Christmas Humphreys
(1901-1983)

 
Compiled by Robert Kitto, Trustee, The Blavatsky Trust.

 

A couple of days before his death in 1983 Christmas Humphreys recounted to Muriel Daw, then editor of Buddhist Society journal ‘The Middle Way’, how having awoke in the night with the last line of a poem flaming in his mind, he had worked backwards, a line at a time, to complete ‘Progress’, his last short poem. ‘Perception comes’ he says ‘with heart and mind elate’. The poet and visionary, William Blake, once wrote that ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite’ [1] . Christmas Humphreys - both Buddhist and Theosophist - recognised the infinite as the true destiny of his fellow man and through his energy in forever embracing ‘the next thing to be done’ he tirelessly sought to bring the Dharma [glossary] , the Buddha’s teaching, to ‘every day people' seeking a path of self-understanding or self-improvement. Christmas Humphreys founded the Buddhist Society In London, now one of the largest and oldest Buddhist organisations outside of Asia. His 1951 Penguin classic 'Buddhism', which has sold over a million copies, has inspired generations.

“The bonds of arrogance are slow released
As self, exhausted, writhes in impotence.
The ceaseless efforts of the I have ceased;
The world about withdraws to immanence.
Perception comes, with heart and mind elate.
Night perishes before the sudden dawn.
And lo! the world awakens uncreate
In blazing splendour of the Light unborn..”

Progress,
Christmas Humphreys

 

The modern renaissance of Eastern wisdom has roots in the theosophical writings of Helena P. Blavatsky, whom writer and academic Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke describes as ‘the foremother of New Age religion’. [3] Helena Blavatsky was co-founder of The Theosophical Society in which Christmas Humphreys was to play an active part. His first and foremost commitment was to Buddhism, which he believed to be the finest extant promulgation of the wisdom of the ages expounded by Blavatsky, and much of his life's effort was dedicated to that teaching, the Dharma, and to the Buddhist Society that made it known. Throughout his life, however, he retained an abiding interest in Blavatsky's theosophy, and students of esotericism must be grateful for his collaboration with Elizabeth Preston in producing 'An Abridgement of The Secret Doctrine', Blavatsky's magnum opus, and his (third and definitive) edition of The Mahatma Letters. In 1962 he was made Vice-President of the Tibet Society and Joint Vice-Chairman of the Royal India, Pakistan and Ceylon Society. His last visit to the East was to the Eighth Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists held in Thailand. Muriel Daw accompanied him, and the substance of this article is based upon a transcript of Muriel’s talk to the Theosophical Society Summer School in 1983 [4]. Biographers and official Buddhism are generally now silent in telling of Blavatsky's undoubted influence on Christmas Humphreys and of his being a Theosophist through-and-through. Christmas Humphreys himself was not so reticent as the additional material included from his 1978 autobiography [5] clearly shows. Muriel opened her talk by apologising that Christmas Humphreys could not attend the Summer School, as expected, because he ‘had died again’. I’m sure he would have been greatly amused.



The title of his autobiographical work, ‘Both Sides of the Circle’ [5] , ‘is not facetious’.
Christmas Humphreys says that it ‘contains more truth than I can explain, even to myself … there are two sides to every thing, even a circle, for the universe is built upon duality. Yet every pair of opposites is more than the two sides of a coin. It is, and never ceases to be the One from which both came. This Oneness is the Centre which, abiding nowhere, is each point of its circumference. Here is mystery, in a world of intuitive awareness to which, one day, knowingly, we shall arrive'.

Beginnings

Christmas Humphreys was born on l5th February 1901 into a family famous for its associations with law, and was christened Travers Christmas; names traditional in his family for over two centuries. Nevertheless, as a child he was dubbed 'Toby', and remained Toby Humphreys to his family and hundreds of friends for the rest of his life. After reading Law at Cambridge University he was called to the Bar, setting out on a career as distinguished as that of his famous father, during which he would serve as a Senior Prosecuting Counsel, then a Q. C., and finally a Judge at the Old Bailey. He was nicknamed: ‘the Gentle Judge’. It is, however, as a Buddhist, Theosophist, writer, teacher and above all, founder of the British Buddhist Society for which he will be most remembered by many.

The sudden war-time death of his much-loved elder brother was a significant and traumatic event that shattered the Christian beliefs of his youth:

This shocked him into the understanding that no dogmatic form of religion could ever be sufficiently all embracing to satisfy his needs. At the age of seventeen he bought a copy of Buddha and the Gospel of Buddhism by Ananda Coomaraswamy and said later that ‘I seemed to remember the principles of the Dharma almost as fast as I read them, and lightly regarded Buddhism as an old friend once more encountered.’ [5] And in so doing, he accepted that his path, his duty, destiny and purpose was to be centred around making known the principles of the ageless wisdom tradition.

Muriel Daw ,
Theosophical Society Summer School 1983

This early introduction to the teachings of the Buddha was the beginning of a journey during which he was to be instrumental in the spread of Buddhism in the West. Prior to the end of the nineteenth century, Buddhism was mainly the concern of only scholars, this despite the enormous success of Sir Edwin Arnold's The Light of Asia. In 1905 the first English practicing Buddhist, R. J. Jackson, began to lecture from a soap-box in Regents Park. He and J. R. Pain, and ex-soldier from Burma, founded the early Buddhist Society of England (for a short time the Buddhist Society of Great Britain, under the Presidency of Profs. Rhys Davids) which later became the short-lived Buddhist League. These early British Buddhists and others such as Allan Bennett (Ananda Metteya) and Francis Payne delivered lectures to increasing audiences in which the young Christmas Humphreys was often an enthusiastic listener. Within the teachings he found meaningful answers to the eternal questions of being and found the "dim vision of a plan … of a universe that was cosmos and not chaos – a vast, cyclic, rhythmic ‘coming to be, ceasing to be’ "

I found an alternative concept, or belief, or 'view', to that of an Almighty yet Personal God who created the universe and still controlled at His will the least act of all his children. In the Buddhist scriptures we read of an 'unborn, unoriginated unformed'. The Hindus call it by many names but surely the best is THAT, the Namelessness. It imports an inconceivable - yes, an inconceivable - Wholeness with neither anything created nor a Creator, beyond time and space, beyond all difference. This appealed to me as a great improvement on God, even on Eckhart's 'Godness' of which I was aware in my omnivorous reading. … And the Plan was operated in a field of total harmony, and therefore justice … the 'Middle Way' appealed to my sense of justice. No fixation at any extreme, a middle way between all opposites, and the supreme Buddhist virtue of total tolerance for a different point of view … Yes, if that is Buddhism, I said to myself, already I am a Buddhist !

Both Sides of the Circle’

The Theosophical Society

Through the ‘omnivorous reading’ of which he speaks, and to his delight, he found a resonance between Buddhism and Theosophy. Christmas Humphreys found not only that in the theosophical teachings lay the deep immemorial wisdom behind all religions, but that the founders of the Society had accepted and embraced the Buddhist Precepts:

Yes, Coomaraswamy and H. P. Blavatsky between them gave me what I wanted, a Plan, a purpose, and a way!

During his time at Cambridge, desirous of meeting like-minded individuals and equally keen to study more of the wisdom tradition, he joined the Cambridge Lodge of the Theosophical Society, in course of time becoming its President. At this time, the Society co-founded by H. P. Blavatsky in 1875, had grown to be an international movement having its headquarters at Adyar, India, and was at its numerically most significant.

Theosophy I must insist is not a pastiche of principles collected from existing religions, but a re-presentation, under a title invented by Ammonius Saccas in the fourth century, of actual records existing in Tibet of the ancient Wisdom, 'the accumulated wisdom of the ages, tested and verified by generations of seers', as one of H. P. Blavatsky's teachers wrote.

Both Sides of the Circle’

ADYAR

Here where the world ends, and has beginning,
Here where the sunlight-spring of all our minds
Has birth again, and new beginning
The seeker finds.


Here there is body's peace, and the heart's uprising,
Here the illumined minds of other men
Are beacons on a mountain peak uprising
Beyond our ken.


Here there is quiet, and the world about us,
Here there is wisdom foolish men must know.
The earth is dumb with suffering about us,
And I must go.

Christmas Humphreys

The Buddhist Lodge

At the age of 21 he met his future wife Aileen Faulkner, always known as Puck, who had independently chosen Buddhism and Theosophy. Lilian Storey (retired General Secretary of The Theosophical Society in England) recounts Toby’s greeting – an allusion to the Buddhist principle of rebirth - as being ‘you again!’ Muriel Daw comments that ‘From this moment they were inseparable … how that young couple worked!’

The couple and others loosely formed a study group that was to quickly develop into the Buddhist Lodge of the Theosophical Society. Mr C. Jinarajadasa, a Sinhalese Buddhist, then Vice President of The Theosophical Society, who happened to be in London at the time (November, 1924), presented the Lodge charter to the new group;

Mr C. Jinarajadasa … smiled as he gave me the Charter. 'It is a good omen that a Buddhist Theosophist should present the charter to a group of Theosophically-minded Buddhists' … and so Puck and I were launched on our life's main adventure, feeling it then, as we felt each step thereafter, as part of a pre- ordained and in a vague sense guided task which had to be done and was for us, in a phrase I have used too often since, the 'N.T.B.D.', the next-thing-to-be-done. And we never found anything more important to do than that, to do completely and utterly, and with the whole soul's will, the next thing to be done, large or small, pleasant or unpleasant, rewarded or unnoticed, or even the subject of abuse. Such was our great adventure and I repeat that as we saw it for the next fifty years it was always enormous fun.

Both Sides of the Circle’

Meetings with Remarkable Men

About this time Christmas Humphreys recounted, was the ‘the first of several brief interviews with great men which had a profound effect’;

This was with Nicholas Roerich, Russian explorer, geologist, artist, herbalist and much else. For some reason I was asked to help him with his passport and I called at his hotel. I helped as I could and then, as we stood in the room, looking out of the windows on to the Haymarket, the conversation turned to my current mental condition, which must have been one of mild despair. 'No,' he said, ‘look!' And somehow his following words almost literally lifted me up into his own magnificent vision of the far ideal. I saw, as through his eyes, that it was ALL RIGHT, everything was ALL RIGHT! I saw it so, and have never ceased to see it so, even as what the Buddhists call the 'three fires' of hatred, lust and illusion still obscure my spiritual view. It was not what was said but the immense power of the man to enfold my mind in his and lift it for a moment to the level of his own at its highest. This power is surely the mark of a highly developed man, one of six I have been privileged to meet and who have helped me in this particular life.

Both Sides of the Circle’

One of the great influences on twentieth century metaphysics was Carl Gustav Jung. Christmas Humphreys was delighted to have met him;

I had the pleasure of meeting Carl Jung … (at) the first of his series of lectures at the Institute of Medical Psychology ... the revelations of Jung's inner thought and spiritual experience ... lift him to the level of one of the really great minds of this century.

Both Sides of the Circle’

Another great formative experiences at this time was that of meeting Daisetz Suzuki.

To meet heart to heart with such a Master of Zen, to have a wider glimpse of the glorious realm of Mahayana [glossary] — far nearer to the Ancient Wisdom than the Theravada Buddhism known in England at that time - all this deepened Toby's understanding and gave him an extra sparkle. The immediacy of Zen spoke directly to his heart and filled his need. If one could describe Christmas Humphreys as the Father of English Buddhism, then it must be said that its grand-parents are H.P.B. and Daisetz Suzuki — an unlikely pair, but there it is!

Muriel Daw ,
Theosophical Society Summer School 1983

Toby and Puck also founded a Youth Lodge within the Theosophical Society. Four months later at Vienna Toby met the young Jiddhu Krishnamurti (Alcyone), who liking the idea agreed to be President of an International Federation. Promptly founded by Toby it eventually spread to become the International Federation of Young Theosophists. The emphasis, however, was nearer to home:

The new Buddhist Lodge worked hard at its main object, which was ‘To study, disseminate and attempt to live the fundamental principles of Buddhism in the light of Theosophy.’ It was always clear to Christmas Humphreys that this be the unadulterated Theosophy as presented by Blavatsky. About this time, however, the Theosophical Society as a whole was going through one of its periods of being more interested in other things — there were murmurs of Universal Schemes, and a Universal Religion. These ideas, Christmas Humphreys believed ‘obscured the teaching given to Mme Blavatsky by her Teachers in Tibet’ teaching that he strongly believed must be preserved untouched and unaffected by the many influences that comprised the spirituality of the times. The dichotomy was too much for a young Lodge to handle. An Associateship was formed, so that newcomers wishing to study Buddhism did not also have to accept new and incompatible tenets, but more and more members left.

Muriel Daw ,
Theosophical Society Summer School 1983

The Buddhist Society

In 1926 came a turning point. In the fledgling Buddhist Lodge the tensions between the different schools of thought led to the Lodge seceding from the Theosophical Society in order to be able to carry on with its main work — the spreading of Buddha-Dharma. So the new Buddhist Society, its foster-parent left behind, stood by itself and was to prove the pioneer framework for building the flourishing Buddhist movement in Britain today (led by Christmas Humphreys as an active President for over 40 years.) Commenting in his autobiography Christmas Humphreys said that; “henceforth those who liked their Theosophy neat, as it were, could find it in the works of H. P. Blavatsky and a few others, while the Buddhist Society … "would proclaim what Puck and I held to be the finest extant application of that ancient wisdom".

Muriel Daw says that "the Theosophical Society has every reason to be very proud of the Lodge which was the main inspiration for such a flowering of Buddha-Dharma". Although a split was made, Christmas Humphreys was to maintain a love of Theosophy throughout his life and was to do much to further the work and effort of Mme. Blavatsky, as we shall see later.

Meditation

The understanding and practice of meditation is central to Eastern mysticism and Christmas Humphreys speaks of his role in its modern re-introduction to Western culture;

In 1930 we founded a Meditation Circle, at first by correspondence, with members all over the country. This coincided with, or may have been one of the causes of, a sudden Western interest in meditation, which had long formed a large part of the training of the Buddhist Order in all its schools. Partly to correct the sudden appearance of undesirable literature on the subject, we wrote and ourselves published in the same year 'Concentration and Meditation', which again is still in print after forty years. In it we concentrated on right motives. Meditation produces power, as many would-be teachers fail to realise, and unless this power is developed and used with the purest possible motive it turns back upon the user. Its misuse, as a spiritual force developed for selfish ends, is a form of black as opposed to white magic. The misuse makes the ignorant user of it a focus for evil forces and entities, and can drive the ego-ridden mind into insanity; Hence the need for perpetual warning, needed then and needed far more in the second wave of interest at present manifesting itself throughout the Western world.

Both Sides of the Circle’

The new Founding President had a dynamic personality and capacity for leadership; a power of vision with an intuitive sense of right action and timing; and above all, an impressive ability to teach ... He acted as a catalyst in transforming the climate of English opinion towards acceptance of the seemingly strange new modes of thought flowing from Ceylon, Thailand, Burma, and later from Japan and Tibet. After all, this was no freakish youngster; this was a highly cultured English gentleman, whose intelligence and judgement could only be regarded with deep respect … From such small beginnings the Buddhist Society grew. Since the last third of the 19th century there had been a flow of English translations from Buddhist Scriptures, almost all Theravada [glossary] Buddhism, but these translations were mainly a base for academic study. Now, here were laymen, led by a teacher with a diamond mind, demanding to know “How can we apply these teachings to our ordinary lives?” At a time when every Englishman automatically gave his religion as ‘C. of E.’ there were no precedents for such an adaptation to Western life.’

Muriel Daw , Theosophical Society Summer School 1983

Buddhism

In 1939 the war came, but in bomb-torn London still the Buddhist Society grew. Gradually a Council was formed to run what was becoming a national organisation. Toby continued to lead his own pupils in a now Zen-oriented Group. He also acted as President, Chairman and Publisher of the Society as a whole. His autobiography reflects on the journey thus far:

Unlike most who search for an inner way to Reality I had found what I wanted by the time I was twenty-one. For a total Plan of the universe, consonant with all known exoteric knowledge but revealing infinitely more, I had 'The Secret Doctrine' and its parallel source, 'The Mahatma Letters' . For a 'finger pointing' to the way along which to turn reasonable belief into intuitive experience I had the writings of Dr D. T. Suzuki, and I had the example of five or six great men. More, Puck and I early and independently found the dharma - the 'thing-to-be-done' - of this life, and early set to work to do it.

Both Sides of the Circle’

One of Toby’s lifelong endeavours was to extract the essence of the Buddha’s teaching so that the West might weave its own national costume and learn to live the Way in its own everyday experience; also so that Buddhists of all countries should find out where they agree - rather than where they differ.

Toby was, of course, facing the same problem that Theosophical Society co-founder Colonel H. S. Olcott had faced more than half-a-century earlier, but now the difficulties were far more acute. He took the same course of action, and with his incisive legal mind and deep spiritual insight, shook off all the clutter of centuries and compiled 12 Principles of Buddhism. He was able to go far deeper into the more controversial aspects of Buddhism than had Colonel Olcott. During a world tour, and his later visits East, Toby spent session after exhausting session with leaders in every Buddhist School of every country; letting them chip and chisel at the wording of the 12 Principles until it became possible to use this as a statement to avoid sectarianism.

Christmas Humphreys continued working with the ever-growing Buddhist Society and celebrated his 50th birthday with the publication of Buddhism, a Penguin paperback. He wrote more than thirty books, but this one has done more than any other to propagate the Dharma in Britain, and perhaps in the whole Western world. It became a standard text-book ... Here was the turning-point; from being of minor fringe interest, Buddhism became a talked-of subject. Streams of people came for more information; and groups formed in several English towns.

After the 1959 invasion of Tibet came contact with the Tibetans. At the request of the Dalai Lama, he visited and reported on all of the exile camps in India, and then assisted His Holiness in creating a Council of Tibet to co-ordinate work for the Tibetans in exile and the preservation of Tibetan Buddhism. Of course, he had his copy of 'The Voice of the Silence' with him, and requested the Dalai Lama to sign it. He was always delighted to show this off afterwards, saying ‘So much for the people who say H.P.B. wasn’t teaching pure Mahayana Buddhism.’

Muriel Daw , Theosophical Society Summer School 1983

Theosophy

Of Blavatsky’s epic work, The Secret Doctrine, he earlier says …

I knew of no other which sets forth the vast process of cosmogenesis and anthropogenesis, not as a pastiche of doctrine in one form or another in the religions of the world, but as their common source. Not all their scriptures combined describe with the clarity and totality of ‘The Secret Doctrine’ the Wisdom of which each is a partial and generally mangled expression. Here is no place to summarise its contents, but for me ... it made sense of the universe with its 'coming to be, ceasing to be' … It gave me a new sense of life as one and inseverable and of every thing alive and conscious. It was heady stuff for a keen young brain in search of a purpose in the life newly begun. Here was a Plan or conscious Process, governed and worked out by an infinite series of lives', from vast almost formless ganglia of matter down to the smallest and unseen, even by science, inhabitants of the teeming atom.

Both Sides of the Circle’

During all the later years of work in making known the word of the Buddha, he had not been neglecting the interests of Theosophy and his dedication to the work of Blavatsky and the pure Theosophy that she represented to him remained abiding interests and commitments:

as he studied and became imbued with Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine and The Voice of the Silence, he came to love the writer with a deep devotion. His reverence for the spirit that shone through her, and his gratitude for her life in this world as a bodhisattva [glossary] was unbounded. Her inspiration never left him. Her picture hung over the head of his bed until his dying day, and later, another copy of the same picture always had pride of place in his room at the Buddhist Society.

He and Elsie Benjamin were Trustees of the Mahatma Letters Trust. (These Letters, now held in the British Library, were originally 'written' to A. P. Sinnett then a journalist in Jalalabad, by the Great Masters who taught of modern theosophy through H. P. Blavatsky, and they were first transcribed by A. Trevor Barker) Toby spent nearly five years on preparing the 3rd and definitive edition, published in 1972 and still in print today. Many long visits to the British Museum with Mr C. Jinarajadasa, now the Buddhist President of the Theosophical Society were needed to decipher illegible but vital words and phrases.

He achieved a still more difficult task in co-operation with Elizabeth Preston when they made an 'Abridgement of the Secret Doctrine', published 1966, reducing 1300 pages to 250. I was there with them when they held their final conference one afternoon at Adyar; I was literally stunned by the knife-edge precision with which the last decisions were made. How to clarify and simplify that wonderful book?

Muriel Daw ,
Theosophical Society Summer School 1983

Toby and Puck made their last visit to the East in 1975, for the Eighth Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists held in Thailand, accompanied by Muriel Daw then editor of ‘The Middle Way’.

 

 

 

I returned to find that a booklet, 'The Field of Theosophy', containing three lectures which I had given to the Theosophical Society, had just been published, and I modestly claim it as a much-needed gift to the Theosophical movement. The new booklet was an attempt to make clear the. basic principles implied in the term 'Theosophy'. All teachers suffer from students interested in the teaching who prefer to write books about what they think it means rather than to study, and encourage others to study, the early writings for themselves. Does a Christian need more than the New Testament, or a Buddhist more than a vast range of the scriptures of its schools? With Theosophy the decline was rapid, perhaps because the teaching of this ancient wisdom was presented to the Western mind at too high a level. True, H.P.B. added in her last years 'The Key to Theosophy' which is clear enough for all, and these, with W. Q. Judge's 'Ocean of Theosophy' and 'The Voice of the Silence' make just five volumes. The leaders of the movement who assumed control in the next twenty years could not resist the temptation to 'explain' to all and sundry what these volumes meant, and by 1926, when I left the Theosophical Society in disgust, not one of those books was on the bookstall at the Society's headquarters. It was therefore not surprising that other Theosophical Societies, such as the United Lodge of Theosophists, were founded to preserve and make known the teaching, as given. For twenty years Boris de Zirkoff has worked in Los Angeles to produce 'The Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky', with texts restored to their original state before later 'editing'.

Both Sides of the Circle’

Determined to do all he could to preserve Blavatsky's teachings ‘as given’ he assisted Geoffrey Farthing in the founding of The Blavatsky Trust -

… I supported that tower of strength and knowledge, Mr Geoffrey Farthing, one time General Secretary of the T. S. in England, in the foundation of The Blavatsky Trust, in an attempt to wean Lodges of the parent body from pseudo-Theosophy, and to give them at least a list of books which contain the original teaching. Whether an individual finds the vast cycle of wisdom offered to the world under that title to be true is for that student to decide, but at least let it be clear what is and what is not ‘Theosophy’.

Both Sides of the Circle’

The Theosophist will ask why he had made Buddhism central to his life’s work. Why did he not continue to pour out all that energy into Theosophy?’

He said to me, on more than one occasion, “The T. S. grumble because I am too Buddhist; Buddhists grumble because I'm too Theosophist. I am always Theosophist, but if I ever found a religion of more use to more people I would change in a flash.” And because he felt more people could be helped that way. England after the Great War was in a transition period. People had ceased to go to church regularly and to send their children to Sunday school. They could no longer accept dogma and a faith-must-come-first approach. These were the ordinary people of England; not intellectuals who could study comparative religion, philosophy, and science - they simply needed a religion with a fairly straightforward approach towards self-improvement and self-understanding for all, together with a deeper wisdom and enlightenment for those whose who could rise to it.

Muriel Daw ,
Theosophical Society Summer School 1983

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And so he faced retirement 'with content' and reflected;

For want of Religion man is not only mentally at sea, but sick. As Carl Jung said, ‘Among my patients in the second half of life there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given to their followers, and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook.' Until the eyes of Western man are lifted towards his own divinity he will be sick indeed, and die beneath the grinding wheels of his own technology.

Both Sides of the Circle’

He lived his own teaching in his daily life at the Old Bailey. Someone in the dock would be reminded that no person was sending him to prison, no judge, no jury. “Only your own actions have put you where you are. You knew that what you were doing would bring you here.” When asked how he, as a Buddhist, could be a judge, and how did he feel about it; Toby answered quite simply: “I am the man in the dock.”

Muriel Daw ,
Theosophical Society Summer School 1983

In 1975 Christmas Humphreys was pleased to have been invited to be present at the Thanksgiving Service in St. Paul's Cathedral for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Not for himself, of course, but as Founding President of the oldest and largest Buddhist Organisation in Great Britain. He felt this Royal mark of recognition showed Buddhism to be fully accepted as one of the resident religions of England - a religion now accepted as part of the Establishment! Like the Great Masters who taught of modern theosophy through H. P. Blavatsky and in the Mahatma Letters, he felt that the Buddha was the greatest teacher of that Wisdom, within our present knowledge. His great and lasting achievement has been his key role in the advancement of contemporary western spirituality and his ceaseless work for that cause until his death in 1983. Theosophists such as Christmas Humphreys and the German theosophist Rudolph Steiner’s, together with others influenced by Blavatsky - Alice Bailey, for example - have been instrumental in developing this spiritual and cultural legacy of this 'New Age'.

Re-dedication to Puck

The lover in his love replete
Gives all, of faculty and boundless will,
To noble deeds the heart yearns to fulfil,
And nurtures them in golden light until
He lays them at her feet.
But I, un-whole, a riven part,
Have nought wherewith to build this royal array,
Have nothing left in jewelled words to say,
Have nothing humbly at your feet to lay.
You are my heart.


Peace to all beings



Dharma (Sanskrit) The one ultimate reality; The Sacred Law, the Buddhist canon; Duty, path, amongst other meanings) [back to text]

Therevada 'Way of the Elders' (Southern School) Branch of Buddhism and sole surviving sect of the early Hinayana school.[back to text]

Mahayana Literally 'great vehicle' The Northern School of Buddhism found in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Korea & Japan. It has many forms and branches.[back to text]

Bodhisattva Literally 'he who's essence (sattva) has become intelligence (bodhi)'; those who will need but one more incarnation to become perfect Buddhas (Theosophical Glossary) [back to text]

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1 William Blake, 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell', plate 14.

3 Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, 'Helena Blavatsky' 2004 North Atlantic Books, California.

4 Muriel Daw, transcript of Talk given to the Theosophical Society Summer School, 1983.

5 Christmas Humphreys, ' Both Sides of the Circle' 1978 CH George Allen & Unwin, London

   
home page: http://www.blavatskytrust.org.uk