ancestors

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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    In 1934, an unpublished middle-aged writer named Henry Miller, living in poverty in Paris, had what he termed “an awakening.”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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    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 »
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    Missionaries of 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, More »
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    The Zen of Paul Reps Paid Member

    Paul Reps and William Segal When Paul Reps was asked what kind of Zen he practiced, he answered: “Reps Zen.” This poet-painter-philosopher who died last year at the age of ninety-six not only followed his own Zen but influenced generations of Americans. Zen Flesh Zen Bones, a collection of Zen stories complied by Reps, was published in 1952 and continues to introduce new audiences to the tradition. I first met Reps soon after World War II. He had been sending me articles for Gentry and American Fabrics, magazines which I published at the time. In one accompanying note, he suggested that we go to Japan together. Our first encounter was at the old Spanish colonial airport in Los Angeles, en route to the Far East. More »