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Friday, 5 May 2017

Blavatsky and Buddhism

Colonel Olcott: Under Eastern Eyes
Uditha DevapriyaFebruary 20, 2015
Not that he didn’t achieve. He established schools. He began with Ananda College in 1886. By 1907, the year he died, there were 183 Buddhist Theosophical Society (BTS) schools. That number multiplied as the decades went on. True to his “universalist” outlook, they sought to incorporate the best of East and West. Following a British curriculum while assimilating “localised” subjects like Pali and Sanskrit, they managed to bridge both worlds. In a way.

Review of Buddhist chapter of Diana Eck’s 2001 book
 A New Religious America: How a “Christian Country” Has Become the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation:
From this insider’s division of understanding, Eck moves on to an outsider’s typology with sections running in a rough chronological order based on appearance in the U.S.: The Chinese in America, Japanese Buddhists in America, The Pioneers (early European Americans who adopted and adapted the religion), and onward… All, or at least nearly all, of the “big names” in American Buddhism are represented, from Anagarika Dharmapala and Soyen Shaku to Paul Carus and Henry David Thoreau and Helena Petrova Blavatsky; D.T. Suzuki and Jan Chozen Bays, Jack Kerouac and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Mahaghosananda, Henepola Gunaratana and Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg and Sylivia Boorstein, and of course Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama along with at least a dozen others.

Article on early Theosophy opponent Charles Pfoundes
The hidden history of Buddhism in the West:
During his three year mission in London and elsewhere in the UK starting in 1888 Pfoundes’ lectures were well attended given that he was apparently an engaging and interesting speaker. A photograph of him at this time shows him in the full regalia of a Japanese prelate, accoutrements that must have increased his authority and made him appear even more interesting. Newspaper reports of the time show that Pfoundes’ two main subjects were Buddhist doctrine and criticisms of Theosophy which he dismissed as nonsense masquerading as Buddhism.

French article on Tulpamancy current (negative appraisal of Theosophy, but interesting research)
Donc l’interprétation de David-Néel est juste sans l’être. La pratique mentale utilisée est effectivement tibétaine, mais en revanche, la philosophie, les buts ne sont pas les mêmes. En fait nous rappelle Joffe, la croyance en la possibilité de créer des êtres par la force de la pensée est commune au sein de l’occultisme occidental… Le tulpa imaginée par Alexandra David-Néel était probablement influencée par l’ésotérisme « orientalisant » de la Société Théosophique et les écrits d’Helena Petrovna Blavatsky et Annie Besant, qui utilisaient les termes de « forme-pensée » et « d »élémental » pour décrire ce type de créature. Alexandra David-Neel était en effet membre de la Société Théosophique fondée par la première, puis dirigée par la seconde
see also:

New D. T. Suzuki collection mentions Theosophical connection:
Selected Works of D.T. Suzuki, Volume III: Comparative Religion, Volume 3
Univ of California Press, Aug 2, 2016 - 320 pages

Blavatsky and the Nine Unknown Men was a trendy topic recently - there's no substance to the story, but the Talbot Mundy novel is fun :

A talk was given on Blavatsky recently at the Buddhist Society:

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