Letter to the Schools of the Buddha

Antonin Artaud

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On April 15, 1925, the French founder of the Theatre of the Absurd, Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) published his "Letter to the Schools of the Buddha" in the third issue of La Revolution Surrealiste. In the same issue were addresses to the Dalai Lama and the Pope and a "Letter to the Directors of Insane Assylums." The issue was subtitled "1925: End of the Christian Era."
Read in the context of the artistic movement from which it came, Artaud's "Letter" is less an espousal of Buddhist ideas than an expression of dissatisfaction with the materialism of modern society. That dissatisfaction, in turn, led many artists and intellectuals to embrace Buddhism in the twenties and thirties, when gradually the actual teachings of Buddhism came more to the fore.

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