Articles Filed Under: People

  • Douglas Harding
  • Needless to say friends, family, coworkers thought he was in need of a good psychiatrist. Even so-called “spiritual” master’s thought he was, to put it bluntly, crazy. Of course he had a head - it was right there for everyone to see. Right? “No” said Douglas, “I don’t doubt that you are looking at something, but it is not something I can see”. He was told to loo Read More...

  • Henry Kono
  • Henry decided to stay as long as he could and study with Ueshiba (also know by the Japanese honorific, O’Sensei). So he earned a little money translating for the English speaking students, doing chores, and generally scrimping. His family back home thought he was crazy, but went along with his wish to stay in Japan for a while. His sister Joy later told me that his family was afraid he had caught Read More...

  • Huang Po
  • All that we know for certain about Huang Po comes from a couple of collections written by some of his students and handed down the generations until formalised into manuscript form a few hundred years after his death. Read More...

  • Ibn El’Arabi
  • The Muslim rulers invited those of many different religious faiths to live there, creating a centre remarkable for its religious harmony, science, scholarship, and tolerance. Great libraries were built and filled with works from the known world. Read More...

  • Omar Khayyam
  • He was a polymath, excelling in many areas of study. Particularly in his pioneering work in algebra. His recognition that mathematical bodies were not physical bodies was something not truly recognised since Hypatia’s time (i.e. lost for millenia). Read More...

  • Brother Lawrence
  • As you might expect, the clergy of his day believed him possessed of an evil spirit, or even blasphemous for holding this view. The corruption then inhabiting Christian thought took it for granted that anyone questioning the Church or its teachings must be eliminated. Everyone who disagreed with the Pope’s teachings became another apostate like Martin Luther. Read More...

  • Lalleshwari (Lal Ded)
  • Laaleshwari was born in born in ancient Puranadhisthana, in Kashmir during the reign of Sultan Ala-ud-din in the 14th C CE. The Sultan allowed and even encouraged higher caste women to be educated. She was married off at age twelve, but ran away a decade later to study under the guru Siddha Srikantha. She is remembered throughout Kashmir, and honoured throughout India. Read More...

  • Meister Eckhart
  • This was the last that was heard from him - he was either killed, fled, or died awaiting the Pope’s verdict - history has no record of what actually occurred. Although considering the times and the massive corrupton in the Roman Church of the day, he may well have been killed before an official verdict was passed. His fundamental sin (despite what other academics write about him vis-a-vis Avignon’ Read More...

  • Meera (Mirabai)
  • Mirabi was an Indian woman living in the early 1500’s CE. LIke the Buddha, she walked away from riches and a life of riches and relative ease to tread barefoot and alone throughout Northern India. Read More...

  • Nisagadatta Maharaj
  • He worked most of his life in a small shop in the back streets of Bombay, living an ordinary life to feed his family. Read More...

  • Morihei Ueshiba
  • Morihei Ueshiba - the founder of Aikido - taught something radically different from the norm in martial arts. Read More...

  • Rabi’a al-’Adawiyya
  • Her parents died during a famine when she was young. As a homeless female child, she was very vulnerable with no family to help her. And so she was captured by slave traders. She went through considerable hardship - rape, enforced prostitution, beatings, and the like. As in our own time, the weak and poor were not well treated. After many years, she was eventually freed by her owner. Read More...

  • Ramana Maharshi
  • What was death? What dies? Was it the body? Was it the ’soul’? The mind? What exactly dies when death comes? Is anything at all left, does anything remain other than rotting meat? Is there nothing permanent, or are we just here for a moment, then gone? Read More...

  • Rinzai Gigen
  • Linji Yixuan was a Chinese monk of the 9thc CE. The Japanese monk Myoan Eisai brought his teachings to Japan, where ’Rinzai’ Zen became one of the several Zen schools in that country. As usual, not much is known about the life of the founder. But some of his dharma talks, lectures, and immense sense of humour have been passed down through the centuries. Read More...

  • Robert Adams
  • He spoke of freedom from his own direct experience, rather than from some imagined image, rationalisation, or pseudo understanding. His words were direct, and pure without artifice. He was open and welcoming to all that occurred, including his own rather serious physical difficulties. Read More...

  • Jalalud’din Rumi
  • As a scholar he did research into the sayings of Mohammad, as well as studying and writing about a number of teachers from various religious backgrounds. He also translated Quar’ânic verses into Persian, thus making the Quaran more accessible to his countrymen. His emphasis however was upon learning and upon scholarship, rather than religion for its own sake. He had many students, and was relative Read More...

  • U.G. Krishnamurti
  • Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti - not to be confused with the much better known J. Krishnamurti - always made me laugh. Read More...

  • Wei Wu Wei
  • At any rate, Wei Wu Wei was the pen name of an Irish aristocrat and scholar, Terence Gray. He studied at Oxford, and became very interested in Egyptology, writing some scholarly works on the subject. He also worked in theatre and dance, founding the famous theatre at Cambridge. Unlike most spiritual teachers, he owned a very successful racehorse - a wonderful accomplishment to which many mere mort Read More...

  • Ulla Andersson
  • Life and growth of awareness is much more physical than spiritual and seeking to cure it, through "psychological balms" is just changing the furniture around. Read More...

  • Zhuang Zhou (Zhuangzi 莊周)
  • A Taoist who lived through the violent upheavals of the ’Warring States’ period in China (400 BCE). Maybe. There is no good evidence that he wrote anything at all, or is even a historical figure. Read More...