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    The Mysterious Madame B. Paid Member

    In 1934, an unpublished middle-aged writer named Henry Miller, living in poverty in Paris, had what he termed “an awakening.” He had read occult literature all his life, had just been reading Madame Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled, but was not given to mystical experience. As he recalled years later, One day after I had looked at a photograph of [Madame Blavatsky’s] face—she had the face of a pig, almost, but fascinating—I was hypnotized by her eyes and I had a complete vision of her as if she were in the room. More »
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    They Teach the Buddhist Faith Paid Member

    On September 1, 1899, Dr. Shuye Sonoda and Rev. Kakuryo Nishijima, the first two missionaries of the Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land) Sect of Japanese Buddhism to be sent to North America, arrived in San Francisco at the request of the newly formed Young Men’s Buddhist Association. According to the official history of the Buddhist Churches of America, upon their arrival, they checked into the Occidental Hotel. News . . . must have reached the American public since reporters from the “San Francisco Chronicle” asked for interviews. On September 12, 1899, an article appeared in that paper with the headline “They Teach The Buddhist Faith.” Following is the text of the September 12 article: More »
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    Sailing to Fusang Paid Member

    The quincentenary of Christopher Columbus' voyage has inspired a welcome re-visioning of that momentous and cataclysmic event. Nowadays, none but the most myopically Eurocentric embrace the myth that Columbus "discovered" America in 1492. That feat, we now know, was accomplished tens of thousands of years ago by small bands of explorers—the ancestors of Native Americans—who crossed over the Bering Strait into the Western hemisphere. In turn, they were followed by a motley crew, some possibly real, some probably not, which included Japanese fishermen landing in Peru around 3000 B.C.E.; Jews finding refuge from Roman persecution during the first century C.E. in what is called today the Tennessee River Valley; the Irish monk Saint Brendan reaching America in a curragh, or skin boat, some time in the sixth century; Leif Eriksson visiting Newfoundland and Nova Scotia circa the year 1000, followed by the Welsh Prince Madoc in the twelfth century. More »
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    Soyen Shaku: One Hundred Years Ago Paid Member

    WHEN THE PARLIAMENT of World Religions opened in Chicago in September 1893, a replica of the Liberty Bell tolled ten times, once for each of the great religions represented. Charles Carroll Bonney, the President of the Parliament and one of its first visionaries, began his address. "Worshippers of God and lovers of Man, Let us rejoice that we have lived to see this glorious day!" He went on to say that the Parliament was evidence that "the finite can never fully comprehend the infinite" and declared, "Each must see God with the eyes of his own soul. Each must behold him through the colored glasses of his own nature. Each one must receive him according to his own capacity of reception. More »
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    A Successful Encounter Paid Member

    At the turn of this century, the only English-language Buddhist magazine published on the West Coast was The Light of Dharma (1901-07). The magazine was produced under the auspices of the Japanese Pure Land (Jodo Shin) Buddhist Mission temple in San Francisco, which was established in 1899 by priests sent from the Nishi-Honganji headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. Unlike the temple's monthly Japanese publication, Beikoku Bukkyo (Buddhism in America), which was read primarily by newly arrived Japanese immigrants, The Light of Dharma had both a wider readership and a greater range of contributors. More »
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    Remembering R. H. Blyth Paid Member

    Reginald Horace Blyth was born near London in 1898, the only child of working-class parents. By the start of World War I, he was eighteen and already an eccentric in his contemporaries’ eyes: he ate no meat, loved George Bernard Shaw, and became a conscientious objector to the war, for which he was jailed. After serving a three-year sentence of hard labor and fed up with the rigidity of Britain’s class system, he left his homeland for what he thought would be a life of wandering. More »