon, the founder-governor of the State Mortgage Bank and chairman of the Ceylon All-Party committee.
He made many contributions to Ceylonese society and is also considered to be the preeminent philatelist in the history of Ceylon. Upon Ceylon's independence, he was asked to become the first Ceylonese Governor General (representative of the King in Ceylon, i.e. de facto head of state), an honour he declined for personal reasons.[4] De Silva was at the pinnacle of upper-class society and, as the wealthiest Ceylonese of his generation, he defined the island's ruling class. His memorials describe him as highly respected for his integrity and honesty.

Sir Ernest de Silva was born to one of the most affluent families in Ceylon. His parents and grandparents were extremely wealthy and owned much land all over the country. His great-grandfather, Emans de Silva Gunasekere and his grandfather, S. D. S. Gunasekere bequeathed the properties to his father, A. E. de Silva, who later became the wealthiest businessman in Ceylon, and named his son Albert Ernest de Silva Jr. The young heir received his education first at Royal College, Colombo, graduated subsequently from Clare College, Cambridge and was called to the bar at the Inner Temple. He was a close friend of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who was a contemporary of his at Cambridge. They met again in 1930 when Nehru arrived for a visit in Ceylon.

Sir Ernest de Silva was a strong Buddhist who contributed much to the advancement of Buddhism. One such instance was when he purchased an Island (Polgasduwa) in 1911 and offered it to Ven. Nanatiloke, the famous German monk, to start a hermitage for Buddhist monks. The founder-Preceptor, a reputed German Professor who had been ordained in Burma, attracted many scholars and thinkers from all parts of the world, to name a few, from Germany, France, Holland, Yugoslavia, England and the United States of America in the West to the Far East and went on to play a prominent role in the revitalisation of Buddhism in the world. Sir Ernest was thus instrumental in putting Ceylon on the map of the world of philosophy and religion.

When a great disciple of the German monk, Ven. Gnanoponika, had wanted to disrobe and return to Germany to take his Jewish mother away from the Nazi hostilities, Sir Ernest had used his influence and vouched for his mother and relatives and brought them to Ceylon whereupon some resided in one of his estates.

He also built a temple along with this mother: the Veluvanaramaya. He was the President of the YMBA (Young Men's Buddhist Association) and the Kalutara Bodhi Trust ...

Kalutara Bodhiya is a Bodhi tree (sacred fig) located in Kalutara, Western Province of Sri Lanka. Situated on the Galle Colombo main road, by the side of Kalu River just south to the Kalutara city, it is believed to be one of the 32 saplings of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. A Buddhist temple Kalutara Viharaya and a modern Stupa, Kalutara Chaitya are located in close proximity to this sacred fig. One of the most venerated religious place in Sri Lanka, hundreds of Buddhists and foreign tourists visit this religious place daily...

The Kalutara Bodhi Trust (KBT) was established by Sir Cyril de Zoysa, a prominent lawyer, senator and notary public, with the help of six other lawyers in November 7, 1951. The prime objective of the Kalutara Bodhi Trust is the “Protection and Nurturing of Historic Kalutara Bodhiya”. Sir Ernest de Silva was the first chairman of the KBT. Although Kalutara Bodhi Trust was initially confined to Kalutara region in its scope of work, today it has expanded its operation by going beyond from its initial objective for the sake of Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka.

Presently Kalutara Bodhi Trust serves as a non-profit organization which empowers the education and health sectors as well as the civil society in Sri Lanka. In addition to the protection and development of Kalutara Bodhiya, its other main objective is to alleviate poverty and giving humanitarian assistance to the needy sectors of the Sri Lankan population to achieve sustainable development and welfare of the society. In addition to that KBT is also involved in conducting Blood Donation Programmes and programmes to save cattle from death on every other poya days.

-- Kalutara Bodhiya [Kalutara Bodhi Trust], by Wikipedia


and his wife was the Inaugural President of the Ceylon Women's Buddhist Congress. Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was Ceylon's president from 1989 to 1993, said of him that "if there was a Buddhist Temple or school that he did not help, it was not in Ceylon.

Sir Ernest was, in his time, Ceylon's richest man and one of the wealthiest Ceylonese of the twentieth century.He inherited and purchased thousands of acres of tea, rubber and coconut estates as well as land in the prominent areas of Colombo. One such estate was the famed 1200 acre (5 km²) Salawa estate which was used as a rubber plantation. And also Rukkattana estate in Bingiriya was another property of him which was used as a coconut plantation. He owned 46 acres (7360 perches) of land mostly in the Cinnamon Gardens (Colombo 7) which, being one of the most expensive areas in Ceylon, would be worth approximately $600 million in the economy of the 2010s. His company dealt in every description of Ceylonese produce, principally plumbago (graphite), desiccated coconut, fibre, cacao, rubber, cinnamon and tea. The main export business was done with the United Kingdom and the continent, through the firm's agents in London, Hamburg and other European ports.

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His residence, the "Sirimathipaya Mansion", equipped then with horse stables and tennis courts, now serves as the Prime Minister's office.

Aside from public life, de Silva's central passion was stamp collecting. His Ceylonese collection is said to have been world-class, second only to that of King George V. He was said to be one of the most notable philatelists in the world and also owned the legendary orange-red "Post Office" Mauritius One Penny (1847) stamp; considered to be among the rarest and most expensive stamps in the world. In keeping with his charitable ways, he donated the stamp to his relative, Sir Cyril de Zoysa, for the construction of the YMBA headquarters building. Subsequently, the stamp brought $1.1 million at an auction in 1993.

Sir A. E. de Silva was also known to be one of the best Ceylonese billiards players of his time and was the patron of the Ceylon Amateur Billiards Association. He played rounds with the then-world champions in his mansion and club. He was also the president of the Ceylon Turf Club and had the rare distinction of winning two Governor's Cups in Ceylon with his favourites Louvello and L'Allegro as well as a Governor's Cup in Calcutta. As president, he maintained a high level of integrity in the "Sport of Kings". He was also one of the first Ceylonese to own a Rolls Royce.

Ernest de Silva was knighted as a Knight Bachelor on 1 January 1946 by King George VI for his public services in Ceylon in the 1946 New Year Honours.

-- Ernest de Silva, by Wikipedia


De Zoysa was a successful businessman having a diverse array of ventures... In 1942, he established the South Western Bus Company, which was reconstituted as the South Western Omnibus Company Limited in 1952. It was nationalized in 1958, when the Ceylon Transport Board was formed. He established Associated Motorways Limited in 1949, which is one of the largest conglomerates of Ceylon. It used to manufacture Sisil refrigerators and motor vehicle tyres. He also established Associated Rubber Industries, Associated Batteries, Associated Vacu-lat and Associated Cables.

De Zoysa was the Chairman of the Kalutara Urban Council and was elected to the Senate of Ceylon in 1947. He was elected Deputy President and Chairman of Committees in 1951 and served till 1955. He was elected President of the Senate of Ceylon in 1955 succeeding Sir Nicholas Attygalle and served till his retirement in 1961. He was made a Knights Bachelor in the 1955 Birthday Honours.

-- Cyril de Zoysa, by Wikipedia


Ven Narada Nayaka Thera became the chief bhikkhu of the Vihara in 1958.[5]

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Narada Mahathera (born Sumanapala Perera (14 July 1898 – 2 October 1983) was a Theravada Buddhist monk, scholar, translator, educator and Buddhist missionary who was for many years the Superior of Vajiraramaya in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was a popular figure in his native country, Sri Lanka, and beyond.

He was born in Kotahena, Colombo to a middle-class family, educated at St. Benedict's College and Ceylon University College, and ordained at the age of eighteen.

In 1929 he represented Sri Lanka at the opening ceremony for the new Mulagandhakuti vihara at Sarnath, India, and in 1934 he visited Indonesia, the first Theravadan monk to do so in more than 450 years. During this opportunity he planted and blessed a bodhi tree in southeastern side of Borobudur on 10 March 1934, and some Upasakas were ordained as monks. From that point on he travelled to many countries to conduct missionary work: Taiwan, Cambodia, Laos, South Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, Nepal, and Australia. In 1956, he visited the United Kingdom and the United States, and addressed a huge crowd at the Washington Monument. On 2 November 1960, Narada Maha Thera brought a bodhi tree to the South Vietnamese temple Thích Ca Phật Đài, and made many visits to the country during the 1960s.

Along with others (such as Piyadassi Maha Thera) he contributed to the popularization of the bana style dharma talk in the 1960s and brought the Buddhist teachings "to the day-to-day lives of the Westernized middle class in Sri Lanka."

-- Narada Maha Thera, by Wikipedia


The Vihara moved to Heathfied Gardens, Chiswick in 1964. Ven Hammalawa Saddhatissa Nayaka Thera subsequently became the chief Bhikkhu of the Vihara [6]...

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Hammalawa Saddhatissa Maha Thera (1914–1990) was an ordained Buddhist monk, missionary and author from Sri Lanka, educated in Varanasi, London, and Edinburgh. He was a contemporary of Walpola Rahula, also of Sri Lanka...

The Maha Bodhi Society invited Saddhatissa to become a missionary (dharmaduta) monk in India like his contemporary Henepola Gunaratana.

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Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is a Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist monk. He is often affectionately known as Bhante G...

He received his higher education in Sri Lanka at Vidyalankara College in Kelaniya and the Buddhist Missionary College (an affiliate of the Maha Bodhi Society) in Colombo.

After his education, he was sent to India for missionary work as a representative of the Maha Bodhi Society. He primarily served the Untouchables in Sanchi, Delhi, and Bombay.


He also served as a religious advisor to the Malaysian Sasana Abhivurdhiwardhana Society, Buddhist Missionary Society, and Buddhist Youth Federation. Following this he served as an educator for Kishon Dial School and Temple Road Girls' School. He was also the principal of the Buddhist Institute of Kuala Lumpur.

Bhante Gunaratana went to the United States at the invitation of the Sasana Sevaka Society in 1968 in order to serve as the General Secretary of the Buddhist Vihara Society of Washington, D.C. He was elected president of the society twelve years later. While serving in this office, he has conducted meditation retreats and taught courses in Buddhist Studies.

Gunaratana earned a bachelor's, master's, and doctorate in philosophy at American University. He has also taught graduate level courses on Buddhism at American University, Georgetown University, Bucknell University, and the University of Maryland, College Park. He also lectures at universities throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. He is the author of the book Mindfulness in Plain English.

Bhante Gunaratana is currently the abbot of the Bhavana Society, a monastery and meditation retreat center that he founded in High View, West Virginia.

-- Henepola Gunaratana, by Wikipedia


Amaravati Monastery Marks Bhante's Death
by Munisha
Thu, 22 Nov, 2018 - 13:32

At Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire, UK, the evening chanting on the day after Bhante’s funeral was dedicated to him.

Amaravati is a monastery in the Thai Forest Tradition, run by the English Sangha Trust, who owned the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara where Bhante lived in the 1960s.


In order to teach to Indians he learnt Indian languages such as Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. While in India, he came to know B. R. Ambedkar, who reportedly obtained advice from him on how to draft the Indian constitution along the lines of the vinaya. He also obtained an M.A. Degree from the Banaras Hindu University and then became a lecturer there.

In 1957 he traveled to London at the request of the Maha Bodhi Society and lived the rest of his life in the West.

He obtained his PhD from the University of Edinburgh and held academic appointments at a number of universities. He was a visiting lecturer in Buddhist studies at Oxford University; a lecturer in Sinhala at the University of London; and Professor of Pali and Buddhism at the University of Toronto. He was a Buddhist Chaplain at the London University and a vice president of the Pali Text Society.

At the time of his death he was the head of the London Buddhist Vihara and the Head of the Sangha (Sanghanayaka) of the United Kingdom and Europe of the Siam Nikaya of Sri Lanka."


He was posthumously honored in 2005 by Sri Lanka with a postage stamp bearing his image.

-- Hammalawa Saddhatissa, by Wikipedia


and was succeeded in 1985 by Ven Dr Medagama Vajiragnana Nayaka Thera.[7]

In 1994, The Vihara moved to its present premises at The Avenue, Chiswick. Ven Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera was appointed as the Chief Bhikkhu in May 2008.

The London Buddhist Vihara has several resident bhikkhus from Sri Lanka and continues to conduct and actively engage in religious Buddhist activities in the region.

See also

• Buddhism in the United Kingdom
• Buddhism in Europe

References

1. Bogoda Seelawimala Thera appointed new Sanghanayake in Britain
2. London Buddhist Vihara Founder’s Day Celebrations
3. 75th Anniversary Celebrations of the London Buddhist Vihara
4. Sir Cyril de Zoysa, the great Buddhist devotee Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine.
5. A Biographical Sketch of Venerable Narada Maha Thera
6. NEW POSTAL STAMP
7. Buddhist missionary in the West after WW II[permanent dead link]

External links

• Official website
• London Buddhist Vihara 90th Anniversary & Anagarika Dharmapala Tribute by Mr.Amal Abeyawardene

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Our Founder, Anagarika Dharmapala
by Andrew Scott (Sri Lanka)
The Maha Bodhi, Apr-Jun, 1981, p. 129
London Buddhist Vihara

Just over a century ago there was born a man destined to burn with a desire to spur the people of Sri Lanka with a deep sense of patriotism, nationalism and service. His enthusiasm and tireless efforts made him drive his human frame to lengths beyond common human endurance and in a noble life dedicated to national and religious causes, he has left inspiration for his compatriots who live today. That noble personality was none other than Anagarika Dharmapala, a distinguished son of Lanka, who saw the plight his people had fallen into - their religion neglected, their lives dispirited and drifting into something alien and unnatural.

Born on 17th September 1864 to a rich and influential family in Colombo, in accordance with the custom of the day the child was named Don David. He was the son of H. Don Carolis, the founder of a furniture shop and Mallika Hewavitarne.

From his young days David's ideas were fashioned in conformity to the Buddhist way of life and very soon he came under the influence of two great Buddhist leaders of the time, Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera and Migettuwatte Sri Gunananda Thera and as a result of this he developed a great attachment to the Buddhist monks. In one of his articles Dharmapala states:

"In contrast to my wine-drinking, meat-eating and pleasure-loving missionary teachers, the Bhikkhus were meek and abstemious. I loved their company and would sit quietly in a corner and listen to their wise discourse, even when it was far above my head."

In 1880 as a boy of 16 years he chanced to meet Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky as a result of which meeting he was drawn to a life of religious dedication. In 1884, much against the wishes of his father, Dharmapala was taken by Madame Blavatsky to Adyar. Later returning from India he resided at the Theosophical Society Headquarters.

In 1886 when Colonel Olcott and C.W. Leadbeater came to Sri Lanka to collect funds for the Buddhist Education Fund, Dharmapala was a junior clerk who had already acquired a sound knowledge of English, Sinhalese and Pali and, in addition, had mastered the Buddhist scriptures. Soon he joined Colonel Olcott and Leadbeater in their campaign for Buddhist schools.

He renounced the wealth, position and comforts of a home life, adopted the name Anagarika (homeless), and garbed in the simple attire of a Buddhist devotee he became a religious propagandist.

His tours of Ceylon's (now Sri Lanka) remote villages made him understand the handicaps the local villagers were forced to experience without proper roads and houses, schools and hospitals. Shortly he was convinced of the fact that the greatness of a nation depended solely on the happiness and contentment of the rural folk and he dreamed of the day when Ceylon would emerge as an independent nation and bring back to life the religion and pristine glory of the Sinhala race.

Anagarika Dharmapala's services to Buddhism were many. The most outstanding thing in his life was the active part he played to resuscitate Buddhism in Ceylon and the contribution to the nationalist movement. He campaigned for these worthy causes amidst tremendous difficulties.

He first made his name internationally when he attended the World Parliament of Religion held in Chicago in 1893. Being erudite with his knowledge of the Dhamma he won many converts. A pen-portrait of Anagarika Dharmapala published in the American Journal, St. Louis Observer, on his memorable address to the Congress of World Religions in Chicago in 1893 states:

"With black curly locks thrown from his broad brow, his clean, clear eyes fixed upon the audience, his long, brown fingers emphasising the utterances of his vibrant voice he looked the very image of a propagandist, and one trembled to know that such a figure stood at the head of the movement to consolidate all the disciples of Buddha and to spread the light of Asia throughout the world".


Anagarika Dharmapala, whose foremost thoughts were the love for his country and religion, had a truly international outlook as well. In fact he was a colossus that spurned the barriers of race, creed and nationality. His activities were not confined to his land of birth only; he inspired men and events of other countries as well. His untiring struggles in India to obtain Buddha Gaya for the Buddhists is an outstanding example which shows that his principles transcended barriers of race and nationality.

["T]he United Buddhist World,["] the title announcing his hopes for drawing Buddhists into a pan-Asian community linked to supporters in Europe and America … shaping Buddhist opinion worldwide … publishing articles by Western scholars on the array of Buddhisms … the great cause of his life, putting the weight of the world’s Buddhists behind recovering Bodh Gaya, the place in North India where the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment…. that place belonged to the Hindu other …. putting a group of Saivite world renouncers on notice that Buddhists would no longer tolerate the old accommodation…. insisting that a sacred space now in the hands of a cruel and demonic other must be returned to its rightful owners…. inserting non-Indian Buddhists into Indian affairs… The immediate issue is how a Buddhism of universal aspirations was joined to the Buddhism of national identity…. Buddhism provides an example of a religious universalism, spread by offering non-Buddhist communities access to practices of value and authority through venerating the founder, his teachings, and the monks who embodied his example…. Bodh Gaya was the Buddhist Mecca, but it belonged to a community of Saivite renouncers. Returning the place to Buddhists would return Buddhism to India. The Buddhism Dharmapala wanted to install there would be a universalized Buddhism. It would be neither sectarian nor national, its universality enabled by remaining undefined…. He converted only two people in his lifetime, and when he spoke of returning Buddhism to India, he usually had in mind recovering Bodh Gaya, not growing the number of Indian Buddhists…. the mission consisted in Dhammadana (the gift of Dhamma), putting the Buddha’s teachings on offer, making them present in new parts of the world, not conversion itself…. “the universal ideal of citizenship … chooses the particularized category of the nation-state to announce its universality”…. "I took up the larger work of universal Buddhism in January 1891 at the holy spot under the shade of the Bodhi tree” … What drew none of his energy was promoting doctrinal agreement relative to a universalized Buddhism, valuing the “united Buddhist world” only as a force useful in recovering Bodh Gaya. The phrase disappeared without explanation from the journal’s masthead in 1924… Dharmapala’s universalism followed logically from his commitment to the mahatmas, whose renunciation and spiritual advancement led them to transcend nation, ethnicity, and other social identities. “They are, then a very small number of highly intelligent men belonging not to any one nation but to the world as a whole.”

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


He went about his onerous tasks with a great missionary zeal and all that he uttered came from a sincere heart with a burning patriotism and religious fervour.

He was fearless in manner, independent in spirit and his dynamic personality beamed forth radiant energy which permeated through both national and international audiences. Wherever he went large crowds assembled and listened to him with wrapt attention. His vibrant voice resonated throughout the country and inspired the listeners with its magical effect. His silver-tongued oratory transcended throughout the country calling for Buddhist resurgence, Buddhist unity and national awareness.

He was in the fore-front of national and Buddhist movements for 47 years. He founded the Maha Bodhi Society on 31st May, 1891. His weekly publication, Sinhala Bauddhaya, was a powerful organ of Buddhist opinion which guided and inspired the nation's religious and national campaigns. Besides these he addressed thousands of meetings and published numerous articles in national and international journals. Whenever he wrote he was very forceful. Anagarika Dharmapala's personal correspondence shows his real form -- warm and genial in friendship and devastatingly critical as well.

He was always clamouring for independence and repeatedly criticised the imperialists. Anagarika Dharmapala always held lofty ideas on religious tolerance and he often remarked:

"Religion is a thing of the heart, and it is beyond the power of man to go into the heart of other people. To oppress a human being for his inner conviction is diabolical."


He had first visited England en route to America where he visited Edwin Arnold, the author of 'Light of Asia'. Having experienced such great influence from the British, and as at the time London was considered the 'centre of the world', Anagarika Dharmapala was determined to set up a Vihara with resident monks from Ceylon to share the great joys of the Dhamma with the English people.

He had met Mrs. Mary Foster whilst travelling to Honolulu and this lady became his main benefactor. She financed the setting up of 'Foster House' in Ealing which was the very first missionary vihara to be founded outside the Asian continent. The London Buddhist Vihara was opened in 1926.
Very soon afterwards it moved to a more central, larger premises at Gloucester Road where it continued until the Second World War. During the war the house was requisitioned, the monks having returned to Ceylon. In 1955 the Vihara was reopened with the help of many Sinhalese, in Ovington Square, Knightsbridge. Amongst many monks resident there was the famous author Ven. Narada. Ven. Dr. H. Saddhatissa became Head of Vihara in 1958 and on the expiry of the lease, the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust purchased a new home for the Vihara at 5 Heathfield Gardens in Chiswick, West London. These premises opened on 24th April 1964. Early in 1985, Ven. Saddhatissa relinquished his administrative responsibilities for various reasons and Ven. Dr. Medagama Vajiragnana was officially appointed Head of the Vihara by the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust. Under the guidance of Ven. M. Vajiragnana, the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust purchased a spacious property and moved the Vihara to its present location in The Avenue, Chiswick on 21st May, 1994.

Anagarika Dharmapala worked tirelessly to create many charitable institutions, maintaining hospitals, schools and foundations for spreading Buddhism and helping all in need. He started publishing the splendid Buddhist journal "The Mahabodhi" in 1891. To continue his mission for future generations he established the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust in 1930. During that year he ordained as monk.

Anagarika Dharmapala's service is of much historical significance both to India and Sri Lanka and even today we are guided by some of his mature views. He died at Sarnath in 1933 and his last words were "Let me be reborn. I would like to be born again twenty-five times to spread Lord Buddha's Dhamma." His was a life of rich dedication which every human being should strive to emulate.

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Mary Elizabeth Mikahala Robinson Foster (b. September 21, 1844; d.December 19, 1930)

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

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

-- Mary E. Foster, by Theosophy Wiki


Mary Robinson Foster was the largest single benefactress of the lifelong work of Anagarika Dharmapala. Founder of the London Buddhist Vihara and the Maha Bodhi Society.

Her financial support for the work of Anagarika Dharmapala was such that he referred to it as "unparalleled generosity". The monies from the 'Foster Fund' wholly or partly financed the purchase of the first property that housed the London Buddhist Vihara at Ealing in 1926 with a donation of Sterling Pounds 5.000; the Maha Bodhi Society of India headquarters at Kolkota in 1916; the Mulagandha Kuti Vihara at Sarnath where the Buddha enunciated the Doctrine of the 'Middle Path': the setting up of orphanages, secondary schools and industrial schools; free dispensaries: the purchase of a printing press and properties in India: the funding of Buddhist missions among several other projects initiated by Anagarika Dharmapala and the Maha Bodhi Society. These projects would never have materialized if not for her generous philanthropy. and unwavering, unquestioning commitment to the work of Anagarika Dharmapala.


Mary Robinson Foster was the daughter of a Hawaiian lady from an island chief's family and a successful British shipbuilder. Her parents owned vast acres of land in the Hawaiian islands. She married a Canadian. Thomas Foster who later owned the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company. Hawaii was undergoing political transformation in those years eventually capitulating to the United States of America. Mary and her husband tried to adapt to the changing times and were in the vanguard of battles against the social injustice faced by the natives. They immersed themselves in spiritual interests, and after her husband's sudden demise, Mary took an increasing interest in a spiritual path in a lifelong quest for inner peace. She had read in local newspapers about Anagarika Dharmapala's historic address to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 as the Representative of Theravada Buddhism and arranged to meet him on his way back to Lanka on board the ship, Oceania that had docked at Honolulu. According to available records of that meeting, Ms Robinson had sought spiritual guidance from Anagarika Dharmapala and in the course of the leisurely discussion, she was briefed of his work, he having started the Maha Bodhi Society two years earlier in 1891. Ms Robinson promised to support his endeavours. What followed was to be a unique Robinson-Dharmapala connection that helped revive Buddhism, especially in India, the land of the Buddha and introduce the Dhamma to the West where Buddhism was limited to scholars of Oriental Studies. The two kept up a regular correspondence. He would send her itemized accounts on how her monies were spent and she, who never asked for accounts. would admonish him for not spending some of it on himself for his health and comfort. Anagarika Dharmapala met her twice after their first meeting, in Honolulu and San Francisco. She was a lady ahead of her time and left a lasting impact on the lives of thousands in her native Hawaii and those far away from her home.

She predeceased him. On learning of her passing away, he penned the following epitaph in his diary on January 14, 1931; "She was phenomenally generous. And now, the unparalleled generosity has ended. Her benefaction was manifold".

Every year since her passing, on her birthday, the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust which he set up to carry forward his work, offers alms in her memory for all the help she gave him to fulfil his mission in life.


***

The London Buddhist Vihara is a leading centre for Theravada Buddhism. Founded in 1926 by Anagarika Dharmapala, the Vihara was the first Buddhist monastery to be established outside the continent of Asia. It has continued its task of disseminating the Dhamma with resident bhikkhus (monks) from Sri Lanka throughout this period, with the exception of the 1940s due to World War II. The Vihara moved to Chiswick during 1964 when the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust (ADT) of Sri Lanka purchased the freehold property at Heathfield Gardens. In 1994 the Vihara moved to new spacious premises in The Avenue, Chiswick, London W4. The Vihara is managed by a Vihara Management Committee (VMC) appointed by the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust in Colombo. The four members of the VMC act as attorneys for the trustees who are all based in Colombo. The ADT also appoints the resident Dhammaduta Bhikkhus.

***

Anagarika Dharmapala Trust
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Accessed: 8/19/20

Anagarika Dharmapala Trust
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Aug 20, 2020 2:41 am

Constance Wachtmeister [Countess Wachtmeister] [Constance Georgina Louise Bourbel de Monpincon]
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 8/19/20

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Constance Wachtmeister

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Constance Wachtmeister

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Constance Wachtmeister

The Countess Wachtmeister was the companion and coworker of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (H.P.B.) from 1885 until Blavatsky's death in 1891.[1] She lectured widely in the 1890s, and helped Annie Besant to form lodges in the United States.

Personal life

Constance Georgina Louise Bourbel de Monpincon was born in Florence, Italy on March 28, 1838, to a French father, the Marquis de Bourbel, and an English mother, Constance Bulkley.[2] Constance lost her parents at an early age and was sent to England to her aunt, Mrs. Bulkley of Linden Hall, Berkshire, where she was educated and lived until her marriage in 1863 with her cousin, the Count Wachtmeister, then Swedish and Norwegian minister at the court of St. James. They had a son, count Axel Raoul, who was born in 1865. The family moved to Stockholm, Sweden, when the Count was appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Countess Wachtmeister’s husband died in 1871. [3]

A foreign minister or minister of foreign affairs (less commonly minister for foreign affairs) is generally a cabinet minister in charge of a state's foreign policy and relations...

Along with their political roles, foreign ministers are also traditionally responsible for many diplomatic duties, such as hosting foreign world leaders and going on state visits to other countries. The foreign minister is generally the most well-traveled member of any cabinet.

-- Foreign minister, by Wikipedia


She remained in Sweden for several years, spending the winter in warmer climates on account of health. Because the countess herself had some psychic abilities and had witnessed some phenomena, she became interested in psychic research.[4] She began investigations into Spiritualism in 1879, but after two years of arduous research she found it unsatisfactory and dangerous.[5]

Eventually she found in Theosophy an explanation of the phenomena.[6] and joined the Theosophical Society on November 24, 1880 in Lund, Sweden.[7] [8] All her deepest problems of life found a solution in Theosophy and from then on she devoted her whole life and fortune to the service of Madame Blavatsky and her Masters.[9]


She was a devoted Theosophist, a strict vegetarian and lived a “simple life”. [10][11]

She died on September 24, 1910 in Los Angeles.

Life with H. P. Blavatsky

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Countess Wachtmeister

After reading Blavatsky's work Isis Unveiled with wonder and admiration as well as other Theosophical books, Constance Wachtmeister joined the Theosophical Society on November 24, 1880.[12] She met Helena Petrovna Blavatsky for the first time in early 1884 in London at the home of A. P. Sinnett and his wife Patience. Soon after she received a letter from Blavatsky asking the Countess to visit her in Paris. She decided to go before returning home to Sweden and at that occasion also met the Society's Vice President, William Quan Judge. When she finally had a private conversation with H.P.B., she was told that before two years had passed, she would devote her life wholly to Theosophy, which seemed impossible to Constance Wachtmeister at that time.[13]

She happened to be in Germany when H.P.B. came there from India in 1884 and was ready to serve by entering H.P.B.’s household as an all-around helper and answering H.P.B.’s letters. She was attracted to Blavatsky's indifference to praise or blame, to her sense of duty not to be shaken by any selfish considerations. She worked faithfully for H.P.B. until her death.[14]


The countess served H.P.B. in the years when she wrote The Secret Doctrine and in Constance Wachtmeister’s own book Reminiscences of H.P.B. she writes about the remarkable phenomena she was privileged to see during the preparation of this work.[15] During these years she became a close friend of H.P.B. and stood by her in time of great distress and anxiety, both physical and social.[16]

To her is also due the credit for the successful establishment of the Theosophical Publishing Society in London. The T.S.P. had been organized to publish The Secret Doctrine and other Theosophical books and magazines. The countess had become seriously involved financially in this endeavor.[17]

Encounters with Mahatma Morya

On one or other of his early visits to Europe, Countess Wachtmeister also met Master Morya. H. P. B. mentions the fact in a letter to Mr. N. D. Khandalavala, dated July 12, 1888:

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Morya (frequently referred to simply as M.) was H. P. Blavatsky's Master and one of the Mahatmas that inspired the founding of the Theosophical Society. He engaged in a correspondence with two English Theosophists living in India, A. P. Sinnett and A. O. Hume, when Mahatma K.H. went into retreat for a few months. This correspondence was published in the book The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett. In addition, letters to H. P. Blavatsky, Colonel Olcott, and others were published in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom.

Charles Johnston interviewed H. P. Blavatsky and asked her about the Masters. In the following excerpt Johnston describes his impression about Master M.'s handwriting as opposed to that of Master K.H., and then Mme. Blavatsky gives some information about her Master...:

"This is my Master," she said, "whom we call Mahatma Morya. I have his picture here." And she showed me a small panel in oils. If ever I saw genuine awe and reverence in a human face, it was in hers, when she spoke of her Master. He was a Rajput by birth, she said, one of the old warrior race of the Indian desert, the finest and handsomest nation in the world. Her Master was a giant, six feet eight, and splendidly built; a superb type of manly beauty. Even in the picture, there is a marvellous power and fascination; the force, the fierceness even, of the face; the dark, glowing eyes, which stare you out of countenance; the clear-cut features of bronze, the raven hair and beard—all spoke of a tremendous individuality, a very Zeus in the prime of manhood and strength. I asked her something about his age. She answered:

"My dear, I cannot tell you exactly, for I do not know. But this I will tell you. I met him first when I was twenty,—in 1851. He was in the very prime of manhood then. I am an old woman now, but he has not aged a day. He is still in the prime of manhood. That is all I can say. You may draw your own conclusions."...

Mme. Blavatsky, in a letter to Mrs. Hollis Billings wrote:

Now Morya lives generally with Koot-Hoomi who has his house in the direction of the Kara Korum Mountains, beyond Ladak, which is in Little Tibet and belongs now to Kashmire. It is a large wooden building in the Chinese fashion pagoda-like, between a lake and a beautiful mountain.

H. P. Blavatsky was a disciple of Master M. The Countess Constance Wachtmeister wrote in her Reminiscenses of H.P. Blavatsky how she met him:

During her childhood [Madame Blavatsky] had often seen near her an Astral form, that always seemed to come in any moment of danger, and save her just at the critical point. HPB had learnt to look upon this Astral form as a guardian angel, and felt that she was under His care and guidance. In London, in 1851, she was one day out walking when, to her astonishment, she saw a tall Hindu in the street with some Indian princes. She immediately recognized him as the same person that she had seen in the Astral. Her first impulse was to rush forward to speak to him, but he made her a sign not to move, and she stood as if spellbound while he passed on. The next day she went into Hyde Park for a stroll, that she might be alone and free to think over her extraordinary adventure. Looking up, she saw the same form approaching her, and then her Master told her that he had come to London with the Indian princes on an important mission, and he was desirous of meeting her personally, as he required her cooperation in a work which he was about to undertake. He then told her how the Theosophical Society was to be formed, and that he wished her to be the founder. He gave her a slight sketch of all the troubles she would have to undergo, and also told her that she would have to spend three years in Tibet to prepare her for the important task. HPB decided to accept the offer made to her and shortly afterwards left London for India...

The name Morya is the same as that of the Maurya clan, which ruled India from 322-185 BCE. The invincible Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Maurya Empire, united the Indian subcontinent, while his grandson, Ashoka the Great, adopted Buddhism and sent missions to other parts of Asia as well as the Mediterranean world. In the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, an early Buddhist text that records the end of Gautama Buddha’s life, the “Moriyas of Pipphalavana” are said to have “built a great stupa for the embers” that remained from the cremation. This passage suggests that there was already a connection between the Maurya clan and Buddhism. Blavatsky claims that long after the fall of the Mauryan Empire, the Mauryas (or Moryas) continued to have a deep connection with Buddhism. In 436 CE an Arhat (Buddhist saint) named Kasyapa, who belonged to the Morya clan, left an Indian convent in Panch-Kukkutarama with the fifth of seven golden statues of the Buddha, which he carried to a lake in Bod-yul (Tibet), thereby fulfilling an ancient prophecy. Seven years later the first Buddhist monastery was established on that spot, although the conversion of the country did not begin in earnest till the 7th century. Most of the abbots of that monastery “were the descendants of the dynasty of the Moryas, there being up to this day three of the members of this once royal family living in India.”

-- Morya, by Theosophy Wiki


Constance Wachtmeister joined the T.S. because she recognised in the portrait of my Master her living Master who saved her on several occasions, whom she saw in his physical body years ago when he was in England, whom she saw in his astral body a number of times, and who wrote to her from the first in the same handwriting he uses for our Society. When she assured herself of this, she joined the T.S. at his advice; and now for three years and more she lives with and takes care of me."[18]


Experiences with phenomena

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Countess Wachtmeister

In the autumn of 1885 the Countess was getting ready to go to Italy to spend the winter with some friends, when a singular phenomenon happened:

I was making preparations to leave my home in Sweden to spend the winter with some friends in Italy. . . . I was arranging and laying aside the articles I intended to take with me to Italy when I heard a voice saying, "Take that book, it will be useful to you on your journey." I may as well say at once that I have the faculties of clairvoyance and clairaudience rather strongly developed. I turned my eyes on a manuscript volume I had placed among the heap of things to be locked away until my return. Certainly it seemed a singular inappropriate vade mecum for a holiday, being a collection of notes on the Tarot and passages in the Kabbalah that had been compiled for me by a friend. However, I decided to take it with me, and laid the book in the bottom of one of my traveling trunks.


On her way to Italy she stopped at Elberfeld and stayed for some days with Madame Gebhard.

Frau Mary Gebhard (née L’Estrangge) (1832 - December 15, 1892) was the wife of Consul Gustav Gebhard, and an active member of the Theosophical Society.

Consul Gustav Gebhard (August 18, 1828, at Elberfeld to May 6, 1900 in Berlin) was a German Theosophist whose home was frequently visited by H. P. Blavatsky, Col. Olcott, and others.

Gustav Gebhard was the eldest son of Franz-Joseph Gebhard, President of the Board of Trade, at Elberfeld, Germany.

He owned a silk manufacturing factory in his native city, was co-founder of the German Bank and of the Bergisch-Märkische Bank, and Persian Consul. He acquired much of his business experience travelling abroad, lived in Paris and London, and made trips to the U.S.A., Constantinople and Asia Minor.
On his first journey to America, he met in New York Mary L’Estrange whom he married on September 4, 1852. The newly-married couple settled in Elberfeld, Germany, where their seven children were eventually born.

Noted as a linguist, he spoke French and English without accent. A far-sighted business-man, he was also known for his warm hospitality, broad-mindedness, and readiness to help others, even when their views differed from his own.

On July 27, 1884, the Germania Theosophical Society was organized at his home at Elberfeld, Platzhoffstrasse 12, with Dr. Wilhelm Hübbe-Schleiden as President, his wife Mary as Vice-President, and his son Franz Gebhard as Corresponding Secretary. All the members of the Gebhard family, except their daughter, joined the Theosophical Society.

On August 17, H. P. Blavatsky, Col. Olcott, Mohini Chatterjee and Babaji, who were in Europe, went to Elberfeld and stayed with the Gebhards until October. During this time their home became the center of Theosophical activities. While Gustav was of course the official host during these visits, the most dynamic personality of the household was Mary, who combined refinement and culture with rare capacities for occult studies. On August 25, 1884, Gustav received a letter from Master K.H.

A couple of years later, in May and June, 1886, Mme. Blavatsky stayed with the Gebhards again.

-- Gustav Gebhard, by Theosophy Wiki


The first Theosophical Lodge in Germany, the Germania Theosophical Society, was formed and met in her house, and H. P. Blavatsky stayed with her on two occasions. She received a few letters from the Masters of Wisdom and saw the astral form of Master M.

-- Mary Gebhard, by Theosophy Wiki


When she was about to depart she got a telegram from H. P. Blavatsky requesting the Countess to join her at Wurzburg. Soon after she arrived, she had the following incident:

I remember very well that it was then, on going into the dining room together to take some tea, that she said to me abruptly, as of something that had been dwelling on her mind.

"Master says you have a book for me of which I am much in need."

"No, indeed," I replied, "I have no books with me."

"Think again," she said, "Master says you were told in Sweden to bring a book on the Tarot and the Kabbalah".

Then I recollected the circumstances that I have related before. From the time I had placed the volume in the bottom of my box it had been out of my sight and out of my mind. Now, when I hurried to the bedroom, unlocked the trunk, and dived to the bottom, I found it in the same corner I had left it when packing in Sweden, undisturbed from that moment to this.[19]


Life after H.P.B.'s death

After H.P.B.’s death Countess Wachtmeister went to America and lectured in Chicago and other places, and eventually moved with her son to California to stay.[20]

Her heart and head were filled with the truth of Theosophy and she promoted the organization and teachings tirelessly. She visited every lodge of the T.S. and worked in a number of lodges to share her knowledge. Her time and energy were always at the disposal of the Cause and she helped financially whenever she could.[21][22]


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Certificate of appreciation

Theosophical Society President-Founder Henry S. Olcott increasingly relied on Wachtmeister's judgment. When he formed a League of Theosophical Workers in 1891, he designated Wachtmeister as its first president. Late in the same year, she traveled to the Adyar headquarters, and Olcott appointed her as president of the Women's Education league, organized to improve the education of Indian women.

Between the years 1894 and 1900 she crossed the United States from coast to coast many times lecturing, organizing, meeting people of all grades of society in her simple, matter-of-fact way. When in 1895 the American Section was left with only 14 branches, the Countess offered her services as organizer and shared her knowledge and materials at her own expense, often under tremendous difficulties, with persistence and incredible spirit.

In 1896 she organized and helped build up 12 branches, besides visiting the existing old ones. In some places, as in Chicago for example, where she gave paid lectures, she handed over the profits to the lodge. She lectured in every town where there was a possibility of listeners. She lectured also in Europe, Australia, and India, where she traveled with Annie Besant.[23] On the left is a certificate for Countess Wachtmeister expressing appreciation for her work at the TS of South Yarra (a lodge in a suburb of Melbourne), Australasian Section. It is dated July 1895 and signed by members of the lodge.

Writings

The Countess was an excellent writer in English and in French, and edited Theosophical Siftings. She worked with Bertram Keightley to organize the Theosophical Publishing Society. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists 446 articles by or about Constance and Axel Wachtmeister.

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Xylograph from periodical Idun, 1893

Pamphlet on Annie Besant as H.P.B.'s successor

At the time when American lodges split into two factions in 1895, the Countess saw it as her duty to circulate a pamphlet where she shared a few facts that she had kept to herself until then.

”H.P.B. had told the me that her successor would be a woman long before Annie Besant had become a member of the T.S. She had made various attempts with different people, hoping to find one, but was quite unsuccessful, so she became terribly depressed and downhearted saying: “There is nobody left to take my place when I am gone.” It was only when Annie Besant joined the Society that her hopes revived, for she seemed to feel that in her she would find a successor.”


The Countess continued on saying that she was at first on guard until she was sure of Annie Besant’s integrity. Only when she noticed her life of daily sacrifice and her continued endeavor to overcome her shortcomings was she convinced of her character.

“One day I saw Annie Besant enveloped in a cloud of light – Master’s color. He was standing by her side with His hand over her head. I left the room, went quickly to H.P.B. and finding her alone, told her what I had witnessed, and asked her if that was a sign that Master had chosen Annie Besant as her successor. H.P.B. replied “Yes”, and that she was glad that I had seen it. “


She further wrote that H.P.B. used to wear a ring that was important to her and had told the Countess that it would go to her successor and that the properties attached to it were magnetic. When I found out that the ring had been given to Annie Besant by H.P.B.s express directions, I knew that she would be the successor.[24]

Image
Book cover, "Reminscences of H.P. Blavatsky and the Secret Doctrine, by Countess Constance Wachtmeister et al.

Articles

• "The Countess Wachtmeister Defends Madame Blavatsky," The Religio-Philosophical Journal (Chicago, Illinois) May 5, 1888, p. 6. Available at Blavatsky Archives.

Books

• Practical Vegetarian Cookery. San Francisco: Mercury Publishing Co.; Chicago: Theosophical Book Concern, 1897. Written with Kate Buffington Davis. Available at Internet Archive, Wellcome Library, Biblioboard, and others.
• Spiritualism in the Light of Theosophy. San Francisco: Mercury Publishing Co., 1897. Translated into French by Annie Besant.
• Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and the Secret Doctrine. London: Theosophical Publishing Society; New York: The Path; Madras: Theosophical Society, 1893. Available at Hathitrust and Internet Archive. Translated into Spanish, Swedish, and French.
• H. P. B. and The Present Crisis In The Theosophical Society. [London]: Privately printed, Women's Printing Society, 1894-1895. Available at Theosophists.org website. Translated into Swedish, 1895.
• Theosophy In Every-Day Life. Sydney, 1895. "Compiled by a fellow of the Theosophical Society, repr. from Theosophical Siftings, Vol. 3, by kind permission of the editor, the Countess Wachtmeister." Translated into French by Annie Besant.

Axel Raoul Wachtmeister

Countess Constance’s only child, Alex Raoul Wachtmeister, was born on April 2nd, 1865 in London. He was a globetrotter and composed an impressive amount of music in all genres. He was only six years old when his father died and already as a young child he traveled with his mother when she was involved in Theosophical matters but also stayed with relatives and friends. He became a member of the Society on February 25, 1889.[25] After finishing his studies, he traveled the entire globe taking adventurous trips filled with hardships. He climbed the Great Pyramid of Giza, visited Kashmir and Ceylon, and socialized with writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Rudyard Kipling. In the company of Swedish author and Nobel Prize winner, Verner von Heidenstam, he searched for traces left behind by the soldiers of Sweden’s King Charles XII in Romania and southern Russia. In 1896 he was in Greece during the first modern Olympic Games. In 1898 he edited the theosophical journal Messenger in San Francisco and wrote a few articles for this and other Theosophical publications. He described many of his adventures and activities in his memoir written in English, Memories from 1936.

Axel Raoul Wachtmeister began composing quite early and his piano piece, Det är qväll was published on his ninth birthday. He had harmony lessons, piano lessons, led a small student orchestra while working on his student examinations. After graduating he continued his studies in Copenhagen and Dresden, where he studied counterpoint and organ. Later he also studied orchestration and musical form in Paris.

Axel Raoul Wachtmeister was active both as a pianist and a composer until the very end of his life. In his older years he lived for a long time in various boarding houses in Stockholm, however his last years were spent in Tyringe (Hässleholm), where he also died.[26]

The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists 13 articles by Axel Wachtmeister.

Online resources

• Watchmeister, Countess Constance Georgina Louise at Theosophy World

Notes

1. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 245.
2. Anonymous, "Mme. Blavatsky's Companion Here: the Countess Wachtmeister Will Lecture on Theosophical Questions," New York Times (September 20, 1894).
3. R.A. Burnett, Mary W. Burnett, "Death of Countess Wachtmeister." The Theosophic Messenger 12.1 (Oct. 1910), 811-812.
4. Jacob Bonggren" Countess Constance Wachtmeister" The Theosophic Messenger, 12.3., Dec. 1910, p. 167-168.
5. Anonymous, "Faces of Friends" The Path 8.8 (Nov. 1893), 246-247.
6. Burnett and Burnett, 811-812.
7. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at http://tsmembers.org/. See book 1, entry 694 (website file: 1A/27).
8. Anonymous, "Faces of Friends." The Path 8.8 (Nov. 1893), 246-247.
9. Burnett and Burnett, 811-812.
10. C.H. van der Linden. Countess Constance Wachtmeister." The Theosophic Messenger, 12.2 (Nov. 1910), 74-76.
11. Anonymous, "Faces of Friends" The Path 8.8 (Nov. 1893), 246-247.
12. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at http://tsmembers.org/. See book 1, entry 694 (website file: 1A/27).
13. Constance Wachtmeister, Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and "The Secret Doctrine."London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1893. Accessed at Internet Archive on 7/31/18.
14. Jacob Bonggren, 167-168.
15. Burnett and Burnett, 811-812.
16. Anonymous, "Faces of Friends" The Path 8.8 (Nov. 1893), 246-247.
17. Burnett and Burnett, 811-812.
18. Mary K. Neff, The "Brothers" of Madame Blavatsky (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1932), 82.
19. A Casebook of Encounters with the Theosophical Mahatmas Case 54, compiled and edited by Daniel H. Caldwell
20. Bonggren, 167-168.
21. van der Linden, 74-76.
22. Anonymous, "Faces of Friends" The Path 8.8 (Nov. 1893), 246-247.
23. Burnett and Burnett, 811-812.
24. A. K. Sibarama Shasti and Constance Wachtmeister "An Old Pamphlet of Countess Wachtmeister" The Theosophic Messenger 9.6 (Mar 1908), 120.
25. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at http://tsmembers.org/. See book 1, entry 6793 (website file: 1C/21).
26. Axel Raoul Wachtmeister (1865−1947). Levande Musikarv, Swedish Musical Heritage. See this website.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Aug 20, 2020 6:15 am

Gustav Gebhard
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 8/19/20

Consul Gustav Gebhard (August 18, 1828, at Elberfeld to May 6, 1900 in Berlin) was a German Theosophist whose home was frequently visited by H. P. Blavatsky, Col. Olcott, and others.

See also Gebhard Family.

Personal life

Gustav Gebhard was the eldest son of Franz-Joseph Gebhard, President of the Board of Trade, at Elberfeld, Germany.

He owned a silk manufacturing factory in his native city, was co-founder of the German Bank and of the Bergisch-Märkische Bank, and Persian Consul. He acquired much of his business experience travelling abroad, lived in Paris and London, and made trips to the U.S.A., Constantinople and Asia Minor.
On his first journey to America, he met in New York Mary L’Estrange whom he married on September 4, 1852.[1] The newly-married couple settled in Elberfeld, Germany, where their seven children were eventually born.[2]

Noted as a linguist, he spoke French and English without accent. A far-sighted business-man, he was also known for his warm hospitality, broad-mindedness, and readiness to help others, even when their views differed from his own.

Involvement with Theosophical Society

On July 27, 1884, the Germania Theosophical Society was organized at his home at Elberfeld, Platzhoffstrasse 12, with Dr. Wilhelm Hübbe-Schleiden as President, his wife Mary as Vice-President, and his son Franz Gebhard as Corresponding Secretary. All the members of the Gebhard family, except their daughter, joined the Theosophical Society.

On August 17, H. P. Blavatsky, Col. Olcott, Mohini Chatterjee and Babaji, who were in Europe, went to Elberfeld and stayed with the Gebhards until October. During this time their home became the center of Theosophical activities. While Gustav was of course the official host during these visits, the most dynamic personality of the household was Mary, who combined refinement and culture with rare capacities for occult studies. On August 25, 1884, Gustav received a letter from Master K.H.

A couple of years later, in May and June, 1886, Mme. Blavatsky stayed with the Gebhards again.

Online resources

• A Letter from Mahatma Koot Hoomi to Gustav Gebhard at Blavatsky Archives Online.

Notes

1. "Mary L'Estrange" in the New York City, Compiled Marriage Index, 1600s-1800s. This source gives the date as September 8.
2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 19898), 434.

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Mary Gebhard
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 8/20/20

Image
Mary Gebhard

Frau Mary Gebhard (née L’Estrangge) (1832 - December 15, 1892) was the wife of Consul Gustav Gebhard, and an active member of the Theosophical Society. The first Theosophical Lodge in Germany, the Germania Theosophical Society, was formed and met in her house, and H. P. Blavatsky stayed with her on two occasions. She received a few letters from the Masters of Wisdom and saw the astral form of Master M.

See also Gebhard Family.

Early Life

Mary was the only daughter of the British Major Thomas L’Estrange (of the 36th Reg.), who belonged to the Protestant branch of this old family, descending from Rollo, First Duke of Normandy. He had married a Catholic Irish lady, Sarah Egan, which brought about strained relations with his family. Mary never met any relatives on her father’s side. At the conclusion of the Spanish campaign against Napoleon, her father had gone to Paris, where Mary was educated at the Sacré Coeur, and presented at the Court. Having lost his property, her father left for Canada, where he bought some land near Montreal. After his death in 1850, her mother sold the land and went to the U.S.A. with Mary.[1]

She met Gustav Gebhard in New York, on his first journey to America, and married him on September 4, 1852, the ceremony being performed according to both the Catholic and the Protestant rites.[2] The newly-married couple settled in Elberfeld, Germany. They eventually formed a family of seven children.

Theosophical work

Mary Gebhard was not too happy living in a small town. Owing to the many business trips of her husband, she was left very much to herself. She had an inborn inclination towards philosophical and occult subjects, and studied Hebrew with a clergyman, to become fitted for independent research in the Kabbalah. She made the acquaintance of the Abbé Alphonse Louis Constant, who, under his pseudonym of Éliphas Lévi, wrote well-known occult works, and remained his pupil until his death in 1875. She visited him several times in Paris, and he visited the Gebhards twice in Elberfeld.[3]

After the death of Éliphas Lévi, Mary sought other occult connections. She heard of the Theosophical Society, and after an exchange of letters with Col. Olcott, became a member of the Society on February 10, 1883.[4]

In one of his letters of 1883, Master K.H. wrote about her:

Hers is a genuine, sterling nature; she is a born Occultist in her intuitions and I have made a few experiments with her — though it is rather M.'s duty than my own.[5]


On April 7, 1884, while in a meeting of the London Lodge, she saw the astral form of Master M. She later reported:

On the 7th of April last, being, at a meeting of the Theosophical Society at Mr. Finch’s rooms, Lincoln’s Inn, I had a vision, in which I saw the Mahatma M. At the moment I was listening attentively to Colonel Olcott’s opening speech to the Society. I saw standing on my right side, a little in front, a very tall, majestic-looking person, whom I immediately recognised to be the Mahatma, from a picture I had seen of him in Mr. Sinnett’s possession. He was not clad in white, but it seemed to me to be some dark material with coloured stripes, which was wound round his form. The vision lasted only a few seconds. As far as I could learn, the only persons besides myself who had seen the Mahatma were Colonel Olcott, Mr. Mohini, and, of course, Madame Blavatsky.[6]


On July 27, 1884, the Germania Theosophical Society was organized at their home at Elberfeld, Platzhoffstrasse 12, with Dr. Wilhelm Hübbe-Schleiden as President, Mary as Vice-President, and Franz Gebhard as Corresponding Secretary. All the members of the Gebhard family, except their daughter, joined the Theosophical Society.

On August 17, H. P. Blavatsky, Col. Olcott, Mohini Chatterjee and Babaji, who were in Europe, went to Elberfeld and stayed with the Gebhards until October. During this time their home became the center of Theosophical activities. While Consul Gustav Gebhard was of course the official host during these visits, the most dynamic personality of the household was Mary, who combined refinement and culture with rare capacities for occult studies.

Later that month, on August 30th, Mahatma Morya wrote a letter to Mrs. Gebhard challenging her to accept her destiny. It was published as Letter 72 in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom Second Series. This is not the first letter she received. There were at least two related to Laura C. Holloway in 1882. Those have been published as Letter 25 and Letter 26 in Mrs. Holloway and the Mahatmas. Mrs. Gebhard may have received additional letters that remained private.

A couple of years later, in May and June, 1886, Mme. Blavatsky stayed with the Gebhards again.

Later years

Her sons Hermann and Walther were identical twins, and they both shot themselves: Hermann on March 16, 1881, and Walther on April 10, 1886. Regarding the death of the latter, Mme. Blavatsky wrote the following to Babaji:

ON Saturday — April the 10th, Walter Gebhard was found dead in his bed, having shot himself without any reason and no cause, his things packed up and ready to start home. The fiends of rage, of vindictiveness, malice, and hatred let loose by you in their home have fastened on the poor boy you boasted to influence so forcibly, and have done their work. It is not his twin brother who committed suicide five years ago who influenced him. Herman's astral form is in Deva Chan, sleeping to the day his natural death would have summoned him. It is a host of the Pisachas of murder and post mortem criminal impulses who, copying from the record in the astral light around him of his brother's kind of death, led him to shoot himself during a state of somnambulic unconsciousness and irresponsibility. He is the first victim of your wicked father's son, and your grandmother's worthy grand-son.[7]


Mary's vital strength was sapped as a result of the suicide of both of her twin-sons. After several strokes, she passed away on December 15, 1892. Her remains were cremated.

Notes

1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 19898), 434.
2. "Mary L'Estrange" in the New York City, Compiled Marriage Index, 1600s-1800s. This source gives the date as September 8.
3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 19898), 434.
4. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at http://tsmembers.org/. See book 1, entry 1647 (website file: 1A/51).</
5. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 117 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 403.
6. A Casebook of Encounters with the Theosophical Mahatmas Case 43, compiled and edited by Daniel H. Caldwell
7. A. Trevor Barker, The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett Letter No. 152, (Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1973), ???.

Online resources

Articles


• Mary Gebhard at Theosopedia.
• The Gebhard family published in the Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. VI
• A Short Letter from Mahatma Koot Hoomi to Mary Gebhard published by Blavatsky Study Center.

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Gebhard Family
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 8/20/20

The German Family played an important role in the history of the Theosophical Society. According to Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett:

Gebhard Family, a German family living in Elberfeld, quite prominent in the early history of the TS in Europe. The family consisted of Gustav Gebhard, Mme. M. Gebhard, and sons Franz and Arthur. For full description see biographical sketch by Boris de Zirkoff in HPB VI: 434 and D, p. 592. ML index; SH index. [1]


According to the Collected Writings vol. VI:

The Gebhard Family had six sons and one daughter:

1. Franz Gustav: b. July 1, 1853; d. April 29, 1940. Married Aline Jordan, by whom he had three daughters (no issue), and a son, Kurt Alfred Thomas (b. June 27, 1881), who died as lieutenant in France, 1914. His son, Dr. Torsten Friedrich Franz (b. March 12, 1909), is at present an art-historian in Münich, and is unmarried.

2. Fritz: b. July 15, 1854; d. July 6, 1855.

3. Arthur Henry Paisley: b. Dec. 29, 1885 (sic, 1855); d. at Newton-Abbot, England, Oct. 11, 1944. After an earlier marriage, he married a widow, Marie-Josephe von Hoesch, née von Carlowitz (b. Jan. 7, 1888; now residing in Germany), by whom he had two sons: Rollo, b. July 7, 1921, married to Hildegard Freyer (no issue); and Vidar Arthur Eward, b. Oct. 2, 1928, when his father was already 73 years of age. In 1913, Arthur Gebhard added officially to his own name that of his mother’s family, and became known as Gebhard-L’Estrange. He took out American citizenship in Boston, 1878. For some 25 years, he represented his father’s factory in New York, and was during part of that time on close friendly terms with Mohini M. Chatterjee and William Quan Judge, with whom he was in partnership for a while, publishing The Path magazine. He took active part in the Theosophical Movement, lecturing on Oriental philosophy. He frequently came to Europe to visit his relatives as well as H.P.B., and was one of the first patrons of Wagner’s musical dramas, at Bayreuth, Bavaria, recognizing their occult significance.

At one time, he fell under the influence of Mohini M. Chatterjee, who was then in a very critical mood, and drew up in collaboration with him what H.P.B. called a “Manifesto,” entitled, “A Few Words on The Theosophical Organization,” which contained a rather severe criticism of Col. Olcott for alleged despotism. H.P.B. wrote a powerful reply, embodying an outspoken defense of him, and a statement on the basic platform of the T.S. and its policies. For lack of any definite title, it has been called at some later date, “The Original Programme of The Theosophical Society,” which it unquestionably represents. Neither the challenging “Manifesto” nor H.P.B.’s Reply were published at the time. They were later issued in booklet form, with an Introduction by C. Jinarâjadâsa (Adyar: Vol. VII of the present Series), together with all pertinent historical data which form their background. As far as is known, this little “tempest in a tea-pot” eventually blew itself out, and nothing more was heard of it.

Much later in life, namely, in 1940, Arthur Gebhard published a little book entitled The Tradition of Silence, in which he paid tribute to H.P.B. and her work.

4. Rudolf Ernst: b. Dec. 31, 1857; d. In 1935. As a friend of T. Subba Row, stayed for a while in India, where he went with Col. Olcott, in October, 1884. His son, Wolfgang, is still living in the U.S.A.

5. Mary: b. Sept. 13, 1859; d. in June, 1944. Married to Paul von Ysselstein, but had no issue.

6 and 7. Hermann and Walther, identical twins, born Oct. 16, 1866. Both shot themselves: Hermann on March 16, 1881, and Walther on April 10, 1886. See in connection with these tragic events, and their occult background and implications, The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett, pp. 145, 299, 300-301.[2]

Notes

1. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 231-232.
2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 19898), 435-436.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:48 am

Frederick Eckstein
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/20/20

Of the Lodge of the Blue Star and the group around the enigmatic weaver, nothing further can be said. But the Viennese Theosophists who kept such vigilant watch over their younger brothers in mysticism and who directed them to their chosen guru merit closer attention. Their leading spirit was Friedrich Eckstein, a gray eminence of Viennese cultural life, who published almost none of his occult work but whose private lectures seem to have exercised considerable influence on those -- like Gustav Meyrink -- who heard them. [32]

Friedrich Eckstein was born about 1860, the son of a paper manufacturer near Vienna. His interest in mysticism and the occult began almost as early as was possible for Central Europe. At the age of twenty he met Dr. Oscar Simony, a Dozent at Vienna University, whose speciality was number theory.


Simony was concerned with the possibility of further mathematical dimensions and, accordingly, followed with interest the experiments of Professor Zollner of Leipzig, who postulated a fourth dimension of space. Zollner became ensnared by spiritualism through his keenness to prove the existence of his fourth dimension and interpreted the feats performed by the Spiritualist medium Henry Slade on the basis of spirits operating in this hypothetical area. In 1879 Zollner published the third part of his Scientific Essays embodying his experiments with Slade. The consequent furor naturally concerned Simony, who persuaded his old friend Lazar, Baron Hellenbach (a speculative metaphysician and the leading Austrian spiritualist) to bring Slade to Vienna so that he could test Professor Zollner's conclusions for himself. Hellenbach's proteges were notoriously unsuccessful: the baron had once had to undergo the ignominy of seeing the Archduke Johann unmask the medium Harry Bastian. [33] Simony had no luck with Bastian and little with Slade, who broke control during the seance, although apparently he succeeded temporarily in making a table vanish.

The mathematician -- who was chiefly interested in refuting Zollner's theory of the fourth dimension -- concocted a theory that mediums possessed abnormal muscular development and that the electrical energy in their peculiar muscular contractions could produce the phenomena attributed to the spirits. [34] According to their original project, Slade was to have stayed with Friedrich Eckstein during the period of Simony's experiments, but he refused to come unaccompanied, and as the object of the plan had been to prevent any possibility of confederacy, the scheme was dropped. Eckstein's first encounter with the miraculous was unfortunate. Shortly afterwards he and Simony visited the distinguished British scientist Lord Rayleigh, who was at that time living in Vienna, and recounted their experiences. Rayleigh claimed to have seen Indian ascetics move objects from a distance, and Simony asked how he explained this. Rayleigh answered that it was obviously the work of the spirits, and to the astonished query of his visitors he replied that he believed in spirits because he saw them. [35]

Eckstein determined that he would discover whether there were grounds for such belief and decided to join the newly founded Theosophical Society.
He corresponded with Theosophists everywhere and traveled to England, where he met H. P. Blavatsky, Colonel Olcott, A. P. Sinnett, and the retinue of Indian members who accompanied the leading Theosophists to Europe on their visit of 1884. He brought back with him a whole library of occult works. Meanwhile, it became clear to him and Simony that in order to test mediums satisfactorily they would have to become experts in sleight-of-hand rather than in esoteric philosophy. The mathematician's interest in the spirits waned after a substantial rebuff dealt his career when he had rashly expressed his misgivings about mediums at the dinner table of an influential Excellenz. Eckstein, on the other hand, although always circumspect in his occult dealings, progressed from primitive spiritualist phenomena to an abiding interest in occult philosophy. He visited H. P. Blavatsky at Ostend not long before her death, and in the early 1890s he went to live for a few months in London to carry out some business in connection with his profession as a chemist. He had a laboratory in the Victoria Docks, was appalled by the British habit of commuting -- he lived in South Kensington -- and was disgusted by bank holidays. At the same time he was closely in contact with Annie Besant and the "esoteric Christian" Edward Maitland; he became particularly friendly with Herbert Burrows and was able to soothe his disturbed nerves with a Theosophical vegetarian picnic near Maidenhead, at which Mohini M. Chaterji gave a talk on the Bhagavad Gita. It was largely through Eckstein's agency that the Vienna Theosophical Society came into existence and it was probably his directing hand that hovered over the Prague Lodge of the Blue Star. [36]

It is of great importance to understand the sort of circles in which Eckstein moved and in which his Theosophy found a ready welcome. With the alteration of time and place, these were very like the artistic coteries of Symbolist Paris, or the similar groups on the fringes of the English Decadence in which the occult revival found its earliest supporters. Instead of Baudelaire, however, the Grand Master of the idealistic Underground in the German-speaking countries was quite naturally Richard Wagner. The composer-playwright's handling of myth coincided with "esoteric" interpretations favored by the occultists. [37] His early setting of the occultist Bulwer Lytton's novel Rienzi gave an obvious clue to budding mystics. In 1880, just at the time when Eckstein became interested in spiritualism and belonged to the central clique of the Viennese idealists, the Bayreuth Master wrote an essay entitled Religion and Art which had the profoundest effect on the Progressive youth which sat at his feet, and particularly on Eckstein's immediate circle. [38]

Religion and Art is in many ways the synthesis of all the goals of the Progressive Underground in the period before the First World War. Wagner called for Art's return to its high vocation of symbolically expressing divine truth, and he announced his program to redeem the world from materialism by the practice of symbolically conceived music. He also praised the ecstatic rites of the American Shakers and gave expression to the underlying anxiety which afflicted many of his readers. "The deepest basis of every true religion we see now in the knowledge of the transitoriness of the world, and arising from this, the positive instruction to free oneself from it." The composer's vegetarianism and his opposition to vivisection place him directly in the category of the Progressive Underground, and his vision of the coming regeneration of man matched the apocalypses of the greatest enthusiasts. He castigated the hypocrisy rampant among his fellow vegetarians. There were those who "set the basic precondition of the problem of regenerating the human race firmly in view." But "from a few superior members is heard the complaint that their comrades have taken up abstaining from flesh merely from personal consideration of diet, and in no way coupled with it the great ideals of regeneration which they must approach if the organization wants to win power." [39] There was to be a league of noble spirits pledged to redeem mankind from its fall through the achievement of individual salvation. Of such spirits, Friedrich Eckstein was among the most possessed. For the first performance of Parsifal he made the journey to Bayreuth on foot; and there was a legend -- which was not in fact true -- that he had gone in sandals, like Tannhauser. [40]

At the end of the 1870s a favorite rendezvous of Eckstein's group of young Viennese idealists was a vegetarian restaurant on the corner of Wallnerstrasse and Fahnengasse. Here they met in a gas-lit cellar to talk of Pythagoras, the Essenes, the Neo-Platonists, therapeutics, and the evils of flesh eating. "Ever and again there swam before us the vision of Empedocles of a golden age in which the greatest sacrilege for men would be 'To take life and stuff onesself with noble elements.'" The group consisted of a typical collection of Bohemians. Eckstein's description of the scene gives substance to the rumors of his Wagnerian pilgrimage. "It was mostly young people who met there and took part in the collective exchange of views: students, teachers, artists and followers of the most diverse professions. While I myself, like several of my closest friends went summer and winter almost completely clad in linen, according to the theories of Pythagoras, others appeared clothed in hairy garments of natural coloring. And if you add to this that most of us had shoulder-length hair and full beards, our lunch-table might have reminded an unselfconscious spectator not a little of Leonardo's Last Supper." The spiritual descendants of this lunch-table are everywhere. To this circle belonged two later Staatsprasidenten as well as the young Hermann Bahr and the Polish poet Siegfried Lipiner, who was in correspondence with Nietzsche. Victor Adler, the founder of the Social Democratic Party, occasionally came. Gustav Mahler turned up, and Eckstein's future roommate, the composer Hugo Wolf, met the Pythagorean Theosophist at his vegetarian Stammtisch. For the first performance of Parsifal in the summer of 1882, the group met at Bayreuth. In Vienna, another rendezvous was the Cafe Griensteidl on the Michaelerplatz, known locally because of its clientele as Megalomania Cafe. The crowning success of these young irrationalists was their summer colony of the year 1888, when they took the Schloss Bellevue at Grinzing and filled it even fuller with eccentricity than the Cafe Griensteidl. [41]

To the Schloss came the feminist Marie Lang and her husband Edmund (both at the center of Theosophical gatherings and the protectors of Hugo Wolf). Friedrick Eckstein's friend from student days, Rosa Mayreder, who was to become another leading protagonist of women's rights, developed during the summer a friendship with Hugo Wolf that led to their collaboration on the opera Der Corregidor. Other visitors were Carl, Graf zu Leiningen-Billigheim, a young diplomat who had attached himself to Eckstein because of his acquaintance with H. P. Blavatsky, and the dubious Theosophist Franz Hartmann, who received unusual visitors from all parts of the world and had already presumed on Eckstein's hospitality for a whole year immediately after his return from India. Marie Lang cooked vegetarian meals. Wolf composed Lieder. Theosophy was the main topic of conversation. [42]

In Vienna, as in the rest of the world, the more occult aspects of Theosophy -- the elaborate cosmology, the miracles, the letters from Mahatmas -- went hand in hand with the "progressive" in social thought. Indeed, there was a necessary association between all idealistic forms of opposition to that which existed. As Leiningen-Billigheim saw it: "In the middle of the chaotic pattern of pleasure-seeking and covetousness, error, arrogance, self-deception, and cowardice, the idealistic point of view once more arises as a helpful and ultimately victorious force." [43] It is symptomatic of the climate in which he spoke that the title of the essay from which these general observations are taken is "What is Mysticism?" and that it was published in a Theosophical series. Against the common enemy all idealists united; and, some of those bent on restructuring the world would adopt some portion of Theosophy as a concession to their religious impulses. Theosophy was Progressively respectable; often Christianity was not.

It is worth examining some of these associates of Eckstein. Hugo Wolf was a composer of the Wagnerian school; Eckstein, who had private means and musical interests -- he was the continual companion and unofficial private secretary to the aging Bruckner -- offered to finance the publication of Wolf's Lieder. This proved not to be necessary; but the Theosophist and the composer lived together for a period. Wolf's biographer has described their friendship: "Eckstein's knowledge was encyclopaedic: his rooms were lined from floor to ceiling with books and scores. They discussed Parsifal together in relation to German and Spanish mysticism, Palestrina's masses, freemasonry, vegetarianism, and various oriental subjects." After the summer colony at Grinzing, Wolf and Eckstein left once more for Parsifal at Bayreuth on the Wagner-Verein's special train. Together they hunted all the way through Swedenborg's Arcana Coelestia for the sources of Berlioz's Hellish language in the Damnation of Faust.

With Hermann Bahr, the leading critical exponent of Expressionist theories, Eckstein maintained a relationship through discussions on metaphysics -- often in a three-handed commerce with Hugo von Hoffmansthal. Bahr had arrived in Vienna in 1887 direct from a Paris in which the mystical was rampant and Rosicrucian Orders revived. As he wrote, "every student made himself out a Paracelsus in front of his grisette; seriously or half in fun there was everywhere an anxious yearning vers les au-dela-mystiques." He found a home from home in the Cafe Griensteidl. Bahr gave thanks that he had gone to Paris when he did; for there, he thought, the spirit of the 18th century was finally being overturned. In the Socialist Victor Adler, whom he had known from Berlin, he saw something of the same process of "spiritualization" -- the Marxist was becoming an idealist. [44] Even the feminist Rosa Mayreder displayed what has seemed to at least one commentator her own sort of mysticism in which theories of the respective roles of the sexes can be compared to the alchemical fusion of opposites. [45]

This milieu will become of crucial importance when we come to consider the origins of psychoanalysis and the early work of Freud.

-- The Occult Establishment, by James Webb


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Frederick Eckstein

Frederick Eckstein (February 17, 1861 in Perchtoldsdorf, Lower Austria – November 10, 1939 in Vienna) was an Austrian polymath, [Industrialist], theosophist and a friend and temporary co-worker of Sigmund Freud. Emil Molt states: 'He was the benefactor of Anton Bruckner and Hugo Wolf, indeed the right arm of Bruckner, taking care that affairs went smoothly. He was a world traveller, had mastered Jui-jitsu and taught himself all sorts of difficult tricks. The story went around that he had trained himself to jump off a fast moving train without getting hurt. He too, was a highly gifted mathematician and a learned man in many respects.'

Also the husband of fellow theosophist and writer Bertha Diener, Eckstein's penchant for occultism first became evident as a member of a vegetarian group which discussed the doctrines of Pythagoras and the Neo-Platonists in Vienna at the end of the 1870s. His esoteric interests later extended to German and Spanish mysticism, the legends surrounding the Templars and the freemasons, Wagnerian mythology and oriental religions. In 1889, in the week after the tragedy at Mayerling, in which Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, and his mistress were found dead in mysterious circumstances, he and his friend, the composer Anton Bruckner (for whom he also served as private secretary) traveled to the monastery of Stift Heiligenkreuz to ask the abbot there for details of what happened.[1]

Eckstein's book on Anton Bruckner was published in 1923.[2]

References

1. Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (1992). The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology. New York: NYU Press. ISBN 0-8147-3054-X.
2. Erinnerungen an Anton Bruckner by Friedrich Eckstein, 1923, republished by Severus, 2013 ISBN 3863474961
Emil Molt 'The life and times of Rudolf Steiner'

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Bertha Eckstein-Diener [Helen Diner] [Ahasvera] [Sir Galahad]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/20/20

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Bertha Eckstein in 1902

Bertha Eckstein-Diener (March 18, 1874, Vienna – February 20, 1948, Geneva), also known by her American pseudonym as Helen Diner, was an Austrian writer, travel journalist, feminist historian and intellectual. Her book Mothers and Amazons (1930), was the first to focus on women's cultural history. It is regarded as a classic study of Matriarchy.[1]

She was a member of the "Arthurians," a group of European intellectuals active in the 1930s, each of whom adopted a name from Arthur's Round Table (Diner was Sir Galahad). Each member undertook to research an area of knowledge hitherto little known to Western culture. Diner set out to document a feminist history of women
, and infused her book Mothers and Amazons (Mütter und Amazonen) with lyrical and poetic language.[1]

Life

Bertha Diener came from a middle-class family and received a higher education. Against the will of her parents, she married the polymath Friedrich Eckstein, a Viennese scholar and industrialist, in 1898. Like her husband, she was a member of the Vienna Lodge of the Theosophical Society Adyar (Adyar-TG). The couple received in their home at this time such notables as Karl Kraus, Adolf Loos, and Peter Altenberg. In 1904 Bertha left her husband and her son Percy (born 1899) and began her travels which took her to Egypt, Greece, and England. The couple finally divorced in 1909 and Frederick Eckstein died in 1939 at the age of 78.

Her 2nd son, Roger (born 1910) was fathered by Theodore Beer, but was placed with a foster family and did not make contact again with his mother until 1936 by letter and in person only in 1938 in Berlin. From 1919 Diener lived in Lucerne, Switzerland. Diener initially wrote under the pseudonym Ahasvera (roughly translated as "Perpetual traveler").[2] Her best-known works were published under the name Sir Galahad, from the knights of King Arthur. Besides her books, she wrote a series of articles for newspapers and magazines and translated three works of American journalists and the esoteric writer Prentice Mulford.

Between 1914 and 1919 she wrote Kegelschnitte Gottes, about the situation of women during that period. From 1925 to 1931, she worked on Mütter und Amazonen, a women-focused cultural history, based on the work of Johann Jakob Bachofen.

She died aged 73 on 20 February 1948 in Geneva, five weeks after an operation. Her last work, a cultural history of England, remained unfinished.

Works

Unless otherwise indicated, the works first appeared under the pseudonym Sir Galahad.

• Im palast des Minos (In the Palace of Minos), Munich: Albert Langen, 1913. 118 pp. 2nd ed., 1924.
• (tr.) Der Unfug des Sterbens: ausgewählte Essays by Prentice Mulford. Munich: Langen, [1920].
• Die Kegelschnitte Gottes; Roman (The Conic Sections of God: Novel), Munich: Albert Langen, 1921. 546 pp. 2nd ed., 1926; 3rd ed., 1932.
• (tr.) Das Ende des Unfugs: ausgewählte Essays by Prentice Mulford. Munich: Albert Langen, 1922.
• Idiotenführer durch die russische Literatur (Idiot's Guide to Russian literature). Munich: Albert Langen, 1925. 163 pp.
• Mütter und Amazone: ein Umriss weiblicher Reiche (Mothers and Amazons: an outline of female empires), Munich: Albert Langen, 1932. 305 pp. Various later eds., from 1981 by Ullstein in paperback, with the subtitle Liebe und Macht im Frauenreich (love and power in the rule of women). ISBN 3-548-35594-3. Translated into English by John Philip Lundin as Mothers and Amazons: the first feminine history of culture, New York: Julian Press, 1965. Introduction by Joseph Campbell.
• Byzanz; von kaisern, engeln und eunuchen (Byzantium. Of emperors, angels and eunuchs), Leipzig and Vienna: Tal, 1936. 318 pp. Translated into English by Eden and Cedar Paul as Emperors, angels, and eunuchs: the thousand years of the Byzantine Empire, London: Chatto & Windus, 1938. US edition published as Imperial Byzantium, 1938.
• Bohemund: ein Kreuzfahrer-Roman (Bohemond: a Crusader novel), Leipzig: Goten-Verlag Herbert Eisentraut, 1938. 291 pp.
• (as Helen Diner) Seide : eine kleine Kulturgeschichte (Silk: a small cultural history), Leipzig: Goten-Verlag H. Eisentraut, 1940. 259 pp. 2nd ed., 1944; 3rd ed., 1949.
• Der glückliche Hügel; ein Richard-Wagner-Roman (The lucky hill: a Richard Wagner novel), Zürich: Atlantis, 1943. 366 pp.

Notes

1. Brooklyn Museum Dinner party database
2. Collection of essays published Munich,1924, by Albert Langen Verlag für Literatur und Kunst, as Der Unfug des Sterbens : ausgewählte Essays, von Prentice Mulford ; bearbeitet und aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Sir Galahad, authors: Mulford, Prentice, 1834-1891. ; Eckstein-Diener, Bertha Helene, (pseudonyms, "Ahasvera", "Sir Galahad", "Helen Diner"), 1874-1948.[1]

References

• Helen Diner Entry at the Brooklyn Museum Dinner Party database of notable women. Accessed March 2008
• Works at the German National Library Index[permanent dead link]
• Eckstein, Bertha at the Aeiou Encyclopedia, Austria. Accessed March 2008
• Sibylle Mulot-Déri: Sir Galahad. Porträt einer Verschollenen, Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt 1987, 283 S. (vergriffen) ISBN 3-596-25663-1
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:31 am

Bertram Keightley
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 8/20/20

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Bertram Keightley

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Crest on letterhead in 1938

Bertram Keightley (April 4, 1860 in Birkenhead, England – October 31, 1944 in India) was an English Theosophist best known for assisting H. P. Blavatsky in preparing The Secret Doctrine for publication. His coworker in that work was his nephew Dr. Archibald Keightley.

Mr. Bertram Keightley, one of the General Secretaries of the Indian Section, is an Englishman by birth, son of a Liverpool solicitor, and was born April 4, 1860. He was liberally educated and took the degree of Master of Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge. He came into Theosophy through the study of mesmerism and the reading of Esoteric Buddhism. Early in 1884 he joined the Society, in company with Dr. A. Keightley and Mr. and Mrs. Cooper-Oakley, and during that year he was much with H. P. B. , in England, France, and Germany. In 1887, he joined with Dr. Keightley and the Countess Wachtmeister in organizing the Lansdowne Road household where H. P. B. lived for a long time, and he also assisted in the work of preparing the Secret Doctrine for the press. He visited America in 1890, and later went to India, where he was chosen General Secretary, which office he has since held.[1]


In a February 5, 1938 letter to Boris de Zirkoff, Mr. Keightley said:

Your letter of December 30th 1937, has just reached, having been forwarded from Adyar to the address at Benares where I lived for many years, and thence to me here, at Allahabad, whither I removed permanently in March last (1937), as above [Villa Italiana, 15 City Road 15, U. P. Allahabad, India]. This will now be my permanent address in India.[2]


His death was reported by The American Theosophist:

Through an English Theosophical paper we learn of the death of Mr. Bertram Keightley, a member of The Theosophical Society from its very early days and a close associate of Madame Blavatsky in the publication of The Secret Doctrine. He once visited America as H.P.B.'s special messenger, and he helped to found the Indian Section, of which he was the first General Secretary. Himself finely educated and a Barrister at Law, he helped Dr. Besant found the Central Hindu College 46 years ago. he died peacefully in Cawnpore at the age of 84.[3]


The crest on the letter has the motto "Possunt quia posse videntur," which means "They can because they think they can."

Notes

1. "Some of Our Friends",The Theosophic Messenger 2.2 (November 1900), 27.
2. Bertram Keightley letter to Boris de Zirkoff. February 5, 1938. Boris de Zirkoff Papers. Records Series 22. Theosophical Society in America Archives.
3. "Bertram Keightley," The American Theosophist 33.2 (February, 1945), 48.

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Archibald Keightley
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 8/20/20

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Archibald Keightley was an English Theosophist who was very close to Helena Petrovna Blavatsky during her later years in London.

Personal life

Archibald Keightley was born on April 19, 1859. His uncle, Bertram Keightley, was a year younger, having been born on April 4, 1860. He married Julia van der Planck, known as "Jasper Niemand," and they were active in the Theosophical Society in America, later renamed Theosophical Society, which was headed by Ernest Temple Hargrove in New York. He died on November 18, 1930.

Theosophical Society involvement

Archibald was one of the regular attendants at Mme. Blavatsky's meetings in London, and witnessed the appearance of Adepts or chelas on occasion. He wrote:

Sometimes there would be unseen visitors, seen by some but not by others of us. Results were curious. Mme. Blavatsky felt the cold very much and her room was therefore kept very warm, so much so that at the meetings it was unpleasantly hot very often. One night before the meeting time, I came downstairs to find the room like an ice-house, though fire and lights were fully on. I called H.P.B.’s attention to this, but was greeted with a laugh and "Oh, I have had a friend of mine here to see me and he forgot to remove his atmosphere." Another time I remember that the rooms gradually filled until there was no vacant seat. On the sofa sat a distinguished Hindu, in full panoply of turban and dress. The discussion proceeded and apparently our distinguished guest was much interested, for he seemed to follow intelligently the remarks of each speaker. The President of the Lodge arrived that night very late, and coming in looked around for a seat. He walked up to the sofa and sat down — right in the middle of the distinguished Hindu, who promptly, and with some surprise, fizzled and vanished![1]


In August, 1890, he became a member of H. P. Blavatsky's Inner Group in London.

Writings

Archibald Keightley wrote over 50 articles that the Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals names in this list. Some are available online:

• "From Ostende to London. A Turning Point in the T. S." at Blavatsky Study Center. Reprinted from The Path 7.8 (November 1892), 245-248.
• "The Natural Law of Altruism" at Theosophical University Press online. Reprinted from The Path 6.8 (November 1891), 240.
• "Reminiscences of H.P. Blavatsky" at Blavatsky Study Center. Reprinted from The Theosophical Quarterly (October 1910), 109-122.

Notes

1. A Casebook of Encounters with the Theosophical Mahatmas Case 59, compiled and edited by Daniel H. Caldwell
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:38 pm

Hermann Oldenberg
by Encyclopedia.com
Accessed: 8/21/20

T. W. Rhys Davids’s interest in Pāli began while he was serving in the Ceylon Civil Service (1864–72). His association with Buddhism at this time was incidental—to learn Pāli he had to study with a bhikkhu. His first translation, typical of the historical bias of his time, was in numismatics and epigraphy, an outcome of his posting to the archaeologically rich area of Anuradhapura, and led in 1877 to his Ancient Coins and Measures of Ceylon, which contained the first attempt to date the death of the Buddha.9 He did not write on Buddhism until after his return to Britain, and a modest comment on how little he knew about Buddhism at that time, which is quoted by Ananda Wickremaratne, suggests that he was invited to do so because of popular interest in Buddhism.10 His first book, the highly influential Buddhism: A Sketch of the Life and Teachings of Gautama, the Buddha (1878), was compiled from the material then available in translation.11 This book established his reputation as a Buddhist scholar. It was followed by his translations Buddhist Birth Stories and Buddhist Suttas, both published in 1880.12 During the influential Hibbert Lectures of 1881, he announced the founding of the Pāli Text Society, confidently predicting the publication of the whole of the texts of the Sutta and Abhidhamma Pitakas in “no very distant period.”13 The inaugural committee of management included, among others willing to undertake translation, the Pāli scholars Victor Fausboll, Hermann Oldenberg, and Emile Senart. There was clearly a growing interest and activity in Pāli translation by this time. The formation of the Pāli Text Society institutionalized the study of Buddhism and the interpretation of it, which had begun much earlier. It is necessary therefore to look briefly at the earlier period.

-- Defining Modern Buddhism: Mr. and Mrs. Rhys Davids and the Pali Text Society, by Judith Snodgrass


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OLDENBERG, HERMANN (1854–1920), German Sanskritist, Buddhologist, and historian of religions. Born in Hamburg on October 31, 1854, the son of a Protestant clergyman, Hermann Oldenberg completed doctoral studies in classical and Indic philology in 1875 at the University of Berlin with a dissertation on the Arval Brothers, an ancient Roman cult fraternity.

Arval Brethren
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/21/20

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Priesthoods of ancient Rome
Flamen (250–260 CE)
Major colleges: Pontifices · Augures · Septemviri epulonum
Quindecimviri sacris faciundis
Other colleges or sodalities: Fetiales · Fratres Arvales · Salii
Titii · Luperci · Sodales Augustales
Priests: Pontifex Maximus · Rex Sacrorum
Flamen Dialis · Flamen Martialis
Flamen Quirinalis · Rex Nemorensis
Curio maximus
Priestesses: Virgo Vestalis Maxima
Flaminica Dialis · Regina sacrorum
Related topics: Religion in ancient Rome · Imperial cult
Glossary of ancient Roman religion
Gallo-Roman religion

In ancient Roman religion, the Arval Brethren (Latin: Fratres Arvales, "Brothers of the Fields") or Arval Brothers were a body of priests who offered annual sacrifices to the Lares and gods to guarantee good harvests.[1] Inscriptions provide evidence of their oaths, rituals and sacrifices.

Origin

Roman legend held that the priestly college was originated by Romulus, first king of Rome, who took the place of a dead son of his nurse Acca Laurentia, and formed the priesthood with the remaining eleven sons. They were also connected originally with the Sabine priesthood of Sodales Titii who were probably originally their counterpart among the Sabines. Thus it can be inferred that they existed before the founding of the city.[2] There is further proof of the high antiquity of the college in the verbal forms of the song with which, down to late times, a part of the ceremonies was accompanied, and which is still preserved.[3] They persisted to the imperial period.

Structure and duties

Arval Brethren formed a college of twelve priests, although archaeologists have found only up to nine names at a time in the inscriptions. They were appointed for life and did not lose their status even in exile. According to Pliny the Elder, their sign was a white band with the chaplet of sheaves of grain (Naturalis Historia 18.2).

The Brethren assembled in the Regia. Their task was the worship of Dea Dia, an old fertility goddess, possibly an aspect of Maia or Ceres. On the three days of her May festival, they offered sacrifices and chanted secretly inside the temple of the goddess at her lucus the Carmen Arvale. The magister (master) of the college selected the exact three days of the celebration by an unknown method.

The celebration began in Rome on the first day, was transferred to a sacred grove outside the city wall on the second day and ended back in the city on the third day.[4] Their duties included ritual propitiations or thanksgivings as the Ambarvalia, the sacrifices done at the borders of Rome at the fifth mile of the Via Campana or Salaria (a place now on the hill Monte delle Piche at the Magliana Vecchia on the right bank of the Tiber). Before the sacrifice, the sacrificial victim was led three times around a grain field where a chorus of farmers and farm-servants danced and sang praises for Ceres and offered her libations of milk, honey and wine.

Archaic traits of the rituals included the prohibition of the use of iron, the use of the olla terrea (a jar made of unbaked earth) and of the sacrificial burner of Dea Dia made of silver and adorned with grassy clods.

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Portrait of Lucius Verus as an Arval Brother (ca. 160 AD)

Restoration of the priesthood

The importance of Arval Brethren apparently dwindled during the Roman Republic, but emperor Augustus revived their practices to enforce his own authority. In his time the college consisted of a master (magister), a vice-master (promagister), a priest (flamen), and a praetor, with eight ordinary members, attended by various servants, and in particular by four chorus boys, sons of senators, having both parents alive. Each wore a wreath of corn, a white fillet and the toga praetexta. The election of members was by co-optation on the motion of the president, who, with a flamen, was himself elected for one year.[3]

After Augustus' time emperors and senators frequented the festivities. At least two emperors, Marcus Aurelius and Elagabalus, were formally accepted as members of the Brethren. The first full descriptions of their rituals also originate from this time.

It is clear that, while the members were themselves always persons of distinction, the duties of their office were held in high respect. And yet no mention of them occurs in the writings of Cicero or Livy, and that literary allusions to them are very scarce. On the other hand, we possess a long series of the acta or minutes of their proceedings, drawn up by themselves, and inscribed on stone. Excavations, commenced in the 16th century and continued to the 19th, in the grove of the Dea Dia, yielded 96 of these records from 14 to 241 AD.[3] The last inscriptions (Acta Arvalia) about the Arval Brethren date from about 325 AD. They were abolished along with Rome's other traditional priesthoods by 400 AD.

References

1. "Arval Brothers on Britannica". Retrieved August 20, 2012.
2. Aulus Gellius VII 7, 7; Pliny XVII 2, 6.
3. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Arval Brothers". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 711.
4. Chisholm 1911.

Further reading

Piganiol, André. Observations sur le rituel le plus récent des frères Arvales. In: Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 90ᵉ année, N. 2, 1946. pp. 241-251. [DOI: https://doi.org/10.3406/crai.1946.77986]; http://www.persee.fr/doc/crai_0065-0536 ... 90_2_77986


He submitted his habilitation thesis at Berlin in Sanskrit philology in 1878, going on to become professor at the University of Kiel in 1889, and then at Göttingen from 1908 until his death on March 18, 1920.

Publishing an edition and translation of the Śāṅkhayana Gṛhyasūtra in 1878, the young Oldenberg then turned his attention to the Pali Buddhist texts; and it is due to him as much as to any single scholar that serious inquiry into these materials was begun. Previous decades of nineteenth-century European Buddhist research had focused on Mahāyāna Sanskrit (and Tibetan) texts, through which the historical Buddha and the early history of Buddhism were only dimly apparent. Oldenberg edited and translated into English the important Pali chronicle, the Dīpavaṁsa, in 1879; he also edited the Vinaya Piṭaka ("discipline basket") of the Pali Tipiṭaka (1879–1883), then published English translations of these texts (1881–1885) with T. W. Rhys Davids, founder of the Pali Text Society. The signal publication of this period of intense research on Buddhism is his Buddha: Sein Leben, seine Lehre, seine Gemeinde (1881), written when he was only twenty-six, and "perhaps the most famous book ever written on Buddhism" (J. W. de Jong, Indo-Iranian Journal 12, 1970, p. 224).

While Oldenberg's active interest in Buddhist studies never flagged, Buddhism was for him one dimension of what was to be his Lebenswerk: nothing less than the systematic examination of India's earliest religious history. Indeed, his achievements in Vedic studies are—if this is possible—even more consequential than his contributions to Buddhist studies. Taken together, his Die Hymnen des Rigveda (1888), Die Religion des Veda (1894), and Ṛgveda: Textkritische and exegetische Noten (1909–1912) constitute a triptych of enormous and continuing importance for research on the form, meters, and textual history of the Ṛgveda Samhitā. Further, his translations of several Vedic Gṛhyasūtras (sutras on domestic religious ceremonies), his book-length studies on the Brāhmaṇas and the Upaniṣads, and his numerous articles on Vedic topics complete an imposing legacy of meticulous scholarship.

Through Hermann Oldenberg's efforts, the sustained historical and literary inquiry into Vedic and Buddhist religions attained maturity. His concern to penetrate to the historical foundations of Buddhism and Vedism, which was representative of contemporary trends of German historical scholarship in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, may seem somewhat naive to scholars today. Oldenberg died little more than a year before the first productive season of archaeological investigations in the Indus Valley, work destined to alter decisively many then-prevailing conceptions of the earliest stages of Indian civilization and religion. One can only conjecture how he would have responded to these discoveries.

The invention of an Aryan race in nineteenth century Europe was to have, as we all know, far-reaching consequences on world history. Its application to European societies culminated in the ideology of Nazi Germany. Another sequel was that it became foundational to the interpretation of early Indian history and there have been attempts at a literal application of the theory to Indian society. Some European scholars now describe it as a nineteenth century myth. [1] But some contemporary Indian political ideologies seem determined to renew its life. In this they are assisted by those who still carry the imprint of this nineteenth century theory and treat it as central to the question of Indian identity. With the widespread discussion on 'Aryan origins' in the print media and the controversy over its treatment in school textbooks, it has become the subject of a larger debate in terms of its ideological underpinnings rather than merely the differing readings among archaeologists and historians.

I intend to begin by briefly sketching the emergence of the theory in Europe, in which the search for the Indian past also played a role. I would like to continue with various Indian interpretations of the theory which have been significant to the creation of modern Indian identities and to nationalism. Finally, I would like to review the major archaeological and literary evidence which questions the historical interpretations of the theory and implicitly also its political role. [2]

It was initially both curiosity and the colonial requirement of knowledge about their subject peoples, that led the officers of the East India Company serving in India to explore the history and culture of the colony which they were governing. The time was the late eighteenth century. Not only had the awareness of new worlds entered the consciousness of Europe, but knowledge as an aspect of the Enlightenment was thought to provide access to power. Governing a colony involved familiarity with what had preceded the arrival of the colonial power on the Indian scene. The focus therefore was on languages, law and religion. The belief that history was essential to this knowledge was thwarted by the seeming absence of histories of early India. That the beginnings of Indian history would have to be rediscovered through European methods of historical scholarship, with an emphasis on chronology and sequential narrative, became the challenge.

These early explorations were dominated by the need to construct a chronology for the Indian past. Attempts were made to trace parallels with Biblical theories and chronology. But the exploration with the maximum potential lay in the study of languages and particularly Sanskrit. Similarities between Greek and Latin and Sanskrit, noticed even earlier, were clinched with William Jones' reading of Sandracottos as Candragupta. Two other developments took place. One was the suggestion of a monogenesis or single origin of all related languages, an idea which was extended to the speakers of the languages as well. [3] The second was the emergence of comparative philology, which aroused considerable interest, especially after the availability of Vedic texts in the early nineteenth century. Vedic studies were hospitably received in Europe where there was already both enthusiasm for or criticism of, Indian culture. German romanticism and the writings of Herder and Schlegel suggested that the roots of human history might go back to these early beginnings recorded in Sanskrit texts. [4] James Mill on the other hand, had a different view in his highly influential History of British India, where he described India as backward and stagnant and Hindu civilisation as inimical to progress. [5]

Comparative philologists, such as E. [Eugene] Burnouf and F. [Franz] Bopp were primarily interested in the technicalities of language. Vedic Sanskrit, as the earliest form of Sanskrit, had primacy. Monogenesis was strengthened with the notion of an ancestral language, Indo-Germanic or Indo-European as it came to be called, as also in the origins of some European languages and their speakers being traced back to Iran and India or still further, to a central Asian homeland. Europe was on the edge of an Oriental Renaissance for it was believed that yet another Renaissance might follow, this time from the 'discovery' of the Orient, and thus taking knowledge into yet other directions. [6] The scholars associated with these studies and therefore with interpreting the Indian past, were generally based in Europe and had no direct experience of India.

The latter part of the nineteenth century witnessed discussions on the inter-relatedness of language, culture and race, and the notion of biological race came to the forefront. [7] The experience of imperialism where the European 'races' were viewed as advanced, and those of the colonised, as 'lesser breeds', reinforced these identities, as did social Darwinism.

Prominent among these identities was Aryan, used both for the language and the race, as current in the mid-nineteenth century. [8] Aryan was derived from the Old Iranian arya used in the Zoroastrian text, the Avesta, and was a cognate of the Sanskrit arya. Gobineau, who attempted to identify the races of Europe as Aryan and non-Aryan with an intrusion of the Semitic, associated the Aryans with the sons of Noah but emphasised the superiority of the white race and was fearful about the bastardisation of this race. [9] The study of craniology which became important at this time began to question the wider identity of the Aryan. It was discovered that the speakers of Indo-European languages were represented by diverse skull types. This was in part responsible for a new turn to the theory in the suggestion that the European Aryans were distinct from the Asian Aryans. 10 The former were said to be indigenous to Europe while the latter had their homeland in Asia. If the European Aryans were indigenous to northern Europe then the Nordic blonde was the prototype Aryan. Such theories liberated the origins of European civilisation from being embedded in Biblical history. They also had the approval of rationalist groups opposed to the Church, and supportive of Enlightenment thinking.



The application of these ideas to Indian origins was strengthened by Max Mueller's work on Sanskrit and Vedic studies and in particular his editing of the Rigveda during the years from 1849 to 1874. He ascribed the importance of this study to his belief that the Rigveda was the most ancient literature of the world, providing evidence of the roots of Indo-Aryan and the key to Hinduism. Together with the Avesta it formed the earliest stratum of Indo-European.  

Max Mueller maintained that there was an original Aryan homeland in central Asia. He postulated a small Aryan clan on a high elevation in central Asia, speaking a language which was not yet Sanskrit or Greek, a kind of proto-language ancestral to later Indo-European languages. From here and over the course of some centuries, it branched off in two directions; one came towards Europe and the other migrated to Iran, eventually splitting again with one segment invading north-western India. [11] The common origin of the Aryans was for him unquestioned. The northern Aryans who are said to have migrated to Europe are described by Max Mueller as active and combative and they developed the idea of a nation, while the southern Aryans who migrated to Iran and to India were passive and meditative, concerned with religion and philosophy. This description is still quoted for the inhabitants of India and has even come to be a cliche in the minds of many.

The Aryans, according to Max Mueller were fair-complexioned Indo-European speakers who conquered the dark-skinned dasas of India. The arya-varna and the dasa-varna of the Rigveda were understood as two conflicting groups differentiated particularly by skin colour, but also by language and religious practice, which doubtless underlined the racial interpretation of the terms. The Aryas developed Vedic Sanskrit as their language. The Dasas were the indigenous people, of Scythian origin, whom he called Turanians. The Aryan and the non-Aryan were segregated through the instituting of caste. The upper castes and particularly the brahmanas of modern times were said to be of Aryan descent and the lower castes and untouchables and tribes were descended from the Dasas. Max Mueller popularised the use of the term Aryan in the Indian context, arguing that it was originally a national name and later came to mean a person of good family. As was common in the nineteenth century, he used a number of words interchangeably such as Hindu and Indian, or race / nation / people / blood / — words whose meanings would today be carefully differentiated. Having posited the idea of a common origin for the languages included as Indo-European and among which was Indo-Aryan, common origin was extended to the speakers of these languages. Aryan therefore, although specifically a label for a language, came to be used for a people and a race as well, the argument being that those who spoke the same language belonged to the same biological race. In a lecture delivered later at Strassburg in 1872, Max Mueller denied any link between language and race. In spite of this, he continued to confuse the two as is evident from his description of Raja Ram Mohan Roy in an Address delivered in 1883.

Ram Mohan Roy was an Arya belonging to the south-eastern branch of the Aryan race and he spoke an Aryan language, the Bengali. . . We recognise in Ram Mohan Roy's visit to England the meeting again of the two great branches of the Aryan race, after they had been separated so long that they had lost all recollection of their common origin, common language and common faith. [12]


The sliding from language to race became general to contemporary thinking. An equally erroneous equation was the identification of Dravidian languages with a Dravidian race. [13]

This reconstruction of what was believed to be Aryan history, supercedes the initial Orientalist search for Biblical parallels or connections with early Indian history. There was now a focus on common origins with Europe, untouched by the intervention of the Semitic peoples and languages. As an Aryan text the Rigveda is said to be free from any taint of Semitic contact. Nor do the Puranas which were significant to Orientalist reconstructions of the past, enter Max Mueller's discourse for whom they were not only later but were in comparison, second order knowledge. The Puranas, in their descriptions of the past, do not endorse an arya-dasa separation in a manner which could be interpreted as different races. There was also an exclusion of anything Islamic in Max Mueller's definition of the Indian. He refers to the tyranny of Mohammedan rule in India without explaining why he thought it was so.

The theory of Aryan race became endemic to the reconstruction of Indian history and the reasons for this are varied. The pre-eminence given to the role of the brahmanas in the Orientalist construction of Indology was endorsed by the centrality of the Vedas. The Aryan theory also provided the colonised with status and self-esteem, arguing that they were linguistically and racially of the same stock as the colonisers. However, the separation of the European Aryans from the Asian Aryans was in effect a denial of this status. Such a denial was necessary in the view of those who proposed a radical structuring of colonial society through new legislation and administration, and in accordance with the conversion of the colony into a viable source of revenue. The complexities of caste were simplified in its being explained as racial segregation, demarcating the Aryans from the others.14 And finally, it made Indian origins relevant to the current perceptions dominating European thought and these perceptions were believed to be 'scientific' explanations...

These views coincided with the emergence of nationalism in the late nineteenth century in India, articulated mainly by the middle class, which was drawn from the upper caste and was seeking both legitimacy and an identity from the past. Origins therefore became crucial. To legitimise the status of this middle class, its superior Aryan origins and lineal descent was emphasised. It was assumed that only the upper caste Hindu could claim Aryan ancestry. This effectively excluded not only the lower castes but also the non-Hindus, even those of some social standing. Aryanism therefore became an exclusive status. In the dialogue between the early nationalists and the colonial power, a theory of common origins strengthening a possible link between the colonisers and the Indian elite came in very useful. For early nationalism, Aryan and non-Aryan differentiation was of an ethnic and racial kind, but was also beginning to touch implicitly on class differentiation.

Sympathetic to nationalism in India were the views of the Theosophical Society which changed the theory to suit its own premises. A prominent member of the Society, Col. Olcott [22] maintained that not only were the Aryans (equated with the Hindus) indigenous to India but that they were also the progenitors of European civilisation. Theosophical views emerged out of what was believed to be an aura of oriental religions and particularly Hinduism, as also the supposed dichotomy between the spiritualism of India and the materialism of Europe. The romanticising of India included viewing its civilisation as providing a counter-point to an industrialising Europe obsessed with rationalism, both of which were seen as eroding the European quality of life.

The theosophical reading of the Aryan theory was echoed in the interpretation of the theory by Hindu nationalist opinion. A group of people, close to and involved with the founding of the R.S.S. (Rashtriya Svayamsevaka Sangha) and writing in the early twentieth century, developed the concept of Hindutva or Hinduness and argued that this was essential to the identity of the Indian. [23] Since Hinduness in the past did not have a specific definition, the essentials of a Hindu identity had to be formulated. The argument ran that the original Hindus were the Aryans, a distinctive people indigenous to India. Caste Hindus or Hindu Aryas are their descendents. There was no Aryan invasion since the Aryans were indigenous to India and therefore no confrontation among the people of India. The Aryans spoke Sanskrit and were responsible for the spread of Aryan civilisation from India to the west. Confrontations came with the arrival of foreigners such as the Muslims, the Christians and more recently, the Communists. These groups are alien because India is neither the pitribhumi — the land of their birth — the assumption being that all Muslims and Christians are from outside India, nor the punyabhumi — their holy land. Hindu Aryas have had to constantly battle against these foreigners. Influenced by European theories of race of the 1920's and 1930's, parallels were drawn between the European differentiation of Aryans and Semites with the Indian differentiation of Hindus and Muslims. Justifying the treatment of the Jews in Germany, the threat of the same fate was held out to the Muslims in India.


-- The Theory of Aryan Race and India: History and Politics, by Romila Thapar


It seems altogether certain, however, that he would have dealt with them in that same clear-sighted, unsentimental, and critical fashion that characterized all his scholarly work. His persisting efforts to unveil the earliest stages of India's religious thought and history, his rigorous philological method, and the degree to which he integrated insights from other disciplines, stand as important monuments that will continue to inform and guide research.

Bibliography

Unhappily, the direct impact of Oldenberg's scholarship on investigations in the English-speaking world has been limited by the paucity of translations. English editions of Oldenberg's works include William Hoey's translation of Buddha: Sein Leben, seine Lehre, seine Gemeinde as The Buddha: His Life, His Doctrine, His Order (London, 1882), which should be consulted alongside the thirteenth German edition, annotated by Helmuth von Glasenapp, as well as the following books, each of which is accompanied by a valuable introduction: The Dīpavaṃsa (London, 1879); Vinaya Texts (Oxford, 1881–1885); The Gṛhyasūtras: Rules of Vedic Domestic Ceremonies, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1886–1892); and part 2 ("Hymns to Agni") of Vedic Hymns (Oxford, 1897). Also, three of his general essays have been published together as Ancient India (Chicago, 1898). Of inestimable value is Klaus Janert's careful two-volume edition of Oldenberg's Kleine Schriften (Wiesbaden, 1967), which includes not only full texts of more than one hundred articles but also an exhaustive bibliography.

************************************
Translator's Preface, Excerpt from Buddha: His Life, His Doctrine, His Order
by Dr. Hermann Oldenberg, Professor at the University of Berlin, Editor of the Vinaya Pitakam and the Dipavamsa in Pali

Translator's Preface

This book is a translation of a German work, Buddha, Sein Leben, seine Lehre, seine Gemeinde, by Professor Hermann Oldenberg, of Berlin, editor of the "Pali Texts of the Vinaya Pitakam and the Dipavamsa." The original has attracted the attention of European scholars, and the name of Dr. Oldenberg is a sufficient guarantee of the value of its contents. A review of the original doctrines of Buddhism, coming from the pen of the eminent German scholar, the coadjutor of Mr. Rhys Davids in the translation of the Pali scriptures for Professor Max Muller's "Sacred Books of the East," and the editor of many Pali texts, must be welcome as an addition to the aids which we possess to the study of Buddhism. Dr. Oldenberg has in the work now translated successfully demolished the sceptical theory of a solar Buddha, put forward by M. [Emile Charles Marie] Senart. He has sifted the legendary elements of Buddhist tradition, and has given the reliable residuum of facts concerning Buddha s life: he has examined the original teaching of Buddha, shown that the cardinal tenets of the pessimism which he preached are "the truth of suffering and the truth of the deliverance from suffering:" he has expounded the ontology of Buddhism and placed the Nirvana in a true light. To do this he has gone to the roots of Buddhism in pre-Buddhist Brahmanism: and he has given Orientalists the original authorities for his views of Buddhist dogmatics in Excursus at the end of his work.

To thoughtful men who evince an interest in the comparative study of religious beliefs, Buddhism, as the highest effort of pure intellect to solve the problem of being, is attractive. It is not less so to the metaphysician and sociologist who study the philosophy of the modern German pessimistic school and observe its social tendencies. To them Dr. Oldenberg s work will be as valuable as it is to the Orientalist.

My aim in this translation has been to reproduce the thought of the original in clear English. If I have done this, I have succeeded. Dr. Oldenberg has kindly perused my manuscript before going to press: and in a few passages of the English I have made slight alterations, additions, or omissions, as compared with the German original, at his request.1

I have to thank Dr. [Reinhold] Rost, the Librarian of the India Office, at whose suggestion I undertook this work, for his kindness and courtesy in facilitating some references which I found it necessary to make to the India Office Library.

Rhys Davids was home schooled by her father and then attended University College, London studying philosophy, psychology, and economics (PPE). She completed her BA in 1886 and an MA in philosophy in 1889. During her time at University College, she won both the John Stuart Mill Scholarship and the Joseph Hume Scholarship. It was her psychology tutor George Croom Robertson who "sent her to Professor Rhys Davids",[5] her future husband, to further her interest in Indian philosophy. She also studied Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy with Reinhold Rost.

Reinhold Rost (1822–1896) was a German orientalist, who worked for most of his life at St Augustine's Missionary College, Canterbury in England

St Augustine’s College in Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom, was located within the precincts of St Augustine's Abbey about 0.2 miles (335 metres) ESE of Canterbury Cathedral. It served first as a missionary college of the Church of England (1848-1947) and later as the Central College of the Anglican Communion (1952-1967).

The mid-19th century witnessed a "mass-migration" from England to its colonies. In response, the Church of England sent clergy, but the demand for them to serve overseas exceeded supply. Colonial bishoprics were established, but the bishops were without clergy. The training of missionary clergy for the colonies was “notoriously difficult” because they were required to have not only “piety and desire”, they were required to have an education “equivalent to that of a university degree”. The founding of the missionary college of St Augustine’s provided a solution to this problem.

The Revd Edward Coleridge, a teacher at Eton College, envisioned establishing a college for the purpose of training clergy for service in the colonies: both as ministers for the colonists and as missionaries to the native populations...


-- St Augustine's College, Canterbury, by Wikipedia


and as head librarian at the India Office Library, London.

He was the son of Christian Friedrich Rost, a Lutheran minister, and his wife Eleonore Glasewald, born at Eisenberg in Saxen-Altenburg on 2 February 1822. He was educated at the Eisenberg gymnasium school, and, after studying under Johann Gustav Stickel and Johann Gildemeister, graduated Ph.D. at the University of Jena in 1847. In the same year he came to England, to act as a teacher in German at the King's School, Canterbury. After four years, on 7 February 1851, he was appointed oriental lecturer at St. Augustine's Missionary College, Canterbury, founded to educate young men for mission work. This post he held for the rest of his life.

In London, Rost met Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, and was elected, in December 1863, secretary to the Royal Asiatic Society, a post he held for six years.

Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, 1st Baronet, GCB FRS (5 April 1810 – 5 March 1895) was a British East India Company army officer, politician and Orientalist, sometimes described as the Father of Assyriology. His son, also Henry, was to become a senior commander in the British Army during World War I...

Rawlinson was appointed political agent at Kandahar in 1840. In that capacity he served for three years, his political labours being considered as meritorious as was his gallantry during various engagements in the course of the Afghan War; for these he was rewarded by the distinction of Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1844.

Serendipitously, he became known personally to the governor-general, which resulted in his appointment as political agent in Ottoman Arabia. Thus he settled in Baghdad, where he devoted himself to cuneiform studies. He was now able, with considerable difficulty and at no small personal risk, to make a complete transcript of the Behistun inscription, which he was also successful in deciphering and interpreting. Having collected a large amount of invaluable information on this and kindred topics, in addition to much geographical knowledge gained in the prosecution of various explorations (including visits with Sir Austen Henry Layard to the ruins of Nineveh), he returned to England on leave of absence in 1849.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in February 1850 on account of being "The Discoverer of the key to the Ancient Persian, Babylonian, and Assyrian Inscriptions in the Cuneiform character. The Author of various papers on the philology, antiquities, and Geography of Mesopotamia and Central Asia. Eminent as a Scholar".

Rawlinson remained at home for two years, published in 1851 his memoir on the Behistun inscription, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He disposed of his valuable collection of Babylonian, Sabaean, and Sassanian antiquities to the trustees of the British Museum, who also made him a considerable grant to enable him to carry on the Assyrian and Babylonian excavations initiated by Layard. During 1851 he returned to Baghdad. The excavations were performed by his direction with valuable results, among the most important being the discovery of material that contributed greatly to the final decipherment and interpretation of the cuneiform character. Rawlinson's greatest contribution to the deciphering of the cuneiform scripts was the discovery that individual signs had multiple readings depending on their context. While at the British Museum, Rawlinson worked with the younger George Smith.

An equestrian accident in 1855 hastened his determination to return to England, and in that year he resigned his post in the East India Company. On his return to England the distinction of Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath was conferred upon him, and he was appointed a crown director of the East India Company.

The remaining forty years of his life were full of activity—political, diplomatic, and scientific—and were spent mainly in London. In 1858 he was appointed a member of the first India Council, but resigned during 1859 on being sent to Persia as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary. The latter post he held for only a year, owing to his dissatisfaction with circumstances concerning his official position there. Previously he had sat in Parliament as Member of Parliament (MP) for Reigate from February to September 1858; he was again MP for Frome, from 1865 to 1868. He was appointed to the Council of India again in 1868, and continued to serve upon it until his death. He was a strong advocate of the forward policy in Afghanistan, and counselled the retention of Kandahar.

Rawlinson was one of the most important figures arguing that Britain must check Russian ambitions in South Asia. He was a strong advocate of the forward policy in Afghanistan, and counselled the retention of Kandahar. He argued that Tsarist Russia would attack and absorb Khokand, Bokhara and Khiva (which they did – they are now parts of Uzbekistan) and warned they would invade Persia (present-day Iran) and Afghanistan as springboards to British India.

He was a trustee of the British Museum from 1876 till his death. He was created Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1889, and a Baronet in 1891; was president of the Royal Geographical Society from 1874 to 1875, and of the Royal Asiatic Society from 1869 to 1871 and 1878 to 1881; and received honorary degrees at Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh.

-- Sir Henry Rawlinson, 1st Baronet, by Wikipedia


Through Rawlinson he became on 1 July 1869 librarian at the India Office, on the retirement of FitzEdward Hall, and imposed order on its manuscripts.

Fitzedward Hall (March 21, 1825 - February 1, 1901) was an American Orientalist, and philologist. He was the first American to edit a Sanskrit text, and was an early collaborator in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) project...

He graduated with the degree of civil engineer from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy in 1842, and entered Harvard in the class of 1846. His Harvard classmates included Charles Eliot Norton, who later visited him in India in 1849, and Francis James Child. Just before his class graduated but after completing the work for his degree he abruptly left college and took ship out of Boston to India, allegedly in search of a runaway brother. His ship foundered and was wrecked on its approach to the harbor of Calcutta, where he found himself stranded. Although it was not his intention, he was never to return to the United States. At this time, he began his study of Indian languages, and in January 1850 he was appointed tutor in the Government Sanskrit College at Benares. In 1852, he became the first American to edit a Sanskrit text, namely the Vedanta treatises Ātmabodha and Tattvabodha. In 1853, he became professor of Sanskrit and English at the Government Sanskrit College; and in 1855 was appointed to the post of Inspector of Public Instruction in Ajmere-Merwara and in 1856 in the Central Provinces.

In 1857, Hall was caught up in the Sepoy Mutiny. The Manchester Guardian later gave this account:[2] "When the Mutiny broke out he was Inspector of Public Instruction for Central India, and was beleaguered in the Saugor Fort. He had become an expert tiger shooter, and turned this proficiency to account during the siege of the fort, and afterwards as a volunteer in the struggle for the re-establishment of the British power in India."

In 1859, he published at Calcutta his discursive and informative A Contribution Towards an Index to the Bibliography of the Indian Philosophical Systems, based on the holdings of the Benares College and his own collection of Sanskrit manuscripts, as well as numerous other private collections he had examined. In the introduction, he regrets that this production was in press in Allahabad and would have been put before the public in 1857, "had it not been impressed to feed a rebel bonfire."

He settled in England and in 1862 received the appointment to the Chair of Sanskrit, Hindustani and Indian jurisprudence in King's College London, and to the librarianship of the India Office. An unsuccessful attempt was made by his friends to lure him back to Harvard by endowing a Chair of Sanskrit for him there, but this project came to nothing. His collection of a thousand Oriental manuscripts he gave to Harvard...

In 1869 Hall was dismissed by the India Office, which accused him (by his own account) of being a drunk and a foreign spy, and expelled from the Philological Society after a series of acrimonious exchanges in the letters columns of various journals.

-- Fitzedward Hall, by Wikipedia


He secured for students free admission to the library. He retired in 1893 after 24 years of service at the age of 70. His successor as head librarian of the India Office Library became the Orientalist and Sanskritist Charles Henry Tawney (1837-1922).

Rost gained many distinctions and awards. He was created Hon. LL.D. of Edinburgh in 1877, and a Companion of the Indian Empire in 1888. He died at Canterbury on 7 February 1896.[1]

-- Reinhold Rost, by Wikiedia


-- Caroline Rhys Davids, by Wikipedia


W. HOEY.

BELFAST, October 21, 1882.
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Reinhold Rost
by Wikipedia
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[Caroline Rhys Davis] studied Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy with Reinhold Rost.

-- Caroline Rhys Davids, by Wikipedia




Image
Orientalist Reinhold Rost (1822-1896), headlibrarian to the India Office Library, about 1890

Reinhold Rost (1822–1896) was a German orientalist, who worked for most of his life at St Augustine's Missionary College, Canterbury in England ...

St Augustine’s College in Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom, was located within the precincts of St Augustine's Abbey about 0.2 miles (335 metres) ESE of Canterbury Cathedral. It served first as a missionary college of the Church of England (1848-1947) and later as the Central College of the Anglican Communion (1952-1967).

The mid-19th century witnessed a "mass-migration" from England to its colonies. In response, the Church of England sent clergy, but the demand for them to serve overseas exceeded supply. Colonial bishoprics were established, but the bishops were without clergy. The training of missionary clergy for the colonies was “notoriously difficult” because they were required to have not only “piety and desire”, they were required to have an education “equivalent to that of a university degree”. The founding of the missionary college of St Augustine’s provided a solution to this problem.

The Revd Edward Coleridge, a teacher at Eton College, envisioned establishing a college for the purpose of training clergy for service in the colonies: both as ministers for the colonists and as missionaries to the native populations...


-- St Augustine's College, Canterbury, by Wikipedia


and as head librarian at the India Office Library, London.

Life

He was the son of Christian Friedrich Rost, a Lutheran minister, and his wife Eleonore Glasewald, born at Eisenberg in Saxen-Altenburg on 2 February 1822. He was educated at the Eisenberg gymnasium school, and, after studying under Johann Gustav Stickel and Johann Gildemeister, graduated Ph.D. at the University of Jena in 1847. In the same year he came to England, to act as a teacher in German at the King's School, Canterbury. After four years, on 7 February 1851, he was appointed oriental lecturer at St. Augustine's Missionary College, Canterbury, founded to educate young men for mission work. This post he held for the rest of his life.[1]

In London, Rost met Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, and was elected, in December 1863, secretary to the Royal Asiatic Society, a post he held for six years.

Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, 1st Baronet, GCB FRS (5 April 1810 – 5 March 1895) was a British East India Company army officer, politician and Orientalist, sometimes described as the Father of Assyriology. His son, also Henry, was to become a senior commander in the British Army during World War I...

Rawlinson was appointed political agent at Kandahar in 1840. In that capacity he served for three years, his political labours being considered as meritorious as was his gallantry during various engagements in the course of the Afghan War; for these he was rewarded by the distinction of Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1844.

Serendipitously, he became known personally to the governor-general, which resulted in his appointment as political agent in Ottoman Arabia. Thus he settled in Baghdad, where he devoted himself to cuneiform studies. He was now able, with considerable difficulty and at no small personal risk, to make a complete transcript of the Behistun inscription, which he was also successful in deciphering and interpreting. Having collected a large amount of invaluable information on this and kindred topics, in addition to much geographical knowledge gained in the prosecution of various explorations (including visits with Sir Austen Henry Layard to the ruins of Nineveh), he returned to England on leave of absence in 1849.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in February 1850 on account of being "The Discoverer of the key to the Ancient Persian, Babylonian, and Assyrian Inscriptions in the Cuneiform character. The Author of various papers on the philology, antiquities, and Geography of Mesopotamia and Central Asia. Eminent as a Scholar".

Rawlinson remained at home for two years, published in 1851 his memoir on the Behistun inscription, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He disposed of his valuable collection of Babylonian, Sabaean, and Sassanian antiquities to the trustees of the British Museum, who also made him a considerable grant to enable him to carry on the Assyrian and Babylonian excavations initiated by Layard. During 1851 he returned to Baghdad. The excavations were performed by his direction with valuable results, among the most important being the discovery of material that contributed greatly to the final decipherment and interpretation of the cuneiform character. Rawlinson's greatest contribution to the deciphering of the cuneiform scripts was the discovery that individual signs had multiple readings depending on their context. While at the British Museum, Rawlinson worked with the younger George Smith.

An equestrian accident in 1855 hastened his determination to return to England, and in that year he resigned his post in the East India Company. On his return to England the distinction of Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath was conferred upon him, and he was appointed a crown director of the East India Company.

The remaining forty years of his life were full of activity—political, diplomatic, and scientific—and were spent mainly in London. In 1858 he was appointed a member of the first India Council, but resigned during 1859 on being sent to Persia as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary. The latter post he held for only a year, owing to his dissatisfaction with circumstances concerning his official position there. Previously he had sat in Parliament as Member of Parliament (MP) for Reigate from February to September 1858; he was again MP for Frome, from 1865 to 1868. He was appointed to the Council of India again in 1868, and continued to serve upon it until his death. He was a strong advocate of the forward policy in Afghanistan, and counselled the retention of Kandahar.

Rawlinson was one of the most important figures arguing that Britain must check Russian ambitions in South Asia. He was a strong advocate of the forward policy in Afghanistan, and counselled the retention of Kandahar. He argued that Tsarist Russia would attack and absorb Khokand, Bokhara and Khiva (which they did – they are now parts of Uzbekistan) and warned they would invade Persia (present-day Iran) and Afghanistan as springboards to British India.

He was a trustee of the British Museum from 1876 till his death. He was created Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1889, and a Baronet in 1891; was president of the Royal Geographical Society from 1874 to 1875, and of the Royal Asiatic Society from 1869 to 1871 and 1878 to 1881; and received honorary degrees at Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh.

-- Sir Henry Rawlinson, 1st Baronet, by Wikipedia


Through Rawlinson he became on 1 July 1869 librarian at the India Office, on the retirement of FitzEdward Hall, and imposed order on its manuscripts.

Fitzedward Hall (March 21, 1825 - February 1, 1901) was an American Orientalist, and philologist. He was the first American to edit a Sanskrit text, and was an early collaborator in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) project...

He graduated with the degree of civil engineer from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy in 1842, and entered Harvard in the class of 1846. His Harvard classmates included Charles Eliot Norton, who later visited him in India in 1849, and Francis James Child. Just before his class graduated but after completing the work for his degree he abruptly left college and took ship out of Boston to India, allegedly in search of a runaway brother. His ship foundered and was wrecked on its approach to the harbor of Calcutta, where he found himself stranded. Although it was not his intention, he was never to return to the United States. At this time, he began his study of Indian languages, and in January 1850 he was appointed tutor in the Government Sanskrit College at Benares. In 1852, he became the first American to edit a Sanskrit text, namely the Vedanta treatises Ātmabodha and Tattvabodha. In 1853, he became professor of Sanskrit and English at the Government Sanskrit College; and in 1855 was appointed to the post of Inspector of Public Instruction in Ajmere-Merwara and in 1856 in the Central Provinces.

In 1857, Hall was caught up in the Sepoy Mutiny. The Manchester Guardian later gave this account:[2] "When the Mutiny broke out he was Inspector of Public Instruction for Central India, and was beleaguered in the Saugor Fort. He had become an expert tiger shooter, and turned this proficiency to account during the siege of the fort, and afterwards as a volunteer in the struggle for the re-establishment of the British power in India."

In 1859, he published at Calcutta his discursive and informative A Contribution Towards an Index to the Bibliography of the Indian Philosophical Systems, based on the holdings of the Benares College and his own collection of Sanskrit manuscripts, as well as numerous other private collections he had examined. In the introduction, he regrets that this production was in press in Allahabad and would have been put before the public in 1857, "had it not been impressed to feed a rebel bonfire."

He settled in England and in 1862 received the appointment to the Chair of Sanskrit, Hindustani and Indian jurisprudence in King's College London, and to the librarianship of the India Office. An unsuccessful attempt was made by his friends to lure him back to Harvard by endowing a Chair of Sanskrit for him there, but this project came to nothing. His collection of a thousand Oriental manuscripts he gave to Harvard...

In 1869 Hall was dismissed by the India Office, which accused him (by his own account) of being a drunk and a foreign spy, and expelled from the Philological Society after a series of acrimonious exchanges in the letters columns of various journals.

-- Fitzedward Hall, by Wikipedia


He secured for students free admission to the library. He retired in 1893 after 24 years of service at the age of 70.[1] His successor as head librarian of the India Office Library became the Orientalist and Sanskritist Charles Henry Tawney (1837-1922).

Rost gained many distinctions and awards. He was created Hon. LL.D. of Edinburgh in 1877, and a Companion of the Indian Empire in 1888. He died at Canterbury on 7 February 1896.[1]

Works

Rost was familiar with some twenty or thirty languages in all. His own works were:[1]

• Treatise on the Indian Sources of the Ancient Burmese Laws, 1850.
• A Descriptive Catalogue of the Palm Leaf MSS. belonging to the Imperial Public Library of St. Petersburg, 1852.
• Revision of Specimens of Sanscrit MSS. published by the Paleographical Society, 1875.

Rost's India Office Library catalogue of Sanskrit works was a significant bibliographic advance.[2] He edited:[1]

• Horace Hayman Wilson, Essays on the Religions of the Hindus and on Sanscrit Literature, 5 vols. 1861–5;
• Brian Houghton Hodgson, Essays on Indian Subjects, 2 vols. 1880;
• Miscellaneous papers relating to Indo-China and the Indian Archipelago (Trübner's "Oriental Series", 4 vols. 1886–8);
• The last three volumes of Trübner's Oriental Record; and
• Trübner's series of Simplified Grammars.

He contributed notices of books to Luzac's Oriental List, articles on "Malay Language and Literature", "Pali", "Rajah", and "Thugs" to the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, and published in The Athenæum and The Academy.[1]

Family

Rost married, in 1863, Minna, daughter of late Chief-justice J. F. Laue, of Magdeburg; they had seven children, two of whom died in childhood.[3] Son Ernst (Ernest) Reinhold Rost (born 1872) became Major of the Indian Medical Service (IMS), led newly founded Yangon General Hospital in Rangoon (Burma) and was active in the propagation of Buddhism in England.[4]

Biography

• Oskar Weise: Der Orientalist Dr. Reinhold Rost, sein Leben,und sein Streben. Leipzig : Teubner 1897. 71 p. (Mitteilungen des Geschichts- und Altertumsforschenden Vereins zu Eisenberg).

Notes

1. Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Rost, Reinhold" . Dictionary of National Biography. 49. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
2. Katz, J. B. "Rost, Reinhold". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24144. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
3. Weise 1897, p.55
4. Weise 1897, 55

External links

Attribution


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Rost, Reinhold". Dictionary of National Biography. 49. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
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Dodanduwa Sri Piyaratana Tissa Mahanayake Thero
by Memories of Weerasooriya Clan
June 28, 2010
Source: The Island - 6th August, 2005

I pass among ignorant Western people as a thoroughly well informed man but in comparison with the learning possessed by my Brothers in the oriental priesthoods, I am as ignorant as the last of their neophytes. What I call wisdom is the thorough knowledge of the real truth of the Cosmos and of man. Where in Christendom can this be learnt? Where is the University? Where the professor? Where the books from which the hungry student may discover what lies behind the shell of physical natures? That divine knowledge is in the keeping of the temples and priests and ascetics of the East -- of despised heathendom. There alone the way to purification, illumination, power, beatitude can be pointed out234.

To you and as you must we turn, and say: "Fathers, brothers, the Western world is dying of brutal sensuality and ignorance, come and help, rescue it. Come as missionaries, as teachers, as disputants, preachers. Come prepared to be hated, opposed, threatened, perhaps maltreated. Come expecting nothing but determined to accomplish every thing!235

If you will persuade a good, pure, learned, eloquent Buddhist to come here and preach, you will sweep the country before you ... I have spoken a little myself on the subject and written and caused to be written much more. But I am so ignorant. We are all so ignorant that I do not dare set myself up as a teacher236. Our [Theosophical] Society is on the basis of a Brotherhood of Humanity. I might admit that it also is a league of religions against the common enemy -- Christianity.

-- Letter to Dodanduwa Sri Piyaratana Tissa Mahanayake Thero, by Henry Steel Olcott, from Theosophists and Buddhists, Excerpt from White Sahibs, Brown Sahibs: Tracking Dharmapala, by Susantha Goonatilake


After a two-year correspondence with Ven. Piyarathne Thissa, [Olcott] and Blavatsky arrived in the then capital Colombo on May 16, 1880.

-- Henry Steel Olcott, by Wikipedia


Image

A quaint stillness permeates the seaboard that was devastated in the tsunami six months ago. Away from the hustle and bustle of the towns, the villages Rathgama and Dodanduwa exude an aura of distinct quietude with men and women going about their daily work. Around the village the abundance of the Rathgama lagoon, a sprawling sheet of shimmering aquatic delight rich in its biodiversity, brings a comforting breeze to the locality. It is like an ancient giant silently watching over the poor villages where women spin coconut fibre strings or make loose strands of fibre the difficult way, beating hard on the coconut husks soaked in the lake with wooden machetes, till the sinews of their hands ache from sheer physical exertion day in, day out. All that labour for a mere pittance, in a country with a milieu virtually adulating the so-called market economy and the "level playing field". The product of incessant labour drips from their hands and faces in the form of drops of sweat, which the celebrated Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote was where God made his abode.

When one passes the Dodanduwa bridge on the Galle Road ancient single storey buildings that line the road among the newly built markets or kiosks seem to beckon one to an age of prosperity and bygone resurgence towards the latter half of the 19th century when Buddhist leaders like the Most Ven Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayake Thera attracted Western intellectuals like the American theosophist Col. Henry Steele Olcott. Olcott came here to learn the rich cultural and religious heritage of this country and unlearn some of the pseudo-intellectual teachings and beliefs of the newly civilized Western world.

Less than a kilometre from the Dodanduwa Bridge is a turnoff to the left that leads to interior hamlets of the main village and a special school. A memorial complete with a statue of another bhikku, Ven Sasanalankara Vinayacharya Siri Piyaratna Tissa Nayake Thera (known as Dodanduwe Piyaratana Nayake Thera), who placed Dodanduwa in the annals of the country’s education history can be seen at the turn. He was pious and erudite monk whose efforts made this school a reality one and a half centuries ago. A name board stands opposite the statue, Dodanduwa Piyaratana Vidyalaya, the first Buddhist school established in the colonial era after the British introduced their system of school education replacing our own system of education that was thousands of years old.

Chapter Nine: Education

9.1 British Educational Policy, 1796-1867


The history of education in nineteenth century Ceylon is closely linked with several other aspects of British policy in the island. In the first place, the state of the government revenue – that itself depended heavily on the fortunes of the plantation industry -- set up the financial framework, within which colonial educational policy could be realised. As the propagation of education has never been a preference of the British administration throughout the nineteenth century, expenditure on educational facilities has often been the first to suffer during times of financial difficulties. Second, the British approach to the education of the Crown's 'native subjects' was only partly based on humanitarian thoughts. Practical considerations constantly influenced education policies. The want of English-speaking clerks for the lower ranks of the administration, for instance, led to an emphasis on English education in the wake of the Colebrooke-Cameron report. Later, the policy was reversed. The administrative machinery could not absorb the newly created English-educated class anymore. Third, the competition of the various religious bodies and groups in Ceylon played a significant role in the development of education in Ceylon. At first, the struggle for predominance in the field of education was mainly a struggle between different Christian missionary societies. Later -- in the course of the so-called 'religious revivals’ that will be discussed in detail in a later chapter -- the representatives of the indigenous religious faiths joined the competition as well.

Until the implementation of the Colebrooke-Cameron reforms in the early 1830s, the propagation of education was largely neglected by the colonial government. When the British took over the Dutch possessions on the island, two separate school system existed. The Dutch had established a network of Christian parish schools that had been under central government control. Outside this system there existed a fairly large number of traditional Buddhist schools. These pansala schools were attached to Buddhist monasteries and managed by the clergy.1 Most of the pansalas were located in the Kandyan highlands (and, therefore, came under British authority only in 1815). The pansala network was less tight in the Maritime Provinces. During the administration of the East India Company from 1796 to 1798, education was not considered particularly important and the Dutch parish schools fell into complete neglect. Only with the arrival of Governor Frederick North in 1798 these schools were revived again and soon stood at the centre of the government's education policy. North -- who is said to have been influenced by religious motives more than by educational ones -- appointed the Colonial Chaplain Rev. James A. Cordiner as Principal of Schools. North and Cordiner showed a keen interest in the establishment of a network or vernacular schools, but in 1803 their ambitions were put to a stop by the Colonial Office's retrenchment policy. The parish schools were abolished on financial grounds and only the English Academy -- established by North as the first English school in Ceylon in 1800 -- survived the cutting back of funds.2

North's successors, Thomas Maitland and Robert Brownrigg, did not revive the parish schools. While Maitiand showed no interest in the propagation of education at all, Brownrigg's Governorship saw the arrival of four important missionary societies on the island. In 18 12, the Baptist Missionary Society came to Ceylon and started to set up missionary schools. The Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society followed in 1814, the American Mission in 1816 and the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1818.3 The Wesleyans, the CMS and – on a smaller scale -- the Baptists immediately started to establish schools in the centres of the maritime regions -- preferably in and around Colombo.4 Due to political reasons, the American Mission was not allowed into Colombo and, thus, concentrated solely on missionary activity in the Jaffna peninsula.

The missionary societies regarded education as the principal vehicle of conversion and mainly established vernacular schools to reach the mass of the 'heathens.’ In these schools the local languages -- i.e. Sinhala or Tamil -- were used for the instruction of the pupils.5 Under Brownrigg, the colonial government's education policy confined itself to supporting the activities of the missionary bodies. In 1817, an Archdeaconry (subordinate to Calcutta) was established in Ceylon and the Church of England became the official church of the state. The remaining government schools came under the supervision of the Church of England and its Ecclesiastical Establishment.6

The missionaries were admitted to the Kandyan regions in 1820. After the conquest of Kandy in 1815, the Kandyan Convention had assured British protection to Buddhism, but with the suppression of the Kandyan Rebellion in 1818 a new proclamation was issued that limited government support to Buddhism. Moreover, Brownrigg officially extended government protection to all religions and, therefore, found it possible to open the Kandyan regions to the missionary bodies.7

Thanks to Brownrigg's support, the missionary societies soon occupied a more important position than the government in the spread of education. Under Brownrigg's successor Edward Barnes, the role of the missionaries became even more pronounced as Barnes showed interest only in the economic progress of the island. He did not actively support the missionary societies, but, due to government neglect, he left educational matters almost completely to the churches. Jayaweera states that Barnes "discouraged educational enterprise, state or private, and all but killed state schools; the latter were reduced to four English and ninety parish schools by 1830.”8 When Colebrooke arrived in Ceylon in 1829, the missionary bodies practically controlled the educational system of the island -- partly due to the active support of Brownrigg, partly due to Barnes' indifference.

As he did on most matters of colonial administration, Colebrooke also commented on the prevalent system of education. Sumathipala points out that, when Colebrooke investigated educational matters on the island, only about 800 pupils (out of a total of 26,970) received an English education. About half of those attended the five existing government English schools.9 As Colebrooke occupied a more practical viewpoint concerning the future of education in Ceylon,10 he recommended to discontinue any government activity in the spheres of vernacular education and laid additional emphasis on the importance of English education on the island. In his opinion, the intended opening of the lower ranks of the CCS to the Ceylonese required English-educated personnel. The spread of Western -- i.e. British – ideas and values would unify the island and foster local participation in the administration and judicature.11 Consequently, Governor Horton -- whose task it was to implement most of Colebrooke's recommendations -- closed all government vernacular schools. Furthermore, government English schools were closed in many locations where missionary schools already taught English. Thus, the missionaries were given an additional inducement to engage in English education12 as Colebrooke objected to the missionaries' preference for vernacular education.13 The Archdeacon of the Church of England became the head of the first School Commission in 1834. This commission implemented Colebrooke's recommendations almost to the letter and concentrated entirely on the establishment of English schools.14 The missionary societies soon followed the government policy and laid their emphasis on the foundation of English schools as well.15 The School Commission managed to expand educational facilities (primarily for the teaching of English) in the next years. However, the government schools constantly lost more ground to the rapidly spreading missionary schools.

The School Commission and its policy exclusively represented the Church of England -- the Anglicans. No members of other religious instruction was made a compulsory subject in government schools. Only in 1841 Governor Stewart Mackenzie reorganized the mission and created the Central School Commission. In the new commission Presbyterians, Roman Cathoiics, Wesleyans and Anglicans were all given a voice -- but none of the indigenous religious faiths was represented.16 The creation of the Central School Commission triggered several changes in the educational policy of Ceylon. From 1841 on, government schools were open to children of all Christian denominations. Furthermore, the first grant-in-aid system for nongovernment English schools was introduced and enabled missionary English schools to receive a government grant (provided that they allowed inspection and examination by the commission). As they had a long tradition of English teaching, schools in Jaffna made particular use of the grant-in-aid system and, consequently, several government schools in the peninsula were closed down.17

The Wesleyan Rev. William Gogerly presided the commission from 1843 onwards and implemented a comparatively progressive policy. Together with Governor Colin Campbell he introduced several new schemes. In 1843, the Central School Commission made provisions for vernacular education in elementary schools. In 1845, a Native Normal School for the training of teachers in vernacular education was established. Two years later, 30 vernacular schools were opened.18 As a consequence, government expenditure on education rose from £2,999 in the year 1841 to £11,4-15 in 1847 19 (i.e. from 0.8% to 2.2% of the total expenditure).20

In the course of the first serious coffee crisis in 1848 and the following financial depression, government expenditure on education was drastically reduced. Vernacular education suffered hardest. Although most government vernacular schools continued to exist, the introduction of fees and the closing down of the Native Normal School prevented further progress in vernacular education.21 The neglect of education policy continued when the depression had been overcome and the coffee mania of the 1850s had set in. Economic advance and the improvement of the infrastructure were the sole interest of the administration during that time. Without government guidance the policy of the Central School Commission changed almost every year during the 1850s -- laying emphasis on English education in one year and promoting vernacular instruction in the next.22 Education, therefore, remained largely the domain of the missionary bodies. The Christian supremacy in the field was underlined by the Central School Commission's policy to give grants exclusively to schools run by Christian institutions.23 No pansala or other non-Christian school had ever received a grant so far.

In the 1860s, the Roman Catholic community -- led by the Archbishop of Colombo Christopher Bonjean -- put up first resistance to the prevailing system. When the Tamil MLC Muttu Coomaraswamy (backed by the Burgher MLC Martenz) requested the creation of a special committee to investigate the matter, a Subcommittee of the Legislative Council was eventually appointed to conduct inquires about the state of education in Ceylon.24 In 1865, the Morgan Committee -- named after its president, Queen's Advocate Richard F. Morgan -- took up its work.


9.2 The Morgan Committee and the Department of Public Instruction

The Morgan Committee presented its final report in 1867. The implementation of its proposals not only placed the administration of education on a sound institutional footing but also led to a reversal of government educational policy on the island. Of the various changes advocated by the Committee only three major points shall be discussed here: the establishment of the Department of Public Instruction, the emphasis on vernacular education and the introduction of the so-called Denominational System based on a revised grant-in-aid system. Governor Hercules Robinson said in an address to the Legislative Council in 1870:

I have to announce to you the adoptions of a distinct policy the tendency of which will be to extend the operations of government in the direction of establishing village schools as yet unprovided with the means of instruction, but gradually to contract its operations in respect of English schools in the lawn districts where an effective system of grant-in-aid will enable the government to employ its funds to much greater advantage than in maintaining schools of its own.25


From 1869/70 onwards, the Committee's proposals were gradually realised. The Morgan Report expressed the opinion that the government had an obligation to spread (vernacular) education in the entire island. It has been said that the Committee's views had not so much been shaped by the needs of the population but "by the current trends in England and India which favoured some form of state responsibility for education."26 Accordingly, vernacular education gained new momentum with the implementation of the Report's proposals. The number of government vernacular schools increased from 64 in 1869 to 347 in 1881.27 The report also proposed the abolition of government English elementary schools on the assumption that superior (i.e. English) education was only required by a small minority of the population. Superior Central schools -- already existent in some of the population centres -- and Anglo-vernacular schools28 [28. In Anglo-vernacular schools English was not the medium of instruction, but merely a subject. The pupils learned English with explanations and instructions given in the vernacular.] should provide the necessary facilities for those who could afford an English education. All school fees for vernacular education were abolished, whereas superior English education was only available against the payment of substantial fees.29 Wickremeratne even holds that it was one of the main goals of the colonial government's educational policy after 1867 to retain the growing educational gap.30

The inefficiency of the Central School Commission was demonstrated by its last report of the year 1867. The report showed that since 1840 only 86 new schools had been established.31 The Morgan Committee decided to do away with the Commission and create the Department of Public Instruction. The Governor, the Executive Council and the School Commission suggested the additional creation of an advisory board -– consisting of representatives of all races and denominations -– to control and assist the Director of Public Instructions. But Morgan opposed this view, and, on his advice, the Legislative Council voted against the establishment of such a board.32 Consequently, the Director of Public Instruction was directly and solely responsible for the implementation of the government's educational policy.

After 1867 the management of many government English schools was handed over to the missionary societies. Other schools were simply closed when missionary English schools existed in the vicinity. The government followed this policy without consideration of the religious feelings of the population.33 The measures of the Morgan Report provided no conscience clause that could exempt Buddhist or Tamil pupils from the compulsory attendance of religious instruction. Due to the government's gradual retreat from English education and the promotion of missionary English schools, everybody with a desire to learn English was exposed to the proselytising ambitions of the missionaries.
Sumathipala quotes Ponnambalam Ramanathan who in 1884 presented a memorial of several Jaffna Hindus to the Legislative Council, in which the petitioners complained about the religious intolerance in the missionary schools:

[C]hildren who are obliged to go to these missionary schools are forced by the missionaries, under pain of fines and expulsion, to read the Bible whether they liked it or not [ ... ] Hindu boys who, for want of their own English schools, resort to the missionary schools, have learnt to make mental reservations and are getting skilled in the art of dodging. The holy ashes put on at home during worship are carefully rubbed off as they approach the Christian school and they affect the methods of Christian boys while at school. [ ... ] There is a great deal too much of hypocrisy in Jaffna in the matter of religion, owing the fact that the love of the missionaries for proselytes is as boundless as the love of the Jaffnese to obtain some knowledge of English at any cost. […] If there is no conscience clause in the grant-in-aid code, I think the sooner a clause of that kind is introduced the better it will be for religious freedom in Ceylon.34


While religious instruction was not a subject in government schools anymore, the private grant-receiving schools were free to teach the subject. Almost all of the grant-aided schools were under Christian management and, thus, held compulsory religious instruction lessons (mostly held in the first school hour). Throughout the nineteenth century, the pupils were compelled to attend these lessons. No conscience clause existed.

The government's gradual retreat from English education gained momentum, when the plantation economy experienced first signs of the coffee crisis in the late 1870s. Government coffers suffered from a lack of funds. Thus, the Legislative Council's Retrenchment Committee proposed in 1883 to hand over local Anglo-vernacular and English schools to the Municipal and Local Boards. Ordinance 33 of 1883 was passed and made provisions for the transfer of English and mixed schools located within the limits of municipalities to the local authorities. But only in Puttalam such a transfer was successful. Most other Municipal and Local Boards lacked the financial means to assume control over the government schools. The missionaries stepped in and took over the management of the schools. Therefore, 21 government English schools were either handed over to the missionary bodies or closed until the end of 1884.37 The Colombo Academy (renamed the Royal College in 1881) remained the only government English school within the boundaries of a municipality.38 The government's vernacular education policy was more successful. Between 1873 and 1900, the number of government vernacular schools increased from 241 to 484. Still the government was outperformed by the missionaries who increased the number of their schools from 237 to 1,186.39 Jayasuriya states that on several recorded occasions government vernacular schools were also handed over to the missionaries or closed, if a missionary school of the same type was near.40

The government relied heavily on the grant-in-aid system introduced by the Morgan Report and considered it a practicable way to outsource educational responsibility to the missionaries. The allocation of such grants was based on the principal of payment by results. Officials of the Department of Public Instruction conducted examinations in the schools. The results of these examinations decided whether a school was eligible for a grant and, if so, for what grant category. The grant in-aid system did not place any restriction on religious instruction in the grant-aided schools -- although examinations were conducted in secular subjects only. Grants were given in the categories A, B and (since 1872) C -- in descending order of the allocated sum. Grants for C schools were small and awarded only for three years. During that time the C school had to qualify for an A or B grant. The distinction in A, B and C schools was applied to every type of school. Among those types English schools received the highest grants, followed by Anglo-vernacular and, finally, vernacular schools.41

The working of the grant-in-aid system was tightly connected with the financial state of the colony. Initially comparatively generous grants were made. The coffee plantations' prosperity had reached new heights and the government coffers were filled up to the rim. The missionary societies seized the opportunity and most missionary schools applied for a grant. In 1870, the first year of the new scheme, 223 schools received a grant. Six year later the number of eligible schools had increased to 697.42

The government and the Department for Public Instruction were both pleased with the working of the grant-in-aid system from its very inception.
More and more educational responsibility was passed to the private missionary bodies that competed fiercely for grants and constantly established more schools. The missionaries were the main beneficiaries of the system -- even though, in theory, all private schools (i. e. not just missionary schools) could apply for a government grant since the revisions of the Morgan Committee. Although the indigenous religious groups quickly realised the potential of the grant-in-aid system, they could not make full use of the scheme due to several hindrances. Unlike their Christian counterparts, the Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims had not participated in the field of education prior to the 1870s on any significant scale. The considerable number of Buddhist pansala schools had existed outside the official educational system of the island since the arrival of the British. The pansalas contributed to the spread of literacy in the vernacular and were very valuable for the villagers, but they worked on different principles than government or missionary schools. Therefore, they could not serve as a training ground in (Western) educational management. Apart from the Buddhist pansalas, the indigenous communities had little experience in the management of schools, although every now and then a local school was set up and run on private funds.

The indigenous religion groups' ambitions to secure government grants did not only suffer from their lack of experience in schools management. The often also lacked the money to set up schools in the first place. And when they managed to do so, they faced the fierce opposition of the missionary bodies, the partiality of the British officials and -- the most formidably -- provisions of the so-called Distance Rule as introduced in 1874. Thus, only four Buddhist and one Hindu school were registered for a grant in the year 1880 (ten years after the introduction of the revised scheme) -- as against a total of 833 grant-aided schools in that year.43


The missionary societies with their headquarters in Europe or America had much larger financial resources at their disposal than the local Buddhist or Hindu communities. This gave the missionaries a distinct advantage over their native competitors, as the initial investment to set up and run a school was considerable and grants were only given to schools already up and running. Furthermore, the opposition of the missionaries and their influence on the European officials often delayed or prevented the registration of Buddhist and Hindu schools for a grant.
Jayasuriya gives several examples for this practice and both Jayasuriya and Sumathipala quote the Director of Public Instruction on one particular case in the Northern Province:

During the last two years some applications were considered for the registration of schools under Sivite [Hindu] managers. They were large schools, had existed for many years, and fulfilled every condition required by the existing regulations. The case of one of the schools was submitted to my particular attention by the Tamil members of the Legislative Council. The protests of one of the Managers against the registration of such schools has been of a very determined kind, and he directly claims for the Society he represents the 'exclusive possession' of the district in which his schools are situated. Indeed with reference to a school which had been in existence for nearly twenty years, he says,

'If it can be made plain that the school is really needed, the teacher should be required to accept Mission management as the sole condition to receiving government aid.'44


Only rarely did such cases reach the Director of Public Instruction -- and even then it seems that little has been done to keep the Christian missionaries from interfering. The school in the referred case did not receive the grant.45 Christian lobbying slowed down the development of native schools and, above all, increased the lead of the missionary societies in the educational field. And with the introduction of the Distance Rule in 1874 an additional and crucial advantage in the competition for grants was given to those bodies with a large number of already registered schools -- i.e. the Christian missionary societies. The new rule made provisions for the refusal of grants for schools established within three miles of an existing government or grant-in-aid school of the same type -- except in special circumstances.46 Taking into account that the missionary schools had right from the introduction of the grant-in-aid scheme seized the opportunity and established numerous schools, it becomes clear that such a rule prevented the registration of new schools in many localities. The existence of a government or missionary grant-aided school in a village (or in the vicinity thereof) made the allocation of a grant for another school in that area impossible. This served a severe blow to the Buddhist and Hindu schools that explicitly aimed at providing indigenous educational facilities as alternative to the already established missionary institutions. With 595 grant-in-aid schools in 1874 47 (and the number rapidly increasing) it was hard enough to find a suitable place for a school with no other grant-in-aid school already existent. In the important population centres, where numerous missionary schools competed for pupils, the registration of a grant-aided school was almost impossible. The working of the Distance Rule satisfied both the secular authorities (for financial considerations) and the Protestant missionaries (whose educational supremacy it safeguarded). The Distance Rule was, therefore, included in Bruce's Revised Code of 1880. And in 1891, the even more restrictive quarter-mile rule was introduced.

-- Ceylon's Department of Public Instruction, 1868 [Excerpt], From Coffee to Tea Cultivation in Ceylon, 1880-1900: An Economic and Social History, by Roland Wenzlhuemer


WHEREAS the said theosophists, perceiving the need for the upliftment of the people’s self-esteem in collaboration with Most Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala, Ven. Migettuwatte Gunananda, Anagarika Dharmapala and other Buddhists Leaders founded the Colombo Buddhist Theosophical Society for the purpose of fostering education, traditional culture and national heritage and protecting Buddha Sasana and consequently the Society has managed as many as 420 public schools.

-- Colombo Buddhist Theosophical Society, by Colombo Buddhist Theosophical Society


Like a lone sentinel, the saffron robe clad image of this illustrious son of mother Lanka seems to be patiently watching what has become of his noble dreams today. Though thousands of people pass the image on Galle Road daily, only a handful of people of even the locality are aware of his great service today.

A hundred yards from the turnoff are a set of walled-in school buildings on either side of the road. When this school was opened in 1869 it was in a background of the British colonial rulers discouraging and stifling efforts of indigenous leaders and intellectuals to resurge their own cultural heritage and civilization, the preservation of their very birthright.

British policy

One has to go back to 1812, when Robert Brownrigg, the notorious British governor who was recalled to England in disgrace after his scorched earth suppression of the Kandyan peasantry’s rebellion of 1817-18, wrote to his superiors in England that it would be a useless exercise to open any more schools in this country as the local children do not come to these schools. They go to the Buddhist temples, sit under the Bo tree and learn under Buddhist monks who wield tremendous influence over laymen. Unless the strong bond between the Buddhist monks and the lay society was broken it would be useless to open any more schools in this colony, Brownrigg wrote to his government in August 1812. Thus did the work of "educating and converting the pagans" begin in a country that had a flowering literature, art, sculpture, architecture and the world’s most advanced irrigation systems and well planned cities with running water supplied via underground conduits.

In pursuance of Brownrigg’s policy of discouraging the Buddhist clergy from playing their traditional key role in education, more and more missionary schools were being opened up under the patronage of the British government and a number of laws were enacted to discourage the Buddhists. Dodanduwe Piyaratana Thera, the founder of Dodanduwa Piyaratana Vidyalaya started the Dharmarthasiddha Society with the express intent of starting Buddhist schools as far back as 1869, the year in which the school was opened.

Port of call

An inlet formed along an outcrop of rocks at Dodanduwa, adjacent to the Rathgama lagoon was a small port of call for sailing vessels in past centuries even before the Portuguese set foot in the country that had brought prosperity to the two villages. The fisher folk of Dodanduwa were famous for their salted fish, which found a ready market all along the western seaboard. Local, Indian and Maldivian sailing vessels called over at this port as well as at Beruwala, Weligama, Devinuwara, Colombo, Chilaw, Mannar and even as far away as Trincomalee and Batticaloa.

There was trade with vessels that came from Trichinapoly, Nagapattanam and Kaveripattanam and the goods that changed hands ranged from the famous salt fish of Dodanduwa to clay roof tiles, clay pottery, and handloom textiles. People of the area were prosperous and most fish caught in the locality were salted or sold fresh. When the sea became rough, they sailed to fish in the seas off the east coast during the South West Monsoon. The sailing craft were as large as 60 or 70 feet long, a veritable fishing and trading fleet sometimes drawn up on the beach after sailing like the wall of a fortress.

Religious resurgence

With the prosperity reached by the people religious resurgence and the penchant for learning among these enterprising people also grew. Dodanduwa port became the centre that helped to establish the Sri Kalyaniwansa Maha Nikaya sect of the Buddhist clergy that led to the national resurgence.

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


In 1808 the Most Ven Kathaluwe Gunaratana Tissa Nayake Thera and his lay followers set sail from Dodanduwa in a local vessel for Myanmar to bring the Upasampada, higher ordination from that country as Buddhism and ecclesiastical development under continuous onslaughts of the Portuguese, Dutch and later the British had continued to suffer and decline. There was an even earlier visit to Myanmar by the Ven Kapugama Dhammakkanda Thera from Dadalla, Ven Bopagoda Sirisumana Thera of Rathgama who also left by a sailing vessel from Dodanduwa in 1786. These devoted theras set up a vihara in Dodanduwa in 1802. Legend has it the theras, seeing a luxuriant ginger plant, when uprooting it found a ginger tuber the size of a parasol and decided to build their temple on that spot. Some years later a marble image of the Buddha was found at Kaveripattanam in India and the French Governor of the district, who was approached by the Ven Sasammatha Dhammasara Thera, chief incumbent of the temple at Dodanduwa, gifted the statue to the temple. A second image of the Buddha that was found at the same site that was smaller in size was offered to the temple by the residents of this Indian port town.

Of this temple’s past, history and legend is interwoven. Named Shailabimbaramaya, the two marble images of the Buddha can be seen in the temple today. More importantly, the valiant and tenacious efforts of the Buddhist clergy of the Southern Province, especially Rathgama and Dodanduwa is an epic forgotten by people whose pursuit of overtaking their neighbour has made most of them rats in a meaningless race.

National heritage

The school had a complete lab, one of the first labs in the Southern Province that was started by the Ven Dodanduwe Piyaratana Thera and fully equipped by Colonel Henry Steele Olcott himself after he visited the school in 1880. Today the lab lacks proper facilities and equipment and science education at the school has lagged behind other schools in the area.

The number of students on roll today is 191 with classes from grade one to eleven. Some classes have only seven or eight children. The principal, Ms. Y. Seelawathie says children of the locality go to other schools, as they are popular and that this school has been neglected for sometime, especially during the past decade. Some of the buildings have collapsed while most others are in a neglected state. The education department or the ministry are probably unaware of the historical significance of this school, which has been named a National Heritage by the former minister of Cultural Affairs Vijitha Herath very recently.

One wonders whether the president who is herself the Minister of Education is aware of the existence of this school as no educational dignitary or plenipotentiary has ever visited it or taken notice of it.

There are various Buddhist societies and organisations in the country like the ACBC [All Ceylon Buddhist Congress] and even political parties that claim to fight for the rights and privileges of the Buddhist society and religion but the first Sinhala Buddhist School has not received their attention for decades. In fairness to the Buddhist Theosophical Society, it has to be said that they thwarted a recent attempt of the Southern Provincial Council to convert the school to a temporary shelter for tsunami victims last year. The Theosophical society official objected to the school being used as a camp for tsunami displaced but a part of the school’s land has been given to an NGO that has been criticized in certain quarters as an anti-Buddhist organisation to put up tents for the displaced.

Best library

The school had one of the best libraries in the south that Col. Olcott and many other Buddhist leaders helped to develop but surreptitious hands had been at work and most of the invaluable books have gone missing. There is no librarian. One of the objects of historical value and significance, an 8mm film projector gifted by Col. Olcott to the school has been sold by the Education Department to a person of the area for 400 rupees. The department has acted under the Financial Regulations and had condemned this artefact as an "unserviceable item" and sold it to the highest bidder! Just how stupid could red tape really become?

Olcott

Col. Olcott visited the school and Sri Shailabimbarama Dodanduwa where the Piyaratana Nayake Thera lived. The thera advised Olcott to help open Buddhist schools, not in competition with the Christian missionary schools but to give an opportunity to rural Buddhists who could not get the recognition of the colonial authorities if they had received their education in the Buddhist temples or Pirivenas.

Col. Olcott took this advice, as he had known the thera with whom he had corresponded since 1878. Though many writers have written that Olcott's visit to Sri Lanka was inspired by learning about the religious debate at Panadura it is the correspondence he had with the Ven Piyaratana Nayake Thera that brought Olcott to our shores.

In the archives, Olcott's diary still exists. He has written that he came to this country from the port of Galle and visited the temple of Piyaratana Thera after addressing a gathering of about 2000 that came to Galle to greet him. He said the temple was one of the most well organised and orderly temples. He spent ten days at the temple discussing the future of Buddhist education in this country and formulating the concept of the Buddhist Theosophical Society (BTS) schools that changed the colonial education map of this country.


History sits like an unseen but ubiquitous reality here. Even the Tibetan born Ven S. Mahinda who adopted this country as his motherland and became the poet laureate of the freedom struggle was also ordained in the temple of Ven Dondaduwe Piyaratana Nayake Thera in 1911. At present, we have stepped into an era of spurning history, especially after 1977. When one visits the school one is really treading on hallowed ground, still held close to their hearts by persons of the locality.

The principal proudly shows the shrine room with a Buddha image completed recently by two well-wishers. This new shrine in spotless white is perhaps the only feature that has been added on by the present generation.

The promontory projecting into the lagoon from the adjoining Rathgama rises above the waters as one goes on a village road to the hamlet Moraththuduwa. Here atop its crest hiding under the lush canopy of areca, bamboo, jak, and coconut trees is a middle class home where a lone campaigner Amarajeeva de Silva Rajakaruna shows old documents, meticulously kept records of dates and events which he values as the most precious of all his worldly possessions. His father, octogenarian and retired principal D. D. de S. Rajakaruna, and his own father had been students of the Dondaduwa school. They have both campaigned for the revival of this school to its past glory.

However, has our nation been cured of the ailment of the open economy that disdained this country’s national heritage preferring to count dollars while the people were told to earn money, money and more money and make merry, even if you had to commit the vilest calumny on the sacred treasures of this nation?

Image
A stamp released in honour of Rev Dodanduwa Sri Piyaratana Tissa Mahanayake Thero

source : The Island - 6th August, 2005
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