Materialien zum Neobuddhismus


Wilhelm II.: "Völker Europas, wahrt Eure heiligsten Güter!"

2. International

 1. Buddhismus und theosophische Bewegung

3. Ab 1888

von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --  2. International. -- 1. Buddhismus und theosophische Bewegung. -- 3. Ab 1888. -- Fassung vom 2005-05-05. -- URL: . -- [Stichwort].

Erstmals publiziert: 1996-05-15

Überarbeitungen: 2005-05-05 [überarbeitet];2005-04-26 [überarbeitet und stark erweitert]; 2003-07-18 [überarbeitet und stark erweitert]

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung Neobuddhismus, Univ. Tübingen, SS 1987, SS 2003, SS 2005

Copyright: Dieser Text steht der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung. Eine Verwertung in Publikationen, die über übliche Zitate hinausgeht, bedarf der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Verfassers.

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Diese Inhalt ist unter einer Creative Commons-Lizenz lizenziert.

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Buddhismus von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

0. Übersicht

Dieses Kapitel besteht aus vier Teilen:

Der vorliegende Teil hat folgende Abschnitte:

1. 1888-1907: Olcotts Wirken für die Internationalisierung des Buddhismus


Olcott will die Buddhisten aller Welt unter ein gemeinsames Banner bringen. Deshalb entwirft er zusammen mit Bhikkhu Sumangala eine buddhistische Flagge als Zeichen buddhistischer Einheit. Die Farben sind die Farben, die Buddha als Aura hatte.

Abb.: Buddhistische Fahne

Heutige Deutung der Farbensymbolik:


Loving kindness, peace and universal compassion
The Middle Path - avoiding extremes, emptiness
Blessings of practice - achievement, wisdom, virtue, fortune and dignity
Purity of Dharma - it leads to liberation, outside of time or space
The Buddha's Teaching - wisdom

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]

Am Wesak dieses Jahres flatterte diese Fahne von fast jedem buddhistischen Tempel und Haus in Ceylon.


Flag has been by people since the infancy of civilization. The purpose of using the flag is an expression of Identity, Superiority or Victory According to Dhajagga Sutta of Samyutta Nikaya, the Buddha has given certain instructions to the monks using the flag (Dhaja) of Sakka, the King Deities as an illustration. However, in the history of Buddhism, no evidence could be traced of an internationally accepted Buddhist Flag until 1950.

It was the year when the World Fellowship of Buddhists met in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where the present six-coloured Buddhist Flag was officially adopted as the international Buddhist symbol. The original concept of Buddhist Flagwas first conceived in the minds of the members of Colombo Buddhist Committee, some 75 years before the WFB Meeting.And the proposed flag was for the first time ceremoniously hoisted at a Colombo temple call Dipaduttamaramaya by Ven. Migettuwatte Gunananda - the well known debater on Vesak Day, 28 April. 1885.

On designing the flag, credit must be given to the "Colombo Committee" headed by Mr. Pujita Gunawardhana, as it is mentioned in a local newspaper called "Sarasavi Sandaresa" on 17 April 1885. Later, Colonel Henry Steele Olcott - an eminent Buddhist reformer - is said to have redesigned the flag in the present Shape. Appreciating the work, as an "unique idea of the Colombo brothers" he suggested the size should be as that of a country national flag. This was unanimously approved by the superior monks and the Buddhist committee.

This is how the flag evolved into the present size from its original "inconvenient shape of a ship's long flag." Consisted of six colours, the Buddhists' flag viz. Blue (nila), Yellow (pita), Red (lohita), White (odata), Scarlet (manjestha), and the mixture of these six colours (prabaswara) are significant of the rays emanated from the Buddha's Body forming the six coloured aura system (rasmi mala)

By Ven. Sobhita Maha Thero (MA Ph.D.)"

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-05-06]

Olcott schildert die Entstehung der buddhistischen Flagge so:

"It was at this time that our Colombo colleagues had the happy thought of devising a flag which could be adopted by all Buddhist nations as the universal symbol of their faith, thus serving the same purpose as that of the cross does for all Christians. It was a splendid idea, and I saw in a moment its far-reaching potentialities as an agent in that scheme of Buddhistic unity which I have clung to from the beginning of my connection with Buddhism. With the many points of dissemblance between Northern and Southern Buddhism, the work of unification was a formidable one; yet still, in view of the other fundamental features of agreement, the task was not hopeless. My Buddhist Catechism was already circulated in Japan in two translations, and now this flag came as a powerful reinforcement. Our Colombo brothers had hit upon the quite original and unique idea of blending in the flag the six colors alleged to have been exhibited in the aura of the Buddha, viz., sapphire-blue, golden-yellow, crimson, white, scarlet, and a hue composed of the others blended. The adoption of this model avoided all possible causes of dispute among Buddhists, as all, without distinction, accept the same tradition as to the Buddha's personal appearance and that of his aura:moreover, the flag would have no political meaning whatever, but be strictly religious. As the Colombo Committee had sketched the flag, it was of the inconvenient shape of a ship's long, streaming pennant, which would be quite unsuitable for carrying in processions or fixing in rooms. My suggestion that it should be made of the usual shape and size of national flags was adopted, and when we had had a sample made, it was unanimously approved of. Accepted by the chief priests as orthodox, it at once found favor, and, on the Buddha's Birthday of that year, was hoisted on almost every temple and decent dwelling-house in the Island. From Ceylon it has since found its way throughout the Buddhist world. I was much interested to learn, some years later, from the Tibetan Ambassador to the Viceroy, whom I met at Darjeeling, that the colors were the same as those in the flag of the Dalai Lama.

The importance of the service thus rendered to the Buddhist nations may perhaps be measured with that of giving, say, to the Christians the Cross symbol or to the Moslems the Crescent. The Buddhist flag, moreover, is one of the prettiest in the world, the stripes being placed vertically in the order above written, and the sequence of the hues making true chromatic harmonies."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Third series, 1883 - 87. -- 1904. -- S.  363f.]


Abfahrt von Bombay Richtung Japan. Zwischenhalt in Ceylon, Singapur, Saigon, Hongkong, Shanghai

1889-02-09 bis 1889-05-28

Erster Aufenthalt Olcotts in Japan

Olcott und Dharmapala besuchen Japan aufgrund einer Einladung durch Zenshiro Noguchi, Vertreter des "Committe of Patriotic Japanese". Sumangala gibt einen Sanskrit Brief die "Chief Priests of Japanese Buddhism" mit. Dies ist der erste offizielle Kontakt zwischen nördlichem und südlichem Buddhismus nach langer Zeit.

Aus Olcotts Schilderung:

"The next morning I attended by invitation an imposing ceremony in Choo-in Temple, in which some 600 priests took part. It was to celebrate the voluntary promulgation of a Constitution by H. M. the Emperor, an act which has been rightly characterised as one of unprecedented magnanimity. The most undisputedly autocratic sovereign on earth, out of profound regard for the welfare of his country and his people, had given them the political blessing of a Constitutional Government; not driven to it by rebellious barons, like King John of England, but of his own free will, and because he loved his people with his whole heart. The ceremonies at the Temple included the chanting of hundreds of verses to the rhythmic tapping of drums, which produced vibrations of a strong hypnotic character. At the High Priest's request I stood before the high altar and in front of the statue of the Buddha, and recited the service of the Pancha Sila in Pali, as it is done in Ceylon. They were all so interested that not one moved until I had finished. Was it not a unique experience for an American man to be standing there, as one of his race had never stood before, in the presence of those hundreds of priests and thousands of laymen, intoning the simple sentences which synthesise the obligations assumed by every professing Buddhist of the Southern Church? I could not help smiling to myself when thinking of the horror that would have been felt by any of my Puritan ancestors of the seventeenth century could they have looked forward to this calamitous day! I am sure that if I had been born among them at Boston or Hartford, I should have been hanged for heresy on the tallest tree within easy reach of their infant settlement. And very glad I am to believe it." ...

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  100f.]


Rede Olcotts vor Vertretern aller buddhistischen Richtungen Japans in Kobe:


"I have invited you to meet me to-day on neutral ground, for private consultation.

" What can we do for Buddhism?

" What ought we to do?

"Why should the two great halves of the Buddhist Church be any longer ignorant and indifferent about each other?

"Let us break the long silence; let us bridge the chasm of 2,300 years; let the Buddhists of the North and those of the South be one family again.

" The great schism took place at the second council of Vaisali, and among its causes were these questions: ' May salt be preserved in horn by the monks for future use?' 'May solid food be eaten by them after the hour of noon ?' ' May fermented drinks which look like water be drunk?' ' May seats covered with cloths be used ?' ' May gold and silver be received by the order?'

" Does it seem worth while that the vast Buddhist family should be estranged from each other for such questions as these? Which is the most important, venerable Sirs, that salt shall or shall not be stored up for future use, or that the Doctrines of Buddhism shall be preached to all mankind? I am come from India — a journey of 5,000 miles, and a long one for a man of nearly 60 years of age — to ask you this question? Answer me, O chief priests of the twelve Japanese sects: I charge you upon your consciences to answer. I have brought you a written appeal from your co-religionists of Ceylon and a Sanskrit letter from the learned Sumangala, High Priest of Adam's Peak, begging you to receive their brotherly salutations, and to listen to me and help me carry out my religious work. I have no special, private word to speak to any of you, but one word for all. My mission is not to propagate the peculiar doctrines of any sect, but to unite you all in one sacred undertaking. Each of you I recognise as a Buddhist and a brother. All have one common object. Listen to the words of the learned Chinese pilgrim and scholar, Hiouen Thsang: 'The schools of philosophy are always in conflict, and the noise of their passionate discussions rises like the waves of the sea. Heretics of the different sects attach themselves to particular teachers, and by different routes walk to the same goal.' I have known learned priests engage in bitter controversy about the most childish subjects, while the Christian missionaries were gathering the children of their neighborhoods into schools and teaching them that Buddhism is a false religion! Blind to their first duty as priests, they thought only of quarrelling about unimportant matters. 1 have no respect for such foolish priests, nor can I expect them to help me to spread Buddhism in distant countries, or defend it at home from its bitter, rich, and indefatigable enemies. But my helpers and well-wishers will be all sincere, intelligent, broad-minded Buddhist priests and laymen, of every country and nation.

" We have these two things to do. In Buddhist countries, to revive our religion; purify it of its corruptions; prepare elementary and advanced books for the education of the young and the information of adults, and expose the falsehoods circulated against it by its opponents. Where these latter are trying to persuade children to change their family religion for another, we must, strictly as a measure of self-defence, and not in any angry or intolerant spirit — condemned by our religion — collect and publish all available facts about the merits and demerits of the new religion offered as better than Buddhism. And then it is our duty — as taught by the Lord Buddha himself — to send teachers and preachers to distant lands, such as Europe and America, to tell the millions now disbelieving Christianity, and looking about for some religion to replace it, that they will find what will convince their reason and satisfy their heart in Buddhism. So completely has intercourse been broken between Northern and Southern Buddhists since the Vaisali Council, you do not know each other's beliefs nor the contents of your respective Scriptures. One of the first tasks before you, therefore, is to have the books compared critically by learned scholars, to ascertain which portions are ancient and which modern, which authoritative and which forgeries. Then the results of these comparisons must be published throughout all Buddhist countries, in their several vernaculars. We may have to convene another great Council at some sacred place, such as Buddha-Gaya or Anuradhapura, before the publications mentioned are authorised. What a grand and hopeful spectacle that would be! May we live to see it!

" Now kindly understand that, in making all these plans for the defence and propagation of Buddhism, I do so in the twofold character of an individual Buddhist and President of the Theosophical Society, acting through and on behalf of its Buddhist Division. Our great Brotherhood comprises already 174 Branches, distributed over the world as follows: India, Ceylon, and Burma 129; Europe 13; America 25; Africa 1; Australasia 2; West Indies 2; Japan 1; Singapore 1. Total, 174 Branches of our Society, all under one general management. When first I visited Ceylon (in the year 1880) and formed several Branches, I organised a Buddhist Division of the Society, to include all Buddhist Branches that might be formed in any part of the world. What I now offer you is to organise such Branches throughout Japan, and to register them, along with our Buddhist Branches in Ceylon, Burma, and Singapore, in the "Buddhist Division"; so that you may all be working together for the common object of promoting the interests of Buddhism. This will be an easy thing to do. You have already many such Societies, each trying to do something, but none able to effect as much as you could by uniting your forces with each other and with the sister Societies in foreign countries. It would cost you a great deal of money and years of labor to establish foreign agencies like ours, but I offer you the chance of having these agencies, ready-made, without your being put to any preliminary expenses. And since our Buddhist Division has been working for Buddhism without you for the past ten years, I doubt if you could find more trustworthy or zealous co-operators. The people of Ceylon are too poor and too few in number (only some 2,000,000 of Buddhists) to undertake any such large scheme as I propose, but you and they together could do it successfully. If you ask how we should organise our forces, I point you to our great enemy, Christianity, and bid you look at their large and wealthy Bible, Tract, Sunday-school, and Missionary Societies — the tremendous agencies they support to keep alive and spread their religion. We must form similar Societies, and make our most practical and honest men of business their managers. Nothing can be done without money. The Christians spend millions to destroy Buddhism; we must spend to defend and propagate it. We must not wait for some few rich men to give the capital: we must call upon the whole nation. The millions spent for the missionaries are mainly contributed by poor people and their children: yes, their children, I say, for they teach their children to deny themselves sweets and toys and give the money to convert you to Christianity. Is not that a proof of their interest in the spread of their religion? What are you doing to compare with it? Where are your monster Buddhist Publication Societies, your Foreign Mission Societies, Missionaries in foreign I travel much, but have not heard of them in country of Europe or America. There are many Christian schools and churches in Japan, but is there Japanese Buddhist school or temple in London, or Paris, or Vienna, or New York? If not, why not? You know as well as I that our religion is better than Christianity, and that it would be a blessed thing if the people of Christendom were to adopt it: why, then, have you not given them the chance? You are the watchmen at the gates of our religion, O chief priests! why do you slumber when the enemy is trying to undermine its walls? Yet, though you neglect your duty, Buddhism is rapidly spreading in Christian countries from several causes. First of all its intrinsic merit, then its scientific character, its spirit of love and kindness, its embodiment of the idea of justice, its logical self-consistency. Then the touching sweetness of the story of the life of Sakhya Muni, which has touched the hearts of multitudes of Christians, as recounted in poem and story. There is one book called The Light of Asia, a poem by Sir Edwin Arnold, of which several hundred thousand copies have been sold, and which has done more for Buddhism than any other agency. Then there are and have been great authors and philologists like Professor Max Müller, Messrs. Burnouf, De Rosny, St. Hilaire, Rhys Davids, Beal, Fausböll, Bigandet, and others, who have written about the Lord Buddha in the most sympathetic terms. And among the agencies to be noticed is the Theosophical Society, of which I am President. The Buddhist Catechism, which I compiled for the Sinhalese Buddhists eight years ago, has already been published in fifteen different languages. A great authority told me recently in Paris that there were not less than 12,000 professed Buddhists in France alone, and in America I am sure there must be at least 50,000. The auspicious day has come for us to put forth our united efforts. If I can persuade you to join hands with your brothers in Ceylon and elsewhere, I shall think I am seeing the dawn of a more glorious day for Buddhism. Venerable Sirs, hearken to the words of your ignorant yet sincere American co-religionist. Be up and doing. When the battle is set, the hero's place is at the front: which of you shall I see acting the hero in this desperate struggle between truth and superstition, between Buddhism and its opponents?"

To put everything on a practical footing, I suggested the formation of a General Committee of Buddhist affairs, to comprise representatives of all their sects, and to act for the general interest of Buddhism, not for any one sect or subdivision. This plan I urged upon them very strenuously. I added that I positively refused to make the tour in Japan unless I could do it under their conjoint auspices, for otherwise my appeals would be taken as though made on behalf of the one sect having the tour in charge, and their influence minimised. I warned them that the Christian missionaries were vigilant and zealous, and would spare no effort to throw discredit upon my mission, not even the employment of calumny and falsehood, as they had done in Ceylon and in India since we first began our labors there. Finally, I gave notice that unless they did form such a Joint Committee I Would take the next steamer back to my place of departure. Dharmapala, being somewhat better that day, was carried to the meeting in a chair and sat through the session. I am not sure, now that I come to look back at it, but that those venerable pontiffs, spiritual teachers of 39,000,000 Japanese and incumbents of about 70,000 temples, must have thought me as dictatorial a fellow as my countryman Commodore Perry. It doesn't matter now, since my terms were accepted; the Joint Committee, since known as the Indo-Busseki-Kofuku-Kwai — I think that is the title — was formed, the preliminary outlay of the Young Men's Committee was refunded to them, and thenceforth my programme was laid out by the Committee so as to take me to every important Buddhist centre throughout the empire, and to have me become the guest of each of the sects and give my lectures at selected temples of each. In the course of the tour a group photograph was taken of the members of the Managing Committee, myself and Mr. Matsumura, and may be seen by visitors to our Adyar Headquarters."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  111 - 118]


Reaktionen auf Olcotts Japanbesuch:

".. the following paragraph from the Dandokai, an influential paper of the capital, will be read with interest:

" The arrival of Colonel Olcott has caused great excitement among the Christians in Japan. They say that he is an adventurer, a man of bad principles, and an advocate of a dying cause. How mean and cowardly are they! They may use the unprincipled pens at their disposal as much as they choose, but they cannot weaken the effects of his good principles, nor fasten upon him any of their scandalous insinuations. They do not produce the least effect upon Colonel Olcott or upon Buddhism. . . How ridiculous all this is! How great has Colonel Olcott's influence become in Japan!"

From another issue the following is quoted:

" Since Colonel Olcott's arrival in Japan, Buddhism has wonderfully revived. We have already stated that he has been travelling to all parts of the empire. He has been everywhere received with remarkable enthusiasm. He has not been allowed a moment of leisure. He has taught our people to appreciate Buddhism, and to see our duty to impart it to all nations. Since his discourses in Tokyo, the young men of the Imperial University and High Schools have organised a Young Men's Buddhist Association, after the model of the Young Men's Christian Association, to propagate our religion; and some learned and influential gentlemen have given encouragement. An additional lustre has also been given to Buddhism by his coming."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  134]


Abb.: Annie Besant

[Bildquelle: Die geheimnisvolle Welt der Helena Petrovna Blavatsky : [Abenteuer, Begegnungen und Erlebnisse aufgezeichnet von Augenzeugen]  / zusammengestellt von Daniel Caldwell. -- Grafing : Edition Adyar, ©2003. -- 408 S. : Ill. -- ISBN 3-89427-235-X. -- Originaltitel: The esoteric world of Madame Blavatsky (1991). -- S. 342]

Annie Besant  (1847-1933) tritt der Theosophical Society bei. Zuvor hatte sie sich sie bei der 1884 gegründeten Fabian Society engagiert. [Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2003-05-29]

"The Fabian Society was founded in 1884 as a socialist society committed to gradual rather than revolutionary social reform. The name comes from the Roman general Quintus Fabius, known as Cunctator from his strategy of delaying battle until the right moment. The Society's early members included George Bernard Shaw (later described by Lenin as 'a good man fallen among Fabians'), Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Emmeline Pankhurst and H G Wells.

From the first Fabian Tract (Why are the Many Poor?) and the original Fabian Essays, published in 1889 in the wake of the Match Girls' Strike, the Society has been characterised by a passionate commitment to social justice and a belief in the progressive improvement of society. It has always maintained a diversity of opinion, motivated by the desire to stimulate debate rather than to promote a particular political 'line'. Its publications represent only the views of their authors.

Abb.: Umschlagtitel von Fabian essays in socialism / by G. Bernard Shaw [and others] ... Edited by G. Bernard Shaw. -- London, The Fabian society, 1889. -- 233 S. Darin von Annie Besant: Industry under Socialism. -- Oline: -- Zugriff am 2003-05-29]

In 1900 the Fabian Society joined with the trade unions to found the Labour Party."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-05-29]

"Annie Besant (October 1, 1847 - September 20, 1933) was a prominent Theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator.

Besant was divorced from her clergyman husband Frank Besant, younger brother of Walter Besant, and she had to leave both her children behind. She fought for the causes she thought were right, starting with freedom of thought, women's rights, birth control, Fabian socialism and workers' rights. She was a prolific writer and a powerful orator. Her conversion to Theosophy came after reading The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky in 1889 and writing a review on this book.

Soon after becoming a member of the Theosophical Society she went to India for the first time (in 1893). Thereafter she devoted much of her energy not only to the Theosophical Society, but also to India's freedom and progress.

Together with Charles Webster Leadbeater she investigated the universe, matter and the history of mankind through clairvoyance. The two became embroiled over Leadbeater's advice to young boys to masturbate. At the time such advice was highly controversial. He had to leave the Theosophical Society over this in 1906. In 1908 he was taken back into the fold through the agency of Besant, who had been elected president of the Theosophical Society in 1907 upon the death of the previous president Henry Steel Olcott.

Up until Besant's presidency, the society had, as one of its foci Theravada Buddhism and the island of Ceylon where Henry Olcott did the majority of his useful work. Under Besant's leadership there was a decisive turn away from this and a refocusing of their activities on "The Aryavarta", as she called central India. Besant actively courted Hindu opinion more than former Theosophical leaders. This was a clear reversal of policy from Blavatsky and Olcott's very public conversion to Buddhism in Ceylon, and their promotion of Buddhist revival activities on the subcontinent (see also: Maha Bodhi Society).

Soon after Besant's inheritance of the presidency, in 1909, Leadbeater discovered Jiddu Krishnamurti on the private beach that was attached to the societies headquarters at Adyar. Krishna had been living there with his father and brother for a few months prior to this. This discovery started years of upheaval in the Theosophical Society in Adyar, as the boy was proposed as the incarnate vessel for the Christ. Jiddu Krishnamurti and his brother Nitya were brought up by Theosophists from that moment on, with a subsequent lawsuit filed by his father.

Eventually, in 1929, Krishnamurti ended up disbanding the Order of the Star of the East, which had been founded to support him and of which he had been made the leader.  This destroyed Besant's spirit, as it went against her ideals. She tried to accommodate Krishnamurti's views into her life, but never really succeeded. The two remained friends, though, until the end of her life.

Annie Besant died in 1933 and was survived by her daughter, Mabel."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]


Abfahrt von Japan nach Colombo mit vier japanischen Novizen, die in Ceylon Buddhismus studieren sollten und auch Exemplare des Pali-Tipitaka nach Japan bringen sollten.

Nach eigenen Angaben hat Olcott in den 107 Tagen seines Japanaufenthalts

1889-06-18 bis 1889-07-08

Achter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon


Leadbeater, Charles Webster <1854-1934>: Bauddh Çiçubodhaya. -- [Singhalesisch. = The smaller Buddhist Catechism. -- Ein Kurzskatechismus, gedacht als Einführung in Olcotts Catechism. Vom ersten teil erscheinen 21 Auflagen mit insgesamt 60.000 Exemplaren, vom zweiten Teil 18 Auflagen mit insgesamt 35.000 Exemplaren]. -- Eine englische Übersetzung ist online zugänglich: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]


HPB ernennt Olcott zum Repräsentaten der Esoterischen Schule für Asien.

1890-01-16 bis 1890-02-05

Neunter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon.


Olcott überarbeitet den Buddhist Catechism:

"I was busy in those days revising the Buddhist Catechism for one of its many new editions, amending and adding to the contents, as its hold on the Sinhalese people grew stronger, and I felt that it was getting beyond the power of reactionary priests to prevent my telling the people what ought to be expected of the wearers of the yellow robes. When I published the 33rd edition, three years ago, I supposed that I should have no more amendments to make, but now that the 34th edition will soon be called for, I find that further improvements are possible. My desire is to leave it at my death a perfect compendium of the contents of Southern Buddhism."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  245]


Eine birmanische buddhistische Gruppe fragt Olcott, was er davon halte, eine Gruppe Mönche als Missionare nach Europa zu senden. Olcott findet die Idee bewundernswert, aber noch unreif. Zuerst sollten die asiatischen Buddhisten einer gemeinsamen Grundlage zustimmen, bevor sie Missionare nach Westen schickten.



Unmittelbar nach der jährlichen Theosophischer Konferenz (Dezember 1890): Konferenz von Buddhisten aus Ceylon, Birma, China, Japan, Chittagong in Adyar unter Leitung Olcotts. Olcott legte 14 fundamentale buddhistische Glaubenssätze (beliefs) vor, "denen alle buddhistischen Sekten zustimmen können, wenn sie bereit sind brüderliche Gefühle und gegenseitige Sympathie untereinander zu fördern."


  1. Buddhists are taught to show the same tolerance, forebearance, and brotherly love to all men, without distinction; and an unswerving kindness towards the members of the animal kingdom.
  2. The universe was evolved, not created; and it functions according to law, not according to the caprice of any god.
  3. The truths upon which Buddhism is founded are natural. They have, we believe, been taught in successive kalpas, or world-periods, by certain illuminated beings called BUDDHAS; the name BUDDHA meaning 'Enlightened'.
  4. Thee fourth Teacher in the present kalpa was Sâkya Muni, or GAUTAMA BUDDHA, who was born in a royal family of India about 2,500 years ago. He is an historical personage and his name was Siddhartha Gautama.
  5. Sâkya Muni taught that ignorance produces desire, unsatisfied desire is the cause of rebirth, and rebirth the cause of sorrow. To get rid of sorrow, therefore, it is necessary to escape rebirth; to escape rebirth, it is necessary to extinguish desire; and to extinguish desire, it is necessary to destroy ignorance.
  6. Ignorance fosters the belief that rebirth is a necessary thing. When ignorance is destroyed, the worthlessness of every such rebirth, considered as an end in itself, is perceived, as well as the paramount need of adopting a course of life by which the necessity for such repeated rebirths can be abolished. Ignorance also begets the illusive and illogical idea that there is only one existence for man, and the other illusion that this one life is followed by states of unchangeable pleasure or torment.
  7. The dispersion of all this ignorance can be attained by the persevering practice of an all-embracing altruism in conduct, development of intelligence, wisdom in thought, and destruction of desire for the lower personal pleasures.
  8. The desire to live being the cause of rebirth, when that is extinguished, rebirths cease, and the perfected individual attains by meditation that highest state of peace called Nirvâna.
  9. Sâkya Muni taught that ignorance can be dispelled and sorrow removed by the knowledge of the four Noble Truths, viz.: --
    1. The miseries of existence;
    2. The cause productive of misery, which is the desire ever renewed, of satisfying oneself without being able ever to secure that end;
    3. The destruction of that desire, or the estranging of oneself from it;
    4. The means of obtaining this destruction of desire. The means which he pointed out is called the Noble Eightfold Path; viz., Right Belief,; Right Thought; Right Speech; Right Action; Right Means of Livelihood; Righgt Exertion; Right Remebrance; Right Meditation.
  10. Right Meditation leads to spiritual enlightenment, or the development of that Buddha-like faculty which is latent in every man.
  11. The essence of Buddhism as summed up by the Tathâgata (Buddha) himself, is;
    'To cease from all sin,
    To get virtue
    To purify the heart.'
  12. The universe is subject to a natural causation known as 'Karma'. The merits and demerits of a being in past existences determine his condition in the present one. Each man, therefore, has prepared the causes of the effects which he now experiences.
  13. The obstacles to the attainment of good karma may be removed by the observance of the following precepts, which are embraced in the moral code of Buddhism: viz., (1) Kill not; (2) Steal not; (3) Indulge in no forbidden sexual pleasure; (4) Lie not; (5) Take no intoxicating or stupefying drug or liquor. Five other precepts which need not be here enumerated should be observed by bhikshus and all those who would attain, more quickly than the average layman, the release from misery, and rbirth.
  14. Buddhism discourages superstitious credulity. GAUTAMA BUDDHA taught it to be the duty of a Parent to have his child educated in science and literature. He also taught that no one should believe what is spoken by any sage, written in any book, or affirmed by tradition, unless it accord with reason."

[Zitat nach Dharmapala <Anagarika> <1864-1933>: Return to righteousness : a collection of speeches, essays and letters of the Anagarika Dharmapala / ed. by Ananda Guruge. -- Colombo : The Government Press, 1965. -- S. 382-384. Ebenso: Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  415 - 418]

  1. Nach der Lehre des Buddhismus soll man allen Menschen, wer sie auch sein mögen, mit Duldsamkeit, Sanftmut und brüderlicher Liebe begegnen; ebenso soll man den Geschöpfen des Tierreichs Barmherzigkeit und Mitleid entgegenbringen.
  2. Die Welt ist unerschaffen, durch sich selbst seiend und entwickelt sich; in ihr waltet Gesetzmäßigkeit, nicht aber die Willkür eines Gottes.
  3. Die Wahrheiten, welche die Grundlage des Buddhismus bilden, sind natürlich. Sie sind nach unserem Glauben in aufeinanderfolgenden Weltperioden von gewissen erleuchteten Wesen, Buddhas genannt, gelehrt worden; das Wort „Buddha" bedeutet „ein Erleuchteter".
  4. In der gegenwärtigen Weltperiode gilt als der vierte Lehrer Sakyamuni oder Buddha Gotama, der vor etwa 2500 Jahren als Spross einer indischen Königsfamilie geboren wurde. Er ist eine historische Persönlichkeit, und sein Name war Siddhattha Gotama.
  5. Sakyamuni lehrte, dass das Nichtwissen die Wurzel des Begehrens ist. Die ungesättigte Begierde ist die Ursache neuen Geborenwerdens, und dieses die Quelle des Leidens. Um daher vom Leiden frei zu werden, ist die Vermeidung der Wiedergeburt notwendig; um dieser zu entrinnen, ist die Beruhigung und Auslöschung des Begehrens erforderlich, und um das Begehren zu beseitigen, ist es notwendig, das Nichtwissen zu zerstreuen. Höchstes Wissen aber entspringt aus der Überwindung und Beruhigung des eigenen Gemütes.
  6. Das Nichtwissen stärkt den Glauben, dass neue Geburten notwendig und unvermeidlich seien. Wird der geistige Horizont durch die Beseitigung des Nichtwissens erweitert, dann überzeugt sich der Mensch a) von der Wertlosigkeit jeder
    Wiedergeburt (als Selbstzweck betrachtet), b) von der Notwendigkeit, einen solchen Lebenswandel zu führen, dass die Notwendigkeit wiederholter nochmaliger Geburten aufgehoben wird. Das Nichtwissen erzeugt auch die trügerische unbegründete Vorstellung, dass es kein anderes Leben gebe (Nihilismus) oder dass auf dieses eine Leben ein ewiger Zustand der Seligkeit oder der Verdammnis folge (Eternalismus).
  7. Die Menschen überwinden das Nichtwissen dadurch, dass sie beharrlich gegen alle lebenden Wesen Liebe betätigen, Einsicht entwickeln, zur Weisheit empordringen und jede Begierde nach der Befriedigung niedriger Freuden und selbstsüchtiger Leidenschaften vernichten.
  8. Weil der Lebenstrieb die Ursache wiederholter Geburten ist, muss man ihn beruhigen und zum Verlöschen bringen; dann haben auch die Wiedergeburten ein Ende. Der Mensch vermag auf dem Wege innerer Vertiefung und Selbstbetrachtung den Zustand höchsten Friedens zu erlangen, der mit dem Namen „Nirvâna" bezeichnet wird.
  9. Sakyamuni lehrte, dass es möglich sei, das Nichtwissen zu beseitigen und mit diesem auch das Leiden aufzuheben, wenn man vier Grundwahrheiten klar erkenne:
    1. Die Leidensfülle des Daseins;
    2. die Entstehungsursache des Leidens, d. h. die unersättliche Begier nach Befriedigung der eigenen selbstsüchtigen Triebe, und die Unmöglichkeit, dieses Ziel jemals zu erreichen.
    3. Die Vernichtung dieser Begier oder die Selbstbefreiung von allem solchen Drange.
    4. Die Mittel zur Erreichung dieser Vernichtung der Begier. Es gibt acht Mittel zur Erreichung dieses Zweckes, welche von Sakyamuni gelehrt werden. Dieselben sind: Rechte Erkenntnis, rechte Gesinnung, rechte Rede, rechte Tat, rechtes Leben, rechter Kampf, rechtes Gedenken, rechte Konzentration.
  10. Dieser Zustand vollkommener geistiger Ruhe führt zu innerer Erleuchtung und vermag in jedem Menschen die uns allen innewohnenden typischen Eigenschaften eines Buddha zu entwickeln.
  11.  Der Tathâgata (Buddha) formulierte das Wesen seiner Religion in den Worten: „Von allem Bösen abstehen, das Gute tun, das eigene Gemüt läutern."
  12. Die Ereignisse der Welt sind dem Gesetz der Verursachung (Karman) unterworfen. Jeder ruft sich selbst zu neuem Dasein hervor, zu einem Dasein, das sich entsprechend dem Wirken in den früheren Existenzen gestaltet. Jedes Wesen hat früher durch seinen eigenen Willen das vorausbewirkt, was es jetzt durchzumachen hat.
  13. Die Beseitigung der Hindernisse, die der Erlangung eines guten Karman entgegenstehen, kann durch die Beobachtung folgender, in den Sittenlehren des Buddhismus enthaltenen fünf Gebote erreicht werden: 1. Du sollst nicht töten! 2. Du sollst nicht stehlen! 3. Du sollst nicht ausschweifend leben! 4. Du sollst nicht lügen! 5. Du sollst keine berauschenden Getränke genießen!
  14. Der Buddhismus warnt eindringlich vor Aberglauben und blindem Fürwahrhalten. Buddha lehrte, es sei Pflicht der Eltern, ihre Kinder in allem Wissenswerten unterrichten zu lassen. Nur das, was sich mit der Vernunft verträgt, lässt der Tathâgata gelten; er lehrte, man solle nicht auf eine Autorität hin irgend etwas beibehalten, sofern es mit der Vernunft nicht in Einklang stehe."

[Übersetzung von Karl Seidenstücker, 1908]

Obwohl das Dokument von allen anwesenden Delegierten unterzeichnet wird, hatten diese keine Vollmacht von jemandem anderen dazu. Deshalb macht sich Olcott auf, um die Zustimmung in den buddhistischen Ländern einzuholen: in Ceylon hat er keine Probleme, in Mandalay (Birma) muss er stundenlang diskutieren bis der Obermönch unterschreibt, in Japan sagt man Olcott, dass die Thesen in dem, was sie bringen akzeptabel sein mögen, dass das Mahayana aber unendlich mehr enthielte. Schließlich erhält Olcott die Imprimatur von Zen, Nichiren, Jodo und Tendai Schulen.

Die Fundamental Buddhistic Beliefs tragen schlussendlich die Unterschriften von


" Approved on behalf of the Buddhists of Burmah, this 3rd day of February, 1891 (A.B. 2434):

  • Tha-tha-na-baing Sayadawgyi;
  • Aung Myi Shwe bôn Sayadaw; Me-ga-waddy Sayadaw;
  • Hmat-khaya Sayadaw;
  • Hti-lin Sayadaw;
  • Myadaung Sayadaw;
  • Hla-htwe Sayadaw;
  • and sixteen others.

" Approved on behalf of the Buddhists of Ceylon, this 25th day of February, 1891 (A.B. 2434).

  • Mahanuwara upawsatha pusparama viharadhipati Hippola Dhamma Rakkhita Sobhitabhidhana Maha Nayaka Sthavirayan-wahanse wamha. (Hippola Dhamma Rakkhita Sobhitabhidhana, High Priest of Malwatte Vihara at Kandy.) "(Sd.) HIPPOLA
  • Mahanuwara .Asgiri Viharadhipati Yatawatti Chandajottyabhidhana Maha Nayaka Sthavirayan wahanse wamha. (Yatawattg Chandajottyabhidhana, High Priest of Asgiri Vihara at Kandy.) (Sd.) YATAWATTE
  • Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Sripadasthane saha Kolamba palate pradhana Nayaka Sthavirayo (Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala, High Priest of Adam's Peak and the District of Colombo) (Sd.) H. SUMANGALA
  • Maligawe Prachina Pustakalayadhyahshaka Suriyagoda Sonuttara Sthavirayo (Suriyagoda Son-uttara, Librarian of the Oriental Library at the Temple of the Tooth Relic at Kandy) (Sd.) S. SONUTTARA
  • Sugata Sasanadhaja Vinaya chairya Dhammalankarabhidhana Nayaka Sthavira, (Sd.) DHAMA'LANKARA
  • Pawara neruttika chariya Maha Vibhavi Subhuti, of Waskaduwa. (Sd.) W. SUBHUTI

" Accepted as included within the body of Northern Buddhism.

  • Shaku Genyu (Shin Gon Su Sect)
  • Fukuda Nichiyo (Nichiren Sect).
  • Sanada Seyko (Zen Shu Sect).
  • Ito Quan Shyu.
  • Takehana Hakuyo (Jodo Sect ).
  • Kono Rioshin (Ji-Shu Sect).
    "Kira Ki-ko (Jodo Seizan Sect).
  • Harutani Shinsho (Tendai Sect).
  • Manabe Shun-myo (Shin Gon Su Sect).


"Accepted for the Buddhists of Chittagong.

  • " Nagawa Parvata Viharashipati. :
    " Guna Megu Wini-Lankara.
    " Harbang, Chittagong, Bengal."

The reader will observe that whereas the Fourteen Propositions are approved unreservedly by the Buddhist priests of Ceylon, Burmah, and Chittagong, they are accepted by those of Japan as "included within the body of Northern Buddhism ""'

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  418 - 420]

1891-01-21 bis 1891-02-16

Zweiter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Burma


Abb.: H. S. Olcott, 1891


Dharmapala bleibt nach der buddhistischen Konferenz in Adyar in Indien. Er reist mit dem japanischen Shingon-Geistlichen Kozen Gunaratne durch Indien. Beide hatten Edwin Arnold's Artikel über den Zustand von Bodh Gaya im London Daily Telegraph 1885 gelesen (s. Kapitel 4). Sie besuchen Bodh Gaya und Dharmapala macht vor dem Bodhi Baum das Gelübde, dass er sein Leben der Aufgabe widmen will, den Heiligen Platz der erlösenden Einsicht Gautamas der Vernachlässigung zu entreißen.

Abb.: Bodh Gaya, Fotografie von Thomas Peppé, 1870

[Bildquelle: Allen, Charles <1940 - >: The search for the Buddha : the men who discovered India's lost religion . -- London ; Murray, ©2002. -- ISBN 0-7195-5425-X. -- Pl. 23]

am 1891-01-21 schreibt Dharmapala in sein Tagebuch:

"After driving 6 miles (from Gaya) we arrived at the holy spot. Within a mile you could see lying scattered here and there broken statues etc. of our blessed Lord. At the entrance to the Mahant's temple on both side's of the portico there are statues of our Lord in the attitude of meditation and expounding the Law. How elevating! The sacred Vihara - the Lord sitting on his throne and the great solemnity which pervades all round makes the heart of pious devotee weep. How delightful! As soon as I touched with my forehead the Vajrasana a sudden impulse came to my mind. It prompted me to stop here and take care of this sacred spot - so sacred that nothing in the world is equal to this place where Prince Sakya Sinha gained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree... When the sudden impulse came to me I asked Kozen priest whether he would join me, and he joyously assented and more than this he had been thinking the same thing. We both solemnly promised that we would stop here until some Buddhist priests came to take charge of the place."

[Zitiert in: Kantowsky, Detlev <1936 - >: Buddhisten in Indien heute : Beschreibungen, Bilder und Dokumente. -- Konstanz : Univ., Forschungsprojekt "Buddhistischer Modernismus", ©1999. -- 216 S. : Ill. -- (Forschungsberichte / Universität Konstanz, Arbeitsbereich Entwicklungsländer, Interkultureller Vergleich, Forschungsprojekt "Buddhistischer Modernismus" ; 16). -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2003-06-05. -- S. 41.]

1891-02-18 bis 1891-03-03

Zehnter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon

1891-03-19 bis 1891-05-27

Aufenthalt Olcotts in Australien


HPB stirbt in London.

Abb.: Die letzte Fotografie von HPB

[Bildquelle: Die geheimnisvolle Welt der Helena Petrovna Blavatsky : [Abenteuer, Begegnungen und Erlebnisse aufgezeichnet von Augenzeugen]  / zusammengestellt von Daniel Caldwell. -- Grafing : Edition Adyar, ©2003. -- 408 S. : Ill. -- ISBN 3-89427-235-X. -- Originaltitel: The esoteric world of Madame Blavatsky (1991). -- S. 360]


Gründung der Bodh Gaya Maha Bodhi Society in Colombo durch Dharmapala. Präsident: Sumangala , Sekretär: Dharmapala.

Paramount aim: To return Bodh Gaya to the world's Buddhists.

Die Gesellschaft sollte als erste internationale buddhistische Vereinigung durch Zusammenarbeit aller buddhistischen Länder von Ceylon bis Tibet und Japan die Stätte der Mahabodhi wieder zu einem Mittelpunkt lebendiger buddhistischer Religiosität machen und dort eine internationale buddhistische Hochschule errichten.

"Founded by Anagarika Dhammapala, the Maha Bodhi Society is a South Asian Buddhist society. The organization's initial efforts were to restore various Buddhist shrines that had been neglected under Hindu administration, and to open to the public various Buddhist sites and temples that had been destroyed in various periods of Muslim invasion. Their efforts involved Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya and the site of the Buddha's parinibbana (physical death) at Kushinagar. The latter site has once again become a major attraction for Burmese Buddhists, as it was for many centuries previously.

Maha Bodhi Society branches have been established in several countries, most significantly in India and Sri Lanka. A United States branch was founded by Dr. Paul Carus.

The Maha Bodhi Society has a robust tradition of publications, spanning from Pali translations into modern Indian vernacular languages (such as Hindi) to scholarly texts and new editions of Pali works typeset in Devanagari to appeal to a Hindi-educated Indian audience. They have also published books and pamphlets in local/regional languages and dialects, sometimes in partnership with other presses.

As of 2003, the Maha Bodhi Society of India's general secretary is Dombagoda Rewatha Thero. On September 27, 2004, B. K. Modi was elected president; he was previously vice-president. Modi was, until recently, an office-holder in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

There is also a Maha Bodhi Society of Bangalore, founded by Acharya Buddharakkhita in 1956, which is not a part of or tied to the Maha Bodhi Society of India or Sri Lanka."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]

1891-06-10 bis 15

Elfter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon

1891-07-04 bis 1891-09-16

Olcott in Europa, u.a. in Kiel, Hamburg, Bremen, Osnabrück

1891-09-16 bis 1891-10-08

Olcott durchquert auf dem Weg nach Japan die USA von New York nach San Francisco


Dharmapala gewinnt vier ceylonesische Mönche des Ramanna Nikaya dazu, dass sie nach Bodh Gaya gehen

Abb.: William Q. Judge (1851 - 1896) und Henry S. Olcott (1832 - 1907), San Francisco, Oktober 1891

[Bildquelle: Helena Petrowna Blavatsky : ein Genius verändert die Welt / zusammengestellt von Katherine Tingley ... -- Hannover : Verlag Esoterische Philosophie, ©1992. -- ISBN 3-924849-44-7. -- S. 89]


Neue Französische Übersetzung von Olcotts Buddhist Catechism. Olcott schreibt ein Vorwort zu dieser Übersetzung:

At the Baron's request, I wrote an introduction to this edition adapted to the French temperament. In the course of this I said:

"The remarkable success of the lecture courses of M. Leon de Rosny [1837-1914], the learned Professor of the Sorbonne, and the constant and increasing demand for Buddhistic literature, prove, I venture to think, that the enlightened minds in France are sympathetically drawn, amidst this crisis of the ancient religions, towards a philosophy which vaunts no master, which encourages the perpetual exercise of good sense, which repudiates the supernatural, which counsels tolerance, which solves the most complex problems of life, which appeals to the instinct of justice, which teaches the purest morality, which is absolutely in accord with the teachings of modern science, and which shows to man a superb ideal.
" In the seventeen years in which I have been in contact with Buddhism, I have never found it revolting to the brave thinker, to the religious spirit, to the humanitarian, nor antipathetic to the man of science. It is a diamond buried in a swamp of superstitions. If Eugene Burnouf, that brilliant luminary of contemporary French literature, had not been prematurely snatched from science, France would certainly have taken the lead in the movement of the Buddhistic renaissance."

As I was then on my way to Japan to consult the chief priests, I could not include in this edition the platform of the Fourteen Principles."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  356f.]


International Buddhist Conference in Bodh Gaya, von Dharmapala einberufen. Teilnehmer aus Ceylon, Chittagong, China, Japan. Die japanischen Delegierten berichten, dass die Japaner willens seien, Geld zu spenden, um den Tempel vom hinduistischen Mahant zurückzukaufen. Alle Delegierten schmiedeten Pläne, Geld zu sammeln für eine buddhistische Universität, und um buddhistische Texte in moderne indische Sprachen zu übersetzen (Mission!). Die Konferenz war so geplant, dass sie zusammenfiel mit dem Besuch des Lieutnant Governor of Bengal. Aber Dharmapala hatte neben der buddhistischen Fahne die japanische aufgezogen, deshalb bleibt der Lieutnant Governor weg und macht klar, dass der Tempel dem Mahant gehört.

1891-11-01 bis 10

Zweiter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Japan


Abb.: Olcott mit japanischen buddhistischen Geistlichen, 1891

[Bildquelle: Murphet, Howard: Yankee beacon of Buddhist light : life of Col. Henry S. Olcott : formerly published as Hammer on the mountain. -- 1st Quest ed. --- Wheaton, Ill. : Theosophical Pub. House, 1988. -- ISBN 0-8356-0638-4. -- S. 148]

Olcott kommt nach Japan, um die Zustimmung der japanischen Richtungen des Buddhismus zu seinen 14 Fundamental Buddhistic Beliefs zu erhalten

"From what I heard I had good reason to fear that it would be very difficult for me to get the signatures of the Chief Priests of the sects to my Platform, as a number of them had left Kyoto for the scenes of earthquake disaster. However, I determined, since I was on the ground, to overcome all obstacles, in view of the immense importance of the object sought. I went on to Kyoto on the 2nd, and put up at my old inn, Nakumraya's Hotel. I notified the two Hongwanjis and the Ko-sai-kai—the General Committee of all the sects, which I had induced them to form on the occasion of my former visit—of my arrival. My rooms were thronged with visitors the next and following days. Among the old acquaintances were Mr. Nirai, formerly a leading member of the Young Men's Buddhist Committee which sent Noguchi as a sub-committee to Madras to personally escort me to Japan; and that highly influential and agreeable priest, Shaku Genyu San of the Shin-gon sect. He was a most enlightened man, open to all good suggestions
for the advancement of his religion, and travelled with me over the empire when I was there before. We had a very earnest discussion over the Fourteen Propositions, the wording of which he found perfectly satisfactory; but he put it to me why it was necessary for the Northern Church to sign these condensed bits of doctrine when they were so familiar that every priest-pupil throughout the empire had them by heart: there was infinitely more than that in the Mahayana. In reply I said: " If I should bring you a basketful of earth dug out of a slope of Fuji San, would that be part of your sacred mountain or not?" "Of course it would," he answered. " Well, then," I rejoined, " all I ask is that you will accept these Propositions as included within the body of Northern Buddhism; that they are a basketful of the mountain, but not the whole mountain itself." That view of the case seemed to be quite convincing; and when I had argued at length upon the vital necessity of having some common ground laid out on which the Northern and Southern Churches might stand in harmony and brotherly love, offering a united front to a hostile world, he promised to do his best to have my wish accomplished. He then left me to go and see some of his leading colleagues, and on the 4th returned with a favorable report and signed the document on behalf of the Ko-sai-kai, thus giving my scheme the imprimatur of the approval of the united sects, even although I should secure no other signatures. But I did, as personally, and through the medium of Shaku San, the Chief Priests who were within reach of Kyoto could have the thing explained to them. Before leaving for Kobe' on the 9th I had got all the sects except the Shin-shu to sign the paper. This latter sect, as the reader may remember, occupies an entirely anomalous position in Buddhism, as their priests marry—in direct violation of the rule established by the Buddha for his Sangha—have families and hold property; for example, a temple will pass from father to son. At the same time they are by far the cleverest sectarian managers in all Japan, drawing immense revenues from the public, and building superb temples everywhere. They are, par excellence, the most aristocratic religious body in the empire. They excuse their infraction of the monastic rules on the ground that they are samaneras, semi-layman, not full monks. The principal men among them whom I needed to see were away in the earthquake districts, where they had suffered great losses; and as my time was extremely limited, and the people whom I saw would not give me a definite answer, I had to do without those signatures. However, as they were represented in the Ko-sai-kai, Shaku San's signature on its behalf virtually gave me the consent of the whole body of Northern Buddhists. My joy in achieving this result may readily be imagined.

I THINK that I could hardly be accused of vain-glorious boasting if I should say that an event of such importance as that described in the last chapter deserved to be made much of by all Western Orientalists, especially such as devote themselves to Pali literature and the study of Buddhism. Certainly, its significance was recognised throughout the Buddhistic nations of the East. Yet, within the ten years which have elapsed since the signing, scarcely any notice whatever has been taken of it by the European and American scholars. I am afraid I shall have to ascribe this to a small-minded prejudice against our Society, out of which, they think, no good can come. Time, however, will set that right.

To get the signatures needed was not such a very easy matter after all; I had to pass through an experience of that procrastinating and preternaturally cautious policy which seems peculiar to the Chinese and Japanese character. I wrote in my Diary: " There is a lot of polite humbugging going on about signing my Platform—idle excuses of all sorts." But by the 7th of November things were looking decidedly better; in fact, I could quite well have been satisfied to take it away with me as it stood that evening. The next morning all was finished and the document complete. To celebrate the event, a dinner in the Japanese style was given me, at which 178 persons were present."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  410 - 415]

1891-11-29 bis 1891-12-13

Zwölfter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon


An der Jahresversammlung der Theosophical Society in Adyar nimmt ein Lama des tibetischen Klosters in Peking teil:

"Among the interesting personages at the Convention was a Lama of the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery of Peking. He brought me the following memorandum from Babu Sarat Chandra Das, the Tibetan Translator to the Government of Bengal:

" Lama Tho-chiya, of a Manchurian family, belongs to Yung-ho-kung, the great Buddhist Monastery of Peking, which I visited in 1885. He is a friend of His Excellency Shang Tai, the present Chinese Imperial President (Amban) of Lhasa. During his stay here, Lama Tho-chiya was my guest. He now proceeds to Buddha Gaya with only 20 rupees, which I have put into his pocket. He is deserving of help in every way. He has come thus far from Manchuria, travelling on foot."

The Lama's portrait may be seen in the annual group photograph of 1891, seated between Miss Müller and Mr. Keightley, and it will be noted how delicate, refined, and spiritual are his features, and how little they resemble the Mongolian type."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  410 - 435]


"Among Ceylon Buddhists the burning question at that time was the necessity for adopting measures for defeating a bold stroke of legislation in the missionary interest, which forbade the giving of grants-in-aid to any school that might be opened within a quarter of a mile of any existing registered school. On the face of it this seemed innocent enough, as the prohibition would work to the advantage of any Buddhist school that might first occupy a desirable village. But, in point of fact, while the Buddhists were somnolently indifferent to the education of their children, the missionaries quietly pre-empted all the most desirable localities at the chief centres of population; so that the Buddhists would—if this iniquitous Act were passed —be compelled to choose between sending their children to Christian schools, or opening and supporting their own schools without a penny of Government aid. Considering that the greater part of the Government revenue in Ceylon is derived from taxation of Buddhists, the injustice of the proposed Buddhist Boycotting Bill is evident. This was the more apparent since at that time there were only twenty-five Buddhist schools registered, as against above a thousand of other denominations. Of course the missionaries, having command of capital, and also having the foresight given by experience, profited to the fullest extent by the apathy of the Buddhists. The latter did not suspect the nature and extent of the plot until they were rudely shaken out of their sloth by my public appeals and denunciations. Things have mended a good deal since that time, and our 25 schools have increased to more than 200; but we still have great difficulties to overcome, among them the chief being the lack of working capital. As things go now, any sum required for emergent work has to be collected by subscription, and, naturally enough, these constant demands are somewhat onerous. Yet, all the same, the Sinhalese people have shown a most commendable generosity and unflagging interest in the progress of our revival movement."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  467f.]


Aus dem Erlass der Theosophical Society zur jährlichen Gedenkveranstaltung auf HBP:

""In her last Will, H. P. Blavatsky expressed the wish that yearly, on the anniversary of her death, some of her friends 'should assemble at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society and read a chapter of T!ie Light of Asia and (extracts from) Bhagavad-Gita'; and since it is meet that her surviving colleagues should keep green the memory of her services to humanity and her devoted love for our Society, the undersigned suggests that the anniversary be known among us as White Lotus Day, and makes the following official order and recommendation:

"1. At noon, on 8th May, 1892, and on the same day in each succeeding year, there will be held a commemorative meeting at the Headquarters, at which extracts from the before-mentioned works will be read and brief addresses made by the Chairman of the meeting and others who may volunteer. ..."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  410 - 453]


Erstes Heft des Maha Bodhi Journal. Dharmapala's Artikel "The Mahayana school of Buddhism": Theravada gehöre nicht - wie Monier-William glaubt - zu Hinayana, sondern sei die älteste Schule des Mahayana.

Der Vorsitzende des für 1893 geplanten Weltparlaments der Religionen liest das Journal, das ihm Dharmapala zuschickt, und lädt Dharmapala ein als Repräsentanten der Buddhisten Ceylons.


Dharmapala trifft als offizieller Delegierter der Buddhisten Ceylons in Darjeeling mit Repräsentanten der tibetischen und cis-himalayischen Lamas zusammen. Trotz feierlicher Zeremonien bleibt dieses Treffen folgenlos:

"A rather dramatic event occurred at Darjeeling in the month of July in the meeting of H. Dharmapala, as agent of the Chief Priest of Ceylon, with important representatives of the Tibetan and Cis-Himalayan Lamas, who had gathered together at Darjeeling at that time. Miss Henrietta Müller contributed to the Theoscphist for August (1892) an interesting account, from which, in view of their picturesque and historical interest, I make the following extracts:

" Mr. Dharmapala had been commissioned by the chief Buddhist monks of Ceylon to convey to the Lamas of Tibet some relics of Buddha and a few leaves from the sacred Bo-tree (Ficus religiosa), now growing at Buddha-Gaya—the place sacred to millions of Buddhists—and also a Buddhist flag." ...

"It is a pity that, so far as we know, in spite of his undoubtedly good intentions, nothing has come out of Dharmapala's religious cavalcade.

The resemblance of the Ceylon-invented Buddhist flag to the standard of the Dalai Lama is a very striking fact. It may be remembered that I have said elsewhere that Prince Oukhtomasky told me that the high priest of a Mongolian monastery had told him the same thing. As I am not a believer in chance, I am inclined to think that the Colombo Committee did not choose this particular device without an unsuspected prompting from those mighty personages who occupy themselves with the interests of the Buddhist religion. Evidently, it was as great a desideratum to have this striking symbol of the religion, as to find a common platform of belief on which all Buddhist nations and sects could unite in brotherly spirit. I have every reason to believe that the Lamas of Tibet entertain a brotherly feeling for all their co-religionists; and that if it were possible to bring the leading men of the Southern Church into a council with them, Buddhist unity would speedily become an established fact. I shall recur to this matter when describing my own interview with the Tibetan Ambassador, who came to Darjeeling and stopped there some months while certain important negotiations were going on between the Chinese and British-Indian authorities. Dharmapala's Darjeeling affair came to nought through lack of an organised plan for carrying it out into practical results. The more noise and tamasha one makes at the beginning of an enterprise, the greater becomes the mortification to see it come to nought through one's own mismanagement or incapacity. Earnestness is a very good thing, but to ensure success it must be supplemented by other qualities."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  468; 473f.]


Olcott und Dharmapala treffen in Darjeeling mit einem Botschafter des Dalai Lama zusammen.

"In the course of our long talk of nearly four hours, he asked me many questions about the state of our religion outside Tibet and China, and how the teachings of the Buddha were appreciated in the countries of the West. He assured me that if it should ever be my fortune to visit Lhasa I should receive an affectionate welcome; it was not within his power to arrange for such a journey, but he would report to his Government all that had been said, and it would give the Tibetans great pleasure. As an interlude, buttered tea was served to us. The plans and work of the Maha-Bodhi Society greatly interested him, and he congratulated Dharmapala on the usefulness of his labors; the Dalai Lama would be delighted to hear all he should tell him. Certain religious presents, sent through Dharmapala by the High Priest Sumangala and the Japanese priest-students then living in Ceylon, he thanked us for, and promised to send them on to Lhasa at once by special couriers along with his despatches. In return for something of a similar kind which I myself begged his acceptance of, he gave me a very fine gilt bronze statuette of a sitting Bodhisattva, made at Lhasa, and containing in its interior a folded strip of paper on which the Dalai Lama had himself written a mantram invoking the protection of the gods for the ambassador, from all evil influences, and stamped it with his own seal. This unique present is, of course, in the Adyar Library, together with his Excellency's signed portrait. At the close of our interview he accompanied us to the garden gate, shook hands with us in Western fashion, and expressed his deep regret that my engagements elsewhere would prevent our meeting again."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fourth series, 1887 - 92. -- 1910. -- S.  488f..]

1892-10-29 bis 1892-11-27

Olcott und Dharmapala besuchen die Buddhisten von Chittagong und fahren von dort weiter nach Rangoon.


Leitung der Maha Bodhi Society siedelt nach Calcutta über, bald erweitern sich Ziele der Gesellschaft zur Missionsgesellschaft.


An der Adyar Library werden die Bestände an japanischen buddhistischen Schriften katalogisiert:

"Until now the splendid collection of Japanese Buddhist Scriptures, which I had brought back from Japan in 1889, had been lying on our shelves uncatalogued for lack of expert help; but now Mr. Kawakami, a young priest student of Kyoto, who had  come to India to pursue his studies in Sanskrit, stopped with us for some time and very kindly set to work to prepare a list of the books.

Our equally valuable collection of Sinhalese Pali manuscripts, presented to the library by the late Mrs. Hangakoon, of Matara, for the mere copying of which she paid over Rs. 3,000, is still unexplored though not uncatalogued, but I hope that, some day, I may be able to get a close and scholarly comparison made of the two collections, and to publish the result as a contribution to Buddhistic literature from the Adyar Library."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fifth series, 1893 - April, 1896. -- 1932. -- S.  1f..]


Abb.: Olcott in "indischem" Gewand, ohne Jahr

[Bildquelle: Murphet, Howard: Yankee beacon of Buddhist light : life of Col. Henry S. Olcott : formerly published as Hammer on the mountain. -- 1st Quest ed. --- Wheaton, Ill. : Theosophical Pub. House, 1988. -- ISBN 0-8356-0638-4. -- S. 282]

Olcott weilt in Calcutta

"The restoration of the great temple at Buddha Gaya by the Government of Bengal, at the cost of the former King of Burma, had been largely superintended by Mr. J. D. M. Beglar, formerly a subordinate of General Cunningham. As the work was finished, Dharmapala and I were anxious to enlist his sympathies with us in our own proposed building works at Buddha Gaya and the other great Buddhist shrines, so I managed an interview with him, at which we came to a good understanding, and it was agreed that he should have the title of " Consulting Engineer and Archaeologist" when our plans were ripe. The project never came to anything, I believe, for the Maha-Bodhi scheme was blocked by a bitter and very costly lawsuit between Dharmapala and the Mahant, and sometime subsequently, having become dissatisfied with the former's management, I severed my connection with the Maha-Bodhi Society and left him to carry it on alone.

On the 26th of January I attended the first general meeting of the " Buddhist Text Society of India," with whose development Babu Sarat Chandra Das, C.I.E., has for the past ten years been so honorably associated."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fifth series, 1893 - April, 1896. -- 1932. -- S.  7]


Olcott in Bodh Gaya und Sarnath:

" ... left at 7 p.m. for Gaya which we reached after a run of three hours. At the station we were met by Chandra Joshi Bhikshu who informed us of a violent assault having been made the previous evening by the Mahant's people on the Buddhist priests whom Dharmapala had placed at Buddha Gaya; one of the poor and inoffensive monks had been brutally beaten. By appointment I went to Buddha Gaya the next day accompanied by Dharmapala, Guruprasad Sen, Bireswar Singh, and others; and after inspecting the premises had an interview with the Mahant on the subject of the transfer of Maha-Bodhi to the Buddhists. Argument and persuasion were wasted upon him; he remained deaf to all my appeals and refused the most liberal offers. On the following morning I called on Mr. MacPherson, the Collector, and Mr. Shuttleworth, Secretary of the Revenue Board; exchanged official letters with the former about my fruitless visit to the Mahant; reported to the High Priest, Sumangala, the facts of the outrage; received many visitors; lectured at the Bar Library, and in the afternoon attended a Police investigation at which the Inspector tried to get the injured priests to name their assailants. But these men of peace, while frankly admitting their knowledge of the assailants, firmly declined to name them as it was against the rules of their ordination for them to help in any way the bringing to punishment of those who had done them personal injury. As the assault was made at night, in the absence of disinterested third parties, the culprits could not be brought to book and went scot free. As the lives of the priests were in danger at the Burmese rest-house at Buddha Gaya, we searched for and hired a house for them in the town. A second lecture was given by me at the same place as before on the subject of " Mind " to a large audience comprising the leading men of Gaya. By the night train, Mr. Edge and I moved on to Benares, leaving Dharmapala behind to see to the settling of the priests in their new quarters.

We reached the Holy City at noon. Not to waste time I drove out that same afternoon to Sarnath—" a ruined tope in a desolation of brick ruins"—which marks the spot of the ancient " Deer Forest" where the Buddha met his companion ascetics and preached his first great Discourse. My object was to see the spot and enquire about the title, with the hope that if it were vested in Government we might be able to get permission to build a rest-house and Vihara for the use of resident and pilgrim priests and laity travelling to see the great shrines of their religion. To elucidate this point, I called on the Divisional Engineer. The next day I visited the place again accompanied by Messrs. Mokshadadas and Jadub Ghandcr Mittcr to photograph this stupa. Three views of it were taken, in one of them our party being photographed at the foot of the ruin. I had the satisfaction of learning that day that the title was in Government, and opened negotiations with a view to obtain its transfer to the Maha-Bodhi Society."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fifth series, 1893 - April, 1896. -- 1932. -- S.  11f.]


Olcott widmet sich dem Problem des Erwerbs des Maha-Bodhi-Tempel in Bodh Gaya:

"A chance seemed to offer itself at this time the Maha-Bodhi stupa and some 3,000 bigas of adjacent land by purchase from the Tikari Rajah's estate, the presumed owners of the fee. The Honorary Pleader of the Maha-Bodhi Society at Gaya, Mr. Nund Kissorc Lal, conveyed this idea to me in a telegram and I at once communicated with Dharmapala. A wealthy Burman was said to be ready to give Rs. 1,00,000 if the shrine could be bought—so I was told by Dharmapala. Private negotiations were accordingly entered into and all was proceeding peacefully until the Government
of Bengal, or in other words, Mr. Cotton—whose son was engaged as counsel for the stubborn Mahant of Buddha Gaya -came to know of it. The next thing we learnt was that a peremptory order had been given to the European Manager of the Tikari Raj under the Court of Wards, that he should not sell the piece of property in question to the Buddhists on any consideration. This seemed to me an impertinent and unjust meddling in a perfectly blameless business transaction, and I could not help suspecting the motive which prompted the order. However, that chance was lost and the monstrous injustice of debarring the Buddhists of the world from owning their most sacred and most famous shrine was continued. Worse than that, the Saivite Mahant had allowed Buddhist images to be defiled, and had smeared some with forehead caste-marks as though they were Hindu idols: this after the Buddhists began to bestir themselves to regain possession of the shrine and to cover an empty pretext that Buddha Gaya was a Hindu place of worship. As I went farther and farther in the case I became thoroughly disgusted with the view it presented of religious hypocrisy masking private greed.

Meanwhile both Dharmapala and his legal adviser wrote so encouragingly that I determined to go over to Burma and sec what the chances were for securing the purchase money. On reaching Rangoon, on the 11th of April, it did not take long to convince me that nothing was to be hoped for in that matter: the whole body of middlemen—Burmese merchants—in the rice trade were just then in the grip of a European syndicate, and were in a way to loose all their savings."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fifth series, 1893 - April, 1896. -- 1932. -- S.  30 - 32]

1893-04-07 bis 15

Dritter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Burma


Abb.: F. Max Müller

Der berühmte Indologe F. Max Müller (1823 - 1900) schreibt in The Nineteenth Century (London), May 1893, pp. 767-788 über Esoteric Buddhism:

Esoteric Buddhism

by F. Max Muller

It is sometimes represented as the height of professorial conceit that scholars like myself, who have never been in India, should venture to doubt statements made by persons who have spent many years in that country. This has always been a very favourite argument. If Sanskrit scholars differ from writers who have been twenty years in India, they are told that they have no right to speak; that there are MSS. in India which no one has ever seen, and that there are native scholars in possession of mysteries of which we poor professors have no conception. When asked for the production of those MSS., or for an introduction to these learned Mahatmas - for India is not so difficult to reach in these days as it was in the days of Marco Polo - they are never forthcoming. Nay, the curious thing is that real Sanskrit scholars who have spent their lives in India, and who know Sanskrit and Pali well, know absolutely nothing of such MSS., nothing of such teachers of mysteries. They are never known except to people who are ignorant of Sanskrit or Pali. That seems to be the first condition for being admitted to the esoteric wisdom of India. The fact is, that there is no longer any secret about Sanskrit literature, and I believe that we in England know as much about it as most native scholars.

Of late years, the treasures of Sanskrit MSS. still existing in India have been so thoroughly ransacked that it has become quite useless to appeal to hidden MSS. supposed to contain the ancient mysteries of the religion of India. If a new text is discovered, there is joy among all true Sanskrit scholars in India and in Europe. But the very idea that there are secret and sacred MSS., or that there ever was any mystery about the religion of the Brahmans, is by this time thoroughly exploded. Whatever there was of secret religious doctrines in India consisted simply of doctrines for the reception of which a certain previous training was required. Every member of the three upper castes had free access to the Vedas, and if the fourth class were not allowed to learn the Veda by heart, this arose from a social far more than from the religious prejudice. Again, it is quite true that the doctrines of the Vedanta or the Upanishads were sometimes called Rahasya, that is, secret; but this, too, meant no more than that teachers should not teach these portions of the Veda except to persons of a certain age and properly qualified for these higher studies. When we hear Aristotle called the Smaller Mysteries and Plato the Greater Mysteries, this does not mean that their writings were kept secret. It only meant that students must first have learnt a certain amount of Greek and have qualified themselves for these more advanced studies, just as students at Oxford advance step by step from the smaller to the greater mysteries, that is, from Smalls to Mods., and from Mods. to Greats. Greats may be great mysteries to a freshman, but no one is excluded from participation in them, if only he feels inclined to be initiated.

But if there was nothing mysterious about Brahmanism, it is sometimes thought there might be some mysteries hidden in Buddhism. A scholarlike study of Buddhism came later in Europe than a scholarlike study of Brahmanism, and the amount of rubbish that was written on Buddhism before the knowledge of Pali and Sanskrit enabled scholars to read the sacred texts of the Buddhists for themselves is simply appalling. Buddhism was declared to be the original religion of mankind, more ancient than Brahmanism, more ancient than the religion of the Teutonic races; for who could doubt that Buddha was the same name as that of Wodan? Christianity itself was represented as a mere plagiarism, its doctrines and legends were supposed to have been borrowed from Buddhism, and we were told that the best we could do in order to become real Christians was to become Buddhists. There exists at present a new sect of people who called themselves Christian Buddhists, and they are said to be numerous in England and in France. The Journal des Debats of the 10th of May, 1890, speaks of 30,000 Bouddhistes Chretiens at Paris. In India, more particularly in Ceylon, their number is supposed to be much larger.

These are serious matters, and cannot be treated merely as bad jokes or crazes. It is, indeed, very important to observe that there is some foundation for all these crazes, nay, that there is method in that madness. There is, for instance, a tradition of a Deluge in the Veda as well as in the O. T.; there is in the Veda the story of a father willing, at the command of the god Varuna, to sacrifice his son. Nor can it be denied that there is a very great likeness between some moral doctrines and certain legends of Buddhism and Christianity. We ought to rejoice at this with all our heart, but there is no necessity for admitting anything like borrowing or stealing on one side or the other. A comparative study of the religions of antiquity has widened our horizon so much, and has so thoroughly established the universality of a certain amount of religious truth, that if we found the Ten Commandments in the sacred books of the Buddhists we should never think of theft and robbery, but simply of a common inheritance. We actually find the Dasasila, the Ten Commandments, in Buddhism, but they are not at all the Ten Commandments of Moses. It is different when we come to facts and legends. When it is pointed out that with regard to these also there are great similarities between the life of Christ and the life of Buddha, I feel bound to acknowledge that such similarities exist, and that, though many may be accounted for by the common springs of human nature, there are a few left which are startling, and which as yet remain a riddle.

It is owing, no doubt, to these coincidences that a very remarkable person, whose name has lately become familiar in England also, felt strongly attracted to the study of Buddhism. I mean, of course, the late Madame Blavatsky, the founder of Esoteric Buddhism. I have never met her, though she often promised, or rather threatened, she would meet me face to fact at Oxford. She came to Oxford and preached, I am told, for six hours before a number of young men, but she did not inform me of her presence. At first she treated me almost like a Mahatma, but when there was no response I became, like all Sanskrit scholars, a very untrustworthy authority. I have watched her career for many years from her earliest appearance in America to her death in London last year. She founded her Theosophic Society at New York in 1875. The object of that society was to experiment practically in the occult powers of Nature, and to collect and disseminate among Christians information about Oriental religious philosophies? Nothing could be said against such objects, if only they were taken up honestly, and with the necessary scholarly preparation. Later on, however, new objects were added, namely to spread among the benighted heathen such evidences as to the practical results of Christianity as will at least give both sides of the story to the communities among which missionaries are at work. With this view the society undertook to establish relations with associations and individuals throughout the East, to whom it furnished authenticated reports of the ecclesiastical crimes and misdemeanours, schisms, heresies, controversies and litigations, doctrinal differences and Biblical criticisms and revisions with which the press of Christian Europe and America constantly teems. You may easily imagine what the outcome of such a society would be, and how popular its Black Book would become in India and elsewhere. However, I am quite willing to give Madame Blavatsky credit for good motives, at least at the beginning of her career. Like many people in our time, she was, I believe, in search of a religion which she could honestly embrace. She was a clever, wild, and excitable girl, and anybody who wishes to take a charitable view of her later hysterical writings and performances should read the biographical notices lately published by her own sister in the Nouvelle Revue. It is the fault of those who guide the religious education of young men and women, and who simply require from them belief in certain facts and dogmas, without every explaining what belief means, that so many, when they begin to think about the different kinds of human knowledge, discover that they possess no religion at all.

Religion, in order to be real religion, a man’s own religion, must be searched for, must be discovered, must be conquered. If it is simply inherited or accepted as a matter of course, it often happens that in later years it falls away, and has either to be re-conquered or to be replaced by another religion.

Madame Blavatsky was one of those who want more than a merely traditional and formal faith, and, in looking round, she thought she could find what she wanted in India. We are ready to give Madame Blavatsky full credit for deep religious sentiments, more particularly for the same strong craving for a spiritual union with the Divine which has inspired so many of the most devout thinkers among Christians, as well as among so-called heathen. Nowhere has that craving found fuller expression than among the philosophers of India, particularly among the Vedanta philosophers. Like Schopenhauer, she seems to have discovered through the dark mists of imperfect translations some of the brilliant rays of truth which issue from the Upanishads and the ancient Vedanta philosophy of India.

To India, therefore, she went with some friends, but, unfortunately, with no knowledge of the language, and with very little knowledge of what she might expect to find there, and where she ought to look for native teachers who should initiate her in the mysteries of the sacred lore of the country. That such lore and such mysteries existed she never doubted; and she thought that she had found at last what she wanted in Dayananda Sarasvati, the founder of the Arya-Samaj. His was, no doubt, a remarkable and powerful mind, but he did not understand English; nor did Madame Blavatsky understand either the modern or the ancient languages of the country. Still there sprang up between the two a mutual though mute admiration, and a number of followers soon gathered round this interesting couple. However, this mute admiration did not last long, and when the two began to understand each other better they soon discovered that they could not act together. I am afraid it can no longer be doubted that Dayananda Sarasvati was as deficient in moral straightforwardness as his American pupil. Hence they were both disappointed in each other, and Madame Blavatsky now determined to found her own religious sect - in fact, to found a new religion, based chiefly on the old religions of India.

Unfortunately, she took it into her head that it was incumbent on every founder of a religion to perform miracles, and here it can no longer be denied that she often resorted to the most barefaced tricks and impositions in order to gain adherents in India. In this she succeeded more than she herself could have hoped for. The natives felt flattered by being told that they were the depositaries of ancient wisdom, far more valuable than anything that European philosophy or the Christian religion had ever supplied. The natives are not often flattered in that way, and they naturally swallowed the bait. Others were taken aback by the assurance with which this new prophetess spoke of her intercourse with unseen spirits, of letters flying through the air from Tibet to Bombay, of showers of flowers falling from the ceiling of a dining-room, of saucers disappearing from a tea-tray and being found in a garden, and of voices and noises proceeding from spirits through a mysterious cabinet. You may ask how educated people could have been deceived by such ordinary jugglery; but with some people the power of believing seems to grow with the absurdity of what is to be believed. When I expressed my regret to one of her greatest admirers that Madame Blavatsky should have lowered herself by these vulgar exhibitions, I was told, with an almost startling frankness, that no religion could be founded without miracles, and that a religion, if it was to grow, must be manured. These are the ipsissima verba of one who knew Madame Blavatsky better than anybody else; and after that it was useless for us to discuss this subject any further.

But, as I said before, I am quite willing to allow that Madame Blavatsky started with good intentions, that she saw and was dazzled by a glimmering of truth in various religions of the world, that she believed in the possibility of a mystic union of the soul with God, and that she was most anxious to discover in a large number of books traces of that theosophic intuition which re-unites human nature with the Divine. Unfortunately, she was without the tools to dig for those treasures in the ancient literature of the world, and her mistakes in quoting from Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin would be amusing if they did not appeal to our sympathy rather for a woman who thought that she could fly though she had no wings, not even those of Icarus.

Her book, called Isis Unveiled, in two volumes of more than 600 pages each, bristling with notes and references to every kind of authority, both wise and foolish, shows an immense amount of drudgery and misdirected ingenuity. To quote her blunders would be endless. Of what character they are will be seen when I quote what she says about the serpent being the good or the evil spirit. [i.133.] ‘In this case,’ she writes, ‘the serpent is the Agathodaimon, the good spirit; in its opposite aspect it is the Kakothodaimon, the bad one.’ I believe that this mistake, when I pointed it out to an undergraduate friend of mine at Oxford, saved him from enrolling himself as an Esoteric Buddhist. Again, speaking as if she knew the whole of Vedic literature, she says: [ii.80.] ‘Certainly, nowhere in the Veda can be found the coarseness and downright immorality of language that Hebraists now discover throughout the Mosaic Bible.’

It is very difficult, when you deal with ancient races who go about almost naked, to decide what is immodest and what is not. But, speaking not altogether without book, I may say that the Veda does contain certain passages which would not bear translation into English.

Again, what shall we say to the argument that the Vedas must have been composed before the Deluge, because the deluge is not mentioned in them? [ii.727.] Now, first of all, the Deluge is mentioned in the Brahmana of the Yagur-veda, and Madame Blavatsky knows it; and secondly, are we really to suppose that every book which does not mention the Deluge was written before the Deluge? What an enormous library of antediluvian books we should possess! M. Jacolliot, as usual, outbids Madame Blavatsky. He writes:

The Vedas and Manu, those monuments of old Asiatic thought, existed far earlier than the diluvian period; this is an incontrovertible fact, having all the value of an historical truth, for, besides the tradition which shows Vishnu himself as saving the Vedas from the Deluge - a tradition which, notwithstanding its legendary form, must certainly rest upon a real fact - it has been remarked that neither of these sacred books mentions the cataclysm, while the Puranas and the Mahabharata describe it with the minutest detail, which is a proof of the priority of the former. The Vedas certainly would never have failed to contain a few hymns on the terrible disaster which, of all other natural manifestations, must have struck the imagination of the people who witnessed it.

Such hymns could only have been written by Noah or by Manu, and we possess, unfortunately, no poetic relics of either of these poets, not even in the Veda. I must quote no more, nor is more evidence wanted, to show that Madame Blavatsky and her immediate followers were simply without bricks and mortar when they endeavoured to erect the lofty structure which they had conceived in their minds. I give full credit to her good intentions; at least at first. I readily acknowledge her indefatigable industry. She began life as an enthusiast; but enthusiasts, as Goethe says, after they have come to know the world, and have been deceived by the world, are apt to become deceivers themselves.

The number of her followers, however, has become so large in India, and particularly in Ceylon, that the movement started by her can no longer be ignored. There are Esoteric Buddhists in England also, in America, and in France; but I doubt whether in these countries they can do much harm. To her followers Madame Blavatsky is a kind of inspired prophetess. To me it seems that she began life as an enthusiast, though not without a premature acquaintance with the darker sides of life, nor without a feminine weakness for notoriety. After a time, however, she ceased to be truthful both to herself and to others. But although her work took a wrong direction, I do not wish to deny that here and there she caught a glimpse of those wonderful philosophical intuitions which are treasured up in the sacred books of the East. Unfortunately she had fallen an easy prey to some persons whom she consulted, whoever they were, whether Mahatmas from Tibet or Panditammanyas in Calcutta, Bombay, or Madras. Disappointed in Dayananda Sarasvati and his often absurd interpretations of the Veda, she turned to Buddhism, though again without an idea how or where to study that religion.

No one can study Buddhism unless he learns Sanskrit and Pali, so as to be able to read the canonical books, and at all events to spell the names correctly. Madame Blavatsky would do neither, though she was quite clever enough, if she had chosen, to have learnt Sanskrit or Pali. But even her informants must have been almost entirely ignorant of these languages, or they must have practised on her credulity in a most shameless manner. Whether she herself suspected this or not, she certainly showed great shrewdness in withdrawing herself and her description of Esoteric Buddhism from all possible control and contradiction. Her Buddhism, she declared, was not the Buddhism which ordinary scholars might study in the canonical books; hers was Esoteric Buddhism. ‘It is not in the dead letter of Buddhistical sacred literature,’ she says, ‘that scholars may hope to find the true solution of the metaphysical subtleties of Buddhism. The latter weary the power of thought by the inconceivable profundity of its ratiocination: and the student is never farther from truth than when he believes himself nearest its discovery.’ [i. 289.] We are told, also, [ii. 123.] that there was a prehistoric Buddhism which merged later into Brahmanism, and that this was the religion preached by Jesus and the early Apostles. After we have been told that there was a Buddhism older than the Vedas - and we might say with the same right that there was a Christianity older than Moses - we are told next of a pre-Vedic Brahmanism, and, to make all controversy impossible, Madame Blavatsky tells us that ‘when she uses the term Buddhism she does not mean to imply by it either the exoteric Buddhism instituted by the followers of Gautama Buddha, nor the modern Buddhistic religion, but the secret philosophy of Sakyamuni, which, in its essence, is identical with the ancient wisdom religion of the sanctuary, the pre-Vedic Brahmanism.’ ‘Gautama,’ we are assured, ‘had a doctrine for his "elect," and another for the outside masses.’ Then she adds apologetically, ‘If both Buddha and Christ, aware of the great danger of furnishing an uncultivated populace with the double-edged weapon of knowledge which gives power, left the innermost corner of the sanctuary in the profoundest shade, who that is acquainted with human nature can blame them for it?’ Then why did she, being evidently well acquainted with human nature, venture to divulge these dangerous esoteric doctrines? Though I must say what she does divulge seems very harmless.

With such precautions Madame Blavatsky’s Esoteric Buddhism was safe against all cavil and all criticism. As no one could control the statements of Ctesias as to the race of people who used their ears as sheets to sleep in, no one could control the statements of the Mahatmas from Tibet as to a Buddhism for Madame Blavatsky to dream in. I do not say that no Mahatmas exist in India or in Tibet. I simply say that modern India is the worst country for studying Buddhism. India is, no doubt, the birthplace of Buddha and of Buddhism. But Buddhism, as a popular religion, has vanished from India, so that the religious census of the country knows hardly of any Buddhists, except in Ceylon and in some districts bordering on Tibet or Burmah. As no Buddhist teachers could be found in Bombay or Calcutta, some imaginary beings had to be created by Madame Blavatsky and located safely in Tibet, as yet the most inaccessible country in the world. Madame Blavatsky’s powers of creation were very great, whether she wished to have intercourse with Mahatmas, astral bodies, or ghosts of any kind. Here is a list of the ghosts for whose real existence she vouches: ‘peris, devs, djins, sylvans, satyrs, fauns, elves, dwarfs, trolls, norns, nisses, kobolds, brownies, necks, stromkarls, undines, nixies, salamanders, goblins, banshees, kelpies, pixies, moss people, good people, good neighbours, wild women, men of peace, white ladies, and many more.’ Shall we, then, concede, she asks, that all who have seen these creatures were hallucinated? It is difficult to answer such a question without seeming rude. I should certainly say they were hallucinated, and that they were using words of which they knew neither the meaning nor, what is even better, the etymology. So long as Madame Blavatsky placed her Mahatmas beyond the Himalayas both she and her witnesses were quite safe from any detectives or cross-examining lawyers. I saw, however, in the papers not long ago that even the believers in Madame Blavatsky begin to be sceptical about these trans-Himalayan Mahatmas. At the annual Theosophical Convention, held at Chicago in 1892, a lady asked why outsiders were always told that the Mahatma sages dwelt beyond the Himalayan mountains. Mr. Judge, who is now the head of the American Theosophists, replied that it was for seclusion. ‘If they were anywhere in the United States,’ he said, ‘they would be pestered and interviewed by reporters.’ This admitted of no reply, particularly in America.

We, the pretended authorities of the West, are told to go to the Brahmans and Lamaists of the Far Orient, and respectfully ask them to impart to us the alphabet of true science. But she gives us no addresses, no letters of introduction to her Tibetan friends, though in another place she tells us

that travellers have met these adepts on the shores of the sacred Ganges, brushed against them on the silent ruins of Thebes, and in the mysterious deserted chambers of Luxor. Without the halls upon whose blue and golden vaults the weird signs attract attention, but whose secret meaning is never penetrated by the idle gazers, they have been seen, but seldom recognised. Historical memoirs have recorded their presence in the brilliantly illuminated salons of European aristocracy. They have been encountered again on the arid and desolate plains of the Great Sahara, as in the caves of Elephanta. They may be found everywhere, but make themselves known only to those who have devoted their lives to unselfish study, and are not likely to turn back (p. 17).

We see that Madame Blavatsky might have achieved some success if she had been satisfied to follow in the footsteps of Rider Haggard, Sinnet, or Marion Crawford; but her ambition was to found a religion, not to make money by writing new Arabian Nights.

But when we come to examine what these depositaries of primeval wisdom, the Mahatmas of Tibet and of the sacred Ganges, are supposed to have taught her, we find no mysteries, nothing very new, nothing very old, but simply a medley of well-known though generally misunderstood Brahmanic or Buddhistic doctrines. There is nothing that cannot be traced back to generally accessible Brahmanic or Buddhistic sources, only everything is muddled or misunderstood. If I were asked what Madame Blavatsky’s Esoteric Buddhism really is, I should say it was Buddhism misunderstood, distorted, caricatured. There is nothing in it beyond what was known already, chiefly from books that are now antiquated. The most ordinary terms are misspelt and misinterpreted. Mahatma, for instance, is a well-known Sanskrit name applied to men who have retired from the world, who, by means of a long ascetic discipline, have subdued the passions of the flesh and gained a reputation for sanctity and knowledge. That these men are able to perform most startling feats and to suffer the most terrible tortures is perfectly true. Some of them, though not many, are distinguished as scholars also; so much so that Mahatma - literally ‘great-souled’ - has become an honorary title. I have myself had the honour of being addressed by that name in many letters written in Sanskrit, and sent to me - not, indeed, through the air, but through the regular post-office - from Benares to Oxford. That some of these so-called Mahatmas are impostors is but too well known to all who have lived in India. I am quite ready, therefore, to believe that Madame Blavatsky and her friends were taken in by persons who pretended to be Mahatmas, though it has never been explained in what language even they could have communicated their Esoteric Buddhism to their European pupil. Madame Blavatsky herself was, according to her own showing, quite unable to gauge their knowledge or to test their honesty, and she naturally shared the fate of Ctesias, of Lieutenant Wilford, and of M. Jacolliot.

That there are men in India, knowing a certain amount of Sanskrit and a little English, who will say yes to everything you ask them, I know from sad experience; and it would be very unfair to say that such weaklings exist in India only. If people wish to be deceived, there are always those who are ready to deceive them. This, I think, is the most charitable interpretation which we can put on the beginnings of that extraordinary movement which is known by the name of Esoteric Buddhism, nay, which, on account of the similarities which exist between Buddhism and Christianity, claims in some places the name of Christian Buddhism. On this so-called Christian Buddhism, and on the real similarities between Buddhism and Christianity, I may have something to say at another time. At present I only wish to show that if there is any religion entirely free from esoteric doctrines it is Buddhism. There never was any such thing as mystery in Buddhism. Altogether, it seems to me that mystery is much more of a modern than of an ancient invention. There are no real mysteries even in Brahmanism, for we can hardly apply that name to doctrines which were not communicated to everybody, but only to people who had passed through a certain preparatory discipline. The whole life of a Brahman in ancient India was under a certain control. It was divided into four stages: the school, the household, the forest, and the solitude. Up to the age of twenty-seven a young man was supposed to be a student in the house of a Guru. After that he had to marry and found a household; and perform all the religious acts which were prescribed by the Vedas; then, when he had seen his children’s children, he was expected to retire from his house and live, either alone or with his wife, in the forest, released from social and religious duties - nay, allowed to enjoy the greatest freedom of philosophic speculation.

Now it is quite true that the Aranyakas, the Forest-books, and the Upanishads in which these philosophical speculations are contained were sometimes called Rahasya - that is, secret. They were not to be communicated to young people, nor to the married householder - very naturally, for they taught that the gods whom the young men and the married householders had believed in were not gods at all, but simply different names of the Unknown behind Nature, and that of the Great Spirit or Brahma nothing could be predicated except sat, that he was; kit, that he perceived and thought; and ananda, that he was blessed - hence he was often called Sakkidananda. Sacrifices, and all outward worship, which had before been represented as necessary for man’s salvation, were now represented as not only useless, but as actually hurtful, if performed with any selfish view to rewards in another life. Whereas the whole of the Veda had formerly been represented as superhuman, inspired, and infallible, one part of it, the Karmakanda, the practical part, consisting of the hymns and the Brahmanas, the liturgical books, was now put aside, and there remained only the gnanakanda, the philosophical part, that is, whatever treated of Brahman and its relation to the individual soul. This only, and more particularly the Upanishads, continued to be considered as really necessary for salvation. For salvation was by knowledge only, or, as we should say, by faith, and not by works.

The highest object of this contemplative life in the forest was the finding of one’s own soul, the saving of one’s soul alive, the discovery of the Atman, the self, and not the mere Ego. This was no easy matter. Even in those early days the existence of a soul had been denied. Some held that body and soul were the same; others, that the soul was the breath; others, again, that it was the Ego or the mind with all its experiences, with its perceptions and conceptions and all the rest. The hermits in the forest, after they had subdued all the passions of the body and wrenched themselves free from all its fetters, had now to learn that the soul was something that according to its very nature could never be seen, or heard, or perceived like the objective world which was visible and perishable; because, if perceived, it would at once become something objective, something totally different from the perceiving subject. It would no longer be the soul. The unseen and unperceivable something which was formerly called the soul was now called the self, Atman. Nothing could be predicated of it except that it was, that it perceived and thought, and that it must be blessed. When they had once discovered that the Atman, the self within us, shared its only possible predicates with the Brahman, the invisible self behind nature and behind the so-called gods of nature, the next step was easy enough - namely, the discovery of the original identity of the self and of Brahman, the eternal oneness of man and God, the substantial identity of human and divine nature. To restore that identity by removing the darkness of ignorance by which it had been clouded - to become, as we should say, one with God and He with us, or rather to lose our self, and find our self again in God - that was henceforth the highest goal of the remaining years of the old man’s life in the forest. Was it not natural that these doctrines, which were contained in the Upanishads, and which were afterwards minutely elaborated in the Vedanta-sutras, should have been kept secret from the young and from those who had still to perform the practical duties of life? Nor was there much difficulty in keeping them secret. For as in ancient India there were no books, and as all teaching was oral, a teacher had to be found to communicate the doctrines of the Upanishads, and it was almost self-interest, if no higher motive, that would have kept the teachers from communicating these so-called mysteries. Still, whoever was fit to receive them had a right to become once more a pupil in his old age, and in that sense the Upanishads were no more mysteries than any other book which it is not good for young people to read. Nevertheless, what happened to all mysteries happened to the Upanishads also. Not that there was any wish on the part of the young to share in the ascetic life of their elders, or any idle curiosity to discover what enabled these solitary sages to preserve such serenity of mind, such freedom from all desires, and such perfect happiness during the last period of their life, spent in the peaceful shade of the forest.

But the time came when those who had passed through all the trials and miseries of life, and who after a stormy voyage had found a refuge in the harbour of true philosophy, whose anchors were no longer dragging, but resting firmly on the rock of truth - the time came when these men themselves, conscious of the bliss which they enjoyed, said to themselves, ‘What is the use of this dreary waiting, of all the toil of youth, of all the struggle of life, of all the trouble of sacrifices, of all the terrors of religion, when there is this true knowledge which changes us in the twinkling of an eye, discloses to us our real nature, our real home, our real God?’ This thought - I do not mean the belief in a union between the human and the divine, but this conviction that the preparatory stages of student life and married life were useless, and that it was better at once to face the truth - has always seemed to me the true starting-point of Buddhism as an historical religion. Buddhism has come to mean so many things that I always feel a kind of shiver when people speak of Buddhism as teaching this or that. Buddhism had, no doubt, an historical origin in the fifth century B.C., and there were many causes which led to its rapid growth at that time. But from a social point of view, the first and critical step consisted in Buddha’s opening the doors of a forest life to all who wished to enter, whatever their age, whatever their caste. That life in the forest, however, is not meant to be what it used to be in former times, a real retirement from the village, and a retreat into the solitude of the forest, but simply a retirement from the cares of the world, a life with the brotherhood, and a performance of the duties imposed on the brotherhood by the founder of the Buddhist order, the young prince of Kapilavastu, called Gautama, Buddha, Sakyamuni, Siddhartha, Mahasramana, and many other names. This leaving of the world before a man had performed the duties of a student and of a father of a family was the great offence of Buddhism in the eyes of the Brahmans, for it was that which deprived the Brahmans of their exclusive social position as teachers, as priests, as guides and counsellors. In this sense Buddha may be said to have been a heretic, and to have rejected the system of caste, the authority of the Veda, and the whole educational and sacrificial system as based on the Veda. He could never be forgiven for having arrogated to himself the right of teaching, which was the exclusive right of a Brahman born. The critical event in the life of Buddha himself was really his leaving father, mother, wife, and children behind, and going alone into the forest. Thus he says of himself:

And I, O disciples, still young, strong, my hair dark, in my happy youth, in the flower of my manhood, against the will of my parents who were crying and grieving for me, went forth, my hair cut and my beard shaved, dressed in the yellow garb (the garb of the Buddhist mendicant). I went from my home into homelessness.

But though this was heresy and rebellion in the eyes of the Brahmans, we must not imagine that Buddhism was from the first, as it has often been supposed to be, a new religion, independent of, nay, in open opposition to, Brahmanism. There has never been in the whole history of the world what could be called an entirely new religion. Every religion we know presupposes another religion, as every language presupposes an antecedent language. Nay, it seems almost impossible to conceive the possibility of an entirely new religion quite as much as of an entirely new language. Mohammedianism presupposes Christianity, Judaism, and a popular faith prevailing among the Arab tribes. Christianity presupposes Judaism and Greek philosophy; Judaism presupposes an earlier and more widely spread Semitic faith, traces of which appear in the inscriptions of Babylon and Nineveh. Beyond the religion of the Mesopotamian kingdoms there seems to have been an Accadian religion, and beyond that our knowledge comes to an end. The ancient religion of Zoroaster, again, presupposes the Vedic religion, while the Vedic religion points to a more ancient Aryan background. What lies beyond that common Aryan religion is again beyond the reach of history, nay, even of conjecture. But it may certainly be stated that, as no human race has ever been discovered without any language at all, neither do we know of any human tribe without something like a religion, some manifestation of a perception of a Beyond, or that sense of the Infinite beneath the Finite, which is the true fountain head of all religion.

Much as Buddhism in its later development differs from Brahmanism, Buddha’s teaching would be quite inconceivable without the previous growth of Brahmanism. This is too often ignored, and many words and concepts are treated as peculiar to Buddhism which were perfectly familiar to the Brahmans. In many cases, it is true, Buddha gave a new meaning to them, but he borrowed the substance from those who had been the teachers of his youth. It is generally imagined, for instance, that Nirvana, about which so much has been written, was a term coined by Buddha. But Nirvana occurs in the Bhagavad-gita, and in some of the Upanishads. It meant originally no more than the blowing out or the expiring of all passion, the calm after the storm, the final emancipation and eternal bliss, reunion with the Supreme Spirit (Brahma-nirvana), till in some of the Buddhist schools, though by no means in all, it was made to signify complete extinction or annihilation. Whatever Nirvana may have come to mean in the end, there can be no doubt as to what it meant in the beginning - the extinction of the fire of the passions. But that beginning lies outside the limits of Buddhism; it is still within the old domain of Brahmanism.

The name, again, by which Buddha and his followers called themselves, and by which they first became known to Greeks and other nations - Samana - is likewise of Brahmanic growth. It is the Sanskrit Sramana, an ascetic or mendicant, derived from the word sram, ‘to toil, to weary.’ Buddha was often called ‘Samano Gotamo,’ the ascetic Gotamo, though it was he who put down the extreme tortures which Brahmanic ascetics inflicted on themselves during the third stage of their lives, the retreat to the forest. With the Buddhists everybody who has left house, home, family, to whatever caste he may have belonged before, may become a Samana, but the word soon assumed the more general sense of a saint, so that a man may be called a Samana even though he has not assumed the humble dress of an ascetic. Thus we read in the Dhamnapads, 42 -

He who, though dressed in final apparel, exercises tranquillity, is quiet, subdued, restrained and chaste, and has ceased to find fault with other beings - he is indeed a Brahmana, a Sramana (Samana), a Bhikshu.

Here we see at the same time what a high idea Buddha, who used to be represented as the enemy of the Brahmans and of Brahmanism, assigns to the name of Brahmana, and how entirely he remains the child of his time. With him a Brahman is a saint, and a Bhikshu a mendicant not far removed from a saint.

The Greeks changed Samana into SAMANOI and sometimes into  . Shaman, however, the Tungusian name for a priestly sorcerer [Koppan, Die Religion des Buddha, i.p. 330 n.], is not derived from Samana, but is a word of Tungusian origin.

Many more words might be mentioned which to us seem Buddhistic, but which are really of Brahmanic workmanship. There are, in fact, few Buddhistic words and few Buddhistic concepts which, if we treat them historically, do not disclose their Brahmanic antecedents, more or less modified in the later schools of the Buddhists. Scholars begin to see that, as we cannot fully appreciate Pali, the sacred language of Buddhism, without knowing Sanskrit, we cannot fully understand the teaching of Buddha without knowing the antecedent periods of Brahmanic thought.

Even when Buddha, the young prince of Kapilavastu determined to leave his family, wife, son, father, and friends, and to embrace the state of homelessness, he followed the example set to him by the Brahmanic Sramanas, and submitted to all the cruel tortures to which the dwellers in the forest thought it right to subject themselves. It took him several years before he perceived their utter uselessness, nay, their mischievous influence. He then adopted a more rational life, what he called a via media, equally removed from extreme asceticism and from self-indulgence. In all this there was no secret, nothing esoteric, no mystery. On the contrary, whatever there may have been of mystery among the Brahmanic dwellers in the forest was now proclaimed to all the world by the monks who formed the real Buddhistic brotherhood in the midst of a very independent laity. If there is any religion thoroughly popular, thoroughly unreserved, without admitting any priestly privileges, it was the original religion of Buddha. Brahmanism used Sanskrit as its sacred language; Buddha adopted the vulgar dialects spoken by the people, so that all might be able to follow his teaching.

I cannot give a better explanation of the change of Brahmanism into Buddhism than by stating that Buddhism was the highest Brahmanism popularised, everything esoteric being abolished, the priesthood replaced by monks, and these monks being in their true character the successors and representatives of the enlightened dwellers in the forest of former ages. The Buddhist community consisted of monks (not priests) and laymen. The monks were what the ascetics (Sramanas) had been; only they were no longer obliged to pass through the previous stages of Brahmakarin (religious student) and of Grihastha (householder), though, like Buddha himself, they might have been married and fathers of a family if only after a time they were willing to surrender all they used to call their own. As to keeping any of these doctrines secret, nothing could have been more opposed to the spirit of their founder. Whatever of esoteric teaching there may have been in other religions, there was none in the religion of Buddha. Whatever was esoteric or secret was ipso facto not Buddha’s teaching; whatever was Buddha’s teaching was ipso facto not esoteric. Buddha himself, though he knows well that there is, and that in every honest religion there always must be a distinction between the few and the many, would approve of no barriers between them except those which they made for themselves. He speaks with open scorn of keeping any portion of the truth secret. Thus he says in one of his short sermons [Anguttara Nikaya, pp.1, 3, 129.] -

O disciples, there are three to whom secrecy belongs and not openness. Who are they? Secrecy belongs to women, not openness; secrecy belongs to priestly wisdom, not openness; secrecy belongs to false doctrine, not openness. To these three belongs secrecy, not openness.

But there are three things that shine before all the world, and not in secret. Which are they? The disc of the moon, O disciples, shines before all the world, and not in secret; the disc of the sun shines before all the world, and not in secret; the doctrines and rules proclaimed by the perfect Buddha since before all the world, not in secret. These three things shine before all the world, and not in secret.

And this is by no means a solitary occasion on which Buddha condemns anything like mystery in religion, or what is meant by Esoteric Buddhism. There is a memorable dialogue between him and his disciple Ananda shortly before his death, in which he condemns not only mystery in religion, but any appeal to external authority, any obedience to anything but the voice within. We read in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta (p. 35) -

28. Now when the Blessed One had thus entered upon the rainy season (when the monks go into retreat) there fell upon him a dire sickness, and sharp pains came upon him, even unto death. But the Blessed One, mindful and self-possessed, bore them without complaint.

29. Then this thought occurred to the Blessed One: It would not be right for me to pass away from existence without addressing the disciples, without taking leave of the order. Let me now, by a strong effort of the will, bend this sickness down again, and keep my hold on life till the allotted time be come.

30. And the Blessed One, by a strong effort of the will, bent that sickness down again, and kept his hold on life till the time he fixed upon should come. And the sickness abated upon him.

31. Now very soon after, the Blessed One began to recover. When he had quite got rid of the sickness, he went out from the monastery, and sat down behind the monastery on a seat spread out there. And the venerable Ananda went to the place where the Blessed One was and saluted him, and took a seat respectfully on one side, and addressed the Blessed One and said I have beheld, Lord, how the Blessed One was in health, and I have beheld how the Blessed One had to suffer. And though at the sight of the sickness of the Blessed One my body became weak as a creeper, and the horizon became dim to me, and my faculties were no longer clear, yet notwithstanding I took some little comfort from the thought that the Blessed One would not pass away from existence until at least he had left instructions as touching the order.

32. What then, Ananda (he replied)? Does the order expect that of me? I have preached the Truth without making any distinction between exoteric and esoteric doctrine: for in respect of the truths, Ananda, the Tathagata has no such thing as the closed fist of a teacher, who keeps some things back.

Then he inveighs against the idea that after his death his disciples should be guided by anything but the Spirit of Truth within them.

Surely Ananda, (he says), should there be any one who harbours the thought, It is I who will lead the brotherhood, or, The order is dependent upon me, it is he who should lay down instructions in any matter concerning the order. Now the Tathagata, O Ananda, thinks not that he should lead the brotherhood, or that the order is dependent upon him. Why then should he leave instructions in any matter concerning the order? I too, O Ananda, am now grown old and full of years; my journey is drawing to its close, I have reached my sum of days, I am turning eighty years of age, and just as a worn-out cart, Ananda, can only with much additional care be made to move along, so, methinks, the body of the Tathagata can only be kept going with much additional care. . . .

33. Therefore, O Ananda, be ye lamps unto yourselves. Be ye a refuge to yourselves. Betake yourselves to no external refuge.  Hold fast as a refuge to the Truth.  Look not for refuge to any one besides yourselves. . . .

35.  And whosoever, Ananda, either now or after I am dead, shall be a lamp unto themselves, and a refuge unto themselves, shall betake themselves to no external refuge, but holding fast to the Truth as their lamp, and holding fast as their refuge to the Truth, shall not look for refuge to any one besides themselves - it is they, O Ananda, among my Bhikkhus, who shall reach the very highest height, provided they are willing to learn.

Can anything be more outspoken, more determined? No one is to be entrusted with private or secret instruction as to the future rule of the Church, no one is to claim any exceptional authority. But the highest seat of authority is always to be with the man himself and with the voice of truth within.

And this is the religion, of all others, chosen by Madame Blavatsky as an esoteric religion. Buddha, who would have no secrets, whether for the laity or for his own beloved disciples, is represented as withholding the double-edged weapon of knowledge from the uncultivated populace and keeping the innermost corner of the sanctuary in the profoundest shade. No traveller’s tale was ever more audacious and more incongruous than this misrepresentation of the character of Buddha and his doctrine.

I repeat that I do not think that Madame Blavatsky invented Esoteric Buddhism. I am quite willing to believe that, as in her first intercourse with Brahmanism in the person of Satyananda Sarasvati, she was, when face to face with Buddhist Mahatmas, very much like Goethe’s fisherman who was drawn into the waves by a mermaid: ‘Halb zog sie ihn, halb sank er hin!’ - half she sank, half she was drawn. She was deceived by persons who saw that she almost wished to be deceived, and that she had no means whatever of defending herself against deceit. I go even further, and admit that even by giving a distorted picture of Buddhism she has done some good by attracting general attention to a religion which, with all its shortcomings, deserves our highest regard and our most careful study. If her followers could only give up the idea that no religion can be founded without miracles, if they would only read how Buddha himself denounces all miracles except one, they would learn that what they call miracles has been the bane of all honest religions. It is quite true that Buddha [Digha Nikayo, i. 1, 11.   Neumann, p. 62.] and his contemporaries, whether his followers or opponents, speak of certain miracles as if they had seen them performed every day. As miracles of magic power Buddha mentions the fact that one man may appear as many, or many as one; that a man may become invisible, may pass through a wall as if through air, may rise through the air as if in water, may walk on water as if on the earth, and may be lifted up through the air like a bird, so that he reaches the moon and the sun, nay, even the world of Brahman. All these miracles are recognised by Buddha as perfectly possible, but he denies that they have anything to do with the truth of his teaching, that they can carry any conviction, or can convert a man who is unbelieving and unloving into a man who believes and loves. Buddha freely admits that some men have the power of reading the thoughts of other people, and of remembering their own former existences, but again he denies that such things can carry conviction. The greatest miracle with Buddha is teaching, by which an unbeliever is really converted into a believer, an unloving into a loving man. And when his own disciples come to him asking to be allowed to perform the ordinary magic miracles, he forbids them to do so, but allows them to perform one miracle only, which everybody could, but nobody does, perform, namely, to confess our sins, and again not in secret, not in a confessional, but publicly and before the whole congregation.

If Madame Blavatsky would have tried to perform that one true Buddhistic miracle, if she had tried to confess openly her small faults and indiscretions, instead of attempting thought-reading, levitation, or sending letters through the air from Tibet to Calcutta, and from Calcutta to London, or if those who willingly or unwillingly allowed themselves to be deceived by her would openly renounce all these childish tricks and absurdities, they might still do much good, and really manure a vast neglected field for a new and rich harvest. I must say that one of Madame Blavatsky’s greatest admirers, Colonel Olcott, has of late years entered on a much more healthy sphere of activity, one in which he and his friends may do some real good. He has encouraged and helped the publication of authentic texts of the old Brahmanic and the Buddhist religions. He has tried to inspire both Brahmans and Buddhists with respect for their old religions, and has helped them to discover in their sacred books some rays of truth to guide them through the dark shadows of life. He has shown them how, in spite of many differences, their various sects share much in common, and how they should surrender what is not essential and keep what is essential as the true bond of a wide religious brotherhood. [A United Buddhist World:  being Fourteen Fundamental Buddhistic Beliefs, certified by the high Priests of Burma, Chittagong, Ceylon, and Japan, to be common to Northern and Southern Buddhism.   Compiled by H.S. Olcott (Madras, 1892).]  In all this he has my fullest sympathy. It is because I love Buddha and admire Buddhist morality that I cannot remain silent when I see his noble figure lowered to the level of religious charlatans, or his teaching misrepresented as esoteric twaddle. I do not mean to say that Buddhism has never been corrupted and vulgarised when it became the religion of barbarous or semi-barbarous people in Tibet, China, and Mongolia; nor should I wish to deny that it has in some places been represented by knaves and impostors as something mysterious, esoteric, impenetrable, and unintelligible. It is true, also, that, particularly in the so-called Mahayana Buddhism, there are certain treatises which are called secret - for instance, the Tathagataguhyaka, the hidden doctrines of the Tathagatas or the Buddhas; but they are secret, not as being withheld from anybody, but simply as containing more difficult and recondite doctrines. Even the Secret of Hegel is no longer a mystery, as Mr. Hutchinson Sterling has shown, though it requires a certain amount of preparation. If Madame Blavatsky had appealed to any one of the canonical books of the Mahayana Buddhists, we should have known what she meant by Esoteric Buddhism. As it is, it is impossible to discuss any one of the doctrines which she and her followers present to the public as esoteric, because they have never given us chapter and verse for what they call Buddhism, whether esoteric or exoteric.

I have already alluded to the difficulty of speaking of Buddhism in general, or laying down what doctrines are considered as orthodox or as heterodox by Buddha and by his numerous disciples and followers. Buddhism, we must remember, was, from the very beginning, but one out of many philosophical and religious systems which abounded in India at all times. We know that the same freedom of thought which Buddha claimed for himself in forsaking the old Brahmanic traditions was claimed by several of his contemporaries who became founders of new schools. There was very little of what we should call dogma in Buddha’s teaching. He professed to deliver man from suffering by showing them the unreal and transitory character of the world. But with regard to some of what we call the fundamental questions of religion - the existence of deity, the reality and immortality of the soul, the creation and government of the world - he allowed the greatest freedom: nay, it seems to be his chief object to protest against any positive dogma on these points. Hence there arose from a very early time a large number of what has been called sects among the Buddhists, though they seem to have been hardly more than either philosophical schools or small congregations committed to the observance of certain minute points of discipline.

We read in the chronicles of Ceylon, the Dipavansa (v. 53) and Matavansa (v. 8) of eighteen sects the origin of which is referred to the second century after Buddha. Though that date seems doubtful, we cannot doubt that at the time of Asoka, or in the third century B.C., these eighteen sects existed, and likewise six so-called modern sects. We know the names of these sects as they have been preserved in Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Chinese, and Mongolian documents, but of their origin and of the points on which each differed from the rest our information is as yet very insufficient. It is curious that so much should have been preserved, and yet so little. We have long lists of names, but very little beyond the names. In some cases the points on which one sect differed from the other were extremely trifling, such as whether salt might be kept longer than seven days; whether animals exist in heaven; whether a child can be converted before it is born; whether the thoughts of a dreamer are indifferent; whether Buddha was born in all quarters of the universe, and whether some Buddhas surpass others. In other cases the points of difference are of greater importance, such as whether there is a soul in man; whether the dead derive benefit from gifts; whether prophecy is possible; whether a knowledge of other people’s thoughts can be obtained by meditation; whether a layman can become an Arhat and obtain Nirvana; whether Buddha was really born in the world of men; whether Buddha had mercy; whether he was superhuman in the ordinary affairs of life; [Rhys Davids, Journ. Roy. Asiatic Soc. (1892), p. 9.  How far such questions on the true character of a Buddha can be carried may be seen from the fact that one sect differed from the rest by holding that exerementa Buddhae sunt suaveolentia.]  whether the doctrine of Buddha was altered and made afresh at the great Councils. The number of these sects seems always to have been on the increase, and when in the fifth and the seventh centuries Chinese pilgrims visited India, their number had become so great that one can hardly understand how any unity could have been preserved among them.

If all these points, and many more, were left open questions between the Buddhist sects, we can well understand that there should be so much disagreement among those who undertook to write a history of Buddhism. We know that on some of the most important points Buddha himself declined to pronounce a decided opinion, and, in this sense, Madame Blavatsky would be quite right in saying that we do not know for certain what Buddha taught his disciples, and his disciples their followers, who became the founders of these numerous sects. Still, whatever we know of Buddha and Buddhism, we must try to know at first-hand - that is to say, we must be prepared to give chapter and verse in some canonical or authoritative book; we must not appeal to Mahatmas on the other side of the Himalayas. Various attempts have been made to show that the Canon of the Southern Buddhist, the so-called Tripitaka, the Three Baskets, was more modern than the Buddhists themselves represent it to be. Some scholars have gone so far as to assign to it a date more recent than that of the New Testament. I have always admitted that the tradition of its being the work of the immediate disciples of Buddha, at the first Council, held in the very year of Buddha’s death, is untenable, or at all events doubtful. But I have never doubted that a real Canon of sacred texts was settled at the Council held under Asoka in the third century before our era. This date has now been confirmed by inscriptions. Asoka’s well-known inscriptions refer to single portions of the Canon only, but Dr. Hultzsch has pointed out that in one of the smaller Bharhut inscriptions [No. 144, Z.d. M.G. xl. 75.] there occurs the word ‘pakanekayika’ - a man who knows the five Nikayas. These five Nikayas are the five divisions of the Suttapitaka, and as the inscription dates from the third century B.C., we may rest assured that at that time the most important part of the Buddhist Canon, the Suttapitaka, existed as we now have it, divided into five portions - the Digha-nikaya, the Magghima-nikaya, the Samyuttanikaya, the Anguttara-nikaya, and the Khuddaka-nikaya. [See Neumann, Buddhist. Anthologic, p. xii, note.]

However, with all that has been done of late for the study of Buddhism, no honest scholar would deny that we know as yet very little, and that we see but darkly through the immense mass of its literature and the intricacies of its metaphysical speculations. This is particularly true with regard to what is called the Mahayana, or Northern Buddhism. There are still several of the recognised canonical books of the Northern Buddhists, the Nine Dharmas, of which the manuscripts are beyond our reach, or which frighten even the most patient students by their enormous bulk. In that sense Madame Blavatsky would be quite right - that there is a great deal of Buddhism of which European scholars know nothing. But we need not go to Madame Blavatsky or to her Mahatmas in Tibet in order to know this, and it is certainly not from her books that we should derive our information of the Mahayana literature. We should go to the manuscripts in our libraries, even in the Bodleian, in order to do what all honest Mahatmas have to do, copy the manuscripts, collate them, and translate them. In the translations of the Sacred books of the East which the University of Oxford has entrusted to my editorship, and to which I have devoted the last sixteen years of my life, any one who takes a serious interest in the Science of Religion will find ample materials, and, what is more, important authentic materials, translated, as well as they can be translated at present, by the best scholars in England, France, Germany, and India. Deeply grateful as I feel to the University of Oxford, and to the Secretary of State for India, for having allowed me the leisure and the funds necessary for carrying out so large an undertaking, I cannot but regret that, like all the work we undertake in this life, this too must be left imperfect. It is true, a series of forty-eight volumes is a small library by itself, but, compared with what ought to have been done, it is but a beginning. I have often been blamed for not having included in my series a number of books every one of which seems to this or that scholar of supreme importance. No doubt I ought to have given a translation of one at least of the eighteen Puranas, but my critics have evidently no idea how difficult it is to find at the right time the right translator for the right book. My correspondence about the translation of the Vayu-Purana would fill a little volume by itself. The Vedic literature, also, is as yet very imperfectly represented. But Vedic scholarship is in a period of transition, and no Vedic scholar is willing to commit himself more than he can help. Everybody is at work in deciphering a word here and a word there; some may venture on translating a few verses or a few hymns, but a complete translation of the Rig-Veda will not, I am afraid, form part of our fin-de-siecle literature. Sanskrit scholars also must leave something to the next century to do besides deciphering the many as yet undeciphered Egyptian, Accadian, Babylonian, Etruscan, Lycian, and Orkhon inscriptions. Now that my series of the Sacred Books of the East has come to an end, offers of assistance come in from many sides for which formerly I should have been most grateful. Let others who are younger and stronger take up the work where I left it. To the value of this series the most competent judges have borne their testimony. This only I may venture to say myself - that this collection of the Sacred Books of the East, brought out with the co-operation of the best Oriental scholars, will, for the future, render such aberrations as Madame Blavatsky’s Esoteric Buddhism impossible. I know that it will continue to live and continue to do good as long as people continue to care for what they have hitherto cared most for, namely religion - not only a religion, not only this or that special religion which they have themselves inherited, but for religion as a universal blessing and as the most precious birthright of the whole human race.


[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-05-27]

"Müller, Max, Orientalist, Sprach- und Religionsforscher, Sohn des Dichters Wilhelm M., geb. 6. Dez. 1823 in Dessau, gest. 28. Okt. 1900 in Oxford, besuchte seit 1836 in Leipzig das Nikolaigymnasium und später die Universität. 1844 ging er nach Berlin, 1845 nach Paris, wo Burnouf Müllers Augenmerk auf den Rigveda richtete. 1847 siedelte er nach England über, wo ihm von der Ostindischen Kompanie der Auftrag erteilt wurde, den Rigveda mit dem Kommentar des Sayana herauszugeben. Diese Ausgabe erschien in 6 Quartbänden 1849-74 (2. Aufl. in 4 Bänden, Oxford 1890-92), später auch der Rigveda ohne Kommentar »zum Handgebrauch« (Lond. 1873). Eine Übersetzung von 16 ausgewählten Hymnen aus dem Rigveda enthalten seine »Sacred hymns of the Brahmans« (Lond. 1869). Seit 1848 lebte M. dauernd in Oxford, wo er 1850 Deputy professor, 1854 ordentlicher Professor für neuere Sprachen und Literaturen, 1858 Fellow von All Soul's College, 1869 Professor für vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft wurde. 1872 nach Gründung der Universität Straßburg hielt er dort Vorlesungen, kehrte aber bald nach Oxford zurück. 1876 gab er seine Lehrverpflichtungen auf, um sich ganz der Herausgabe der »Sacred books of the East« widmen zu können. Die erste Serie dieses Unternehmens, einer Sammlung von englischen Übersetzungen orientalischer Religionsbücher des Altertums, erschien in 24 Bänden 1879-85, die zweite Serie von 25 Bänden 1886-95, eine dritte Serie, die 1894 begonnen wurde, soll nur Übersetzungen buddhistischer Werke enthalten. Von M. selbst rühren her: der 1. und 15. Band, eine Übersetzung der philosophischen Upanishads, der 32. und 48. Band, eine Übersetzung vedischer Hymnen aus dem Sanskrit, und ein Teil des 49. Bandes, buddhistische Schriften enthaltend. Von seinen sonstigen indologischen Arbeiten sind hervorzuheben: eine »History ofancient Sanskrit literatures« (2. Aufl., Lond. 1860), eine englische Sanskritgrammatik (von Kielhorn und Oppert ins Deutsche übersetzt, Leipz. 1868) und »India, what can it teach us« (1883, deutsch u. d. T.: »Indien in seiner weltgeschichtlichen Bedeutung«, Leipz. 1884). Als Sprachforscher hat sich M. besonders durch seine »Lectures on the science of language« (Lond. 1861; neue Serie 1864; 14. Aufl. 1885, neue Bearbeitung 1891; letzte deutsche Ausgabe u. d. T.: »Die Wissenschaft der Sprache«, besorgt von Fick und Wischmann, Leipz. 1892-93, 2 Bde.), die zur Weckung des Interesses für sprachwissenschaftliche Studien in der Laienwelt beigetragen haben, bekannt gemacht. Vornehmlich auf vergleichende Mythologie und Sprachwissenschaft bezüglich sind die Aufsätze, die er u.d. T.: »Chips from a German workshop« (Lond. 1867-1875, 4 Bde.; neue Ausg. 1895; deutsch als »Essays«, Leipz. 1869-76, 4 Bde.) veröffentlichte. Auf dem Gebiete der vergleichenden Religionsgeschichte veröffentlichte M. eine »Einleitung in die vergleichende Religionswissenschaft« (Straßb. 1874, auch englisch), »Lectures on the origin and growth of religion« (deutsch, das. 1880) und mehrere andre Werke, die, wie fast alles, was M. in den letzten Jahrzehnten seines Lebens in den Fächern der Sprach- und Religionswissenschaft geschrieben hat, zwar einen glänzenden Stil zeigen, aber mehr in die Breite als in die Tiefe gehen und keine neuen und wertvollen Gedanken enthalten. Seine »Collected works«umfassen 20 Bände; eine neue Ausgabe seiner »Ausgewählten Werke« in deutscher Übersetzung erschien 1897-1901 zu Leipzig in 12 Bänden. Dem belletristischen Gebiet gehört unter anderm seine Erzählung »Deutsche Liebe. Aus den Papieren eines Fremdlings« an (Leipz. 1857; 14. Aufl., das. 1905). Auch gab er »Schillers Briefwechsel mit Herzog Friedrich Christian von Schleswig Holstein« (Berl. 1875) und die Denkschrift »Basedow. Von seinem Urenkel« (1877) heraus. Vgl. Müllers »Lebenserinnerungen: Alte Zeiten alte Freunde« (deutsch von Groschke, Gotha 1900, 2 Bde.), die nach seinem Tode herausgegebenen Fragmente seiner »Autobiographie« (deutsch von Groschke: »Aus meinem Leben«, das. 1901) und die von seiner Witwe veröffentlichte Biographie: »The life and letters of the R. H. Friedr. Max M.« (1902, 2 Bde.)."

[Quelle: Meyers großes Konversations-Lexikon. -- DVD-ROM-Ausg. Faksimile und Volltext der 6. Aufl. 1905-1909. -- Berlin : Directmedia Publ. --2003. -- 1 DVD-ROM. -- (Digitale Bibliothek ; 100). -- ISBN 3-89853-200-3. -- s.v.]


Der berühmte Indologe F. Max Müller (1823 - 1900) schreibt aus Konstantinopel (heute: Istanbul) an H. S. Olcott einen Brief, in dem er klar feststellt, dass es keine esoterische Interpretation im Buddhismus gibt:

"Now with regard to your letter,—I can quite understand your feelings for Madame Blavatsky, particularly after her death, and I have tried to say as little as possible of what might pain her friends. But I felt it my duty to protest against what seemed to me a lowering of a beautiful religion. Her name and prestige were doing, I thought, real mischief among people who were honestly striving for higher religious views, and who were quite willing to recognise all that was true and beautiful arid good in other religions. Madame Blavatsky seems to me to have had the same temperament, but she was either deceived by others or carried away by her own imaginations.

" There is nothing esoteric in Buddhism -- Buddhism is the very opposite of esoteric—it is a religion for the people at large, for the poor, the suffering, the ill-treated. Buddha protests against the very idea of keeping anything secret. There was much more of that esoteric teaching in Brahmanism. There was the system of caste, which deprived the Shudras, at least, of many religious privileges. But I do say that even in Brahmanism there is no such thing as an esoteric interpretation of the Shastras. The Shastras had but one meaning, and all who had been properly prepared by education, had access to them. There are some artificial poems which are so written as to admit of two interpretations. They are very wonderful, but they have nothing to do with philosophical doctrines. Again there arc, as among the Sufis, erotic poems in Sanskrit which are explained as celebrating the love and union between the soul and God. But all this is perfectly well known. There is no mystery about it. Again, it is true that the Vedanta Sutras, for instance, admit of an Advaita and a Visishtadvaita interpretation, and the same applies to the Upanishads. But all this is open and nothing is kept secret from those who have passed through the proper education. Besides, in our time all MSS. are accessible, and the most important Shastras and their commentaries have been printed. Where is there room for Esoteric doctrine ? No living Pandit or Mahatma knows more than what is contained in MSS. though I am quite aware that their oral instruction, which they freely extend even to Europeans, is very helpful towards a right understanding of the Sanskrit texts and commentaries. . . You can really do a good work if you can persuade the people in India, whether Buddhists or Brahmans, to study their own religion in a reverent spirit, to keep what is good and to discard openly what is effete, antiquated, and objectionable. If all religions would do that, we should soon have but one religion, and we should no longer call each other unbelievers and Giaurs and commit atrocities like those in Bulgaria in which the Christians were quite as bad as the Mahomedans. Nothing can be more useful than the publication of the old texts— critically edited and trustworthy translations. My ' Sacred Books of the East' have opened people's eyes in many places. I found that at Constantinople. I am sorry to say I cannot continue the series. We have lost £3,000, and neither the University of Oxford nor the India Office will vote more money, still, someone will come hereafter and continue the work."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fifth series, 1893 - April, 1896. -- 1932. -- S.  41 - 44]

Olcott bemerkt zu diesem Brief F. Max Müllers:

"I think the best thing to be done is to leave Professor Müller's views on Esotericism to be dealt with by the " living Pandits " themselves. We can only regret that the illustrious Western scholar should never have been able to visit India and to discuss this important question with able Indian Pandits who know that man's consciousness is able to grasp the ultimate truth by functioning on a plane higher than that on which the dictionary, grammar, and encyclopaedia are milestones by which a man's progress towards the attainment of knowledge is marked."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fifth series, 1893 - April, 1896. -- 1932. -- S.  44]


Dharmapala nimmt am Weltparlament der Religionen in Chicago teil (s. Kapitel 6). Dharmapala wollte Buddhisten Ceylons dazu bewegen teilzunehmen, diese sahen aber im Parlament nur eine christliche Propagandaveranstaltung. Philangi Dasa und Strauss aus USA zahlen die Reisekosten. Sie laden Dharmapala als buddhistischen Missionar ein.

1893-10-28 bis 1893-12-16

Dreizehnter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon


Abb.: Annie Besant [Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-05-12]

Abb.: Constance Wachtmeister
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-26]

Annie Besant (1847-1933) und die schwedische Gräfin Constance Wachtmeister (1838 - 1910) besuchen Ceylon:

"Having been suffering from nervous debility, a reaction from the excitement which I had been passing through, I went for a change to my cottage in the mountains for three weeks, and then sailed for Colombo, to arrange with the Buddhists for the reception of Mrs. Besant and for her lectures. I reached there on the 30th of October, and from that time onward had my hands full with a variety of business, such as inspecting schools, meeting committees, consulting with the High Priest, and explaining who Mrs. Besant was and what had been her public services. She and Countess Wachtmeister arrived on the 9th of November, late in the evening. From 2 to 8 p.m. a thousand people, including 200 of our boy pupils and 125 girls, had waited patiently for them and then dispersed. They landed at about 9 o'clock the next morning. At our headquarters, three engrossed addresses were read to them in the presence of a large crowd, and at the Sanghamitta School, where they were to be the guests of Mrs. Higgins, another address was read by the
prize girl of the school. Mr. R. C. Dutt, G.I.E., the respected Hindu publicist and historian, and other passengers breakfasted with us, and altogether a charming impression was made on our ladies by their reception in the Island. At 2 p.m. we took train for Kandy. We were escorted from the station to our lodgings by a great torchlight procession and the whole Buddhist population of the town lined the streets and made noisy demonstrations of welcome.

At 8.30 p.m. Mrs. Besant lectured in the Town Hall on the subject of " The World's Great Needs ". The large audience was deeply impressed and excited to enthusiasm by her eloquence, frankness of speech, and sympathy for the views and aspirations of the Sinhalese people. The next morning was devoted to a drive around the lake, visits to temples and a prize distribution at our local High School. We returned to Colombo by the 10.40 a.m. train and were given a garden party at the Sanghamitta School. Mrs. Besant lectured in the evening at the Public Hall to a packed audience. H. E. the Governor and Lady Havelock, H. E. the Commander-in-Chief, and most of the influential Europeans and other inhabitants of the town were present. The audience listened with the closest attention to the lecture, and the applause at the end was vehement. There was great disappointment because of the impossibility of her giving a second lecture.

The impression made upon the Buddhists maybe gauged from a remark that was overheard as the audience were passing out.

"There is not much use," said an enthusiastic Sinhalese man, with his eyes sparkling, " in our getting the priests to preach Bana to us when we can hear lectures like that ";

and really the remark was justified, for I doubt if the basic Buddhist doctrine of Karma was ever more clearly or attractively expounded in the Island before. With these two lectures the great Indian tour of Mrs. Besant, 1893-4, was inaugurated and the success which crowned them was but a foretaste of that which followed her throughout.

On the 12th we went from Colombo to Galle by train. At all the principal stations the children of our Buddhist schools cheered her with their piping voices and swarmed like bees outside the door of her carriage. Flowers they brought—loose, in bouquets, and in wreaths. At Ambalangoda the children read an address to her, and at one or two other stations where the train made but brief stops, written addresses were handed in to her along with the tribute of flowers. Reaching Galle at 3 p.m. we had an enthusiastic reception at our Mahinda College, from the 200 or more pupils, and Mrs. Besant lectured to a very large mixed audience of Europeans and Sinhalese. In the evening, at our quarters, there was a display of fireworks and an exhibition of that weird and striking devil-dancing for which Ceylon is famous. We drove around Galle the next day; at 3 p.m. I lectured by request on " The Aims and Work of the Maha-Bodhi Society"; at 8.30 p.m. Mrs. Besant lectured in the great dining-hall of the Oriental Hotel. This closed our visit at Galle.

We rose on the morning of the 14th at 4.30 a.m. and took the train an hour later for Colombo. At Panadure, often miscalled Pantura—the place where-occurred the famous controversy between Megittuwatte, the Buddhist champion, and the: Reverend Silva, a missionary, in which the latter was completely worsted—we had arranged to stop over one train to enable the citizens to present an address to Mrs. Besant and to hear her lecture. Our local Branch there has a fine large school building, and in that the meeting was held and addresses were given by Mrs. Besant and myself. The journey was then continued and we reached Colombo at 5 p.m. On the following day I took the ladies to pay their respects to the High Priest Sumangala, after which Mrs. Besant laid the corner-stone of a new school building that Mrs. Higgins was planning to build on a piece of land given her for the purpose by Mr. Peter de Abrew. This was the last public act of Mrs. Besant during her present visit to the Island, for the next day we crossed over to Tuticorin to take up the Indian tour proper."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fifth series, 1893 - April, 1896. -- 1932. -- S.  50 - 53]

Zum Verständnis der großen Wirkung Annie Besants ist es hilfreich, ihre Wirkung auf den englischen Dramatiker Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950) zu beachten. Shaws Biograph Michael Holroyd schreibt darüber:

"Anfang 1886 berichtet Shaw im Tagebuch: »Meine Arbeit bei den Fabiern brachte mich häufig in Kontakt mit Mrs. Besant, und gegen Ende des Jahres entwickelte sich zwischen uns eine enge Beziehung sehr persönlicher Art, die jedoch über eine Freundschaft nicht hinausging.«

Annie Besant hatte viele Eigenschaften, die Shaw imponierten. Sie war neun Jahre älter als er, eine starke, kampflustige, strahlend energische Frau, »großartig in ihrer Impulsivität und Tatkraft«. Von ihrem Mann, einem Geistlichen, lebte sie zwar getrennt, war aber noch durch Gesetz an ihn gebunden und, was noch besser war, »hatte absolut keinen Sex Appeal«. Wie Shaw hatte sie eine liebeleere Kindheit durchlebt und war dann als Zwanzigjährige Hals über Kopf in eine leidvolle Ehe mit einem Frank Besant geraten. Sie hatten zwei Kinder, und aus einem Gefühl von Abscheu und Enttäuschung schwor sie auf sexuelle Enthaltsamkeit und dem Gottesglauben ab. Nachdem sie in der Kirche den Empfang des Sakraments verweigert und damit einen Skandal provoziert hatte, warf sie ihr Gatte aus dem Haus, und sie zog aus, um auf ihrer außerordentlichen Pilgerfahrt einer großen Sache nach der anderen zu dienen, die jedesmal durch einen Mann verkörpert wurde. Zuerst war es der große Säkularheilige Charles Bradlaugh, der Heldentenor unter den Rednern und »der muskulöseste Mann in England«. Seite an Seite mit diesem Vorkämpfer des Antichristentums hatte sie »im Namen der Gewissensfreiheit ganz England bekämpft«. Dann steuerte sie auf den tückischen Aveling zu. Dessen Abkehr aber vom wissenschaftlichen Säkularismus zugunsten des Sozialistenbundes hatte ihn so verstrickt, dass er Annie für Eleanor Marx verließ. Dieser Verrat hatte sie derart mitgenommen, dass sie krank wurde und sich erst wieder erholte, als sie einen verlässlichen jungen Schotten, den Säkularisten John Mackinnon Robertson, aus Edinburgh weggelotst und an Avelings Stelle für Bradlaughs National Reformer und ihr eigenes Blatt Our Corner eingesetzt hatte.

Annie hatte inzwischen von Shaw gehört, dass er sich für einen »Faulenzer« hielt, und ihn deshalb im National Reformer ins Gebet genommen - »denn ein Faulenzer war mir ein Greuel«. Offiziell trafen sie erstmals im Januar 1885 in Gegenwart von Robertson in der Dialectical Society unweit dem Oxford Circus zusammen; Shaw sollte dort eine sozialistische Rede halten. Diese Zusammenkunft erregte ziemlichen Aufruhr, wie Shaw sich erinnert, da Annie als die horrendeste Vorkämpferin des freidenkerischen Individualismus angeblich nur deshalb gekommen war, um »mich zu vernichten -- und meine Sache, so munkelte man, sei, sobald sie ihre Stimme erhob, verloren«. Solche Veranstaltungen waren ihr Lebenselixier. Von der Tribüne herab klang ihre erregend verhaltene Stimme "weder wie die einer Frau noch eines Mannes, sondern gottähnlich und umwerfend endgültig. Für Shaw war sie die größte Rednerin Englands, und wenn sie verkündete: »Eine Rose ist kein Veilchen«, dann konnte sie das mit derart mystischem Nachdruck vorbringen, dass die Hörer es als Offenbarung einer machtvollen neuen Wahrheit aufnahmen. Aller Augen waren an jenem Abend auf sie gerichtet in der Erwartung, dass sie die Initiative ergreifen und gegen Shaw auftreten würde, aber sie erhob sich nicht, und ein anderer ergriff das Wort gegen den Vorredner. »Kaum hatte er zu Ende gesprochen, stand Annie Besant zu aller Erstaunen vom Stuhl auf und machte ihn total fertig«, wie Shaw sich erinnert. »... Zum Schluss bat sie mich, sie für die Aufnahme in die Fabian Society zu nominieren, und lud mich zum Abendessen ein.« Sie war, so Shaws abschließendes Urteil, »eine Frau der raschen Entscheidungen«". Und auch er handelte rasch. Am 4. Juni 1885 informierte er schriftlich den Fabier-Genossen K Keddell, dass Annie Besant von ihm und Sidney Webb zur Aufnahme in die Gesellschaft vorgeschlagen worden sei; Keddell solle »mit jedem, der sich aus bigotter Verbohrtheit gegen ihre Wahl stellt, kurzen Prozess machen«, andernfalls »werde ich endgültig aus der Sozialistenpartei austreten und mich als Kandidat den Konservativen zur Verfügung stellen«. Ihr Übertritt erklärt sich zum Teil daraus, dass sie in Shaw »einen der glänzendsten sozialistischen Schriftsteller« erkannt hatte, der »bettelarm ist, weil er als Autor Prinzipien hatte und eher seinen Körper als sein Gewissen darben ließ; der Zeit und ernstliche Arbeit auf die Verbreitung des Sozialismus wendete und Nacht für Nacht in Arbeiterversammlungen zubrachte; dass er sich als >Faulenzer< hinstellte, war lediglich eine liebenswerte Umschreibung der Tatsache, dass er keine Backsteine herumträgt«. Die nächsten drei Jahre war Shaw Annies Idol. Er beschrieb sie als »unverbesserliche Wohltäterin«. Ihr verdankt er die Veröffentlichung seiner Romane Die törichte Heirat und Künstlerliebe als Fortsetzungsfolge in der Zeitschrift Our Corner, und sie war es auch, die ihn im selben Blatt als Kunstkritiker etablierte. Sie hatte außerdem die »einzigartige Gepflogenheit«, ihre Mitarbeiter zu bezahlen - wodurch sie »bedürftigen jungen Propagandisten« unter die Arme greifen konnte, »ohne sie zu Almosenempfängern zu machen und so ihren Stolz zu verletzen«; damit hatte auch Shaw einen bescheidenen Lebensunterhalt.

Auch Annie, wie vor ihr Archer, fand bald heraus, dass man Shaw nur mit großer Mühe helfen konnte. Sie fand ihn enorm provokant, »mit ausgesprochenem Talent dafür, ernsten Enthusiasten die Stimmung zu verderben, und mit dem Drang, sich als Schuft hinzustellen«. Shaw selbst gab darüber Auskunft, wie er zu Lasten ihrer Wohltätig- und Empfindlichkeit sein »Talent« spielen ließ:

»Ich beklagte mich z. B. darüber, dass ich mir etwas, was ich gern hätte, nicht leisten könne. Sie gab es mir. Ich tat so, als sei mein Stolz tief verwundet, und fragte sie, wie sie es wagen könne, mich so zu beleidigen. In einem Anfall von überschäumender Empörung warf sie das Geschenk weg oder vernichtete es. Danach kam ich an und wollte es wiederhaben, wobei ich ihr ins Gesicht hinein leugnete, es je zurückgewiesen zu haben, und als Ausgeburt frivoler Undankbarkeit und Gefühlskalte dastand. Obwohl ich sie manchmal dazu brachte, über mich zu lachen, gelang es mir doch nie, sie zum Lachen über sich selbst zu bringen, oder ihre eingefleischte Freigebigkeit im Zaum zu halten.«

Annie teilte Shaws Reformeifer. Doch wenn er nach ihrem Tod behauptete, sie sei ohne Sex Appeal gewesen, meinte er damit eigentlich, sie habe keinen Sinn für Humor gehabt. »Die Komödie war nicht ihr Zugang zum Leben«, räumt er ein, »sie verstand schon Spaß; aber keine Wahrheit flog ihr erst einmal als Witz zu. Ungerechtigkeit, Verderb und Vereitelung edler Bestrebungen reizten sie nicht zu Ironie und Paradox: Sie stachelten sie zu direkter und energischer Empörung und zu aktivem Widerstand an ... Die scheinbar herzlose Leichtfertigkeit, die ich in Wort und Tat an den Tag legte bei Dingen, womit es ihr tiefernst war — und das, bevor ich genug geleistet hatte, um ihr zeigen zu können, dass von meiner Warte aus wirklich vieles unwichtig wurde, und bevor sie selbst einsah, dass ihre eigene Bestimmung auch vieles schrumpfen lässt -, muss ihr die Zusammenarbeit mit mir zuweilen sehr erschwert haben.«

Mit seinen aufreizenden kleinen »Komödien« wollte Shaw in Annie eine humoristische Weltsicht erwecken, ohne die zwischen ihnen kein vertrauter Umgang möglich gewesen wäre. Die Kur schlug nicht an, und sie blieben füreinander nur ein Zwischenspiel. »Es wurde nichts daraus«, bedauerte Shaw im nachhinein. »Von innen her war nichts mit ihr anzufangen: Sie war zuerst und zuletzt eine Person des öffentlichen Lebens.«' Dennoch meinte z. B. Beatricc Webb von ihr, sie sei »die großartigste Frau ihres Jahrhunderts« gewesen - obwohl Mrs. Webb sie sonst nicht leiden konnte und sie in Selbsttäuschung befangen, unaufrichtig und kalt fand. Shaw fand sie auch großartig, aber wie auf dem Theater: »Wie alle großen Volksredner«, schrieb er, »war sie die geborene Schauspielerin.« ...

Jenny fesselte ihn körperlich noch immer, Annie Besant aber gelang es nicht, seinen Geist zu fesseln, und sie versank als luminöse Stimme in sein Gedächtnis. Für sie war diese Trennung ein Tod. Ihr Haar wurde weiß, mehrere Tage lang dachte sie an Selbstmord  -- und warf sich dann eine Zeitlang stürmisch auf die sozialistische Straßenagitation. Später, im Jahre 1890, erlag sie dem maskulinen Charme der Madame Blavatsky, »einer der vollendetsten Hochstaplerinnen der Menschheitsgeschichte«', und verließ die Fabier, um Hohepriesterin der »Geheimlehre« zu werden. »Zur T'heosophie abgegangen«, notierte Pease in der Mitgliederliste der Fabier  -- und strich ihren Namen aus."

[Holroyd, Michael <1935 - >: Bernard Shaw, Magier der Vernunft : eine Biographie. -- 1. Aufl. -- Frankfurt am Main : Suhrkamp, ©1995. --  1285 S. -- Originaltitel: Bernard Shaw (1988 - 1991). -- ISBN: 3-518-40722-8. -- S. 154 - 158. -- Dort Quellennachweise]


Olcott erfährt von Querelen um die Sanghamitta Girl's School in Colombo, Ceylon:

"On that day I received from Mrs. Higgins, of Colombo, her resignation of the Principalship of the Sanghamitta Girls' School at Maradana, Colombo, in consequence of a disagreement between herself and the Executive Committee of the Women's Educational Society of Ceylon. It may be remembered that, on arrival in the Island and her election as Principal, I inducted her into office at a public meeting of the Women's Society and made them pledge her that she should not be interfered with in her management of the institution. I did this because the women of Ceylon had never been associated together in any public work before, and as their domestic relations and house customs differed diametrically with those of Western women, I knew that it would be impossible for Mrs. Higgins to get on with these associated Sinhalese ladies unless she were given freedom of action. All had gone well for a time but, during my prolonged absence from the Island, their former wise policy was gradually changed and the result was this rupture."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fifth series, 1893 - April, 1896. -- 1932. -- S.  78f.]

1894-05-16 bis 24

Vierzehnter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon

1894-06-23 bis 1894-07-04

Olcott in Berlin


Antwortbrief Olcotts auf die Anfrage von Mrs. Sarah D. Cape an führende Mitglieder der Theosophical Society über ihre "Theosophical history"

Adyar, Madras
27 September 1894

My dear Madam

My Theosophical history is so nearly identical with that of the Theosophical Society, that I hardly know how to separate the two. From early manhood—say from the year 1852—I had felt an absorbing interest in the study of Practical Psychology as the master, if not the sole, Key to the mysteries of Man. I had devoted much time and my best thought to experimentation as well as to reading the best authors on the subject. I had developed clairvoyance in my first Mesmeric subject and cured my second of an inflammatory rheumatism at a single sitting. For twenty-two years, then, before meeting Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, I had been travelling the path now called Theosophical. My meeting with her, however, converted hypothesis into certainty as to the nature of 'Soul' and 'Spirit,' and that of the Elemental and other "viewless races of the air" and other kingdoms, and their relationship to humanity. First by her testimony, and next through her instrumentality, I came to know of the existence of 'Mahatmas,' the nature of their exalted 'powers,' and the system of training by which they may be evolved. Believing that the spread of such knowledge by, among other things, the vulgarisation of the contents of Oriental Literature, would be of infinite service to this generation of irreligious, or half religious, or atheistical people, and in this epoch of decaying faiths and warring moribund sects, I took advantage of a private gathering of friends at Mme. Blavatsky's rooms in the year 1875, at New York, to propose the formation of a society for carrying on this work. This organisation was decided upon, and became the Theosophical Society in due course. You ask me what work I have been engaged in. I reply that I have given my whole time during the past nineteen years to begetting, nourishing, directing and expanding the Society, until its Branches cover almost the whole Earth and its objects and ideals have been made known to nearly all nations. The strength of the Society has been derived from the Masters of Compassion, who stand behind us, its stupendous growth is due to the willing cooperation of many unselfish workers in many lands.

H. S. Olcott, P.T.S."

[Zitiert in: Murphet, Howard: Yankee beacon of Buddhist light : life of Col. Henry S. Olcott : formerly published as Hammer on the mountain. -- 1st Quest ed. --- Wheaton, Ill. : Theosophical Pub. House, 1988. -- ISBN 0-8356-0638-4. -- S. 337-339]


Olcott verhandelt in London mit R. H. Mead vom Colonial Office wegen der Beschwerden der Buddhisten Ceylons über das Schulgesetz:

"On the afternoon of the 11 th I called by appointment on Sir R. H. Mead at the Colonial Office, to discuss the obnoxious " Quarter-Mile Clause " in the Ceylon Education Bill. This, as my readers may know, was an ingenious trick of the Missionary party to prevent Buddhist villagers from opening schools within a quarter of a mile of any existing Christian school: as all the best sites had been occupied by them already it amounted to an exclusion of the Buddhists from their own villages for school purposes, and left them the option of erecting their buildings away from a convenient centre or of sending their children to schools where they would be taught that their religion was idolatrous paganism, infinitely inferior to Christianity. Sir Richard Mead and I were old acquaintances, my first interviews with him dating back to 1884 when I was settling the difficulties of the Sinhalese Buddhists with Lord Derby and the Colonial Office. A more genial and fair-minded official than Sir Richard it would be hard to find."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fifth series, 1893 - April, 1896. -- 1932. -- S.  219]

"My conference with Sir Richard Mead at the Colonial Office and my presentation of the Protest and Appeal of the Sinhalese Buddhists and of the Convention of School Managers (held at Colombo, June 16, 1894), who had appointed me their special delegate to bring the matter of their" grievances before Government, resulted in my receiving from the Marquess of Ripon, K. G., then Secretary of State for the Colonies, a letter of a very encouraging character and, in fact, the matter was satisfactorily settled and was reported to me at the T. S. Convention of 1894 by Mr. A. E. Buultjens, then General Manager of Buddhist Schools under •my supervision. The question was of too much importance to be passed over in this narrative with the brief mention made of it last month. It was a covert blow at the whole Buddhist educational movement, which would have been fatal but for the vigilance and courage of Mr. Buultjens and our Buddhist committee, and. the benevolent sympathy shown by Lord Ripon, though himself a Roman Catholic in faith. It was the twelfth clause of the Education Code of the Department of Public Instruction, amended in 1892 and the two successive years in such a way as to prejudicially affect the registration of Buddhist schools to a very serious extent. The text of the clause in question, with the amendments introduced for the first time in 1893, printed in italics, is as follows:

" Excepting in towns with special claims, no application will, as a general rule, be entertained for aid to a new school when there already exists a school of the same class within two miles of the new school, without some intervening obstacle, unless the average daily attendance in the new school for one year prior to the date of application for aid exceed 60 in a boys' and 40 in a girls' school. ' But in any case, however large the attendance, no new school will be aided within a quarter of a mile of an existing school of the same class, excepting in towns with special claims as aforesaid."

I feel it necessary to dwell at some length upon this question because it shows what serious obstacles have had to be surmounted by the Sinhalese Buddhists, in their fight against their ill-wishers, to secure the right to educate their children without sending them to schools organised by the enemies of their religion with the avowed object of drawing them away from their ancestral faith. The Sinhalese are not so intellectual as the Hindus, but I maintain that they deserve the greatest credit for the persistence with which they have, since 1880, kept active the educational movement which I helped them to start at that time. Mr. Buultjens, in the temperate appeal which he made to Lord Ripon for justice, and which it was my privilege to present to the Colonial Secretary, explains the working of the Twelfth Clause as follows:

" Immediately after the publication of the Draft of the Code for 1893, a petition signed by over 2,000 leading Bhikkhus and laymen praying for the rescission of this quarter-mile Clause, otherwise known as the Buddhist Boycotting Bill, and for the adoption of the principle of Local Option was presented to the Legislative Council in November, 1892, and the Hon. the Colonial Secretary then promised to give it his consideration. But as your Lordship may see from the correspondence annexed, no redress of the grievance was granted. On the contrary the Hon. the Colonial Secretary (in No. 4) refers to paragraph 11 of the Code, which does not affect the question at issue, since as a matter of fact schools are annually opened and registered as grant-in-aid schools. Thus according to the ' Administration Report of. Public Instruction,' the increase of newly registered schools was from 971 in 1891 to 1,024 in 1892; so that paragraph 11 did not apply to the 51 new schools registered in that one year. In the third paragraph of the letter No. 4, the Hon. the Colonial Secretary practically asks the Buddhists to open schools away from the Centres of population, leaving them the alternative either to educate their children under hostile religious influences or to keep them illiterate . . .

" When every effort failed to prevent the rescission of the new rule from the Code, and the clause became law, the Director of Public Instruction was requested by letter at least to save from the operation of the clause four schools which had been opened before the clause came into operation in 1892. But even in this, justice has been denied, and the villagers were compelled by the Director to pull down the buildings of three schools and to erect them away from their old site. The total cost for the erection of the three new schools was Rs. 1,000, and the Director has not even offered compensation for the injury done, but the expense has been entirely borne by villagers. Only after the buildings had been pulled down were two of the schools registered, that is to say the Director of Public Instruction compelled the removal of the school from the village Nugegoda to the village Kirillapone, and the removal of the school from the village Karagampitiya to the village Nedimala. It is needless to point out to your Lordship that a Government official could hardly have selected a better method than this of practically bringing before the villagers an object-lesson of the character of the British Government for justice and religious neutrality.

" The effect of the operation of the quarter-mile clause is by no means over, and your Lordship's special attention is directed to the cases of the Weragampita and the Kurunegalla schools which, though opened prior to 1892, up to date remain unregistered. The entire Buddhist community is roused by a sense of the injustice done to these two schools, and your Lordship's kind interference is prayed on behalf of this question, for we fear that the Director may be influenced still more by the powerful missionary bodies to introduce fresh clauses into the Code calculated to hinder the people of the land from the registration of their schools."

In a letter to the Director of Public Instruction, Ceylon, dated September 19th, 1892, Mr. Buultjens says:

"2. The Buddhist public are grateful for the principle of absolute religious toleration publicly proclaimed by the Government, and relying on that pledge they have of late years opened a large number of schools in several provinces, and completed the erection of buildings before the new clause came into operation.

" 3. In many localities—especially towns—where all the other denominations have hitherto opened schools it is virtually impossible to establish a new school in any desirable place without infringing the new clause.

" 4. To open schools far away from the centres of population would be courting failure, whilst leaving the other sects in pre-emptive possession of the best sites.

" 5. The Buddhist schools are essentially the life of the Buddhist nation, and experience has proved that on the whole the Buddhists are reluctant to send their children to the schools of the other denominations, owing to the difference of doctrines taught in them.

" 6. The greater portion of the revenue is obtained from the taxes paid by the Buddhists, and it seems unfair that money so raised be expended on more than 1,000 schools of other denominations, whereas less than 30 Buddhist schools have hitherto been registered; even granting that this is largely due to their own ignorant neglect of Departmental rules.

" 7. The Buddhists do not attempt proselytism, but claim the right to open schools wherever they can secure a sufficiently large attendance of children of their own faith, and they do not ask for any privilege to open schools in villages where those of another faith predominate ... I beg also to submit that the principle of Local Option would be very readily accepted by the Buddhists as a clause in the Education system."

Every intelligent Western reader will see what a cunning and, at the same time, illegal scheme it was to make the new clause retroactive, so as to not only bar the way against the opening of new Buddhist schools in villages already pre-empted by the Christian Missionaries, but also to compel the Buddhists to tear down and move away schools actually established before the Act went into effect. However, with the progress of time, matters have been mended, a rather more tolerant spirit is being shown and, very recently, Mr. D. B. Jayatilaka, our present General Manager of Buddhist schools, was appointed a member of the Government Board of Education. According to his last Annual Report to myself there were 132 registered schools and 26 applications for registration were pending; the grants earned during the year footed up to Rs. 31,390-0-7: at the same time the expenditure was Rs. 42,509-1-7. This deficit is the burden which presses upon our self-sacrificing Buddhist colleagues: how great it is can only be appreciated by those who are acquainted with the average poverty of the Sinhalese people.

My time was partly occupied during the next few days with the preparation of photographs from the mementos of H. P. B.'s early New York phenomena which were to be engraved for my OLD DIARY LEAVES. On the 20th of August Lord Ripon wrote me to call on him on the following Thursday afternoon, and at the appointed time received me very kindly at the Colonial Office; he hoped that the good Sinhalese, for whom he expressed a kindly feeling, and whose efforts to promote the education of their children he thought very praiseworthy, might get out of their difficulties. I asked him if he had any message to send to the people of India, among whom his memory was so affectionately preserved. He said: "Yes. Tell them that I shall never forget them nor lose my interest in all that concerns their welfare. I have the happiest recollections of my stay in that country." On the same evening I presided at a meeting of the Blavatsky Lodge and bade the members farewell. On the following morning I went to Albert Docks, and embarked on the P. & O. mail steamer " Peninsular ": many friends saw me off."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fifth series, 1893 - April, 1896. -- 1932. -- S.  223.-229]

1895 bis 1906

Olcott reist rastlos durch alle Welt. Viele kürzere Aufenthalte in Ceylon.


Immer wieder gibt es Probleme wegen des Mahabodhi-Tempels in Bodh Gaya:

"The matter of the purchase of the house at Gaya for visiting priests connected with the Maha-Bodhi Society was the subject of frequent discussions among us, and it was decided that the title should be taken in my name. The Treasurer of that Society, my dear old friend, Neel Comul Mukerji, gave me a cheque for rupees three thousand, and on the 19th of the month (February), I took the mail train at Howrah for Gaya. On reaching there the next morning I was met by Babus Nanda Kissore Lall and Indrasekara, with whom I spent the day in viewing the house and also a plot of land which Dharmapala had bought. I decided not to buy the house but to recommend the building of one on Dharmapala's ground. The evening was agreeably spent in the company of the above-named two gentlemen and another Theosophist, Babu Priya Nath Mukerji, Overseer of the District Board. I left Gaya for the return journey on Friday morning at 10.30, spent the day and night in the train and reached Calcutta at 5.45 a.m., on Saturday. An important meeting was held that day between myself and Messrs. Manmohan Ghose and Cotton, the Counsel of the adversary to our Maha-Bodhi project, the Hindu Mahant of Buddha Gaya, whose remote predecessor had squatted on the Buddhist land, got a grant for it from the then ruling Mussalman Sovereign and had erected a monastery with stones taken from the ruined Maha-Bodhi Stupa. We agreed upon a draft of heads for discussion with our respective principals. But nothing conclusive was arrived at and the thing dragged on through the Courts, involving very heavy expenses for both parties."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Fifth series, 1893 - April, 1896. -- 1932. -- S.  460f.]

1896-05-03 bis 25

Fünfzehnter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon.

"My first duty on the morning after my arrival was to pay my customary visit of salutation to my friend the High Priest Sumangala, whom I found at his college in the accustomed reception room, with the usual swarm of pupil priests blocking up the doors and windows to catch any scraps of conversation between their master and his visitors. It has often happened that when I had something of a confidential nature about the work to discuss with Sumangala—through an interpreter, for he does not know English and but a few words of French—I have asked him to dismiss the crowd of eaves-droppers. It is the custom in the Orient for juniors to stand in the presence of their elders, only by permission seating themselves even on the floor ; but Sumangala has invariably caused a chair to be placed for me, usually a lower one than the ordinary, for he knows well enough that our Western knee-joints are not lubricated like those of Orientals so as to fold together the two halves of the leg, clasp-knife fashion. On the occasions of my returns to the Island he gets me to tell him about my travels, and especially rejoices when I am able to say that I have been asked to lecture on Buddhism. He is a good man and very learned but, at the same time, so susceptible to the criticisms of his people, that I am never sure of not finding him temporarily upset by some doubt created in his mind as to my orthodoxy in Buddhism ; it is never anything very serious, and I can always dispel it by getting him to compare the state of Sinhalese Buddhism to-day with what it was when he and I first met in 1880.

From the College I went to the Fort, as it is called, the business quarter of the banks and foreign mercantile houses clustered about the head of the Harbor and near the old Dutch fort, built when the Hollanders were masters of the Island. Thence I went to our Ananda College, now a prosperous and very successful educational institution, but which was founded by Mr. Leadbeater in 1885 as an English High School, when he was working with me in Ceylon. I also went to the Sanghamitta Girls' School, and finished the day with a dinner at Mrs. Higgins', with whom the aged Mrs. Pickett of Australia was then working.

Early the next morning I left for Beruela, thus beginning the tour which had been sketched out for me. I inspected our boys' school in which we had sixty pupils, and thence by afternoon train to Ambalangoda. Here a crowd welcomed me at the station and a hundred and fifty Buddhist boys escorted me in procession to the large school building which had been erected for us by liberal Buddhist friends. The room was uncomfortably crowded, but I distributed prizes and made an address upon the state of education in Ceylon. Three other gentlemen followed me, and after the adjournment I was taken to the breezy and cool rest house by the seashore, where I had a good meal and refreshing sleep. These travellers' bungalows along the seashore of Ceylon are the most comfortable that I have ever seen in the tropics ; the rooms are large, the ceilings lofty, the floors paved with large tiles, and the ocean breeze circulates freely through the Venetians that give upon the broad verandahs. I remember perfectly how charmed H.P.B. and I were the first time that we passed a night at one of these bungalows : we should have been glad to have spent the whole hot season there, for back of the house was a sandy beach and sheltered pools fenced in from the ocean by rocks, where the water was so clear and limpid as to invite one to step in and refresh himself from the burden of the tropical heat. At the time of which I write we had four schools at Ambalangoda, two for boys and two for girls, an aggregate of 860 children, and buildings that were highly creditable to the local promoters of Buddhist education. Here was no flash-in-the-pan, like that first famous school that was opened at Galle in the first flush of excitement caused by our visit, which began with a register of over five hundred pupils and, before the year was out, dwindled away to almost nothing, because the rich and wily Missionaries suddenly abolished their school fees and baited their traps with free education for Buddhist children. The people at Ambalangoda were in dead earnest, and had had sixteen years since the Galle episode in which to get to realise what the undertaking of an educational movement implied in the way of self-sacrifice and courageous persistence. In the afternoon of that day I moved on by train to Galle, where I was taken to our Mahinda College, another of our great Buddhist schools, where the boys greeted me with cheers and fireworks and I made them the inevitable address before I could betake me to bed.

On the next morning (May 7th) I inspected our schools at Dangedera North and Dangedera South, also at Miripenna and Habaraduwa, all suburbs of Galle. I was very much pleased with all; they occupied substantial buildings and showed signs of good management. Returning to town, I lectured at the college at 5 p.m., to the general public, and started a subscription towards a College Fund, getting over two thousand rupees subscribed on the spot. By the next morning's train I went to Ahangama to inspect two schools of 221 and 259 pupils respectively. They were also excellent. Of the former I had laid the corner-stone in 1888, eight years previously. By the noon train I returned to Colombo and reached the hospitable house of Mr. Don Carolis at 6 p.m.

My next move was towards Kandy, the old hill-capital of the native sovereigns, and one of the prettiest places in the Orient. After the four hours' journey by rail I reached there and was put up at our local college building, where, at 2.30 p.m., I held a public meeting and raised a subscription of Rs. 530 for the benefit of the college. My destination the next day was Katugastota where there was a grand procession, in which three huge elephants, one from the Dalada Maligawa, or Tooth Relic Temple, figured. I lectured to a large crowd in the big school building put up by Mr. Ranaraja and raised a few hundred rupees for the Education Fund. The same afternoon I went on to Matale, where that old veteran nobleman and connecting-link between the times of the Kandyan kings and the British Raj, Mr. W. Dulewe, the Adigar, met me and took me under his wing. I found a boys" school prospering greatly and, at the meeting which I addressed, a subscription for the proposed girls' school was started with every appearance of good feeling and popular interest.

The turn of Rattota, where we had a girls' school, came the next morning. Its chief promoter and patron was a Dr. Goonesekara. Dulewe, Adigar, went with me and Mr. D. J. Jayatilleke went as interpreter. A little Sinhalese boy prodigy was brought to me to the rest house and delivered a lecture in Sinhalese on the celebrated verse, Sabbapapassa akaranam, etc. A breath of Europe came to me that day on the arrival of a German Doctor and his wife at the rest house and we passed a. vary agreeable evening in talk. The lady was a friend of my dear and always respected friend Baron Oskar von Hoffmann, of Leipzig. To Wattegama to inspect our boys' and girls' schools, the next morning, thence by carriage, a charming mountain drive of seven miles over a good road, to Panuela. In this small and retired village, the Mistress of our prosperous Girls' School had earned the marked distinction of getting from the Government Inspector of Schools a certificate of 100 per cent, at the last examination; every girl in the school was found perfect in every subject.

This is as well as Mrs. Courtright did this year with one of the fine Panchama Schools under her charge—the one at the village of Urur where 116 pupils were presented—and 14 per cent better than the average of passes throughout the whole Madras Presidency. I believe also that this is the only case where every child presented for examination passed " perfect ". The average of her four schools was 95 per cent. This shows what can be done with Oriental children in the lower standards by careful training.

From this place I returned to Kandy to sleep.

Of course, the reader understands perfectly well that the block of educational work in Ceylon about which I am writing is not, properly speaking, an activity of the Theosophical Society as such, but merely an undertaking by the Ceylon Branches, which are composed of Buddhists, to conduct the educational campaign which I suggested to them in 1880, when H. P. B. and I and the Committee of the Bombay Theosophical Society first came to the Island. All the same, it is one of the most important and successful results of our movement as achieved by our Buddhist colleagues: and which as has frequently been explained, is to be classified along with the active movement for the nationalising of Indian education, led by Mrs. Besant and which has culminated in the foundation of the Central Hindu College.


I went on to Gompola by the next morning's train and found a school building unnecessarily big, which had been erected by the late Muhandiram at a cost of several thousand rupees. This was the same enthusiastic gentleman who, in 1880, when H. P. B. and I visited this place, removed the horses from our carriage, got ropes and helped drag us in the carriage from the station to his house. There was a large and interesting meeting at their school-house and much enthusiasm shown at the conclusion of my remarks. In the afternoon I went on to Nawalapitiya, a well-known Kandyan village, the centre of a rich planting district. Our school-house was in a lovely situation on a hill. It was started four months before my visit under such popular auspices that it had pretty well emptied the Christian school of its pupils. On Thursday the 14th (May) I took train for Hatton, a mountain town, the railway station for Adam's Peak. We were here in a grand hilly country with beautiful landscapes on all sides. Our local school of sixty pupils was founded by the lamented C. F. Powell, who made so deep an impression within his short connection with our Headquarters, on both the Sinhalese and South Indian Hindus. The local Committee informed me with pride that not a single Buddhist boy was now in the Christian school. The founders and supporters of the Buddhist school were low-country men, and I am glad to say that, at that stage of the movement in Ceylon, the Buddhist educational work in the Kandyan district was almost entirely done by the same class of persons. The fact is, that under the Kandyan kings, the Feudal system prevailed to such an extent that the nation was divided into, practically, the two classes of nobles and slaves; education was not at all general, even among the nobility; the monasteries were endowed by the Crown and a sufficient support being guaranteed in their revenues from the lands granted them by the Crown, the Bhikkus were lazy and there was very little religious spirit existing in the " Mountain Kingdom ".

At the same time, an insufferable pride prevailed among the upper class, and I have often been shocked to see the contemptuous way in which they treated the usually excellent merchants and others who came from the low country to do business in that part of the Island. It got so at last that I expected no help whatever from the Kandyan chiefs, and I always felt uneasy to receive from or make visits to them in company with the Colombo and Galle people whose earnestness had gained all my esteem and for whom I felt great friendship. I remember the case of one individual of the Willala caste, i.e., the land-holder or cultivator class, who held an office under the British Government. He occupied a spacious ancestral bungalow and always made a great show of courtesy in receiving me. On the occasion in question I was accompanied on my visit by the President and one or two other officers of one of our largest Ceylon Branches. I was received with distinction and they were put off with a short nod each. My American blood grew hot at that (for I hadn't the smallest respect for the man's character) and I had to put myself under powerful restraint to prevent my catching him by the coat collar and flinging him across the room. But, of course, I have met with individuals of the old Kandyan nobility who won my friendly regards by their gentlemanly behavior all around. One of these was the veteran Adigar above spoken of. Our College, formerly High School, at Kandy is now large and prosperous and there is much activity here and there throughout the Kandyan country, but, viewing the Ceylon movement as a whole, one cannot in justice deny that more than 90 per cent, of the credit for the successful direction of the movement which has gathered some thirty thousand Buddhist children under Buddhist school teachers in Buddhist schools, is due to our colleagues in the Maritime Provinces.

Returning to Kandy I visited the schools in the suburban villages of Peredeniya and Ampitiya, two in each place. At the latter village I raised a subscription towards building a girls' school-house and then visited our boys' and girls' schools in the town of Kandy—all in one day. My programme took me the next day to Kadunnawa to see a girls' school in the morning, after which there was a lecture in a Temple Preaching Hall (Banamaduwa); in the afternoon to Gardaladeniya where we had a mixed school. At Rambukkana we were treated to a specimen of barbaric pomp in a long procession headed by two huge elephants, and after them a company of a dozen male devil-dancers, dressed in fantastic costume, with frightful masks and a network of beaded bands crossing their chests. As we moved through the woods the sounds of the barbaric music, the squeak, roll, and clatter, all combined to make a cacophony bad enough to drive all the wood elves and hamadryads out of their sylvan retreats. From that place I went on to Curunegala, where the old Muhandiram had built for us a large L-shaped school-house; then on to Veyangoda and to the neighboring village of Pattallagedera, where the children of the boys' and girls' schools were got together to hear me. After that another girls' school was opened. A ride by bullock cart without springs is not a joy for ever, but I had one of five miles on the next morning to open a boys' school, and then by train back to Colombo, thus closing my Northern tour.

My third visit to the Leper Colony at Hendala, near Colombo, was made on Wednesday, May 20th. As I have described the dreadful spectacle of a colony of these poor victims of one of the greatest pests of humanity, I shall not repeat myself now. By request I gave them the Pancha Sila and a lecture showing the operation of the Law of Karma in their case. One cannot but feel compassion for these human outcasts and a prompting to do something, however little, to give them momentary pleasure, but really it is one of the most distressing of imaginable experiences and I am not at all anxious to repeat the visit.

On the afternoon of that day I presided at a meeting at Ananda College, gave out the prizes and made a long address. I was followed by the Hon. Mr. Ramanathan, the then recognised leader of the Hindu community, and by a Dr. Pinto. After this I attended a meeting of the Maha-Bodhi Society, at which I read a paper on the situation of affairs and offered my resignation of the position of Honorary General Adviser, for the reason that, as I explained, Mr. Dharmapala did not seem disposed to take my advice when given. Since that time I have had no responsibility whatever for the management of that Society, nor done anything to secure the considerable success which Dharmapala has achieved with the help of his friends.

Visits to Nedimale and Kirulapane schools followed the next day, and on the following one to Moritumulle and Indepette. The school at this latter place had an interesting history. The local school of the Government had been turned over to the Wesleyans by a sympathetic head of the Education Department. This was regarded as an injustice by our people, and, on their behalf a vigorous protest was sent in by Mr. Buultjens, our then Manager of Buddhist Schools, but the Government turned a deaf ear to us. Thereupon, a public meeting was called, and resolutions adopted to build a school-house of their own and remove their children to it. When I addressed the meeting on the occasion, of my visit I had 123 boys and girls before me, of whom 105 gave me, as Guru, betel and tobacco leaves, 4,200 of the former and 105 of the latter. The next day at Colombo, the Buddhist Defence Committee referred to me for decision a question as to the Buddhist Registrarship which they wanted laid before the Secretary of State for the Colonies. At an adjourned meeting I gave them drafts of such papers as they were to sign and send on to the Colonial Office.

This was my last official act during the present Ceylon tour, as on the morrow, the 25th May, I embarked for Marseilles on the Messageries steamer " Saghalien "."

[Olcott, Henry Steel <1832-1907>: Old diary leaves : the history of the Theosophical Society. -- Sixth Series, April 1896 - September 1898. -- 1935. -- 423 S. -- S.  5-18.]


Dharmapala besucht zum zweiten Mal die USA auf Einladung von Hegeler (Verleger des Open Court) und Carus. Die Reisekosten tragen Hegeler und Dharmapalas Vater. (siehe Kapitel 7)


Dharmapala versucht das Wort Theosophical aus dem Namen der Buddhist Theosophical Society zu eliminieren. Er ist darüber besorgt, dass nach dem Aufstieg von Annie Besant (1847-193) die Theosophie sich immer mehr mit dem Hinduismus identifizierte.

Annie Besant:

"die Theosophie ist nichts anderes als der Hinduismus in moderner Gestalt".

Annie Besants Bedeutung liegt ganz auf Seiten Indiens. Auf der Website des Indian National Congress wird sie folgendermaßen gewürdigt:

Abb.: Annie Besant

"Annie Besant was born in London on October 1, 1847. Her father William Page Woods was half-Irish and half-English, and belonged to a distinguished family, one of his ancestors having been the Mayor of London and another a Lord Chancellor.

She was instrumental in helping to start the first trade unions in London. She joined the Fabian Society and was a close associate of Sydney Webbs, George Bernard Shaw, George Lansbury, Ramsay MacDonald and several other prominent socialists of the time.

In 1866 she read two theosophical books written by Mr. A. P. Sinnet a prominent theosophist and in 1889 she was given Mme H. P. Blavatsky's "The Secret Doctrine" for review. This book was to her a revelation. She joined the Theosophical Society in May 1889 and became Mme Blavatsky's devoted pupil and helper. She became a prominent worker in the Society and was elected President which position she held till her death on September 21, 1933.

She first came to India on November 16, 1893. In October 1913 she spoke at a great public meeting in Madras recommending that there should be a Standing Committee of the House of Commons for Indian affairs which would go into the question of how India might attain freedom. She founded a weekly newspaper Commonweal in January 1914 for her political work. In June 1914 she purchased the Madras Standard and renamed it New India, which, thereafter, became her chosen organ for her tempestuous propaganda for India's freedom. She called this freedom "Home Rule" for India. She was a delegate to the Indian National Congress in 1914. In 1915, in Bombay, at a meeting called by her, she explained her plan for the establishment of the Home Rule League. In 1916 this work intensified.

People eagerly read the New India for news of the progress of the movement and read Dr. Besant's editorials in the paper. The Home Rule League was started on September 1, 1916. She failed in her first effort to persuade Tilak to combine their two movements. In June 1917, with G. S. Arundale and B. P. Wadia, two of her principal workers, she was interned at Ootacamund. Because of the wide protest all over India and abroad, the internment order was withdrawn, and in August 1917 she was made the President of the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress.

As a result of her campaign and because of the pressure of public opinion in India, the Montagu-Chelmsford proposals were enacted by the British Parliament. In 1920 Gandhiji launched his campaign of Satyagraha, and at the Congress of 1920 in Lahore Annie Besant with five others stood against the overwhelming flood of support in favour of Gandhiji's plan. A whole lifetime of fighting by constitutional means and within the law left her with a deep distrust of massive law-breaking in whatever cause it might be. For holding these views, her popularity swiftly waned. However, her creative work for India went on. Between 1922 and 1924, in consultation with such colleagues as Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Sir C. P. Ramaswarni Aiyar, Sir P. S. Sivaswami Aiyar, Rt. Hon. V. S. Srinivasa Sastri, Sir Purshottamdas Thakurdas, Sir Hari Singh Gour and others, she drafted the Commonwealth of India Bill which was presented in Parliament by Mr. George Lansbury in December 1925. But it did not go beyond the first reading stage. In 1917 she started the Women's Indian Association to which she gave her powerful support. In 1924 the Association had 51 branches. In 1927 the first All India Women's Conference was held in Poona and it became a permanent and powerful body.

She was in the forefront of all constructive work done during the forty years of her active service in India.

- Rukmini Devi

The argument that Democracy is foreign to India cannot be alleged by any well informed person. Maine and other historians recognise the fact that Democratic Institutions are essentially Aryan, and spread from India to Europe with the immigration of Aryan peoples. Panchayats, the "village republics," had been the most stable institution of India, and only vanished during the last century under the pressure of the East India Company's domination.

From the Presidential Address- Dr. Annie Besant.
I.N.C. Session, 1917, Calcutta.

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-05-29]

1897-03-24 bis 1897-05-03

Sechzehnter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon.


Annie Besant gründet das Central Hindu College in Benares.

1899-09 bis 1899-02-01

Dritter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Burma

1899-05-19 bis 1899-06-13

Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon

1899-08-08 bis 1899-10-12

Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon


Abb.: Olcott am Schreibtisch, 1903

[Bildquelle: Die geheimnisvolle Welt der Helena Petrovna Blavatsky : [Abenteuer, Begegnungen und Erlebnisse aufgezeichnet von Augenzeugen]  / zusammengestellt von Daniel Caldwell. -- Grafing : Edition Adyar, ©2003. -- 408 S. : Ill. -- ISBN 3-89427-235-X. -- Originaltitel: The esoteric world of Madame Blavatsky (1991). -- S. 144]]


Abb.: Olcott, AnnieBesant und C. W. Leadbeater, Adyar, 1905

[Bildquelle: Murphet, Howard: Yankee beacon of Buddhist light : life of Col. Henry S. Olcott : formerly published as Hammer on the mountain. -- 1st Quest ed. --- Wheaton, Ill. : Theosophical Pub. House, 1988. -- ISBN 0-8356-0638-4. -- S. 291]

1906-11-24 bis 1906-12-08

Letzter Aufenthalt Olcotts in Ceylon. Schwere Herzerkrankung


Olcott erhält angablich von zwei Mahatmas genaue Anweisungen über seine Nachfolgerin:

"Question: What is your Divine Will in reference to my successor -- whom shall I appoint?
Answer: (master M.): Annie Besant
Question: She is so much in Esoteric work, will not that prevent her fulfilling properly the duties of President?
Answer: We will overshadow her. . . .

Question: Shall I appoint her with or without the conditions that I had in mind this P.M.?
Answer: Conditions unwise, nothing binding."

[Zitiert in: Murphet, Howard: Yankee beacon of Buddhist light : life of Col. Henry S. Olcott : formerly published as Hammer on the mountain. -- 1st Quest ed. --- Wheaton, Ill. : Theosophical Pub. House, 1988. -- ISBN 0-8356-0638-4. -- S. 305f.]


Olcotts letzte Botschaft:

"To my beloved brothers in the physical body: I bid you all farewell. In memory of me, carry on the grand work of proclaiming and living the Brotherhood of Religions.

To my beloved Brothers on the higher planes: I greet and come to you, and implore you to help me to impress all men on earth that "there is no religion higher than Truth," and that in the Brotherhood of Religions lies the peace and progress of humanity."

[Zitiert in: Murphet, Howard: Yankee beacon of Buddhist light : life of Col. Henry S. Olcott : formerly published as Hammer on the mountain. -- 1st Quest ed. --- Wheaton, Ill. : Theosophical Pub. House, 1988. -- ISBN 0-8356-0638-4. -- S. 312]


Olcott stirbt in Adyar, Madras

2. Zu Olcotts Nachwirken


Zum 60. Todestag Olcotts wird in Colombo vor dem Hauptbahnhof ein Olcott-Denkmal eingeweiht

Abb.: Einweihung des Olcott-Denkmals vor dem Hauptbahnhof, Colombo, Sri Lanka

[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-05-16]


Abb.: Henry S. Olcott, Ceylonesische Briefmarke, 1967

Die Ceylonesische Post gibt eine Olcott-Gedenkbriefmarke heraus.


Olcott und Sri Lanka 2003:

"Col. Olcott's first vision house gone for dried fish

By Prasanna Tennakoon

At a time the country is celebrating Vesak with millions of rupees being spent on pandals, massive lanterns and the lighting up of cities and towns, a forgotten symbol of Buddhist revivalism in Sri Lanka is in a dilapidated and abandoned state with dried-fish sellers using it as an outlet.

The one-time majestic building in the heart of city was one of the places from where Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, who arrived in Sri Lanka on May 17, 1880, carried out his campaign for Buddhist revivalism in Sri Lanka when the country was under the yoke of foreign colonization. But today it has become a dried fish outlet with no trace of history to be found.

More than 100 years ago, Col. Olcott, one of the pioneers of the Buddhist Theosophical Movement in Sri Lanka in the early 20th century, used this building at Pettah off Olcott Mawatha to give a sound education to Sinhala students in a Buddhist environment and also to teach them English. Indeed it was the precursor to Ananda College in Maradana.

The significance of the two-storeyed building is such that it was from here that the Parama Vignanarthe Buddhist Society (Buddhist Theosophical Society) operated when it was established on June 17, 1880. Col. Olcott occupied one of the four rooms of the building, starting his mission of Buddhist revivalism through education, till he left the island in 1906.

Within a short period, the education activities of the Theosophical Society had to be shifted to Maradana because the building was inadequate to house the increasing number of students. The new place they shifted to is today known as Ananda College.

Soon the Theosophical Society expanded its activities with the setting up of more Buddhist schools. Nalanda College in Colombo, Dharmapala in Pannipititya, Dharmaraja in Kandy, the number rose to more than 460 within a short span. Besides Buddhsit schools, the society also introduced the concept of Sunday schools or Daham Paselas.

Despite the increasing workload, the society maintained its office in this building, handling much of its education-related activities, till the government took over schools in 1962.

With the government takeover of schools, the society left this building, allowing the only tenant in the building to continue his business. After the death of this businessman, his relatives occupied the building, paying a monthly rental to the Society.

In 1999, under the Archaeological Act clause 18, the dilapidated building was earmarked as a building of archaeological value. But little or no measures have been taken to preserve the building which is being used as a dried fish outlet, with hardly naty trace of its past glory evident. Part of the roof and doors and windows of the upper floor are missing.

Archaeological Department officials say they are unable to proceed with necessary measures to secure and protect the building, because the present occupants are refusing to vacate it. They say legal action has been taken against the occupants.--

Buddhist Theosophical Society President S.P. Weerasekera said that they had lodged a complaint with the police and the Archaeological Department when they were informed about moves by the occupants to renovate the building.

"Archaeological Department officers inspected the scene. One person was produced in Court and given bail. The matter is now before courts," he said. An Archaeological official said the case was taken up on Tuesday, but due to the heavy rains experienced on that day, the department's lawyer got late to get to courts and the occupant managed to obtain bail for an offence which the department lawyer described as a non-bailable offence."

[The Sunday Times. -- Colombo (Sri Lanka). -- Sunday, May 18, 2003. -- ISSN: 1391 - 0531. -- Vol. 37 - No 51]

Zu 2.2.: Das Weltparlament der Religionen in Chicago 1893