Your afternoon Salon was very nice and the most interesting curried dishes a
treat. How nice for you to have a home across from such a lovely park.
Thank you for the bowl which is “very happy color” of yellow and
Have been so busy with visitors myself since moving to new studio, perhaps
because it is #7 on my apt. and many interesting individuals coming and going
... my little trees are doing well and very happy.
Thanks again for very nice afternoon.
17 Lyell St.,
San Francisco, 12, Calif. Friday [undated]
You wished to know the address in Hollywood to contact in regard to the next
period of meditation by Yasutani. He is taking Soen’s place this year, as
he did last year.
The Zendo will not be at his house, but you can learn where it is from the
Jordans. As ever,
PS: Mrs. Segulyev’s address is
1837 Butler Ave.,
West Los Angeles, 25, Calif.
She says she will be glad to have you look her up.
Take 75 bus on Spring St—if you are in downtown L.A.—get off at Perdue.
To Iowa, to Butler.
September 10 [year?]
My dear Mr. Lewis,
We regret having missed the opportunity of saying good-evening to you last
Sunday after the open house.
We lingered however we did not encounter you. Since we had both had a full
day climbing Mt. Tam with Dr. Warwick we found it advisable to leave.
We enjoyed and profited from the experience and certainly hope to visit
again soon. Sincerely yours,
& Jeanette Page
Thanks for the nice day Sunday, a real Buddhist, Christian, Sufi, One Day.
It was good to get out in the sunshine as have been going through one of my
fruitful creative periods, which usually occur when all else fails. This of
course is the way of the creative temperament, the being and seeing are one’s
The copy of the letter you wrote Reverend Wagner was excellent and about
It was good of you to share your knowledge on Sunday. It is always difficult
to judge anyone or anything. As I have said many times before, one meets and
knows many Bodhisattva’s in everyday life under other names of course. I am
certain that many of them have taken no vows, except silently or unconsciously
as you said you had Sunday. Sometimes these Bodhisattva’s because they have
given so much at times need other Bodhisattva’s to verify what they have
Morna for so long has been a real Bodhisattva in her private teaching of
disturbed children, retarded ones and others that fit into no school or
category. In this line she has aided and given more than many twice her age. I
mentioned Sunday the nature of her work or studies were difficult and perhaps
were aggravating her own situation. She unconsciously is rebelling to not
necessarily protect herself-but-survive. I recognize this as it has happened
so often to me.
The understanding must come for each of course that Dharma or faith is there
so that rebellion is not necessary for protection. This is difficult to
practice. It comes after many experiences. It is why I understand so well what
Suzuki Roshi has said many times, “Non acceptance and suffering are the
same.” It does not mean however that one must participate or go along with
what one does not basically believe in, to be accepted. At least not for me.
This is where one’s own real intuition comes in.
The book is complete and the illustration partially done. A page has been
done on Mr. Gaskin, one of my first Ch’an teachers and also one on my mother
and father, my first two real Zen teachers. The book will be submitted for one
reason. It may not be accepted as there will be no foreword by the Big Three,
Watts, Humphries or D.T. Suzuki. The book will either be published on its own
or not. It is simple, funny and true.
I hope that your food project is successful and there is no reason it
shouldn’t be; the time is ripe. Thanks for inviting me Sunday.
P.S. Hope the cigars have come in handy and have given you a laugh.
P.S. 2 Suzuki Roshi has lectured many times on Trikaya Body or the Three
Bodies, I took all of the lectures down, it was while you were away I guess.
P.S. 3 Your lecture on the Buddha-Heart was beautiful, mostly because it was
Truth. It would never have been successful before a large audience.
P.S. 4 I may not be at this address when you return as my rent has not been
paid—but you can check through Elizabeth or Della where I am temporarily
resting. Ha! Ha!
The First Zen Institute of America, Inc.
156 Waverly Place, New York 14, N. Y.
July 27, 1957
Mr. Samuel L. Lewis #31, El Paseo,
Mill Valley, Calif.
Dear Mr. Lewis:
It was good to hear from you. May we ask you a favor. Please send us Paul
Reps’ address as we have, unfortunately, lost it.
We have had many visitors this summer, especially Chinese. August 3rd the
New Yorker is bringing out a profile of Dr. Suzuki you might like to see.
Our Japanese language study is being greatly accelerated by the presence of
our former Kyoto interpreter but it will be a long time before we can use this
complex language easily.
The First Zen Institute of America, Inc.
156 Waverly Place,
New York 14, N. Y.
October 16, 1957
Mr. Samuel L. Lewis
31 El Paseo
Mill Valley, Calif.
Dear Mr. Lewis:
Your October letter enclosing Reps san’s postal card (returned herewith)
came almost by the same mail as Poems Before Words, (very amusing), so I
already had the address, but I am glad for the occasion which prompted your
many faceted letter.
I have heard such conflicting views of Watts, I am, as Sokei-an used to say,
“dumb foundered.” The last favorable view was that of a person whose
taste I hold in the highest esteem.
The interest in “Dzen” (if you include lectures in your definition) is
very high here, especially among psychoanalysts. Several of them have
reported to us the remarkable effects of their 42-strong Mexico seminar with
Suzuki under the leadership of Dr. Erich Fromm. A rather remarkable statement
was quoted as made by Dr. Suzuki in answer to the question, “Can one achieve
satori without the help of a Zen master?” Dr. Suzuki: “Probably not.”
The New Yorker people made what I believe to be a very sincere effort to get
at least what Chen-chi Chang calls the “Facts of Zen” straight. If they
didn’t quite make it I certainly don’t feel like throwing any stones.
Mr. Senzaki wrote me someone was writing a biography of Shaku Soyen. Could
that be the same book you mentioned?
All good wishes,
The First Zen Institute of America, Inc. 1
56 Waverly Place,
New York 14, N. Y.
December 19, 1957
Mr. Samuel L. Lewis 1106 Ethel Ave.
Mill Valley, Calif.
Dear Mr. Lewis:
Looking at your letter of Nov. 1st I was much interested in your remarks on
Shingon and “Friends in Asia.” Re: the first, I had the pleasure of meeting
some very fine Shingon people who are much interested in its relation to Zen.
Do you know of any good books or articles about it? Re: the second, of course
I’ll be delighted to see your work when it is ready.
Of course we were delighted about your suggestion re Zen Flesh, Zen Bones.
At present there is no stock available as Tuttle didn’t print enough and
everything was sold out in a flash, but we hope for stock from a new Printing
the end of this month.
Your letter of November 18 had many interesting notes. We like very much to
have West Coast and general news and often read such items on Wednesdays. The
clipping was excellent bulletin board material. Wonder if you have heard of the
new jazz record, “Zen.” And there have been two book reviews in the
Saturday Review. Zen in the Art of Archery four years after publication,
and then Suzuki General Semantics here is also taken up.
I went to Pendle Hill to hear Prof. Hisamatsu. Perhaps you know him. He is
at Harvard at present. Dr. Suzuki was also in New York to address the
psychologists. There were two New Yorker issues about San Francisco. I heard
they were very interesting bit I haven’t seen them yet.
Your story of the Chinese representative at the UNESCO meeting was very
amusing. Prof. Moore I have met. Did the meeting have much publicity? It did
not reach us here.
All good wishes,
The First Zen Institute of America, Inc.
156 Waverly Place,
New York 14, N. Y.
Dear Mr. Lewis:
This last weekend was the first this year I could devote to other than
business letter writing, we’ve been that busy.
Thank you for your letters of December 26 and Feb. 25th. It is the detail of
the practices of
Shingon that particularly interests me, and I know of no work in English that
is useful in this connection. I had great pleasure in witnessing some of the
Tendai rites at Hieizan which are similar, particularly the fire-rituals, but
there are many other graduated practices I’d like to learn more about than I
was able to digest with my limited understanding of Japanese. The brilliance of
Kobo Daishi who devised their Japanese forms has for a long time fascinated
I was much interested in the report of the translation of the Sixth
Patriarch Sutra by Dr.”s
George and Paul Fung and would be delighted if you would order a copy for the
Institute or give me
their address so I can do so. Sokei-an’s translation, on which I am working,
is wonderful but rough
and from the Japanese view. I have a very good one by a Chinese, but am always
looking for more,
as the two views are not identical, but complement each other. Do you know
which text they used?
I love your remark about the Santa Barbara garden. Was it Prince Hopkins?
One of our correspondents has photographed most of the Japanese (?) gardens
in America and was commissioned by the U.S. Govt. to do a book published in
Japanese. I haven’t seen it yet, but believe it came out some time ago.
California sounds very stimulating. I enclose a cartoon of a current New
York sideswipe at its poets.
The First Zen Institute of America, Inc.
156 Waverly Place,
New York 14, N. Y.
October 30, 1958
Dear Mr. Lewis:
Thank you for your letter of July 29 and the chapters of your book, also
your letter of October 11.
I cannot now clearly remember the Kegon temple at Nara, which I visited, but
Kayasan is very sharply clear. It had some Tibetan atmosphere to me, probably
because I visited there in winter. The ritual is very close to Tendai, whose
fire ceremony I also witnessed, along with others, at Hieisan.
Inayat Khan seems to be very well known in New York. From time to time I
hear of Sufism from my Egyptian sister-in-law, but as her brand is nearly pure
Bhakti, it has little appeal to me.
The Sufi group here—they occasionally purchase incense from us—are
slowly ending their activities with advancing age, to which no new blood is
Your description of your Senzaki “transformation” at the meeting was
delightful. Some of his followers wrote me very enthusiastically, in prospect,
of Soyen Nakagawa’s visit. Too bad the Zendo is dismantled. I wonder if the
group will have the heart to continue.
Glad you enjoyed Mrs. Sasaki’s pamphlet. It was from a lecture she gave
here two years ago to introduce five of Miura Roshi’s which are long overdue
in published form. We are at present having the pleasure of a visit from Mrs.
I am enclosing my own comment on the Zen scene.
156 Waverly Place
New York 14,
May 29, 1959
Dear Mr. Lewis,
We received an empty envelope from you dated April 3rd. As we have no idea
what your message was we can’t answer it now. Let us hear from you.
The First Zen Institute of America, Inc.
156 Waverly Place,
New York 14, N. Y.
July 2, 1959
Dear Mr. Lewis,
Just to say thank you for yours of June 18th. Subud is popular here, too.
There is a book telling all called Concerning Subud by an Englishman
I met Robert Clifton some years ago before he left for Thailand. He seemed
to be planning many things at that time, but I heard his health was not very
We are busier than ever here since Miura Roshi arrived some months ago. Our
biggest problem is that our quarters are inadequate for our increased
activities. We do have access to a house in the country for serious practice
Always glad to hear the California news.
156 Waverly Place
New York 14, New York
November 11, 1959
Dear Mr. Lewis:
Thank you for your letter of September 11. I am always fascinated to hear
about Sokatsu, Senzaki and Sokei-an. Whatever became of Senzaki’s biography
of Soyen, by the way? It would be such a pity for it to be lost.
A member of Senzaki’s group who has been here lately told us they were now
meeting at the temple there.
I suppose you have heard Alan Watts is giving some lectures at the New
School for Social Research.
We are very busy here in New York and appreciating the cooler weather after
a wearing spell of great heat this summer.
P.O. Box 13633
Phoenix 2, Arizona 85002
August 20, 1963
Mr. Samuel L. Lewis
1088 Fulton Street
San Francisco 17, California
Dear Mr. Lewis:
Your letter of August 10 was forwarded to me and I appreciate your taking
time to comment at length on the article in the PRS Journal. I quite understand
your dissatisfaction with its content. An article on Zen intended to reach a
wide level of reader interest could hardly have the substance that would seem
significant to one with your background. But it is apparent that you overlooked
one intent of the article—to suggest that everything that uses the Zen label
may not partake of the Transmission. I called particular attention to the loose
use of the name Zen, to the superficial fads and enthusiasms that have nothing
in common with the ancient transmission.
Several things that you do not mention seem important to me. I question
whether the disciplines that produced the early masters are suitable for the
rank and file 20th century seeker after truth. Before we even hear an echo of
the Dharma in our Western environment, our diets have been established with
meat, our lungs poisoned with industrial wastes as well as tobacco and gasoline
fumes, and our desires stimulated by movies, television, newspapers, magazines,
all appealing to unzenlike physical values. Even teachers, priests, and
doctrines strive to dress up their message in glowing terms—again words as
opposed to the wordless message of Zen. Meanwhile the soul-hungry and
studious have proved very gullible and undiscriminating.
Again, it is my feeling that while the principles of the Law may not change,
its workings do; and the satori of the 20th century may be quite unrecognizable
in terms of Bodhidharma, if too literally interpreted. Mere double talk is
not Zen realization. But I do believe that the wordless transmission of the
Zen doctrines, the intuitions, and the longing to aid in the supreme
enlightenment of all sentient beings should be encouraged.
I was unaware that Dr. Suzuki was considered another Buddha by anybody; such
an appellation would seem an effusion. For myself, I respect his research,
and I owe many new insights and much inspiration to his books. He may not yet
be a Buddha, but for me he is a great teacher.
I should value greatly an opportunity to hear Bishop Yamada. But for the
present I accept the realities of the desert summer heat and my employment in
Phoenix. When the time is right, there will be an opportunity for personal
contacts; for the present, I must rely on what I can find in books. You letter
has added its bit. Thank you.
Andrew J. Howie
The Maha Publishing Company B
uddhist World Philosophy
Three Rivers, Michigan
Editor: Miss Marie Harlow
October 21, 1963
Samuel L. Lewis,
58 Harriet St.,
San Francisco, Calif. 94103
My dear friend:
Thank you for your note, with its interesting points. I am glad that you
knew Nyogen Senzaki.
I hope I have your address correct now. I seem to remember that we had a
“Samuel L. Lewis” in Detroit once. Also, in our files is “Sam L. Lewis,
402 Highland Drive, Seattle, Wash.” Also a Samuel H. Lewis of 567 Ninth Ave.,
San Francisco.” Are you any, or all of these? The lady who took care of our
files for years was ill and died, and we are trying to get the addresses
straightened out now.
We are behind schedule with publishing here, due to repairs after tornado
damage, and other problems. But we struggle on. This week a shipment of 1,000
books arrived from Ceylon, The Supreme Science of Blue Buddha—written
understandingly for American science minded readers. ($l.25, postpaid).
May you attain!
The Maha Publishing Company
Buddhist World Philosophy
Box 28, Three Rivers, Michigan
Editor: Miss Marie Harlow
October 31, 1963
Dear Mr. Lewis:
I appreciate so much your letter. You evidently know more about Buddhist
history of American than I do.
I still have not been able to clear our files concerning your various
addresses, but will do so. As I recall, the Seattle address was connected with
an interest in Dianetics. I am becoming detached—I hope, though certainly
forgetful, of these details. There are almost 100,000 names in our files, which
is quite a chore for my memory.
Do you refer to Sumangalo (the latter), who was Mr. Clifton? He died
recently in Malaya. I have been surprised at some of his actions—his articles
in Fate Magazine, dealing sensationally with the occult—his last one
was about Magic in Malaya, something of Black Magic, and his own admission
that he used White Magical rituals, etc.
I was never able, either, to understand his connection with Frank Newton in
Arkansas. Mr. Newton has photostatic copies of his “ordination” by Clifton
(Sumangalo), but Mr. Clifton afterwards denied these.
I have written Mr. Priebe (Ojai), whom you know, asking why Rev. Leslie’s
body was taken to Arkansas so that Mr. Newton could give a “Buddhist”
funeral service over it, then taken back to
California for burial, especially since in Rev. Leslie’s lifetime he
disowned or disavowed Mr. Newton as a Buddhist monk—he is married, with a
family of children. Mr. Priebe has not replied—I wonder if you know why
this was done. It seems a great to-do over a dead and lifeless body to me, very
strange to Buddhist concepts.
I was never a student of Nyogen Senzaki’s, but we were friends, and I was
among the first to edit and publish his writings. He used to have a joke about
me, saying that although I had no Zen, I was a Bodhisattva.
Rev. Jack Austin of England took issue with my contention that a
“Reverend” is not pure Buddhism, but a development of the Japanese
sects—which is an historical fact. In unBuddhist-like anger, he wrote that I
knew nothing of Buddhism, etc. etc. Well, I don’t profess to know much, but I
try very hard to use, in practical ways, what I do know.
While I use material from various Buddhist groups, I myself favor the purest
basic Buddhism. I contend that there is no Buddhism except the original
teaching of Gautama Buddha. I admit that for too long the Theravadins have
neglected the Compassion aspect of Buddhism—for Buddhism has Compassion as
well as Enlightenment. My aim is not so much to teach Buddhism, per se, in
America, as to introduce it and prepare away for others to teach its deeper
All creatures are Buddhas!
(Do you know anything about the whereabouts of Ven. Lokanatha, who was in
America about 13-14 years ago, from Burma?)
November 18, 1963
Dear Mr. Lewis:
I have no doubt that I lack much knowledge in many fields. But I have always
thought that the persons who considered themselves to know so much, yet lacked
kindness and understanding, did not have as much Right-Mind as they might
think. And especially, if they add pride about their great knowledge—looking
down their noses at others!
I am often amused at the notions people have about what I do know, what I do
believe. Last week a good Mahayana Buddhist, floundering about in his
abstractions which were condemned by Gautama, wrote to criticize me for
preferring Theravada teachings, etc. etc. Also last week, a young Buddhist sent
me an account in a Buddhist magazine, criticizing me for favoring and catering
to Mahayana Buddhism. I join the Laughing Buddha—Ha, ha.
I do get interesting mail! A Buddhist in Mexico City wrote me recently to
criticize—they mostly do that—me for holding to the notion of a physical
self, etc. I replied and told him, since he had no physical self, to stop
feeding it—which he does in considerable amounts!
Now that you have explained the justification for the Vietnamese Buddhist
suicides, will you be good enough to explain a point I had raised, but which
you did not get around to elucidating. Why did Rev. Leslie Lowe want his
body—certainly of no importance when dead—sent to Newton in Arkansas for a
funeral service, then returned to California? Especially in the light of the
fact that when alive Rev. Lowe disproved of Newton.
I do not understand your reference to every religion on earth being
falsified, assuming that their leader is identified with the creation of the
world. I have never received such a concept in any Buddhist studies, concerning
I am glad you liked my little “piece” on “Oriental Spirituality and
Art.” For some time I have wanted to write a similar essay on the revelation
of intermingled epochs and cultures (in the same area) in connection with a
study of languages—the words of one culture getting integrated into
another, etc. But there is no time for all I want to do!
The Young East from Japan in current issue has a story about the
artist, Nicholas Roerich, which is interesting. We have one or two of his books
in our Library. I would like to issue something about Buddhist art,
Especially if there is any in America—but this is another thing I have not
yet had time and money to do.
Are you acquainted with the Buddhist studies of Aleister Crowley? Among a
lot of trash, I understand there some very good studies.
I have sent you a gift copy of The Supreme Science of the Buddha. If
you find no value in it, perhaps you can pass it on to one who does not have
your comprehension. It is Theravada, but has its good points.
Let there be metta in the world; Let it begin with us.
Box 28, Three Rivers, Michigan. 49093
The Perfume of the Dharma
This is the last of luxury letters for on the morrow I go to the University
of California to become off-the-record, or on, a sort of faculty adviser on
Oriental Culture, and at the same time my scientific endeavors have been
recognized by the highest authorities and I can no longer afford the luxury, or
the pleasure of mingling even with the best intentioned persons on a democratic
basis. Other things aside, it should be evident that a person who has given now
almost fifty years in the pursuit of Oriental, or spiritual wisdom, is either
an idiot or he has accumulated more than one, saying, studying ten years, or
Whether we accept the existence of the ego, or the anatta teachings, there
is going to be trouble in understanding. Sensei has put up on the bulletin
beard to fill out the list of Buddhist Scriptures (or other scriptures) that
one has read. And very few, even among the devout, bother to read, much less
study, Buddhist Scriptures, orthodox of heretical. For each one of these read,
it is probably that a dozen or more works are read written by Europeans who
have a smattering of Zen, or men of intellectual prowess who have at the most a
most superficial idea of what Zen is. And this is further proved that you will
react quite differently when the names of Lloyd Saxton and Aldous Huxley are
mentioned, and this difference in reaction itself proves that there is much to
Yesterday I purchased Anthology of Zen at the Fields Book Store. I
was amazed to find in it what is verbally the skeleton of the
Dharma-Transmissions received from Nyogen Senzaki and Sokeian-Sasaki, and
also in another sense from Sogen Asahina. Omitted—and this is most important,
is the Dharma-Transmission received at Tsurumi from Kato’s Roshi. But after
the difficultly I had in transmitting anything to Kato-san, there was nothing
to do—even with all my verbosity, but to keep silent, or else included in the
revised edition of my manuscript. For if even people around me will not accept
certain things which were not presented as “secrets” there is no reason not
to give them to the world, or at least present them in writing.
My friend, Vocha Fiske, spoke at a meeting largely attended by people who
call themselves semanticists, who are, in a very elementary sense semanticists.
They follow the general trend of abstracting from Science and Sanity as
religious devotees abstract from their scriptures, just those passages and
methods which suit them, until after a while only a modicum of the original
text is used, overstressed, and the commentaries thereon (on the small portion)
often contradict large sectors of the original (“revelation”).
To put it as simply as one can, we may say that communications are
analytical, integrative and cosmic; expressed by the differential, integral,
and transcendental calculus; and in general terms of the Dharma by
“ordinary,” “Vijnana,” and “Prajna” languages. These are pretty
good but not exact.
If one were to put two accords side by side there would be a relation. This
can be understood by analysis, by common sense and what we call “logic,” a
sort of measuring stick we got from
Aristotle. This is ordinary language.
To me, the Chinese translations are quite superior to those we have from
Europe or Japan. They take into consideration that scriptures came from
enlightened men, and not mere analysts. One cannot study the works of
transformed consciousness by analysis, dialects, or Greek logic. We have done
And none of this has brought the Peace or the Joy or the Compassion which
every soul is, and because every soul is every soul wants. I am not going to
argue, and I can only see the terrible Karma to those who deal lightly with
karma and dharma. I do not know who is fooling whom, but the increased
complexity of affairs in Southeast Asia simply reflects the human behavior
pattern of the day. Only by the Great Peace can one bring the Peace; by the
Great Wisdom can one bring the Wisdom; by the Great Joy can one bring the
Samuel L. Lewis
April 6, 1964
I have carefully read the many letters you have taken time to write and
although you probably do not expect an answer, it is apparent from these and
the times I’ve heard you at various gatherings you are looking for an
The secret and the answer is within yourself and nowhere else.
To give or contribute something constructive to life is a very basic human
desire. The majority of everyday people do this as a very matter of fact: a
decent thing to do without a great deal of hullabaloo. They are the real
Bodhisattvas, saints and for the most part have no desire to be thanked,
written up and shudder if they are called religious. The ways and means they
contribute are not too important because basically they understand that it is
Life that gives to Life and that they are but a witness or channel through
which it passes. It is one of the deep meanings of the Diamond Sutra. How many
people really know how to give though, whether it is the time to listen or aid
someone else through Understanding and Intuition (without counting the merit or
privileged as something special). For the most part people do not have the time
or bother to listen and I mean really listen to another—they are too
full of themselves.
For me the truly religious person—not the so-called professional
religionist is always in harmony with themselves or whole as a
person—it has nothing to do with nationality, size, color, shape or specific
religion. It is the ideal or goal we all work toward; but, still interesting
that we enjoy our friends and acquaintances for their own special peculiarities
Most experience termed religious is not religious or spiritual, but, rather
emotional. The True Mystics in all ages and walks of life have had the same or
universal experience. It is always the simple and normal action of the
natural enfoldment in the soul of man, the outward and inner harmony being the
final stamp as to whether or not they are a True Mystic. The mystic always
passes through the psychic plane of consciousness.
Either the psychic or mystic can be motivated by love. Unfortunately, the
psychic, clairvoyant or occultist usually gets hung up or so fascinated on
this plane they do not go beyond. That is neither here nor there. The
temptation to manipulate or help others from this plane is interesting and very
evident not only in records, but in individual people one comes across in
everyday life. Although the psychic may or may not be motivated by love or the
protection of others, the thing that makes them different from the True Mystic
is that their experiences or readings always differ from other so-called
psychics and are still limited by a projection of themselves. This is
neither good nor bad, as there are many wonderful things that have taken place
on this plane. The psychics often mistake or are under the misconception and
advertise these qualities as being spiritual or mystical in the highest
sense—which they aren’t.
I have no quarrel with anything that gives strength, dignity, joy and
all of the rest of the constructive things to another as it is good. For me the
real evil will always be anyone or anything which further adds burdens to life,
which every single person is faced with, tries to destroy by word action or
thought the ideals of another even though they differ from our own and in any
way makes them unhappy. It is a full time job for each person who claims to be
enlightened or religious—which I don’t—to watch themselves—not anyone
else—that they do not in any way contribute to the suffering of another.
All of the great Teachers and religions have taught this.
I have studied a number of aspects of spiritual healing, personally
experienced some unusual things along this line and have known a number of
people who have been healed not only of very serious physical but mental
problems. Spiritual healing is never something that is done by one person to
another—it can come through another person, place or quality however—I
think that we both will agree on this. The Awareness and responsibility of this
does not seem apparent to many of the people who are professional practitioners
in one form or another or some of the ones who advertise their psychic powers
for a set fee on consultation. There is no set fee or money to be placed on
this—if it is—the motive is not pure and the healing short- circuited.
I think it is unfortunate ever to compare one teacher or person with another
as it falls into the realm of gossip which along with fortune telling is warned
against by all teachers. I have had several great teachers in my life, one at a
time, when I felt that I had learned all that I could or that they no longer
practiced what they preached I left. It is not possible to seriously study with
several real teachers at once, this has nothing to do with comparative
religion which most people go through at one time or another in their lives and
is very interesting—there are many who feel no qualms in going to several
teachers at once; but, in the final analysis it is a form of greed (or
fear)—which is the same thing.
Reverend Suzuki and Bishop Yamada are both very unique people, they are
real teachers in the truest sense and both are very whole. I know that
Senzaki was a very whole person. The great ones usually live it more than speak
about it. I had one painting teacher out of the many I’ve studied with that
was this way. No one teaching or teacher is right for everyone and there has
never been anyone who had the answers for all, though many claimed they do.
Reverend Suzuki is unique in many ways; his depth goes far deeper than just
absorbing his students’ problems and suffering. That is why for the few
people who really understand him it is important that they sit in Zazen
with him as much as possible. I have never heard either he or Bishop Yamada
lower themselves to criticize another religion or way of life—although I
have heard a number of people openly challenge them. Reverend Suzuki has spoken
of the limitations of certain things, but never in a critical way. The
self-discipline he has always imposed upon himself has been far greater than
what he demanded of any person going to the Temple either as a Student or
guest. He is the only one I knew of in San Francisco, who understands and
practices what it means to have faith in the underlying principles of the
Universe not to put any price on his teaching, lectures or time. There have
been a number of people who have taken advantage of this—which is not too
important. I have been his student for four years in Zazen—whether or not it
has gotten anywhere near my problem is not important—I have always felt this
a privilege and although for some time have not contributed or been a part of
Zen Center, what little I am able to contribute has always been steady to him.
What anyone else does is their own business. I am not a convert to Buddhism
although a name and Laksu has been given to me by Bishop Yamada and Rev. Suzuki
along with the papers. What they both teach is only the extended realization of
what my own parents taught and lived by. I have never been afraid to talk to
him about anything that bothered me and this I have done many times. I know
what it means when he says, “Trust your own intuition in what is right for
you—no matter what anyone else says to the contrary.” My parents lived
this and so does Rev. Suzuki more than he discusses. This takes a great deal of
courage at times, very few people want or even understand what this means,
they would rather have someone else tell them what to do, what role to play or
how to solve their problems—then there is always an out if it doesn’t work.
Senzaki said the same thing, “In Dharma place no other heads above your
own.” I wonder how many of his students do this.
Real intuition and understanding is expressed through a person in the
spontaneity or courage with which they stand by their ideals or goals when
attacked and not attack or defend before they are challenged. For me
there are enough so-called religious long-faced ones running around obsessed
with the idea of destroying what they are not able to create in the first place
and their obvious self-hatred or jealousy is masked under the definition of
what is religious and what isn’t and by their very lives express the fact
that they do not know or understand the creative flow of life. This is their
problem and I have never criticized its limitation only when these
people ridicule or talk down the way I live and my ideals. At these times, and
there have been a few, although not too many, I do defend my position or if
they won’t listen, just keep silent and whenever possible, if it be the
situation, will not contribute money to their cause.
To be understood is always a luxury, but for the person who is dedicated and
sincere in purpose this has never deterred them from their ideal, which they
accomplish no matter what.
Everyone’s life is full of many terrible things to face and get
through—many of the events leave very deep scars—it is why those who
profess to be enlightened know that to express as much kindness, joy, and
confidence to others is the natural, decent thing to do and for the most part
mind their own business.
People, places or objects are always made spiritual in the reverence shown
them by others, which is not a matter or geography; but, after all showing
reverence or acceptance of oneself.
I hope that the past week has brought a continued enfoldment for you in the
way you wish to express your adventures and experiences and in what you want to
give and I have faith that you will have the wisdom to do so.
Don’t worry too much about whether or not you are a Buddhist, Sufi, Marpa,
Fudo or Peer Gynt as you chose to call yourself—be proud, glad and bless the
fact that you are Samuel Lewis, American who has had many adventures, travels
and a warm and generous heart—the rest will take care of itself.
See you in church or Tushita Heaven,
San Francisco, May 13, 1964
I was sort of expecting you on Tuesday—had a proposition to make to
you—account of me wanting to live in Oregon. A tragedy happened to
me—subconsciously—influencing my decision.
I am making a trip to Oregon on Sat. the 16th, to make some arrangement,
will be gone two weeks. Perhaps will see you later on?
As ever, Lottie
June 3, 1964
My dear Fred: [Reinhold?—Ed]
I am about to leave for another journey across the country and will be gone
for several weeks. The background of preparation and the events of the day have
prevented me from attending most meetings.
The Bodhisattvic oath, taken in seriousness, works out in seriousness. I
have seen through the years an almost inexorable operation of karma, constantly
throwing from eminence important persons who vaunted their egos and pretended
their knowledge, yet are regarded as leaders, experts and authorities. The most
dramatic of these occurred in New York years ago then a famous man proclaimed
himself Master and Bodhisattva, only to lose everything—and I can everything.
But the pattern has continued.
Concerned with the suffering of human beings, one acts. I am no
pseudo-devotee of Indian philosophy which gives man the right or duty to
action. I take very seriously the tat-twam-asi of Sanskrit and the ji-ji-mu-ge
of Japan which holds that whosoever suffers one is suffering himself, and
whatever the field of sorrow it is my field.
Ironically, having tried for years and quite unsuccessfully to bring the
germs of Oriental wisdom to this country I find I am regarded as a great sage
abroad, but not even a small one here. And conversely, having tried for some
time to get the blessings of American agricultural and technical knowledge
accepted in Asia I am constantly being proclaimed by scientists and technical
people for my knowledge and experience. Asia still languishes materially and
Even last year I could get nowhere in trying to have Dr. Paul accepted as a
Buddhist representative, let alone leader. Even if he had been the President
of the WBF it would not have succeeded. And I am still working without much
response to have Buddha’s birthday celebrated before the Daibutsu in the Tea
Garden in Golden Gate Park. In another day, with less sophistication it was
done annually and regularly, but now each sangha and pseudo-sangha and
charlatan proclaiming to have knowledge of wisdom goes his own separate ego-way
and the people who seek information or release from sorrow are in the end more
deluded than in an earlier age of less knowledge and less sophistication.
The constant series of conferences on “Asia” remain in the hands of
diplomats, European professors and the press. The Southeast Asia complex
illustrates this more than anything else.
Recently the scientists met here to discuss the problems of “Food &
Civilization.” It was a total contrast to political, social and diplomatic
affairs. The idea was to get knowledge and solve problems and nothing else.
There were two non-scientists among the PhDs who spoke and there were a lot of
speakers who had no degrees at all, but knew about food and plenty. The
attitude was totally different from all our other pseudo-conferences which
decide nothing. Some of the best contributions were by people who had no
college education at all and they were warmly applauded and everybody was
accepted as equal to everybody else.
It was my good fortune, or karma, or attainment, that the actual problems of
actual Asia were discussed more than anything else and Dr. Farber, who managed
the conference came to me and said, “There’s your problem” and I looked
him straight in the face and said, “No, there’s your problem” and,
pointing to myself, “Here are some of your answers.”
Having been rejected by every non-American, non-Asian professor of
Orientalia; by the press, by State Department, it was quite a change (proving
Snow’s “two cultures”) not only to be accepted but to have my name and my
work written into the record. I am now writing at furious pace on problems
encountered and potential solutions.
While this has been going on, the transference of teachings on Asian culture
from Europeans (or English) in the University of California, also Princeton,
has resulted in my being permitted to submit my experiences. At the Academy I
was not even permitted to do this and the long list of English, Europeans and
metaphysical pretenders who know nothing, will have to reap their karma just as
the pseudo-Bodhisattva above. The Greeks said, “When the gods arrive, the
The scientists are not interested in half-gods. The starvation and penury of
the world cannot be removed by metaphysical pretenders even if they have a
thousand PhD degrees. There are research workers on the different faculties of
the University of California who have solved nearly all the problems discussed
in press and radio—begging money from the Public—and they have been in the
same position as myself.
And this is only the outline of the great changes which have taken place
this last month with money on the horizons and opportunities already here.
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad on one hand and the “Sutra of Forty-Two
Chapters” on the other give the cosmic psychology which explains these
matters, but neither our Hindu nor so-called Buddhist friends talk on these
because either they do not know or they are attached to the same theological
pretension as their Christian counterparts.
Even my plan for bringing peace in Palestine has been given acceptance by
engineers but not by “peace-mongers” who lose their eminence if the Arabs
and Israelis get together. And I am sure the same thing could take place if I
were to offer a proposal for Kashmir. “Peace-mongers” must keep humanity
divided. But the egoists are not going to control forever either the
dissemination of Asian wisdom on the one hand or the real contributions or
little scientists on the other.
I expect to be gone for about two months. My greetings to all, and I hope
you share this with
Samuel L. Lewis
August 25, 1964
Your letter arrived and was quite interesting.
Dr. Warwick is quite a sad person; I think mostly because he wears a robe,
but is not a Buddhist. Perhaps when he realizes—not understands, what this
is or means and acts accordingly the time will come when the respect he assumes
is his privileged will be forthcoming, but not until.
So far his mission or what he claims to be has failed because of the lack of
respect not only for his own robe, but what the Roshi and a few other Buddhist
Teachers here in San Francisco are, not what he thinks they are.
Like all people who don’t practice zazen he feels qualified to talk on the
subject with authority.
He was asked to the party I gave at Jeans for one reason—I told her to
invite him and she was not too interested in having him come—the fact that
she is acceptable in his eyes is mostly because of the Roshi’s endorsement
plus the rakusu from Eiheji she wears which makes her a nun and not a priest as
he so Freudianly stated it. The fact that she is much older than he poses no
threat to the inner battle; he has to remain outwardly celebrate but inwardly
not. The fact that basically all females pose a problem for him—not them—is
one of his own making and ego plus the animosity, anger and very immature
relationships in any simple social gathering such as dinner or coffee is turned
into an outward battleground of his problems.
His attitude toward Hazel was uncalled for and only resulted because he had
openly been caught in a lie—his animosity toward me was because innocently I
had introduced them—giving the qualifications each had offered of
themselves—the fact that his were false even though he stated them before a
number of people was quite sad, but one of a number of things he’s tripped
As mentioned before he is quite sad because he wears a robe but is not a
September 28, 1964
A number of years ago all my research work was destroyed in a fire that on
Buddhism. These notes happened to have been in my bags. When the American
Academy of Asian Studies started in San Francisco I was very happy to see such
an institution. And when Alan Watts was added to the staff I gave him these
notes in entirety. He kept them- which was all right. But he never permitted me
to refer to them and when I did get up and greet Mrs. Ruth Sasaki he called me
on the carpet and gave me the devil. Which has not diminished in any sense the
dharma-transmission from Sokei-An Sasaki or the fact that after studying with
him I could interpret many Upanishads.
True, some of this semi-intellectual was later corroborated by direct
participating experience. This only deepened the lines with the egocentric and
intellectual. And it has been a very strange thing that a so-called “Graduate
School” permitted neither independent experience nor independent
investigation, exactly the opposite of the policies of graduate schools here in
America which encourage only independent efforts.
On the day I brought these papers to the Academy, Haridas Chaudhuri arrived.
He taught Indian philosophy and before he was spoiled he adhered to Indian
philosophy and its ultimate basis in human experience rather than in human
The personnel at the Academy has changed, new deans and new regimes but all
alike are against any type of universal achievement which can not be controlled
and maintained. Age alone might substantiate a much wider amount of reading-and
I am not gong into that.
There are two or three things I wish to point out:
1. The “Buddhism” of the Academy and of the Ashram of Dr. Chaudhuri
while not in agreement always, rejected the Beat-Zen. But they offered little
or nothing substantial. The Undergraduates at the University of Southern
California had to attend at least six Buddhist ceremonies or meditations before
writing a single paper. Here they gave “degrees” on Buddhism without
anybody having to go anywhere near any institution of worship!
2. At Hayes and Baker St. is “Gedatsu” which theoretically is a Buddhism
through experience. Actually it is a mixture of Shingon with other elements.
They use Dharani rather than Dhyana, and you may be interested.
3. With world conclaves coming you may be interested and if there is
anything I can do to help please advise. The details. I have been told, will be
sent to me in November.
Now I’ll tell you an experience. A great gathering of Japanese monks of
all schools arrived in San Francisco. Not an “expert” was there to greet
them, and there are a lot of ’experts” round here. A few days later the
Soto Monks met in the temple and along with them Brother Iru. They wanted to
A lot of people gathered and the chair refused to recognize me- very old
stuff. But somehow or other with Brother Iru on the panel, I arose and looking
at him said: “Brother Monks, as senior Upasika I am demanding the right to
speak. I have been an Upasika for forty years and during that time have met a
number of people and studied a number of doctrines.” I then described my
relations with the Rinzai people, with Robert Clifton, with Dwight Goddard and
the 25 years research referred to above.
When I completed a junior monk from the rear arose: “I think we should
give that man an ovation and a vote of thanks. I have known every person he
referred to and can vouch safely for every statement he has made.” The chair
was stunned. If I told you the person who was in the chair you could say,
“What else would you expect.” That person now respects me, which does not
mean respect; it means ego-recognition and this isn’t achievement.
But what did I want? Exactly what you are doing. Sensei has on the bulletin
board for disciples to write down what scriptures they have studied and you can
bet Watts, Benoit, Suzuki and even Fromm will outnumber Vinaya and Sutras
anywhere from 5-1 to 25-1.
Della Goertz is now planning a party that I want to speak not on the
Buddhist Masters whom I have met, but my Tsurumi experiences.
Tuesday night, October 6, there will be an open house meeting of the Mudra
Class, 419 Sutter St. I do not whether I can go or not. It takes place at 7:00
P.M. You may be interested. If you can’t go, I’ll arrange some other
meetings between the leaders and yourself.
Samuel L. Lewis
Sri Haridas Chaudhuri
American Academy of Asian Studies
September 28, 1964
My dear Haridas:
This morning is my final letter in certain matters and is written for a
reason that you may not understand, so I explain it to you. Next year there
will be at least one international conclave on religion and religions, and the
door is open to anybody to present Indian teachings other than Vedanta.
Therefore agreement or disagreement on vital points is not necessary, but until
you change in personality reactions I do not see how you can be admitted to
these conclaves. Yet is a very simple matter, as you have either negatively or
positively credentials on Indian cultures which others either don’t have or
which they side step.
After many years one by one, institutions, organizations and societies, not
finding verification to their claims, begin to seek those that can verify them.
The century is completed when knowledge of Asian languages made one an
“expert” on the literature; when knowledge of the literature made one an
“expert” on the philosophy; when knowledge of the philosophy made one an
“expert” on the wisdom.
There will be no effort to break this entirely fictitious trend. When Dr.
Richard Robinson spoke on Buddhism at the University of California he smashed
in a single blow all the fictitious and factitious persons and teachings which
have no validity historically, theologically or spiritually.
It is unfortunate that while on one hand you hold to an Indian background
for Buddhism, you and your colleagues at the American Academy of Asian Studies
far prefer a Hu Shih or even a Daisetz Suzuki to a Sam Lewis thought Sam Lewis
has temple credentials, investitures and initiations. The Indian basis for
Buddhism is still preserved in the Shingi Shingon sect of Japan which
throughout the Ryobu Shinto of Kobo Daishi to adhere to Mantra Yoga. In Los
Angeles the Kobo Daishis form is still reserved which may have Japanese but no
Chinese elements; in San Francisco the
Gedatsu hold down to a still more watered version of a Japanese-Indian Buddhism
with a minimum of Chinese elements.
When I arrived at Bombay and went to a Vedic temple I was amazed at the
similarity between certain phases of Vedic rites and the Shingon rites I had
seen in Japan, but of course, not having the “credentials” this does not
interest academies. Still having the experience, and having been admitted to
real esoteric Buddhist rites and real Vedic rites, I was at least a witness.
Last week I was able to place the Lesser Upanishads in the hands of Prof.
Pandey at the University of California. These writings are full of Tantric
material which is very real, but which I doubt should be conferred excepting
through a valid-guru-chela relationship.
They fill in the chinks between what we call “Buddhism,”
“Tantricism,” and “Hinduism” which is nothing but egocentric, Manushic
analysis of the indivisible Santana Dharma or Arya Dharma. Now the Arya Dharma
is going to be presented here. The tragedies in the deaths of my friends,
Robert Clifton and Dwight Goddard is receiving karmic compensation by the
arrival in these parts of a man walking, let us say, on the path of Maitreya
Buddha. As all analysts look on Maitreya Buddha as sort of a Superdivine
Incarnation and a superlative Superthingness instead of its being a function
and fulfillment, one cannot say much.
The pious prayer of our good friend Judith for another Sankara has now been
answered by the arrival of a devotee of Sri Ramana Maharshi. And the folk lore
epics which built up the careers here of Manly Hall and Swami Yogananda and
Krishnamurti are followed by the appearance of a “Dhammapada” devotee,
Dhammapada meaning all its meanings.
In the Buddhist world it has been first necessary to sweep away the
factionalists whom you yourself have encountered. This brings us to the
super-acceptance of linguists who have also beclouded the presentation of
Dharma here. Mrs. Rhys-Davids was a great scholar and she gave the world the
uncalled for fiction that Pali Buddhist literature proceeded Sanskrit Buddhist
literature and that Mahayana grew out of sects of Hinayana. This is a bunch of
piffle which she herself recognized on her death bed, too late to correct it.
Not having experienced Samadhi or Moksha, how could she know?
Then Daisetz Suzuki came here first under instructions from this Zen
Masters. They died. He married a Bodhisattva. She died and he appropriated her
writings. But he also permitted to be claimed his prowess as a linguist and has
given us the most terrible explanations of Buddhist terms from the Sanskrit
which do not hold philologically, philosophically or spiritually. Not having
attained to satori, not having solved his koans, he nonetheless has permitted
his ego personality to be accepted by the West. And it is a pretty position to
be in that I shall be compelled to defend Sri Aurobindo’s interpretations of
Sanskrit terms against this scholar whom you have proclaimed and which is not
recognized by the Indians and Chinese. And in reading Sri Ramdas, the final
touches on the interpretation of “Vijnana” are about as far from Daisetz
Suzuki was one can imagine.
The Ekayana or Universal “Buddhism” which Dwight Goddard tried to
introduce has fallen by the wayside. People say “think unity” but even the
thought “think unity” shows there has been a departure from unity. And so
far as praying for a Sankara I’ll give two examples from my private life,
both of which must become public through every devotee of so called “self
realization” ignore it.
My final words with Swami Ramdas. For three nights in succession I went to
bed as Sam Lewis and wok up as Ramdas. So I went to Papa and said, “It is
time to go” He said, “Yes, it is time to go.” So I had my breakfast,
packed my things and departed, without a word to anybody but Swami
I was in Delhi at the house of Rehana Tyabji. A Pundit was talking on
“Slimed Bhagavad Gita.” When he was finished he turned to me and said,
“Now you give a discourse on the Gita.” I began: “The Bhagavad Gita is
the Flute of Krishna turned into poetry.” Then I entered Samadhi and all I
know is that when it was completed there were either genuflexion or embraces or
both. This something very different from praying for a Sankara. The
“Pundit” who had addressed the group and then asked me to speak simply
calls himself “Pundit” and carries no name.
Neither of these was my Supreme Moment but they will come close enough. What
is important is that now the failure of comparative religionists and seekers to
find operative answers to their questions has meant the rise of gurus
interested in the study of their realities behind religion. The World Congress
of Faiths started out universally and become provincial. So the moment sees the
rise of two groups here, one for the philosophical and the other for the
historical study of religions.
As I have real credentials backed by real knowledge and real experience,
these have been accepted, whether I appear on the panel or not. A “Sankara”
does not have to appear anywhere.
My whole life, my whole dreams have been for schools dedicated to the study
of reality behind religion whether this be in the form of comparative religion
or religious experience or anything else. I have reached the point where I may
soon address a few people on the relation between Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and
the Dharma transmission I had, historically and mystically from Sokei-an
Sasaki. Your Academy can invite me as an equal or they can continue as an
nonentity. The universities, the world want true history, true theology and
true proofs through experience.
In November I may speak on “Buddhist Masters Who Have Visited San
Francisco”—to a small group. As you deans from the beginning to now have
refused even this simple report sooner or later we are going to have a real
center here for the real study of real religions and real religious
experiences. You don’t have to choose anything but the claim that the State
Department hires graduates from the AAAS, what is that? What is karma? What is
honesty? This is not a new day; this is day, Haridas and I wish you could walk
in the light.
Samuel L. Lewis
October 1, 1964
O Bodhisattva San:
S O J I J I
Last night when the New York Zendo was mentioned I gave the Cat’s Yawn.
Nobody got it. Instead of that a very dualistic personality reaction was
expressed compelling this person to be silent.
There were two periods when I studied Zen there, the great period when Sokei
An was alive and the lesser period when Mary Farkas held forth. We studied
Mondos and you had a choice of solving the Mondo or keeping quiet. If you made
three intellectual or egocentric remarks you were expelled from the group and
had to earn you way back. This brought a great appreciation of the operation of
Prajna, not just a mere word to be repeated daily and more than daily without
having the slightest ideas of its meaning.
My Sangha includes Iru Price, Brian Goode, Eugene, Ted Reich, Lottie
Fernandez and Neville Warwick. These persons can be told or shared the details
of the above with any attitude but that of equality, or rather sameness
The Sudden School is either trivia or nonsense because if anybody attained
suddenly sangha members would not recognize it; they don’t generally. When I
told the late Phra Sumangalo my Kamakura experience he was surprised and said
it was the first case he had heard of it, but as the Kumakura experience as
followed by the Sojiji—and in other words, the sunyata be the asunyata, and
as there is a Soto Zendo here and not a Rinzai center it is this that should be
But there can be no lecture, no teaching as if person to person. Buddhism is
based on anatta and so long as people continue to hold dualistic attitudes for
any and all or no reasons, the communication of Sojiji would be ineffective.
Instead I tell you a story—it is many of such episodes in this person’s
life, and they are continuing right now:
Dr. Kato was now in San Francisco and Prime Minister of Japan was coming, so
I invited him to go with me.
We got in the taxi. I pulled out a piece of paper. “I am showing you
something nobody else has seen and perhaps nobody else ever see.” I showed
him the paper. “Why, that is the name of my Roshi!” I said, “Why did I
show this to you and to nobody else. There has been too much discussion of Zen.
The subject is clouded.”
We came to the Prime Minister. I whispered something in his Excellency’s
ears. He bowed to me. This was not the first nor last or such incidents, the
meaning of which seldom impresses the witnesses, so it impresses the
non-witness even less. But it happened, just as my extra ordinary experiences
happened in Japan and continued in every Asian land, right now, by mail at
Master Soyen was coming to San Francisco from Los Angeles. I was to meet him
to carry his bags. When I reached the Greyhound depot near here, there was an
announcement of a special bus to the air terminal. I got in arrived half and
hour early. Having nothing to do, I went to the landing. The plan landed half
and hour early.
There was with Master Soyen the secretary of Nyogen Senzaki. I took one look
at her. “I know Sensei a long, long time and wish you to have his Dharma. But
we must be alone.” After a while we were alone. I whispered two words in her
ear and she got it.
This type of thing happens all over but we see the outside of people. I was
in Pakistan. A wizened old man came to me: “Why aren’t you a teacher?”
“I am not a teacher.” “Why aren’t you a teacher?” “All right, I am
a teacher and you are my first pupil.” I gave him instructions. The next
morning he returned dancing! “I have a real teacher, I have a real
Lots of things have happened since then but one is forced to work, or one
wishes to work in the scientific field. I have been on the Bodhisattvic oath 40
years. Rev. Tobase use to give the oath. It is now gone. Why?
Talk about “Universal Buddhism.” How can you have universal Buddhism
when this person cannot even give a Sojiji report to Eiheiji disciples? Not
even the two monasteries are united. My friends above mentioned and others stem
in part from Sojiji. And if Sojiji reports are not presentable, how can one
speak on “Zen in the United states?” Zen was established in this country by
Shaku Soyen definitely in 1906 and I am old enough to have met some of the
original Sangha which has long since disappeared and which was later
supplemented here first by Mentor garden and then the Senzaki Zendo.
The Senzaki Zendo made no pretense either to being Rinzai or Universal. If I
speak at Iru Prices in November it will be on Buddhist Masters who have been to
this city in what is now a rather remote past. Even one from Eiheiji was here
and because of certain spiritual events honored me with a special tea ceremony
and I wrote a poem for him which I think is still preserved. Why speak about
Sojiji when even this Eiheiji event is not on record.
Dr. Warwick put to me exactly what I was taught by Dr. Kato’s Roshi at
Sojiji. No naming of “Universal Buddhism” was involved. Who invented
non-Universal Buddhism? You have either sect or you have Dharma and all over
the word people choose sect—they want to be different, and they label it
religion, dharma, universal—but they still want to be different.
In 1963 my check was refused, I was not permitted to attend a conference on
Asia. In 1964 I am a sort of off-the-record, and it can become an on-the-record
adviser to faculty professors on Asian subjects. Do you think I “advanced”
that much in a year?
Friday night I took a professor out to dinner. To my amazement I found he
was a devotee of Ramana Maharshi. I had been initiated in this school through
Paul Brunton—no words, no conversations, but Samadhi. Then yesterday I
received two magazines from South India from the Ashram of this Maharshi. What
is more this is the first effort to coalesce all the spiritual-attainment (not
spiritual, but attainment) schools of the world. Names are used and some pretty
condemnatory remarks are made against some of those people who are of the order
of Spiritualis californicus, right up to the biggest.
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, also contributed instruction and blessing. It
is noticeable that the interpretation he gives is exactly that which I
obtained, not from any person, but by Prajna from visits to many of the temples
in Thailand, plus a few Mahayana. I am not going into that now, but when
somebody comes and offers real Universal Buddhism, all the many divided, sangha
here, sanghas there, people unite against the real Universalist. This is what
killed Dwight Goddard. It is not going to kill his successor who is in our
midst offering Universal Buddhism not, “Universal Buddhism.”
I am proposing a game, Musical Bodhisattva Chairs, in which the
participants, landing in a chair with a Bodhisattvic title, would work a psycho
drama filling the position of the World Deliverer. They would learn much faster
than all books, discussions, or what not.
The preliminary to Sojiji took place here. In the first round I took Rev.
Tobase to the other “Sam” who hides out and the Sensei did not wish to
return. The other “Sam” won’t talk on Buddhism or Zen any more. He had
The second preliminary took place when I went secretly to the Sabro Hasegawa
and he bestowed his Dharma on me and died. Who made it a secret? Not him! Not
I! But non-devotees who insist that instructions of teachers to pupils are
secret. “Go ye into all the world and preach!” Nonsense! You run
immediately into all the cloud nine people. So I am not working with cloud
nine people. I am working with professors, scientists, universities on any an
all levels, not from choice but because the people are curious.
Outwardly this person is Fudo, but actually his is much concerned with the
suffering of the peoples of India at the moment who have divided dharma from
dharma (though not as much as we have), and cannot apply their spiritual
philosophy to their daily lives.
Last night I was urged to start a spiritual movement, a silly request (or a
wise one) because just before that I was sent an urgent appeal by those who
wish spiritual training.
Nirmanakaya. The scientists and the real curious people want to see
function, not blind faith. What is the use of using words if they have no
referents? This physical body does not age much because there is another body
of function behind it, and so on. We like the theories, we don’t want the
Maitreya Buddha. Inasmuch as I am not permitted by the devotees from Eiheiji
to present even Sojiji teachings, how can I relate Nyogen Senzaki’s methods
and dharma? I knew this man a long, long time. Even a silly person would agree
that during that long, long time I might have obtained something from him. And
who is it that has shut me up?
The Prajna language, the Mondo language, etc. are closed not by the anti
Buddhists, but by the cloud nine, the theosophical and now those who are
wonderful blends of stone-Buddhas and rice bags.
Real difference between real East and real West base on experience and not
on Higman’s speculative writings:
East. Women flock and want advice or consolation. Go to a scientist and make
a suggestion and he says:“How dare you!”
West. Scientists and farmers flock and want advice or consolation. Make a
suggestion to a woman and she says: “How dare you!”
I is the same physical world. This has happened over and over again. And the
ridiculous part is that to the Sage the problems of the farmers of Asia are an
open book; and perhaps also some of the problems of some of the women here. The
Third Eye is the Third Eye and when it functions it functions.
I hope some time you will be willing to come to a gathering, small or large,
where I might be permitted, if you please to tell what happened a Sojiji. Even
that will be a long way from the Rinzai life. Even that will be a long way from
the Maharshi connection. Even that will be a long way from what I am
So long as people function dualistically—after hearing a dozen admonitions
against it—it is hard to communicate. Yet actually it is easy and simple. No
one would dare go into a chemical laboratory, ignore the instructor and do
things. But the metaphysical people? It requires patience and fortitude and
forms of love which we have pushed beyond our comprehension and
October 3, 1964
The faculty of Prajna that the Samantabhadra report is being given. For the
mere statement of the Bodhisattvic oath without evidence is empty.
There were two young English boys and they vowed. One became famous. He
became a spokesman for Zen and at one time he really seems to have been
interested in Zen. He became famous and it became rude for anybody to criticize
him, though he has smashed the Pancha Sila and all morality just as he has
lectured on “kill the Buddha.” He is very well known.
His school companion, Ronald Rose, is not so well known. Today Rose is
regarded as a saint, or near saint. No, not in the sense of Home
pseudo-spiritualis californicus—that is impossible. But he is being
recognized far and wide. He is, in a sense, as successor of Paul Brunton, and
like Brunton has experienced spiritual union, Yoga, in its true sense, which is
totally unlike the local sense (slight exceptions).
Now on the path of Samantabhadra you don’t go round making fool lectures
on non-dualism. You “feel” the suffering and the short comings of
everybody. My work on food problems is definitely Samantabhadric. This will in
time, but even now it is being accepted in the scientific world, and in some
other places behind the scenes.
My spiritual methods are quite different from those I have seen here.
Instead of preaching any non-dualism or not-being, there is immediate harmony
if not identity with the other person. “I am the Vine and ye are the branches
thereof” is a truth, not a truism. The Sangha is not some specially selected
group by and artificial ordination or ceremony; it is determined at the first
step by the alignment of person-and-person; and in the next stages by evinced
experiences, not by any subjective things. The pupil who passes the
examinations passes them—Prajna, and this may or may not have anything to do
with coming to school regularly (Dhyana). The editors of the Ramana Maharshi
paper lay down—and I think they are entirely correct—the spirituality of a
person can be measured by the joy he exudes or inspire or induces in others.
This is the only measurement, but he is thus measured by people not with
emotions but with definite experiences. The Samantabhadra is almost the
Bodhisattva per se, who does first and then vows. This was the lesson brought
to me by Brother Neville and I am sure (from experience not from ego-certitude)
that he is correct. The person who comes for spiritual aid or counsel is
yourself in a seeming “other” body and “other” personality. By
attunement or by Darshan or by other means you work to eradicate weaknesses or
awaken wisdom. You don’t go off in dreamy koans anymore but what you learned
in the koan (or other) sitting is sitting with this person, meditating as if
with him, attunement through breath, heart and by other real means. (Not vague
“upayas” that mean nothing at all)
The difference between Samantabhadra and Kwanon is this: Samantabhadra works
especially through and with Triratna and Kwanon just operates regardless.
Samantabhadra combines Prajna and Karuna and the Prajna and Karuna must be
united; with Kwanon Karuna is the thing and Manjusri Prajna is the thing.
On the surface Jesus seems to have had Karuna without much Prajna. But there
is another element or aspect which is Ananda which evinces in Sambhogakaya. The
Kwanon who merely takes away pains or the Jesus who takes away the pains is not
sufficient. But Jesus started out with Ananda (Beatitudes). Manjusri has wisdom
without the Ananda. In the end Ananda or Sambhogakaya is the evidence and if
one does not experience it, it means nothing. Indeed it can increase the ego
and stand as further hindrance.
Therefore the wise teacher shares his joys with his pupil, hides his pains
from them, and attempts to alleviate their pains. With Samantabhadra there is
union and with Kwanon there is not union in the same sense; she is
“mother,” not “self.”
One need not be over concerned with the floods in India or America but one
should “feel” concerning them; or else recognize the operations of karma.
Years ago a novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey showed how karma operates in all
human tragedies. The metaphysical people applauded, shook their heads and when
actual events of the same kind happened they explained them away.
As I have written, it is nothing but the law of causation which is enabling
me to present programs for the alleviation of human hunger. I cannot expect
much sympathy from the well fed people in this locale. But one need no longer
be pulled down to their levels. Morality is taught at Fung’s church, which is
fine, but it is not Karuna or Prajna. Elsewhere these are often assumed.
If I ever started a school on Buddhism I would use as koans actual Buddha
scriptures. Or I would add the complete methodology and not just Dhyana. Dhyana
alone is leaves the heart cold. Senzaki told me the Buddha-Hridaya; he
emphasized the Buddha-Hridaya. I can live with Buddha-Hridaya and someday hope
to communicate it—more indirectly than directly, and thus fulfill the
Samantabhadra seat. Tibetan Buddhism applies this hierarchal, but I don’t
know whether it is fulfilled actually or not. Japanese Buddhism has, on the
whole failed here. Southern Buddhism does not even wake up. But it is now
function, not criticism which is needed.
As my own work is universal, and not Buddhistic, I may be fulfilling
Samantabhadra, with or without vows by action, first as Brother Warwick has
indicated, and not even by lessons.
In the Orient even women come to me with their problems but when I go to
farmers and make suggestions they say, “How dare you!” and here farmers
come to me with their problems but if I make any suggestion to women they say,
“How dare you!” This is East and West. In the end problems are ego, and
with this I stop.
October 3, 1964
With this letter my duty has been accomplished, though the work has been a
complete failure. Under spiritual “order” I returned to the United States
to give comfort first to widows and I did not even know who the widows were
until I arrived, and have tried, though in each case I have run up against
situations, and now “reasons.” But the spiritual man cannot, he must not
give way to “reasons” which sometimes are more vicious than vice itself.
On the impersonal side I witness and growing Zendo now discussing
“universal Buddhism” when it will not even greet Dharma of its companionate
monastery, Sokiji at Tsurumi. I have neither been invited, nor permitted to
tell my Tsurumi experiences to this Sangha; nor have they considered the
ordinations of either Iru Price or Eugene Wagner as if they amounted to
anything at all.
If your life depended on answering this questions: “How is it that this
person was invited as a guest of honor, and I mean guest of honor to the
Imperial Gardens in Japan? How is it that he could go where even Vice President
Nixon was not invited? And how can people call themselves Zen Buddhists who
will not face such questions?
Now after weeks of asking me why I don’t take you to dinner, and you
always have an excuse, you have chosen instead a person who was kicked out of
the Los Angeles Zendo as being a dunce and impossible. You have that perfect
right but by the karmic law, you having taken the initiative, I must hold you
now to it, and if you chose to keep company with Zen dunces and attend Zen
meetings and can’t even listen to a report from a person who was greeted with
the highest honors, not only at the Imperial Gardens above, I have no choice
The spiritual man goes around with diamonds. They are not sold, but on the
contrary to each person selecting the diamond he must confer also a gift of
equal in value with that spiritual diamond. If they chose sapphires or pearls
or rubies instead, then he gives them a gift coordinate; if they descend to
copper things, then he even gives them also a copper. But when they play with
glass and baubles, what can he do?
All over the world I find people irked because I associate with scientists
and gardeners. Among scientists and gardeners I feel free; I am one of them
whether it is a PhD in science or an humble dirt gardener. But now the
scientists are gradually coming to me in regard to religion, mysticism and
Oriental philosophies. And the historians have gone further.
In the whole history of the so called American Academy of Asian Studies not
a single dean, indeed only Binken and Agrawal accepted that I had any
background. Pure egotism if not diabolatry, and I have never said a word
before. How is it that when the American and I mean American historians asked
me for my credentials in these fields, they accepted every one of them. They
saw no reason to doubt any honesty! And when I told a lady the other night that
she would not believe me, what I was doing in Asia, and I told her she gawked,
she could not do otherwise.
When you find a person who can walk, let us say, into Dr. Radhakrishnan’s
house and enter into outer Samadhi with him; or who did not wait five minutes
to get into temples, Zen or not Zen, I shall apologize for your choice of that
utter idiot in Zen meditation, Manly Hall. This is not a case of forgiveness;
it is a case of wisdom.
When Sokei An’s name was mentioned last week I gave a Cat’s Yawn. If
Senzaki’s name was mentioned, I should have imitated an Iron Flute. My dear,
you people do not know the elements of Prajna Language. You being the Sutra of
the Sixth Patriarch, the words of Lord Buddha are not good enough for you—and
then skip also the Prajna which he emphasized.
When I saw the complete and absolute dualistic reaction to my Cat’s Yawn,
for the first time I turned on the Prajna Eye and saw each one in the light or
not light which he has according to his degree of assimilation of that cosmic
light. This is something I abhor, preferring to take people as they are.
But after that debate and lecture on “Time” when I back the monk who was
giving his experience and then you can go to that idiot in Zen, Manly Hall, I
must attend to those people, those problems, those processes which, if they
don’t compensated, will not treat holy things so lightly.
It is time to find out if members of the Zendo accept the Diamond Sutra and
its companionate Sutra of Forty Two Chapters. “Time” is a most valuable
adjunct. Severity is a last resort but sometimes doctors have to use the
October 5, 1964
My dear Neville:
It is very hard for me to act or react on a moment’s impulse. The whole
life is so full of activities, and with two complete careers to begin with,
there is really no time. People interested in spirituality ignore my efforts on
food problems and people interested in the sciences ignore the other side of
life. That is, it was so until recently.
Harold Priebe is acting as head of the American Buddhists, carrying the
torch, and the martyrdom of the late Dwight Goddard. He and Iru could not see
eye to eye. For a time I was in the middle but as Iru did not recognize
ordinations, experiences, doctrines and teachings given to this personality and
as Harold did immediately I have been forced by the very circumstances of life
to align myself with the people who have followed Dwight Goddard of old.
The difference between operative Sufism and operative Buddhism is very
simple. In operative Sufism your experiences determine your status. In Buddhism
despite all anatta, especially in the western world, personality names stick
out all over. And in the meanwhile since writing to Harold two or more large
organizations have called on me. There is not only the continuance of my own
affairs but the responses which might be social, intellectual and even
I am today in financial difficulties just because I have acceded to
“spiritual” calls when I should be doing scientific work. And I am in worse
difficulties for the doors are all open to me to reimburse my empty exchequer
and people keep pressuring me to do more “spiritual” work. I have gone
through this before. In each country visited even the highest persons have made
these same appeals, each in his own direction. And it generally ends with my
falling in the mud. While every movement however slight, in the scientific
realm has been studied with success. And now, my friend, you do not seem to
realize I am working on a world basis and if there are any pressures from
anybody I have to withdraw even from this region.
Since the beginning of May there has been a complete reversal of years of
rejections, and every day-including mail received this morning, more and more a
reversal of such rejections. The Bodhisattvic oath is positive, directive and
sure. As one grows therein and as one’s ko-ans cover a large sector of human
endeavor, one has to choose between working in corners-where I have always
failed, and working in large areas where the successes are greater and greater
every moment. My “spiritual” future does not depend on my having many
disciples, one realized soul is enough and I already have one realized soul as
disciple but not here.
The problems of human suffering weigh upon me but I am doing, doing,
sometimes to the pleasure of others, sometimes not. Harold Priebe in America
and Jack Austin abroad and myself are working in other personalities. The
identity consciousness has been borne by experience and it will probably be
confirmed here soon-there are all the signs. But now I am down to 6 hours or
less sleep and repose and no way out.
October 28, 1964
My dear Eugene:
I am enclosing copy of what looks like an innocent letter. The pictures of
Gordon Onslow Ford are in the San Francisco Museum and his book is on sale. He
learned (?) Zen from Alan Watts, Fred Spiegelberg and Rev. Tobase, and got a
least a glimpse of the Dharma—not very much but enough to make it
As you will read, years ago I learned that the Dharma is written out in the
Alaya Vijnana, and by the cosmic methods of the real Zen Roshis one can have
insight into, if not full realizations of the phases of the universe as set
forth in the grand Indian literature, which we do not study at all, and of
which we are blissfully and totally unaware.
At the topmost of the Mayaric cosmic is the Alaya which is the depository of
all that was, is, and will be. By attunement, insight, Prajna and Summa
Drishthi, we can become aware of this Alaya and function in it, with it, and
through it. But by studying Buddhist philosophy (as against sacred literature)
we can only reach one degree below. “Studying” IT,” we do not become
Last night a few of us meditation with Maser Seo. I should like to know what
this man intends. His main goal is to learn English and for the time being he
is with Master Too Lun. But I am forbidden to start any Sangha and as long as
Buddhists insist on practicing dualism, and they often practice it much better
than anybody else, excepting the “cosmic consciousness for the rich” Hindu
But my whole inspiration and hope is to use the arts—poetry, painting and
dancing, for awakening inner facets of human personality. (At the Japanese
concert I meditated to Shakuhachi but have another kind of music for this
purposes myself.) Everybody has words, practices, ceremonies, lectures, but no
I am compelled to hide everything here. Challenged in the Orient, my first
disciple had enlightenment and the next one consciously. But I tell them, not
them me. Now you have encouraged me to come and as the literature I have is
very emphatic about the non-esotericism of Zen, sooner or later I shall yell
Zen and silence Shingon, instead of the other way around.
Without function of Nirmanakaya, robes mean nothing to me; and without the
acceptance of this function by others, even that, or Siddhanta (Iddhis) are
useless. This Sunday I go to Fungs again. At least they practice Joy and
morality, but I am open to another session at mutual convenience.
October 28, 1964
My dear Gordon:
There is a Zen teaching—and I have had it officially—about the use of
Time, even though one who tries to practice it will be immediately
misunderstood and forever after—as if this matters. Anyhow last Thursday
night I attended a concert on Japanese music and heard the Segovia of the koto
at the S.F. Museum.
During the intermission I went out and bought you book, doing errand #2
after #3 and then doing #1, i.e. looked at your pictures. I don’t stand
corrected. I have already bought one copy of your book and have ordered six
more and the end is not in sight. Before you decide this is appreciation, maybe
you will find it is egotism.
Years ago when I first tried to write epic poetry, and which is not writing
epic poetry at all, but functioning in the world of Alaya-Vijnana, that grand
cosmiverse now forbidden to Buddhists by Buddhists themselves, the mysteries of
the Eight-fold path were unrolled. For here again you do everything
Gilbertian-Topsy-Turvy, and go out and teach the teachers. For in Alaya—that
forbidden world to the Buddhists—the Time, as above may play hop-scotch with
itself and while calendars are not forbidden they are certainly not
My poetry was destroyed along with everything else in a fire years ago but
the theme was something like this:
Not by line, nor by movement, nor gesture, nor symbol does the Dharma become
unfolded to man,
But by line, by movement, by gesture, by symbol does the Dharma become
unfolded to man.
In the cosmic Olympic Games, Paul Reps tried to beat the gun, while you have
waited promptly at the starting post. Your early paintings show too much
influence of contemporary movements and therefore are not you self, real or
unreal. As you passed from monkey to manhood and supermanhood the effectiveness
of the Three Worlds through you magical communications become clearer and
clearer. Therefore I am conspiring by myself, with myself, to purchase quite a
few of your books as time (Not Time) goes on. And to hide behind your
explanations, which can be psychically tape recorded, so to speak, turned on,
and let me hasten to the bistro while people imagine they are listening to my
Some day some Buddhists, of course, will wake up and find there is no ego,
and then teach the fountains of life. Today these fountains are hidden while
people run off to ordinations, ceremonies, churches (always exclusive) and
everything but the shattering of the veils which hide the Truth and the True
More expensive than your books—but not very expensive—is the trip I must
now take to my Fairy Godmother. Because what you have painted and explained,
and what I have once poetized, will be exemplified in a dance, inspired rather
than suggested by my Fairy Godmother, Miss Ruth St. Denis.
This year I broke through the cordon of secretaries, publicity hounds and
others and had a full hour—in her boudoir it is different, I can go into her
boudoir and they can’t. “I am going to start a real revolution and save the
world.” “What are you going to do?” “Teach little children to walk.”
“You have it.” Actually the rules are in your book and explanations and the
Principles are long known to me, coming from a French occultist. I placed his
book, I believe, in Rudolph Schaeffer’s library, where it has remained
unnoticed but have the translation in my files. La même chose.
But since Ruth gave me another key I have the Dance of Universal Peace which
has been shown to Devjar, the Japanese teach and I hope to see both these
ladies sometime next month.
But the end is not yet. Running around with the non-Buddhists—no Buddhist
would think of such a thing, I am to be inducted in a pageant of the birth of
Lord Buddha , and this will forward the Dance of Universal Peace, which may be
presented next year when UN meets here.
My plan for the moment is to have six copies in the hands of Fields Book
Store so they can wrap them properly and “away we go” we=book, not ego.
That will be only the first installment.
We now have a real Holy Man in San Francisco whether that means anything or
not. He is a realized Buddhist monk but comes from the wrong country; i.e.
Korea. (I am always up to my puns, that the Koreans are the Chosen
Sooner or later I’ll get a copy of your book into the hands of Paul Reps
who tries to sprint while sitting in a flying machine and quite succeeds.
I hope this letter is unintelligibly-intelligible and you can give my love
Samuel L. Lewis
P.S. Oh yes, the copy I bought. It was read with some ecstasy if not élan,
and I danced over to Rudolph Schaeffer and had to get away because he and all
his staff wanted to line up and embrace me therefore, but it was your book, not
mine. All I did was to pay for it.
This letter is really for Master Seo, but I feel it best for you to read it
and pass it on. Besides in the letters which are to be written, though making
inquiry for Master Seo, I see no reason to exclude you from the inquiries. But
I have to begin with an awful problem which is far more ludicrous than awful
and until a few people calling themselves “Buddhists” will dispense with
their ego-personalities and study real Buddhism the ludicrousness of the
situation will become more and more effective and operative in the universe of
karma-which is not studied at all.
According to the teaching of Mohammed he is cursed only if he sins after the
guidance has been given. Ignorant people do not have to pay the penalties in
“hell” of gross wrong doing. But I have witnessed during a long period of
time that people who call themselves “Buddhists” regard themselves as being
exempt from karmic torts in almost the same way as Christians believe they will
not go to hell. And the result has been a long life of seeing the piling of
woes on the pseudo-Buddhists and the end is not in sight.
There are three things which I must communicate, not for the sake of
instructions but in order to understand the events of the past few hours which
are events of the objective world. Also one can not impress too strongly that
in the cosmos there is a force grander than that of Jiu Jitsu artists, but on
the same principle. When a man, striving to do what is right, is rejected, he
gathers a momentum and force which, if the rejections get stronger and
monumental, enable him to obtain any goal, which he could not obtain by any
The next thing-and here one finds the whole conglomeration and congregation
of Americans—with the exception of recluses like Eidmann—in an even more
ludicrous situation, that they haven’t the slightest idea of what Prajna is
in practice, either in the lowest forms or in the perfect forms which together
subsist Prajna-Paramita. In the higher manifestations and perhaps in the lower
too, they prove there is no lasting ego-substance, but continuums of
name-and-form (not of substance) by which we designate the separative
functionings of Dharma-Kaya.
Last night was the meeting of the Columbia University grads. In 1915 I met
Prof. Cassius Keyser who taught me first Fourth Dimensional Geometry, then
non-Euclidean geography, hyperspace, mathematical philosophy and then cosmic
philosophy. As one advanced he could not but perceive the principles identical
with those of spiritual realization (not the philosophies about it, but the
actualities). In the hyperspace geometries you can place any two points
together, as in love you can place any two hearts together. And this week I
received a notice that the head of the American Buddhist Federation is
scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles the same hour as this person Sunday, so I
shall probably meet him in the Zendo there and the cards will be placed on the
table which I have not been permitted to place here, much less play them-and
now they have been placed and played due to the Judo opposition of a great many
people here and elsewhere into which we need not go.
The mathematical juxtaposition analogues the functioning on the higher
planes which are real function which true students of Dharma know. And indeed
in private conversations last night I learned that one of the teachers on Pine
St. knows a good deal more about the Original Dharma, which we call Kegon (or
Hua-Yen) then the people now who come to most Buddhist assemblages through the
United States. This would confirm Eidmann.
The easiest illustration of Kegon comes no doubt in physiology. But all the
mysticisms-not the metaphysical tripe which passes for it, hold that the
relation of humans in the cosmos is the same as that of the cells of the body
in one person. Indeed there is a friend of mine, named Hyde who is going around
declaring that Swedenborg was a Buddhist who taught the same things. As there
is one Universal Love stream which nourishes the whole of manifestation being
itself the externalization of Dharmakaya, one can place oneself in the position
of another in functioning and the functions of the last few days prove it:
I picked up some books by a Sufi from Fields Book Store. One of his writings
is dedicated to Prof. Slater of Harvard. Slater said to me: “I want to know
everything that you know that I don’t.” This was a rather remarkable
statement coming from one of those mortals who never speaks of himself as
“humble.” This requires a letter to Slater and in that letter I shall
mention not only Master but yourself and others. I do not know how much money
is available there at Harvard but there was plenty at the time of my visit. My
own accomplishment here will be at Claremont, Calif. In 1965 when I shall be
permitted to address the elite on matters which the ignorant, who do not
realize their ignorance, will not even permit me to broach.
Yesterday I failed to get a proper introduction from the World Affairs
Council to the visitors, but when I appeared on the scene they gave the
introduction and all is more than well- especially according to the practical
side of Kegon, and I think Master will appreciate that.
Entering the St. Francis Hotel I was greeted vociferously and most amiably
by one of the Columbia professors. Now you don’t expect, particularly in
America, to be greeted so by a professor and you may still be more surprised-
but this always happens over and over, Kegon, ji-ji-mu-ge- that the man was
both an Ambassador and a Sufi and instead of my friends introducing me to him,
he began introducing me to a number of friends. But as Sufis converse on a
super-dimension, all business was conducted and completed without any time
being consumed, and in the absence of expected colleagues.
I was then introduced to Dr. Hillsman by the back door, meeting first his
parents who live in this city, and which will make a follow-up easy if
necessary. He not only was Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, but a
lot more, and a single name-which of course is shunned here, opened him up
immediately and I received the answer which may help the World Buddhist
Federation no end, and I mean no end and not just symbolically.
But as Hillsman is going to Columbia and I perforce must call on my
recently injured pal in Santa Barbara, it brings up another matter, that of
Korean teaching, that separately I may write Columbia asking about the teaching
of Korean there as well as Buddhism, etc. It all came together so fast, that
all this was over in a short time in a crowded assembly which is exactly the
way Prajna-diplomats operate and successfully, and this is “old hat.” And
that is why I hope to get Brother Eugene to operate some day with all his
faculties and in the right place; and also I shall write to Hong Kong
simultaneously for all of you.
The same thing happened before when the Encyclopedia of Buddhism asked me to
function for them and I failed, getting no cooperation of any kind from any
Buddhists here, each of which has its separative sangha and demands loyalty to
that sangha, not to Dharma.
Now the next step is not easy. This person works all day every day, and is
the confidante of a growing number of persons, and leaders, in all parts of
Asia, which has not been communicable. Asia Foundation long ago accepted this,
and now the World Affairs Council. On my first trip around only Ambassador
Grady and his wife accepted my reports, though about ten people listened
then-on the much greater performance in 1960-62, not even my best friends would
believe. So I have had to travel-as I am traveling this week.
But you have already met Eidmann. You will be meeting others who, real
learned Buddhists, have been compelled by society to withdraw. I urge you to
try to find Alex Wayman in the phone book, in Berkeley, but if he is not he
might be reached through the University of California (a tough procedure) or
through the Buddhist Church of Berkeley which you ought to visit anyhow. You
will get a better and better picture of what happens to an American who is
advanced in the Dharma and not react to the local scene at all this is
universal. And while individuals mouth “unity of life” they are often much
more separative than followers of the religions they have abandoned. Not-self
functions are the most difficult for them, and yet the easiest way of life
Before meeting Roger Hillsman I tried in vain to get a sympathetic response
and out of nowhere a State Department courier was present at a luncheon
gathering and in a few minutes was accomplished which no amount of heart-appeal
got anything with. But this is the Dharmakaya which works through anyone and
anything, anywhere, anyhow.
Before I write to Hong Kong I may have to contact several people here.
Master Seo can go down any time to Asian Foundation but there is nobody at
present covering his inquiry. And the man who could handle it is now at MIT, in
Massachusetts, trying to get his PhD before returning to S.F. (a
cloak-and-dagger colleague if there ever was one, and ji-ji-mu-ge, in a way our
neophytes can not understand, yet.)
You may see that this person functions all over the world, and only so
facilitates this. But while the Hong Kong inquiry needs some time to formulate,
the Harvard Inquiry will be sent as soon as there is breathing space. The
Columbia U. inquiry will depend in part on the return or not return of my pal
in Santa Barbara whom I hope to visit shortly. The other details would require
Samuel L. Lewis
November 9, 1964
The experience of Great Peace and of Great Power may be the same. It is
certain within the course of contemporary events that every refusal of
potentates to a mild consideration of either this person or the message he may
bring has resulted in the accumulation of either wisdom or power or both.
A number of years ago he was entrusted by the chief Lay Buddhist of all
Japan to carry a message from one country to another, it finally being placed
in the hands of Dr. Radhakrishnan. Between this famous person and this writer,
there has been the identity conscious experience so strange today to all the
followers of the Dharma (in many phases) that one is an exile even among the
exiles of his own country. But by the principles of Counter-Karma he receives
the fruit, the root and branches of the Trees of Undertaking.
A copy of a letter to India is enclosed because the addressee has been
pounding away at those pseudo-heroes found in California who charm, please,
entice, and pleasure etherealists who being etherealists hypnotize themselves
or are hypnotized into believing they are above the realms of matter and
materialism. Maybe so. They are at the same time deeper into the web of ego and
This sheep-in-wolves’-clothing, knowing Nirmanakaya from experience and
not books, is under authority and authorization changing into a
dragon-in-wolves’-clothing because only so can he help the world. The vanity
and inanity of proposing that by methods subject to cause-and-effect one can
rise above cause-and-effect will only further add to confusion.
After being appointed as local representative of the World Buddhist
Federation, knowing that the egoistic, separated and separative pseudo- Sanghas
would pay no attention, he nevertheless continued his inquiries and was invited
to a dinner celebrating Buddha-dharma’s birthday. “No, I can not come.”
“Why not?” “And lose my eyelashes!”
This is the sort of thing totally incomprehensible to those poor people who
are charmed with Mondos which they can not understand, or even glimpse and by
whom Mondo-snake-charming leads them further and further away from the
literature, teaching and experiences of Lord Buddha Sakya Muni.
You will be glad to know that in accepting the dinner invitation your
picture was found on the wall and your presence at that place has been accepted
with the graciousness that it should have been by those who in theory (theories
are wonderful) should pay a little respect to the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections
and the companionate Diamond Sutra.
Brother Osborne to whom the letter is written has challenged and rightly
challenged the whole Buddhist world by the absence of Arhats, and Anagamins and
Sukradagamins, and can only be answered by the manifestation of such and other
Bodhisattvas. As we are fortunate here to have a single demonstration of the
Bodhisattva in reality in our midst, this gives this person the right to write,
but not necessarily in a hostile fashion.
In coming to the dinner he found a picture of the late Master Tai Hsu under
whom also he has studied the Dharma as related. And therefore on Thursday night
at Iru Price, he will present the Peace Transmission as inferred in the letter
to Brother Osborne because there is no person who has come this way who
presented and represented the Great Peace as such better than Tai H su.
But passing from the sheep-in-wolves’-clothing to the
dragon-in-wolves’-clothing and with the requests from the very top people in
the whole Buddhist world, he feels that he must restrict himself entirely
either to Dharma-transmission or to the very simple request of the study of the
actual literature, Theravada or Mahayana and against that whole library of
confusing commentaries and the by-ways of swordsmanship, flower arrangement,
tea ceremony, each of which is an outgrowth and an aftermath of the Great Peace
but is not, can not be the Great Peace itself.
He is going to be called upon to relate some of his historical experiences,
and perhaps this may involve some of his “spiritual experiences.” The
rejection of his “spiritual experiences” does not matter, but the callous
rejection of his historical experiences by all and sundry calling themselves
“Buddhists,” divided into so many “sanghas” is only subject to
As related this person, when a wood-cutter, submitted a Gatha to the Roshi
Eihiji years ago. If there had been the slightest achievement of Prajna,
without going into anything it would have been picked up. At least Master Too
Lun appeared to pick it up. With the departure of Dr. Burns to study Dharma
under the students of the students of the students who drank out of the same
well as this writer, you will see later on an awakening of this representative
of Homo pseudo-advaita Californicus later on. The show must go on, but at the
same time the appalling tragedies in South Vietnam by those who prate “Peace
on earth, goo-will to men” who will not even permit a brother to speak his
piece, or his peace, is even more appalling.
The Sixth Patriarch everywhere propounded the Prajna. And beyond that….
Samuel L. Lewis
November 19, 1964
Grahame H. Petchey
686 12th Ave.,
San Francisco 18, Calif.
On the eve of making a trip to Southern California in behalf of the World
Buddhist Federation, and in pursuit of duties connected with the American
Buddhist Federation, a letter has been written as a result of inquiry to obtain
some position or commission with visiting Master Seo.
The almost impossible task assigned of working in the United States where
there are more Buddhist separative sanghas than there are sects or schools in
the whole World Buddhist Federation, nearly all in competition if not downright
opposition with each other, and only one or two even examining any portion of
the grand Buddhist literature, offered originally in either Pali or Sanskrit
gives one tasks which, while thankless in this world, and never the less
connected with the cosmic drama.
One has no intention here to try to convince you or anybody of the truth of
the Cosmic Wheel of the Law, the reality of all points mentioned by the Lord
himself in the early scriptures, or the still greater reality of the truth
experiences behind the Dharma literature coming to itself fullness not in the
Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, but in the Vow of Samantabhadra.
It is silly to argue on this point because I do not know a single
sangha—and there are many of them—adhering to the Sutra of the Sixth
Patriarch—which would permit a wood cutter or rice siever who had not spent
time in the Zendo to submit any Gatha for anything, not one, and at least the
Vow of Samantabhadra is taken seriously by some.
The truth, not the bare fact is, that the dharma transmission came to the
wood cutter, rice siever who was at least permitted to submit a Gatha. The
shock on his receiving the Begging Bowl and Robe split society for a long time;
but the so called followers of the Sixth Patriarch hold rigidly, most rigidly,
to the opinions of the Elder Brother who was rejected, not to the Gatha of
Hui-Neng (Eno) which was accepted. (In a shadowy way the Gatha of this person,
when a wood cutter, was accepted by Master Ishida of Eiheiji years ago, and is
on record. Anyhow now he is entrusted by segments of the Buddhist world and is
going to place his cards on the table in a few days with a plea that a few
Buddhists accept not his personality—goodness knows not, but the laws of
karma, causation and deliverance. Their rejection by about everybody is keeping
the world in turmoil, all the way from person to person, to world conflict. And
this could be settled easily if a few people only had just a little
curiosity—about the Dharma.
Samuel L. Lewis
BUDDHA HRIDAYA (Draft only)
The time had come to close the San Francisco Zendo. Nyogen Senzaki had
served his purpose as a great linguist and scholar; then as a poor homeless
monk who disclaimed intellectual as well as material possessions. Now he would
function as Bodhisattva. He had called us “Bodhisattvas,” now he would be
It was a small audience. Present were Zoso (Paul Fernandez) and Kiichi
Okuda. Okuda-san was later to be my travelling companion and guide in Japan.
Zoso was one of those souls who, having solved koans and experienced samadhi or
satori, had no place in American society. He would hardly qualify for Dr.
Suzuki’s classes at Columbia; and he was no more welcome the Cloudnine
organizations which have made travesties of Oriental attainment wisdoms and
have laid down those rules for “Superman” which would require a superman to
exemplify. But it is hoped that those days (or nights) of Zosos will come to an
end, and that mystics and koan solvers will be admitted, even if only to the
last row, of those who are so concerned with Oriental wisdom and enlightenment
and spiritual attainment.
One may quote from “Sources of Japanese Tradition,” (From Eto, Shuso to
shite no Dogen Zenji), p.246):
There are Zen masters of a certain type who join in a chorus to deny that
the sutras contain the true teaching of the Buddha. “only in the personal
transmission from one patriarch to another is the essential truth conveyed;
only in the transmission of the patriarchs can the exquisite and profound
secrets of the Buddha be found.” Such statements represent the height of
folly, they are the words of madmen. In the genuine tradition of the patriarchs
there is nothing secret or special, not even a single word or phrase, at
variance with the Buddhist sutras. Both the sutras and the transmission of the
patriarchs alike represent the genuine tradition deriving from Shakyamuni
Buddha. The only difference between them is that the patriarchs’ transmission
a direct one from person to person. Who dares, then, to ignore the Buddha’s
sutras? Who can refuse to study them, who can refuse to recite them? Wisely has
it been said of old, “It is you who get lost in the sutras not the sutras
that lead you astray.” Among our worthy predecessors there are many who
studied the scriptures. Therefore these loose tongued individuals should be
told, “To discard the sutras of the Buddha, as you say, is to reject the mind
of the Buddha, to reject the body of the Buddha. To reject the mind of the
Buddha is to reject the children (followers) of the Buddha. To reject the
children of the Buddha is to reject the teaching of the Buddha. And if the
teaching of the Buddha itself is to be rejected, why should not the teaching of
the patriarchs be rejected? And when you have abandoned the teaching of the
Buddha and the patriarchs, what will be left except a lot of bald headed monks?
Then you will certainly have deserved to be chastised by the rod. Not only
would you deserve to be enslaved by the rulers of this world, but to be cast
into Hell for punishment.” (pp. 249-50. Columbia University Press 1964)
We simple people of another day used to study Buddhist scriptures, used to
study Buddhist doctrines, used to be concerned with spiritual realization and
this, without departing from the norms of meditation, following, it is true the
proposals of Master Shaku Soyen who introduced Zen into America, and
particularly in San Francisco.
Old Sensei taught very different from what has been given the western world
by those who Prof. Richard Robinson calls “fiction writers.” Their books
sell very well. Thousands of people read them in contrast to a single
individual here and there who knows anything about the stupendous Pali and
Sanskrit literature. Nyogen Senzaki knew both these languages and others,
though he did not always tell the world.
Buddhism has been put into literary form by the immediate disciples of
Buddha Sakya Muni. But he said, they did not put it into practice. You can
read, if you will, all that profundity, but you may not be able to understand
it. The difference between Theravada and Mahayana was the difference between
theory and practice. The former memorized the cook books, and the latter served
Gautama Buddha lived in India. He was neither Chinese nor Japanese. He lived
in an intellectual social order which recognized from six to ten grades of
being. You see them symbolized in wheels, but the symbol is not the reality,
not the attainment. From the Benares sermon to the Prajna Paramita Hridaya
Sutra is a living logic, a growth, a movement from seed to tree in full fruit.
They are inseparable.
Chinese, Japanese and Americans, not knowing the Vijnana nor the Alaya, not
the Ananda nor the Prajna nor the Paramitas, have given us deductions and
descriptions. Arithmetic does not explain Algebra nor does Algebra explain
Descartes nor Descartes Fluxions. Neither does the Calculus explained the
Transcendental nor the Transcendental the transfinite. The whole scope of
Mathematics shows a living growth, and Lord Russell would affirm that if Cantor
contradicts Aristotle, it is time to shelve the Greek. The world has not yet
assented. Neither in the transfinite of Mathematics nor in the transfinite of
spiritual attainment is there any room for thing logic. The tree has its own
freedom, so does the “soul.” And if it be to Cantor, or Russell or even
Alfred Korzybski that we must turn to for our logic here, it can be applied to
psychological transformations just as it can be to mathematical transformations
or organic evolution.
The Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra is made up of elements, which, sui
generis, do not belong to the worlds of mind and ego, or even to integrative
processes (cp. Sri Aurobindo). Prajna is an Infinite which penetrates the
finite; Paramita = beyond measurement = transfinite. We can “combine” these
terms and they have been in the group of Sutras known as the “Prajna Paramita
Sutras,” of which the “Diamond Sutra” is one of the most famous.
But what is the “field” where this coalescence, this communion takes
place? It is Hridaya. Our Soto Brethren have omitted, in their English version,
at least this original Sanskrit word world, carried over in Chinese as Shin.
When we come to the Heart, (Hridaya), the Universal Heart, the “original
face,” we are in the “absolute” where all the distinctions and
differentiations disappear. People who recite it in the form presented by the
Japanese, overlook alike the English translation, poor though it may be, and
the vital elements in this Sutra.
The first is that all recitations of this Sutra, apart from hierarchal
transmission as above, may become vain repetitions, as that former Buddha,
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, explained. Jesus also presented Hierarchy, a subject
which has divided Christians to this day. But in the light of Mahayana, the
divisions among Buddhist have not been so determinative, and for a long time
the monks of all schools, living and extinct, studied together. Indeed they do
to this in Korea.
This Hridaya plus Prajna may be the Sat-chit-ananda of the Hindus. But it
can never be the deduction, the derivative, the description. No one writes
books on the derivatives and claims to be explaining the integrals. To
understand the integral of “self,” one must get the integration. There is
also something like the induction attunement we have in sound, light,
electricity. The truth of Dharma is not separate from the truth of nature,
covered or uncovered by science.
The Light of Asia is real, not symbolic light. The patriarchs were
transformed, transformable and transforming functionaries.
Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya is not verbal, but as gyo or sutra it is verbalized. It
is a grand paean of ultimate synthesis of all that was contained in the Buddha
enlightenment, carried from generation to generation by the Patriarchs who had
experienced this enlightenment. And verbally it comes to a grand crescendo in
its final Mantram: Gate! Gate! Paragate! Parasamgate! Bodhi! Savaha! This
should never be changed. By itself it is a grand transcending Mantram. But it
also contains the words, whose essences are the Trikaya or cosmic bodies which
make up this universe.
But there is more in this Sutra. The finality of the efforts of the devotee
comes in his transformation to Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva who looks down
and has compassion for all humanity. The Tathagata was concerned with sin,
sorrow, suffering and death and sought the causes and their elimination. He did
not present any doctrine of phenomenal enlightenment which was apart from these
problems. And therefore those who claim to have enlightenment experience which
is separate from the Law of Causation, the Eightfold Path and the Spiritual
Attainment, are not in true sense Bodhisattvas. One cannot deny experience,
attainment and some sort of fulfillment. But was this Buddha hood?
So when Senzaki taught, he was not merely intellectualizing; he was
transmitting; we felt it in our entire being, in all six or ten phases which
make up the real or potential human being.
Without the Hridaya, sitting makes us stone Buddhas. We have the Dhyana but
not the Karuna, nor even the Metta. Love and compassion were taught from the
very beginning by Lord Buddha. Over emphasis on ritual, sitting or any one
aspect of the Eightfold Path, downgrades the other aspects. Buddha did not to
establish a religion, or even less sects. He came to show the Indian people
that all theories without corresponding attainment were merely theories.
Attainment was the essential of spiritual training and development.
Buddhahood passed from age to age, through Patriarchs. The same is true
today. The note of triumph in Senzaki’s voice, the light which illumined his
personality I never saw again in that particular form. Zoso and the write
thought Nyogen Senzaki was more than a Zen monk, he was a Patriarch. At his
death this was substantiated.
The Golden Lotus
November 25, 1964
We have read your letter of November 3rd with great interest, and regret the
delay in answering because of heavy mail.
However, we are at a loss to comment on your information and opinions on the
history of Buddhism in the U.S., because it is not clear to us just exactly
what you wish to convey. We are of the impression that you were asked by Mr.
Aiem Sankhavasi of the World Fellowship of Buddhists to report to him on
American Buddhism. But this we do not understand, since Rev. Harold H. Priebe
was mentioned in the WFB bulletin as representative for U.S., and we have not
noticed any announcement of change.
Your last sentence also indicates that you may have been asked to write us
by Mr. Sankhavasi, and in that case we would like to know why—either from you
or from him—because your letter would then become an official Fellowship
communication. We have always tried to uphold the Fellowship since Dr.
Malalasekera recognized me as a delegate to the second Conference, which I was
unable to attend. Will you therefore advise us what it is you wish to say for
Mr. Sankhavasi—if that is the situation.
Meantime, we do not agree with you on your statement there was lack of
harmony in U.S. prior to 1950. We bear witness to cooperation, goodwill,
and friendliness from the Japanese sects and many individuals up to the time
Robert Stuart Clifton joined our Staff in 1952, when all that ended. We still
suffer from our association with this man. I need not—I assume—tell you
that we did not know his record with the Japanese Shin-shu in San Francisco at
the time he was associated with us.
The present “two camps” we mentioned are among American
Buddhists—those who follow Robert Stuart Clifton and those who do not follow
him. If you do not know this you do not know American Buddhism, but perhaps you
beg the question by talking about the Japanese sects. We ourselves do not
profess to judge or criticize Japanese, Chinese, or Tibetan Buddhists, as we
consider them the responsibility of the various Eastern sects in the U.S.
We do not agree with your use of the word “sanghas.” Where is there a
“sangha” in the United States? Not the powerful Shin-shu which still sends
its men to Japan for ordination! Not the Soto Zen, which is still a branch of
the Japanese headquarters! Not the Tibetans, split into three factions! Not the
Chinese, whose priests can be counted on one hand! And not the minority
Japanese sects—Nichiren and Rinzai!
Here we recognize branches of sects, under one, two or more ordained men of
several ranks in our cities—and that is all.
It is too bad you did not step forward to offer us your valuable
recollections when we were publishing the Founders of American Buddhism series.
From inability to find records or first-hand reports at that time we could not
complete histories of important people such as Dr. Kirby. Even at this late
date we will be glad to give consideration to contributions, and we regret you
have been so long in writing us.
“The Golden Lotus” has been in publication for twenty-one years, Rev.
Lewis, and we think it strange that this is the first we have heard from you,
or of you from any source. But since you write “because of the request of the
World Fellowship of Buddhists,” we hope you will be good enough to clarify
your object in writing us, and perhaps write again with recollections and
history of Dr. Kirby and his work. If an article on this subject is submitted
in readiness to publish, it can do so under your name and rank.
Very truly yours,
Holiday Season and Santa Claus Time United States Style
Without doubt you have been the worst kid in San Francisco this past year,
but because Santa Claus never forgets kids no matter how naughty they have been
... for the Holiday season you get an Old Koan and it would do you well to
Fine show falling flake by flake.
Each flake in its own proper place.
Shame on you for all the junk in your letters ... my wish for you is that
the coming year you will not only contemplate the above koan but start
practicing it in everyday life.
A Happy Holiday to Sam
Thank you for the letter and sharing your experiences with me. Don’t be
too anxious to put the robe on—you can get a great deal more done as is. As
old Chuang Tzu said, “All you have to do—is Be”—this you are.
May the coming year be filled with joy and creativeness—the true sign of an
enlightened and emancipated being. Your sense of humor and kindness is
great—don’t let only of the wooden Indians get you down.
Your friend in Dharma, Constance Luick
January 22, 1965
My dear Mr. Rogers:
I have undertaken two letters enclosed here which cannot be fully justified,
being as they are a mixture of historical and personal materials, marred by the
absence of immediate data (destruction of files) and loss of years. In several
cases there are still collaborating witnesses but some of them are of the “do
no evil” type which makes them refuse ever to say anything bad, especially of
the dead, but who nonetheless are not positive moralists.
In 1935 I was studying the sciences from which I began to depart for a
number of years returning thereunto later in life. This gives one an attitude
toward factual acceptance with a minimum of interpretation but immediately
throws one into hostility with those who prefer interpretations and ideals to
My original moral training, being biblical, was necessarily dualistic and I
abhor that. But also among many who believe they are “Buddhists” the
heritage of this dualistic outlook continues and is so strong they either
by-pass Theravadin teachings, or intrude it everywhere, contradicting or
avoiding the cosmic psychology preeminent in India in all ages with its “I am
the vine, ye are the branches thereof” philosophy.
The teaching of Lord Buddha may be pictured as a tree with its trunk down
and its leaves up; the history of Buddhism may be pictured as a tree with its
trunk up and its foliage down, or as a reversed river. But the Indian
teaching—which we don’t study, says that when Dharma decays the Renovator
Most “Buddhists” ignore this entirely, are attached to ego and do not
consort readily with other Buddhists and the Enlightenment which was so
engrained early in life, is but a superficial part of their various and varying
theologies. A person like myself who is ingrained in Indian literature and
philosophy, who has read the entire Tipitaka and was closely associated with
Dwight Goddard for years has no chance and does not care either. It is even
more complicated that this person was accepted by about everybody both
Buddhists and non-Buddhists throughout Asia and will be again. But as he has no
leadership complex, does not wish to found a school or teach a particular
methodology, he can only cooperate or not cooperate.
The Enlightenment experience makes one realize the totality of humanity but
does not make one capable of impressing this on analysts and dualists no matter
how often they change their theologies. He considers the transformance of
personality much more important but will not argue over this very basic
teaching of both Hinayana and Mahayana.
Even the Eightfold Path I interpret totally differently and do not believe
it can be explained until one has gone through at least one of the Jhana.
(Zen realization is another aspect of this, but this means realization and not
some of the theoretical disciplines which themselves are totally contrary to
the actual teachings of the actual Lord Buddha.)
All evidence is that Tathagata would fit in nicely with our scientific
culture and not with our business, politics, art, philosophy, psychology, etc.
which do not demand evidence of life but only personal satisfaction.
All Indian teachings are that Enlightenment is measured by Bliss, not what
we call “Knowledge.” Para-jna or Prajna shows something beyond knowledge,
and this is the basis of difference between popular Hinduism and Popular
Buddhism. Buddha did not teach “Buddhism” anyhow, he taught Arya Dharma and
even made forms of Mahayana and I presume Vajrayana are themselves variants of
this same Arya Dharma.
Self-satisfaction is not of itself wisdom. Again and again I have been
challenged by sages: “Do you feel my pain?” This is basic. People who do
not feel the pains of others cannot convey the teachings of Lord Buddha, but
they certainly can “teach” all kinds of “Buddhism.”
Now I have gone into and through another form of Jhana which pierces time
and space and which makes the sins, the short-comings, the wrongs done by
individuals not particularly important. Everybody, as Lord Buddha taught, has
perfect enlightenment. All name-and-form has shortcomings; all attachments to
egos show incompletion. The use of “self” and “other” is contrary not
only to the wisdom of the Buddha or to the wisdom of India but to all wisdom.
The term “self” does not appear in the Hebrew bible. It was gradually
introduced in the Greek translation, in the rise of Pauline Christianity and
finally in the triumph of Mani though he was condemned yet his teachings
gradually pushed St. Augustine’s spirituality out of the way and still do.
When an American (and occasionally an Englishman) has the transformation, he
has to face the whole social order and culture. But fortunately this person had
a pretty good training in Hyper- dimensional Geometry and Non-Euclidean
Geometry before it happened to him, so he still stands. Besides, from the very
beginning Dr. Kirby sent me on a path from which I have never been able to
extricate myself and do not wish to.
This country needs the moral and psychological teachings of Lord Buddha and
less attention to “I am right and you are wrong”—it is only that Buddhist
leaders, like all theologians, tend to consider their congregations as more
important than their “truths”—the “truth-lovers” become hermits, and
Samuel L. Lewis
772 Clementina St.,
San Francisco 3, Calif.
January 22, 1965
To the Editors
The Golden Lotus,
608 West Upsal St.,
Philadelphia, Pa. 19119
My dear friends:
I must thank you for your several copies and if it were not for the fact
that I received an ordination to this point in Japan I should not now be
writing negative statements. For I do not think negative statements of
themselves have any value in the universal and if you react on the ground of
the negative statements, the point is missed entirely.
I find myself in a world of growing contention and have two complete
policies toward it: (a) because my mission is mixed up in them because of
actual history and because of ordinations, efforts can be made to get facts
straight without any desire to change peoples’ conclusions; (b) because of
these contentions in a larger sphere everything is being put into my hands. For
certainly this week
I have been placed on the panels of two World Congresses of Faiths, one to
be hold in the United States and one in India, neither of these positions was
sought but when examination was made of knowledge’s and perhaps attainments,
the passing was very easy. Yet if one were to go before most contending peoples
they would be the first to reject such possibilities.
This immediately brings up the most awkward and at the same time the most
saluditary of all situations—the almost complete neglect of the Law of Karma
by the vast majority of peoples in the West who vainly imagine they are
disciples of Dharma. At the lower levels they are no doubt disciples of the
Dharma, but the whole situation is like that of grammar school children taking
over education because they are in the vast majority (true in some lands)
without regard to educational attainment.
And as the number of Buddhist groups grows-and they are growing, the less
and less attention is paid to any portion of the world’s greatest literature
not recognized by Mortimer Adler & Co. And nothing grieves me so such as to
find the majority—and it certainly is a majority—of so-called students of
the Dharma joining Mortimer Adler in ignoring the vast literature, nay
wisdom-literature of the East.
The next difficulty one faces is that too much attention is paid to
personalities within the folds of these Buddhist groups. My first teachers,
Rev. H. T. Kirby and Nyogen Senzaki not only denied the continued existence of
ego-substance, but refused practically to consider it important. Therefore name
and form were not important. But practically the whole Western world of
Dharma-students has thrown out the Indian background of Lord Buddha, and
neither argument nor explanation helps. People want peace not at any price, but
each at his own price and everybody has a different peace and a different
On the favorable side one is glad you are mentioning the Buddha Universal
Church. It was not only built by very simple persons, but it grew
magnificently. And at the moment I am cooperating in getting people to come to
their production of “Amitabha” which will be given shortly. Personally I
consider this a remarkable achievement and its timing is so excellent because
it overlaps the Vietnamese situations about which this country knows so
little, cares so little but demands interference.
I also feel that if Brothers Fung did nothing else but translate the
“Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch” that is an achievement which will live on. I
personally believe that the not-Rev. Dr. Daisetz Suzuki has been over-rated in
every respect, something I both inherited from Nyogen Senzaki and indeed from
Daisetz himself who, finding he could not ward off encomiums joined and even
led his own parade.
I do not know any Buddhist translation superior to this undertaking for if
it is scanned closely one becomes aware at all times of the Enlightenment
experience of Hui Neng and its relation also to the Enlightenment experiences
of Bodhidharma and Sakya Muni. But in trying to impress a world of
“experts” who have not had any Enlightenment experiences nor even Prajna,
one can only let the book speak for itself and in time I think it shall.
And there is no more glaring example of the operation of karma than the
removal of Chancellor Edward Strong from the University of California who not
only refused to permit Dr. Paul Fung speak at a gathering on Asia, but had no
Chinese speak at a gathering on China. This is a horrible example of something
exceedingly rotten in this “only in America” which makes us the laughing
stock of the world and no foreign aid is going to overcome this blatant
exhibition of prejudices. The only way I know to atone for it is to advertise
“Amitabha” and “The Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch.”
As the thread of these copies is the purported history of Robert Clifton, I
regret I cannot agree on the number of pages given to this man, which might
have been given to Sokei-an Sasaki and Nyogen Senzaki and Dwight Goddard. The
pioneer Paul Caruso did not influence many peoples and his Buddhism was mental
and ethical, and so analytical that it could not and did not influence other.
There was no Enlightenment, no Prajna in it.
If you have any material on the life of Goddard these would be welcome. I
failed to get them for Dr. Malalasekera. But Goddard himself was a martyr more
than a pioneer and this process of Americans accepting Eastern wisdom along the
lines of evolution definitely set down in the scriptures and also in the
teachings outside the scriptures, is a very, very slow process. The nearest we
have—and it had to be in fiction—is found in the works of L. Adams Beck.
Our democracy has, blinded us to the Enlightenment Experience and all its
The law of karma also operates in the gradual removal of Alan Watts from the
scene. His prowess was even more dramatic than that of Daisetz and he has
been successful in establishing a social recognition of amorality as essential
to “Buddhism” so much so that the Britannica has some very caustic words to
say. And especially here in California you find a Buddha-less Buddhism with
which I do not chose to be associated.
[page 3 missing]
I do not know—and the files are gone, what Robert was doing in the Eastern
States. There are fragments of memory: New York, Buffalo, Rochester, New
Jersey, Washington, etc. In some instances the fruit seems very slight but now
Dr. Richard Robinson has obtained a leading position in university instructions
and I must say he has the most profound and to be the finest presentation of
the Dharma for anybody in the Western world. But unfortunately, and here I must
agree with you, all these people and Dr. Leydecker are so tinged with
egocentricity that one doubts whether the Enlightenment experience or
Dharma-transmission can come without a revolutionary change on their parts.
Where we differ may be (I won’t hold to the point) in our interpretation
of Compassion. And I do know we differ in the applied interrelation of the
definitions of Samma, Samyak, etc. in the Eightfold Path.
The statement on page 195 that Robert was still attached to Shin is
questionable. I have heard he was ordained by Rev. Matsuoka in Chicago and I do
know he went through training at Tsurumi, that he was validated at Tsurumi
(Sojiji Temple) and that he was known at Tsurumi. This refutes the statement
about any ordination in Chicago being valid or invalid for Sojiji is a
I do not know what is meant on page 196 about “Dharma succession” in
Soto Zen. Without ordination I have twice had “Dharma succession” in Soto
(San Francisco and Tsurumi) and the “ordained” people don’t recognize
it and I have not seen much evidence of “Dharma succession” in a majority
of the ordained Soto people.
One is in no position to refute some very strong statements made on pp. 217
ff. Nor am I anxious to refute, only to get some facts straight. I failed on
two or three occasions in Washington to locate any operative Buddhist movement
though on an earlier visit I did so find. And these people were then very warm
concerning Robert Clifton.
Now at the cost of egotism, I pass on to myself:
There is a group of my friends (not “Buddhists” goodness knows,
“Buddhists” just don’t do anything like that) who are putting on
rehearsals for “The Life of Lord Buddha.” They are very reverend, very
devout, very inspired, and they keep pretty close to text and spirit without
losing sight of the basic Enlightenment experience all through. These are an
example of the rising generations in California who have not been led down into
narrow alleys, noble or ignoble.
My friend, Mrs. Evans was here and will return. She has all rights to Dr.
Evans Wentz’ books and is planning a cinema rendition of The Life of
Milarepa which will be spiritual and not like the Japanese “Life of Lord
Buddha.” If you wish more information, please advise.
Finally I must apologize for any and all negative statement excepting for
historical purposes. Lord Buddha differed from most “Buddhists.” He said:
“I see how all mankind has Perfect Enlightenment but they do not know it. I
must go and show them the Way.”
January 23, 1965
My dear Mr. Rogers:
It is almost fifty years since entering the palace of Education at the
Panama Exhibition here in San Francisco, I decided that a just God could not
condemn humanity for wrong beliefs and I determined to seek “truth” without
regard to past instructions or inheritances. Soon I came upon two booths next
to each other one occupied by the Theosophists and the other by “Right
Reverend Mazziniananda Maha Thero.”
I was soon drawn into two complexes, one the hyperbolic belief that the
great masters were in Tibet and the other the struggle between “white” and
“black” forces between good and evil. And I found Mazziniananda, so called,
definitely on the “wrong” side.
Devotees here in American are in three classes—those who seek salvation by
doctrine, those who seek it through another person and those who are willing to
be transformed and reborn. The latter are a very small class and throughout
history are always persecuted or neglected. This is so much that when Dr.
Warwick, the Red Hat disciple came here I told him that he could find men
without knowledge of Dharma but that they were recluses. His contacts with Dr.
Eidmann gave him a justification of these remarks but there are others.
The phenomenon of Homo Pseudo-Spiritualis Calif ornicus has, of
course, spread during the years but it is still dominant. The true Dharma was
introduced here by Soyen Shaku under whose influence I came in 1919 to witness
immediately two battles royal among Buddhists and Occultists with the same
lines, and the beginning of attacks on this person by the lovers of Cloudnine
ethereal- ism for daring to oppose those who were my “superiors”—this
continues and will probably until my end.
We had then about three classes of Buddhists—the followers of Shaku Soyen,
the Pure Land the theosophical-Tibetans. The latter had then a legitimate
leader, Dr. Vandernailen who wrote On the Heights of the Himalaya and
many believed in him and the popular conclusion still existed for a dozen years
that the great Masters are in Tibet. But he doctor—who undoubtedly was
“Baird Spaulding” went down to Mayaland and claimed that these people also
had the exoteric doctrines and this appalled everybody. What better
opportunity for a champion of the Tibetans!
Mazziniananda was a sort of eagle-beak hawk-eyed person, nothing wrong in
that but it could not be reconciled to his claim that he was a Persian prince
(he did not insist he was legitimate) who had been educated in Tibet, which did
not prevent a sharp British accent. He gave a service which he claimed was
Tibetan but which a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, investigating, said
was from North India. And there is no doubt he added thirty years to his
His sermons were obtuse and confusing, a type that delighted the Homo
Pseudo-Spiritualis Californicus. They were very ritualistic but now I can say
they did not resemble Buddhist ritual which I have either seen in person or in
picture. The rite was definitely based on Cosmic Deism and accepting for the
Triratna inclusions and the wishing to make people Blissful (now sadly
discarded by most “Buddhists”) they would hardly be acceptable.
Nevertheless as I started to become and have since become a sort of Cosmic
Monist my young friends and self had no objection to this lack of orthodoxy and
there was a larger congregation than any Westerner has drawn excepting Robert
Clifton for a short while.
L. Adams Beck has sent for Rev. M.T. Kirby to come from Engakuji to
Vancouver where he was so successful the Japanese Archbishop Ichida either sent
for him or was so ordered by the Japanese foreign mission group and he was made
“assistant” to Mazziniananda. Kirby taught Dhammapada, Shaku Soyen Zen and
morality and these, in combination with personality conflicts lead to a
struggle both private and public.
Mazziniananda was always pointing in pride to Lhasa where he claimed to have
had his training. Kirby said that the best training was not at Lhasa and that
the Pachen Lama, not the Dalai Lama, was the spiritual Leader of the Tibetans.
On no point was there any agreement which was confusing to us Sunday-school
But as Mazziniananda had left “elementary training” to Kirby who was
teaching us something and as he did not either kowtow to the Japanese Pure Land
there were innumerable scenes public and private.
From this point on the story becomes worse, for it was also one between vice
and virtue. In private meetings I found that Mazziniananda had not personal
magnetism, he used charm, he taught no deep philosophy, and he gave no evidence
of any kind of monastic training. Kirby, putting the pieces together found out
that he had been a German doctor who had been stationed in India, learned a
good deal of Indian rituals, and, putting the pieces together began a career,
since followed by many, of drawing audiences who would accept anything bizarre.
For when the battle ended he dropped out of sight and was never heard of
But he did give ordinations to people and one of those persons first
attracted was Frank Udale who did a lot of interim work at Honganji. It took
Udale some time to extricate himself from bizarre metaphysics and mark out his
own path, but alas, when he did become free it was only to become a victim to
What Mazziniananda overlooked was that Shaku Soyen had been here, had
attracted many people, especially of “birth and breeding” and that many
socialites were then drawn to Buddhism. These people joined the battle in
ejecting Mazziniananda. The Socialite history became more and more involved
with that of Buddhist art rather than Buddhism itself, its centers have been in
Berkeley and Claremont and Piedmont on the East Bay section and its heritage
is still at work. My own drawing teacher, Perham Nahl became converted to
Buddhism in Japan but was killed in an accident not long after.
Kirby was promoted and went to the Islands which made Nyogen Senzaki come
out of his hole and come “leader.” His whole outlook was quite different
and he did no Theravadin teaching as did Kirby. But we did learn how to wipe
out samskaras and not to give importance to evil intrusions, and by
forgetting, wipe out the skandic perturbations. But even this Theravadin
teaching is no longer presented by “Buddhists”; that is why I am so
interested in the dramatic interpretation of the Life of Lord Buddha—it may
return emphasis to Dharma rather than to the unending diverse egocentricities
which began with Mazziniananda and still continue.
Samuel L. Lewis
The Golden Lotus
February 8, 1965
Rev. Samuel L. Lewis
772 Clementina Street,
San Francisco, 3, Calif.
Many thanks for several long letters of recent date, and your kind effort to
assist us. I also thank you for giving so much information about yourself, your
aims, and service to Buddhism. I regret that I do not have the time to discuss
myself except to say I do book reviews, write the history of American Buddhism,
and edit news items. Because you comment on my history I am answering you.
I note you recommend Buddha’s Universal Church. Since you have not been
reading “The Golden Lotus” until this year, you would not know that we
published every item we found on the progress of this church. As for the Sutra
of the Sixth Patriarch, I have reviewed it in the January-February number.
You say Dr. D. T. Suzuki has been over-rated, and again I agree with you. Some
years ago I reviewed one of his books and gave it a very adverse review.
Beatnik and Neozen Buddhism can be traced to him.
I note you disagree with me about the history and say “you do not agree on
the number of pages given to this man (Clifton) which might have been given to
Nyogen Senzaki and Dwight Goddard.” I already have given the life and work of
Dr. Goddard, the Salanaves, Sokei-an, Dr. Paul Cyrus, and many others. In a
previous letter I told you I started this history with the arrival of
Buddhist monks in America some four centuries before Columbus, and included
everything and everyone since that time. These articles on the
Founders of American Buddhism have been appearing in “The Golden
Lotus” for the past four years, and will continue for some time yet, after we
finish with Clifton.
In my previous letter I told you the reason why I am writing this history.
The reason was and is that Clifton and his followers claim he was the sole
founder of Buddhism in America. You say you do not know “where any claim
arose that Clifton was in any way the founder of Buddhism.” Surely you have
read these claims—and who made them!—in the copies of “The Golden
Lotus” we sent you. These were exact words quoted from publications in our
possession—the claims in private letters are something else again.
You yourself do not agree with Clifton and his men, for your various letters
make it clear that Dr. Kirby, Sokei-an, Shaku Soyen, Dwight Goddard, Nyogen
Senzaki and others were teaching Buddhism in the U.S. before Clifton was
known. So you agree with me, and disagree with Clifton’s men in San
The question is—why does Clifton and his men try to take the credit away
from these great teachers who taught you? Why do you permit it? I consider it
my duty to protect these pioneers from being displaced and degraded. That is
why I write the history—to introduce to our readers the true Founders of
Buddhism in America, and to show Clifton’s claims have no foundation
But you make statements about Clifton which do not agree with what Clifton
said about himself. You say Clifton came to San Francisco in 1928, but
Clifton never mentions this. He did say he was editing a Japanese newspaper, or
helped on English. You say he was in Japan in 1931, but Clifton says he was
there in 1934 to receive ordination from Prince Ohtani. He never mentioned
Sokeian in any of his many writings and letters. You say he was in Southeast
Asia from 1945 to 1950—but I can assure you he was, without doubt or
question, an employee of the General Mills Food Corporation in Buffalo, N.Y.
from 1944 to 1954.
Clifton was in Thailand in 1954, 1955 and 1956, but he had to go to Laos
where the rules are lax to get ordination. He was refused ordination by both
the Sanghas in Thailand, and his title of “Phra” was either self- assumed
or just a courtesy title while he lived in Thailand.
You also question his Soto Zen ordination, or initiation, in Chicago but I
have proof of that. He was ordained by Bishop Takashina and others. Clifton
claimed he was ordained into the Shinshu by Bishop Masuyama in 1933, and
received higher ordination in Japan, and therefore he must have been a member
of the Shinshu until he resigned from it and received ordination into Soto Zen,
as mentioned above. You are incorrect in thinking we question his Shinshu
I have discussed these points about Clifton because the three or four
versions of his life that he himself published do not agree with each other,
and because no one, including yourself, appears to know very much about him.
You are the only person who claims he came to California in 1928. He said he
left California to come East in 1935 but no one, including yourself, can say
whether this is true or not. However, any additional documentary proof or
additional information any one can give will be very welcome here.
Your interesting remarks on Japanese sects, practices and rituals I will
have to pass over, as a layman does not have sufficient information on training
and rules to discuss them. But we appreciate any information you can give.
Very truly yours,
[Page 1 missing—Ed]
Rev. Samuel L. Lewis page #2
March 1st, 1965
Buddhist authorities, but served two years with Clifton in Penang as his
assistant, then returned to the US via Formosa, where he secured a Chinese
We read with interest that Clifton “accepted your spiritual superiority”
but this does not sound like the Clifton we knew, who never accepted anyone’s
superiority. How did he do this? I might add he never mentioned your name to us
in his numerous letters, though he copiously used the names of anyone and
everyone he considered would be well enough known to add prestige to
Otherwise, we agree with many of your comments, and thank you for the time
and trouble you take in writing us.
Editor “The Golden Lotus”
The Golden Lotus
March 12, 1965
Rev. Samuel L. Lewis
772 Clementina Street,
San Francisco, 3, Calif.
Dear Rev. Lewis:
You continue to cause me to correct statements of yours in your numerous
letters—a situation which I dislike. This letter is therefore for that
purpose, and not to discuss in detail other points in your letters on which we
happen to agree, and others on which we might possibly agree if they were
In your letter of March 3rd you say: “I cannot see how you, in
Philadelphia, can possibly dispute the living words of a living witness with
written testimony and a lot more.” Here you are speaking of 1955-1956 in
Thailand. We do not dispute your testimony that some Thai people accepted
Robert Clifton at that time, because we know they did; perhaps they did not
know his history. But this is 1965.
Our comment is that we do not see how you, in San Francisco, can have the
audacity to disregard what proofs we may have in our possession, and
disbelieve what we say. Can you explain that?
Also on March 3rd, you mentioned Rev. Philip Karl Eidmann of Shinshu,
and your wording would indicate you think he is the source of our information
on Clifton. I correct this now in fairness to Rev. Eidmann. Whatever his
opinion of Clifton may be, we do not know what it is. But I note you evidently
disbelieve him also.
You further say on March 3rd: “I am not interested in persons or
personalities.” Why, then, do you persist in trying to convince us that one
“personality” is above reproach and worthy of the name of “priest” or
“monk” in Buddhism?
Kindly bear in mind we have records from 1950 to 1963, and sources of our
own, and documents. You are indignant because we do not accept your bare word
for your good opinion of Clifton. Can you possibly understand we may be
becoming annoyed because you question our word?
I would prefer to discontinue this particular subject entirely, since you
disregard the evidence we present concerning Clifton’s history, and have
advanced only your personal beliefs in your defense of him. We are always
pressed for time, and it is impossible for us to enter into lengthy letters on
subjects not connected with the work of “The Golden Lotus.”
With thanks for your information on other points.
Very truly yours,
The Golden Lotus
April 9, 1965
Rev. Samuel L. Lewis
772 Clementina Street,
San Francisco, 3, Calif.
Dear Rev. Lewis,
It is very kind of you to take time to compose such long letters, yet you
seem to lack the ability to state the purpose of these letters. Then much of
your information is foggy. For instance, in your letter of March 4, 1965, you
tell of a meeting of “The World Buddhist Federation” in Calif. in May. In
our 20 years of publication we have never heard of a “World Buddhist
Federation,” so would you kindly explain what it is.
You next say “in this connection” there has been discussion of “our
position.” Now could you tell me what you mean by “our” position and who
was discussing it. Of course you mean to be helpful but you must admit your
letters are not clear to anyone who reads them.
When you tell me that “it was agreed almost unanimously that the influence
of Alan Watts was much greater than any other” I was surprised, because Watts
has never been mentioned in any of the Buddhist publications or periodicals.
Indeed I thought he was forgotten.
Next you say: “Dr. Leidecker and your good self differ to the extreme in
regard to the personality of Robert Clifton.” This causes me to ask just
how did you acquire such information. The Golden Lotus has never published
anything about Clifton’s “personality”—only his Buddhist record in the
U.S. and action which reflects upon Buddhism.
Of course, if you support the Clifton claim to be the sole cause of Buddhism
in America you will agree with Dr. Leidecker, and that will also mean you deny
any work done by Rev. Kirby, Soyen Shaku, D. T. Suzuki, and the many others
mentioned in our history of American Buddhist pioneers. Why you uphold
Clifton’s claims when you know that Dr. Carus, Dharmapala and many others
worked for Buddhism in America before Clifton was born, is a mystery, and does
not do you credit.
Then you tell me about Brian Goode’s ordinations, and even here your
information is wrong, so that I begin to wonder if someone is trying to mislead
you. Of course, he had several ordinations—but I ask you what good does a
number of ordinations do? Why do the Clifton men collect ordinations like stamp
collectors collect stamps?
The pioneers of Buddhism in America had no interest in ordinations, robes,
and titles, which are so dear to the immature.
I regret I cannot take time for long replies to cover all the points in your
three-page letters, though what you say is of interest and no doubt you mean to
Very truly yours,
772 Clementina St.
San Francisco, Calif.
September 5, 1965
Very Rev. Dom Aelred Graham,
Prior, Benedictine Community,
Portsmouth, Rhode Island
This is a luxury item. For a metaphysician to speak or write about great
metaphysical experiences is a sign of acclaim; for a mystic to utter one word
is received by many as ipso facto a sign he is not a mystic. Thus we have two
cultures according to Lord Snow but looking closer they are nothing but the
Believers and Knowers (or Gnostics) of all times.
The Lord was crucified by the Scribes and Pharisees and in a few years the
Scribes and Pharisees carried the banner, “Galilean Thou Hast Conquered”
and they still carry the banners today. The Scribes and Pharisees of another
day condemned Galileo and then they turned around condemning the Inquisition
even more. And today when we hail with delight the Big Man who call for a
“moral and spiritual evolution,” we reject the Inquisition without
examining their claims-most noble claims, for they said that in man’s zeal to
conquer the heavens, he would lose sight of both bread-winning and moral
nobility on earth. His attention would be elsewhere and the Scribes and
Pharisees of some succeeding generation will howl and holler that the
Inquisition was right after all, after it is too late, when the Moral Law will
have intervened on a generation so consumed with zeal for excitement, any form
of excitement, that it has lost its soul.
Bethlehem-Ephrata produced the Son of God and little Radium gave the key to
all the scientific revolutions of the day, but the first must remain the first
and the last must remain last. Hui-Neng, the Sixth Patriarch, did not even
enter the Zendo and there is no sign he meditated much until later on, and
today the “Zen Buddhist” reject the Hui-Nengs and the Hakuins, but thank
God, we have the “scientific cultures” which demands experience.
As a scientist I have been admitted even to the highest conclaves and
conferences, and my knowledge is quite limited and these people say nothing
about “moral and spiritual evolution,” they are too busy in seeking truth.
But the “truth-seekers” will have none of that, and the disciples of any
person that has attained Moksha or liberation are in the first ranks to deny
this to the followers of any other teacher, or even to the teacher himself. So
when I first returned from a trip to the Orient and a devout Catholic lady
friend who was studying Oriental philosophy asked me, “What shall I do?” I
replied, “Stick to your religion.” And this Catholic lady stands out almost
alone-until recently-in this region to accept the actual mystical and Zen
experiences of any actual person drawn not only from mythology or tradition but
drawn from the facts of the day in a manner very similar to that of the way
scientists drawn conclusions, but on another “plane.”
I left this country in 1956 with no other formula than to eat, dance and
pray with people and I live on eating, dancing and praying with all sorts of
people. Which does not effect Divine Grace because the world can not give nor
take this Grace without the Grace itself.
Receiving a small inheritance I left this country under clouds in 1956,
and went to Japan. Being “superstitious” I always call on holy men before
performing any business. So I went to Kamakura to call on Roshi Ferukawa, under
whom I had Studied Zen years ago-this study being rejected by all the leaders
of various cults and “spiritual movements” in this country, some of whom
you have mentioned and in turn rejected. But I live in San Francisco, or if you
will, California, where hyperbolic claims and scientific validity has little to
do with ’spiritual” religion.
Roshi Ferukawa had been a veritable Marpa, that vicious hard saint of Thibet
who was Guru of Milarepa. But when we called on him it was the reunion of
schoolboys and of the emotions or mentions of the proud “humble” people
were there. We were as little children and when we came to his successor Roshi
Asahina, who is a veritable Milarepa, for practical purposes he was a Milarepa.
And by the Grace we entered Samadhi together, which was recognized by the
Roshis, but not by the “experts.”
Then what did Asahina talk about? Shut the book-stores, clean out the
stables and go to bed! He talked on the divinity of Christ! Then he appointed
me temporary English secretary, etc. all of which was debated until this year
when the American Professors of Oriental Philosophy met and suddenly I found
myself with them, as an expert among experts!
Now I have again been called a Zen Master by the Chief Zen Master of Korea
and it has not only caused a reaction but even a law-suit! This is the way the
people who call for a “moral and spiritual evolution” act.
Well, Reverend Dom, I am nearing the end of my sixties and the body acts as
if it were less than fifty. There is no formula. A life of such tremendous
suffering of such a degree that I went to a psychiatrist on the condition that
if my case were not the hardest she had handled I would pay what she wanted and
if it were the hardest I would get free treatment. This lady was both physician
and psychiatrist accepted everything she is now dead, God bless her.
And in the midst of suffering this person experienced both the crucifixion
and the resurrection. In the coming age when we accept the scientific
procedures in the non-material investigations this will be accredited and there
is not the slightest doubt in one’s mind that the scientists will accept it,
but with the non-scientists it is not even worth mentioning because they judge
only by exteriors.
In the Gospel of St. Thomas it is said: “The Father is an activity and a
rest.” Meditation was practiced by the ancient Hebrews and the Sepher
Ha-Zohar which practically nobody reads is based on the Shem Meditation
and the Lord’s Prayer is nothing but a devotional application of this
Shem Meditation. And if you believe in the Mother-of-God, know that the
Xatrona doctrine also is very important in the Sepher Ha-Zohar.
When the Grand Master of Korea spoke on Wesak Day, he ended by saying:
“Christ and Buddha are one.” This Grand Master has not been successful
here; none of the real Masters of the real Orient have been accepted her. It
may be that God does not wish American to become Orientals but there is nothing
anywhere to limit practices of meditation. And it is far more important to
practice meditation in some form than to write books about it.
My Ko-an is drawn from the words of Lord Jesus Christ which means nothing
but rejections, and success. Buddhists reject it because they will not accept
the Bible; metaphysicians reject it because they say that one who has a Ko-an
never discusses it (I have alluded but not discussed it here); Christians on
the whole reject both Meditations- which is mentioned in the Bible-and the
Ko-an and really the Catholic meditations on Crucifixion and Resurrection are
of the same order as Ko-ans. Having solved Ko-ans and had these solutions
accepted by Zen Masters I may say this.
There is now a book, I think it is called “Seven Steps of Zen” in which
the writer-against all the diatribes of metaphysicians and “truth-seekers”
has described the living experiences of living people. This will “shock”
the metaphysicians but actually it is very true and almost as elementary as it
is true. There is no experience listed which the writer has not had years ago
and either not recorded them or taught them too elementary to be recorded.
There is no transformation. There is no spiritual rebirth and until and unless
there is the spiritual rebirth one’s life is not complete.
Reverend Dom, many of these Zen experiences of this and higher orders are
true and man must learn to accept man’s experiences. The lower can not judge
the higher. Logic is a weapon for the ego-mind and is nothing but “scientific
tautology.” Even Lord Russell has declared that every syllogism of Aristotle
may be disproved! The ego-centric predicament remains and this person was drawn
to the East because Western culture does not examine the ego-centric
predicament. Only most Westerners delving into Oriental religions, become more
ego-centric, more self-centered, and more proud than before.
If it had not been for the Church Fathers in Bombay there may not have come
so soon the intellectual and spiritual revival in India. They were preparing to
translate the Upanishads into European languages to teach to all men, including
“outcasters” and “Mlecchas” and this aroused Swami Dyanananda into
activity. Most Hindus ignore the fact. There is nothing in the Upanishads which
supports the Indian theology any more than it supports the Christian theology.
But the methodologies of the Upanishads are ignored, especially by the various
teachers from India in this country, one or two excepted.
Nor does it matter. You have written “The Love of God” and this is not
only what matters, it is what happens when one steps out of oneself and
submerges the ego in the Universal Being. True, I have found that Sanskrit
supplies the best vocabulary for supernatural experiences and we may have to
humble ourselves and accept Sanskrit words in the super-sciences as we accept
Greek words in the intellectual sciences. But the linguistics do not change the
truth, they only supply words therefore.
In the Beginning was the Dharmakaya and the Dharmakaya was with God. When
one is Graced with Divine Wisdom he may apply what words he will.
There is no sublime Teaching I have not found in all scriptures of all
people, but there is no need to argue about it. The Sublime has to be
You are very right on two points. The first is that superficial
penetration of Oriental meditation has not only not brought any moral
transformations but even brought degradation. My blessed Indian guru, the late
Swami Ramdas, forbade me to have any kind of asana regarding all the asanas as
efforts on the part of man to repeat phases of life exhibited in the lower
creation, and what he wanted was for man to repeat phases of life exhibited in
the “higher creation.” So one has depicted Angels as squatting or
The second is that the divine experience is Love-experience, but it is not
dualistic love-experience. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. The
selfish metaphysical people all want or expect more rain to come to themselves.
They cannot see that rain and Grace are for all. Buddhist books calling for
Grace are either ignored or end in the pure Land Sects which, it must be said,
recognize the Universal Grace but seem to ignore the moral unfoldment.
Nevertheless you do not find crime and delinquency among them.
The real meaning of Sabbath, as I understand it, is withdrawal from outer
activity. We need more repose, we need more retreats. I have met all kinds of
saints of five great religions in many parts of the world and if not saints at
least sages among Hebrews, Taoists and Confucianists. But the saints are more
interesting. Christian saints generally tend to keep quiet about their
attainment and today Indian near-saints are heralded with loud banners. The
love of saints is like rain-love and one is fortunate to contact it.
When I was in Kamakura and taken to the shrines the guide said:
“Suzuki-san was never here.” I was told then I was two grade beyond Daisetz
Suzuki. Now I have been re-ordained in the Korean School as a Master and
enclose a Chinese document which I cannot read.
My master in philosophy, the late Cassius Keyser of Columbia decided that
nobody can dispute St. Thomas Acquinas without disputing himself or reneging on
his so-called logical premises.
Papa Ramdas taught the identity of suffering and ecstasy. My next epic
poem-one writes for posterity-will be on the deeper meanings of crucifixion and
resurrection. This body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. It can do wonders
without performing miracles. Miracles are for the children, love and insight
are for everybody.
With all the acclaim and bombast that may appear here my two main themes in
life are not even mentioned. This is the side-show, or as I said in the
beginning, “this is a luxury item.” Your zen garden has in it the secret of
Samuel L. Lewis
772 Clementina St.,
San Francisco 3, Calif.
7th October, 1965
One writes a little this morning and if there is a letter from you in the
mail, that also will be answered. Yesterday one received an acknowledgement
from the Royal Asiatic Society on a matter which has never been given any
consideration here and will go on in history. And this afternoon late I shall
make an appearance as a spiritual man at a public gathering without the least
assurance of any acceptance.
Today there are a number of public discussions on what people call "Kashmir"
which is largely dialectical considerations of newspaper reports. The situation
is ridiculous. There is a beautiful Kashmiri girl whom I know and when fighting
took place I took a friend to see her and the other night also. But despite all
the chasing of the beautiful girls by the press none has called on her, none
has given her any consideration and the discussions go on and on and we condemn
millions of people to miserable existences because it pleases our egos.
I have not only been to conferences on Kashmir, I actually carried a peace
mission between Pakistan and India, which the American foreign services
rejected-they always reject anyhow-and today there is a deep misunderstanding.
The Kashmiri must-and this is a must-become pawns and guinea pigs like the
Vietnamese while all the "power" struggle to determine what is their best
interest for the moment in the territories occupied by the pawn-guinea pigs.
I had written that Phra Sumangalo will be given notices in the
Encyclopedia of Buddhism and historians of the future will question why his
name is now known here. The other day I attended another of those interminable
conferences on Asian problems-it is either Vietnam or Kashmir, and so far
none of the speakers have been able to answer where and how large the Chinese
army is, where it is stationed, and when they are going to invade India. No
matter what the subject discussed the questions are always about the Chinese
and to mention Arnold Toynbee or Oswald Sprengler is to commit social
None of the speakers have been able to answer questions which have nothing
to do with the issues and have lost audiences whose minds are so far away, only
it is terrible that these misled people-and I am talking about the educated-are
trying to determine the world’s future. After the address Tuesday I mentioned
three names to the speaker and they all are his friends, one being Princess
Poon Diskul. I did not mention Robert then nor certain other persons whom I am
not supposed to know but do.
There is an effort now to establish a group to study Yogacara teachings.
Years ago I made this effort and was squelched publicly and privately. The
perception that went to Japan, betrayed Nyogen Senzaki, became Shingon monks
and went on a career of seducing young girls. But this has not stopped a
certain degree of Alaya functioning. The Alaya, plus the Sraddha and Prajna as
advocated by the WBF can, will and do solve all problems, but there is going to
be no effort to impel study, because….
Some of us were discussing Nyogen Senzaki today. He also taught
"Hierarchal Buddhism" and today hardly anybody mentions it. If they do, they
are considered either as too complex or as mystery-mongers. And as there is
Hierarchal Buddhism when one meets a real representative of Hierarchy, not
understanding him one judges him and pushes him aside. All the Hierarch wishes
is that people have the enlightenment like Lord Buddha taught. And if people
tried to have the enlightenment, some would have and some who were disciples of
Nyogen Senzaki, a long time or a short time have had it.
I was amused today after being abused. I was abused because I tried to tell
there was a profound reason in Ruth Sasaki’s refusing to see Swami Kryananda.
Swamiji fulfills the American ideal of an enlightened man and Ruth fulfills the
scriptural ideal of an Enlightened person. A lady has just returned from Kyoto
and she had no trouble in finding and seeing Ruth. Ruth is Bodhisattva, but
this interferes with our conception of an Enlightened person. We like
Kryananda, we like Krishnamurti. We like Masters who obey our rules. We do not
accept Masters who are beyond rules. But I am satisfied, again Ruth received
the little person whose teacup was not filling over and she put tea in it. She
will not see those who have full teacups and who cannot receive.
The Sufis have the symbol of the crescent moon for the receptive mind. If
one is receptive he can receive and may not judge at all. He can receive when
he feels somebody has something to give. The other does not give, it is only
that by being receptive he receives. Shaku Soyen said, “There is nothing to
give and nothing to receive” but in self-realization it is something like
Hierarchs may not go around saying, “I am a Hierarch.” Nicholas Roerich
said that and he delighted a lot of people. They did not say then that the
awakened never tell. They accepted. He was not a true Hierarch but his wife
(not he) was open to the Hierarchs and was received by them in Tibet and
elsewhere. But he was too proud and could not receive.
Now there is in my opinion a Hierarch here and whether he says he is a
Hierarch or not does not matter. From his history he seems to be a Hierarch
(which may be important or not) but when he speaks ex cathedra, one can only
say, with Jesus Christ, “Let him who hath an ear, hear.”
One is happy over any step towards enlightenment no matter who or how or
where or why. But Lord Buddha challenged the unenlightened and we challenge the
Enlightened. So we have war, and more war. Peace is within our grasp but we
want the persons, the personal. The Bible teaches that God is no respector of
persons and Buddha taught anatta.
When I am through with the Steps of Zen I will write more. But it is strange
that one who has passed through all those stages is not respected by those who
have not. In science this could never happen that is why I said Hon. U Thant
was wrong in asking for a "moral and spiritual revolution" to balance science.
Science is the moral and spiritual revolution; those who do not know listen to
those who do.
772 Clementina St.,
San Francisco 3, Calif.
November 23, 1965
I have been all over Asia and find all Asians very impatient who agree on
one thing-that any American living with them can return home and make a
thousand converts and send them lots of money. Mostly it is that Americans will
not listen to them at all and I know several who returned to Asia disgruntled.
At the present time I have only enough time for my private meditations and they
generally end with a Prajna note which is both infallible and unacceptable!
You may recall years ago that you wrote that Allan Watts and C. Humphreys
were getting together and that would be your finish. I wrote that when these
two super-egoists got together there would be such a dog-fight that would be
your beginning. Foresight and insight may come through Prajna and they may also
operate through insight into Alaya which leaves room for all the cultural and
scientific knowledge of the age. Only it requires deep meditation, time and
effort until one advances in it. Or until it is one’s dharma.
Snow’s "two cultures" manifest at every turn. I was consulting some
professors about a real program to bring some sort of settlement in the
Indian-Kashmir complex. The situation is even more ridiculous because they,
like the writer, have lived in these lands, consorted with the natives at all
levels and until this week were totally ignored by the press and public. At
that time—and there is always the right TIME, the phone rang and a colleague
of Rickie Robinson phoned to promote the organization of American Oriental
studies, based on scientific and interior experiences and we shall raise the
Dharma out of the succeeding stages (a la Comte) of theological and
metaphysical phases and put it on a sound "scientific" base where the
experiences of mankind will be given some consideration.
As soon as there is a definite progress or definite impasse I may be able to
take this matter up especially as all material plans have been altered while we
promote ’peace." In general there is a growing cordiality on and at the
universities. In the case of San Francisco State College, there are a number of
staff people deeply interested in real Oriental faiths, at all levels, and not
either the bombast or ignorance which prevails. The authority on Vietnam is
at Stanford University which is about 25 or more miles away. I have written him
and hope he will answer some day.
With the heart-attacks on so many of our former friends and associates
this person would prefer social rejections, so he may at least live on. The
college courses now being attended all accept human experience above human
speculations and human philosophies. Papers are being written in rapidity on
phases of human consciousness and being accepted, not only that, without a
quiver, for the instructors want the human experiences.
Have sent cards to Asahina and Kapleau. Kapleau, to me, has rescued Zen and
the half-gods (Blyth, Watts, Humphreys, D. Suzuki) must go that the gods have
come. I shall probably have to face this in full Saturday when the
“American-Asian Friendship” Society meets.
The mail brought more announcements of Vietnam reports. The "protocol"
here is that religion is the issue in Kashmir and is not an issue at all in
Vietnam. This is the public outlook and it is most difficult to face.
The Pope has been here and this seems to have been more of a nuisance
interfering with our excitement complex on parts of Asia which we are ignorant
and the baseball games. The less attention to pay to facts the more determined
we are to sit in judgment. But there are a few things which stand out in the
He can see that religion itself is on trial and if there is nothing more but
the repetition of old shibboleths, always verbalized as "truths" the new
generations will turn away entirely. The next thing is the last of any semantic
appreciation of “Holy Spirit.” This term is a bastard translation of the
Hebrew for "Divine Breath"—which is sometimes equated to the "Holy Mother."
But as Christianity has rejected the breath as a vehicle of spiritual
transmission we remain in ignorance. And I received a rather comforting letter
the other day that it was predicted it would take two generations before the
acceptance of what is being offered, but these teachings would be accepted.
Western people are totally lacking in curiosity but some are not so lacking
in humility. Physicians and anthropologists are delving into folk-medicine and
"magic" of aboriginal people and returned with treasures. I brought back the
later Upanishads and found two persons interested outside the universities. We
see today that the Kurman texts, the Gospel of Phillip and other uncovered
manuscripts are gradually overthrowing the traditional religions. And the
superficial study of other scriptures will also overthrow the orthodoxies of
non-traditional religions. People read and say they comprehend, but when it
comes to teaching, they must elide as much as possible. The difference in this
sense between science and religion is that the scientist, disciplined in rigor,
must avoid nothing while the non-scientist merely chooses and censors what he
wishes to give out.
A knowledge of Breath will show that there are two universes, one subject to
change, decay and death; and the other content, peaceful and interminable. This
opens the two worlds of Samsara and Nirvana. The logic of identification or
non-identification does not hold. Those who have not the Holy Spirit or Divine
Breath or the Cosmic outlook cannot know the involvements but they can refuse
to investigate and they can refuse to alter their public utterances, so the
humanity is kept in the dark. Besides it is not necessary to reveal this
knowledge to everybody, or as it has been taught, “’happiness" must be
My classes deal with mysteries, ancient and not so ancient, but not a
teacher has rejected a priori my reports, and indeed it is going the other way
now. We shall also have a session on the new religions of Japan and this will
enable one to give some direct reports-most of which have been summary and a
priori rejected by "Buddhists" as well as others.
This leads to the final subject. Samma Drishthi has nothing whatever to do
with dualism and seeing what is "good" and rejected and what is not-good. It
means “Clear Sight” and in the clear sight there must be the removal of
ego. When the ego is removed, there are no "good" nor "bad" accounts, and when
there is Samma Drishthi one can perceive in, through and with Alaya Vijnana as
a matter of experience.
This sort of foresight is a different Upaya from Prajna but operates in
harmony with it, for the universe is One. But it particularizes and operates
with Karma. Such things as justice, righteousness, nobility are always evident
but do not predominate where egocentricity prevails. But one can easily see
through it. Personalities and personalisms are of no avail. By keeping quiet
and "look" one will know the outcome. It takes a little longer than an
experiment in Mechanics or Statistics, but it is just as sure. Only in the
world’s affairs there may be more elements or complications and therefore one
usually has to practice Meditation along with it. Prajna might give answers but
no explanations. This method brings answers, explanations and logic for all
belong to Samma Drishthi.
I have no intention to bring this into the public. More so specially now
since the report on the establishment of American Oriental Studies is here.
Gone is the day when some European can pompously address audiences and proclaim
what is not true, what often is non-existent. Following Kapleau it will be in
order to report spiritual experiences, not for the sake of fame or prowess, but
to encourage Right Teachings and enable scientist, seer and devotee to work
There is now some interest about the return of Mrs. Sybil Leek here. I do
not know whether she has any fame or glamour in your country. As reported
before, the metaphysical cloud-nine people so interfered that it made her
progress difficult. Her work is not far from that of Princess Poon but at a
One is more concerned here with your ability to perceive too, with and
through karma than anything else. There are some negative occurrences in my
life, and the "negation to the negation" is operating. The "enemies of my
enemies" in this particular referent are very strong indeed, and if a public
scandal breaks out it will not surprise you. There are currents of Phra
Sumangalo which operate in many different spheres. The continuance of the
bearing of his karma, and its aftermath are more unconscious than conscious and
happen not because of the ego (which seems most logical) but despite it and in
and through quarters who have never been named in all our correspondence.
Of course with the fighting going on in Asia my whole plans have had to be
Mr. N. G. Pemchekov-Warwick M.B.D.Sc. Naljorpa Nyingma-pa
1551 Octavia Street
San Francisco California
November 29, 1965
Rev. Samuel L. Lewis
772 Clementina Street
San Francisco, California
Dear and Reverend Sir,
Thank you for your recent copy of a letter dated November 28th 1965.
I draw your attention to a passage written by yourself as follows. “There
are now a series of lectures here on Mahamudra and these have been largely
inspired by one Dr. Neville Warwick who has made many claims.”
May I, in inviting you not to refer to my person in any manner at any time,
draw to your attention, that to make any claim of any kind defeats every
purpose I have ever intended.
Making claims, the setting forth thereof, and the disposition of the same,
has been the downfall of Buddhism in America, and I have no intention of
aggravating the situation.
One cannot effectively change the past, therefore certain facts are patent
and undeniable. I had the good fortune to be born into a derivative branch of
the Pemchekov family, the majority of whom are traditionally practitioners of
the Yogas known to the Nyingma-pa sect, which is native to far Eastern Russia,
having been founded by His Holiness Padmasambhava, who being the essentiality
of Buddha Amida and the Buddha Avalokitesvara, points towards the equality of
all sentient life, and the fact that his Holiness Amitabha is imminent in our
minds and not different from our mind. Therefore any advantage I may enjoy from
this accident of nature is very small, since according to the basic doctrines
of this sect, one becomes a yogin or Naljorpa, by the practice of the yoga of
Padmasambhava only, and needs no other qualification whatsoever.
The aim of this sect is to find the Buddha Amida within the Mind and merge
with him in all his forms and appearances, and according to the three Sukhavati
sutras, the Brahmajala Sutra, and the Srimala Sutra there is no qualification
prerequisite to the attainment of pramudita the yogic way, or the bodhisattva
way, other than being born human. Therefore, in following the path, in desiring
to attain the anagamin state by the power of His Holiness Amitabha, I am doing
something most ordinary, and therefore I cannot have “made many claims.”
The aspiring yogi is neither priest nor layman; these distinctions disappeared
long age, due to many conditions and circumstances, since too many have denied
the necessity of keeping 251 precepts, upon which priesthood and valid
ordination depends. Where there is no priest there can be no layman,
therefore I am neither priest nor layman.
I do not deny, that possibly somewhere in the world there are some priests
who are validly ordained, by a succession of four Bhikkhus all of whom had
inviolately kept all 251 precepts, but in many travels I have been unable to
find such qualified persons, and it is even more difficult to find a place
where one could have the facilities and opportunity to practice the whole body
of Vinaya. Therefore I cannot claim to belong to the Sangha of Bhikkhus or
Samaeras, because this is more difficult to meet than the Buddha.
The Japanese, Korean and even now the Chinese Sangha are disqualified
according to vinaya because they have admitted the notion of a married Bhikkhu,
however this should cause no alarm if one regards as does St. Gambopa “The
twin aspect of the jewel of the Sangha, in its twin aspect of the community
of ordinary beings or the assembly of more than four fully ordained Bhikkhus
and the Noble Sangha or the eight worthy individuals such as he who is in the
stream running towards enlightenment and others.”
In 1964 Dr. Seo Kyung Bo, stating that the Korean Sangha observed true
Vinaya, centered upon me the ceremony of taking fire (Po-tat Kor) and wished by
himself to confer upon me the title of Bhikku, which can only be conferred by
five fully ordained Bhikkhus who have never broken one of the 251 precepts. But
Dr. Seo comes from a Sangha which consists of Married and unmarried Bhikkus,
and therefore does not qualify under vinaya, and has doubtful effect. Further
he ordained married men as Samaeras and Bhikkhus while in San Francisco. While
I am glad to have received the ceremony of taking fire from him which according
to the Brahmajala Sutra sets one on the Bodhisatvic path, I could not accept
the honorific title of Bhikkhu, since (1) there is no opportunity to practice
251 precepts in America, Korea, China, Japan or Tibet at this time, and (2) the
ceremony cannot be performed by one priest alone, and (3) nor can it be
performed by anyone who is a member of a sect which consists of married
Bhikkhus together with the ones who keep full vinaya.
In lieu of this I accepted joyfully seven wonderful initiations from Dr.
Seo, which he was legally entitled to perform in accordance with the tantric
tradition of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese Shingon as well as Nyinma-pa, after
I had the turned the robes and certificates offered, for which I was not
qualified, and for which there was no qualification. Those who follow Pure land
tantra have nothing to claim, except a life of gratitude towards the whole
universe, for the privilege of being born human, and being set on the Path and
in the Stream.
At the most we are of the same spirit as the modern Shugenga (Yamabushi)
having no boasts to set forth, I am very grateful to you for giving me this
opportunity to set forth my very humble situation. We Nyingmapas have a
tradition which is “Call me Mister; no matter how many honors one may have,
the aspiring yogi should never vaunt himself above others. I trust I have made
my point clear.
Very truly Yours,
Mr. N.G. Pemchekov-Warwick
December 4, 1965
Sometimes the evening is wiser than the morning and today brought the end of
a quest, almost a life-long quest not only to try to bring East and West
together but also to try to bring Science and Religion together. As most of us
are departmentalized and few of us have the ability to Synchronize and
Integrate it is difficult to present the events within narrow premises. Most of
the argumentative letters one receives, and one receives many an argumentative
letters, are based on the assumption that “I am right” and this means that
the world is suppose to adjust to that individual and it does not.
The Anthropological researches of the moment may be summed in the words
“Ritual” and “Vision,” and the assumption, or more than assumption that
the ritual brings the Vision which does not preclude that the Vision may
determine the Ritual. In the scientific world and especially the world of
research it is the Ritual that comes first. Very seldom does the Ritual
predetermine the Vision logically and this disproves the Logical Positivists
and Dialecticians who try to predetermine results. There is no room here for
Integration or more universally for those levels known as Vijnana, Ananda and
Prajna in Sanskrit.
There is now a determined effort on scientists and philosophers to separate
the “Quest for God” from religion, relegating religion in the old sense to
ritual, and studying these rituals with more attention to those that have
psychic or “occult” elements than those which seem formal. Thus the
Scientists are looking down on the Christian Scientists because although the
latter claim to “demonstrate,” they apparently minimize Ritual and have a
good deal of Suggestion which does not fit in too well with the worlds of
Ritual and Vision.
When one is in the stream of Prajna one moves as if in a stream or is the
stream and within a short while there are a number of accomplishments which are
trans-intellectual but still intellectual. The most important, but not the only
one of this stream of events came when one visited a Research Center at
“Why is it in the world of Science when one says one has an answer because
of experience he is accepted at least to the degree that his evidence is
wanted; and in the world of Religion and Metaphysics and Social relations, to
claim experience is to be rejected and generally a priori rejected and accused
of pomposity, vanity, pride and egotism. The scientist who says: “I have the
proof from experience” is a hero; the non-scientist who dares to say, “I
have the proof from experience” is rejected, sometimes a priori and sometimes
a posteriori but rejected just the same.”
“But we don’t work that way. We want the experiences.” “Well you
have some articles on mysticism in which Aldous Huxley is quoted. My own
experience is that Huxley found an excuse always not to see me and Dr.
Radhakrishnan found an excuse always to see me.”
After a while, “I take it you do not agree with Arthur Koestler.”
“David Kapleau disproved Koestler. He had actual Zen experiences as the
result of actual Zen training and has written this in a manner similar to the
scientist investigating bugs or flowers or minerals.” “That is what we
want.” “Besides Koestler does not know Indian Philosophy and has no idea of
Vijana or Ananda or Prajna.” “We realize that.”
Not only was one’s visit welcome, but an expression of willingness to
accept copies of letters sent to colleagues in other parts of the country.
Along with this is the fact that when the top scientists of the country meet
later in the month, there will be special sessions to what is called
“Religion” which will be discussed in a Scientific, not in either a
Metaphysical or Theological manner, thus prove the teachings of Auguste Comte.
And along with that the acceptance of the approach already delineated elsewhere
but not too welcome within theological and metaphysical circles.
In the special case of Buddhism the news that Roshi Asahina is in this
country and that two women in southern California have recently gone through
the Enlightenment experience and have also been validated is going to support a
certain content. “Michelson and Morley performed the Ritual and got no
answer; then Einstein came and without the Ritual got the answers. The Vedic
rishis performed the Ritual and got no answers. Then Buddha came without the
Ritual and got the answers.” This is exactly the point of view which these
research scientists want-no speculation, no philosophy, no metaphysics-they
want living results, welcome living results and want to meet those who have
living results in the fields heretofore ascribed to the Religions as well as to
the fields heretofore ascribed to the Sciences.
The writer’s analogies between research in Chemistry and research in
Mysticism were all accepted. This is the end of a Quest. Contacts are being
rapidly made on the campuses of our universities, and, as matters stand, these
contacts will increase enormously in a very short time.
Now this person will go into this field as of his own self and present his
findings exactly as he did today in the fields of Botany and Horticulture, and
might have in other Sciences. It may well be that the Egotist is not so much he
who asserts but he who will not accept the findings of others. What is true
should surely be demonstrable.
Samuel L. Lewis
December 7, 1965
My dear Neville:
One does not know whether you will understand copy of the letter
A number of months back there was a public discussion on Rachael Carson’s
“Silent Spring.” When one arose and said, “I have been a professional
spray operator,” most of the audiences would recoil in horror. Everybody was
discussing a book from untenable points of view and when occasionally a person
who knew something about the subject spoke, it was without sympathy of the
audience. But when one spoke from experience that was absolutely
This closed the door to many social groups but opened it to and with the
scientists. With these people one could speak soberly, logically and sanely.
Months have rolled by and the point of view upheld and rejected in public but
so universally upheld in private by the scientist and technicians involved
showed clearly our two entirely different cultures.
These have been called the “scientific” and “literary-humanist” but
when one gets closer it is the difference between egofugal and egocentric
trends and never the two shall meet.
Now one is meeting and more and more scientists and professors who are
egofugal and shun the egocentric. The next trip to the Southern Part of the
State should conclude life efforts but the fruit thereof will determine or be
determined either by another visit to parts of Asia or by some conclusions
reached in Asia. The search for “God,” or its variation the acceptance of
either Deity or Cosmic consciousness without many referents to religion is on
the agenda of the scientists who meet in Berkeley shortly. By agreement one
will underplay his hand. The time is not yet, but the situation is what one has
sought-the right to present one’s views without being rejected a priori.
The karma of persons, and nations, can be traced simply. “Whatever ye sow,
that also shall ye reap” and “by their fruits ye shall know them.” The
basing of “wisdom” either on human experience or on the direct cognition
may be new in western conclusion. Its day is at hand.
772 Clementina St.
San Francisco 3, Calif.
January 4, 1966
The universal law of karma operates without regard to persons, and the
decision of the scientists who met recently at Berkeley was that those who
reject, who refuse, who scorn are much more egotistical than those who assert.
For those who assert, if they support their assertions by facts, by data, by
evidence, are needed in this world, while those who scorn or object are
negative. And it is possible that a positive egotist may contribute something
to this world, but a negative one does not.
It was peculiar that in some of the sessions men who were not scientists
gave papers. They could give papers because these were based on their unusual
experiences. If experiences, or experiments were new and unusual they might
be quite welcome. And some of these men did not patronize the best tailors
either. But what they brought was for the betterment of human knowledge if not
of humanity itself.
Beginning in that memorable Christmas Dinner in Marin a number of events
have occurred, and so far in endless stream. At that time Max took over, an
example of a rejected socially making some positive contributions to knowledge.
Even if his faculties are unusual or off base they are in a certain sense
“real,” while the objections to them are mere negatives. On the personal
side he read the aura, and also the changes in colors which one who understands
the science-of-the-elements can produce. But it is still too early to introduce
Years ago I was at the Vedanta Ashram in La Crescenta and found nobody there
who knew anything about the science-of-the-elements. “That is funny,” I
said, stretching out my arm and taking a book from the shelf, “here is
Nature’s Finer Forces by Rama Prasad and none of you seem to know it.” They
don’t yet. For this I was never invited again. That is your metaphysician.
Some of the top scientists were dejected because this person did not come
forward and when he did everything he proposed was accepted and so quickly he
was slightly confused. But the whole session showed the difference between the
scientists who rely on facts, evidence, data; and the metaphysical people who
judge outwardly and pronounce without evidence.
On New Year’s Eve some of us had an hour meditation plus discussions on
death-and-resurrection, and on the spiritual universal awakening.
At the end—I did not take part in the discussion—I said “I shall make
a speech.” The speech was a chant and they were, in a double sense
“en-chant-ed.” For this time of chanting can only be done before a
favorable and receptive audience. We do not know the Mantra Yoga very much and
still less the Mauna Yoga which is the Wisdom-of-the-silence.
In the period just passed, the noisy ones were Krishnamurti and Manly Hall
and Swami Yogananda, and the quiet ones were Nyogen Senzaki and Hugo Seelig. We
had a discussion on New Year’s day concerning the possibilities of a
biography for the latter. It shows what happens to a man in these parts who has
had the Enlightenment. The cultists always reject him.
The host of the evening put this person through a lot of questions, all
based on legends that those who know don’t talk. The cultists make this
assertion and accept Krishnamurti or Hall or Yogananda and reject Senzaki and
Seelig. One by one it was necessary to break down streams of legends stemming
from the cultists and metaphysical people who bombard the atmosphere with
confusions and make it doubly difficult for those who have had some form of
enlightenment. But now the scientist have come out that they want the
enlightenment experience from and of the enlightenment and not essays by the
inexperienced. All the scientists wanted experience all the way through, and
nothing else. Sometimes no time at all was given to “evaluation.”
But no sooner was one able to satisfy the host when one was bombarded by
guests and here is the same thing—that they have been all but hypnotized by
the miasma of cultists and metaphysicians and egocentrics, so it is difficult
to convey what is true—”true” meaning evidence from experience at some
Most important at this time was the manifestation of one’s own ko-an. All
through the scientific sessions one’s ko-an was before one, not subjectively
but objectively. It is one thing to talk, talk, talk about One Mind and it is
something else to see this One Mind talk back at one. This is what happened
The climax was reached last Tuesday when a top Indian scientist proposed
collaboration. When this was reported to the man who introduced us he broke
into a tirade and personality attack, the same which goes on and on and on. The
sadly humorous thing about it is, first that on returning home there were
letters from three top Indian savants. The One Mind acts and the ego-minds
reject and this is the history of the world.
But since then also one received letters from New Zealand from top
scientists all of whom claim the cosmic experiences, all of whom believe in One
Mind and all of whom wrote on exactly the same subject, although there has been
no collusion whatsoever.
The upshot is one begins to prepare to return to the Orient unless
... all cards, inner and outer, are placed in one’s hands (and this
peculiarly is in total concord with what Max read or said on Christmas) and any
negative is going to be spurned. As previously the host said, “Sam, too bad
you are not an Asian, you would have ten thousand followers.” But there is a
On the outside the failure to produce a peace formula for Vietnam in one
direction; and India and Pakistan in another shows the futility of leaning on
personality where there is no knowledge. If the immediate reaction is that one
is complaining because “he” is not rejected, it can be found, with the
slightest honest inquiry, that a whole tribe of persons is rejected because
either their outer personalities or their philosophies of life are not
One can discuss one’s ko-an (without necessarily mentioning it) to almost
anybody not a cultist or metaphysician. People who call themselves
“truth-seekers” are psychologically misled because they assume a priori a
separation of truth and their own beings. They are compelled to see messiahs
and all recent newspaper articles show that everybody is looking elsewhere for
This reached a climax last night when a friend of mine broke into a tirade.
Where he thought least this messianic complex had arisen. He had hosted the
Chief Witch of England and now he finds everybody is waiting for the witch to
return to perform a miracle.
From my own point of view these miracles are so petty, so miniscule, that we
fail to see real miracles when they are performed. The miracle is to the
Mahamudra meditation as walking is to jet- propulsion travel. The upset caused
by Kapleau delineating the Zen experience in a scientific way is going on.
Scientists as a rule are far more sincere than other people. To them
yearning and learning go together. Much of the rest of the world plays with
words. Anyhow the inevitable conclusion is to plan to return to those parts of
Asia which request one’s presence and to carry on those undertakings which
can be carried on regardless of external propensities. It is only that one is
overwhelmed by duties and necessaries. The continued rejection of the actual
Karma by those who deceive themselves into believing they believe in Karma is
one of the most complicated and delicate situations of the moment.
The need to recognize and function One Mind both personally and impersonally
comes up. If one were to use the term Dharma-kaya all might become simple. The
Dharma-kaya in function and evidence is the grandest thing in existence.
Happy New Year,
Samuel L. Lewis
February 15, 1966
There is an ancient saying: “When the gods arrive, the half-gods go.”
One may add to that, “When the Bodhisattvas arrive, the gods themselves
As we do not understand the deep culture of the Dharma, as we are satisfied
just to know there is a Dharma; when we do not know the intense meaning of the
Sanskrit words and are satisfied just to know the words even without their real
significance or their deep significance, we are greatly moved by the appearance
Long essays on Maya or Prakrit do not relive us of pain nor add to our light
and satisfaction. So we substitute an ego-satisfaction just to know the words.
Thus there is a division between the scientists who want to know Truth and the
metaphysical people who say they want to know Truth but do nothing about
it. The metaphysical people call the scientists skeptics but the truth is that
the metaphysical people are the skeptics. This can easily be seen—they
don’t accept each other.
The metaphysical people have no place in Christ’s kingdom. In Christ’s
kingdom you have to be like little children. But the metaphysical people all
want to be leaders. Let me tell you a story:
I shall omit here how one met the Khalandar. Only one will say that the
psychics here hardly know the skin of psychic sciences and they are so
self-satisfied. But the Khalandar also was self-satisfied. He invited me to
his house and demonstrated his psychic powers, so far beyond anything we have
here it is not even a joke, it is a tragedy. Anyhow, he said to me, “I am
greater than you. I am greater in every way. I am taller than you. I am bigger
than you. I am stronger than you. I have more psychic power than you. I can see
the whole world, I am greater in every way.” I said, “Yes, I admit it. You
are greater than me. You are greater in every way, you are greater in
everything. You are far superior in all aspects of life; all but one.”
“What is that?” “I am a greater pupil than you!” I left him in
There is an anti-climax. Next day he found me teaching his
Teacher—something absolute forbidden here excepting by Master Seo. None of
the Teachers here and very few of the pupils of the Teachers would let me teach
Yoga here has become Patanjali-Yoga and this is restricted to a very small
portion of it, the Asanas. And if we can do a few Asanas we are called
“Yogis” which is very self-satisfying, very silly. Nobody here fulfills the
Patanjali-Yoga. Nobody gets far in Dhyana and as far as Dharani, we know
nothing about it at all. Indeed if we have this knowledge we are shunned.
So we love our ignorance and we love those who teach the ignorance but use
the word “knowledge” without giving us any knowledge.
We do not know even the Patanjali-Yoga. We talk, talk, talk about Karma and
Jnana Yogi. We confuse the Angelic or Deva development with the Bhakti and
confuse complicated philosophy with Jnana. And this person who knows about ten
complete Yoga systems is not permitted to present any of them to the public.
Which does not take any knowledge from him whatsoever. And it is the
scientists whom we call skeptics who want to know these things and the
metaphysical people who are the real skeptics who do not.
All the great Teachers say to learn we must listen. There is a listening of
a sort to the Deva-man in our midst. He can show you his happiness but he
cannot awaken yours. And then there are some who are on the verge of the
Mauna-Yoga, one of the Yogas not known by any of the teachers here but
of which we are on the verge.
Then the Bodhisattva comes and he presents the essence of three Yogas of
which we love to know nothing because we are self-satisfied and unhappy. And he
demonstrates this real-Yoga-realKnowledge and we are astounded. These are the
complex of Mantra-, Yantra-, and Tantra-Yoga. Learning from the proud-ignorant
we love the word “Mantra” and are afraid of the word Tantra
and we know nothing of the word Yantra which was demonstrated in the
pictures. We might combine all these terms in Mahamudra which is an
integration, but not the “word” integration which integrates nothing
and nobody but today is another term of differentiation. The real Vijnanavada
excludes nothing but the practicing verbal (?) Vijnanavadins exclude even
better than the analysts. So the “teachers” here are all afraid of each
The Bodhisattva does not operate that way. He does not show you his
Ananda, his Joy, his Love—he awakens in you your Ananda,
your Joy, your Love, your Salvation. He is not the strong
magnet that picks up nails and so demonstrates phenomena; he is the like of
device that awakens the magnetism in you.
I have hardly even left this Bodhisattva without the deep arousing of joy in
the consciousness such as was felt the other night. During the lecture I could
look at the picture of old Senzaki from whom also I have Dharma-transmission.
It is something which is neither internal nor external but includes both. And
one was satisfied that he was satisfied.
Jesus has said, “many are called but few are chosen.” That is because to
be called one must listen. And as we do not listen too much we cannot be
chosen. It was wonderful to find a manifestation of Dharma and Ananda, the
awakening of joy in the audience, not the wakening of joy just in the speaker.
This is a wonder and it is a wonder which all could experience and experience
more if we would listen. In the end we should discover that every one of us is
a Bodhisattva with all the “kingdom and power and glory” within our very
772 Clementina. St.,
San Francisco 3, Calif.
March 13, 1966
An event took place last week which justifies the Fudo behavior pattern of
this person. It is overlooked that for a long time one knew the late Nyogen
Senzaki. There is an interesting history of how a member of the Sangha was
cured of insanity. This was by none of our “rules” either of medicine or
morality but by the processes of wisdom.
It has been necessary for some people to start the Dharma studying from the
beginning. This is most difficult for Americans assume the existence of
ego and the verbal denial thereof is refuted by their psychological, moral and
social behavior. The fact that the Dharma methods of Senzaki worked, though
they might shock a lot of people; they worked and the Upasika was healed, when
modern medical and psycho-therapeutic methods failed.
The great Shaku Soyen introduced the Sura of Forty-Two sections. Its
rejection by our good brethren no more prevents its operating that a democratic
vote to abolish gravity would affect the laws of Nature. When you came here I
was terribly disturbed inwardly by so-called Sangha -members acting in every
way contrary to that Sura. They not only behaved contrary thereto, there was no
way to reach them through any one of the many types of Buddhistic moral
patterns. Each has on his own in the world of “anatta.”
I remember what happened to the Roerich Museum whose founders not only
considered they were Buddhists but thought they were among the most advanced
Buddhists. They did what certain “Buddhist” organizations here do, called
in the great of the world to support their claims. They got the support of the
great. They held a world conference. This one sent in a minority report
which was tabled. Everything in that report was substantiated by the events
that immediately followed. Thus worldly-wisdom versus Prajna, a situation which
At another time I was close to a lady who called her home “Nirvana.” She
bought a great Buddha. It fell down and broke. She replaced it with another
Buddha. It fell down and broke. I told a mutual friend that she had better
change the name, even “Shangri-la” would have sufficed. My suggestion was
rejected. She bought a mutual Buddha. She tied it with ropes. That did not stop
She sold the place but lived only six weeks so did not enjoy her presumable
wealth. There is nothing “learned” from these and other events of one’s
life by the egocentrics no matter who they are or are regarded by the social or
other worlds. The Dharma persists despite personalities.
In the universities I find myself among people of honesty and integrity.
They may know nothing of “anatta” but they have that approach. For the
second time I find myself surrounded by people who are really Buddhists but who
would never follow the ignorant enthusiasts, especially those lacking in
devotion, who consider themselves Buddhists.
Last week the subject of Mandala was introduced and excepting for our
immediate examination that will be the next subject. The class is on Japanese
culture. You have to have evidence and substantiation in the university.
Now I have gone out for a friend who wants to introduce Japanese art objects
and everywhere there has been 100% cooperation and she also reports from the
South enthusiasm. This is because there is honesty, integrity and
Then the story of one of the persons who objected violently to your
presence. The class lesson the other day was you had to have a teacher for
Mandala instruction. This person would not have any teacher, especially you.
She has gone ahead and made her own Mandalas.
Do you think anything happened differently from the case of the Roerich
Museum and Mrs. Verelle in Santa Barbara? People play-toy with esoteric and
sacred things. They cannot learn. They talkie-talk of “karma” and break all
the laws. You can guess that only destruction followed. This was to a
“good” women. Roerich was a “good” man, Mrs. Verelle was a “very
good” lady—nothing but kindness all around. But when it comes to
esotericism all these people practicing egotism, refusing to accept teachers,
it is the same.
Senzaki cured the insane Upasika. We cannot help this or other people who
play with the Dharma like they play with firecrackers or matches or chemicals.
What I am afraid of is more instances and especially to and among the
“good” who will not study the Buddhist scriptures and will not follow the
principles of Dharma.
772 Clementina St.
March 15, 1966
My dear Neville:
Corroborating certain statements of our telephonic conversation last night.
Three events in the last month are at the moment determinant factors in my life
of communication. Two men who were previously fiends became enemies, and the
other has to do with my private-Zen.
Each of these two men, whom we shall call Mr. Muslim and Mr. Yoga are very
angry because I have not brought them more disciples. They had been angry
enough at me for not giving them more time, I had no right to a private life, I
should be giving them more time and now they are furious that I have not
brought them more disciples. How one could gain disciples when one was spending
time with them was my fault, not theirs. Neither granted any defense and both
have failed miserably in gaining followings.
At the other extreme was an experience abroad when I met a holy man and he
asked me what I wanted and I said, “I have come to teach.” “All right,
teach.” This is something very few people have permitted here, I am expected
to be a mouthpiece for somebody else. Abroad I had to be my own mouthpiece but
here I am expected to be the mouthpiece for somebody else, and so long as one
is mouthpiece one is not teacher.
The third episode took place in the store of whom I shall call “Mr.
Zen.” He would be furious at me for referring to him as “Mr. Zen.” Our
common view is that a true Zen Buddhist is not a “Zen” Buddhist because by
claiming to a school or outlook he is separating himself from himself. And we
were taught what is called “Bhutathata” but because conventions do not
permit us to express
Bhutathata we either shut up and make a claim, for instance of “Mauna
There was a young girl friend of “Mr. Zen” and she said she was having
trouble studying Oriental art. “You go at it the wrong way. You see a lot of
statues here and some are religious and some are not religious. And among the
religious ones are Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and objects, and among the
non-religious ones are plates and ceramics and vases. Now who has said that
these objects are ‘religious’ and “unreligious.”
“From the Buddha-point-of-view—which is not the Buddhist point of
view, everything is the manifestation of Universal Light. Even the scientists
teach that but “Buddhists” and religious people do not. To understand the
art you must experience the universal light. This light is in everything, in
the Buddha statues, the Bodhisattva status and the dishes and in everything.
“To experience this light you must practice the meditation and if you do
the true meditation you will pass into the state of attunement with the
art-form and finally obtain union with the art- form. Then you will begin to
understand Oriental art.”
“Mr. Zen” then came in and said that that was right.
From that moment it was as if Mr. Zen and this person had one-mind between
or among us. I started to point to a statue of Buddha: “When you know that
that is not the Buddha,” (and pointing to a wood-block), “and know that
that is the Buddha you will be studying Oriental art.” The young girl finding
herself with two oldsters who agreed in everything said she would henceforth
study art by the meditation and not by the cognitive method.
This is an opportunity that seldom happens. It has happened before in
another town with another “Mr. Zen” and these man will deny any knowledge
of Zen to others. It is not a matter of converts or followers as it is a
matter of awakening.
People use the word “Sakya Muni” without explaining “sakya” or
“muni.” The other day in class the teacher was angry when I said that
Miroku was Maitreya Buddha. She was always saying
“Miroku” without explaining Miroku. And you often hear “Sakya Muni”
and no explanation of Sakya Muni. One moment we use analysis and one moment
synthesis and one moment unitiveness and the terms get mixed up and everything
is mixed up.
Now I have a paper which mentions without explaining “One Minute Zen”
and Master Seo wanted me to teach “Five Minute Zen” and I am not going to
teach any “Five Minute Zen” which lasts an hour or even twenty minutes.
“Five Minute Zen” means “Five-Minute Man” but “One Minute Zen”
to me for practical purposes means Instant Zen and Instant Zen meant
Bhutathata as above. I can either teach or learn but will not be a manikin or a
puppet or a marionette. Teacher yes, pupil yes, otherwise nothing.
I know some prominent schools in “Meditation” in this country which use
most of the hour in having somebody explain (?) meditation and giving no time
for silence. The American mind is foolish but one need not restrict this folly
to Americans. When somebody calls out “The Temple of Silence” it
automatically ceases to be silence, the terms “The Temple of Silence” break
And I made critics in India by saying, “The word shanti disturbs
the silence.” Of course it does, any sound does.
Thus we come to the Muni and Mauna Yoga. I am not anxious to have the Mauna
Yoga. But some scholars asked me Sunday about the scientific Yoga- systems and
I told them about Mauna too, for it still persists. But we use the terms
“Muni” and “Sakya Muni,” associating the former with something
we call Hinduism and the latter with something we call Buddhism
and this tells us nothing. Here they teach the Mauna of zeroness and Hui Neng
taught the Mauna of absolute Prajna.
As soon as one illustrates the Prajna he is criticized so one keeps quiet.
Let the critics teach. They don’t teach the Mauna, indeed they do not teach
the Yoga because Yoga-experience is Bhutathata but here Yoga is whatsoever
somebody called a “Yoga teacher” teaches and you remain in the worlds of
separation and dualism and pain and suffering and confusion. One will not argue
When Mr. Muslim criticized me I wrote. “This evidence is forgery.” He
wrote “You are under the guidance of the devil.” But the evidence was a
forgery and worse than a forgery.
Mr. Yoga would permit no defense. It is easy for this person is not on good
terms with the social groups or the religious groups. But he is getting on
better terms with the cultures groups and Sunday with representatives of
art-groups also. And when the proposal was made to have a universal Indian
cultural center he asked, “What are you going to do with all these local
Indian ‘spiritual teachers’ who often teach the same thing but have no use
for each other?” “We are going to stop that.” I don’t think they will
but it will be a noble effort. Americans are kept in confusion by the
The scientists have their own “Society for the Scientific Study of
Religion” and the non-scientists have their “Society for the Study of
Religion and Science” and the scientists will not join the latter and the
latter are very angry with the scientists. But I am in a “nice” position
because the scientists will accept both the person and knowledge and the
non-scientists will not.
There was a lady known as a Witch who came here and wanted to organize
common research between occultists and scientists. All the pseudo-occultists of
the religion took over. But in the meanwhile Sam has been inducted into a
World Lotus Society organized by scientists themselves who appreciate the
occult (however you define it) and have restored Alchemy to a science—not to
Jungian speculation but to a laboratory science.
The acceptances in these quarters outweighs the rejections of the others.
And for the time being one withholds action until Wesak Day.
The struggle for existence, which is very hard, is overlooked by others. I
took half a day off recently and even now skirt the edge of flu. The scientists
want my materiel and the non-scientists do not.
Then came the meeting Sunday which ended with my inspiration, not of
“Spiritual Training Through Music” but “Music Through Spiritual
Training.” This is really a companion to Roerich’s hypothetic “Art
Through Spiritual Training.” He tried that but his efforts failed because
while he could produce the art—and it has fine occult significance—he was
not able to remove his ego. He could not do what Mr. Zen and I did together,
become, so to speak, one person. And because the world accepts the Roerichs and
the externals, it is more pleasant to keep in harmony with the various
Messrs. Zen who know but have been silenced by our culture.
Today I am not disturbed by my enemies; they release time for me which is
needed more than anything else. So far as spiritual matters are concerned I am
either a teacher or a pupil. If I teach I teach and if I do not teach I learn
and no qualifications.
Master Seo left three things for me: The Five-Minute Zen, the Dharani and
the Avatamsaka (and other) Sutras. This is more than enough.
Thanks for the telephone call.
April 3, 1966
781 Fairview Ave.,
Fairview, N. J.
This horrible person who has been trained in the disciples of Fudo Bosatsu
finds a little difficulty trying to address somebody named Anatta in plain
English. One has recited the Three Refuges so long in Pali that he finds it
most difficult to explain or even express them in English. One has also
repeated the Great Dharani in Sanskrit which has been called “The Great
Dharani” and to put them in English from is difficult.
When Ananda went to Mahakasyapa to get the Dharma-transmission he had not
till then realized the significance of his own name. When he realized the
significance of his own name he became enlightened. And one does not like to go
contrary to the wisdom-teachings of Dharma-transmission. So one feels that
anybody who takes the un-English name of “Anatta” also should come to learn
the wisdom of his own name and not seek that wisdom from others.
Those who have approached Zen monasteries have to be able to accept insult
and favor with equanimity. True it has been the experience of this Fudo to be
accepted with favor at once, all through the Mahayana and Theravadin lands. No
doubt this has spoiled him.
If Anatta cannot understand the teachings there is still hope because by
practicing the Anatta one gets rid of the only obstacle to the realization of
the teachings. And in this realization one finds the end of the division
between ego and ego. Besides in the Universal Mind there is that which brings
one understanding, though this person prefers the terms Vijnana or Vinnana, and
does not assent to the English term “understanding.”
Even in the translation of the “Dhammapada” the term “Dhammapada” is
used. And in the “Dhammapada” there is a section, “The Brahmana” which
remains in the original tongue. So one would be very happy to find an Anatta
who understands Anatta, who practices Anatta, who expects Anatta from himself
and not so much from others.
May all beings be blissful, may all beings be peaceful, may all beings be
Samuel L. Lewis
May 6, 1966
This is a greeting for Wesak and in part also for Mother’s Day. Instead of
a greeting card is sent the last lecture of Nyogen Senzaki. One does not ask
anybody to accept these last words or the teachings conveyed in them.
One is writing “Dharma Transmission” and Senzaki-san accepted
Dharma-Transmission and more recently Master Seo and before him Roshi Asahina,
and also Mrs. Sasaki. One only writes this because of the historical value.
Directly Nyogen Senzaki bestowed copies of five of his lectures and
indirectly five more. But inasmuch as people who are living do not accept his
writings or teachings these is a possibility of his “cloak’—i.e. his
writings, coming into these hands. This has also been true of his teacher,
Shaku Soyen, that the teaching of this teacher have been rejected by others and
their rejections have made this person the heir to Shaku Soyen. This was also
validated in Japan.
This person is now nearly 70 years of age. One remembers clearly the second
meeting with Senzaki-san, forty six years ago at a Wesak Ceremony in this city.
He wore no robe and did not take part in the ceremony. He greeted a few of us.
This proved to be the first Sangha but we did not know it at the time.
In this lesson there is an internal evidence of the Dharma Transmission. To
understand it one must also understand the more recent Dharma Transmission from
Ruth St. Denis who does not tell very much of her initiations and spiritual
Two years ago this one said, “Mother, I am going to cause a revolution and
save the world.” “How are you going, to do it?” “By teaching children
how to walk.” “You have it.”
Now one reads about breathing with the feet. When young the feet were always
cold. Now the feet are always warm. And the principle of “breathing with the
feet” enables one to connect Zen and Sufism because there is one school of
Sufis also who “breathe with their feet.” This is in, my opinion, better
than Hara but it is not an objection to Hara.
Today one took the picture of Ruth to the photographer to have post cards
made to send all over the world. In the Orient it is known that this person
advocated the Mahamudra Meditation or variants on it, this to bring the Peace.
One will add to it. But one does not say that this is the only way—there are
variations even in the Dhamma.
While some of the material will go into “Dharma Transmission” the rest
will go to the scientists. The scientists accept the anatta of Lord Buddha
and the so-called “Buddhists” reject it. Most “Buddhists” do not and
will not accept the experiences of others, only of themselves.
One has particularly in mind Sensei’s paper on “The Ten Stages of
Consciousness.” This is in writing. One never read it before. But one
received it from Sokei-an by direct transmissions, verbally. “Buddhists” do
not accept this but Mrs. Sasaki and Princess Poon and Dr. Radhakrishnan do and
the scientists also. So “The Ten Stages of Consciousness” will be presented
to the scientists who will accept and not to separative and separated Buddhist
sanghas who do not accept each other.
The final teaching of Lord Buddha was, “The dew drop melts into the shiny
sea.” One cannot impose this on anybody. It is only that one can present this
to the scientists. They accept religious experiences impersonally and churches
do not accept religious experiences at all. Therefore Sensei Nyogen said, “I
do not belong to any sect or any cathedral.” But one knows intuitively that
some of his writings will be accepted by the scientists and scholars and
intellectuals and they will use the teachings and study them. But the organized
sects cannot, although they will be bestowed freely on anybody that wants
Indeed anything that comes into these hands dose not “belong” and they
bring the responsibility and work also of having to type unless somebody
offers to do this.
No doubt some of this material will go to Richard Baker and so to the
University of California but on feels very sure Harvard University will want
these things also.
As the approach of young people is different and they do not judge by
externals one turns toward the young but not with any smugness of satisfaction.
One believes that the religion of the future will be “scientific” in the
sense it will be connected with people’s experiences and not with their
beliefs or conjectures. Sensei was bitterly opposed to the use of speculation.
At one time he was a leading scholar and he removed nearly all vestiges of
When there is time to type there will always be carbons for a few who are
interested. But the legacy says that up to ten lectures are to be published,
and one is combining them with his own materials. This has already been done by
Ruth McCandless and Paul Reps. The writer knew the Homeless Monk some time
before either of them and he will also write the last words given to him
The forthcoming chapter in “Dharma Transmission” will be “Buddha
Hridaya” which is not secret, not esoteric and not known.
Samuel L. Lewis
May 25, 1966
I am enclosing a set of the pictures I took at the Golden Gate Park. If you
wish more copies of any of them let me know. I put in two of you with the
picture, as thought you might want to circulate it.
Many thanks for your various communications. From your reaction to my
remarks on Frankl I fear that I might have made him sound worse than he
was—the point he made which I took issue with was just one point among many
other valid ones—it was not the crux of the lecture.
Your book review was too erudite for me to understand fully—many of the
things you mentioned were new to me entirely. I was rather surprised to learn
that you are, apparently, pro-Freud and anti-Jung (more or less). I certainly
agree that the linkage of Buber and Zen Buddhism was an unhappy choice, in the
quote from the book.
Today I shall try to find a copy of your letter in Science in the Public
Dr. Seo sent some pictures—one of a Kwan-yin with multiple arms holding as
many objects, one of a Burmese pagoda, and one of a seated Buddha wearing what
almost appears to be a suit of gold armor. He sent Eugene a very nice black and
gold Kwan-yin picture and the Millers received still others. Probably you did
I understand that 35 persons turned up for the Prof. McCullough lecture at
Lin Rakers on Sunday and the meeting lasted until after 6 p. m. Jim Arima
recorded the lecture, which had as subject matter something like “the
relationship of the enlightenment experience to everyday life”—though this
was not the official title but one which I have pieced together from
descriptions of the lecture given at Eugene’s Monday night. Perhaps we can go
over to Jim Arima’s in Berkeley and hear this lecture sometime during the LSD
conference. I think he lives near the campus.
Neville has, for completely unknown reasons, shown a disinclination to
attend any sort of meetings of late, so I doubt if we’ll be there on Sunday.
I have no more understanding of him now than I did a year and one-half ago.
Whether this represents deficiencies on my part, his, or both I suppose I shall
If you happen to have any extra copies of the Ruth St. Denis picture I would
be very glad to have one. The Millers have placed theirs in their special
Kwan-yin corner and it looks just beautiful there.
Wonder if Mary Farkas ever answered your letter. She has not answered mine,
which is quite unusual for her.
The Wandels did appear for the Prof. McCullough lecture, I am told.
Again, many thanks for your material, which I am keeping carefully on
The First Zen Institute of America, Inc.
113 East 30th Street
New York 16, New York
May 30, 1966
Mr. Samuel L. Lewis
772 Clementina St.
San Francisco 3, Calif.
Dear Mr. Lewis:
Thank you very much for the donation and for the parts of “Dharma
Transmission” and “The Lotus and the Universe.” Any details about the
Roerich Museum lectures (May 1930?) would be most interesting as our notes
about this period are only looking back, not of the time.
Mrs. Sasaki arrived in New York May 11th for a visit of about a month. She
has with her a few copies of the expanded “Zen Koan” which should be ready
for sale by fall under the title “Zen Dust,” I believe. We will soon know.
The “Zen Koan” itself will soon be available in paperback as well as
With best wishes and again thanks,
Sincerely yours, Mary Farkas
June 24, 1966
After the meeting last night I read the brochure from Lama Govinda. Paul
Reps does not lie. Dwight Goddard and Inayat Khan die from almost identical
reasons, “lahving disciples.” One might include Master Tai Hsu in it
The main body of the brochure is almost identical with the only real speech
I have ever been permitted to make before Buddhists (or “Buddhists”). The
occasion was a testimonial dinner for Dwight Goddard. Rev. Goldsater
represented the American Buddhists. There were five factions and some on
exceedingly “lahving terms” with each other. When Sam spoke everybody
applauded. He was the only one to receive unanimous applause and it took a long
time to find out. This was the birth of “me-Sangha-anatta-Buddhists” which
have been thriving ever since.
They way they tore at each other and refused to accept D.G resulted in his
death from heart- failure and all the “anatta-Buddhists” who do not need to
study Causation, blame all the others.
The question about Inayat Khan was answered wrongly. Not only was Paul Reps
his confidant but he had ample time to confirm this in India Later. And this
continued “me-Sangha-anatta-Buddhists” activity naturally kills the
Dharma. No one would dare to accept the chapter on :Repentance” in Wei Lang.
For that matter a good “me-Sangha-anatta-Buddhists” does not have to accept
anybody but perhaps the evanescent W.B.F.
If this does not stop the same thing will happen to the Lama. He is not
going to succeed. He is going to be surrounded by the whole bunch of
“me-bigshot-anatta-Buddhists” all disclaiming the others. “I am of the
Itchi School and you are of the Bitchi School which is only an offshoot of the
Itchi School which is its parent. So me bigger as ye.” “You are Tendai, I
am Elevendai which is bigger.”
So here we introduce the first Jnana and stopped short last night because of
newcomers and partly because of a guest speaker. But of course, Jhana is mere
Hinayana and now we accept the Mahayana and the Vajrayana. But in this place
we should have the transcendental Paramahayana which is above all of them. Why
No particular comment on the Lama. The difference between the Dharma and
“Buddhism: is that in the first Truth is Truth, in the second, “Who done
The overtones are tremendous—there are disciples, money, possibilities in
sight, provided we can kick the little egos out of ourselves.
The Mentorgarten News
The Mentorgarten News is neither a letter nor a publication nor necessarily
news. It is being sent to one person and carbons have been made. The
Mentorgarten was first established here in San Francisco many years ago by the
disciples of the great Rinzai Zen Roshi, Shaku Soyen. It was he that introduced
real Zen into this country in 1893 and returned to this City in 1906. One could
write “In the Footsteps of the Dharma” concerning his mission. Yet the
footsteps-of-the-Dharma in Pali is nothing but Dhammapala, the moral
teachings of Lord Buddha, written but not practiced, because it is studied by
people who adhere to the egocentric point of view, and adhering to this point
of view they have failed to realize the final words of “The Light of Asia,”
... “the dewdrop melts into the shiny sea.”
Today we have the points of view called “religion” and “science” and
they are nothing but the reflections of the egocentric and anatta positions.
Religionists oppose other religionists and scientists praise other scientists.
There can be no progress in religion because of universal non-recognition and
there will always be progress in science because of universal recognition.
The cult differs from religion because it holds on to seemingly broader
principles. These broader principles are mental affirmations; they are not
standards which are followed in life. The cults have broader verbal standards
than the churches, they are often free from the domination of theologies but
they remain subservient to egocentric outlooks just the same.
For forty years the Guardian has failed to see much difference between
multitudes of theological groups denying each other and near multitudes of
organizations proclaiming brotherhood, even universal brotherhood but
exhibiting no such principles outwardly. The present trend toward integration
certain in racial and social groups is a noble one; it may be a beginning but
it is far, far away from either Brotherhood or Peace.
The Psychedelic Conference recently held in this City made no claim to
brotherhood or integration but it did permit any point of view whatsoever and
when questions were asked they had to be answered, no evasion. This is not what
goes on in churches, in cults. You do not see or hear anything like this on
radio and television.
It was the scientists who carried the day when they told of native
Amerindians both in the North and South who have reached the point where they
say to the prevalent religionists, “You Christians talk about Christ,
we talk to Christ.” This is no doubt a vast step forward. Talking
to is a vastly better norm than talking about. And although one
must recognize this, it has not reached the point of listening, of listening
to. We are not yet aware that the Silence may be the source of all the Wisdom
and Guidance and Knowledge and Light.
Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra was chanted in both Japanese and
English toward the end of the Psychedelic meetings. The public is not kept
informed of such occurrences. Hindu Mantrams were not only chanted but hundreds
of Americans joined in.
Today the lecherers, the alcoholics, the adulterers are protesting in no
uncertain terms about the use of “drugs.” The more the Ten Commandments of
the Bible and the Pancha Sila are abrogated the greater the protests from those
who ignore these moral principles and standards. Spiritual freedom is feared
more than anything else.
The Psychedelic leaders told of Five Stages of Consciousness. The average
man does not know these five stages of consciousness. The drunkards, the
lecherers, the adulterers who are leading the protests know them even less. But
it was observed that these leaders also have studied the Dharma—in its
broadest sense. They have had valid teachers in the real Orient and have
submitted to disciplines.
Timothy Leary seems to have found the same stages of consciousness through
the use of vegetable and chemical products as under a lama and guru. This shows
man is not only seeking but finding. But he is not aware that by either Hindu
or Buddhist standards there may be ten stages of consciousness resulting in
complete spiritual liberation.
Mentorgarten has not been restored with any promise by any principle of
cause-and-effort, or by any personality-effort or “guru surrender” to
bring deliverance to mankind. The scriptures will be studied in the
scientific manner, i.e. based on experiences and not syllogisms.
While the Psychedelic leaders are showing higher stages of Consciousness
through certain products of Nature, the Guardian tried to show the
Zen-awakening through a leaf. He picked up an Ivy (Hedera Helix) leaf and found
it was nothing but a compounding of heart-shape structures and so attuned him
to the Buddha-Hridaya he could not say anything.
On the first night the Guardian submitted to a scientific test, to have his
pulse and breath measured while in meditation as is presented in the last
pages of The Tiger’s Cave, translated by Trevor Leggett. The results
were identical with those in the book. And the effort on the scientists was
direct and effective. Religionists will not examine these or other tests—they
are not necessarily to be affirmed, but in the literature coming from Charles
Luk we find the coalescence of religion, science, and occultism under banners
which are really un-namable.
The term “occult” is in some way unfortunate. The long dominance of
European thought by an Inquisition compelled research to be done in secret or
underground. This secrecy is not necessary today but egocentric leaders and
groups wish it so. The young demand knowledge and wisdom.
The immediate outcomes of the Conference do not seem to be causally related.
A demand came for a lecture on “The Buddhism of Vietnam.” It is noticeable
that neither churches nor cults nor movements proclaiming “The Brotherhood of
Man” have accepted an invitation to speak on this subject. Our complete
disregard for the suffering of millions of living people presents openly and
unfortunately the shams of churches and cults. The young look elsewhere and it
is barely possible that the young will be willing to listen to an explanation
of the faith of these over-exploited unfortunate peasant masses.
When the Guardian entered a Vietnamese temple he saw a scrawl on the wall
and rushing up to it shouted: “Tamo!” One knows no Vietnamese but knows the
Chinese name of the Founder of the Zen Schools. He was welcomed with open
At the moment the lectures at Mentorgarten are explanations of Indian
scriptures, though this knowledge came not from any Indian. It came from the
Dharma-transmission of Sokei-an Sasaki, Founder of the First Institute of Zen
in New York City.
The meditation used is that of Shaku Soyen modified to be adapted to the
last lecture of the late Nyogen given before his leaving the world few years
There is no regular membership and no dues but offerings are accepted by the
Guardian for the Kwan Yin Orphanages which house the unfortunate
children, political refugees whose parents were Buddhists.
The teachings will be drawn from every sort of Asian mysticism and
literature. Lessons will be given on the Sciences of Breath, Concentration,
Mantrams, Dharanis and all subjects not taught by other schools in this
vicinity. There will be no competition. Too much of the Orient is withheld from
the American public.
The great need is repose, not excitement. No doubt those who seek stages of
higher consciousness and higher stages of consciousness are to be excused for
using somewhat artificial means. But mankind is composed of and manifests
Light, only the inner and outer eyes are blind.
The Mentorgarten meets on Monday night at 772 Clementina St., San Francisco
3. The sessions, other than the meditation, are informal. People who belong to
other schools are not encouraged to come. The young who have no valid guidance
are so encouraged. The division between science and religion is ended not by
dictum, not by proclamation, not by any verbiage but by the acceptance of human
experience at all levels and the rejections of speculations of any kind.
772 Clementina St.,
San Francisco 3, Calif.
February 8, 1967
Dr. Thich Thien-An
Department of Oriental Languages
University of California
Los Angles, 9. Calif.
Namo Omito Fu:
We are very glad that at long last somebody is here in the United States to
present the language, culture, and wisdom of your country. In the struggles
that have been going on almost everybody is heard but those directly involved
and we, as a Nation, have been very lax in learning about the contributions to
universal knowledge from so many Asian lands.
The other day I received a communication from a group organized in New York
purporting to study the influences of “Buddhism” in this land and one
regrets to say that this “Buddhism” has little to do with the Dharma and
Dharma transmission or anything like it.
This Nation follows Lord Snow in having two definite cultures and in one of
these cultures, that of the press, TV, popular circles and wherever
“excitement” is sought “Buddhism” is a joint creation of a number of
well-known British born savants, who have innumerable disciples and followers
in this country.
Actually the Dharma was introduced in two fashions. That of the Theravadin
schools by the Open Court Publishing Co., and also by Roshi Shaku Soyen of
Japan, followed almost immediately by the Pure Land missions.
My own studies began in January 1920 under the late Reverend M.T. Kirby
better known for being the teacher of Dr. Malalasekera. During the years I have
studies the Dharma with many teachers including the late Dr. Tai Hsu who was
also the teacher of my present “Roshi,” Rev. Seo KyungBo who is teaching
at Temple University in Philadelphia, and also appeared, for a time, at the
UCLA campus. Some of your colleagues may also know Dr. Kato who has taught
I would like to come and visit you at your convenience, either alone or with
a colleague and can arrange such a meeting to mutual satisfaction. I am also a
very good friend to Her Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul of the WBF who
at one time lived in this city.
Samuel L. Lewis
(Rev. He Kwang)
The First Zen Institute of America, Inc.
113 East 30th Street
New York 16, New York
March 27, 1967
Mr. Samuel L. Lewis 772
San Francisco 3, Calif.
Dear Mr. Lewis:
Thank you for your letter of some time back. I was sorry to learn of Charles
Siegferth’s death. I knew he had been ill for a long time but had lost touch
of his whereabouts when he changed his mind about coming east.
I haven’t heard from Irene for quite a while. If you see her, please tell
her I had an interesting visit with Suzuki Roshi, on his recent trip here.
Richard Baker was with him. Their appearance at the Community Church was very
Yasutani Roshi also visited us with Reverend Shimano. Their place is closed
now for a few months.
There is quite a lot of interest in the psychedelic experience in New York,
but as our anti-psychedelics attitude is fairly well known, those wishing to
associate it with Zen rarely come here. Sincerely yours,
Late Monday, Riverside [date likely in April 1967]
This letter is being written in triplicate from Riverside. There is no
question that an inherent madness in a large section of the American-public is
causing the influx of Jinn-souls who are known as “Hippies.” Realism
is the name given to the way of life which avoids Reality at all costs and the
counter-karma is causing and will cause more and more aberrant behavior
patterns and incarnations of souls who will not take to traditions.
The other night a man born a Sufi but now a scientist opened a
group-discussion and the first person said that Vietnam was the main problem of
the world. When it came to my turn I said: “Pass, I am personally
involved.” Do you think that made any impression? That is just what it did
not. Here I am in a pilgrimage which will take me to a Vietnamese Master and it
did not have the slightest impression on the majority of the American audience,
anxious to get at each others’ throats.
The chair, being a wise psychiatrist easily demonstrated that the arguers
were not discussing Vietnam at all but their own ego-blockages and he used this
to bring them to sanity. In fact he almost forbade them discussing anything not
within their immediate purview.
There was a strange aftermath. The next morning I wrote a long letter
discussing a Sage who was living in Ojai and rejected by the vast majority. He
had lived severally in Indonesia, India and Adyar respectively and the
“theosophists” were no more concerned with his life at Adyar than American
audiences are concerned with my life in S.E. Asia.
I took a copy of this letter to my hostess and there, as the chief guest was
that very person! Not only that he explained Vietnam actually as it was and is
and told a story which, from the scientific point of view was impregnable, but
do you think the American press and TV want it? He has long given up the ghost
on that score but was so happy to be able to speak and breathe, we got along
capitally and when I return wish to see him again. Any American or European who
has lived and breathed with Asians is of course, a Sarkhanian” and is never
taken too seriously.
Now I am hoping to divide my library into those books which will go mainly
to our friends in Corte Madera and to Eugene Wagner. I shall visit Eugene and
take a look at his basement as soon as possible after my return which will be
between the 18th and 20th I hope.
The second note is that life follows exactly Lord Snow’s “The Two
Cultures.” It is the cultists who are the skeptics and the scientists who are
the believers. A lady is driving me down and she notices how short are all my
conferences with scientists—short, to the point, agreeable, amicable and
filled with tremendous possibilities,
Do you think cultists and metaphysicians will accept facts? They call others
“skeptics” and reject everybody else. And so I come to the immediate
purpose of this letter.
My Marpa functions continue and today I copied three pages of unrecorded
esoteric exercises from Hazrat Inayat Khan. If I showed them to Neville he
would laugh and laugh. There would be nothing new, to him, in them. The only
difference between them and the Tantra as given the West is that in the
annotation Sufi words are used, which may or may not be Arabic, and the
ordinary anatomical connotations. But the implication is clear about
The comment is that the Zen schools, with their emphasis on Unity have not
made a clear overall anatomic pattern of the different Centers. Often their
teachers use only one or two. But if one as had training with several Zen
Masters as I have, putting these things together we find ourselves close to
either Tantra or Shingon (swat’s the dee-fair-ence!) And I think Master Seo
would accept this over-all with use of the different centers. Besides Nyogen
Senzaki’s last lecture—which I have despite all the metaphysicians and
cultures, not only corresponds with a supreme Sufi practice but, fitting in
with all the several other Zen practices, carries “coals to Newcastle,
This, of course, is only the beginning and it is quite clear if I comment
further we land back into the Mauna Yoga of Lord Buddha and despite the
cultists and theosophists and metaphysicians this materiel will be given to the
public as soon as I return from England and in England it will be given out
through my or rather our colleague, Rev. Jack Austin.
Now I am stopping because I am called out to keep an appointment with a top
scientist. It is remarkable how easy communication is with the top scientists
whom the metaphysicians keep on calling “skeptics” and how impossible it is
to have any communion with the name-throwers. This world is going to be saved
through the truths of action, not through the truisms of speculations.
May 9, 1967 [?]
I was very glad to see you last night and the same theme which is discussed
in the letter, carbon enclosed, happened to me, but not to my liking. This
nonsense about anatta coupled with noblesse oblige is a great hazard even if
one benefits—in fact I should say that makes it worse.
After your attitude to Rev. Shinryu Suzuki he was very deferential.
I have a paper on “Zen and Sufism” by Nyogen Senzaki. I introduced
Nyogen Senzaki and Hazrat Inayat Khan. They entered Samadhi together and each
became the disciple of the other. I had the Bodhisattvic Vow from the Sufi. And
we used to celebrate the High Buddhist Holidays and sometimes Nyogen Senzaki
came and we celebrated the High “Holidays” concerning Inayat Khan, at least
his birthday and death day and Nyogen Senzaki came.
On one of these Parinirvana Days some of us had a partial realization. When
I presented this to the Roshi of the Roshi of Rev. Shinryu he accepted
it and gave me a special Tea Ceremony as commemorating it. And it is
therefore I am so sarcastic about this man in particularly because he and his
following became therefor and thereby as far from anatta as one can conceive
it. If one had a spiritual realization or unfoldment in another context, it
might be different. So my introduction to Soto was on a very high plane.
And also at Sojiji, Tsurumi, it showed even higher development accepted by
the Roshis and their staff and the whole thing has become disgustingly
“esoteric” because one is not supposed to proclaim and this makes
“Buddhism” about as far from science as imaginable. And that is why the
scientists who are studying religion hold to the view that not those who are
bombastic are egoists but those who close themselves to reports and accept the
folk-lore (as of Alan Watts), that “Buddha never spoke a word,” or “Those
that know do not tell, those that tell do not know.” Against this is the
meeting with Ruth Fuller Sasaki.
The great impediment to the spreading of the Dharma is the habit of refusing
to accept the knowledge of others and this puts present day “Buddhism”
outside the pale of science and we come back to the remarks of the second
paragraph that Buddha was a scientist but Buddhists are not. Actually it
is all very funny and someday I may disclose the whole subject of Zen laughter.
May 17, 1967
This letter is being written under trying circumstances. For the first time
in one’s life one had to go to the hospital and experience what patients
experience. This had an effect to increase empathy. And the clearing condition
came after our good brother, Rev. Neville Warwick read the Healing
There is nothing that one deplores more than the neglect of the literature
of Dharma in the United States. Every person who has any kind of ceremonial
ordination, and some without any ceremony at all, is permitted to establish his
own Sangha. This is in direct violation with Dharma but so is so much of what
passes for “Buddhism” in America especially that there is no use pointing
to particular short-comings.
One followed this attention to the Healing Sutra by reading many of the
neglected Mahayana Sutras. These had in common the Bodhisattvic approach. Early
in life one was direct toward the Bodhisattvic ideal and also to the problems
of Pain and Suffering and the solution therefore, problems in which most
“Buddhists” are not the least interested. The subject of universality is
ignored, the centering upon the ego-self is emphasized.
In the Bodhisattvic Marga one is concerned with mankind as a whole, not with
one’s personal salvation. One, apart from the rest, is nothing. The
Sangha-ideal is a group-ideal and he Sangha is not an ego-individual. When one
suffers all suffer and when all suffer, one suffers. The teachings how to rise
above this condition is clearly laid down in scriptures and just as steadily
One went to the University of California at Los Angeles at the request of
Dr. Thich Thien An. There was immediate understanding and very general harmony.
But the doctor does not accept a lot of Americans who pose as “Buddhists”
or are regarded as Buddhists because they retain the ego- outlook. We may not
be able to stop that but it is time some consideration be given to the
Lord Buddha laid down moral teachings. For the most part they have no role
in American Buddhism. The refusal of some Americans to accept the place of this
person in the Dharma has been more reason for his not cooperating with them. At
least one of them has shown a marked degree of Karuna by his efforts to
help the Buddhists orphans in the Far East. This is far superior to any
I cannot compel “Buddhists,” much less others, to accept the Sublime
Teachings. While ill one read books by an American and a British lady both of
whom got into the spirit of True Dharma and have been repelled by the enormous
amount of individualism which has penetrated the organizations carrying on in
some form or other crystallized methods which have been substituted for the
True Teachings. What are True Teachings? Those that bring True Results? And
what are True Results? The realizations in consciousness that the stage of
ego-self is nothing but a reflection of Indian Manas + Ahankara, one of the
problems which Lord Buddha faced, and from my point of view, solved.
It is forty-six years since my first Wesak and I have no more time to deal
with rejectors. There is now a new group for studying religions connected with
the Cambridge University and also with Harvard in Massachusetts. And I feel
confident with the material on hand, to include five lectures of Nyogen Senzaki
that “Dharma Transmission” will be published. If Buddhism wishes to become
scientific it must accept the experiences of its own devotees whether they wear
yellow robes or multicolored robes or no robes.
Rev. Burkey also spoke on Bodhisattvic Nagarjuna whose works I encountered
years ago. My drawing teacher, Perham Nah, had gone to Japan, been converted
and we used to discuss Nagarjuna but during the years I have found hardly
anybody that considered him at all. Yet his name is on the Patriarchal list
left, among others by Senzaki-san.
The subject of “The Ten Stages of Consciousness” which will be presented
willy-nilly to the scientists, will, however, now be presented to some
Buddhists. This is an important adjunct to culture. By it I was able to explain
all the Upanishads and most of the Buddhist literature.
Senzaki’s last lecture, “How to Breathe With your Feet” is already
been given to the few who come here. As Ruth Sasaki and I agreed, there is
nothing esoteric in Zen but quantitatively it is impossible to offer much
through words. And I am writing with the spirit of hope that the Dharma may be
presented both in words and in practices that will help awaken the world.
All of Shaku Soyen’s teachings have become mine by default. And what was
told me at Kamakura of the relative position of Daisetz’ and this person is
almost impossible to present in “Sanghas” excepting to those Chinese who
lean over backwards against D.S. who accept any such remark without any
examination because the “anatta-Buddhists” are as much against the Japanese
as so many Americans are for authorities while denying the position of
authorities. Book-Buddhism is sure to progress and I like the Japanese word
bukkyo because it sounds like book-yo.
I have a number of deadlines to meet after which “Dharma-Transmission”
will be resumed. And I am glad to see in his last lectures Nyogen Senzaki did
not enter into any grammatical nonsense about the use of pronouns.
There is a long article in today’s paper by my folklore teacher on the
value of the Belch. It was used by this person to excellent ends in Japan. And
if one did not have the Satori (and one certainly did) in Japan, one was a
guest of honor in the Imperial Grounds and it all started in part with the
proper use of the Belch, among other things.
Correspondence will be resumed when the creative writing is resumed. My
greetings and wishes that your family has excellent health. If not, I am going
to take you over my knees and make you swallow Senzaki’s last lecture on
“How to Breathe With your Feet.”
772 Clementina St.
San Francisco 3, Calif.
May 29, 1967
Rev. Takashi Tsuji.
Buddhist Churches of America
San Francisco 9, Calif.
O Tsuji San:
Namo Omito Fu! One uses the Chinese greeting here because for some little
time I have been concerned with the suffering in Vietnam and the more recent
visits with Dr. Thich Thien An who is a friend of Bishop Hanayama. In fact we
call at the office and found both of you away.
I wish here to express appreciation for your talk last night. There is to me
so much different in “Buddha Dharma” and what passes for “Buddhism” in
this country that although one may be cordial, sympathetic and cooperative,
there is no place in most of these groups for a person who has had the living
experiences of what are called “Bhumis” and “Paramis” or
“Paramitas.” There is a very advanced American who lives in a neighboring
town—you probably know him but I shall not name him here—to whom I said,
“Buddhism is the greatest of all religions.” “Yes, I know, but why do you
tell me?” “Because it is the only one where those who know have to sit in
the audience and listen to those who don’t.” “Exactly, that is why you
never see me at any gatherings.” Nor is he the only real “Dharma-ist” in
this region who never attends gatherings. If any of us reach the grades of
Srotapanna or Sakradagamin we are not only compelled to shut up (vide
“Diamond Sutra”) but even more so by a lot of American folk-lore which has
displaced the Dharma—the folk-lore is not restricted to America.
Last night I sat in the audience purposely and engaged a real lecture. A
good deal of what I know does not, most unfortunately, come from
“Buddhists.” I had an Oriental teacher not a Buddhist, who attained
Samadhi in the presence of a Buddhist and put me on the Bodhisattvic Oath,
many, many years ago. I had a local teacher in comparative religion that gave
me instructions in Ashvaghosa about 1925 and Nagarjuna not later than 1931. But
one with this background, even intellectually without any “Bhumi” or
“Paramita” experience, has little room on most Sanghas, indeed he is often
ejected or rejected. But this is universally true and must be accepted without
In 1914 I was studying Art at the University of California with one Perham
Nahl. He later went to Japan, became converted and was an ardent follower of
Nagarjuna—and a lonely man. He was killed in a motor car accident but his
influence extended not only to me but some of the instructors of the Rudolph
Schaeffer School of Design where there is considerable Zen influence but not
the Zen influence of Upayavadins who think they have “enlightenment.”
For the last number of years I have been taking courses in Anthropology and
one learns that all religions veer between Vision and Ritual. But nearly all
people are stuck to and with Rituals of all the world and the people with
Vision are too often outcastes.
In 1931, to give a lecture on “Buddhism,” I spent a whole year reading
nothing but Scriptures, Pali ones which tired me, and Sanskrit ones which did
not and my talk was, to be brief:
Hinayama Buddh-Dharma-Sangha (the Triratna)
Although this may seem simple it has no place in most of the “Sanghas”
in America. The majority of local “Buddhists” do not even repeat Triratna.
And although there is mouthing about Diamond Sutra and Wei Neng (Eno) there is
no acceptance of Prajna.
Daisetz Suzuki wrote “Prajna is Zen and Zen is Prajna” which is nothing
but words and he never exhibited Prajna. Indeed when at Kamakura I was rather
surprised to be told that then (1956) I was already two grades above Daisetz
Suzuki and I was shown certain grottoes which he had never been permitted to
visit. Not only that I was the first Occidental ever to be taken to the Stupa
over the Ashes of Skyan Muni in Japan (have pictures) and went as a guest to
the imperial Gardens (no pictures), honorifics not generally extended.
Prajna and its related to Samma Dhrishthi is the corner-stone of my own
explanations of Dharma. And I felt you made an enormous contribution, only it
is very hard to get most of the people in the audience as well as so-called
Buddhists who did not come to study Buddhist scriptures, or to see beyond the
immediate ego and mental outlooks. Or as you have stated previously, Americans
are not yet willing to face the principles of suffering and causation.
My illness which was properly diagnosed and helped by Dr. Neville Warwick,
was largely due to a psychic empathy with the peasants of Vietnam who are given
so little consideration and whose Buddhist viewpoint is excluded from audiences
in this Land. Doves, Hawks and so-called “Buddhists” alike are not
interested in the Eclectic Buddhism of Korea, Vietnam and a large number of
Chinese. “Jodo” and Sogo” are to these people, and to myself, facets of
the same “coin.”
Actually this combination of “Jodo” and “Shodo” was explained to me
by the Roshi at Sojiji, Tsurumi, where one had the great union with a spiritual
man of another race, requiring interpreters on the outer plane but requiring
nothing, “in the Buddha field.” But while there are many devotees of
“Buddha fields,” there is no room for those who have such attainment. Even
to infer it is regarded as rank heresy. And when the Roshi explained the union
of Jodo and Shodo, and of the NirvanaSamsara and Sakya-Muni-Amida relations,
I have had to keep quiet on a matter which is neither esoteric nor secret but
beyond the limited theologies and rituals of the various sects and
“Sanghasﾀ?? which are found all over the country.
I do not try to extend the Bodhisattvic Vow to others and even impel the
prajna-outlook. It is to be regretted that there is so much fixation among
American so-called “Buddhists.”
After reading in unison from “Dhammapada” that “all that we are is the
result of our thoughts,” etc. before the service was over certain series of
thoughts was imposed, indicating that we are not the result of thoughts but the
result of the foods we eat. To this I do not ascribe or subscribe. My own first
teacher, the one who put me on the Bodhisattvic oath said that the first real
teaching of Sakya Muni was Compassion, and that it would not be compassion to
compel people in cold climates to restrict their clothing to the garments for
Southern Asia. If Compassion is to be first, food, clothing and shelter follow;
and when we place food, clothing and shelter above Compassion, we have false
teachings which do not lead liberation.
Once sees so many upaya-mongers each with their own Upaya (ritual) but
hardly the experiences of awakening. True ,Richard Robinson (who was named)
is working within the universities trying to get students to study the
scriptures. But in most “Sanghas” this is not the case at all. And when I
was reading the Mahayana Texts while ill it increased the pain to see that so
much literature, wonderful literature, is ignored by my fellow countrymen all
under (to me) delusions that their very restrictive rituals (to each his own)
leads to spiritual liberation.
My next step here upon recovery, I hope will be to work for or with Dr.
Thich Thien An, the friend and disciple of Bishop Hanayama.
I would like to see restored the separative celebrations of the Birth,
Enlightenment and Parinirvana of Sakya Muni and more attention to the
scriptures dealing with each.
When “We surround all men and all forms of life with infinite love and
compassion,” we should not each stress our own views. When we give up
stressing our own views and attune to the universe we can say Namo Amida Butsu
or as I wish, in empathy with the Vietnamese, Namo Omito Fu.
Samuel L. Lewis
(Rev. He Kwang)
May 30, 1967 (written the 29th)
My dear Neville [Warwick]:
Today I had to go to the doctor’s who evidently took blood for tests and
also may have given me an injection. All I know is that after eating I slept
the most profound sleep I can ever remember and wakened with a thoroughly
refreshed mind and this is the ninth letter so far. I enclose carbons of two of
One goes through the most ironical situations. I have had endless visitors
but very few show up when I want them. I have tremendous amounts of work to be
done, and can pay and so far the dollars go begging. Most of the people who
come want to help me go on vacation and offer every inducement. And that is
the one thing I do not want plus the fact the doctor does not want me to leave
town. My mail has not only piled up but endless get-well letters add to it.
It is regrettable to me that we do not celebrate anything much about Lord
Buddha. It was wonderful to have so many groups come together. But although I
know about Phra Sumangalo and Dr. Love and Ernest Hunt, I had wished to
celebrate Lord Buddha’s birthday, not theirs. Nor do I assent to the
rejection of the anatta teachings by anybody, most of all “Buddhists” who
follow everything and everybody but Lord Buddha.
I am superannuated enough to know about the Open Court Publishing Co. and
their efforts to popularize the Dhammapada. But I am also either logical or
stubborn enough to hold that if everything is mind-made it cannot at the same
time be food-made. And I have a lot of not too well-wishers because I have
found Eskimos more noble than Banyas. I think a good introduction of a few
Banyas—and we have some here in San Francisco, will end the legends that
non-meat-eating makes the peacefulness and nobility.
I agree with Dr. Tsuji that Zen came from India and there is such a thing as
Lankavatara Sutra despite its rejection by the various “Zen” leaders in San
Francisco and it demands the end of all indoctrination in order to free the
mind. I do not know if I have copies of my first epic poem which was on this
subject. I do know that in Anthology of Zen very contradictory opinions
are held, largely because legendary traditions dominate over scientific
I have written elsewhere but mismailed a letter of thanks to you who
understood what I have been going through. Even now the psychic ashes remain. I
want to celebrate the Birthday, Enlightenment Day and Parinirvana Day with
appropriate scriptures. I do not wish to celebrate the memorials of even my
best friends on Holy days purportedly dedicated to Lord Buddha.
June 3, 1967
My dear Marian,
The other day I found a long brochure from one Muriel Lewis. She and her
husband seem to be much concerned with the Tibetans. I am concerned, not
because of the sloppy sentimentality we have, but because, as I have written,
these people are compelled to change their environment and live under
conditions totally foreign to their nature. But I am not happy because I knew
all about the communist plans for Tibet and with our help the Chinese
took over. We Americans will always believe a Lowell Thomas before a Talbot
Mundy or a Nicol Smith. It is exactly the same as in Vietnam where we would not
believe a Robert Clifton.
Now we have the Near East. There I was successful in working out a program
by which the Arabs said they would recognize Israel. I have enough sense not
to present that program. Israel would have to make psychological concessions
but as long as they insist they are a special breed favored by a hypothetical
universal God, they must face karma. I do not choose to look or predict. I do
choose to work on my peace program.
A copy of this and the other are being sent to Rev. Dr. Neville Warwick. His
efforts have had more to do with my “reconstruction” than those of anybody
else. We insist we each have a separate ego. We are not parts of each other and
disease is a direct result of this separateness. We are able to repeat, “Love
ye one another” but we are unable to experience the love, only the words. The
words satisfy us and we are reaping the results of vain words.
I have no intention to insist on others performing any discipline either of
Buddhism or any other faith.
There is a growing tension over the Hippies and the rise of Buddhist
influence. The Bible says, “No man cometh unto Me unless the Father be
willing” which is in direct opposition to the whole Christian missionary
movement. When there is this willingness we have the Prajna and when we have
the Prajna we have the clear sight and insight which is Deliverance.
The other night I felt well enough to take Bill to dinner, to a vegetarian
Indian meal and the next morning (yesterday) felt wonderful. Indeed this is
getting me an invitation from another Indian, a Dr. Ahuja who is here and he is
the first person who has officially recognized me as a Sufi other than those
who are already initiates. I think every male in the audience accepted it, and
practically every female rejected it!
The world tensions have forced me even further into correspondence. We
prefer war to listening to each other.
Mrs. Judith Hollister, of The temple of Understanding, has notified me she
has called on the Pope. So has Princess Poon. I see no peace the Near East
without their being some Christian representation in the Holy Land.
Yesterday I visited a bookstore and said, “There is a book here for me. I
can feel it.” “Of course there is. When Sam says he feels a book, it is
here.” In two minutes two counters over I found Three Ways of Asian
Wisdom by Nancy Wilson Ross. Eugene told me he has already read it.
Then I got into a very nice discussion with some Hippies. They accept all my
external experiences because the “power structure” has rejected me. But
they are very confused on inner development. Yet the discussion prompted
The Five Ashrams the last being based on the identity of Nirvana and
Samsara, only I shall give it tonight as experiences and it is very hard to
convince people that one’s talks are based on experiences and not
It is necessary to plan moving and until that is accomplished there will be
no regular program. I never have a day off but sleep often and then get
June 3, 1967
11133 Ventura Ave
Ojai, Ca. 93023
One approaches your sending the long brochure about efforts to help the poor
refugees from Tibet. There is nothing more horrible than to compel people, and
children who have lived in high mountains in dry places to descend where it is
moist and warm. Even with many comforts they will be submitted to deficiency
diseases. But alas, I am unable to help on the plan where help is requested.
As an eye-witness one feels most uncomfortable and involved oneself, but
fellow Americans do not listen to each other and until we listen to each other
we are going to have Tibet upon Tibet—even at this writing, in Africa.
I may be one of the last of those so connected with the Roerich Museum. The
Divine Teachings, the Dharma, were presented, and personalize. And the
personalification of the Dharma is the death of the Dharma. We listen to whom
we please and in the case of Tibet we listened to Lowell Thomas and shunned
Talbot Mundy and my friend, Nicol Smith because they made us uncomfortable.
Being an eye-witness or one degree removed from being an eye-witness in each
of the tragedies of the day I have taken refuge on the one hand in the Buddha,
the Dharma and the Sangha, and
on the other hand in the Mahayana teachings of Prajna, Mahakaruna and
Dhyana. And unlike the people of the Roerich Museum and very many good and fine
people have practiced the Mahamudra meditation
Bodhisattva, if you and your friends were to try to practice the Mahamudra
which is the Dharma of the Holiness, the dalai Lama, you would find a way out
of the repetition of the recurrences which makes Tibets.
The Three Leaders of official Buddhism are Her Serene Highness, Princess
Poon Diskul—who is a personal friend, Dr. Radhakrishnan in whose home
together we performed Mahamudra, and his Holiness who preaches the teachings
and we are satisfied with the personality and preachings but not the practices.
Lord Buddha taught the Dharma and the emptiness of the ego. We practice the
existence of the ego and the emptiness of the Dharma.
Therefor I personally must restrict myself to contributing only to those who
have taken either the Bodhisattvic Vow or the Vow of Samantabhadra.
Tathagata taught the existence of suffering, the cause of suffering, the
elimination of suffering, the Eight Fold Path. We Americans do not understand.
We hold on to egos and egotism. The Roerich Museum went all through that and it
is folly to repeat the same errors.
The Orient is full of Wise Men who are generally very, very different from
our conceptions of Wisdom because we expect our Wise Men to perform what we
like. In the Diamond Sutra the perfection of Giving is set forth and I dare
not do otherwise. Lord Buddha showed how to get beyond karma. He did not preach
“good deeds.” “Good deeds” and dualism come in other faiths, they do
not belong to the Dharma.
I could, of course, come to Ojai when I am well again, gather my friends,
speak on “Vietnamese Buddhism” and get a collection for you, adding to it
myself. This might impress on you and your friends that the suffering of the
Tibetans, the Vietnamese and the refugees from China is one and the same
For the first time in a long life I have been recently ill. My friend, the
Lama here, was the only one who understood, that it was the illness of, let us
say, a Srotapanna who had take on the pains and sufferings of masses. But we do
not study the Dharma. The majority of so-called “Buddhists” in this land do
not repeat even Triratna. And as for the Scriptures? Hardly anybody knows them.
We are concerned with “self.” The Bodhisattva is not concerned with self;
he is concerned with the elimination of all suffering.
When I have my new home I expect to read incessantly Buddhist scriptures
especially Mahayana Scriptures which are ignored by our culture, excepting a
very, very few universities. You might gain, perhaps, if you could visit UCLA
and contact Dr. Thich Thien An who teaches and explains the profound teachings
of Mahayana. One does not ask.
Limited as I am to direct sharing with those who have either the Vow of
Samantabhadra, or the Eight-Fold Bodhisattvic Vow, or the Diamond Sutra, one
can only wish others would understand.
Or in the extreme case of those interested in the suffering of the Tibetans,
the practice of Mahamudra which is their putative form of Dharma.
Samuel L. Lewis
June 3, 1967
To save time I am enclosing copies of letters. Mrs. Lewis (Muriel) is head
of a Tibetan Relief group. I do not approve of this piece-meal relief and of
course am not happy after the snubs extended to Talbot Mundy and Nicol Smith
before the commies took over—and then there is my own small history when I
lived in the Himalayas.
Marian is a double-disciple in Ojai who took both the Sufi and Mahayana
initiations from me.
I am making not plans waiting until Dr. Fung gives clearance for moving and
travelling, especially the moving. My mental health is fine and the system is
in order but I am taking things very, very easy, under-doing in everything.
I shall let you know when I hear from Jack Austin on book purchases. I have
not gone over the library I have here but every now and then hear of books
which are generally now available here. Faithfully,
June 11, 1967
It is very difficult to keep on one’s even ways, especially as one is
restricted after illness. Ironically I have had great difficulty in getting
help. The young dispense with money—they want little pay, but come when they
wish to, which does not help me at all.
But there are strange things in the universe and I was asked to see if Alice
Alice is a student of Horticulture and has two cars and can type. But
besides this she is interested in Oriental philosophy and I would like you to
meet her. But between your absences and the bad phone here it has been
difficult to contact you. Besides for reason I cannot fathom, telephone calls
wear me out more than anything else.
There is a great change going on in the “bodies.” I found that heavy
weights do not weigh at all. I have refused to overdo or even test, for there
is also a reaction in the form of sleep. One wants to sleep much more and more
One has the ironic existence of being a participant in all the historical
events of Asia from one end to the other and having one’s direct experiences
rejected. But one holds on and the puerile debates of the UN where the most
powerful men in the world indulged in lies and half-truths makes one realize we
must not exert more from Samsara.
The one exception are the Hippies whom I meet in greater and greater numbers
and who all accept my direct experiences in counter to the Philistines who do
not. Indeed there is a danger of blind acceptance.
Their strange attitudes toward spiritual things has prompted The Five
Ashrams. You won’t
find this in books. It is suggested in Paul Brunton’s The Secret Path beyond
Yoga but was more overt
in Dr. Tsuji’s address and in The Identity of Nirvana and Samsara. I am
giving it a “dry run” tonight.
My hours are irregular staying home most nights but no regular program until
after I move. I believe The Five Ashrams will become part of Universal culture
after I am gone.
June 14, 1967
It was not my original intention to write to you now for one cannot indulge
in letters regarding personalities. Besides I have confused my writing to Erica
and others and being unable to get help my affairs are in a horrible state with
one notable exception, and this exception is more important than the
For efforts to get one of the horticultural students who can drive a car to
join me in research became a cosmic opera. And when I was asked to employ Alice
I could see the divine wisdom. For Alice is at least an amateur in Zen and
oriental Philosophy and is, taking all persons into consideration, most
Alice has already seen Prajna in action, that property which we all posses
and shun which makes it possible to pick up the Wisdom which is there both in
space (Akasha) and in ourselves. And it is possible she will see it also in the
morrow should we go to the University of California at Berkeley.
Prajna is shunned by the majority of Buddhists as if it were the devil.
There is no question that the present turmoil of the world is due to the games
Hon. U Thant has made of the holy teachings. If he cannot take them seriously
he can only face the karma of dealing so slightly with Dharma-Dhamma. Perhaps
he knows no better but it is obvious that a Buddhist in his position has not
compared to spiritual Christians who have held the post before.
I am gradually purchasing copies of Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch as
much as I can afford, and acting as if it were to become a, if not the, World
Scripture. This is partly in thankfulness for healing and more than a
restitution of faculties of all three bodies. But it is a question whether
“Buddhists” or “Theosophists” play more lightly with the three bodies
and I am very skeptical of promoting the teaching of Lord Buddha among
“Buddhists.” I have two friends here—Rev. Wagner who is trying to teach
“Buddhists” the Dharma, and he is paying a heavy price, and Rev. Warwick
who is looking for those who are ready for Enlightenment experiences.
I am not interested in anybody in Ojai unless they welcome the presence of
Dr. Warwick. There is nothing more terrible than the extremely loose way in
which “Buddhists” treat the term Sangha. The world is at war, and
confusion will increase but “Buddhists” are way down the lines of those who
will accept what Lord Buddha taught on “Sangha.” As for me, I have given it
My house is being overrun by young people and I told them first
sarcastically, “Compassion means pleasing your immediate audience.” But
when some stayed and questioned I took up the whole world of Bodhisattvic
Compassion. It takes long training to be able to feel within the sufferings
of multitudes but these young people have found quickly that this person is
able to emphasize instantly and remove a considerable amount of pain and
suffering. At least the young are taking to Sam as the old run away, for which
one is thoroughly thankful.
But my next step may come through the husband of my God-daughter and if he
arranges a new meditation-spiritual Center here it would be to me personally of
great advantage to go along with you thoroughly. I am sending copy of this to
Revs. Wagner, Warwick, Price, and Miller and not speaking for them. But my
whole idea is Sangha-Buddhism and I have also written rather sarcastically to
Me-Sangha of which the woods are full of.
For it is certain that my good Rinzai Zen friends in Southern
California who have recognized Sam Lewis and are quite willing to get his $aid$
in competition with Rev. Harold Priebe, and I have no doubt there are more
I-Sanghas in Southern California. And if we work it properly here it would be
possible to make contributions and get income-tax deductions whereas if I send
you anything directly, it would not have this advantage. Nevertheless this
will not interfere with my delayed (I had a momentary financial setback) in
sending more Sutras.
I have given Iru full right to use the paper on Vietnamese Buddhism
and will not enter that field until I see Dr. Thich Thien An again. I brought
him to the house of Dharma when Iru was away, but he met Mrs. Price (Wah). I
did not take him elsewhere.
After making up “my mind” I found that the South Vietnamese are
establishing a Consulate here and this clarifies the whole thing. Some time I
hope to convert a few “experts” in ?Buddhism? to the Dharma, but in the
meanwhile I should prefer going with you all the way.
June 15, 1967
I did not realize, in going to bed last night, that another door would open.
In a report to my disciple in Ojai stress is made on Prajna, that grand
Unlimited Wisdom which is totally unknown to most so-called “Buddhists” and
which has been stressed so much by Dr. Radhakrishnan, retiring President of
India. And while we live and move and have our being in Prajna, there is here,
as elsewhere, the tyranny of the word, or the words, and rather than face
this tyranny we actually prefer war.
There is in India a lady oracle whom even the heads of State consult. We
agreed on everything but one thing—that the word Shanti was an obstacle to
Peace. I told her—and it took her some time to find out, that any word, any
Sound, was a break in the untrammeled Universal Sound-Silence in which we live
and more and have our being. Time brought about this change in her, for unlike
American women, or rather mature American women, she was quite willing to go
through Transformation and did. Our ladies here simply will not.
But why blame them? This is Religion, to hold on tight to your organization,
your cult, the verbal side of your teachings, your particular ritual and fear
more than anything else Transforma tion experience.
I awoke this morning with the Prajna that I am the richest man in the world.
To begin with I am hoping to teach what is actually in Sutra of the Sixth
Patriarch. Japanese have a tendency to worship scriptures rather than become
them and Master Too Lun did the same with this scripture. “With Master Seo
and Thich Thien An the whole emphasis was on being or becoming what you teach
There are about four movements here which venerate Eno (Hui Neng) but none
of them exemplify Prajna. Prajna dispenses with any argument over whether
there is, or is not an ego. And to me, anatta = srottapanna. But the
abandonment of almost the entire Buddhist literature by the separative and
separating Sanghas is itself a causal factor in the turmoil today beginning
with U Thant. U Thant is a dualist and so many so-called “Buddhists” are
dualists and won’t change. Rather than get “into the stream” we have
series of rituals displacing traditional rituals and all avoiding equally
“you must be born again.”
The situation in Ojai is exemplary, that there are at least two Vajrayana
movements—not only on good terms with each other, the usual
“only-in-America”—Buddhist (?) situation. And I have become quite
caustic; and here was very Fudo-ish. But the young who are open found that the
Fudo situation is not too different from “Beauty and the Beast” and certain
Fudo activities in these rooms won hearts because the young are not attached to
name, form and person. You can almost draw an age dividing-line and things work
The next days must be devoted to two quite different functions, that of
gathering materiel to promote real peace in the real Near Last among real
people. When I leave this morning I shall not have the slightest idea but can,
as Sri Krishna taught, abandon the fruits of action.
Then also the first steps toward moving and when the new place is occupied
there will be stress on Dharma Pada. For next to the dispensing with all the
marvelous teachings of all of all the Dharmic-scripture, the inability to
study, much less practice, Dhammapada or Dharma Pada, leaves such a world to me
that the rest of the life would not suffice to direct the young, excepting that
they accept the transformatory experiences.
Between tines, and by Prajna, I have scheduled, “learning the dharma by
walking.” Now all these confused and confusing verbalists—many so much
admired who tell you words are no good and keep on talking, do not give any
non-verbal methods. Stone-Buddhism is very popular, but it is entirely contrary
to the teaching of Dhyana as this word originally meant and as it is practiced
in some parts of India—not many, but some.
The Buddhists (?) separate Dhayana and make it appear that just sitting and
doing nothing is Enlightenment. The Hindus go to the other extreme and say if
nothing has happened, if you came out the same door by which you went in, it is
not Dhyana at all. Thus there are the two extremes of nothing happening; or
opening up to psychic rather than cosmic process. The Middle Path is that
something does happen, but not necessarily in dream, vision, thought or idea;
something happens to the ego-personality and as older Americans don’t want
anything to happen to ego-personality, and as one turns to the young, one is
amazed how they respond.
True, there is Right Action, not a couple of mysterious Sanskrit words, but
actual action. And if the program goes right this will be demonstrated
Saturday. To walk certain ways, not feel certain ways, to breathe certain ways,
and coalesce and combine them. Already the young have found two things here: a)
the door of transformations; (b) the door of Love—neither
the nonsense-word nor the very limited so-called “Mehta” which is as
much private property as things are—but what can be verbalized as Karuna, but
which operates whether in word or not.
I do not wish to stress the point of stress at all. I feel that the physical
moving will be accompanied by other kinds of moving. The abandonment of both
the Scriptures and Prajna by the vast
majority of so-called “Buddhists” makes me feel very wealthy indeed and
this wealth must be shared.
410 Precita Ave.
August 21, 1967
You will find enclosure here of a letter written to the WBF. It is amusing
and tragic that the editors should see fit to publish almost anything written
by a tonsured head as if the mere tonsure made one into a super-being. This is
the tragedy of all religion and is the reason why people looking elsewhere for
the “truths” supposed to be embodied in the world religions.
There will be open house hare from 1 to 9 P.M. next Sunday because that will
be the day of the annual Fair in the park in front.
Have been busy at the Semantic Conference and the Sir Aurobindo conference.
It is a matter of concern that the semanticists and Dr. Kaplan should give us
psychological theories quite in line with Lord Buddha’s teachings while
Monk Dr. Douglas Burns challenges these teachings, and the blind
“Buddhists” accept Burns and not the teachings of modern scientists.
The Wandels showed up at the Sri Aurobindo conference and Les blew off steam
saying he had not found a single teacher here who knew anything. “But you
have never been to my lectures.” He has the worst excuses but I hall not let
him approach me anymore. If he wants to be opposed to others that is his
private business and his cosmic karma.
There is a slow but gradual increase of young people coming to these doors.
After this month I expect to advertise. Saturday we called on Swami
Vajraprakash. He is under instructions to give out teachings but otherwise has
not revealed his plans.
September 27, 1967
The other day I received “Text for Zen Buddhism” and have in the course
of the week also received two letters from Master Seo. I am complying with his
wishes for both selfish and unselfish reasons.
Now I am paying for a secretary to help with this work and shall therefore
not make any contributions any more to anybody else or any movement. But this
paying, although it may run into considerable money, will not be a personal
I am also cooperating to get a publisher. But here again, while three months
ago there was not a publisher in sight, there have come several into my life by
ordinary or extraordinary methods. A letter has already been sent to Charles
Tuttle with a stamped return envelope. For if he will accept the manuscript it
will bring prestige. He has already expressed a willingness to publish Asian
manuscripts and I have had several reasons for writing to him recently.
This title, “Text for Zen Buddhism” will be fine for future generations,
but does not fit in with the entirely artificial movements called “Zen”
which are based for the most part on egotists or organizations and have no
relation to the fulfillment of the Eightfold Path of Sakya Muni.
It seemed evident to me that the writer has the Bodhisattvic consciousness.
He also has the all- Embracing Dharmic view which is not taught here. I had
this verbally from Nyogen Senzaki in San Francisco and by Satori at Tsurumi in
Sojiji temple but as human experience is no necessary for present day
Buddhism and even less for what passes under the word “Zen” without
context, I am even more selfishly enthusiastic about it.
The “Zen” of Korea and much of Vietnam (where we are fighting) is based
on the full acceptation of Dharma and Five Views which are not presented here
by anybody. But the manuscript will speak of itself. It will have to be copied
shortly with some corrections and carbons will be made. It will have to be
re-copied after with full corrections and then sent to Master Seo and to a
Samuel L. Lewis
Master Seo, Joe Miller and Eugene Wagner; Original to Neville Warwick
October 8, 1967
The First Zen Institute of America,
113 East 30th St.,
New York 16, N. Y.
I have been informed that Mrs. Sasaki has been in this City. My name is not
in the telephone book due an over sight for which an apology was received but
naturally I am not too easy to trace.
We are very busy here on manuscripts, particularly one on Korean Buddhism,
on Master Tai Hsu and Roshi Shaku Soyen. It takes all of our spare time. But
this is mentioned not only to advise what we are trying to do but to comment on
a report of the meeting of Rev. Shinryu Suzuki here with Mrs. Ruth.
Anthropological studies over the past few years show clearly the seemingly
opposed trends of ritual and vision. The vast majority of people are ritual
people, despite Samma Drishthi and there is no doubt to me that the Soto school
is both wedded and imbedded in ritual, and what they call “Enlightenment”
is a delusion. Nor is there an organization and Sangha anywhere within the
Sanskrit meaning of that term.
The teachings of these various manuscripts are also, in a way, reinforced by
the presentation of Vietnamese Buddhism by Dr. Thich Thien An.
I expect soon to learn of the establishment of a new meditation Center in
this City. Although I am to be in charge it is my intention to operate this on
a Sangha and not on a personal basis. At a time when scientists are moving more
and more into Lord Buddha’s position on the ego, the vast majority of
Americans who call themselves Buddhists are moving away from it. A number of us
here who belong to different schools but also have been initiated into the
Korean school work together as a team. I understand that something of the kind
also is moving ahead in England under our good friend, Rev. Jack Austin. I see
no future for “Buddhism” as a cult, as an egocentric development or as
anything but the search for human freedom and enlightenment.
Ever since an illness in May which incapacitated me for travel, the whole
trend of life has been exactly opposite to what it had been. There is at least
temporary financial security and an ever growing number of disciples and
lecture attendants with many signs to increases in both.
Orthodox Buddhism so-called is attached to words, not to the processes which
reveal the Enlightenment. In Tevigga Sutta which we don’t bother about
Tathagata protested against methods which do not lead to Enlightenment. And we
keep on reading the words. Recently Douglas Burns reported the absence of
Arhats but one heard the same thing when one was in Burma. Something is
Modern Anthropological studies contrast Vision and Ritual. All over the
world orthodoxies are based on rituals which mostly do not work. In the
sciences when a method fails we try something else. In this sense the
scientists Oersted and Faraday were far ahead of “Buddhists.” When their
rituals did not succeed they either tried another “ritual” or else
accidently encountered one. In “religion” this would be rank heresy. But
we demand useless orthodoxies.
These lady writers discover that Samma Drishthi meant the universal outlook
one either uses or discovers and from that goes on to Satori or Samadhi, or is
led into by Satori or Samadhi. But in most cases these words are empty, they
are used rather as negative props for the unenlightened to reject the awakened
and prove by some ego-centric “logic” that those who are awakened are
misled. And the world accepts it. The result has been that the methods
ascribed to Lord Buddha do not result in what Lord Buddha said would result.
But although in general males seem superior to ferules in the spiritual
enfoldment, there are some remarkable cases, for the ladies, rejected at the
outset by Orthodoxies are compelled thereby to resort to Prajna (Panna) and
wittingly or un-wittingly find the True Self, which is anatta.
Peace can only come into the world when individuals find that peace within
themselves. A Bodhisattva naturally loves the neighbor as himself and also
regards himself as if he were his own neighbor, not his ego-identity. So our
Peace movements fail, for they are all based on samsara, and being in samsara,
and seeing a universe of friend + enemy, they cannot produce that which they do
not embrace. All external efforts toward political peace fail and will fail. We
cannot by samsaric methods achieve that which is beyond samsara, but few of us
bother. And not experiencing Samma Drishthi we cannot lead others to where we
have not gone.
The Bodhisattvic outlook, especially when one is ill, makes one see and feel
the universe within in another sense. This “universe within” is none other
than the universe-without, exactly the same universe, but now you and it are
the same. Consequently the pains of Vietnam are one’s own pains and by
oneself only can they be corrected. A lot of pseudo-Mahayanists are monkeys
chattering that nirvana and samsara are the same and the monkeys join together
only against those that claim achievement. Kapleau has put an obstacle before
these ego-”Buddhists” by revealing his own experiences and it is time
that those who think they are disciples of ‘’Dharma accept, even
occasionally claims put forth by their fellows and learn humility by
I must confess that the recent events were portrayed by me exactly as they
happened but this was not Prajna. I was only there and met so many of the
important personalities. This is no more believed than any wisdom-teaching I
may have. It is utterly ridiculous. Americans will accept almost any teaching
excepting “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and “The lamb and lion shall lie
down together and a little child shall lead them.” This culture is not
going to let any child lead anybody. We prefer karma and destruction, and we
certainly prefer them to what Christ called “love.”
Most, of my audiences are ex-Hippies, but some are still Hippies. They have
found that drugs do not bring Enlightenment. Drugs show we have other bodies,
other states of consciousness, but they do not show how to control them. A
mystic has much greater experiences but he does not impress others and he
does not always try. No man cometh unto me unless the Father be willing.” But
now the doors are open to the new race and they are willing to experiment, and
There is one young man here who is advancing so rapidly I can hardly keep
up. But this very thing will bring salvation for there are multitudes of occult
and even psychic sciences which are unknown to the West, largely because
theosophists and metaphysicians have created lies which pass around and are
Both these young men (the new ones) are scientists and they know they
learned by having teachers and so it is easy to present the teacher approach.
Nearly all the audience is interested in the New Music so they accept
Attunement, etc. This makes it easy and profitable.
Physically and mentally I am even better than before but psychically
progress is slow, and this slowness is “for the good of my soul” for it
tunes me down, keeps me from overdoing and compels calmness.
But I have had to work day and night to try to obtain some platform to bring
Israeli and Arab together. Oh, I have it all right. I have it despite social
and other rejection and I know that tomorrow I shall be successful for I go to
visit other persons like myself who know both Arab and Israeli and also are
rejected by our culture. All real peace-makers are rejected by our culture. We
love words, we love orators, we love emotional excitement. But the soul loves
truth, the soul is Truth.
Love and blessings,
October 11, 1967
There will be shortly in your hands copy of a letter to her Serene Highness,
Princess Poon Diskul. This letter is, in a sense, a double protest. But it is
primarily a protest against all the religious and metaphysical people and
groups who verbally adhere to Karma and practically reject it all the way, in
everything. Indeed like the sectarians of all types, the metaphysical people
believe almost (not quite) equally that if they verbalise a principle they have
the right to reject that principle and at the same time consider themselves
superior to others who do not verbalise the principle.
Jesus Christ has told the story of the two sons one who said he would obey
his father and did not and the other who said he would not and did and
indicated that the one who verbalized in the negative but practiced in the
affirmative was much nearer the truth. Practically all religions and
metaphysical people reject that. To aver “faith” is a virtue, so great a
virtue it is supposed to overcome all sins and shortcomings.
Despite the common, and I mean common, opinions of the day, Lord Buddha was
neither a Japanese householder nor a British socialite, much less an American
psychologist. Lord Buddha left a voluminous literature and the
Buddha-transmission gave rise to a still more voluminous literature.
“Buddhists” no more have to study this literature than Christians have to
accept the Sermon on the Mount and neither self-requires his own ego to pursue
such principles in life. Consequently it is the karma of the “good” which
is causing as much or more depredation then the karma of the “unelect.”
A letter has been sent to her Serene Highness and copies will be made and
furnished you. One reason is that by this indirection it will get into the
hands of Dr. Malalasekera. Despite all the protestations of beliefs in
“karma,” this person had the same teacher in the Dharma as did Dr.
Malalasekera but at an earlier date and this person has never rejected the
teachings thus imparted. And as they have not been received by small groups
they are now being given to the world. Even what has been called “esoteric”
and mystical is being given openly to the world, and will be given to the new
culture which is objective, impersonal, eager and curious—not “humble,”
the “humble” can listen to nobody; the “humble” are damned.
Compassion means to be nice to one’s immediate audience. There are
millions of totally innocent people in Vietnam, and perhaps in other lands,
whose only “crime” is that they happen to be Buddhists. They are crushed
between mighty powers, each quite willing to destroy their long culture.
Science, the publication of the leading scientists of this country, and perhaps
the world, recently published an article showing that civilizations have
existed in Vietnam back to at least 10,000 B.C. I personally knew that such
musical instruments as the Gong, Cymbal, Kettle-Drum and others came from that
part of the world. Chinese cultures go back a long way and their oldest are
very highly developed, showing earlier civilizations. There is new evidence
that some of these earlier civilizations were in Vietnam. But Compassion means
being nice to one’s immediate audience.
There are more Vietnamese Buddhists than there are Jews and we know what the
Jews had to suffer.
In June 1923 I introduced the Zen teacher, Nyogen Senzaki to the Sufi
teacher Inayat Khan. Each immediately became the disciple of the other and I
was put immediately on the Bodhisattvic Oath. At that time there was available
a lot of literature which has since disappeared, concerning the Bodhisattvic
consciousness. Who cares? If “Buddhists” do not need Lord Buddha’s
literature why should they bother about derivative writings? But one thing is
sure, one learned about the Hierarchies and responsibilities of the
Paul Brunton has written, The Hidden Path Beyond Yoga and this is nothing
but Mahayana teachings. Recently a Swiss went to India and has written A
Psychologist Looks at India which will, when we get rid of our soporific
nonsense about “Shangri-la” make serious people realise that the Dharma is
still existent and active but covered, covered, covered, by the press, by the
noisy, by the ignorant articulate. The Dharma, being aeonic, if not eternal
cannot be changed by all the Japanese householders, British socialites or
American psychologists. Indeed they can only continue to add to the
swill-storehouse of karmic influences which are so enjoyable.
There are two events coming up next month here which means certain
knowledges will get out and all the pseudo-esotericists on heaven or earth
cannot stop them. Dharma marches on.
One will be the presentation of the person and teachings of Dr.
Radhakrishnan under the auspices of the University of California. Dr.
Radhakrishnan was regarded as one of the Big Three of the W.B.F.. I have had
the experience of sitting with him in Mahamudra Meditation in his home. And we
have long, long, come to agreement of solutions of the Vietnam complex. Her
Serene Highness, Princess Poon, accepted this program but no attempt is being
made to present it even to “Buddhists.”
The second is the probable opening up a new Meditation Center. As one
believes in the Buddha, the Dharma and Sangha this will not be a Sam Lewis
Center. This will not be an imperious- egotistical, sectarian effort. On the
contrary as soon as it can be arranged Dr. Thich Thien An will be invited to
present Vietnamese teaching.
Despite the rejection of the operational-karma by all the metaphysical
believers in “karma” (whatever that means), no sooner was the letter to her
Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul mailed, than a letter came from Senator
Kuchel of this State who has inquired into the State Department why do they
ignore all the correspondence of a person who has been involved to his ears in
the complex which is causing endless death and destruction: and why do they
ignore suggestions from Americans who fulfil the roles of the late Dr.
Sunday one presented Tevigga Sutta. Now this person has two vast Empires
which he never sought. One is the Empire of the Dharma. According to Her Serene
Highness whom we ignorant “humble” people call a “Theravadin,” to her
Buddhism consists in the knowledge by experience + attainment of Bhumis and
Paramis. I am not going to explain these terms. The “humble” by-pass them,
the curious, of course, are different.
The other is the empire of Buddhist literature. Even now one third of my
income is being devoted to this subject, to see that between the vast amount
of literature poured into our book-stores by Japanese householders, British
socialites and American psychologists, a few manuscripts of attained Masters be
published and studied. And at least Mr. Charles Tuttle has expressed his
willingness to publish these manuscripts. Some carbon copies of some of the
still-to-be-revised writings will get into the hands of some of you. But I
warn, you cannot accept in your hearts the teachings of these Masters and the
stuff put out by Japanese householders, British socialites and American
psychologists as “Zen,” “Dharma,” “Buddhism” or what not.
Unlike the people who gloat at “At the Feet of the Master” written by
somebody who never sat at any feet, of Masters or anybody, I have had the
privilege of having sat at the feet of Master Tai Hsu. Records show that he
reached such a state he seems to have imbibed all human knowledge. (I once met
a German disciple who also made such a claim and never once did I fail to find
him answering questions on any subject. There is a vast difference between
popular, metaphysical people talking on “Superman” and the functions of
Well master Tai Hsu, being a real Master and adhering to the Truth—which
people who say, “there is no religion higher than truth” almost unanimously
reject—remembers that the kingdom of heaven belongs to children. And his
English it totally unlike the obtuse, obstreperous complexities which
“nice” people offer as Zen—whatever that means. His English is clear, his
thoughts are clear, his goal is clear and the children of the New Age will lap
The manuscripts on Korean Buddhism are not so simple but they retain a logic
which is singularly missing—and it has to be missing from the obtuse stuff
called “Zen” by which we deceive ourselves and everybody else.
People coming into the presence of Lord Buddha became immediately
enlightened. This does not happen to those who come into the presence of his
“successors” of whom there are legion. And they are satisfied to praise the
claimant and remain in darkness.
Every effort will be made to get out the literature which came both from the
historical Buddha and from those who attained the Buddha-consciousness at later
dates. This knowledge will enable us to appreciate the consciousness, not the
empty words, Wisdom, Composure, Compassion, etc.
Summing it up, by Wisdom, Composure and Compassion we can bring peace to
Vietnam and to ourselves. I am asking no agreement but on one point, that all
of you stop and drop any allegiance to any Japanese householder, British
socialite or American psychologist. Lord Buddha had 16, not 12 Master
disciples, each with his special Upaya.
May all beings be blissful, may all beings be peaceful, may all beings be
S. A. M.
October 11, 1967
Despite the rejection in practice of karmic principles by groups, cults,
religious and organizations which claim to believe in karma (with or without
reincarnation) there is no more effect on the laws of the universe than
children skipping rope destroy gravity. The abandonment of the Teachings of the
Founders of different religions by devotees and particularly clergy, has not
affected the history of the world, excepting, perhaps, to increase the tempo of
I am here going to confine myself to Buddhism. Despite all the Japanese
householder, British socialites and American psychologists, the teachers of
the Dharma have not been touched. Our good brother, Rev. Jack Austin, has also
been working for years to present some of the teachings and wisdoms of Gautama
Sakya Muni to the British people and after long years is getting both
cooperation and recognition. For there is a law of patience (Kshanti
Paramita) and its abandonment by all and sundry groups and sects claiming to be
“Buddhists”—whatever that means, does not impinge upon this Universal Law
and truth. Even the many cults that accept the Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch
sometimes, even if begrudgingly, accept this possibility. They do not emphasize
it much. Nothing is emphasized but leadership by me, whoever me happens to
This has placed in this person’s hands a tremendous amount of wealth,
wealth which really does not belong to him but has been abandoned and
especially by self-deceived acceptors of scriptures. Jesus has taught to
store up treasurers in heaven. Buddha (whose works we simply will not study
though I do not know why) told about ownership of treasures when they are
abandoned by others. And this is what has happened. A few of us, including our
good brother, Rev. Jack Austin, have been vouchsafed enormous treasures by
The Literature of Lord Buddha. Japanese Householders, British Socialites and
American Psychologists, by looking down on Pali scriptures have been successful
in self-excusing the abandonment of the Pure Law by many methods. This means
that the moral teachings which have been given over and over again are not
regarded as necessary by “church goers” (including “Buddhists).
The Literature of the Attained Souls. While we ignorant people think this
may mean “Mahayana” there are excellent works in the Pali. Our
self-deceived ignorant people do not know there is little difference between
the “Psalms of the Early Buddhists” and the grand poems of Milarepa. They
all come out of the experiences of Sat-Chit--Ananda, verbalized by “Hindus”
and demonstrated by Lord Buddha. Then also experienced by his early followers
(as well as some later). This is of no interest to those who find it easier not
to “work out thy salvation with diligence.”
Vietnam and its complexities are an excellent example of what happens when
karma and Sila are abandoned, and stilt more when the word “dharma” is
substituted for Dharma. If a few “Buddhists” would practice the Dharma or
Saddharma we might have peace. But the Eightfold Path has long been abandoned
by self-selecting “One-Fold-Pathists,” who show no empathy for the wretched
innocents of Vietnam, and apparently more of Southeast Asia. Everybody is too
concerned with comforts, organizations and private pursuits to be concerned
with the Fourfold Principles of Causation. And since they have been abandoned
by “Buddhists” and are unknown to others, we can expect hostilities to
One thing I do not expect is any willingness on the part of any large group
of “Buddhists” to consider the Fourfold Causation and its relation, or
rather the relation of its abandonment, to the endless conflict in Vietnam.
That one is sure of. “ Buddhists” will not accept Lord Buddha’s
teachings on Causation. They simply will not. Consequently persons like Rev.
Jack Austin and the writer and Rev. Eugene Wagner have found it much more
simple to go to the New Age people who are not confused by words, who want the
Teachings and their application in daily life and who do not separate
themselves and their pleasures (including a multitude of practices known as
“meditation” which do not resemble each other at all).
The refusal of the whole American and/or Western culture to examine the
Vietnamese culture has caused this person to write many letters. And despairing
of getting any consideration in this land one has appealed first to Her Serene
Highness, Princess Poon and next to Dr. Malalasekera and on to others. But as
Causation and Karma are true, despite their rejection in practice by
“Buddhists,” theosophists, et al, no sooner was this done when the writer
was advised by a United States senator that he has put this matter to the
State Department—why are we fighting Buddhism and what evidence that we are
While our dialectical people have rejected the experiences of little folks
and always depend on the opinions of big folk—this is the common
practice—the school Department of San Francisco was told that the writer had
lived and worked in India, and they put him to the test. The test—which is
always by -passed by such people as Japanese householders, socialites, and
American psychologists, was passed with alacrity.
The step was to visit scientists. Not only do scientists stick to facts but
it seems—and karma and Dharma are true despite their being rejected, the
scientists approached had been to India and Japan and besides their
open-mindedness (not found among “religieuses” and social people) a
tremendous amount was accomplished in a very short time and the matters are
going to be pursued further. We are gain to have Vietnams so long as
personalities are accepted above “truth” and on the whole, the older people
are not ready for that, the younger people want nothing else but.
All these are side issues to the main occupation of the time, which is to
get real manuscripts of realized souls to the publishers, the first of these is
a manuscript by one of the greatest sages of the century, Master Tai Hsu. He
functioned before the day of Japanese householders, socialites and American
psychologists. He was able to apprehend all human knowledge. He was what the
Aurobindo people talk about. He was even here in San Francisco and despite all
Japanese house holders, English socialites and American psychologists this hard
fact plus the manuscript he left is going to cause a tremendous rift between
the various “Zennists”—whatever that means, and those who have had the
deeper experiences, let us say, of Jhanas, although that is not what is
Contrary to all the nice and un-nice books we read and pretend to understand
and self-deceive everybody, Master Tai Hsu believed that to enter the kingdom
of heaven you have to be like little children. And having mastered the English
language, along with many other things, he has given us a profound manuscript
at a simple literary level. And when it is published—and Tuttle wants to see
it—it may deliver us from the mass of obtuse literature which is just
“too-too” and passes for “Zen”—whatever that means.
Also there is the great work on Korean Buddhism which has been translated by
Master Seo Kyung Bo. This kind of thing has no equivalent in English and should
be called Purna Dharma, for while taking Meditation seriously it also takes the
Eight-fold Path seriously and Buddhist literature seriously and Causation
seriously and Enlightenment most of all.
Even after these manuscripts are fully typed, edited and submitted one has
so many other manuscripts, and also some defunct books which would have passed
for “Zen,” Zen of a variety which existed before the manifestation of
Japanese householders, English socialites and American psychologists. One third
of one’s time and one third of one’s money is in this field alone. One
lives for humanity, not for popular applause but the young now are attracted by
this approach. And they are learning the Yoga-system practiced by Gautama
Siddhartha before he manifested as Lord Buddha Sakya Muni. This, along with
various Upayas are manifestable. Unlike Jesus, despite the theosophists,
cultists and metaphysicians, Lord Buddha had sixteen supreme realized
disciples, and each with his Upaya. Therefor unity is not uniformity, and in
Purna Dharma we accept all of them.
Samuel L. Lewis
October 13, 1967
I am enclosing copy of a letter written to the First Zen Institute recently.
Although I know only indirectly of the meeting between Shinryu Suzuki and Ruth
Sasaki, you can see why I do not wish to be called a “Buddhist.” I have
with great effort convinced Rev. Jack Austin in London that I am bound by my
father’s will on one hand and bound also by the Sangha-Principles of Lord
Buddha (which principles are almost totally ignored in this land) as to
ownership and disposition of wealth, properties and manuscripts which have come
into these hands.
I have asked Eugene to duplicate the letter written to Princess Poon. I have
no intention to try to influence “Buddhists” in the least. Sunday my talk
on “Tevigga Sutta” shows that we know nothing and care less about the
principles of Dharma but are wedded to ego-personality regardless. It is a
shame because more and scientific people are coming to Buddha’s point of view
and more and more “Buddhists” veer from it.
I wrote to Her Serene Highness and I keep on writing that that
“Buddhism” which is a compilation of the work of Japanese householders,
English socialites and American psychologists has nothing to do with Dharma.
And I regret that here some people have gone so far as to support Dr. Burns
100% against the late Rev. Sumangalo when it comes to actual principles and
teachings. It is further regrettable because these people ignore karma and also
the teaching of Hui Neng on repentance.
I hope to take one copy of the Seo manuscript to Gwen Miller this morning. I
am going over the others and will distribute the carbons. My secretary is now
going over the Tai Hsu manuscript for the last time and then I shall have the
Seo manuscript read to submit to Tuttle. I don’t know what the American
public will do when this house publishes real books on real Buddhism which
contradict in so many respects the work of Japanese householders, American
psychologists and British socialite.
In the meanwhile my audiences increase. On October 22 we are going to
Fung’s church and then have a Chinese dinner. This is partly to greet several
people who have travelled from the Midwest to study here. It also happens to
be the birthday of one of my disciples.
I am writing this in part to inform you of progress on manuscripts but in
part to tell you what I feel: we have been so successful in our Walking that
not only have I written this up esoterically but plan to turn a whole group
over to you for Yamabushi work next spring. We are able to climb steep hills
with ease and go on long walks without fatigue. Only I do not like to give more
than 2-3 hours Saturdays for this purpose and am faced with these simple facts:
(a) It is more beautiful in Marin; (b) my disciples and audience are 3/4 from
During the rainy weather we shall consider the aspects of Walking in the
class and then go on to Pilgrimage so they can understand the esoterics.
I am also starting a class on “Living Religions of the World” under
Christian auspices. It will soon be advertised. And the rumor still goes on of
a new Meditation Center. Unlike all the meditation centers now in operation I
wish this to be a Sangha, not a personal center. I don’t care who says what,
every center here has tended to be a personal center. Our colleagues in England
have come together—the real Zen teachers, the Theravadin teachers and Rev.
Jack Austin and I think they will be presenting the Dharma. Both social and
intellectual events have pushed Jack up and the verbose writer CH down. There
is more than hope in that.
When the Tai Hsu and Seo manuscripts are out of the way I shall begin work
on Shaku Soyen, I hope. But very slowly there are persons and forces who
concede that an unimportant American who has lived in Asian and associated with
Asians and studied with Asians sometimes might know as much as “experts.”
But there is more involved. This “watakshi-wa” happens to be a product of
the San Francisco School system and it does not reflect upon this system if
they were to prefer an “ersatz” expert on Asia to one of their own
products. So they have sent for this person.
The missions so far have been entirely successful because they have been
confined to scientists, those strange people who emphasize facts over
personality and speculations. This , of course, is in line with Lord Buddha but
very much out of line with “Buddhism.”
The next thing will be plans to bring Dr. Thich Thien An here during the
winter. I wish this to be a Sangha effort. Dr. An teaches the Buddhism of
Scriptures, derived from India, and not the verbose literature of “experts”
nor the obtuse smarty-alec literature which has been substitute for
Zen-realizations. On ne passe pas. Why should one?
October 16, 1967
c/o The Reporter,
660 Madison Ave.,
New York, N. Y. 10021
I am very pleased to receive your note which I am sending to this address,
“252 East 7th, N.Y. 21” not being clear but will be used in case this
letter is returned.
I do not know when dialectical subjectivism took over the teachings of
Oriental Philosophy, Buddhism in particular. My first teacher was Dr. M. T.
Kirby (Sogaku Shaku) who will be known like Mendelssohn’s father as being the
disciple of the great real Zen Master, Shaku Soyen; and the teacher of the very
famous Dr. G. Malalasekera.
I was a young man when I met him and received his direct and simple story of
satori, a real experience and not even a low order of abstraction like in
Daisetz Suzuki. Dr. Kirby was also a friend of the first wife of the latter
(Beatrice Lane) with whom I used to correspond. In those days the Zen
experience was not more and not less important than a Faradayans or Edisonian
note book. It was only when the “experts” came along one was supposed to
keep quiet. Now Kapleau has come out openly with what should have come out
openly years ago, and in time “experts” will be put in their proper place,
It has been so easy to commune and communicate with both her Serene
Highness, Princess Poon Diskul, President of the WBF and with Dr.
Radhakrishnan. The realities of such and many other meetings correspond and
contrast with the rejections and scepticisms of book-writers who wish to be
famous and keep the world uninformed.
I am now busy editing manuscripts of real Zen-Ch’an Masters for
publication and “when the gods arrive, the half-gods go.” Also in
distributing copies of the meeting of the Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan and the Zen
Nyogen Senzaki as described by the latter. Realities are needed in religion and
mysticism as in science or anything and everything else.
Samuel L. Lewis
Mentorgarten 410 Precita
October 17, 1967
I have given the bayat to Kathleen Williams and her new boyfriend Jonathan ,
at the Garden of Allah, in Corte Madera. She asked to have all lines and has
lived in my disciple Amin’s house with her boyfriend for many weeks.
They asked me to dissolve the marriage to Richard Williams, and I told
Kathleen that according to Muslim law, divorce is at the request of the
husband, and by declaration. She should have her second husband write a letter
asking for a divorce, and as a Sufi she will be free. They want to practice
mountain yoga with Amin and I have given my blessings.
If I should not live much longer, please care for my disciples in every way.
Jonathan is now Jabbar, and Kathleen is Jayanara, but they are fearful people
and the disciples at the garden of Allah say he works too much and is not very
happy with the sudden responsibility.
Some mountain practice would be very good for them. Let us all as
bodhisattvas help them and everyone,
He Kwang Zenji
(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)
San Francisco, 94110
410 Precita Ave.
November 3, 1967
Mr. Rosemary Kiefer,
Sect. California Bosatsukai,
Del Mar, Calif. 92015
Thank you for your letter of October 23rd. I have moved into a house with a
friend and have here restored the Mentorgarten, originally an idea of the late
Roshi Shaku Soyen and his direct disciples. The work here, as there, was for
Asian-American cultural exchange and is not confined to Buddhism.
Besides this person will under no circumstances establish a one-man private
“Sangha” which is so characteristic of this country. So we work with other
teachers and groups and try to avoid competing. As there are so many
traditional schools of the Dharma it is not necessary. And in addition
to teaching the various doctrines, we have among us a vast amount of
literature to present to the American public because the better known or better
established groups ignore practically all Buddhist literature.
We are also able to work together because we have accepted the leadership of
Grand Master Seo Kyung Bo. His Buddhism is more inclusive although he also
carries on the Lin Chi-Rinzai methods. And he in turn was a disciple of the
great Chinese, Tai Hsu.
We are also working on manuscripts of Master Seo, Master Tai Hsu and others
to prepare them for publication. The “others” include at least one
manuscript of Roshi Shaku Soyen and smaller writings of some of his
We hope someday to present the writings of Nyogen Senzaki to the world and
shortly will send you copy of his Sufism and Zen. It was my experience to have
sat in the original Mentorgarten, the actual first Zen institute organized here
in San Francisco, the Turner St. Zendo in Los Angeles shortly after it started
and the actual First Zen Institute in New York in 1930.
There are many opportunities to present the Dharma here, and if there is a
new establishment I shall advise. But I am also interested in promoting the
Vietnamese Dr. Thich Thien An. If we are so concerned as to send armies and
monies to his land, we ought to be willing to know something about the Buddhist
cultures of Vietnam.
Thanking you again,
410 Precita Ave.
San Francisco, Calif.
November 5, 1967
This letter is written at the request of Rev. Jack Austin who is this very
day having a special meeting of “Friends of the Western Sangha,” and has
written in part: “Meanwhile will you please contact the 4 priests you mention
(Messrs. Wagner, Warwick, Price and Miller) and ask them for any ideas of
practical cooperation that they can think up, and add your own comments.”
Later he says: “The close association of the Sangha helps a lot, and is very
necessary to us all in Western
Now I do not wish to force my will on anybody nor to compel but will impel,
perhaps by certain actions, and history. The failure of many of the so-called
“Buddhist” groups to accept my actions is of no accord, but their refusal
to accept my history shows that though there may be many “Buddhist” groups,
they have no insight into karma. Whatever non-action or action is taken will
have some results in samsara and the strange rejection of this basic teaching
by the better known groups here only supports a certain stubbornness on my
I saw the rise, success, fall and failure of the Roerich Museum which
claimed to be Buddhistic and was certainly extremely egocentric. I see
exactly the same things going on in our midst, and already the forces of
dissolution at work in certain of them.
I am the last living collaborator with Dwight Goddard and his fall was even
more tragic than that of Nicholas Roerich for he was far more sincere and
educated in the Dharma, but remained to the end, too egocentric. But he also
had to face the simplest fact—which we all avoid—that there can be no
Dharma in America which is controlled by the extremely uncooperative Chinese
and Japanese—I mean uncooperative to each other.
It seems to me that all the Oriental groups here have gone to some extreme
in Ritual and have thus rejected—no matter what they say, the Samma Drishthi
of Lord Buddha. This does not mean “Right Views,” and has nothing to do
with “Right Views.” The original teachings of Lord Buddha are filled with
internal consistencies which have been misinterpreted to inconsistencies based
on the opinions of “important people,” and thus Samma Drishthi.
In pure Theravada sixteen Arhats are posited and in the early Mahayana
sixteen Bodhisattvas were positive (or the Arhats were reinterpreted as we
can see in the Temple on Waverly Place). Consequently it is quite proper, to
me, to see several aspects or Upayas presented. Therefore I am in favor of what
each is doing and am especially critical of the “One-Fold Path” (or
“paths”) in our midst today which have the vocabulary and none of the
The Dharma meetings here on Sunday night are being very well attended. But
the inquiries cannot be solved by one person and I am totally and absolute
opposed to the “I-Sanghas” found all over this country, both among
Americans and Japanese (the Chinese are not so bad here). I only regret that
with a totally full program it is difficult to attend the meetings of
The Wednesday night meetings are held at Guerrero and Duboce and the
attendance is rising. I do not wish to present Buddhism by the ego-self, but as
a Sangha-undertaking and would like a group-panel in which I would act as
chairman or coordinator, but not as commentator. However I should like to
include, so far as possible, the writings of the late Robert Clifton (Phra
Sumangalo) but shall certainly not impel this either. Then I might ask each one
to come sometime to speak on the various schools. Offhand I should like Iru to
present the Zen of Eihiji if he will.
When asked the other night what the difference between Christ and Buddha was
I said: “Roses are red, violets are blue,
Daffodils in the springtime
And asters in the autumn.”
Dwight Goddard worked in vain to bring the Buddhist groups together and
failed. Now we have the WBF, but here again, there is too much attention to
individuals as such, and the introduction of contradictory materials. Nyogen
Senzaki was wholly opposed to speculations and I guess I have inherited this
However I do not wish to present the Dharma of Nyogen Senzaki excepting at a
close meeting. And I have already sent Iru the paper I have on Vietnamese
Buddhism. But I do retain the right to speak on Patriarchal Zen which is not
only inherent in Korean Buddhism but which was imparted here to the American
audience by Nyogen Senzaki. He gave this directly to Zoso (Paul Frandez) but
that disciple passed away before his teacher.
Patriarchal Zen has all the elements of Baraka in Sufism which was presented
by Sidi Alawi in the home of Dr. Neville. It has been symbolized and even
ritualized and needs to be brought back into actuality.
Modern Anthropology regards Religion as bobbing between the two extremes of
Ritual and Vision and today we are caught in rival Rituals, with very little
Vision. The late Daisetz Suzuki verbalized, “Zen is Prajna and nothing but
Prajna,” most unfortunately because he did not evince Prajna. Dr.
Radhakrishnan has and he has been regarded as one of the Big Three of the
Despite certain emphases here I do not wish to impose any line of action
with regard Jack collectively. Nor do I wish to verbalize—so easy, “Join
or die.” I see no such thing. But I am personally going so far as I can to
Last night I also uncovered Nyogen Senzaki’s translations which, or some
of which, I hope to place in Eugene’s hands shortly, And found the paper on
Vietnamese Buddhism which was sent to Iru and which is now being copied by my
secretary. Not a moment too soon for there is a Vietnamese Consulate going to
be established in this city on Market Street, Flood building and I hope to call
there as soon as convenient.
This suggests—and I am leaving it open, the invitation to this Consulate
to be the guest of one or more of us.
But there is still underground the possibilities of establishment a new
Meditation Center on Haight St. for the young. I do not know the details but I
am hoping to invite each to come sometime either to lead in Meditation or
lecture or both. Unfortunately it is on Tuesday nights—every night is
“inconvenient” for somebody and so Iru could only appear when he does not
have his own meetings.
Perhaps I have already over-suggested, but I should welcome any opinion or
suggestion either for my own self, or to send on to Jack in London.
Samuel L. Lewis
Chiloquin, Oregon. 97624
December 13, 1967
As you know, I pulled out of San Francisco, and am now located in a little
town in the mountains in Oregon, called Chiloquin, (an Indian name), where my
sister lives. They are in the garage and Chevrolet business. As I have been
given a reprieve, I want to be where I can make it as easy as possible on my
Right now we are under six inches of snow, and the temperature probably
zero, because this morning the windows are all frosted over. But our houses are
On Sunday we went into the woods to cut down some pine branches, as Miss
Kast wanted some greens to decorate the Theosophical rooms for her program on
the 17th. So I sent her two large boxes on Monday, and they should get there
today or tomorrow if parcel post is not behind in delivery.
Guess I cannot get down there for Christmas, as the transportation in and
out of Klamath Falls by plane, train, or bus is not very good. I guess I am
stuck here for the winter.
So have yourself a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year—and all that sort
of thing. Keep well—and eat a lot.
410 Precita Ave.,
San Francisco, Calif.
December 15, 1967
My dear Haridas,
or shall I say: “Dear Ram:”
One has an intense interest in Sri Aurobindo. One has been involved in
integrational movements since boyhood because one sat at the feet of the
American Philosopher-Mathematician Cassius Keyser. One sat at this man’s feet
and has been called by innuendo, and sometimes directly a “liar” excepting
that when one visits Columbia University it is the opposite. There one can sit
and talk with equals, unequals, superiors and inferiors. But here? Here we have
piles of “more equal people” and one does not mind that and one does not
mind their criticisms of this person but one cannot and will not stand for men
who have no religion at all occupying the platform of Sri Aurobindo
Ashram—in your absence—and refusing to accept that this person is and has
been a disciple of Sri Ram Das. It has been done twice in your absence and I am
not a masochist to contribute to godless, self- centred “universal
religionists” who worship not at all, standing perpetually in superior
I have been initiated at Fudo in the Buddhist Esotericism and must pursue
the Fudo-dharma though it is a cover up. Let all the experts on “Esoteric
Buddhism” occupy all the platforms they will, this person was initiated as
Fudo. And his counter-part (Samantabhadra) was the late Phra Sumangalo (Robert
Clifton) who died of a broken heart, unable to prevent the hostilities in
Vietnam. And there is a curse on humanity and it will remain until people in
high places who have not been there will listen, even if on rare occasions, to
people in low places who have.
I had to witness the whole outbreak of hostilities in Vietnam and have not
been permitted to say a thing—this our “humanity, democracy, liberty”
which is before the Universe nothing but a pack of lies and pretences.
Naturally I knew that Dr. Radhakrishnan would not join Lord Russell in the
protests over Vietnam because I, Sam Lewis, was the international emissary
which placed certain documents in Dr. Radhakrishnan’s hands and he went on a
most important errand which our press, our State Department, our “experts”
refuse to examine. They prefer wars than listening to little eyewitnesses.
The result is inevitable: Vairagi. And no nonsense.
I would and did discuss with Dr. Radhakrishnan and also enter into Maha
Mudra with him—that was easy. And I could get approval to represent him at
local conferences. That was easy. But now I am forbidden by the Universe itself
from sitting at the feet of self-centered, “I-Universal Religion” people
who are totally ignorant and totally unable to listen to others, only to speak
and preen and proud themselves. This is not, was not and will never be the
Integral Yoga or the Integral Philosophy of the late Sri Aurobindo which is all
inclusive without pretence and which is not based on “analysis of
integration” called or rather miscalled “Integration.” There are no low
nor high nor Jew nor Barbarian nor Greek nor free nor slave in Christ Jesus.
I am accepting your Christmas invitation and will bring a small offering.
The balance of the $100 will be paid when and after I have spoken in your
Ashram, not before. I refuse any longer to accept a lower place before a lot of
“famous” people who have never experienced higher consciousness.
Recently a Jewish mystic came to San Francisco. He wanted me to call on him.
I sent a true
kabbalistic greeting and he took the first taxi. While the Jews and Arabs are
fighting a Sufi and
Kabbalists meet and embrace and love each other and talking about
God-realization which it is obvious we both have had and not university
education behind it. And he is returning to this city and one reason is to see
This seals the book that one has now met a saint or Master of every living
faith, something that has not occurred, I believe, to anybody before.
And next month I am expecting a Vietnamese Master. I send him also the real
Vietnamese spiritual greeting which practically none of our “experts” in
Buddhism know—for that matter the whole bunch together with one exception,
could hardly pass examinations in historical Buddhism. Establish a church and
you are a superman.
Last week your name was mentioned along with a lot of people who are far
your inferiors excepting in the use of the word “Meditation.” This is now a
magic word and whoever uses it is superior. Now one of my colleagues in the
real Dharma (based on spiritual realization and not froth) went to India to
call on Lama Govinda. I was not consulted but in Prajna this is not necessary.
Buddhists (?) have rejected Prajna and Dr. Radhakrishnan has elevated Prajna.
Well when I got a document of Lama Govinda I was amazed. Here was the true
doctrine of the true Dharma or Arya Dharma or Sanatana Dharma and it has not
connection with scholasticism or ecclesiasticism. My colleague has done well. I
can accept Lama Govinda just as I can a lot of real Zen Roshis in the real
world of this day. By real “Zen” I mean attainments of satori or samadhi,
and not empty ritualism which makes people over-proud and attached to the word
“humble” which they have totally emasculated.
I am not presenting much Meditation here. I am in competition with nobody.
If anybody claims to teach Meditation or Yoga, be it honest or be it fraud, I
teach something else. I am today presenting two real Yogas based on spiritual
realization and am being surrounded by an ever growing body of young people.
It is quite obvious to me that these are reincarnated Indians and you do not
even have to teach them Mantrams.
What I do present is Advaita and no nonsense. I am at one with every single
one of them. There is no “self” and no not-self, and everything is based on
attunement if not unity. And they know it.
I shall bring a small check this next Friday but become a Patron after I
have given a lecture. And at that time I should like a collection taken for
Indian relief, any Indian relief, no matter what.
Last night I may have disturbed some people who asked me about the local
people who can afford palaces while there is a war going on, and millions of
Buddhists are suffering
are going to face their Karma. I saw the rise and fall of the Roerich Museum
which was a great Bud-
dhist Center based 100% on egocentrism. They had all the wealth and power of
the world coming to them. And as Inayat Khan said, “Shiva can destroy in a
moment what it takes Brahma a thousand years to build.”
Inasmuch as “Buddhists” do not, and do not have to study Buddhist
scriptures, I can only watch and see the terrific karma to those who pursue
such a course. And Jesus said, “Every sin shall be forgiven excepting a sin
against the Holy Spirit.” So while it is within my prowess to forgive every
personal and personality criticism directed toward me (and they may be right,
too) it is beyond my power to forgive those who denied my connection with my
Guru, Swami Ram Das. This was done twice in your absence. This is unforgivable
by the teachings alike of Christ and Buddhist scriptures. And I am not
permitted to be a masochist.
As for the rest. I was asked to describe the difference between
Christ-Consciousness and Krishna-Consciousness. I am, I hope, going to be
permitted to demonstrate, not with words by entering into the Stages of Deep
Meditation as described in Buddhist sacred literature (not studied by most
“Buddhists”) and only then, by entering into these stages shall I be
permitted by the universe, to speak. I have at long last been permitted to
speak on Bhagavad-Gita here, not from the manas-ahankara point of view, but
from the unitive point of view. It has taken years but what was demanded in
India has been refused here. How many times did I have to give a commentary on
the Gita to be permitted to enter certain assemblies? Well as Vairagi I don’t
mind having to listen to ahankara-manas speaking in the name of Lord
I end with a story. We went down to see William Cleary who has an art store.
He was showing my disciples around and I was telling a friend of his about my
visit to the temple on the site where Sri Krishna had kidnapped Rukmini. After
we left I found Cleary had given each of my disciples a picture and I asked one
of them to show his. It was a picture of Sri Krishna coming to kidnap
Rukmini. I was utterly silenced. Now I am going to use this soon to present
the Krishna Consciousness in actuality and do not care if all the
ahankara-manas people object. Let them. I practice Unity with my disciples and
in both the roles of Lover and Beloved, and I am doing this today immediately
after this is mailed.
With all love and blessing,
December 15, 1967
One is sorry to hear that you have been incapacitated. Today is happening
what may have been foretold in the ethers that one has a large and growing
entourage of young people who wish spiritual training and not lectures about
it. Fortunately one differs from the “Buddhists” and others in being able
to apply Prajna and Samma Drishthi into every-day life without that putrid,
stinking statement that “Zen is everyday life” which it certainly is
The greatest event is your having called on Lama Govinda who shows every
sign (to me) of being a Bodhisattva of this age. And although I am on
excellent terms with some Zen Roshis I feel that your step is not a step in the
“right direction” but the step.
One does not concede often but previously I had conceded to Rev. Jack Austin
on this point and now concede all the way. And when you are able I hope you can
come here, preferably on a Sunday night and talk to the growing audience of
young people who want realities and are tired of the schmuck offal offered by
their elders in years on “Oriental philosophy” or anything else.
One has become very popular all around merely by saying: “The old souls in
ies are tired of having to listen to the young souls in old bodies.” And I
put this Jewish mystic to a test, being warned inwardly that there is no sin so
great as the verbal pretension of consideration of the aged and then expecting
the actual aged (which now includes this person) to come and wait on them.
Fortunately he came, and fortunately also Rev. Thich Thien An may be coming
here. The “natural” would be to bring him to Too Lun, but the data is not
set for his next visit.
These people are now ready for anything in Yamabushi if you are willing. Our
“Yoga” walks have been very successful and with an ever growing attendance.
For they are having realizations and proofs in their own beings and prefer this
to any bunch of “delightful” sermons by proper people, ecclesiasts and
non-ecclesiasts. I am reminded that the original companions of Lord Buddha were
shocked when he came out with a teaching, teaching which incidentally
At the University, where they don’t prate “liberty,” “democracy,”
“humanity” and all that drivel, one found that the tenor of the day is
toward cryptic Mahayana. But intellectuals are not going to follow empty
egocentric ritualists. And in my final question the teacher abandoned the whole
them of “Is God lead?” to accept a definite area of investigation and
research frowned alike by all power-structure individuals of all camps.
Last night I had to Fudo-ize, praising Govinda no end and excoriating the
ritualistic give-usmoney clerics who do not care one whit if all the rest of
the people starve or are killed or suffer from anything, As Fudo I am now
compelled to battle to the death against these anti-Buddha “Buddhists.”
The recent article in the Sunday paper on “Meditation” tends to impress
that if anybody starts a “meditation” center he is super-superman, And
today I may have to discuss seriously an underground—not yet organized, to
have this person head a Meditation school. But I want the Govinda, not the
empty-useless stuff called “Zen.” Dr. Suzuki said, said, said, said, “Zen
Is Prajna and Prajna Is Zen.” I am willing to compromise that Dharma Is
Prajna and Prajna Is Dharma. There is nothing that “Zennists” are more
afraid of than Prajna unless it be Moksha.
I am now asked to lecture on “Vedanta and Sufism” by Dr. Chaudhuri. In
his absence his chairmen and lieutenants seized every opportunity to put me
(and some others) in our places. I am now forbidden to sit at the feet of any
more egocentric dilettantes, but may, like Christ, sit with publicans and
One practices unity and unification and this is leading to
love-demonstrations and manifestations beyond the scope of the Hippy
community, but not contrary to their words.
It is a situation now with the rapid addition of disciples one has had to
lay aside temporarily literature work not only for Master Seo but for the whole
world, and recent discoveries make me every more serious. That which is in the
Alaya is in the Alaya and neither my harmonization nor desperation affects it
at all. It stands and it is up to this person to act in accord or not in
We are ready for Yamabushi but more ready to work with you on the Govinda
Platform, or reverse on the platforms where I stand as presented in this letter
and the enclosure.
December 18, 1967
I have been informed by my good friend, Dr. Thich Thien An that he expects
to arrive here the first week of January. I am hoping to get full cooperation,
which does not mean that I am seeking help so much as offering it.
Thich Thien An differs from practically every “Buddhist” in this region
in that he has studied the vast array of Buddhist scriptures which have been
put in abeyance by the various sects. Thien is Vietnamese for Zen-shi. But he
has also studied under Bishop Hanayama who holds forth here with the Honganji
people. He seems to have a very good knowledge of Sanskrit, of Sanskrit terms
in Buddhist scriptures and of the Bhumis and Paramitas which I think alone
mark a person’s place in the spiritual life.
(I am quite a minority on this point and won’t push it here.) But there is
one thing that is certain and that is karma, and by this I don t mean any
metaphysical doctrine from which too many people practice self-exemption, but
the actual law of cause-and- effect which I think hits all of us. Anyhow there
is now a friend of mine in charge of Buddhist Studies at the University of Cali
fornia and I shall be able to unleash years of document gathering, studying add
practice which are generally ignored or even denied by various
I have assumed—and I must be corrected, that Dr. An would appear in this
house on the Monday night; with Rev. Joseph Miller (who has already been
advised) on Tuesday; with Rev. J. Eugene Wagner on Monday; and on Wednesday
night to my session at Church and Duboce St., on which occasion I do not chose
to be a speaker. I am inviting each Bodhisattva to come and sit as a Sangha
panel, and in this way present the Sangha-Buddhas as against the false ego-self
“Buddhism” which has been offered to the American people. I am not
concerned with any views at all, but with the anatta, Sangha attitude.
Privately I now feel a great step has been taken in the recognition of Lama
Govinda but I have no right to impose this either. All the “churches” and
sects and sanghas which are not in accord with dharma must ultimately pass
March 21, 1968
Dear Mr. Lewis,
I hope you will overlook this long delay in replying to your interesting
letter of November 10. It was good of you to take time to reply to our
announcement. Only about three people did so.
I was most interested to learn of your early association with
Senzaki-sensei. Did you know him during the San Francisco days? I am also most
interested in any of his sermons that have been preserved as he spoke them. I
think the edited versions leave out the sharp cutting edge of his Zen
penetration. I did not meet Senzaki-sensei while he was living (here) but I
have met him through his translations and the copies made by faithful listeners
of his Mumonkan, and the first part of his translations of The Iron Flute. I
feel a deep devotion and gratitude toward him and his great teacher, Soen
Shaku, who sent him to us—and to his Dharma Brother, Suzuki Daisetz, who
brought to me the Dharma.
A small group of Senzaki’s disciples (descendants of his original L.A.
group) meets weekly at my home for two hours zazen—on Mondays, 6 to 8 p.m.
Once a month we sit all day on Sunday. If you are ever down in S. Calif. I hope
you will come and sit with us. My house is Japanese—named Komeion (Ancient
Clear Sound—from a poem Senzaki used in preface to The Iron Flute). My
address is 1760 Sea View Avenue, Del Mar, Calif. Post office Box 74 Del Mar,
If I should come to San Francisco this year, I would like to have a talk
with you about Senzakisensei, if it is convenient.
6114 North Invergordon Rd.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
April 12, 1968
Dear Mr. Lewis:
Paul Reps has responded to an inquiry as to unpublished sermons and talks by
the late Nyogen Senzaki, by writing that you have a “suitcase full of
them.” So I’m writing to you as to whether you have ever given thought to
their suitability for publication? Not long ago, I met a Dr. Ray Jordan, who is
now on the faculty of the San Diego State University, and who also studied
under Senzaki. He too, has much unpublished materiel, and it has occurred to me
that your material and his might be found complementary; and that out of the
combination, there might result something of outstanding value.
Does any of this seem to you to make sense? My only interest arises from a
long period of the study of Zen, from many talks with the late Dr. Suzuki, and
from the belief, fostered by the amount of rubbish being written about Zen
now-a-days, that anything of real value should not be allowed to lie fallow.
with all good wishes,
April 24, 1968
Dear Reverend He Kwang,
I greatly appreciate your taking time to answer my letter sent with the
California Bosatsukai mailing on March 21, and I shall be very happy to receive
the manuscript which Prajna prompted you to have copied and sent to me. Soen
Shaku, Suzuki Sensei and Nyogen Senzaki Sensei are truly my Dharma Family—and
I believe that the successor designated by Senzaki Sensai—Soen
Nakagawa—is and will be a part of the same Tradition. For that reason,
Tai-San, from Soen Nakagawa’s monastery, and Yasutani Roshi, sent by Soen
Nakagawa, are a very important part of my Zen family. So, a manuscript of Soen
Shaku and Nyogen Senzaki, sent to me from you, is being sent by them—in you.
Thank you for it, in advance.
I found the material in your letter of great interest. I have heard of your
Dharma Master, Too Lun (An tsu to Lun?) of the Buddhist Lecture Hall on Sutter
St, San Francisco, is he not? A friend, Paul King, told me of him two years
ago, and highly praised his teaching. I have kept his address ever since, in
the hope of going to see him when I go to San Francisco. Perhaps I may be able
to visit him, and you as well, on my next trip. (I travel very little,
I have heard from your disciple, Marian Latavala, and asked Mr. Gooding if
he can put her name on our list for Ojai Sesshin (since she is not staying in
the dormitory) and have sent her letter regarding Sesshin and instruction at
Zen Center for herself and Mr. Trevelian, on to Maezumisan (Rev. Maezumi),
Director of Zen Center. Perhaps you know him? He is a Soto Zen monk who seeks
to establish a center for Soto Zen study in Los Angeles, and bring his own
Roshi there to teach. He is just now trying to get a building program going.
There is cooperation between Zen Center end the California Bosatsukai, and we
share the same Roshi’s instructions when he is able to be with us. But there
is no organizational connection between the two Zen groups, since the
California Bosatsukai has a Karma link with Soen Nakagawa as its teacher. (By
the same Roshi, I mean Yasutani Roshi, who has come to teach California
Bosatsukai at Sesshin for the past several years.)
I know how you feel about the precious Dharma manuscripts entrusted to your
keeping—and how you would like to see them transmitted—and I am sure there
will be a way. Our Nyogen Senzaki was a great teacher. He, himself, wished to
have his lectures preserved for a few only—not for dissemination to the many.
He believed that “Zen loses its richness” when disseminated widely among
those who are without comprehension. In no way did he seek to broaden the base
of his “influence” in Los Angeles—no fund-raising to build, no
tub-thumping for “converts.” He only sought to deepen the Zen of his
students and to keep with him only those who came for true Zen. In this way,
without a fine headquarters, his Zen has lived, and the American students have
carried on his teaching “without fail,” as he said they would do. During
these years without him there has been no fine headquarters to attract the
ambitious or greedy would-be teacher. But those few disciples
which were the nucleus of the Calif. Bosatsukai have kept the teaching
without adulteration, and are strong, as few institutional groups are. I
disapprove, as Sensei did, of our Western “promotional” methods being used
to further? religion. It must grow of its own growth, simple and pure, or else
die out, if there is no proper body of faith to nurture and keep it.
I shall convey your deep regards to Yasutani Roshi and Tai San. My own good
wishes to you and to your group, and respectful greetings to your teacher, Too
Mrs. Durand Kiefer
P.S. As a matter of possible interest to you, my first instruction in zazen
came through Asahina Roshi’s disciple, Shuntetsu Koshi, when he was studying
in Pendle Hill, the Quaker institution in Pennsylvania. I feel very close to
Sogen Asahina, through the influence of Shuntetsu’s deep devotion to his
6114 North Invergordon Rd.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
May 16, 1968
Dear Mr. Lewis:
Thank you for your letter of April 15th. in reply to my inquiry as to the
possibility of the publication of more of the late Nyogen Senzaki’s
sermons. Since I have no connection with the matter other than through a very
real interest, I have sent copies of your letter to Paul Reps and to Dr. Ray
Jordan. If there seems to be anything that should be done about the preparation
and release of the sermons, I feel sure that they will be in touch with you.
Meanwhile, it puzzles me not a little that Ruth McCandless’ name has not
come up in connection with the possible release of the sermons, for I would
have thought from the fact of her collaboration with Senzaki on the book
Buddhism and Zen that she would be much in the foreground among his former
students. Perhaps the fact that she seems to be a regular attendee of the talks
of Krishnamurti in Switzerland as well as here indicates she has found a
“way” which is better for her than Zen—a possibility which if true, makes
me wonder how deeply she had really penetrated into the truth of Zen.
Ps. many thanks again for your letter.
May 17, 1968
Dear Reverend He-Kwang,
(Deep gasshō) I truly appreciate the generosity of your recent letter! I
wish I might have answered it sooner, for the contents brought a response
(though unexpressed) from me, but many necessary tasks intervened.
I rejoice that your fund of Asian wisdom writings are being put in order and
will find the recognition they deserve—and that your own lamp of Dharma burns
brightly and your Bodhisattva spirit finds its work among the young.
The news of arrival of Lama Govinda, Huston Smith, Paul Reps in the San
Francisco area this fall is heartening! I have much admiration for Dr. Huston
Smith—have owned and given his books and enjoyed his prefaces to Zen
writings. I felt a kind of kinship with him from the beginning, which became a
kind of love when watching him on an hour’s TV program with Dr. Suzuki, then
in his nineties. Dr. Smith was so sensitive and so aware, and showed such
veneration for the old teacher—I felt a joy seeing them together.
Will the Lama Govinda be with you? Will he be long in San Francisco? I
wonder if he will be teaching—it would be very nice to see and listen to
I’d like to meet Paul Reps, too—and learn more about the projected
school of Zen. Perhaps if he comes to see Ray Jordan as you suggested, he may
come to sit with us at the zendo. I do not greatly respond to his
individualistic Zen—as expressed in what I’ve read of his writings—but
meeting the man himself would be a different thing.
Our own Roshi, Soen Nakagawa, Abbot of Ryutakuji, who was designated by
Nyogen Senzaki as his successor, will be with us for our Sesshin at Ojai this
year, as will Yasutani Roshi and three monks (including Tai San, from New
York). We look forward with joy to the prospect of such great spiritual help
and opportunity at our sesshin. (I do not have final confirmation of her
attendance from Mrs. Latavala, though we have corresponded on the subject). I
have been turning away applicants (regretfully) day after day. How I wish
they might all sit!
To add one more illustrious name to the list of teachers who are coming to
California this year—Krishnamurti will be in Claremont during November,
sponsored by the Blaisdell Institute. He will give lectures and seminars there,
mainly for the students of Claremont colleges—and will come down here to
lecture at San Diego State College. While here, he will stay with old friends
of mine who have known him since he was a young boy. I have attended his
lectures in Ojai a number of times—and came away from his last talks greatly
uplifted! Either he has grown immeasurably in Karuna, or my own development has
enabled me to see it in its radiance while he was talking, as never before!
Though I appreciate and love this man—and deeply respect his
authenticity—his path (method) is not my path. But while in meditation (I
mean afterward), I sometimes recall his phrase about the “extraordinary
alertness” required to go beyond the mind. His last Ojai lectures may be
heard on TV channel 28 on Wednesdays & Sundays at 7:30 and 8 p.m. during
the rest of May and part of June.
The really important thing in your letter (for me) was the information about
copying your ZenCh’an Mss. This must be a difficult and delicate task. I
realize that some of them may be in condition to need attention as to what
follows what, and as to repetition and some incorrect use of idiom in
translating from Chinese or Japanese into English—but I earnestly hope that,
whatever copy is made from them, nothing will be done to them—so that they
will still exist as you have them now. Any “editing” of a priceless
spiritual Ms should be done by a person not only gifted with an elementary
knowledge of grammar, spelling, punctuation—with a feeling for words and
language in itself—but above all, by a person who is spiritually on a level
to leave the Ms un-mutilated—to preserve the precious breath that comes forth
from the manuscript in the very words, the master used himself. Nyogen Senzaki
had some very quaint usages of English words in his sermons—but they were
essential to the spear-point of his meaning! He was a scholar of really fine
attainment (in Chinese classics and in Sanskrit and the various Japanese
writings on Buddhism), in addition he had an ear for the down-to-earthness and
pungency of slang, both English and Chinese, so, if he had needed a different
word for the shade of meaning he wished to convey, he would have used one! Ruth
McCandless’ “cleaned & edited” version of his sermons is virtually
lifeless. The sermons leap from the page in their original wording. In recent
issues of the Buddhist quarterly The Middle Way there have been unforgivably
poor versions of DT Suzuki lectures (done from notes) with unfortunate
locutions and trite padding to fill in the notes’ gaps—debasing the words
of a great master of Buddhism and language. It would be better to leave blank
pages in the periodical, in my opinion. So, I hope that the person who has the
responsible task of editing the manuscripts does virtually nothing to or with
them except to put them in order, eliminate repetitions, etc. There is a Life
in them. As Senzaki says, ᾀ?The eye of God glares at you between the
I appreciate your confidence in me as a possible future custodial of some of
the manuscripts. How dreadful that some of them were destroyed! Let nothing
happen to those that remain! I shall treasure anything you may entrust to my
keeping, and do my best to make the use originally intended for it, as far as
lies within my power. I do hope that no one with duplicate copies or any of the
so-far unpublished material publishes it in an unauthorized version. When a
poor rendition of a great teaching is published it is a double robbery!
I am glad that your place is filled to overflowing, and that you are happy
and useful in your teaching. I know that you will do that you can.
Serenity and peace to all,
145 Ninth Ave.
San Francisco. Calif.
August 16, 1968
The Sangha Council Meeting was opened with the recitation of the Tri-Ratna
and the Pancha Sila, led by the Rev. Dr. Neville Warwick. At 8:05 P.M. the
meeting proper was called to order by the joint Chairmen, Revs. Joe Miller and
Sam Lewis. Twenty-one persons were present.
The chair outlined the procedure for conducting the meeting and stated that
precedence would first be given to monks and priests before laymen whenever a
motion was made. Also, preference was given to anyone who wished to speak
against any proposal, in order that any dissenting persons would not be
overruled or prohibited from speaking.
The chair gave Gene Wagner permission to read aloud the 8 questions
suggested from discussion and a table of answers received in response to
these questions was passed around to all persons.
Chairman Joe Miller suggested, without opposition, that each question be
considered separately, and he opened the floor to discussion. The first 3
questions were discussed at length. Along with the following related topics:
The validity of the Vinaya both in Asia and the West.
Broken precepts in relation to the priesthood.
The taking of Bodhisattva vows as a condition for membership in the Sangha.
Chairman Sam Lewis then related the statements of Rev. Richard Robinson who
stated there are three pathways open to those in the Sangha. They are:
The way of the Buddha
The way of the Bodhisattva
The way of the Prajna-paramita
No dissenting statements or options were offered or expressed concerning
these three ways.
Rev. Warwick then told of the Ven. Gambopa’s seven divisions of discipline
spanning monk- hood with its corresponding observance of the many Vinaya rules,
through the various grades of Bodhisattva discipline.
Rev. Warwick offered the suggestion that we consider the Sangha in America
to be those who are Bodhisattvas by:
Bodhisattva vows taken in the presence of persons who are traditionally
Those who are endowed by any form of Bodhisattva discipline:
Those covered by the seven grades of Vinaya.
Rev. Iru Price stated that the over 200 rules of Vinaya were formed to meet
conditions in ancient India and opined that they were unsuited to today’s
conditions in the West. He then suggested that the Five Precepts be considered
the basis for Sangha discipline in the U.S. as opposed to the many rules of the
In response to a question, the chair rules that priests and monks are those
individuals ordained or initiated in the traditional manner and those
individuals ordained or initiated by these priests or monks.
A motion was made to examine the traditions of the past to determine the
course desired informing and American Sangha. There was no second to the
By request, John Reynolds explained the difference in the ranks of the
In response to a suggestion that Sangha membership be given, without
restriction, to anyone desiring membership therein, the chair ruled this to be
out of order on the grounds that this would negate the Tri-Ratna which the
Council had already accepted. He further cautioned that to violate this would
be to open spiritual development and practices to approval by popularity
voting, as opposed to the demonstrated traditional practices which lead to
At this point in the meeting, a motion was made and seconded that the form
of the meeting changed from that of a Sangha Council to that of a Sangha
Conference. Motion was seconded and passed.
Rev. Lewis made a statement urging the members not to exclude any of the
valid schools or sects of Buddhism from the composition of the American Sangha,
particularly as it applied to the Theravadins in this country. He stated he had
always considered this to be in the tradition of the Ekayana, rather than to be
restricted by either of the other yanas.
A motion was then made and seconded to specifically include the Theravada
school within the American Sangha. Motion was passed.
The chair, having recognized each group present at the Sangha Conference as
representing a specific Sangha, called for the names of the groups present to
be listed. They are as follows: (13 groups)
Cho Ke Jong in America (East Mountain Buddhist Society)
American Buddhist Order
Home of the Dharma
Western Buddhist Order
Arya Maitreya Mandala
Blue Mountain Center (Buddhist-Hindu)
It was moved by Rev. Les Wandel, and seconded, that a date be set for the
next meeting. This motion was amended, as proposed by Rev. Don Gilbert, to have
a committed of Elders, comprised
of you persons who have traditional backgrounds in Buddhism, meet to discuss
the pros and cons of the remaining questions, and to present these results at
the next meeting.
A second amendment was proposed, seconded and carried, that Gene Wagner also
become a member of the committee.
The date for the next meeting was set for four weeks hence, or September
In the discussions following this it was agreed that the Jhanas, per se, be
ruled out as a basis for qualifying for membership in Sangha because the
conference had already accepted the Theravada, of which this is a part, as
being a part of our Sangha.
The conference being held was defined by the chair as being a Sangha of
Sanghas. No Opposition to this was made known.
Rev. Don Gilbert moved, and was seconded, that the meeting be adjourned.
Motion was passed and the meeting the adjourned at 10:10 P.M.
Samuel L. Lewis
410 Precita Avenue
San Francisco, Calif. 94110
September 7, 1968
University of Islamabad
Rev. Dr. Neville Warwick
1550 Octavia St.
San Francisco, 94109
Very few Americans seem to grasp the importance of Hierarchy and the
processes of Initiation. The democratic pseudo-psychological attitude has
nothing to do with cosmic law, or cosmic principles.
Although I have acted in an ego capacity as chairman, co-chairman or
otherwise at the meetings, this is not the way of Dharma. Dharma is based on
Truth and not on the position of ego individuals. Therefore all statements
pro and con that involve the supposition that “I am I” and “you are
you” and we are different do not always conform with the Dharma to which an
oath has been given, entirely verbally and just as void as can be.
Up till now I did not realize how void and vain the stands of some persons
are. We are specks of dust which, when we enter a stream, no longer exist as
ego-individuals but presumably as Sangha-members. And no person has any oath to
any Sangha when he insists on placing his ego-life in any aspect as separate
and private. This is good Americanism: it has nothing to do with Buddha or
I do not know whether you gave Iru any initiation or ordination into
Vajrayana. True, Iru was ordained and initiated by Master Seo and he has now
broken that bond because he has self-approved himself, his ego by another bond
outside of the Dharma. And even if that bond was honest and above board (such
as sitting on a Board of Directors of a corporation) it would have nothing to
do with the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.
While I have acted individually as separate, and as I am separate in so far
as the Mentorgarten and Rinzai transmissions are concerned, they are branches
of the streams of Dharma; the Dharma (or Dharmas) are not branches of the
streams of them. And if one has any other connection with any other occult
school this must be inferior unless ... I shall first state the
I was given the Bodhisattvic Vow by my Sufi teacher after he had accepted
initiation from Nyogen Senzaki. This was based on the actual experience of
common participation in Enlightenment. This Enlightenment experience is on
record, historically and otherwise. It has been accepted by you. It has not
been accepted by other presumable exponents of Dharma.
But the very first Sufi Vow demands selflessness, in other words, anatta. It
is on this point that a person, accepting an initiation into some other (let us
say) occult order, whether in his vow he
has gone contrary to the teachings of Lord Buddha. There is absolutely
nothing in the Sufi vows of teachings contrary to anatta, anicca and dukha;
indeed they are taught but in another manner. And if we accept the teachings of
the Sidis, one who has been in your home, Sufism is presumably the integration
of all the teachings of all the perfect personalities of all times. It is not
an inferior of equal alternative; it is part of the complete process to be
reached by Integration or Unification.
On the face of it any occult order would not per se be opposed to Tri-Ratna
Buddhism but would be inferior. But how can one take an oath to anatta, anicca,
and dukha, and at the same time take on oath to a master who shows no evidence
of accepting anatta, anicca, and dukha?
This, of course, is theory. But in the actual case we find a person named
and accepted as master by a Buddhist prelate—who does accept him as master,
and the teachings of this presumable Master are in many instances contrary and
contradictory to the Dharma. They are to begin with contrary and contradictory
because the person involved falls back on the ego-outlook and speaks of “I”
as a separate individual and therefore immediately stands accused by every
aspect of Hierarchal and Patriarchal Law. Even if otherwise not guilty, by his
stand of separateness he is outside of Lord Buddha’s Dharma. So you have
two strong stands to begin with:
Does the Dharma per se; or does the Dharma as presented by Lama Anagarika
Govinda uphold the rights of any individual, initiated or not, to persist in
ego-persistedness? If so, the Lama himself is permitting digressions from the
basic Law of Dharma. I don’t think he would support such an attitude. I
don’t see how he can. And if he upholds the right of any individual to
persist of his ego-persistence and separateness this means that the
Dharma—which is ineffable and beyond us all, will progress without him,
without any ego-individual as such. We are steams: I shall support the stream
of Srotopanna Outlook and if I face Iru on this he has not a chance, not a
Therefore I. Sam Lewis, uphold my right as an individual to differ from you
during a business or assembly meeting. But as Srotopanna there is no such
right. There is not such ego-activity and even if you were, in an external or
legal sense not 100% true or valid, this would not change it. Buddha did not
say to speak 100% truth. He (whose words and words are by-passed by so many
“good”-Buddhists said. “Speak the Truth with discretion.”
Coming down to facts. I am reminded that not only was I present at the
supposed ordination of H. Spencer Lewis into the Dharma but there was also
present one Mrs. Harriet Allison Who now lives in Albany. Harriet is a
life-long friend of Ted Reich. I do not recall whether Ted was there or not,
but there was certainly there one or more persons whose person picture I have
at an Assemblage at the Hongwaji Temple on Pine St. taken shortly after the so
called Rev. Mazzianianda was disgracefully removed.
The Dr. Mazziniananda and the late H. Spencer Lewis were certainly guilty of
behavior quite contrary to Pancha Sila to begin with. Lewis could not be
reached by Sangha or discipline. Mazziniananda certainly was and the then
Bishop Uchida was compelled by Dr. Kirby to take strong action or be compelled
to face a council of his principals in Japan.
Dr. Mazziniananda whom I first met in 1915 was investigated by the Royal
Asiatic Society and found to have been a Sanskrit Scholar who had lived in
India. He accepted some Vedic ceremonies and presented them here as Tibetan and
made a number of utterly fantastic claims. I should, like Iru, to hear them
before Govinda. I would go over them one by one.
Mazziniananda disappeared. Lewis took cover—he always did. Time passed and
he assumed the prerogatives from a pseudo-ceremony where I was present. And Iru
is now forced to face the very, very hard fact that his oath to the Sangha is
useless because we both were under oath to Master Seo and he has refused to
accept the valid testimonials of a fellow Sangha member so far on anything
connected with the Dharma.
I, Samuel L. Lewis, have been reminded in meditation, half waking state and
full-waking state both of my obligations to you as Initiator and as fellow
spiritual traveler in many directions. That
I have no right to judge especially when I have been “an eye witness” to
all the alleged crimes you brought up. And the more I go into it the clearer it
becomes both subjectively and objectively.
Therefore in the presence of Lama Govinda Iru would have to private that the
term Sangha has any meaning whatever and whatsoever. If he does not recognize
his fellow initiates he has no right to represent any school of the Dharma at
This is something, however, on which extreme caution must be used. When I
challenged you last night, “Where is Compassion?” Your answer should have
been and will be in the presence of the Lama and Iru: “Where is Fudo? What is
Fudo doing?” And Iru would be compelled to affirm or deny the initiations of
another person. If he does not affirm I shall tell the Lama that the American
persons are not going to accept any egocentric as his representative no matter
how many ceremonial ordinations: that the Dharma is not based on ordinations
but on attainment.
You must remember here that Sam’s position is schizoid: in his ego
capacity he sees both sides: in his initiatory capacity he sees only the
Finally I should like the Lama to compel Iru to listen to the words of Phra
Sumangalo when he entered my rooms in Clementina St. on his last visit. I
should like him to have to listen and I should prefer your being there.
According to all Hierarchical, Dharmic and Patriarchal Law he would be
compelled to do what he has never done: accept one solid teaching of one sold
Buddhist school! Any one.
You not only have all the cards plus the jokers, plus the fillers, plus the
package on which the cards come but much more. The question is not of guilt,
the question is can we apply compassion? To be fair you could say to be you are
only taking the position with regard to Iru I have taken to Alan Watts. I
cannot be a hypocrite and demand or even request you act different toward Iru
than I have toward Alan but I see today all possibilities of Alan some day,
somehow, reaching the door to humility (not humiliation) and becoming a
Nor can I ask you to retreat because if this does not come out into the open
now it will certain shortly. Only it should not come before the join group
meeting until it is taken up with the Lama.
I am opposed to any more egocentric Buddhist holiday celebrations. I will
join any Sangha effort and my vow to walk alone to the Buddha in Golden Gate
Park would be mitigated by any one of the various Sangha groups holding any
kind of Mahayana ceremonial on the traditional Mahayana holidays.
No doubt this is incomplete. The question is not whether Neville is
“right” or “wrong,” the question is does Neville represent the Buddha.
The Dharma and Sangha in a case where it is obvious the accused does not.
Samuel L. Lewis
September 5, 1968 Evening
Rev. Dr. Neville Warwick
1551 Octavia St.,
San Francisco 94109
It is silly to say—damn it!: “May all beings be peaceful! may all beings
be blissful may all beings be happy!—and then deny their prowess. It is
vile and invalid to say one believes in Surangama Sutra and then deny the
possibility of the person next to him having any such experiences. And it is
not a question of victory. It is a question how far intelligent compassion can
be extended to a person who is utterly wrong, who actually does not believe in
the Mahayana Scriptures, only in his ego-self.
It has been made clear in extending the consciousness into the unseen, or in
the descent of this consciousness to the seen that it was no game that you
replied of your being Milarepa to my statement that for practical purposes I
function as Marpa here. If it is not “real” it may become real.
There are two lines of endeavor and we can let the fools reject them to
their ego’s content—hierarchal and patriarchal, and these are going to be
semanticized. Whatever the behavior pattern has been in the “seen” and
before others, it does not hold in the unseen and I may not be permitted to sit
in the chair again. By sitting in the chair and presumably being equiminded
between sage and fool, between hierarch and upasika (not yet sramama) I am not
upholding the dharma. I have been a great stickler for “Sutra of 42
Sections” but in the previous meetings Sam has not upheld “Sutra if 42
Sections.” Idiots who wear robes are worse idiots then those who do and while
one cannot compel anybody to accept this Sutra or Surangama I am no longer
permitted to permit them to be abrogated though they may be rejected by those
who are Theravadins. Others have to make it dawn clear if they do not accept
these Sutras and no nonsense.
If a certain disciple shows up tonight I shall set him at once over
Senzaki’s private papers. I
have one disciple on the writings, but this is another item. If we do not find
it in the private papers,
then we shall check the writings. At has the complete line of Patriarchal
Descent from Buddha to Hui
Neng to Shaku Soyen. And I am not only empowered by the descent from Nyogen
Senzaki but also
by the letter from Soen Nakagawa to Paul Reps to offer the same Dharma
Transmission offered so
far only to Senzaki’s last private secretary—and it worked. This will both
satisfy your stand the other
night but as it will be given to you personally through not by me, in both
hierarchal and patriarchal
capacity. The only qualification is that you watch carefully, especially if you
live beyond my transi-
tion, on the sons of Rev. J. Eugene Wagner, who also stand in this line,
consciously or unconsciously.
Is has to be made clear that this is one line of descent, called Patriarchal
which also Master Seo said I have. It must continue and you must not fight
without weapons and you are to be given all the weapons.
The Bhumis and Paramitas lead to the Bodhisattvic function and the
Bodhisattvic function manifests in the Bhumis and Paramitas. The essential work
of the Bodhisattva is identical with the work of the Abdal in Sufism. This
means, in Buddhist terms, the spiritual realization of the Nirmanakaya. A
bodhisattva accepts a certain line of responsibility.
You are also to let me know if the Sidi comes again and you will be placed
in a position both of authority and responsibility, power and responsivenss.
This will make it impossible for anybody to throw you down without being
challenged both by hierarchal and laic law. No man is a Sangha although that is
I believe Sanghas can be formed by Sramanas without a superior monk or
Bodhisattva, but when it comes to Upasikas, I do not think so. This will have
to be straightened out.
My own trump cards will be placed before Lama Govinda Anagarika in such a
way he will either be compelled to accept as his chief representative somebody
more advanced than Iru or accept exactly the consequences you have declared. A
student registering in a senior class at the university is not yet a graduate
and the fact that he does not accept others who may have graduated makes his
position utterly untenable. But I should rather put this entirely before the
Lama for the sake of the Dharma. Otherwise it is he, not you, who is going to
be in difficulty, just as you have said.
The denial to others of experiences in the “subtler” realms as positive
in the Surangama and elsewhere fictionalizes them. This is the whole thing: we
only accept the scriptures as “we” see them, a denial of anatta, anicca and
I should like to have a meeting with as many persons as possible so I can
step out of my position as chairman and speak what is history, at least; and
what is more than history in truth.
October 22, 1968
1455 Clay St. #7
San Francisco, Calif.
Your letter arrived and the first two sentences mentioned H. Allison—but
not address to send her note at rest home. Then two pages of your
The date of your birthday changes every year. Mine is still in July.
Enclosed photo of Jizo-san, 700 yrs old Kamakura wooden carving which took
me 1-1/2 yrs to buy—it was given to Soko-ji on Buddha’s Birthday “for the
children” in memory of Takeshima
Rosen who died this year and card said it was from the 15 original zazen
students in America of Rev. Suzuki. I paid for the figure “myself” it was
given “from us all”—get the message.
Have been reading Tagore, Fireflies and it is excellent. Jean Ross moved to
Carmel several weeks ago and will have “her own place” she went with
Enclosed an article in last weeks’ TIME mag., in case you haven’t seen
it, it should “turn off” all the “wealthy Zen enthusiast” from
Dick left for Japan last weekend for several years study, with $300.- a
month salary paid for by Zen Center contributions—anyway his 60 novices were
left in good hands of Soko-ji Zen Priests, while he and Graham Petchey teach
the Japanese “what religion is all about”—Yawn! Yawn!
My garden does well and I am very happy leading the life of a Taoist
Happiness in Novato,
November 15, 1968
My dear Neville:
Finding an old envelope address to you I wish to write. Another bulletin was
received concerned Lama Anagarika Govinda. I see absolutely no reason to
over-emphasize the private life of one individual as against another neither to
accept without premise than any interior development of a single individual
whomsoever and whatsoever should be inflated while the similar interior
developments of other personalities should be deflated.
In the Dance last week there was full glance and appreciation of your inner
being, not easily communicated by words but definitely with a firm foundation
in the cosmos.
Therefore there has been no change of plans to visit the Lama without your
accompanying the person or without your consent if you are unable to accompany
Sangha-action means just that. We now have a Sangha, so to speak, at the
Sufi Khankah in Novato, a group acting as an individual and we intend to
illustrate this aspect of life to ourselves and others.
Samuel L. Lewis
cc Stanley Amin Quance
San Francisco, Calf, 94110
January 2, 1969
Dr. Reverend Neville Warwick
1551 Octavia Street
San Francisco, 94109
This is to express our appreciation for your participation in the New
Year’s Eve party given at 263 Morningside in Corte Madera. Externally it had
several values, such as keeping the party going, the people interested, and the
maintenance of a radiant atmosphere.
I must say I had rather a difficult time in keeping up with you. You said,
and I believe rightly, that certain spiritual phrases and Mantrams have a
profound effect on the consciousness. This is exactly what happened. It is
very difficult to maintain and retain “skillfulness” on the inner and outer
planes at the same time.
I do not think I stand alone in both respecting and benefiting from sacred
Mantrams. This brings up a very fundamental question: Are these Mantrams
beneficial or do they depend upon the person presenting them? I am not going to
try to answer this. A swami or a Roshi or a guru or a Pir may have something in
his atmosphere that adds luster and magnetism to the repetition of sacred
phrases. A mere be-robed prelate may claim this, but he must demonstrate more
than the verbal claim.
For example one of my disciples has claimed cosmic consciousness. I asked
her to whom she’s given it. I say the same to various be robed prelates
particularly those calling themselves “Buddhists,” to whom have they
given the benefit of it. It is quite obvious that this does not involve you
personally, because Sam benefited by the puja. But a long history indicates
that there is far more egotism in the ranks of those who call themselves
Buddhists in the United States, than in the followers of more prominent
faiths—very strange, because Lord Buddha alone would not accept the
egocentric outlook. I have been unable to reconcile egocentrism with the
teaching of Lord Buddha.
Sunday I read considerably from the Pali texts—I do not mean a vague
reference to some hyperbolic mysterious language called “Pali,” but the
actual texts themselves. It is so evident that Palism or “Hinayana” has
practically no place in American Buddhism, that this has brought confusion
instead of enlightenment.
Sam’s position is simple. Instead of meeting this question dialectically
or dogmatically, the audience has been promoted from a first Jhana to the
second Jhana. However, I must note here that nothing you have done is contrary
to Buddhaghosha. Indeed if our leaders could get rid of humility and have a
little curiosity, your whole position would be self-sustained and
New Age dharma will not be lead by clotheshorses. Now I have been asked in
two directions to present real Asian teachings. I am unable to do this for it
is a vast task with many outlets and many opportunities.
I am expecting three different spiritual leaders within a week and other
emergencies besides. I agree entirely with Paul Reps, that much of what has
been regarded as esoteric may now be given to the world. I disagree entirely
with the clotheshorses that much of what appears in written literature should
be regarded as esoteric. It is in print. This is nothing but a continuation of
Catholic policy, that a true religionist ought to abstain from reading the
Bible, as if unnecessary. The pulpiteers who have regarded themselves as the
prelates of both Hinduism and Buddhism to which we may add a lot of wisdom and
balderdashes both called Taoism—are going to be exposed and replaced.
Enlightenment does not depend upon clotheshorses, dialectics, and
egocentricities. I believe you will agree here.
With many thanks for your cooperation and in appreciation for your
February 27, 1969
Chiloquin, Oregon 97624
Thank you for your nice letter. First I am glad that you are well and are
planning to go back to San Francisco, and I hope I can see you there once
Regarding Senzaki-San’s manuscripts and some other things I was told by
Paul Reps that Mr. Sam Lewis has received them from you. As long as he keeps
them carefully it is all right. But you know that with Soen Roshi I am planning
to compile and edit Senzaki’s work. So keep this in your mind and any kind of
cooperation will be appreciated very much.
San Francisco, Calif. 94110
February 28, 1969
225 Monroe St.
Monterey, Calif. 93960
I was very glad to hear from you and will be willing to came to Monterey at
your conveniences but preferably any day but Saturday. I am now attending a
course at the University on the influence of the traditional religions of Asia
on modern movements. The class meets on Saturday.
The other day I found there is an army officer named Edward Lansdale living
very near my Novato home (in Marin County.) I suspected he was the son of
Lieutenant General Lansdale who was for a long time in charge of military
operations in Vietnam. I did some work with the senior Lansdale during the war
but my letters to him previously were not delivered. I do not know whether he
will answer and how but the restoration of our relations could help promote a
more peaceful settlement of relations.
I did not write immediately because both of the motor cars we have broke
down. But my secretaries live in Novato and each has a car which would be
immediately available for any visit.
Tonight I expect to hear and perhaps meet Senator Church who is speaking on
our foreign policy, especially in your country. I have tried to operate on a
basis which could give more consideration to Buddhism. I am glad to sort that
the Royal Asiatic Society of London has published an article on Buddhist logic,
which we could gain from by knowing more.
All my affairs are slowly but steadily gaining ground, in every direction. I
shall be very glad to see you at mutual convenience.
Samuel L. Lewis
Mrs. Lottie Fernandez
March 8, 1969
I am enclosing a letter I received from Tai-san in New York, regarding
Senzaki-sans lectures. He and Soen want to do some important project with his
lectures, and I guess they will need your expert help.
I am in San Francisco trying to find a nice place to stay. It’s too cold
up north and too much snow. I put in my application for an apartment at Iru
Price’s home of the Dharma, but no vacancy at this time.
I am putting in my time at the Theosophical rooms, working on books,
changing Pacific lodge to San Francisco Lodge (for Agnes).
My phone number at the Ben Hur Apts is 771-6248
Call me sometime?
410 Precita Ave.,
San Francisco, Calif.
April 28, 1969
Sect. California Bosatsukai,
Del Mar, Calif. 92014
This is just an acknowledgement of your notice of April 24. We are unable to
give any valid response at this time. At the moment we are concentrating on a
combination May Day and Wesak Festival and if one’s awareness is real, we
shall have the largest gathering since one began functioning as a teacher.
Your letter will be read at that time. There has been a great outer changes
and the financial problem is not involved at this end. All one’s outer
circumstances have changed and if it becomes impossible for anybody here to
attend one hopes to send a contribution anyhow to enable somebody else to
We are cooperating in a Summer Camp for Colorado but that will occur in
The main obstacle if you wish to consider it—is that the Chinese Ch’an
Master, Rev. Too Lun is offering similar “sesshin” right here in San
Last week the seminar on mystical experience concluded. The attendance was
much larger than expected and unfortunately the sessions were shortened. This
shows growing interest.
I am therefore keeping your letter on file to ascertain how we can help.
There are also some friends of Rev. Shimano in this vicinity and I shall tell
them of your letter.
Samuel L. Lewis
((Rev. He Kwang)
James H. Banks
October 21, 1969
Dear Mr. Lewis,
Please excuse the lateness in returning your letter. I’d like to thank you
for the introduction. I went by the Buddhist Fed. and presented the letter. We
could not converse because of the lack of basic Thai. They thanked me and I
Bangkok has changed a lot. I was here in 1961-65. Uncle Sam has left a lot
of money here. And prices are I didn’t travel to Bangkok a lot Hoping to hear
from you. And if you wish something from Thailand let me know. I’m sending
some sea shells to Liz next week. Plus a blouse.
San Francisco, Calif. 94110
October 27, 1969
My dear Anh-The:
Thank you very much for your birthday greetings. I have spent a very hard
year as to time, and only about a month ago went on a different schedule,
perhaps very necessary for a man presumably on in years--though I do not feel
I have made only one visit to USIA and found that Dr. An was not there. But
I have since sent a copy of The Encyclopedia of Buddhism to them, so far as it
is ready. There is a long history behind this into which it may not be
necessary to go.
My own attitude is to make friendship with peoples. Last night we reopened
the Sunday meetings here as Dharma Night. There was a fair audience, and
perhaps more people will come because it is being advertised a little. There
was also one American who has studied with Dr. Phillip Kapleau, author or
“Three Pillars of Zen.”
Much of the year was spent, half at the Marin home and half here, excepting
for a visit to New Mexico. There is much interest in Buddhism there. There is
also a growing interest here. But my program begins with the practice of the
Jhanas first before other forms of Dhyana are tried. But we open the meetings
with the recitation of the Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra in English. Some of
the people recite it in Sanskrit, too. The only Japanese we use is “Namo
Amida Butsu” (Namo Amito Fu).
I have thought much of you, but we did have one set-back, and that is motor
car accidents. Two cars have been demolished and another hospitalized in the
past few months. This has made short trips out of the question.
We do want you to come here some Sunday (staying overnight if necessary) and
speak to us. The place is entirely mine now, Dr. Hunt having moved and we can
make arrangements for people to stay overnight. I also have more free time on
Saturdays and Sundays, for with busy nights, there has to be some spare time,
and this comes in the days.
My own following has grown somewhat and the year has been on the whole a
very good one. Thank you for your remembrance.
Samuel L. Lewis
November 25, 1969
Zen Mission Society
149 Arkansas Street,
San Francisco 94107
We are pleased to send you now a copy of “Text For Zen” by Master Seo
Do not be surprised under the real Dharma if some financial help is given to
you from this source. We do not play, we do not sermonize on the Dana Paramita
or any of the profound cosmic teachings if the Diamond Sutra or any other
cosmic text. These are not ways of life, these are life itself.
I must inform you that until your coming here my heir at law has been a
chair! I am not fooling. This was the chair sat in by Phra Sumangalo when we
discussed world affairs. Details can be given. It is with extreme regret, no
doubt, that some of his closest and according to their egos, highest
disciples have refused adamantly and absolutely to accept our conversations and
relationships. It is this behavior, or rather lack of it, that has dissociated
this person from what he calls “anatta Buddhists.”
Recently one began reading a manuscript of the late Dr. Daisetz Suzuki in
which he presented Zen as being more Prajna and Karuna than Meditation. This
point will not be argued, but the almost total lack of Karuna and Prajna by
many who consider themselves Buddhists and even Masters in the Dharma, has led
to some forthright behaviorisms by this person.
Although a septuagenarian, when Dr. Huston Smith was lecturing on Zen at the
University of California, and said he would recommend only one book which is to
say The Three Pillars of Zen by Phillip Kaplan, this person got up and
shouted aloud before hundreds of young students. The other fanciful,
egotistical idea that a person becoming liberated should never tell others has
led to a troupe of fictional writers and metaphysical speculators taking
No doubt it is egotism to inform you that Roshi Yasutani made a trip to San
Francisco to see this person. We glanced at each other for a moment. He said,
“Let us have some tea.” We drank tea silently, and each departed. This sort
of story infuriates the so-called “anatta Buddhists” and those who think
liberation consists of repeating ancient Chinese enigmas.
We are here presenting absolute universal religion including all ways,
actual or hypothetical, to liberation. In school and in life we have now
contacted Tibetans. We accept their techniques but not their exclusiveness. We
recite Prajna Paramita Sutra, mostly in English, sometimes in Sanskrit. We
dared to be heretics in that we definitely find some crude (mis) translations
and transliterations in the usual recitations. This of course is rank heresy.
But it is even worse heresy to contemplate on, in, and with the totality of
this Sutra. It jest ain’t a koan darlings.
According to the actual Dharma, the chairs in which Phra Sumangalo and I sat
are dedicated to Rev. J. Eugene Wagner, but if he does not accept them, they
would go to the Zendo, along with several other things in my possession. We can
take these up later.
Samuel L. Lewis
He Kwang, Zen-shi
Dr. Paul F. Fung, Dr. George D. Fung
Buddha Universal Church
720 Washington Street
San Francisco 94111
I wish you to know I am very well. Five tickets for “Amitabhas Crafty
Aunt” were purchased but given to friends. At this writing Sam’s affairs
are progressing very well indeed; he has two homes among which he divides his
time; but has absolutely no free time for outside matters excepting an
occasional birthday party.
I shall always be glad to purchase tickets etcetera so do not count me
Unlike multitudes I am working for a world peace, a reality, not a concept.
I am sick and tired of being shunned by a culture which accepts neither facts
nor realities. I have been all over Asia and been given the highest welcomes
everywhere else. The incident that took place at the Universal Buddha Church
when her Highness Princess Poon Diskul Pismai visited you has been repeated ad
nauseum. This has convinced the top professors of Oriental Studios on the
Berkeley Campus that Samuel L. Lewis evidently knows important persons on that
continent and must have a vast knowledge to have such cordial greetings with
and from the elite of Asia.
While I am not participating in any of the local campus or other social
outbreaks. It is to me more than a pity that a man who has other
narrow-mindedness and prejudice regarding the cultures even of his ancestors
should be placed in a position of trust and authority.
In evidence of this I enclose a quotation from “The Awakening of Faith in
Mahayana.” This was absolutely rejected by him on two grounds:
It came from Sam Lewis.
It represented “religion” and he is absolutely opposed to all religions
I wish to call to your attention here this enclosure demonstrates that
Buddhists anticipated many of the modern ways of thinking. I wish also to call
to your attention that there is an excellent article in the Journal of the
Royal Asiatic Society on “Buddhist Logic.” The writer not only clearly
explains this logic, but shows how it can be applied to modern problems.
Evidently too many people prefer the problems than exotic solutions. Thus chaos
and turmoil. I want no part of that. My first principle in working for world
peace is listen to the other fellow. As most of us cannot do this I am
concerned almost entirely with younger people. They listen. They meditate. They
mingle with each other regardless of race, class, and the divisions found among
Samuel L. Lewis
410 Precita Ave.
San Francisco, Calif.
December 7, 1969
Dr. Neville Warwick,
1551 Octavia St.,
San Francisco, Calif. 94109
I have been trying to get you by phone and in vain. The last item was a
letter from Master Seo. His plans include the establishment of a Center or
Monastery in the eastern part of the country. At the moment I am utterly unable
to tell whether I can join him geographically or not. One seems to be in
perpetual hot water in so far as problems and programs are concerned and
perhaps that is to be one’s way of life anyhow. And when time rather than
money are at the basis of complexities it seems impossible to communicate this,
although people in both my homes know I am perpetually busy and with very good
The problems of unhappiness, suffering, disease, etc. are still with us and
the countries have not brought much of a change. A radio program yesterday
brought forth the charge that we really like to discuss problems, but there was
no assurance we want to solve them. Actually this is because people do not want
to give up the ego, so they accept the problems. The head of one Hongwanji
group has been here and on one point he was right, that the Dharma itself, in
its outer form, is subject to anicca and anatta and it is on this point I
differ from nearly all “Buddhists” because they claim fixity and change at
the same time in the same context.
The seminar on Vajrayana has not taken place due to illness. Tulku Rimpoche
is making a good name by giving teachings—not philosophies, not rituals, but
techniques and this may be one way in which this teaching will go forth. I have
accepted Vajrayana as far as Mahamudra is concerned and rejected it as far as
pujas are concerned. Buddha did not proclaim pujas and I have not found any
illuminatory experiences as the result thereof.
Unfortunately our next program is at a much lower level but it may not
consume much time. Prof. Needleman seems to have a good inkling of universal
outlooks but the subject-matter not always so and in particular the next one.
But India seems to be the proving-ground for every sort of real, fanciful and
fraudulent teachers. To me, if the Light does not shine in the pupils or
disciples there is no use wasting time. I should throw a ko-an; “Who and what
The reports on the New Zendo are all excellent. Western people are welcome
and do not have to become Japanese peasants to progress. There is no
outstanding ego at all there. We all feel very good.
Master Seo has brought up a problem into which I must go. My whole work has
been toward universalism and therefore I have been throwing as much money as
possible into The Encyclopedia of Buddhism. But letters to Ceylon are not
answered and I am writing the Embassy. Besides there is now no standard as to
what Buddhism is or is not, and no referents, and I can accept the
Encyclopedia or the Scriptures but not the confounded egos who poclaim?????
I am not happy over certain things around you. Much as I may criticize puja
it is infinitely better than ego-ship and some of your erstwhile associates
seem to have gone astray after egos with their empty aphorisms. At times I
believe aphorisms cause more evil than wickedness; they spread endless
As soon as the Christmas-New Year situation is out of the way we are going
to concentrate on some sort of Vietnam Meetings, to try to help the people of
Vietnam and in particular the Buddhists. The doors are now open for articles on
Vietnamese Buddhism; it seems that we now have our own press—two or three
months of struggle no doubt and the picture looks good.
The musical get together of the young opens a new chapter. You were there
with Ginsberg at the Saint Francis when the Prajna Paramita Sutra was read. You
saw a larger group at the Family Dog—but there were signs of leadership in
both places. Now it looks like the new generations are looking for leaders, not
pseudo-messiahs. Editorials do not stop anybody.
Samuel L. Lewis
January 27, 1970
Dear Rev. He Kwang,
We received your letter today. From it we can tell you are a very busy
person. We thank you for your time in sending us a copy of your letter.
With the blessing of the Buddhas and their guidance we are very honored to
participate in establishing the World Zen Center on Spruce Run Mountain. This
is a great blessing for the peoples of the West and of the world.
We plan to start work on the Zen Center 1st April to receive Dr.
Seo & his chief disciple Rev, IlKwan Shin, and whomever of his disciples
he brings from California in early June.
It is very kind of you to offer financial assistance and I do not know if it
is needed or not; I’m leaving this to Dr. Seo’s discretion.
If you come to Washington it would be an honor for me to meet with you. It
would be very great if you could come and work with Dr. Seo and us on the World
I thank you again for your time and your honorable offer of assistance. May
you be at peace with the world and yourself. The Buddhas bless you.
Stan & Thad Fisher
February 2, 1970
7518 June St.
Springfield, Va. 22150
Thank you very much for your kind letter. This is one of those rare
occasions when the only type of help sought was real and not financial. I must
explain a little of my work here:
So far as Zen is concerned, my attachments inner and outer have been to the
Rinzai School of Japan which corresponds to the Linchi School of China. There
is a long history which need not concern us now, but during that history I have
collected a number of manuscripts, Chinese and
Japanese, which have never been published. It is an annoyingly amusing
situation that the number of persons and institutions verbalizing themselves as
Buddhists, or even as Zennists, will not accept this as fact. Nor am I
interested whether they accept this as fact or not. But I am more than
concerned with the total disregard of Buddha’s moral teaching by the vast
majority of so-called Buddhists, temples, churches, etc., etc.
I long ago came in favor of an integrating Buddhism which would include
everything. But although Tathagata proclaimed many upayas as soon as the Dharma
is institutionalized then the inquisition is called in. Fortunately, we now
have Phillip Kapleau, in his “Three Pillars of Zen,” and above all his
wonderful Roshi Yasutani. But any conclusions on my part may be vain, because I
did not receive any Dharma transmission from Roshi Yasutani, and I have
received Dharma transmission from other sources including our Master Ven.
This year witnesses the entirely new situation of my being accepted in
ever-growing numbers by the young. The totality is still small, but there is an
increase every single week, not counting invitations to write, and to visit
other parts of the country. I have been waiting for some months for a letter
from The Temple of Understanding in Washington concerning a conference of all
religions which I have intended to attend. They were to fix a date for my
departure from here, and have not, which is quite awkward. A visit to
Washington, D.C. from this end might make it a simple matter to see you in
But there is another matter. Although I am not recognized by the Soto
people, despite satori experience, etc., there has recently come to San
Francisco Kennett Roshi, an English lady who has been a disciple of my lifelong
colleague the late Phra Sumangalo. Whereas the flourishing Sojiji Soto
temple, with its marvelous hot springs mansion at Tasajara, has absolutely
refused to accept anything from me (excepting hard work and money when they
started out), there has been an instantaneous entente cordial with this new
group. They intend to establish a seclusion temple in the northern part of
California, and I have already assented to my own disciples co-operating with
No doubt it is very proper to have meditation halls and retreats in many
places. Before you accept this in any dualistic sense, remember that I am
connected with you in the Dharma and not with any of these other groups. For
the moment, the only obstacle is geography. I hope you understand.
My present plans, very tentative, would mean calling on you after a trip
abroad. But if The Temple of Understanding staff wishes me to come to
Washington I shall let you know.
Samuel L. Lewis
(Rev. He Kwang)
Wednesday February 4, 1970
Dear Rev. He Kwang,
You honor me with your letter and I thank you.
It would be very great to attend the conference of all religions and I can
understand your awkwardness with uncertainties.
If The Temple of Understanding brings you to Washington it would be a
pleasure for me to meet with you. I’m leaving the area early April to go to
the mountain and prepare for receiving Dr. Seo and his chief disciple. You are
welcome now or anytime in the future to come and work with us.
Your collected manuscripts of Chinese and Japanese contain many gems of
wisdom; it would make me very happy to read them.
I feel that we’ll meet in this lifetime; it may not be for some time. I
look forward to that day. Be at peace with yourself and the world. Spread the
noble Dharma so all can realize their Buddha nature. It is a blessing to come
across the Buddha’s teachings in one’s lifetime. Buddhas bless you.
February 8, 1970
7518 June St.
Springfield, Va. 22520
This will acknowledge your letter of February 4. The present life is one of
a number of uncertainties surrounding a very strong sense of inner security,
peace, and power. Perhaps life is always like that.
All plans are concentrated now on going to Geneva. This is the manifestation
of a lifelong dream, and proportions over many many years. Most fortunate,
there will be a strong delegation headed by Her Serene Highness Princess Poon.
In some respects our relationships are almost that of brother and sister
although on the surface we may be representing quite diverse faiths and
cultures. But this very evident ability to establish harmony and conformity can
be of great help in reaching an integrated outlook. By this integrated outlook,
I do not necessarily mean much of what is connoted today by the word
“integration,” without content. It means finding that whole of which each
part is a natural derivative.
I am enclosing a little brochure from Marco Pallis. It is published by a
group in London who are striving for integration from a spiritual of cosmic
view. I have no intention of seeking to compel this cosmic outlook on anybody
else, but equally I myself cannot function from any alternative view.
This is reflected in the Japanese Avatamsaka (Kegon) School. I have been to
Mara and was accepted by the Roshi there. Generally I am accepted by Roshis
and holy man, and up to recent time, rejected by all the popular experts. But
this day of pessimism is over. I am attending a seminar at the university here
on Vietnam. Nearly all enrolled are what I call “Ugly Americans”; they have
lived in Asia with Asians and understand Asians, but have no part in the
general culture of the day which seeks solutions of problems through
personalities rather than attainment. But this of itself is a great step
forward; it gives one great hope and encouragement.
I am assuming that after the conference of the world’s religions in
Geneva, I shall be visiting various places along or near our Eastern seaboard.
The program itself is unsure yet. You will have to address further letters to
this place, but I have another reason for going to Washington other than to The
Temple of Understanding. The now retired Lt. General Edward Lansdale who so
long served with our armed forces in Vietnam is living near Washington, and
trying to find a solution to the impasse.
Very shortly we hope to have Prof. Anh-the, a Vietnamese, come here to speak
on Vietnamese Buddhism. It is very strange, and to me very awful, that this
subject is being deliberately neglected. Actually, Vietnamese Buddhism is
nearer to the Dharma as presented in Korea, than to either Japan or China. I
can assure you I will have a large audience, probably all young people. If
there are any “experts,” newsman, students of foreign affairs, etc. at such
a gathering I shall be delighted, but we are going ahead as the young are more
The conference in Geneva will take place at the end of March. After that I
propose to go to England for a short while and then fly to any part of the
East coast where arrangements might be made for a visit. We are noting this on
our calendar, so you will be properly informed.
Rev. He Kwang
Samuel L. Lewis
February 10, 1970
Dr. Elizabeth Nottingham
Dept. of Sociology
University of California, Berkeley, Ca.
My dear Dr. Nottingham:
A copy of the Spring 1970 Bulletin for the University Extension is in my
hands. It is with some regret that I shall be unable to register, presumably as
an auditor, or to offer a contribution at this time. I shall be leaving the
last week of March to attend a convocation of all the religions in the world
under the organization of The Temple of Understanding, whose headquarters is in
My whole life has been dedicated and devoted in the directions of peace and
understanding through religion. The very fact that there has been no success in
the past adds momentum to the potentialities of the present situation.
I am going either un-credentialed of over-credentialed, Perhaps for the
first time in history, being a delegate for similar outlooks with totally
different backgrounds—that is the outlook of one who has attained to
spiritual majority. The general history has been that in seeking interviews,
one is downgraded, and in facing examinations both verbal and non-verbal one is
always passed as number one if the examinations have been given by Asians of
I wish to call to your attention, if you do not know it already, that there
is a new Soto Zen Center in this city under a lady, Kennett Roshi., Kennett
Roshi was originally a disciple of my life along friend the late Robert
Clifton, or Phra Sumangalo as he was sometimes known.
After the conference at Geneva, and before returning home here, I expect
also to visit a new Zen retreat in the state of Virginia which will be under
the spiritual guidance of my own Roshi, Master Seo-Kyung Bo.
I am at the present time turning several papers over to professor Lancaster
through one of my own disciples Mr. David Hoffmaster who is enrolled at the
moment in a course on Buddhism. I am very much interested in the whole approach
of Prof. Lancaster, but I am compelled to differ from him on one point; he sees
a great gap between Zen and Vedanta. Being a friend both of Her Serene Highness
Princess Poon Diskul of Thailand and retired President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
of India, I also know these two persons are very close to each other. If you
are acquainted with the writings of the late Prof. Daisetz Suzuki, you may know
that he declared Zen is essentially Prajna and not Dhyana. Dr. Radhakrishnan
has been proclaiming Prajna a long long time. Is he a Vedantist? Is he a Zen
Buddhist? Is he a Mahayanist? Or is he unclassifiable?
I shall also be meeting Her Serene Highness Princess Poon Diskul at Geneva.
We are very very good friends although in theory we may be representing
distinctly different spiritual traditions.
I should be glad to visit you on the Berkeley campus of you desire before my
Samuel L. Lewis
410 Precita Ave.,
San Francisco, Calif.
February 14, 1970
Buddhist Vihara Society
5017 16th St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20011
I have just been supplied with your address by the Second Secretary of the
Embassy of Ceylon.
I am very anxious to purchase copies of the fascicules of the monumental
Encyclopedia of Buddhism. A few have been purchased here but I have been
unable to get further information.
At the moment I am particularly interested in getting copies so far as
available for The Temple of Understanding whose headquarters is also in
Washington. You may know something about this organization. Our good friend,
Her Serene Highness is very active in promoting this undertaking.
For your information: My first teacher in Buddhism was the late Dr. M.T.
Kirby who later settled at the Island Hermitage. He introduced me to Theravada,
Mahayana and Zen.
Copies of this Encyclopedia have been placed by me in certain universities
and I wish to continue in this effort.
Samuel. L. Lewis
CC-Temple of Understanding
Buddhist Vihara Society
February 18, 1970
Mr. Samuel L. Lewis
410 Precita Ave.
San Francisco, Calif.
Dear Mr. Lewis,
Thank you very much for checking with us with regard to the Encyclopedia of
Buddhism. I wish we would have the whole set of Encyclopedia of Buddhism by
now, but unfortunately as far as I know it is not complete yet. However, if you
write to the Department of Cultural Affairs, 135
Dharmapala Mawata, Colombo 7, Ceylon, you may, I hope, be able to obtain
whatever is available at present.
Wishing you every success,
Very sincerely yours,
Mahathera H. Gunaratana
April 15, 1970
Rev. Dr. Neville Warwick
1551 Octavia St.,
San Francisco, Calif. 94109
You may be pleasant to learn you have a much better reputation far off than
We have met two real Bodhisattvas here, not that there may not be more. One
is Roshi Zoshizukzi who Rev. Jack Austin introduced us to. He is a Rinzai and
second in command under the better known Roshi, Soen Nakagawa. Jack said he
spoke more in my presence that he has even known him to do.
Yesterday, on our own, we called on Marc Pallis. He is “tops” however
you want to define “tops.” He carries a most noble smile and has crossed
the divide between Tantra, Mahayana and Sufism.
The hopes here are with the young. The churches are largely closed. The
Buddhism thrived but are hopeless in their divisions and un-brotherliness.
Excuse the strange typewriter. Home before and of the month.
April 30, 1970
Bhiksu Heng Ching
Buddhist Lecture Hall
125 Waverly Place 4th Floor
San Francisco, Calif. 94108
Dear Bhiksu Heng Ching:
On behalf of Rev. Samuel Lewis, I would like to thank you very much for the
invitation to participate in the Wesak celebration. This celebration falls on a
day when he ordinarily has a class in the Dharma here in San Francisco at his
home. So it has been a simple matter to arrange for him and a number of
disciples to attend.
One is not able to very accurately say how many people will be attending.
Rev. Lewis (He Kwang) now has 100 disciples in the Bay area. One would guess
about 25 will be attending, but it could easily be twice that number.
Yours in the Dharma,
Secretary to Rev. Samuel L. Lewis (He Kwang)
May 1, 1970
Buddhist Order of Shingaku
140 N.E. 25th Street
Pompano Beach, Florida 33064
One came across your advertisement in the personal column of Saturday
Review. We are very much interested in Buddhism here, especially Buddhism which
takes its place in the modern world in a functional way.
Will you please send any information that you like to:
410 Precita Ave.
San Francisco, Calif. 94110
May 4, 1970
Buddhist Church of America
2121 Channing Way
Dear Friends in the Dharma:
Namo Amida But-su!
I have recently returned from a conference of the world’s religions under
the auspices of The Temple of Understanding. This was held in Geneva,
Switzerland early last month. I know our good friend Bishop Hanayama was very
much interested in this undertaking, but when I passed by this morning your
office was closed—perhaps I was too early.
Anyhow I wish to bring you greetings from your esteemed leader Count Otani
whom we met and also presented a version of our Nembutsu Dance. Through me he
wishes to send his best wishes to yourselves, and your congregation, and to
Samuel L. Lewis Rev. He Kwang
May 9, 1970
Rev. Shusei Abbot Contemplative
The Buddhist Order of Shingaku
140 N.W. 25th St.
Pompano Beach, Fla. 33064
You may be surprised to learn that in all sincerity in these times of
multiple excitement, I found your letter of more interest and concern than all
the drama being reported by the daily press. This
is not a jest. I may be perhaps the last person in these parts who sat at
the feet of the great Tai Hsu when he was here many years ago. In more recent
times I accepted a sort of ordination from the Korean Master Seo Kyung-Bo
after a number of us submitted to examinations concerning our knowledge of
the Dharma and also concerning Dharma-Transmission and
The name of this place is Mentorgarten. Legally, and perhaps spiritually, it
is a continuation of the first efforts to bring Zen Buddhism into this country,
Which occurred in the last country through the personal effort of the late
Shaku Soyen, but his successor, the late Nyogen Senzaki, also acted as
interpreter for Master Tai Hsu, and both Japanese and Chinese worthies who came
We are not an organized Buddhist group, because the organized Buddhist
groups do not recognize each other. We chant the Prajna Paramita Hridaya
Sutra in English and Sanskrit and not in bastard-Japanese. We believe this has
been very effective.
We will arrange to send you a copy of the latest edition of the “Sutra of
the Sixth Patriarch” and “The Diamond Sutra” which is being arranged by
the late Dr. Evans-Wentz at the time of his death.
For the moment we are working for The Temple of Understanding which is
trying to have an edifice where all religions would meet from time to time.
They have just had an international conference at Geneva, Switzerland.
Tomorrow we are joining with a Chinese group here led by Master To-Lun in
Celebration. We hope you will inform us of your doings and we will be glad to
cooperate in any way possible.
Samuel L. Lewis
Rev. He Kwang
P.S. Rev. Lewis is my teacher and it was at his request that I wrote to you
in Florida, and naturally I showed him your reply.
May 16, 1970
I was very glad to accept your invitation for the celebration of Wesak day.
To me it has been most unfortunate that celebrations have changed so much
during the last 50 years that there is almost nothing left but an empty word,
Wesak. My interest in the Dharma was aroused early in life. My first lessons
came from a man long since forgotten. It was Dr. M.T. Kirby. He will
undoubtedly be mentioned in the Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Although of English
birth and extraction, he became a disciple of the great Zen Master, Shaku Soen.
He left Japan because its religions were too involved in politics. So he went
to Ceylon and functioned as a Theravadin monk and later, teacher. He will be
remembered also for having been the Thera of Dr. Malalasekera.
This brings up the first of an unfortunate number of tragic notes in the
teachings, all kinds of teachings, which pass today as Buddhism. While many of
these schools have in common a verbal attachment to the word “anatta”
they only too often measure everything by ego. If you are not a right person to
begin with you are nobody. This is not a teaching of Lord Buddha; it is a
practice of the followers of many of the various schools and sects and
divisions, which call themselves Buddhists. Many of these are joined together
in a way in the world Buddhist Federation. This is a grand organization which
in a sense integrates various teachings and schools and sects.
Dr. Kirby taught me that Buddhism was and is the religion of Enlightenment.
He told me his own story. This story was rejected when he told it. It was
rejected when I told it about him. Now there is a division because American
Universities today have teachers who accept the experiences of enlightenment,
they accept the humanity of the human being who relates such experiences, and
they go on even further. No doubt the greatest impetus was given by Philip
Kapleau. He has convinced many people. He does convince many honest people,
especially those imbued with scientific outlooks. Thus there is a form of
Dharma teaching in the country quite apart from ecclesiastical
I believe in the month of August there will be a representative of this
outlook in San Francisco. His name is Dr. Huston Smith. People will come to
hear him. They will come to hear him because his name his Dr. Huston Smith.
People did not come to hear the late Phra Sumangalo, whose name was Dr. Robert.
S. Clifton. Phra Sumangalo and I were very close friends for a very long time.
This acceptance of Dr. Huston Smith, who did not pass his Dharma test and this
refusal to accept others who did, reveals either unfortunate hypocrisy or
downright ignorance. Name and fame count even among those and even especially
among those who verbally and here to a doctrine of anatta, or selflessness.
Selflessness ends at that point.
As originally presented by Dr. Kirby we had three holy days: the birth of
Lord Buddha; the transfiguration or enlightenment of Lord Buddha; the Nirvana
or Parinirvana of Tathagata.
In southern or Theravadin Buddhism these three are united in a single
celebration. I believe that many of the Mahayana schools, in order to promote
concord and universality, made some concessions here to the Theravadins.
Personally I make no concessions. Personally I believe that those who demand
concessions are always inferior to those who make concessions. On material
matters yes. On intellectual matters yes. On any kind of matters which can be
verbalized or made discrete yes. But on enlightenment processes positively
People who talk about enlightenment, people who have philosophies about
enlightenment but who have not experiences of enlightenment are the most
difficult of all human beings to deal with. Two weeks ago a young man came to
my house asking for introductions to the holy men of the world. I do not know
why he came to me. His teacher, who is a recognized leader of anatta-
Buddhists, (the world so recognizes him) has never conceded that this person
has any enlightenment or wisdom. When he and his followers wish funds or
introductions there is a sort of recognition. But not otherwise. This is
typical anatta Buddhism. When I asked this young man what was enlightenment,
he just sat and gawked. I kicked him out of the house. My time is precious and
I am too old;
I am sick and disgusted with all the various sectarians and their leaders
who mealy- mouth words like mercy and compassion and have no idea of how to
I kicked this man but of my house and to my surprise he wrote me a letter of
contrition. He wants introductions. He will get introductions from me when he
brings me a letter from his guru, (which is not the man’s title)
acknowledging I can bring such introductions. Of course I have them.
One of the great divisions between myself, I will say here myself, I will
proclaim here myself, is that early in life I studied the entire Tipitaka, the
Pali scriptures written in English. Good anattaBuddhists have never accepted
this. But I do teach the techniques of meditation as recorded in the Pali
writings; I do teach the morality of the Dharmapada; and at least once every
year give a talk on the Tevigga Sutta.
From a scientific or pragmatic view, they work. That is to say, if they are
tried in life they work. I shall not try to convince any so-called Buddhists
that I accept them because they work. They work whereas numerous rituals,
ceremonies, devotions do not seem to work to the extent of freeing man from his
ego and from the turmoils of samsara.
I am very much interested in the constant repetition of articles by
advocates of Theravadin Buddhism concerning the Bhumis and Paramis. Their
articles are excellent. They give no evidence of such attainments by human
beings. Indeed Lama Govinda who is recognized as a Buddhist acclaims that he
met no such enlightened persons, and this has left me in an awkward position
because he is recognized and I am unable to defend those who do not recognize
me. As recognition and non-recognition seem to be entirely on personality
bases, I see little hope for the transmission of the Dharma by old methods. But
this does not mean I see no hope for the transmission of the Dharma. I feel it
must be done impersonally and quasi-scientifically. This is not yet done.
Almost everywhere it is personal. Where is the enlightenment? Where is the
The practice of the Jhanas and I mean the practice does considerable to
awaken and increase love and joy. We use it. We practice it. The love and joy
is evident. You and your parallel groups among recognized Buddhists do not use
these methods but you are recognized. We use these methods and we are not
recognized, nor do we wish to be recognized by any subjective standards
The Paramitas are the parallel to the Paramis; perhaps they are the same.
Personally I do not admit to heresy. I see no heretics. But personally I am
disgusted, more than disgusted with the constant utterance that there are
84,000 upayas, and as soon as one has practiced which is not in accord with a
particular group a charge of heresy is hurled. It cannot be done both ways and
it is attempted both ways.
The Psalms of the early Buddhists are evidence that people once attained
enlightenment and happiness—really. In one sense they are very much like the
Psalms of Mila-Repa. There is nothing but joy and love and every sign of
attainment. But I know hardly anybody in the world that accepts both the joyful
acclamations of the early Buddhist monks and nuns and the joyful acclamations
of Mila-Repa and his school. Conformity and not joy becomes the norm and so
What this has to do with the teachings of Lord Buddha I have never been able
to ascertain and now do not wish to ascertain.
I am concerned, however, with the birth of Lord Buddha and not with
Mother’s Day Smother’s Day Brother’s Day and Politicians Day and I want
to make that firm. Either Bhumi and Parami and Tathagata or else.
One of the reasons I prefer Mahayana is because under the impetus of the
aforementioned Dr. Kirby I became deeply concerned with the enlightenment of
Shakyamuni and the Parinirvana. I do not accept their abolition. I do not
accept their being downgraded. I do accept that it is possible for all men to
become enlightened. My immediate followers demonstrate it is possible to
increase man’s capacity for joy and bliss. And man’s capacity for states of
consciousness not yet being given proper consideration by our culture.
I am just beginning to get the reactions to my appearance and few
contributions to the conference of the world’s religious and sometimes
spiritual leaders at Geneva. When one has to present absolute sincerity; when
bluff and pretension are of no avail, then one either knows or does not know.
Personally I believe there is a universal consciousness. Personally I believe
there are experiences in cosmic light of which the words Bhumi and Parami are
We chant the Prajna Paramita Sutra in Sanskrit and in English. We not only
chant it we apply it. We find multitudes chant without the slightest idea of
the meanings of words. I agree with Dr. Radhakrishnan, the learned Indian
philosopher, that prajna stands supreme. It just does not mean wisdom. What do
we mean by wisdom?
I think I have already over-stated the case. I think I have already said too
much, but I am working, not preaching and I am trying to demonstrate in every
May All Beings Be Joyful, May All Beings Be Blissful, May All Beings Be
Samuel L. Lewis
Buddhist Vihara Society
June 2, 1970
Mr. Samuel L. Lewis,
410 Precita Ave.,
San Francisco, Calif. 94110.
My dear Lewis,
Thank you very much for your interest in Buddhist philosophy. Your attempt
to spread the Dhamma is also very praiseworthy.
I just received your copy of the letter you have addressed to the Dept. of
Cultural Affairs, Colombo, Ceylon which confirms your sincerity in the spread
of the Dhamma.
I am sure you may still remember me, Mahathera H. Gunaratana, who attended
the conference in Geneva. I am also very happy to renew and strengthen our
acquaintance and friendship between ourselves. I sincerely feel that in order
to spread the Dhamma we all must work together in friendliness and
I enclose herein our temporary brochure and an application form for your
kind consideration. I shall appreciate your kind cooperation in supporting our
common and noble course.
Very sincerely yours,
Mahathera H. Gunaratana
San Cristobal NM 87564
June 12, 1970
Calvin C. Steimetz
1720 Hearst Ave.
Berkeley, California 94703
Namo Omito Butsu!
I was recently at the conference of the world’s religions, which took
place in Geneva. Your Bishop Hanayama, I believe now retired, was very much
concerned with the proceedings and it was a matter of courtesy to report.
Unlike many Buddhists I do not in practice and I mean in practice—and
nothing but practice—hold to self-identity. It happens in this life that I
joined both the Sufi Movement and the Buddhist Church about the same time, over
fifty years ago. I am also the last living associate of the late Dr. Dwight
Goddard who gave us the Buddhist Bible.
When I was in Japan I made several visits to Dr. Philip Eidemann who was
then residing at the Nishi-hongongi Temple in Kyoto. Every day I took a
different walk, covering the whole grounds. On the last occasion I refused to
pass by a gate on the left side of the grounds until the guide explained it to
me. He said, “It is just a gate.” I said, “It is not just a gate.” He
said, “It is just a gate.” I said, “It is not just a gate. If you do not
explain it to me I will return home and not complete my mission.” I started
back and he broke out in smiles: “I did not think you would notice it; you
are the first man who ever did. It is called the Lion’s Gate; it is open once
a year for the visit of His Imperial Majesty. Now I will show you the
He then explained the usual tourist visits; he then told me the Japanese
were permitted to see more and urged I go with the Japanese. I did. When the
Japanese left, he said, “Now I will show you the real grounds” which he
did. My life is full of incidents like this. I am no sectarian. I know all
about the history of the Shonins, etc. I attended Buddhist conferences years
and years ago, etc. I have no intention to proclaim the ego-self. We chanted
the Triratna here this morning. I use all kinds of Buddhist upayas. I do not
like the separation or rather the crystallization of Buddhist holidays into a
single Wesak ceremony, but I impose my will on nobody.
I agree with Buddha Sakyamuni, that the depth of our consciousness is
concerned with the problem of human suffering. I have personally adopted
methods of many different schools and have passed all tests ever given to me by
Buddhist mentors among others.
Samuel L. Lewis
San Cristobal NM 87564
June 13, 1970
Buddhist Vihara Society
Inc. 5017 - 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20011
I certainly remember having met you in Geneva.
There is a deep sore spot in my heart. For thirty-five years I was a very
close friend of the late Robert Clifton, known as Phra Sumangalo. I wish to
memorialize him and have thought the best way would be to purchase copies of
the Encyclopedia of Buddhism and distribute it as well as one might.
Although her serene Highness Princess Poon Diskul long declared this person
had accumulated much merit, there is something in life beyond that, difficult
to verbalize. But it seems that after a life of terrific struggle each year in
my seventies has become better and better and better inwardly and outwardly.
It was in January 1920 I met Dr. M. T. Kirby who later became the Thera of
Dr. Malalasekera. I believe he died at the island hermitage.
I am not teaching what you call the Dharma, although in another sense
perhaps I am doing just that. We practice the four jhanas. Although I am an
accredited master in Zen, both Japanese and Korean, I am essentially a
pragmatist and a scientist. That which works, works.
At the present time I am an instructor at the above address. I shall return
to San Francisco early in July and would take up details of other matters as in
the enclosure. At the present time I have a growing number both of disciples
and good friends, and of instructors (professors) in several universities.
Mansur Johnson and I hope to come to Washington in September or October and
what we do not settle from our San Francisco office could be taken up there and
then with you.
Samuel L. Lewis
July 26, 1970
Zen Mission Society
P.O. Box 606 Oakland, Ca. 94604
I wish to thank you for your journal. I am very glad to have a note
concerning the other Buddhist groups in this vicinity. I also agree with you
in general principle in your article on “Comparative Religion, I.”
I realize the inconsistency of any person, myself most of all, jumping from
the standpoints of ego-personality, dualism, and cosmic monism. I am no doubt
guilty of it right now. But in any event I am enclosing a copy of a letter to a
group, which in many respects I admire, and certainly they have been most kind
to me. But sometimes I feel like the old Zen Master who cracks down harder on
those who feel close to him than on the unworthy.
I unabashedly and shamefully confess that in my consciousness I have felt
myself involved in the affairs of Southeast Asia ever since the late Phra
Sumangalo first visited that part of the world. I cannot reconcile myself, and
this may be a weakness, to the collection of huge sums of money for palatial
retreats at a time when mass murder has become the order of the day, though
covered with every sort of logic and illogic. The unity of life is deep within
my flesh, my bones, and my marrow.
My present point of view is far more closely allied with that of the Korean,
and to some extent Vietnamese Buddhists, than with other schools. But my actual
Dharma may be called “Pragmatic Upaya.” There may be many successful forms
of Upaya and I am for any and all of them. But I still agree with the Pali
Tevigga Sutta and the teachings given therein, that that which works should be
considered and that which doesn’t work should be dropped. To me it is too bad
that so-called Mahayanists indiscriminately ignore Pali literature, and that
all Theravadans discriminately and indiscriminately ignore all other
But I agree that even a single breath of practicing Zen outstrips any
literature, including my
Samuel L Lewis
Rev. He Kwang
August 3, 1970
Ven. Mahathera H. Gunaratana
Buddhist Vihara Society, Inc.
5017- 16th St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20011
I have before me your very favorable letter of July 25. I could easily join
your organization for “religious and educational purposes.” I am purposely
sending a copy of this to the headquarters of the World Buddhist Federation in
Bangkok. I am doing this not so much for self-justification as in the effort to
promote peace and understanding in this world. I find without exception that
all religions operate on a theme that if you belong to them you are “good”
and if you do not belong to them you are not so “good.” I further believe
that this policy has led to unprovoked misunderstandings and even to war. I
believe all religions today are making mockeries of the words which in
English are “wisdom,” “understandings,” “enlightenment,” etc.,
etc. But my words cannot be accepted by official Buddhists, because I am not an
I met the late Dr. M. T. Kirby in December 1919. I was a pretty young man
then. He impressed me with the values of certain words and certain experiences.
I have never been forgiven for this. Apparently in most religions you can be
forgiven for torts and sins which are contradictory to the teachings of the
founders. He impressed me with certain words such as karma, dharma, samadhi,
etc., etc. When I use the words that I received from him, certain so-called
Buddhists down-grade me, and I am accepting it. The Theravadin Buddhists
violently dissent from my use of Sanskrit words, and the so-called Mahayanists
(I don’t know what this means) reject and deride ay acceptance of the Pali
Scriptures. I worked long with the late Dr. Dwight Goddard, who died of a
broken heart. The other day we had celebrations of the death of Dr. Paul Fung
in this city. We were very good friends. He has a huge church, and social
backing. So he is a “good Buddhist.” I never heard the Tri-Ratna in his
place. They did not celebrate the birth, enlightenment, and pari-nirvana of
Gautama Shakyamuni. But he was a “good-Buddhist.”
You can go to a lot of so-called Buddhist temples in this city, and hardly
hear the Tri-Ratna but they are “good-Buddhists.” We perform the Jhanas
here but we are not “good-Buddhists” either, because we accept in general
the teachings of the Avatarsaka and Korean Zen Schools.
I have seen articles concerning the experiences of Paramis and Bhumis.
Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese have assented that this person has
had such experiences, but so-called “anattaBuddhists” of most schools
dissent. They also dissent from each other. Attending a course at the
University of California on Anthropology, I arose and said, “I do not think
Buddhism is scientific, but I think Gautama Siddhartha was one of the greatest
scientists who ever lived.” The professor said, “I agree with you entirely,
and wish more people would accept this.”
We practice the Jhanas. But we find the personality changes during this
practice, and in my case it led to what I thought a spiritual realization of
the Tri-Kaya. So I see one whole Dharma. This conclusion is not very
My conclusions are not acceptable, but the “good-Buddhists” Lama
Anagarika Govinda has concluded that there are no enlightened men in South-
East Asia, and as he is a “good-Buddhist” his conclusions are accepted. If
you are a “good” devotee you can say or conclude anything, and this is
acceptable. When the great Dr. Radhakrishnan appeared at a top level Buddhist
gathering and gave out certain teachings, they were accepted. When I announced
the same teachings, I was rejected and the teachings were rejected. The same
thing—from the wrong person.
A local psychologist became a Theravadin Monk. He wrote teachings entirely
opposite to the traditions of South-East Asia, but he was a “monk.” His
teachings were hailed and published. I personally agree with the very large
sector of the so-called superstitions and traditions of the peoples of
South-East Asia, but I am not a “good-Buddhist”; the monk was a “good-
Buddhists.” His conclusions were published.
Therefore all I see is confusion and in this confusion the direct
experiences of wisdom and enlightenment are lost. I am promoting the direct
experiences of joy, love, and peace among an ever- growing number of young
Americans. We are going to organize, we are going to incorporate, and we are
going to support The Temple of Understanding, in full.
The above critical remarks are not aimed at you. They are aimed at all the
dualistic religions. We agree with Gautama Siddhartha, “I see now that all
sentient beings have perfect wisdom and enlightenment but do not know it; I
shall go and teach them.” I can even be your friend and contributor, but I
absolutely refuse to accept any more rejections on the part of any so- called
“anatta Buddhist” who cannot appreciate universal wisdom and attainment.
I mean it when I say “May all beings be blissful, may all beings be
peaceful, may all beings be happy.” Robert Kaufman, the youngest man who
appeared at Geneva thumbed his way all the way to San Francisco. He has been
attending all my public meetings wherever they are, and is convinced that my
words area not excuses, covers, pretensions. We are making every endeavor now
to promote real peace among real people and shall continue to do so.
I do not knew whether to write Mehta or Metta,
Samuel L. Lewis
P.S. The late Robert Clifton, Phra Sumangalo, admitted in my presence that I
was far more advanced than he was. I have not made this matter public before.
It would not be accepted.
410 Precita Ave.,
San Francisco, Calif. 94110
August 9, 1970
Sutra Publishing C.S.A B.A.
125 Waverly Place,
San Francisco, Calif. 94108
I notice your remark that now there will be charge of $20 for your
publications. This does not bother me in the least. It is almost impossible to
convince many sincere people of the truth of Dharma and that there is in
operation both “Good Karma” and Karmaless action. I do not know whether the
life has been dominated by “good karma” of whether one has risen to the
grades where one is no longer effected by karma but may be a “master.” As
most San Franciscans simply will not examine that, it becomes actually
Early in the year we went to a conference of the real religions of the real
world (as reported). We took with us copies of the last work of the late Dr.
Evans Wentz as published by our good friend very Joe Miller. We thus made many
important contests, and many wonderful visits were had. This makes it possible
therefore to get Vajra Bodhi Sea into the hands of proper persons. This is one
Although our income had gone up, our expenses went up. Then my last relative
died increasing my income. And more recently my very loving disciples have
become aware of burdens and also they are coming to my assistance. And
indirectly we have benefited no end by the operations of the New Age stores
which employ quite a few of my disciples. So financially our affairs are
improving. Not only that there are now volunteers working for us who feel that
our aims are noble, and even more noble because the traditional San Francisco
organization: “churches,” “peace groups,” etc. never give us
As we are working—and I mean working—for peaceful relations between
human beings regardless of politics, we are gaining the friendship of volunteer
workers and the future looks very bright. The question then comes how to
benefit humanity most and among the items would be to get Varja Bodhi Sea into
An oath earlier in life has led us to place copies of the Encyclopedia of
Buddhism into certain University libraries. At this writing one must say that
professors and universities are very different from the general public. They
accept knowledge, they accept wisdom end they do not judge from outer
personality. So at this writing one is almost confused by invitations and
opportunities and a temporary lack of clerical help. This lack is due to the
“good karma” to the former secretaries who now have good paying jobs. But
it is very proper if we really believe in promoting American-Asian relations
and also help toward spiritual deliverance to see that Varja Bodhi Sea is in
I shall therefore try to call on you sometime next week—one it busy all
the time—to consider financial cooperation to what may be “world
There never was a religion founded by anybody who had not the experience of
three bodies. The sages and prophets taught that. The clergy, the
“religions,” the “cults”—it is something different. I am now giving
instructions on the “three bodies” and it is being received serious by the
young and also by a growing number of university professors. This last is a new
departure and a very important one. And we hope to clear up all the confusion
about the psychedelic experience which confusion would never exist if those if
control are replaced by people of knowledge.
As you know all three bodies keep many under karma, including “good
karma.” Therefore my work, even in its most noble phases is below that of
those who are enabling mankind to rise above the three-body universe. This is a
long and deep subject which we need not discuss.
During this period there is increasing requests to speak at different
universities. This is a far cry from earlier times when graduates of European
institutions were most acceptable as interpreters of Asian cultures. This
impossible situation has caused endless confusion.
I myself accept the Dharma teachings of Master Seo-Kyung-Bo, and even more
specifically what is known as Kegon in Japan. Nearly all Buddhist Schools teach
that Shakyamuni gave 84,000 upayas. Than in practice they limit these upayas to
their own methods. On this point I dissent. During the summer we practiced,
and I mean practiced, all kinds of upayas, from the elementary Jhanas of the
Theravadin school to the Maha-Mudra, and found all beneficial. But in the end,
it is the transcendence of the three-bodies and the whole of karma as you
teach which is needed for the deliverance of human kind.
Faithfully and cordially,
Samuel L. Lewis
Rev, He Kwang,
August 15, 1970
The Zen Mission Society
P.O. Box 606 Oakland, Calif. 94604
Have read “The Disease of Second Mind” twice.
When down at Lama Foundation in New Mexico a couple of months back my choral
master and I were lamenting the absence of mantrams in English. Every morning
there was a ceremonial, a compound of Essence Judaism and Mahayana. The next
morning the officiator (we all took turns officiating) chanted:
“Gone, Gone, More Than Gone, More Than More Than Gone, Gone, Gone, More
Than Gone, More Than More Than Gone...
My choral director and I were shamed and repented. I think this is and
example of your “The Disease of Second Mind.” It should also interest
Either Saul or myself would be glad to demonstrate this. At this moment,
however, we are suffering from overwork and prosperity!
In a few weeks I shall be organized legally and will release funds for
subscriptions, etc. Faithfully,
Samuel L. Lewis
Zen Mission Society
468 Hanover Avenue Oakland, Calif. 94606
All Replies to: J. Kennett
August 19, 1970
Samuel L. Lewis
410 Precita Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110
The translation of the Prajna-Paramita Mantram which I got from my master
during an argument and which I think is worth its salt is the following:
Going, going, going on beyond, always going on beyond, always becoming
Instead of writing “Hail” at the end of it my instinct is to write
“Hooray” or “Vive le Bouddha” but maybe some people wouldn’t approve.
Still, who cares about approval?
By the way I want to publish both your letters to me in next month’s
issue. Hope you have no objections.
August 19, 1970
Buddha Universal Church
720 Washington St.
San Francisco, Ca. 94111
Dear Friends in the Dharma:
This is a belated letter expressing a sort of sorrow because of the death of
your late Dr. Paul Fung. At the time of his passing, one was engaged in a
number of projects which kept one busy and still keeps one busy every day of
the week and every month of the year.
In the spring one went to a conference of all the religions of the world,
and I mean the religions of the world, and met a group of selected or
self-selected intellectuals passing out prowess. Although in the beginning I
had no particular status among the great and near-great, when we came to
actualities, facing problems, and offering contributions to the solution of
those problems, a position was entirely changed. And today I am in contact with
many of the real leaders of the real religions.
Our good friend Princess Poon was there, among others. She was very much
worried that I did not show enough Joy, etc. But to most of the delegates, it
appeared I was showing far more Joy then Her Serene Highness.
One of the things we faced, and I mean faced, was that of peace in the
world. Oratory did not have a chance and fame even less. We had to get down to
facing real problems among real people. I have not been very warm concerning
the stand of most Buddhists, and I don’t mean their political stands. I mean
that when Gautama Shakyamuni was alive, he took his disciples to the
battlefield. But who in this region teaches anything about Gautama Shakyamuni?
You only find about him in the “low” scriptures.
I did have a problem. The great virtue of the day is having money. There is
hardly a church or spiritual organization I know that does not tell you have
great virtue if you give them money. Although the very top student in Lowell
High School, coming from a family that had some means,
I was given no college education or trade or anything. On my father’s
deathbed he called me in and apologized and now my position is quite different.
Besides that, I am still working, and I do not intend to contribute to any
group that has the audacity to demand recognition, while themselves not
I was asked recently to contribute to a Buddhist group which recognizes me.
In the first place, I had a severe training under a Zen Teacher named Sokei-an
Sasaki. You will find on my altar a picture of the late Roshi Furukawa of
Kamakura. Our last meeting took place not long before his final seclusion. But
later I took a vow to a Korean Roshi.
On my way to Geneva my secretary and I studied Tao Teh Ching. We therefore
did not assert ourselves, but were the only ones invited to eat with
representatives of every recognized religion. They did not invite each other
always. When we come to London we were given a very nice reception by the
Royal Asiatic Society. I have long been a member of this institution, and had
to pass a severe test to become a fellow. But following the teachings of Tao
Teh Ching I never mentioned it before any of the teachers of the so-called
American Academy of Asian Studies and California Academy of Asian Studies.
Ever since I have been under the guidance of Drs. Paul and George my health
has been excellent. I have been fulfilling the diet and regimen they gave me,
and am in tip-top shape for a man in his mid-seventies. Therefore I do owe
something to your Church, etc.
At Geneva, I was declared openly a master of the Dharma by some of the top
people of this world, and I think in turn, you owe something to the Dharma.
Like Lord Buddha, but unlike “Buddhists,” I do not put much stress on
egos. I am quite indifferent to praises and blames. But I am not indifferent to
the problems Lord Buddha thought were important: sickness, poverty, injury, and
death. I was put under the Bodhisattvic Vow years ago. I don’t ask others to
recognize that. There is either recognition or not-recognition. Churches and
so-called spiritual organizations should exhibit some of their own teachings
sometimes, especially if they believe in recognition. I am having a doubtful
pleasure today of refusing funds to those who preach recognition and don’t
recognize. But I feel ashamed when I cannot contribute sufficiently to those
practice recognition. I am therefore leaving it up to you whether you think I
should contribute financially anymore.
The great problem at Geneva was how to get peace in the world. I had to
decide whether to put my time and money into peace for Southeast Asia or peace
in the Near East. During my long life I have met a great many important people
although one of these meetings have been accepted by any group in San
Francisco. This seems to be part of San Francisciana. It is true at the
California, all campuses, they accepted my relations with Her Serene
Highness Princes Poon. But the Law is the Law.
I did some work under there now-retired Lt. general Edward Lansdale during
II. By a private agreement which I am not asking any local exports on Asia
to accept, I have gotten behind him entirely and therefore am devoting time and
effort to peace in the Near East. And I mean peace, and not this empty phrase
“peace with justice” which even a Hitler could accept. The Peace of Lord
Buddha was first peace within and then peace without. Besides this, he
demonstrated, he did not preach.
In a few minutes I must see my disciple and godson regarding international
missions on which they are each engaged, and then we are going to take up
practical measures right here in San Francisco. I am no longer troubled
because we already have all the Washington contacts we need.
You do not see me. I have no time, even to worship in public institutions. I
appreciate all you have done for me, but now we are facing the world of turmoil
and war and confusion. I see answers to all the problems of the day. It was
very easy to discuss these with leaders on University campuses. Elsewhere it is
practically futile. One of the greatest achievements in my life was the 33
I had to my paper on Vietnamese This shows the “morality” of religious
and spiritual so-called, organizations. It was finally deposited in the
department of Southeast Asian studies in Berkeley. Therefore I am doing
everything possible with my surplus money to promote the peace efforts of the
University campus and my own disciples.
Samuel L. Lewis
Buddhist Vihara Society
September 25, 1970
Mr. Samuel L. Lewis,
410 Precita Ave.,
San Francisco, Calif. 94110.
Dear Mr. Samuel Lewis,
I am glad to learn that you wish to become a member of this Society. I
presume that I have mailed you an application form some time ago. For the sake
of easy book-keeping formal membership application duly filled in is
essential. I am enclosing another application form for you to fill
in and return with due membership subscription. We already have about six
life members whose names will be announced at the next Annual General Meeting
which is expected to be held in December. If you wish to become a life member
you are most welcome.
Believe me Mr. Lewis, we really do not care which word you use to describe
Buddhism. Some people are comfortable with Pali and they use it and some other
people are comfortable with Sanskrit and they also should use it wherever
they want to. Most fundamental thing in all communications is to impart the
knowledge of the Dhamma and spread His message far and wide.
Wishing you every success and hoping to hear from you soon,
Very sincerely yours,
Mahathera H. Gunaratana
October 5, 1970
Mahathera H. Gunaratana,
Hon. Gen. Sec’y. Buddhist Vihara Society, Inc.
5017 - 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20011
This will acknowledge your letter of September 25th. One is
constantly receiving letters asking one to join this group or that, but it is
only on very rare occasions that one receives letters acknowledging any
prowess. A number of years ago, the late Phra Sumangalo came into my house and
said, “Samuel, We Ain’t Got It.” I said to him, “Grandphra, We have got
it.” Of course, I do not expect good Buddhists to accept any such incident,
but I can assure you I have no intention of joining or contributing to people
who do not. A number of years later all the Buddhist leaders in San Francisco
agreed to submit to an examination on their knowledge of the Dharma and this
person easily outdistanced them all. But some of the good people reacted
violently and refused to accept the results. I call them anatta-Buddhists.
I am not in the least interested whether personalities or groups accept
personal knowledge of the Dharma. The world Buddhist Federation asked Dr.
Radhakrishnan to address them. He spoke on prajna. He used the term prajna.
When Dr. Radhakrishnan spoke on prajna, no one challenged him. When someone
else said the same thing, he was totally ignored.
It is remarkable that I never met a Buddhist, so-called, who could foresee
World War II. But, apparently, some people have been open enough so that I have
actually visited the places where the remains of Buddha Gautama Siddhartha are,
in the United States, Japan Thailand, Burma, and India. I have also visited
Arjunta and Takht Bhai and other placed of historical importance.
Our good friend, Her Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul, used to lament
the lack of knowledge of Bhumis and Paramis, but if anyone dared to presume
to express such knowledge.
This year I thought all the Buddhist methods, beginning with the first
Jhanas and ending with the Tibetan Mahamudra. This makes me an exemplary
heretic, and I wish to preserve my freedom as a heretic unless you feel one can
be a universal man and also work with you. I hope to be in Washington
Samuel L. Lewis
October 13, 1970
There is no better proof of the real prajna than what has happened just
A report was made to my chief disciples and I felt you should get a copy. As
soon as this letter was eaten and one sat down to breakfast one found that
there is a new “World Buddhist Union” being formed and that the American
representative is one Dr. Winston L. King of Vanderbilt University,
I am sending the clipping to Precita Ave. and if they are unable to follow
this up will do it personally on my return. Actually this matter was assigned
to Daniel Lomax who is now prospering down in Tucson, Arizona.
I think you know very well what is behind this:
Making “Buddhism” a protection of certain interests.
Refusing to be in personal and objective about satori, etc.
Yesterday this was simple and easy. In one sense I am sorry but karma is
karma and even the high and mighty cannot avoid it; especially the high and
mighty cannot avoid it.
(Could not reach Boris. Apparently he has moved.)
Samuel L. Lewis
November 2, 1970
Dear Guru Samuel L. Lewis:
Do you still remember one? So long I did not have chance to see you. How
about your health and your classes going on? I hope see you again soon.
Meanwhile, I wish to invite you come down here (L.A.) and give a lecture or
lectures at our Meditation Center some Sunday night.
Dr. Thich Thien-An
225 Monroe St.
Monterey, Calif. 93940
My dear Anh-The:
This is written in New York City. I have been away from home considerably
over a month, working to promote better East-West relations and also not only
exploring the chances for peace but doing something, really doing something.
I must thank you for your greetings. I had a marvelous birthday party in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, not far from Harvard University. It seems today the
young are very different. It is almost impossible to get people more mature in
age to accept cosmic evolution, and it is almost equally foolish to try to
explain this to the young, for they know it already.
In this region Indian leaders have had some success. They do take Americans
upstairs, to speak. But they never get anywhere near, for example, the Buddhist
teachings offered in Chinatown, San Francisco where they try to show devotees
the real cosmos beyond the three bodies. It is this vision which makes inner
peace a living experience and thus enables mankind to find outer peace.
My secretary, Mansur Johnson, and I were in Geneva earlier this year. We met
the leaders of all the religions. There were five kinds of Buddhists there, all
of whom avoided the others. Zen was not represented, but we have met several
wonderful Zen masters since then.
I am very glad you have given me Dr. Thich Thien-An’s address. I will
write to him immediately and enclose a copy.
We expect to be back in California on November 9. I have no schedule but
expect to be very very busy. It is actually funny when time is the problem, not
money. This is so different, but fortunately the health is holding out and
one hopes the same is true for you also.
Namo Omito Fu.
Samuel L. Lewis
Dr. Thich Thien An
International Center of Buddhist Meditation
542 North Irving Boulevard
Los Angeles, California
Name Omito Fu. It is only now I have been able to answer our good friend
Anh-The who has sent me your address. Sometime I hope to convince some people
who call themselves Buddhists of the truth of Anatta, Anicca, and Dukha. One
lives in the world full of turmoil. One lives in a world where the thief
characteristics are excitement and headaches. One also finds in the world many
who claim to be spiritual but very few among them look into Dukha or have that
Karuna which enables them first to feel the sufferings of others and then to do
something about it.
As to Anatta: One sarcastically uses the term “Anatta Buddhists” for
those persons who verbalize selflessness and then exhibit more ego than the
peoples they criticize. We had a class on comparative religion at the
University of California. There were five Buddhists present. It was noticeable
that they were all against Christianity, four of them against “God,” and
none of them spoke to another one—they sat far apart. Then my secretary
Mansur Johnson and I went to Geneva, Switzerland this year to a gathering of
all the religions of the world. There were five Buddhist groups represented.
I don’t know whether they were against God or not, but they certainly sat
far apart and there was neither communion nor communication. But all of them
recognized my secretary, Mansur Johnson, and myself. Fortunately, one was able
to have silent communion with the secretary of His Holiness, Dalai Lama.
Princess Poon Diskul is an old friend of mine. She has long been the
president of the so-called World Buddhist Federation. They verbalize bhumi and
pirani, but if you dare speak or write to them on the subject or if you dare
say dharma instead of dhamma, they will have nothing to do with you. And if you
write in nice pali terms they will publish your article no matter how trivial
it is, no matter how much it contradicts earlier literature. Therefore I am not
surprised that another World Buddhist Federation has been formed. I hope it
will be based on something a more fundamental than social standards, politics,
prestige, or externalities.
Last night we heard a lecture with demonstrations, by a scientist named Dr.
Backster. He has been doing some investigation of plant life and plant
psychology. His conclusions are almost identical with those of the Surangama
Sutra and the school known as Kegon in Japan and Avatamsaka in Sanskrit (I do
not know the Chinese term). It was an immediate friendship, and we hope to see
In both London and here we have met wonderful Zen masters, and I mean Zen
masters and not book writers. But Americans are not necessarily drawn to severe
meditation. A patriarch may go around rubbing bricks and saying, “I am making
a mirror.” He may be challenged and answer, “It is easier to make a mirror
by rubbing bricks than to attain Buddhahood by meditation.” The late Dr.
Daisetz Suzuki said that Zen was prajna not dhyana. He said it. He said it
amidst tumultuous applause, and the sale of hosts of his own books, but where
was the dhyana? and where was the prajna?
We chant the Prajna Paramita Sutra in Sanskrit and in English. We are
tending towards prajna rather than dhyana, because there are many excellent
schools of dhyana in this country. But we do not always see it tending toward
deep wisdom. We are concerned over the American trends toward excitement, the
huge number of headaches, and arthritis, and of course, crying and
We would like to know more about your work and about the International
Center of Buddhist Meditation. You must excuse me that otherwise I am
overworked, and it is not an easy matter to drive or fly to Los Angeles. I
cannot tell you when this can be done. There are so many doors opening and
financial matters are in much better circumstances than in previous years, but
so is writing, teaching, and other activities.
With Kindest Regards,
Samuel L. Lewis
November 10, 1970
Journal of the Zen Mission Society
P.O. Box 606
Oakland, Calif. 94604
One is in a very delicate position that in a world full of strife, turmoil,
wars, and whatnot, instead of being bothered by human suffering, a personality
is offended apparently by some dirt on the clothing of a potential friend. This
friend night even be a member of a sangha—in fact he is—but as the word
“sangha” can mean anything at all it is very difficult to establish
Unlike the majority of so-called Buddhists in America, the writer has read
practically all of the Vinaya. He does not demand this of others. In fact he
would consider it an exceedingly egotistical act to demand disciplined and
behaviors of others, which he has not practiced himself. Or to put it another
way, the writer has taken a Tri-Ratna oath, in which giving allegiance to the
Buddha, there are two complete interpretations. Which is to say, historical and
cosmic. This does not mean that there are not other interpretations, maybe
excellent ones, maybe valid ones.
The writer differs from the vast majority of so-called Buddhists in that be
believes the knowledge of the Dharma brings with it an increasingly empirical
understanding of the Bhumis and Paramitas (or Paramis), knowing full well he is
a heretic to one group if he spells the word one way, and a heretic to another
group is he spells the word another way. He has also concluded, and it may be
even the wrong conclusion, that heresy-hunting seems to be a far more important
phase of the self-excluding dharma-ists and dhamma-ists than is the growth in
the Bhumis and Paramitas, or in the application of compassion or karuna in the
living world and also in the cosmos, let us say, as depicted in the Surangama
He is not demanding from others their acceptance of the Surangama Sutra, but
he is curious how a person under the Bodhisattvic Oath can be called to account
for not observing all the provisions of the Patimokkha. This is the first
time he has ever heard the Tri-Ratna interpreted to mean that in repeating the
Tri-Ratna you have to accept the Patimokkha. It is even more confusing because
early in life at one time he took an oath to the Patimokkha.
Now the writer of the dualistic letter which objects to a devotee quoting
Buddha Shakyamuni has either experienced mokkha or moksha or he has not. If a
person has experienced mokkha or moksha from my ignorant understanding, and it
is evidently ignorant understanding and confusion, he would either see no
difference in personality or by the obliteration of the ego-self, would be
quite unable to refute anybody that has referred to Buddha Shakyamuni or any
According to the laws of the Dharma (or Dhamma), where is any person
attained from the Universe the right to condemn another for not observing all
the precepts of the Patimokkha. It is quite evident that the unfortunate
dualist who has objected to my remarks about the behavior of lord Buddha, the
Tathagata, had better explain to his own self what is meant by karma, and also
dukha, anicca, and anatta. I do not wish to bring others in, but Lama Anagarika
says be never met a single person under Patimokkha who had experienced mokkha.
I should like to see the Lama disputed. Then I would confuse my sins and
Samuel L. Lewis
Rev. He Kwang, Zenshi
November 16, 1970
The Zen Mission Society Dharma House
468 Hanover Avenue Oakland, Calif. 94606
There is so much satisfaction in the journal just received that one is going
to write a long letter. Part of this is due to the fact that a publisher wishes
to have all the material he can get about my live and also creative writing.
Here I may use the English pronouns, etcetera, for purposes of communication,
although at my present state of evolution I neither see nor find a permanent
I am especially inconsiderate of persons calling themselves Buddhists who
would reject any article coming from this person because of the name signed,
and would equally reject articles from other persons for the some unreason, and
would equally accept articles from still other persons for the some
Or to put it another way, you have used the term Patimokkha, which makes one
a heretic if it is spelled differently! This term was first explained to me by
one Rev. M.T. Kirby years and years ago. He was a disciple of the late Shaku
Soyen, whose Mentorgarten I have inherited. Dr. Kirby (Sogaku Shoku) explained
to me that the Patimokkha was the confession one made after the experience of
moksha. I always understood that moksha or mokka, meant “deliverance,” and
that this was an experience. I still believe in that, and this excludes me from
the ranks of Buddhists. You don’t have to have had moksha to be a Buddhist.
Indeed you don’t have to recite the Tri-Ratna to be a Buddhist. You can even
be a Zen disciple in good standing without the Tri-Ratna, and as for moksha,
this can never bring harmony; it can only bring confusion because so many
“good” disciples have never had moksha or satori, or anything like them.
Although I feel love and compassion toward you, I can never be a Buddhist. I
had the impertinence to introduce the late Nyogen Senzaki to the late
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan. The two fell into each other’s arms, quite
contrary to all orthodoxies, each became a disciple of the other, and Hazrat
Inayat Khan immediately put me on the Bodhisattvic Oath, which simply of course
can’t be because the so-called anatta Buddhists can’t accept it. However
once a Soto Zen Roshi came here; his name was Ishida, and he accepted it, and
he accepted this person as a Bodhisattva, which was very rude because a
disciple of a disciple of his ... oh well, what’s the use.
I am very stubborn. I believe that progress in the Dharma consists of, or is
accompanied by, experience in the bhumis and paramitas. I mean experiences of
awakening. But I also believe that the Urim and Thummim of the Bible, and the
Bible ahwal and makamat of the Sufis mean the same thing. I agree with Lord
Buddha, whose life is not studied by the vast majority of so-called Buddhists
in that there may be let us say 84,000 ways to deliverance and enlightenment.
But to be a “good” Buddhist you have to verbalize 84,000 and then
hereticize anybody that does not do it exactly the same way as you do. In other
words, the moksha or mokka is of no importance, the way in which you got it, or
claim to have attained it, that is the thing. Therefore, I am not a Buddhist,
although I accept Buddha Shakyamini as Tathagata.
I am glad to find that on page 6 Kennett Roshi has said “The Bodhisattva
ideal has too often been neglected by students of Zen, especially in the
West....” This ideal has brought me to live in the midst of cities, and even
to find a sort of identity of nirvana and samsara.
In December 1941, I called on our good friend Shibata-san of the Daibutsu
and told him I was very sorry about Pearl Harbor. He asked me why, and I said
“because Japan will be destroyed.” He said, “I don’t think so.” But
this master of Bombast exclaimed, “I know so.” So does the world today.
How did this happen? What gave one the ability to see into a magnificent
future? It is not that at all. The late Daisetz Suzuki used to say that Zen
consisted of Prajna and not Dhyana. He used to say that, and everybody knows
(???) that what an important person says must be true. But this person
received the Dharma-transmission from the late Sokei-an of New York, into which
one does not wish to go further here. Claims by big-people are important,
experiences by lesser people ??? Anyhow, this is in writing, and will be
published along with much more in my memoirs.
This last year, perhaps for the first time since Taxsila, this person gave
instructions in whole series of Buddhist meditations from the most elementary
Jhana to the most profound Mahamudra. One is not in the least concerned with
reactions to the statement, especially by “anatta-Buddhists.” First,
Sokei-in Sasaki and then Nyogen Senzaki constantly said that the Dharma would
be established in this land. I feel the Dharma is established in this land,
and I feel also, among others, and I mean among others, The Zen Mission Society
is doing a wonderful work.
When I left New York in 1931 after having studied with Sokei-an Sasaki I
found that all scriptures of all religions were clear to me. And while the
good orthodox of many religions will dispute that my poems are destined to be
published in the not distant future and give evidence of this.
All the above is either supported by or supports the statement of Jiyu
Kennett, “Now, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Arahants have always been somewhat
unorthodox people which is why the path of the saint has always been so very
thorny, and their reward, if the Bodhisattva ideal is followed, would seem to
be non-existent to the ordinary person....”
One is very much interested also in Daiji’s article “Religion and
Science.” Within the past month I have met two profound research scientists
who are thoroughly orthodox in their laboratory research and thoroughly out of
harmony with the popular “science.” Both of them not only accept
re-incarnation but have some recollection of former lives. Both of them feel
they have experienced a universal mind.
One does not care to write further concerning the excellency of the articles
in the Journal, or concerning one’s ego-reactions there. I am therefore
passing to a consideration of Vajra Bodhi Sea, which is also an effort to
present the Dharma to the people of the West. If I mention my name, all the
“good” devotees will react against it. If I mention that I once studied the
Dharma under the late great Rev. Tai-Hsu, these same profound devotees will
kneel at my feet!! Nevertheless, they are following the Bodhisattvic ideal in
being established in the middle of a large city and thus exemplifying an
identification (not the but an) of samsara and nirvana.
Vajra Bodhi Sea proclaims the Surangama sutra. This I find a sort of
objective encyclopedia of actual experiences of awakening into more profound
stages of consciousness—Bhumis and Paramitas or otherwise. But so long as a
person praises a Sutra he is a “good” Buddhist, and if he claims to have
experienced the same, he is of course subject to strong criticism. It is this
sort of attitude and nothing else which has given us divisions between
“religion” and “science.”
I believe Buddha Gautama Siddhartha Shakyamuni was a learned Hindu. I have
found nothing in his teachings which upsets the basic Dharma of the Hindus. I
see the some grand Universe, the transcendental cosmos. But I also see that in
approaching it, or experiencing it, one finds integration and harmony and not
intellection and analysis. The Limitation of a word “truth” is an illusion.
It presumes separated ego. In the grand cosmos this is not. Yes, perhaps I am
inferring the Kegon teaching (Avatamsaka). Well I not only believe in it, but I
am under the illusion of the transcendent enlightenment that I have experienced
it. I am not imposing this on anybody, but that is the essential rationale for
my writing at all.
In New York City I found a lot of books in Samuel Weiser’s store and was
delighted to find he has re-published the Buddhist Bible of the late Dwight
Goddard. I have had to stand by and see Dwight Goddard die of a broken heart. I
have had to stand by and see the late Phra Sumangalo die of a broken heart. But
I am tough; sometimes I believe I am the incarnation of Marpa. I act like
I have even brought back all kinds of original teachings from India which
“good devotees” have rejected. But I do not believe these are proper
methods for the New Age, or any age any more.
The welcomes received in Switzerland and England earlier in the year assure
one that if he lives according to Prajna both his inner life and outer life
will be filled with joy, love, and harmony, and I hope the same will be true of
Samuel L. Lewis
(Rev. He Kwang)
December 7, 1970
Buddhist Vihara Society, Inc.
5017-16th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20011
Dear Friends in Dharma:
I have before me your reports concerning the meeting which took place
yesterday, December 6. Surprisingly successful visits in New York City made it
impossible for me to go to Washington and we are now very busily engaged in
efforts toward establishing peace on earth. We sincerely and absolutely
believe that the word “peace” has become the source of endless delusion and
I do not know if and how I can be eligible to join you. True, my first
teacher in the Dharma, and he used the word Dharma, was the late Dr. M.T.
Kirby, later teacher of Dr. Malalasekera. In the course of time I read the
entire Tipitaka in English by which the great majority of so-called
“Buddhists” have given me nothing but derision, but then they give that
to each other too. I am the last living associate of the late Dwight Goddard
who will be known to the world for his “Buddhist Bible.” He died of a
broken heart because it seems as soon as a person takes an oath to Tri-Ratna it
gives him the right to deride other devotees who repeat the Tri-Ratna but have
different interpretations. And for my part, I have found two things about
nearly all Buddhists: They deride other Buddhists; they never accept any kind
of criticism, but they themselves are adepts at criticizing each other.
As an example, I enclose a brochure concerning a book written by a so-called
Zen leader. This rather famous person—and it is wonderful how famous people
can become in a religion one of whose fundamentals is anatta—repeats what a
famous lecher, drunkard writer constantly has said: “Kill the Buddha!” You
can’t do anything about it. These men are “Buddhists” and as such are
upheld by the WBA. It is most wonderful to see these “Kill the Buddha”
exemplaries receive plaudits and endless payments from publishers.
Recently I wrote about the methods Lord Buddha used to stop war and was
immediately pounced on because something I said was contrary to the Patimokkha
or Pratimoksha. The person who disputed with me was not bound by these
documents and has never experienced mokka or moksha, but he is an
organizational Buddhist and that is enough. That is the world in which we live.
Apparently the WBA and all its members would support such a person.
Therefore I do not know whether I am eligible or not. Unlike the writer of
“Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and the drunkards and fornicators who have
written famous books, I have always repeated the Tri-Ratna, and publicly
insulted this Zen Master by repeating the Tri-Ratna in his presence and he
grew red in the face. This in only one of a number of such incidents.
We practice the Jhanas here. That makes us heretics to the so-called
Mahayanists. We find that the successful practice of the Jhanas results in a
change of personality, in the rise of the state of consciousness, and in a
totally different outlook. But his outlook brings us into entire agreement with
the Mahayanist Ashvaghosa, and so we are heretics to the Theravadins also.
I have had a scientific background, and this makes me believe that
experience should be the basis for some of our ideas, or even our philosophies
and religions. Many people become Buddhists because they say that Lord Buddha
said that there were 84,000 ways to salvation. I don’t know. But I do know
that the Tevigga Sutta exposes pretenders and demands solidity. In this, Buddha
was like a scientist, but quite unlike priest craft, metaphysicians, and
ritualistic. Nonetheless, I find that as soon as one becomes a “good
Buddhist” he does not dare apply the Tevigga Sutta to himself, only to
others. Her Excellency Princess Poon Diskul, who has been President of the WBA,
verbalizes that we need more examples of Bhumis and Paramis. But woe to the
person who claims such experiences. He is almost universally regarded as a
pretender and faker, as a bragger and boaster, and especially by those who
ritualize mokka or moksha, but have never experienced them. Indeed, Lama
Govinda has gone so far as to say, that he did not find a single person in
Southern Asia who has experienced deliverance. And he being a Buddhist, and I
perhaps not, I smutn’t criticize it, and no one else dares to.
But another factor toward ineligibility on my part is that the Korean Master
Seo Kyung-Bo says I understand the Dharma-Transmission, and perhaps this may be
so. But I have learned that Master Seo has been most active in the
establishment of another World Buddhist Federation, apparently in opposition to
the one whose headquarters are in Thailand. And so far as I am concerned, he is
beyond reproach. This leaves me in a peculiar situation. And I don’t know
where I can stand when a certain group of Buddhists say I understand the Dharma
and another group says I don’t. Why shouldn’t I go with those who say I
One of my ideas for world peace is that we should use Sanskrit, and so
lessen misunderstanding. There is nothing in the teachings of Lord Buddha
that says we mustn’t use Sanskrit, and its use might help to bring various
groups together. My own foolish idea is that the anatta teachings are
substantiated by not supporting any particular point of view, especially
against another, but I am a hopeless minority on this point, and I
unfortunately feel that the continuation of divisions among mankind, especially
when supported by ego-arguments help to produce more misery and
misunderstanding. The term self-sacrifice becomes a nonsense empty phrase
when it is not substantiated by actual sacrifices. So even where and when I
agree with you, I also disagree, and while I like what you are doing, this is a
day toward universality, and I do not assent that peace, spirituality and
brotherhood, can be attained by demanding sacrifices on the part of others.
This is no doubt a confusing letter, written in confusing times. But
believing with Lord Buddha and not with the Buddhists that there are many ways
toward ultimate experience of spiritual liberation, I do not wish to
discourage you or be regarded as other than a friend.
Samuel L. Lewis