Overview for The Buddhism of H.P. Blavatsky
Here for the first time is a compilation in one volume of Blavatsky's perspective, both controversial and of stimulating value, for all interested in the Buddhist and theosophic world view. D.T. Suzuki spoke of Helena Blavatsky as "one who had truly attained," and praised her voice of the silence as being "true Mahayana Buddhism." The Lama Kazi Dawa Samdup, who translated the Tibetan Book of the Dead with Dr. W.Y. Evans-Wentz, said Blavatsky's writings showed "... intimate acquaintance with the higher lamaistic teachings..." She and Col. Olcott, then President of the Theosophical Society, formally took Buddhist vows in Sri Lanka in 1880 much to the shock of Christian missionaries and colonial powers. This bold action by her and Olcott's extensive networking initiated a cultural revival there revitalizing Buddhist values, thought and practice. During the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Blavatsky influenced prominent Buddhists of all kinds: from late nineteenth century Singhalese Buddhists who were her close associates, to the sixth Panchen Lama who in 1925 wrote an introductory preface to the Peking edition of her voice of the silence, and more recently Christmas Humphreys, Bhikshu Sangharakshita, Alex Wayman, Evans-Wentz, Edward Conze etc. Throughout the century, Blavatsky's theosophic exposition of Buddhist thought has gained influence and respect.
H.J. Spierenburg (Compiler)
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