Buddhist Fellowship Correspondence

Iru Price

Vice President U.B.F.

May 30, 1963

To the President and Board of Directors of the Universal Buddhist Fellowship

 

Greetings:

As I discussed with Rev. Frazier on the telephone, our company has changed its vacation policy so that I cannot now take less than a week vacation. Hence, on the basis of taking days off without pay to attend the meeting of the Board, it would have cost me (including the loss of pay) considerably more than $100 to have attended the meeting. Neither Rev. Frazier nor I felt that this was warranted and he suggested that I give you a written report instead. I hope that you will accept this and the accompanying recommendation just the same as though I were present in person.

Report of Activities for the Year.

This year has been very fruitful as far as Universal Buddhist Fellowship activities in the Bay Area are concerned. The following are the principal things to report:

1. As most of you knew, last fall I made a combined lecture and vacation tour. Lectures were given to good audiences at Salt Lake City, Denver and Hemet. Discussions were held regarding the organizing of branches of The Universal Buddhist Fellowship.

2. We have combined activities with the Neo-Dhamma group in the Bay Area and have been giving 2 or more lectures with associated meetings each month. The attendance and interest in these meetings have been good.

3. I have given several lectures in nearby towns on Buddhism including the activities of the Universal Buddhist Fellowship.

4. Our Wesak Service was the largest event of the year. It was held at the Unitarian Church with an attendance of between 400 and 500 people. We had other Buddhist priests from as far away as Stockton assisting with the service, as you will see on the program enclosure. It was truly an outstanding event. I am enclosing copies of our program.

5. We have been building up a good solid nucleus for activities here. We now have 4 (including myself) Buddhist Priests with full Asian ordinations. Three of the formal membership applications are to be presented at this meeting.

6. We have been continuing work on the union of the Universal Buddhist Fellowship and the Neo Dhamma group. This is the next item.

 

 

Combination of Universal Buddhist Fellowship and Neo Dhamma.

Our President, Rev. Frazier, was in San Francisco recently and met jointly with Dr. Douglas Burns, President of the Neo Dhamma, and myself. We agreed on tentative plans which include the following:

1. Revising the By-Laws so that they would be acceptable to the Neo Dhamma group and suitable for a national organization. As they stand at present, they do not offer a fair representation for the membership of any group that might wish to unite with us. We have gone ahead with this revision and are now submitting the proposed By-Laws for your approval. The major changes are:

a. The establishing of a General Assembly with representatives from the membership of each branch. This would give all a fair voice in the organization. A democratic method of operation is essential if we expect the organization to grow and be healthy.

b. Establishing classes of membership. This allows people to be members and participate in our activities before they are willing to actually call themselves Buddhists and sign the regular membership application. The Voting Membership limits the control of the organization to the members who are actually Buddhists. The Advanced membership gives a higher class of membership to those who have earned it by their study and pledges rather than a method of showing favoritism as the present Inner Order.

c. Establishing a means of doing business by mail between the annual meetings. This is essential for a growing national organization where people are too far separated to be able to meet together practically such as is my case in the present meeting.

d. Stiffening the ordination requirements and regulation of the Priesthood. There has been much recent criticism in Buddhist magazines of Americans acting as priests without authentic ordinations. This proposed method follows the standard Asian practice and should keep our Fellowship free from this type of criticism.

2. Moving the headquarters of the Fellowship to San Francisco. Rev. Frazier said that he did not wish re-election as President and suggested that Dr. Burns and I operate the Fellowship under a co-chairmanship. Both of us however, feel that it would be preferable to have a more definite organization and recommend that I be elected to the Presidency and that Dr. Burns be elected as Executive Vice President, or at the very least, as Vice President in Charge of Development and Studies.

3. Agreeing on a name for the combined organization. I did not personally feel that we should change the name of The Universal Buddhist Fellowship. It is well established and is internationally known as well as being incorporated under that name. Dr. Burns was willing to accept the present name.

If these conditions are met, as we have agreed, Dr. Burns has agreed to recommend to the Neo Dhamma members that they come into the Universal Buddhist Fellowship. This would approximately double our present membership. Since the Neo Dhamma is a democratic organization, it would have to accept the proposition by a vote of its members. But it has already been discussed with many of them. I think there is no doubt of their accepting Dr. Burns’ recommendation.

This recommendation is also on the basis that:

1. There will be a San Francisco Area Center (possibly also an Oakland Area Center very soon) and a Portland Area Center.

2. That the present members of the Neo Dhamma will immediately be considered Voting Members in good standing of the Universal Buddhist Fellowship upon their individually signing the application form stating that they accept the Buddhist teachings, 8-fold path, etc., as specified in the By-Laws.

3. That their office holders be considered as Charter Advance Members upon their taking Pansil as outlined in the By-Laws but without examination, similar to the plan provided in the By-Laws for the members of the present Inner Order.

Regarding the Presidency.

In suggesting myself as candidate for the presidency, I feel that this would be the best for the Fellowship for the following reasons:

1. To the best of my knowledge, I have had more Buddhist training and experience than anyone else in the organization at present. This includes study in Asian Monasteries, full Soto Zen ordination by the Chief Abbot of the Eiheiji Monastery (head monastery of Soto Zen,) Bodhisattva Ordination by the Ven. Pai Sheng, President of the Buddhist Association of the Republic of China, and long practical experience.

2. I have many international acquaintances and connections in the Buddhist world which would be very beneficial to the continued expansion and recognition of the Fellowship.

3. My wife and I have just purchased a large home (10 rooms) chiefly for having a good headquarters for Buddhist work. We expect to move to the new quarters within a month. We can then easily handle group meetings of 50 to 100 people and up to 150 or more if necessary. There is ample office space (and I already have the duplicating and addressing equipment) for handling business, bulletins, etc. It would serve very well as the National Headquarters for U. B. F.

4. I am planning to retire from the Telephone Company in the near future and at that time would be able to spend practically full time on Buddhist work.

5. I feel confident that this is in accordance with Rev. Lowe’s wishes. When, he was here shortly before his death he expressed the hope that I would carry on the work for him as he did not know of anyone else in the organization that he felt he could depend on to do it. At that time he gave me his most highly valued carved ivory rosary which had been given to him in Japan at the time of his ordination. As you no doubt realize, according to old Buddhist traditions, a gift such as this passes on not only the gift itself but also the responsibilities of the donor.

6. It is also in accordance with the proposal made to Dr. Burns and I by our present President, Rev. Frazier, when he was here.

 

 

 

Regarding the Vice-Presidency

In recommending Dr. Burns as Executive Vice President, I feel that he is best qualified for the following reasons:

1. He has organized Neo Dhamma and built it up to its present strength. This in itself indicates his ability and perseverance.

2. In combining with the Neo Dhamma group, his present familiarity with them will immensely help our internal relations and help keep the organization working smoothly.

3. In combining with the Neo Dhamma group which will practically double our membership, it is no more than right that we give their President a high office in our own organization.

4. His experience will be of great help in organizing other Area Centers.

5. This is also in accordance with the proposal made to Dr. Burns and I by our present President, Rev. Frazier, when he was here.

I am enclosing Dr. Burns’, membership application, which is subject to the acceptance of this plan of consolidation of the two organizations. This will clear the way to immediately giving him the position of Executive Vice President so that he can go ahead and make the consolidation smoothly.

Future Plans.

We expect to exert much effort in the building up and expanding of the Fellowship. We plan to publish a regular monthly bulletin, give lecture series, visit Area Centers and prospective Area Centers and help them with building up their own groups.

Both of us firmly believe that we can build The Universal Buddhist Fellowship up to a real live and worthwhile organization that will be a real help to the spreading of the Dharma in America. We trust that you will accept our recommendations and allow us to proceed with this work.

Very beat personal wishes to each of you. May you be well and happy and may The Universal Buddhist Fellowship grow and accomplish much good.

Iru Price

Vice President, U. B. F.

 

 


June 15, 1963

Rev. H.H. Priebe, President

 

Dear Rev. Lewis:

Thank you for your membership application sent in by Rev. Iru Price and for your contribution to the work of the fellowship. We are glad to have you with us. I enclose our receipt. It is deductible from your income tax.

We are placing your name on our mailing list and will send you our quarterly newsletter. Our summer issue will be out soon, we hope.

It was nice that you were able to attend our meeting and give us the benefit of your counsel and support. Please let us know when you come to Los Angeles again.

Sincerely in the Dhamma,

Roberta Reid

Secretary and Treasurer

 

 


August 14, 1963

 

My dear Iru:

It is with no joy that I am writing this morning. To go to a meeting and have something called “Buddhism” which might mean anything at all, and yet is used as an argument, to prove, incidentally anything or nothing, is not a pleasant affair. And if it were not for my special Fudo training it might be a feeling of disgust.

I have no time to waste on any transferred pseudo-evidence that a couple of so-called psychic researchers, finding certain people at certain levels having or not having extra-sensory perception and being able or incapable of communicating with the dead meaning less than nothing to me.

The Buddha with the seven-story Pagoda has been a subject of some meditation on my part, and maybe more than meditation. This universe has been symbolized as a Seven-Story Mountain, or a Ziggurat or a Stupa with seven levels. Now we go and apply that putrid Aristotelian logic to it, a logic based on thingness, and in the same argument a person gets up and says there are no permanent things and no souls and then argues as if there were permanencies and “eternal truths” and what not, based not on his experience but on his ego, or common acceptance of contemporary conventions as truths.

Before I gave a single lecture on Buddhism I studied the whole Pali canon. Today even among those who do not accept Mahayana, there is hardly one who has done that. They argue against Mahayana because they have not found certain teachings in the English translations from the Pali. Even Mrs. Rhys­ Davids, who in my days of study—and I mean real study—later changed her interpretation of Pali and said with sorrow that she was too old to re­translate the whole canon and revise her earliest writings. So the world goes on accepting those writings and uses them, not so much as a basis for human enlightenment but as negative dialectic.

Gautama-ism is not Buddhism. Buddhism supposes enlightenment, that’s what the word means. Therefore any discussion, any presentation of anything called “Buddhism” can only be translated into English as “Lightism” or “Enlightenmentism.” Indeed during the evening I had to hurl a thunderbolt at a man when I said Zen had a purpose. He said if it were Zen it had no purpose. I told him point blank I was tired of hearing stupid nonsense from ex-patriotic Englishmen and Germans who never sat down to meditation and that I myself was an accredited Zen representative and that the purpose of Zen was Prajna and I did not care if the whole stupid world wished to think or say something else. I was very forthright but of my Fudo training, but I am equally sure I shall not go around and argue anything.

Whatever else is taught under the name of “Buddhism” it should be based; (a) The life of Gautama Buddha (b) His historical teachings; (c) The scriptures that have resulted from the enlightenment of those who followed him. It does not matter whether those Scriptures were originally Pali, Sanskrit or Chinese—the language does not matter anymore than that of case-histories in the sciences. If the author had the enlightenment, that is enough.

I have had direct contact with the teachers of Buddhism of Japan, China (any interpretation), Burma, Ceylon, Thailand, Vietnam and India as well as Europe. I know from social and intellectual contact that they have views very different from those of most of our intellectuals, in regard to the materialistic point of view. I know that all of them accept in some sense either or both the Pagoda symbol and the Wheel-of-the-Law and Wheel-of-Life. I have found no European or American who has not had rigid training that knows these things at all, even in a vague sense.

I am kept from reporting my own experiences by a lot of self-centered dialecticians who are filled with tyrannies of words, ego-thoughts and egocentricities. It is no more impossible to put the Zen experience into Common language than it is to put Einstein into arithmetic. The latter is communicable but not in the ordinary language and the former is also communicable but not in the ordinary language. And when we put any form of Buddha-ism into the ordinary language we are in difficulties.

The lectures of Paul Fung are filled with folk-lore, fable, legends, and possible psychic experiences. In other words he is using a Pagoda language. He is not restraining what he says to the common tongue of the ordinary people who are limited to materialistic and egocentric experience. He may not be presenting the whole Pagoda, but be has not come yet to the enlightenment experience.

The Diamond-Sutra is an example of a Sutra not from Pail, but of a person who had the enlightenment experience and the Saddharma Pandarika of another form. In the Saddharma-Pandarika you get five stories out of the Pagoda, but for the most part the two highest are omitted. In the Diamond Sutra you go to the upper levels, the same with Prajna Paramita Hridaya, which only the top story, and Lankavatara which is largely the upper levels. But Buddhism at any and all the stories of the Pagoda, or realms of consciousness—cosmic, human or otherwise should be connected with some form of enlightenment—even if considering only the tropism of the plant or the phenomena of the Diamond.

There are many schools of Buddhism and all of them have disciplines. Now Americans who have had no disciplines, or worse, Europeans whose lives are often directly in contraverse to the disciplines laid down by Lord Buddha, became the source of stuff passing as “Buddhism” and “Zen.” Fortunately none of them has touched the word “Dharma.” When Paul Fung uses the term “Pristine Dharma” he is using the right words whether what he is giving is the pristine-Dharma or Saddharma or Santana-Dharma or something else.

I received the Dharma first from Sokei-an Sasaki; then from Sogen Asahina in Japan; then after Senzaki’s death I found also from him. The last case was miraculous in that there was no miracle or experience; I just found one day I had it and could not explain. Watts was right in saying it was something like osmosis but wrong in speaking without having had any such experience and further wrong in shutting the doors against those who had it.

 

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August 15, 1963

 

Bodhisattva Sam,

Thanks much for newsy notes under date of 8-27-63.

What in hell is going on in S.F.? Long before my Karma insisted I fill the UBF presidency, I’ve been getting psychic flashes of the situation. Now I’m getting concrete evidence.

You are and will be my only personal contact in the area. Any information on one J. Eugene Wagner will be held in strictest confidence.

Hal

 

 


August 28, 1963

P.O. Box 1079

Ojai, Calif.

 

Bodhisattva Sam,

Knowing your concern about the whereabouts of a certain robe, I believe the trail leads to Lowe’s son Charles who lives in Oakland. Address unknown to me. Probably has a telephone.

Appreciate the time and effort you spent on last letter to me. The subject matter covered is of much value to me.

Sincerely hope your Bodhisattva trials and tribulations are being taken in your usual stride.

Bosatsu or not, having this Presciently shoved at me hasn’t lessened my load— coping with the selfish underhanded childish maneuverings of a would be legal mind is rather time consuming.

Hal

 

 


September 15, 1963

Rev. H. H. Priebe

P. O. Box 1079,

Ojai, Calif.

 

My Dear Harold:

I enclose herewith the vote which you requested but must explain reasons for delay. In the first place, if you have not been notified, I am now at 58 Harriet St., San Francisco 3. This is South of Market St. where I used to live when I was still working. I have three rooms (extra bed) where I can devote myself to writing and research, both of which have piled over my capacity. But the problems are quantitative not qualitative.

Today I heard Rev. Paul Fung whom I prefer to consider as the Vice-President of the Buddhist World Federation, although no doubt slowly people will recognize this. The talk he gave today was worthy of a Vice-President of a World Buddhist Federation. It was on “giving” and combined the teachings found in the Diamond Sutra and what he calls “Pristine Orthodox Dharma.”

Outwardly I am rather impatient today because there are so many “Buddhist” movements and so little Dharma. I was initiated into esoteric Buddhism in Japan with the role of “Fudo” which is the love of positive wise counsel, whereas the negative sympathetic love is found in Kwan Yin (Kwannon,) Because of this instruction there is a certain duty to try to correct those who go around “teaching” what they call Buddhism or Dharma, drawing upon their feeble intellects.

There is one lady here whom I have known for years and she was taken to task by Rev. Suzuki, the Zen Master. I said: “You have studied what you call ‘Buddhism’ and ‘Oriental Philosophy’ for years, your house is full of books written by sundry Englishmen and Germans and a few Americans. I bet you have read every one of them. And I can see on the wall opposite the sacred books of the Orient. I bet you have not read them. You have a Master’s degree in those subjects and all the colleges recognize you and them. But you do not know anything of the Oriental wisdom which you will find if you ever opened one of those scriptures. Now you have been scolded. That will be the beginning of wisdom. You are now an adept in meditation, but when it comes to study I advise you to stop reading all those books of Englishmen and Germans and Americans and read the wisdom of Asia.”

Years ago when Rev. Nyogen Senzaki left San Francisco his library was seized on account of rent. I could not understand and when I investigated was offered a large bribe. This made me curious. I borrowed a couple of books and was told that one set was worth $10,000—ten thousand dollars, no less. This contained the Original Teachings of Lord Buddha which he gave out after the enlightenment. I was explained the whole drama of Buddhist literature. And while this is something which is taken for granted in Japan, it is not known here at all. Besides though taken for granted in Japan it is not generally taught there and never here by the Japanese. The only American who knows this is Dr. Karl Phillip Eidmann whom I hope you can meet some time; he lives at Mountain View.

But Dr. Paul Fung seems to be the only one who refers to and uses—as he used today—the original Dharma.

I met one Mrs. Lottie Fernandez after the lecture. She has been an upasaka for thirty-five years and she also said that the lecture was one of the best in her entire life.

While I was leaving the Buddha Church I met a lady who studies Hinduism and concerning Mme. Nhu, she said, “you must love her.” Now I learned more Dharma from the late Sokei-an Sasaki of New York than anybody. By his assistance I learned all the Indian Psychology and Metaphysics—not through the intellect but by Upaya and Prajna and Vijnana. (I won’t explain these terms.) He also enabled me to see into the future. There is no surer way than seeing into the future to get seen—enemies. It does not matter whether one uses material or occult means, you will get enemies.

So I saw the rise and fall of Hitler and the destruction of Japan and the dismemberment of the British Empire in 1932—I wrote more around 1940. And seeing all this destruction there was no room for hatred. One knew that the terrible karma would destroy these people and one had to use patience. Still as Hitler was of a low grade of cosmic evolution you cannot use the Kwan Yin love, you can use the Fudo love. But you must not hate. Madam Nhu, being an Asura in the human form, does not comprehend the human, much less the higher forms of love. So if we “love” that kind of person, it must never be the negative love. People use words and end in sentiments. But this does not mean hatred.

Last week I went to the opening of Iru Price’s house. It is a beautiful home, a small mansion, like a Chinese museum with a meditation room and a temple. It is going to be used by many groups and of course, you will be most welcome. But among the absent were almost all the leaders here. Every time an American gets a little instruction or an ordination, or a college degree he starts his own sangha, and almost anything—although near nothing—is taught. Instead of anatta, everybody is pulling for himself and I have a bad name among them for criticizing their usages as hope forums for any kind of subject, with no study of anything called “Buddhism.” Here is a religion with, it is said, four thousand scriptures and most of these people don’t study even one of them.

The Zendo was having housecleaning so this morning went to Honganji which was having memorial date for the Viet Nam monks and burned incense. In a sense this was as your deputy. I may call on them this week and also on Rev. Paul Fung on the Vietnam situation. I shall report later on this otherwise this letter would be too long.

I have a very great friend in India (I have a lot of great friends actually) who is Swami Maharaj Ranganathananda. He is having a big study in all the religions and wisdoms of all the Orient—it will be presented entirely by Asians—no Englishmen, no Germans, no Americans. And I found among the speakers is one Dr. Rahul. He is head of the Tibetan Institute in New Delhi.

I met him on a train in India where he appeared very suddenly and disappeared just as suddenly. He knew the Mahayana Buddhism as nobody I have ever met. He comes from the same Sakya Clan as Lord Buddha and told me he is a descendent of Sakya Muni’s uncle, but they have taken the name of Rahul, from Rahula, the son. He taught at Harvard but was so disgusted with Northrup at Yale and everybody at Chicago and “U Know HU” here that he left America. None of these “experts” really ever studied the Dharma. I sent copy of the letter to Rev. Jack Austin in London. Jack recently introduced himself to D. Malalasekera and he reports they are on excellent terms. So abroad the dream of Dwight Goddard may come true regardless of what is said of San Francisco, and I guess much of America, above.

Returning to the use of “love.” Once we have a Bhikkuni here named Sister Dhammadina. She went around threatening people with reincarnation if they did not become Buddhists. She was opposing everybody (or everybody else). Once I used the word “wisdom” to her. She never opposed me after that but I felt most uncomfortable. Yet wisdom or Prajna or Panna is the essence of Dharma.

I would tell more stories but in a conflict between favorable and unfavorable events I had a deep meditation and experience, the fruit of which is in the paper enclosed and that is enough from a perhaps over-wordy,

S. A. M.

 

 


September 18, 1963

 

Dear Sam,

Your letters received and I do appreciate receiving same. Excuse my kind of answers. I’m swamped with work.

Am dashing this off before jumping to L.A. for five days.

The response to our balloting is truly overwhelming— not a single no vote, yet! Very good comments.

Re the Helene J. Arlington matter. Please give me your frank thoughts. She claims Hozen Seki will second our motion. It of course will not hurt her. The publicity may benefit all, but my main concern is the effect on our struggling American Buddhism.

What was the reaction of your lady friend? I’ve known HTA for five years, met her through Suzuki.

Her poetry is good, bad and indifferent. She has received some world wide publicity in Buddhism.

Hurriedly

Harold

Your address change noted and given to Secretary.

 

 


October 25, 1963

 

Dear Sam,

Please excuse my delay in answering your nice letter of October 8th. Thought I would see you before this and also maybe get Ah Shuk (Anna Young) to give you my answer verbally.

I would be glad to talk to your friend Neville. Might have some ideas of help to him if he wants a church organ job. Suggest that you give me a ring to clear any particular date that you might like to bring him out. If he wants to bring some of his music to try on my organ it would be fine.

Thanks also for sending the copy of the letter to Jack. It was very interesting.

Will be looking forward to seeing you both.

Best wishes,

Iru

 


Ojai

10-31-63

 

Bodhisattva Sam:

Belated but sincere birthday greetings to Libra.

Your very interesting letter of Oct. 19th is much appreciated. Yes, I met Dr. Kato on the 19th when the Archbishop conducted a meditation period and gave his message to the Caucasian group at Zenshuji. It was truly great recompense for the trouble and effort to get there, because of my not being contacted successfully until the last minute.

I smile when I read of “the fat being in the fire,” when you mentioned my name to “Roshi” Mac Donough. Like too many others I’ve never met, he seems to be overly concerned about me—and the UBF—in a negative manner. Why all the vituperation? We are only endeavoring to build an effective nucleus of unselfish dedicated Buddhists for the spreading of the Dhamma in the benighted Western World—with no emphasis on any sect. (My primary loyalty is to Soto Zen, but Abidhamma warns me—I’ve had it before.) The UBF believes in “live and let live”—we declare war on no organization or individual. We are not concerned with personalities, putting forth a record of who worked for Buddhism in the past or whose aura should be basked in today. Is this not the way of the Buddha?

Personally, I received two potent Dhamma transmissions, after in effect coming into this world as a Buddhist. One (unofficial), was from Dr. Ariya Dhamma Thera and the official one from Bishop Daito Suzuki. In the ceremony he was aided by Rev. Leslie Lowe, whose shoes I have been given a mandate to fill. I didn’t want the job—as I knew what was in store for me—but the position has been accepted and I’ll follow through to the best of my ability—unselfishly in the Dhamma. I don’t think having a “Full Asian” ceremony and spending five whole days in each of the Soto Zen monasteries with a junket to Formosa would help a bit.

When I pass on, if I am never thought of again or my name is never mentioned anywhere, it will mean nothing. I’ve got one toe on the path and I’ll continue somewhere—finding my way to my kind and the Way again —as I did in this life— and not just a few years before time to die, frantically seeking fame for myself and name.

Ever yours in the Dhamma

Harold

By the way, I presented Helene Arlington’s story to the board as a lawyer would. After much discussion it was voted down as the board was “reluctant to speak in the name of American Buddhism and felt it would be presumptuous for the UBF to confer the honor on its own initiative.”

 


11-17-63

 

Bodhisattva

Your Fudo remarks in Oct. 31 letter with regard to use of the Three Jewels constitute a well taken position. My use of “Dhamma” in last letter was in the broadest sense, which implies inclusion of the Triple Gem. If my use of “Dhamma” has any special connotation, it is that the UBF is not trying to set itself forth as a Sangha Order.

We are building toward the day when such may arise naturally, but do not believe in forcing one prematurely. Until the time is ripe, we can arrange for valid ordinations —for the proper people.

Am returning your letter from Marie Harlowe. I have answered hers to me belatedly, as was necessary under the circumstances.

Bear with me, I hope to soon acquire a typewriter. Haven’t had one since 1951 when I entered a state of monkhood now ending.

Cordially,

Harold

 

Iru Price


January 19, 1964

 

Dear Sam,

Received your letter of January 15th (as well as the others) and it seems as though possibly a little explanation is needed.

You criticized me for allowing people with no knowledge of Buddhism to speak and excluding those who do. Let’s get it straight right now—I have never excluded anyone up to the present. Neither have I invited anyone to speak.

As you probably realize, I am very busy and had not had the time that I thought I needed to make the necessary preparations to start any activities of my own here—especially since I realized that I did not now have the time necessary to successfully follow through.

However, Dr. Burns said that he was very anxious to be able to have speakers for his group in a location where they would not have the disturbing activity of some of the places where they had been meeting. I gave him permission to use the place and he has arranged all of the activities and speakers that have been held here with the exception of the open house which we had first. I insisted on having that first to introduce the Home of the Dharma before any activities were started.

I have suggested to Dr. Burns two or three times that he ask you to speak. He also feels, as I do, that you do have the knowledge and experience to well qualify you as a speaker. But, he also questioned the advisability of it due to the reaction that he was afraid that your behavior would have on the audience.

I hope that you will forgive me for talking very plainly—but I am going to do so. You have many times mentioned the fact that you have not had the proper recognition to which you are entitled. You yourself should know enough of the law of Karma or cause and effect by now to know that in reality you have no one to blame for that fact but yourself.

You have mentioned getting beyond Karma and the law of cause and effect. When people imagine that they have gotten beyond Karma, it sometimes takes some quite severe blows from Karma to make them realize that they have not gotten beyond it.

Many times you have also quite proudly mentioned “Fudo.” Not being a Japanese language specialist, I do not know the meaning of the word. Possibly I would if it was written in Chinese characters instead of English spelling. However, from your use of it I would gather that it was a means of excusing one’s self for the glorification of bad manners and rude conduct.

You have been very generous with your criticisms of other people. Yet, up to the present, I have heard of nothing constructive that you have done toward the cause of Buddhism in this vicinity.

You have many times criticized Dr. Burns. In fact, I do not completely agree with some of his interpretations either. But, he is certainly working very hard and very sincerely and I feel that he should be encouraged. That is why I allowed him the use of the Shrine Room here at the Home of the Dharma for his activities. He is attracting a fair number of people and possibly some will be attracted to Buddhism through his approach who would not otherwise be attracted. If some are interested enough that they will go ahead and pursue the teaching of the Buddha further, then he will have accomplished much good. At least, he has built up his group by his own efforts, not by waiting for someone to recognize and glorify him.

I mentioned that you had no one but yourself to blame for not achieving recognition. So far, it seems that your efforts have been spent mainly trying to retard or destroy any good that others were trying to accomplish rather than trying to do something constructive yourself.

For example, in December when I gave the talk on the “Princes of Peace,” you probably practiced your “Fudo” and made an extremely rude and ill mannered display of bad temper and malicious speech. You made a great big fuss about something that I had not even mentioned—namely the effect of physically eating meat upon the person eating it. I had not even mentioned any adverse physical effect of eating meat or that it would prevent the attainment of enlightenment. The subject was the “Princes of Peace” and I was trying to bring out the compassion taught by both great teachers. I have yet to see in any of the Sutras where the Buddha advocated the killing or torturing of any form of sentient life. Yet many times he did preach compassion and not to cause suffering to any sentient being. Up to now, I know of no way to eat meat without killing or causing suffering to the sentient being that provides the meat.

Although that was the worst display of temper and rudeness that I have seen you show to date, yet there have been many other times that I have known you to use what I considered bad judgment in your actions and remarks.

I have no doubt but that some quite radical tactics are used at times by the Rinzai Zen Masters. But they are used on monks who have dedicated their lives to seeking enlightenment and not among laymen who might be attending a Buddhist lecture for the first time. As I understand it, even then they use what might be considered radical methods with enlightened insight of the needs of the particular monk. So, that is an entirely different situation.

The American public who attend elementary Buddhist lectures are of a different temperament. They have not had the training or experience that the monk has had. So, methods which might work successfully with the enlightened insight of a Zen master when teaching monks, will not work on the American public in general. Things like the December incident, that I mentioned, can cause nothing but antagonism and destroy any possible benefits that might otherwise have been accomplished. Anyone who might have then been attending his first Buddhist lecture would certainly have decided that if such was a sample of the way Buddhists act, he would want no part of it.

It appears that if you would spend your energies in trying to do constructive work in Buddhism, you could accomplish much. It would be much better than spending time criticizing others and trying to destroy what they try to accomplish. You would then probably have your recognition as an authority naturally instead of just resenting it because you do not have it.

I hope that you will pardon me for taking the liberty of writing so bluntly. Yet, I thought these things should be cleared up. I shall again suggest to Dr. Burns that he ask you to lecture to the group. But, by now, I feel sure that you realize the resistance which might be given to that suggestion as a result of your own past actions. Even though he respects your knowledge and experience, he might still be hesitant when he would feel that he would not know what to expect of your method of presentation.

Anyway, I hope that there will be no hard feelings and you have my very best wishes for your own health and happiness and for the eventual recognition that you so much desire.

Sincerely,

Iru

 

 


January 22, 1964

 

Bodhisattva Sam:

Apparently from the tenor of your recent letters, and from copies of yours to one Iru Price, the time has come to drop a note to you. Your now very objective attitude is the one I have been waiting for as I knew it would come, since we first met at the Soto Zen temple in Los Angeles.

At that time I sensed you were sent to do a job on me. That is the reason I managed to get on the same bus with you, to get acquainted. At the UBF evening meeting, I sensed an open mind on your part.

Of late, we purposely refrained from answering your letters for two reasons. First, we have been very busy indeed, and first things must come first right now. Secondly, we were not sure if you really had had enough of Price yet, that is to make a complete break with the man, because of his very unethical and un-Buddhistic activities.

You, but not all of the S. F. clergy “members” will soon get the latest issue of the Western Bodhi. From it you will gather we have been quite aware—more so, than some would have desired.

It is to be hoped that from now on, your uncompromising loyalty to the cause of pure Buddhism, will result in more open cooperation with the UBF—all this in the name of the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha.

Sincerely,

H. Priebe

 

 


January 30, 2507/1964

 

To All Whom It May Concern, Greetings:

Reposing special confidence in the understanding and motivation of (Rev.) Samuel L. Lewis, and in recognition of his Fudo ordination, I, (Rev.) Harold H. Priebe, by virtue of the power in me vested as President of the Universal Buddhist Fellowship, do appoint him as: Deputy for Northern California.

This commission to run concurrently with my present term of office, which expires June 3, 2512/1968.

Done in the name of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, at Ojai, California USA, this thirtieth day of January, in the year 2507/1964.

Signed: Harold H. Priebe, Pres.

Universal Buddhist Fellowship

Signature of deputy :

Signature of witness:

 


[(copy: Sam Lewis)]

February 1, 1964

 

Dear Mr. Priebe:

Thank you for the unsigned memorandum from your Department of Records which I received on January 23, 1964. I note that the first paragraph states the memorandum was being sent in compliance with the department’s instructions. Although it was not so stated, I presume the instructions came from you.

In my upbringing I was taught that unsigned messages were either 1.) unimportant or 2.) insulting. I would prefer to accept the former since I must presume the instructions for this came from an ordained man, and the latter would be inconsistent with ordination.

For my part it is somewhat immaterial whether or not I receive any further copies of “Western Bodhi” inasmuch as I have received exactly one copy which is the November 1963 issue.

May I very respectfully point out, in reference to the second paragraph, that in the Buddha’s Sangha there is no rule making it compulsory for a member to vote on any subject. The use of the expression “non-cooperative” at the end of the first paragraph makes it clear the U.B.F. believed that the receipt of a ballot was akin to a command to do as instructed. Perhaps I am in error, but I do not know of any Sangha rule which enjoins this.

May I also courteously point out that if our brochure was derogatory to your efforts it was never intentional, and I offer my personal apologies. I cannot speak for the Soto Zen group in Los Angeles, but the Soto Zen group here in San Francisco has given not the slightest indication they feel the brochure is derogatory. In fact, they posted it on their bulletin board.

An English-speaking Soto priest from the headquarters in Japan has written to me offering congratulations and best wishes for our endeavors. This, I think, speaks for itself.

As a matter of record, before I had heard of the U.B.F.’s efforts in regard to the balloting, I sent off letters dealing with this precise situation to the responsible persons involved.

For prolonged periods of time I lived in the Buddhist monasteries of South-East Asia where I became acutely aware of the divisions and corruptions implanted in both the Dharma and Sangha, which, in certain areas, have nearly destroyed both.

It is with a heavy heart I witness the hostilities apparently nurtured between and among the various branches of the Sangha in the Western world. It is my sole desire, if I may be permitted one, to do whatever I can to help reestablish rapport among these groups and to help bring an end to some of the fears and sufferings I see about me. My vows at ordination made this paramount and I do my utmost to live this daily. It is not my desire or intention to cause harm to anyone or to corrupt the 2,500 year old responsibility I accepted when I assumed my vows.

I write you at this length merely to try to clarify erroneous conclusions which are reflected in the memorandum. I felt it was unfair to you to let them stand inaccurately.

Please know I send fraternal greetings and kindest good wishes to you and your group.

Yours in the Dharma,

J. Eugene Wagner

 

 


February 18, 1964

 

Dear Mrs. Lowe,

Thank you for the kind words and best wishes for the work, conveyed to me in your recent note. You asked me specifically, if I ever hear from Iru Price or Brian Goode. The latter has never written to me, except for a rather inappropriate remark on a ballot returned to me last fall. At that time I had submitted to the membership the question of the UBF giving full support to the WBF requests, in the fight against persecution of Buddhists, by the Diem government and the Roman Catholics.

On this issue, Price did not deign to vote at all. Probably because with the blank ballot a return envelope was addressed to me. It seemed to suit his purposes, to continue deluding himself and others that I did not exist, that he was guiding the UBF, and he was still going to take it over. The man had ceased to write to me several months before, when I answered his questionnaire during his frantic campaign to change the bylaws. In effect, I stated I could see no great urgency for a change, Too soon after Rev. Lowe had passed, the man was possessed with the idea, it seemed to me, of moving the UBF to San Francisco for his own private ends.

About this time, the Board and the Inner Order were in rebellion against the personal propaganda, publicity and tactics of the man. Unknown to me, these people had by now, unanimously decided, that I was to be the first elected successor to Rev. Lowe. This was not in accord with my desires, and Rev. Lowe realized it before he died. I had other Buddhist work and problems. However, upon accepting the office, I was determined to give my utmost to it, but Price would neither offer me his support or resign. My hopes and plans were stymied by this obstinacy. The situation permitted us to only work for new members. Happily, we are now at our all time high in point of members.

After eight months. I was forced to break the impasse, by bringing out the Western Bodhi issue No. 7. The man has now resigned, and a united UBF can now processed with plans for more constructive action.

With the best of all good Buddhist wishes, I remain

Sincerely yours,

(Rev.) Harold H. Priebe, Pres.

Universal Buddhist Fellowship


February 20, 1964

Rev. Shunryu Suzuki

1881 Bush Street

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Rev. Suzuki:

It is with much pleasure that I recall my recent meeting with you, and the very good meditation experienced with your fine Zazenkai group. The atmosphere of your temple very much reminded me of that existing in the past, when the Ven. Daito Suzuki presided over the Los Angeles temple.

A copy of your Wind Bell was given me on the occasion, by our good friend and UBF, Deputy for Northern California, Samuel Lewis. I like your newsletter very much and wish to be placed on the mailing list. Enclosed is a small Dana.

Please accept my greetings for your group, and I hope it will not be too long, before I can again make a visit for another fine integrating meditation.

Sincerely yours,

(Rev.) Harold H. Priebe

 

 


February 21, 1964

 

Dear Bodhisattva Sam,

Rushed as usual, but before another day passes, I must express my belated appreciation and pleasure for friendliness and help on my visitation to San Francisco.

I did enjoy every minute of it. The Fungs are splendid and surely doing a great work. I noticed their appreciation of and respect for you. You must have put in much selfless time and effort in their undertaking. Particularly did I enjoy seeing all these happy children, and their mature participation in all the activity. George really has a way with them.

Suzuki hit a very responsive chord with me. The atmosphere in his temple was more like I was accustomed to in the L.A. Zendo, when Daito Suzuki’s spirit permeated it.

Now that I.P. has resigned, we are going ahead after an eight months delay in our reorganization plans. Because of various factors, I would like to have Suzuki in the Fellowship and on the Board of Directors. The position wouldn’t entail any extra work for him, but would signify our purpose in working for harmony between all sects in this country. As the Northern California Deputy, would you extend my warmest greetings to him, and get his reaction to serving on the UBF Board, without any work assignment.

Trusting all is well with you and that I will see you again before too many months roll past. Give my sincerest greetings and best wishes to the Fungs.

Sincerely,

Harold

 

 


March 3, 1964

 

Dear Friend:

We have been urgently requested to comment on the “international political communiqué of Iru Price, which he terms a resignation from the Universal Buddhist Fellowship, under date of
Feb. 3, 1964.

Briefly, from the record, we must point out that Rev. Price refused to attend the UBF annual meeting on June 3, 1963, but he sent a man as “proxy,” knowing full well that the UBF had no by-law provision for such action. We were aware of the modus operandi of Price, so we humored him, by letting his capable representative sit in, listen and speak freely, during the entire session. This alert good man must have reported fully to Price. Immediately after being elected President, and as was necessary and customary under the circumstances, I declared all assignments and delegations of authority by my predecessor, to be null and void as of that moment.

I asked, wanted, and needed the support and cooperation of every member as a complete reorganization with coordination of effort was Imperative. All future assignments would be based on demonstrated need; and on the availability, interest and support of the members.

One man must no longer proclaim to the world, that he is the Executive Vice President and in charge of international and national affairs.

After the election, as for some time prior, Price did not send me a personal message of any kind. In no way did he indicate support for me as President. Quite the contrary was evident. We heard only a rumor that he was resigning, but he didn’t. After eight months of independent maneuvering, finally he saw fit to resign with a statement containing many gross distortions of fact; one was that he had only received two direct communications from the UBF, since June 3.

He definitely was sent notices of all board meetings held from June 3 through Dec. 2, 1963, and in addition was sent the minutes of all these meetings, except the last. Particularly was he sent a copy of the resolution adopted at the emergency meeting of Nov. 4, which among other things, reiterated the above mentioned nullification of all predecessor appointments and assignments. During this period Price was also sent the various issues of our newsletter, which by now was named the “Western Bodhi.”

It is not hard to realize that we were making sure that all these communications and more were being sent to him; also that we were desirous of his presence, at least for one board meeting—something we were never able to accomplish.

We have tried to deal with this man as a fellow Buddhist, but were we to do it all over again, anything sent him would be by registered mail—with a return receipt requested.

Sincerely,

(Rev.) Harold H. Priebe, Pres.

Universal Buddhist Fellowship

 

 


Ojai, California,

March 4, 1964

 

Dear friend of the Triple Gem:

Just a few lines to clarify any misunderstanding that may have arisen inadvertently, due to customarily and necessarily brief and not too frequent letters to all correspondents. Your lengthy ones are much appreciated, because in them I always perceive something of a true Buddhist nature, natural to your long experience and understanding. I trust you realize I cannot always answer, nor do it in detail.

Please consider me as never being even remotely desirous of interfering in your personal relationships, with your friends and karmic or emotional attachments of long standing. I understand too well the ramifications of the Dharma and karma for that.

Any information or carbon copies I send you as Deputy for Northern California are purely for the purpose of giving you a better idea of past UBF: problems, their relation to present ones and my hopes for the avoidance of future ones. Action, if any, will be entirely up to you. I respect your decisions and motivation.

I do not intend to engage in personal quarrels. I have no animosity for anyone, anywhere. However, I knew what I was getting into when I accepted an official status with the UBF. In addition to my physical, financial and other limitations, I had to consider the blind opposition that would develop—and why. Believe me, I didn’t want the job. You perhaps have some idea why it had to be. You were alertly present and sensed the situation somewhat, when attending as “proxy.”

Personally, Price could have taken over the organization, but he insisted on proving to the Directors and Inner Order members that he was not the man to unselfishly carry on the work. When he was confronted with their considered verdict, he refused to accept it. He began by writing emotional derogatory remarks about but not to me. These were based on our one and only meeting, when I tried to show him the unreasonableness of his demands for more representation on the Board, for San Francisco. He was the only member from there and a Vice President. After this, he brought in a total of only five members, and you were the only one who showed any interest in our spreading of the Dhamma.

Following my election in June 1963, I. P. refused to acknowledge me as President, would not resign, would not vote by mail, would not even attend one meeting of the Board, meet me face to face and talk things over. In the meantime he was getting publicity around the world, as being the man who was guiding the UBF, when he never did so at any time or in any manner. After eight months of this, making world-wide explanations for his conduct, with my overdue reorganization plans stymied, I had to act by bringing out our Western Bodhi issue #7. Then, an emotional woman carries on for him, writing dramatically that she knows Rev. Lowe had for several years wanted I.P. to accept “full charge, administration of and the office of President of the UGF”, and winds up by invoking the power of the gods to quickly put me out of commission. What a lovely Buddhist sentiment!

Iru Price was in the UBF exactly one year, ten months and ten days before Rev. Lowe died. Finally he decides to resign. Had he done so with a simple statement, all would have been forgotten at this end, and this letter would never be in existence. Instead he chose presumably to make a case for himself, with two pages of propaganda replete with omissions and distortions of fact. He winds up by saying he will carry on the work of Rev. Lowe. Fine, we wish he would—and we wish him well. We would only wish that he had done so in the past, by giving a nominal recognition to the present head of the UBF, and then proceed to maturely spread the Dhamma in the San Francisco area, but with fewer deviations than the record now shows. Having known Leslie Lowe in his relative prime of life, I am sure he would have greatly preferred it that way.

For many long years before a newcomer appeared on the scene, a few dedicated local people worked to put the UBF on the Buddhist map. Rev. Lowe wanted me to succeed himself. He pointed out to me where his robe was in his closet. He gave me instructions of what should be done, and where to find any last minute messages not given to me before his passing. During this period, he wanted me to wear only the UBF robe, participate only in Buddhist activities and ceremonies as a UBF representative. This I would not do. It just was not feasible, and would have the effect of precluding Soto Zen activity and Theravada development, making me purely an organizational man.

In the last two years, he was “an old man in a hurry,” ill, and much obsessed by what would happen to his “baby” after his passing. His sometimes hasty and contradictory words and decisions made for much trouble. I more than anyone else, continued to visit, cheer and talk things over with him, in that gosh awful tobacco permeated room of his. He just would not give up that pipe before the end.

This is the last time I am ever going to comment on a matter, which for me is now a closed book. Let us not develop a cult of the individual, but as a team work cooperatively only for the firmer establishment of Buddhism in the West.

Faithfully and sincerely,

(Rev.) Harold H. Priebe, Pres. Universal Buddhist Fellowship

 

P. S. In my letter to you of Feb. 21, it will make a little more sense, if you will substitute the name Paul for George in the second paragraph. I had George on the mind that day as I had just heard news of two friends back home with that name.

In your last letter you seemed to be rather concerned about our future affiliation with the WFB. What is the matter?

Am enclosing two of our revised application blanks for your file.

Regards,

Harold

 


UBF

March 18, 1964

 

Dear Rev. Lewis:

Thank you for your letter and for the copy of your letter to Rev. Price. I found it very interesting. The psalms of the early Buddhist monks were extremely beautiful and I agree with you that the Enlightenment experience was probably better expressed by them in their poetry than in their more formalized, say, lectures.

Yes, we are glad to have Dr. Hopkins back with us. As you probably know he was a Board member up until about four years ago when he resigned to go to Egypt. Several months ago Hal visited him in Santa Barbara and extended our invitation to resume his former place on the Board and he accepted. He is a very learned man.

Hal was here over the weekend and it would have been a good time to come down. I almost missed him too—I was out of town.

I enclose the print of Mr. Lowe. It is quite good of him, I think. The little tree is quite large now.

Sincerely,

Amarga Meyers

 

 


May 17, 1964

 

Dear Sam,

How have you been? I realize that this is awfully late to be getting these things to you. I thought that you had already received them with the regular mailing list. However, I just discovered this afternoon that your stencil was not in box for mailing these notices. So, please accept my apologies and know that it was unintentional.

I hope that you will be able to be with us Sunday evening for the Wesak service. Please let me know one way or the other right away so that I can have your name on the program attachment. Please also let me know how you want it listed, I suppose as representing Rinzai Zen, but would prefer to know for sure rather than guess.

Very best personal wishes and will be hoping to see you Sunday.

Sincerely,

Iru

P.S. If it is easier to call me in the daytime, you could call at the office on 399-4745.

 

 


August 18, 1964

Ojai, Calif.

 

Dear Bodhisattva:

Was happily surprised to hear from you a few days ago, and to know of your travels and thoughts, also the copy of your letter to Dr. Hopkins. Made note also of what to me was a new address for you.

Note your reference to “antics”—wish it would soon be quite unnecessary for me, with all my other work, to be concerned with such. Thought I would be taking on Buddhist work, not countering conniving and false propaganda, when I reluctantly accepted the UBF Presidency at the 1963 annual meeting. When the Spirit of the Buddha came through to me in 1932, and I gave up a “military career” with a military intelligence assignment; I never thought I’d have to make use of some of the aspects of that training, in dealing with some so called “brother Buddhists.”

It has been very hot down here on this reclaimed desert for some time now, and I am behind on some important correspondence to the Orient, so I must get on with it as this is the first semi-cool day in a long time.

As Western Bodhi editor, do you want me to mention you as the UBF Representative for Northern California in the next issue or so?

Ever in the Dhamma,

Harold

 

 


October 28, 1964

 

Dear Sam,

I would like to do the preparatory work for sending out the next bulletin within the next few days. I think I know in general a good share of your background—but not sufficiently certain to send out in a bulletin.

So, I would appreciate it very much if you would send me a little resume of your history, titles, offices (such as representing Rinzai and the college in Pakistan) etc. so that I can be sure of what I write.

Thanks a lot and we are looking forward to your talk on Nov. 12th (Thursday evening) on Buddhist Teachers Who Have Visited San Francisco.

Sincerely,

Iru

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

November 2, 1964

 

Universal Buddha Fellowship

4205½ West Third St.

Los Angeles 5, Calif.

 

Bodhisattvas:

A chain of events is going to require my being in Los Angeles the last week of the month. I expect to leave here on the night of Saturday 21st but whether I reach Los Angeles Sunday or Monday depends in part on whether I stop in Santa Barbara en route, or return. I should be back here within the week as there are two big events on Saturday the 28th and two more on Sunday the 29th—at least two out of these four being Buddhist matters.

The first item in this chain has been the refusal of the Department of International Studies, University of California to even give an interview, a matter which is being taken up under protest. There are several subjects which I have wished to discuss, but those concerning S.E. Asia are desired by UCLA and it happens in this chain-of-events, all tied together in the “unseen” that you will be at least interested and perhaps more than interested.

There are now two decisive movements going on in the world, the integrative and the disintegrative—which always covers itself with pseudo-logic under the name “analytic” but it is disintegrative just the same. One of the integrative movements is the publication “The Mountain Path” published by Sri Ramanashrmam in South India. The publication takes articles on all sorts of spiritual attainment—satori, samadhi, mukti, etc. and is the first such that reports on the Zen, Sufi, Yoga and other schools of attainment but it is very critical of schools that do not evince attainment.

Thus in a review on “The Buddha’s Ancient Path” by Piyadassi Thera, the reviewer asks “Is the Noble Eightfold Path still producing Arhats, Anagami and Sakadagami? Are there Stream-winners in the Buddhist lands today?”

It is notable that the same question was asked when I was in Burma and I was compelled to give evidence—which would have meant my becoming a guest of honor with political leaders; or keeping silent—which was done instead. At that time I was carrying messages from the top Buddhist leaders of the world, one to another, ending however, with Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, now President of India, who has been a very good friend for a long time.

The condition of egocentric sanghas, each ignoring everybody else and none of them having too much evidence of “Arhats, Anagami, and Sakadagami” as above has produced that unfortunate condition against which you, Bodhisattvas are battling; but it is the same thing all over the world. As a scientist I am interested in evidence concerning “Arhats, Anagami, Sakadagami” as well as
Srotapannas, etc. and am also appalled at the total lack of interest in real Buddhism by the majority of groups that utilize the title of “ Buddhist” or its variants.

 

 


November 15, 1964

 

Dear Sam:

Your letter addressed to the L.A. address has been forwarded to me. Also I wish to acknowledge receipt of yours of Sept. 9, Oct. 5 & 15, all of which were read and reread intently.

As usual I have been very busy and am constantly falling behind in my work and thus the backlog builds up. A man in my situation although dedicated, can do just so much. I trust you understand and need no reassurance of my appreciation of your efforts and reports.

If I am to be greatly disappointed at the eleventh hour, and doomed to remain in this country instead of going to Asia, I will be at the L.A. Zendo on Nov. 22; or better yet, I may be reached by phoning Ho. 2-8065.

If you do come down as planned, I hope we can meet.

Regards,

Harold

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

December 5, 1964

 

Universal Buddhist Fellowship,

42051/2 West 3rd St.,

Los Angeles, Calif. 90005

 

Dear Friends:

I have the discourse on the Snake Smile by Myanaponika Thera for which I must thank you. I tried innumerable times to reach you by phone on the recent visit to Los Angeles and also to contact the Thera on Olympic Boulevard with no success.

The first hours were spent with Rev. Harold Priebe, but what is a amazing that all the things we discussed came into objective realization in a short time in an amazing series of events.

Crossing this journey ban been a sort of entanglement with the “Golden Lotus” whose editors seem more concerned with the mistakes and sins of the late Phra Sumangalo than with spreading the Dharma. And I am much concerned with Mr. Rogers’ rejection of me, not because he rejected “me” but because he will get a good scolding from the heads of the World Buddhist Federation.

This remark is made because there is a vast difference between the an-atta doctrines uphold in the discourse on the “Snake Simile” and the behavior patterns of people who consider themselves Buddhists and not only feel that they should be the leaders in the spreading of something they call dharma and over which they wish to contend, all parties verbally advocating an-atta and psycho­logically demonstrating the exact opposite.

The original and chief historical Buddha came out for an Order of Monks selected at first from those that had the enlightenment experience. And whatever else is true today, it is the almost unani­mous by-passing of this enlightenment experience for a various motly of either spiritual or man­made frameworks, called by various devotees as “Buddhism” and all, no doubt derived from the original teachings, but not necessarily being either the original or developed teachings.

For instance Mr. Rogers is so much concerned with some questionable antics of the late Phra Sumangalo and I am much upset be the majority of so-called sanghas not repeating even the Tri­ratna. The efforts made by this person to have sanghas repeat the Triratna have consumed so much energy that he will no longer attach himself to any of them. He did succeed in getting one very small group which will celebrate the next Wesak Day before the statue of Lord Buddha in Golden Gate Park, here in San Francisco. But the energy, time and effort consumed are not worth it. When, in the clash of personalities, you cannot get “Buddhists” to repeat the Triratna, or even accept the beautiful Buddha statue which we have in our midst, how can there be peace and tranquility in the world, or in our hearts.

The original Sangha was formed first of the enlightened Arhats that were awakened by the Samma Dhristhi of Lord Buddha and my friends, Samma Dhristhi never has and never will mean “right views” and until a few people will develop a little humility or curiosity or applied study we shall not only have clashes of personalities and sanghas and the turmoil in Vietnam and in the WBF and in the world and in our society, we shall be so strangled by the very samsara we verbally claim we wish to escape.

I saw Rev. Harold on Sunday and on Monday I found myself closeted with a very important man, who is at least a krypto-Buddhist. “Do you know Princess Poon Diskul?” he said, without looking up from his desk. “Who in heck do you think sent me here?” Now, my dears, it is time for a few people to stop arguing about one-mind, universal mind, alaya vijnana, and accept the living experiences of living people about these matters.

We had to go over the terrible events in Vietnam where Buddhist peasants and Buddhist super peasants are tread upon by communists and “imperialists” alike without the slightest consideration of their views, their ideals and everything else. The American “sanghas” and the American an-atta “I don’t like you” people—are too concerned with their private differences to care one whit of what is happening to the Poor Buddhists of Vietnam and Cambodia and Burma to bother.

Princess Poon Diskul is wise, brilliant, clever and astute and she has seized the WBF to stop the communists from taking over. While the American government is busy fighting for God and coun­try (meaning mostly the Billy Graham outlook) not a paper in the country, nor a radio station, nor anybody has presented any Buddhist viewpoint. And the Mr. Big referred to above was forced out of a high governmental position because he wished the American people to work with the Buddhist majority in S.E. Asia. But the “Buddhists” here have their private wars—they have not even time for the Triratna, and there is not a single Sangha in San Francisco which studies any scripture seriously other than the Lotus-Gospel Nichirens. And who is correcting it? No, we must fight one another.

The monk is held in low repute. The priest has taken over with his dating of ordination which makes him automatically superior, and the married man with beautiful costumes is telling the public all about “Buddhism” and other than using this word and with vague allusions, sometimes exceed­ingly vague ones, to the historical Gautama Siddhartha, views are expressed on almost any subject whatever, which have only remote connections with any sutta or sutras.

The meeting with Mr. Big was followed by the same sort of events, too many to relate here— and I mean that honestly and sincerely. On arriving at Santa Barbara I had to go to a bank with my companion, and an old friend rushed up: “Where can I find Mr. Connaughton?” (the oldest friend of both of us). “Why?” “I have the copyright of Evans-Wentz’ writings and I must go to Hollywood to get money to put on a cinema version of “Milarepa.” “You don’t want to see Mr. Connaughton.” “Why not?” “You wish to see me, for I represent the WBP.”

We then recognized we were old friends. And I told her of Rev. Neville Warwick, a Red Hat monk who is in San Francisco and she said she would come here. They have in common blessings from the Dalai Lama. In other times the Dalai Lama was a sort of mysterious, ethereal character, but as soon as he selected some Western representatives—these two for example—he fell in “public” estimation. Which is a lot of nonsense because Rev. Warwick stems from the very group of which Mme. Alexandra Davida Neel is the titular leader and it is time for Buddhists to recognize Bud­dhists.

Then I returned to San Francisco to find myself acclaimed in a hostile audience by one of India’s representatives who is a top man both spiritually and politically and he has accepted my “Dance of Universal Peace” which I can readily perform in New Delhi, and would like to perform if the UN meets here next year, but will not try too hard.

Finally I found myself inducted into a group which is going to put on a pageant on “The Birth of Lord Buddha,” a subject which is of no special interests to the “sanghas” with their strange doc­trines and methods and adamant refusals to meet and greet each other.

I can say this for in the first place I was ordained as Fudo in Japan and in the second place I have been asked to act by the WBF and am doing none of these things out of ego, but in the pursuit of the dharma.

The WBF has put its sanction and blessing on my “The Lotus and the Universe” which is a
reply to “The Lotus and the Robot.” One is not concerned with public acceptance or non-acceptance.

This week I said good-bye to Rev. Master P. Seo of Korea. He is going to Columbia University to take over the post once held by Dr. Daisetz Suzuki. Unlike Suzuki he is a realized soul. I shall be glad to furnish you details. We both stand for Universal Buddhism and against some extremely clan­nish, exclusive groups which call themselves “Universal Buddhists.” Unlike Phra Sumangalo and Dwight Goddard I have been given a tough (Fudo) personality. It is not of choice. Whenever Bud­dhists have the curiosity or humility to study the Bodhisattvic doctrines it will be laid open. There

is very little “esoteric” Buddhism but there are multitudes of aspects of dharma which have been forcibly hidden because human beings do not know how to efface themselves for the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

Sooner or later, following the statements of Mr. Big above and the earlier visit of Dr. Richard Robinson—also what came out of my meeting with the Hon. Roger Hilsman, we are going to have Buddhistic Buddhism presented to the American people. I question from any and every point of view a multitude of ordinations with the right of performing marriage and death ceremonies, etc. which have little or no validity in the dharma. I am sure you feel the same, and despite the warm expressions here for you all personally I wish nothing but

Peace, happiness, and bliss,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


12/22/64

Ojai

 

Bodhisattva Sam:

It was good seeing and talking with you in L.A. Sorry we had no opportunity to have a follow up confab for the unfinished and new business. In this respect your subsequent letters are much appreciated.

As one striving for Buddhist unity in America, I appreciate your writing on the need for a greater demonstration of anatta and much less of the contrary quality, which is becoming too glaringly apparent in this country at this time.

If it is not asking too much, who is the Mr. “Big” with whom you apparently established some kind of rapport? Also how did you make out with the UCLA Mr. “Big”? I trust these are not the same men, but a little light on such matters would be of some value to me, at this time and in my area—because of my position.

Last Sunday I returned to the Unitarian Church for an historical ordination of one of their members by five Unitarian-Universalist ministers acting for and with the local congregation as the authority. Although very formal, it was truly a very democratic Buddhistic type of ordination; and a definite departure from the old method of accepting ministers, previously made such in the orthodox manner, in Boston of and by the national hierarchy. I was of course the only Buddhist present in the panel of honored guest clergy, from up and down the West Coast.

I was happy to participate in my official capacity, which emphasizes their developing rapport with and inspiration from the pure teachings of the Buddha, as the church prides itself on transcending the Judeo-Christian religious concepts. It is my hope that someday this denomination will take official action, that its paramount guide or authority is the pure Dhamma. In this particular program the Buddha’s words were again in print, as in the Wesak program of last June in which I was a participant.

As I view it, particularly at this stage, an acknowledgment and acceptance of the Buddha will do much to forestall a creeping materialism from developing in the future, humanity being what it is at its present orientation.

May Prajna and Karuna infuse us both in all our work.

Harold

 

 


January 13, 1965

 

My dear Iru:

You will find enclosed a mass of material sent to Rogers & Co. You may share them with Eugene and Brian as you wish or don’t wish. Your names appear in the various copies of “The Golden Lotus.”

I do not wish to throw pearls before swine and therefore all higher experiences and interpretations or moralities concerning the relation between Phra Sumangalo and myself have been omitted. There is no way by which the Cosmic Monist can make himself intelligible before analysts and dualists (or Scribes & Pharisees) and the whole heart of the matter has been skirted.

The most delicate point—and this will not be understood—is that I am trying to prevent these people from indulging in more sorrow-provoking karma. But as nobody studies Buddha’s Buddhism in this country unless it be through Richard Robinson, neither am I going through the gyrations and operations which led to the formula of the oldest Buddha-scriptures.

At every point the total difference between the scientific outlook which is based on experiences and data, and the non-scientific outlook which is based on speculations called “truth” come out more clear than in those pages. Nor is there any way in which to communicate either the cosmic or anatta outlooks to Americans. We are having the tragedy of Vietnam.

Last night I completed the fiction Four Face of Han Suyin, written about contemporary Cambodian affairs. I intend to give it to Eugene. This book clearly any shows the differences between four generic psychologies: Western, Indian, Cambodian and Chinese, and they are not easily mutually interpretable excepting from the very lowest—into which we will not descend—or the very highest, which is beyond usual attainment.

As discussed with the former head of Intelligence for the Far East, credentials and documents are useless. Bigoted, self-centered and dualist people will ignore them in every way they can. Last week my name was accepted for two panels on the World’s Faiths, one to be held in America and one India. These positions were not sought by this person; the conferences have sent for him because they know he knows the world’s religions within and without and can pass any examination at any time at any level. I got over in ten minutes with Ruth Sasaki what I could not get in ten years with Alan Watts, so the real strong box remains closed.

As my friends are putting on a drama on the life of Lord Buddha, I shall gradually disclose to them the truths of Dharma and Arya Dharma, not only so they will understand what they are doing, but already they are open to the psychic and prajna levels of understanding and functioning. They practice meditation—not endless wall sitting like idiots. So their inner faculties have opened and this person has had nothing to do with it. It is marvelous. One only hopes some other people will know how to rise above their small egos.

Expect to see you Thursday night,

Samuel

 

 


January 25, 1965

Memo to: S. L. Lewis

From: H. H. Priebe

 

Attached is the draft of your talk on Vietnam sent directly to Rev. Fritchman.

Since last June when the UBF participated in the Unitarian Wesak observance, there has developed an effective communication and consultation rapport between our two administrations. Rev. Fritchman plans to make maximum use of the original teachings of the Buddha in future services and programs at his church.

After considering the already formulated plans and because he is an extremely busy man, I agreed to assist him by handling your matter, after the considered opinion was that not in the foreseeable future could your offer be accepted.

To conserve time and effort and if your primary loyalty to a Buddhist organization lies with the UBF-WFB, may I suggest that henceforth, you consider clearing your Southern California activities with me, as I have the San Francisco matters with you.

 

Ojai

March 3, 1965/2508

 

Dear Sam:

Thank you for all the interesting letters and copies sent me recently. All have been carefully read and evaluated. There is so much we could discuss and analyze were we to meet, but it is too much to attempt through writing, important as events and appearances may be in today’s fantastic Samsara. More than ever the individual must keep his equilibrium and learn to live in the “Eternal Now” during this karmic epoch.

Having what might be termed a global consciousness I know whereof you speak. Four days before Pearl Harbor I foresaw and predicted the fighting would start within a week. Three days before the start of the Korean adventure I again startled friends with a definite prediction. I realized what U.S. attempts to bail out the French and the R.C. church in South Vietnam during the Eisenhower administration would lead to. Much more I could write, but it will not be put in print.

I was particularly glad to have your report on Mala’s visit to S. F. It was with much regret that I found myself unable to get up there and accept his invitation to meet with him. I was very busy in L.A. those two days working on UBF and Unitarian projects. Mala had thanked me for some additional information on my Einstein article of last year. If I never accomplish anything more, I’ll be content knowing my efforts secured world-wide publicity for Einstein’s little known very pertinent statement at this crucial period in history. The Ojai Valley News reported my talk on it last June. The WFB News Bulletin featured it in their Sept-Oct. issue, giving us credit along with our Western Bodhi. I notice some other Asian Buddhist magazines have done likewise lately. I am sure Leslie Lowe would be happy to know the UBF carrying on is also free of politics and demagoguery.

My sincerest best wishes and may the blessings of the Triple Gem remain with and inspire all selfless workers for the Buddha-Dhamma, particularly in these trying times.

Harold

 

 


June 8, 1965

 

Dear Sam:

As usual I am rushed. Received your many letters, and am particularly in accord with your remarks on the two American schools of Buddhism … the egos and the non-egos, but what to do about it? In the meantime I have been working, or knocking myself out with the “devotees” of both, and the general public. Trying to build up a larger nucleus of dedicated non-egos, or at least little egos.

Well anyway, this was just to let you know I’ll probably see my way clear to get up to S.F. the last of the month. As soon as I get our delayed annual meeting out of the way and get a little info on the dates and happenings up there, I’ll formulate some kind of a schedule. Also have to meet a prominent Japanese traveler down here first. When I do come, it will be to see and hear, with very little talking on my part … or I should say sense, not talk.

Harold

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

July 7, 1966

 

Bodhisattvas:

You will find here a copy of some news regarding Mentorgarten. After it was written one found some early writings of Nyogen Senzaki on the subject and the tenor is the same.

One is prone to be writing and speaking on “Science vs. Buddhism.” Buddhism verbalizes anatta or egolessness but Buddhism as now offered does not follow the anatta, anicca, and dukha of Lord Buddha. Therefore it may be wise to open a place where the anatta, anicca and dukha are presented, not as intellect al teachings but as platforms from which there may be teachings.

In the United States there is a “Zen” which does not resemble the Zen-Ch’an teachings of the Orient very much. These teachings have been most excellently presented in English by Charles Luk. No doubt they were first introduced into English by Dr. Daisetz Suzuki. There is no evidence that Dr. Suzuki ever achieved the Moksha but many have assumed this.

Not only that they have indulged in speculation and abstraction, in deduction and analysis. If one studies “Buddhist Logic” all of these are denied or refuted but as “Buddhist Logic” is not studied many conclusions have been reached. “Buddhist Logic” states that syllogisms must never contradict the experiences of man, but most books either contradict or ignore the experiences of man. Therefore “Buddhism” is opposed to science, and therefore it is wise to purify the Dharma in some way so people can benefit.

Buddhism, or rather Lord Buddha appeared in India which had the cosmic metaphysics of the levels of manas, Vijnana, ananda and Prajna. Pure Zen, as exemplified in the “Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch” emphasizes Prajna more than Dhyana; American-Zen ignores the Prajna and also the Sila-Karuna so it is very different. But instead of criticizing we wish to point out the right way.

The other day one found a new edition of “Surangama Sutra” also from Charles Luk and one found the universe of interior awakening that one has reached very, very similar to the universe of “Surangama Sutra” and very different from the teachings in America. But one cannot object for one’s Master has said to present the Avatamsaka teachings which in another way, not contradictory, but in another way give man a “picture” of worlds beyond, of universes beyond, and perhaps of “realities” beyond.

In preparing some of the writings of Nyogen Senzaki for publication one finds notes in harmony with this. If one look further it is probable that the Moksha-experiences lead one to a Samma Dhrishthi which is the same, the same universal selfless outlook, beyond speculation, beyond physics and metaphysics and perhaps beyond empty-Meditation. (To be continued)

The Guardian

 


Ojai

7/24/67

 

Dear He Kwang:

Thank you for your letter of July 18, with enclosure.

Be assured that all communications received are very carefully read for their contents, but in these crucial times I find too little time for the mounting correspondence load, now continually confronting me. It is one thing to write for history; I prefer to act in it. So, relevant activity and minimal meditation have the priority now.

Yesterday, at the monthly Peace march in Santa Barbara, Dr. Prynce Hopkins and I, were able to exchange more than mere greetings. He and our newly elected Vice President David Maurice (U Ohn Ghine), and myself as president now constitute the UBF “Executive Committee.”

Note your remarks re Doulas Burns with interest. Incidentally, I take this opportunity to correct erroneous impressions given the Buddhist world, in the publications of the WFB, to the effect that he, Burns, was the UBF delegate to the WFB international meeting in Thailand last year. He was not. The WFB requested us to make him such! We could only turn it down inasmuch as we have detected little evidence that his activities and thoughts could be manifestations of ours; we who work objectively, in and for the UBF as a Buddha-Dhamma disseminator.

As an example of the above, enclosed herewith is a clipping of my “letter to the editor” taken from the Ventura Star-Free Press, of June 24, 1967.

For true Dhamma in the West,

H. Priebe

 


7/24/67

 

Buddhist’s View

Editor, The Star-Free Press:

“My Country Right or Wrong”! Using such a theme for a “patriotic parade” in Ventura, at this moment in history is fantastic and all too obvious. Psychologically, it is an admission our country has been, and now is, relatively wrong in its Vietnam opportunism; and now contemplates the use of brute force rather than reason, as a way out of our present dilemma, which arose from the use of several decades of hysteria to prevent the law of evolution from functioning. Have we reached the point of no return up fascism’s blind alley?

This evil state is further pointed up by a county Catholic Church entering a float in the parade displaying a large sign: “For God and Country”. In place of this anachronistic idea, would it not have been far better to portray an urgent 20th Century ideal with: “For Humanity; the World, and the Future”? Shades of John XXIII!

I write as an ordained Buddhist, but as an American nonetheless, with a citizenship record surpassing mere words. Three terms as a reform city councilman; 12 years in the National Guard of the two states of my residence; thankless War Manpower Commission service which disabled me; not to mention such things as service on four juries, three as foreman, etc., etc.

Sadly, American’s norms and mores produced in large part by unquestioning “faiths” and
fanaticisms, is unrealistic preparation for the personal and national crises of this modern world, which now lie ahead.

God may not be quite dead over here as of now, but in the discerning mature minds of the colored Asians whose nations have suffered aggressions for several centuries, by God’s white skinned chosen children, there can be no doubt a burial ceremony is anticipated over there...and soon.

Ven. Harold H. Priebe,

P. O. Box 1079, Ojai

 


9/25/67

 

Dear Sam,

Your several letters and copies received. Now today a copy of one to An, which I am happy to see reveals several quite valid lines of Buddhist thought.

The Buddhism seems to be in now for a very rough time in the U.S.

I have just composed a letter to Thich Tom Chaw to inform him in no uncertain terms, that Douglas Burns is in no manner connected with the UBF.

Tom Chaw has recently sent two letters to Burns, c/o UBF!

This is due to the WFB giving the impression, erroneously or deliberately, that Burns was our delegate in 1966 conference. (I am inclined to believe the error may have been due to the machinations of C.I.A. agents on their staff.)

The situation down here gets more complex daily. I spend too much valuable time writing letters.

Now a certain Sufi enters the picture. Can you throw any enlightenment on this fellow which doubtless you can? Pir Zade?

Sincerely in true Dharma.

Harold

 

 


410 Precita Ave

San Francisco, Calif.

October 16, 1967

 

My dear Harold:

I was very much surprised to find my letter to The Reporter published on October 19. It is on “Zen Experiences” and reads:

“To the Editor—I have read with considerable interest Anne Freemantle’s remarks on Mystics and Zen Masters (“Out of Time, out of Place,” The Reporter, September 21) and am especially interested in her statement “The inadequacy of expressing what can only be experienced has an unexpected advantage in that the stammerings of those who have been "there and back again" are unmarked by time or place.”

“We do have a number of modern science books that cannot be adequately translated into Hottentot or Otomi, but I do not know of any mystical experience, including both the Zen of Zen experience and the “Zen” of modern dialecticians, that has no some term in Sanskrit. I have a whole manuscript of the great Chinese Ch’an Master Tai Hsu in plain English, easily comprehended by a thinking person. We do not allow non-scientists to fill the libraries with their works on the sciences, but we do permit non-Zennists to fill the libraries with their literature. I am not protesting against this practice, but against the lethargy with which Americans study Oriental culture.

Samuel L. Lewis, San Francisco"

To my surprise Miss Freemantle has followed this with a note.

Senator Kuchel has also advised he is investigating why the State Department has ignored all correspondence regarding Buddhism in Vietnam.

I am enclosing copy of Sufism and Zen. There is a growing response to the several classes of Rev. Wagner and Rev. D. Warwick and myself here. Now I am awaiting the possibility of a new Meditation Center. This will be a Sangha-movement. I am going to use it to protest against all the individualistic efforts by all and sundry in the name of the Dharma (Dhamma).

Thank you for your enclosure.

Sam

 

 


October 25, 1967

Rev. Iru Price

940 Post St.

San Francisco, 94109

 

Bodhisattva:

Tonight is the formal opening of a lecture series on the Living Religions of the World. I am presuming following the course as follows: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Modern Movements, but am not sure.

One thing is sure I am presenting “Buddhism” in accordance with the Dharma and it will be a Sangha, not an ego-individual presentation. I am inviting our Brothers, Rev. Eugene Wagner and Rev. Neville Warwick, and perhaps Rev. Joseph Hiller to be on the podium. I would ask questions and they would be answered. For I believe the only way to re-present the principle that the Arya Dharma is based on the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha would be to make realities of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

As I am also involved in the Semantic movement and do not believe that words are “things.” I believe still less that any ego-presentation of Dharma is not the Dharma. The arrangements could be made with or without a rehearsal.

On the negative side I wish to have it made clear that Buddhism is not an invention of either Japanese householders or British socialites or American psychologists; that it has an historical foundation, literature and teachings; that these teachings may be manifold and could be better represented by a person having them than by an “expert-lecturer” talking about them.

I was trained in the doctrine of Pratimoksha which is long moribund in this land. Also in the apparently elementary principle that if a religion is represented by Scriptures, those scriptures and their teachings should not be withheld.

For my own part I believe Buddha had 16, not 12, faithful disciples and each was given a portion of the Dharma to transmit to posterity. Of course if there is any objection to this it could be expressed. The meetings are on Wednesday nights and I hope you will be interested.

 Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

July 29, 1968

 

Rev. Harold Priebe,

P. O. Box 1079,

Ojai, Calif. 93023

 

Bodhisattva:

Thanks for your Issue no 26. Things have changed enormously here and will change more. I have no intention to try to convince anybody of karma or of the rotations of the Wheel-of-the-Law. Princess Poon used to say to Sam: “Then your punya will be so far out of sight as to be immeasurable, a hard fact readily accepted by anybody not a Buddhist.

I did not intend to introduce Buddhism to the Hippies but there is a process called Prajna, also comprehensible to anybody not a Buddhist, by which one becomes the instrument of the universe and doffs his ego-self. The Tevigga Sutra which anybody not a Buddhist can easily believe, that all methods are subject to examination and scientific tests but also there are ways which lead to deliverance.

The complete success of the applied Jhanas seem to be comprehensible to anybody not a Buddhist and not only the young but some mature people began coming here and are getting Buddha’s Yoga, also comprehensible to anybody not a Buddhist. Why Buddha’s wonderful, easy and satisfactory Yoga-systems have been discarded I do not know and have never been able to get a satisfactory explanation for.

But finding more Buddhist scriptures we also read Udana twice Sunday and are ready for further steps into the usages of Prajna Paramita Sutra in both English and Sanskrit and not in incomprehensible gibberish hodge-podge. Those who have heard either without the other could see offhand how they fitted in to each other.

As to Rebirth even Sufis who are not supposed to believe in reincarnation, initiated this person because he was X in a former life; and the Cultural Attaché of India has many critics here because he proclaims this person as the reincarnation of Y, a most important historical personality. Indeed as the “reincarnation of Y” one was heralded in many places. It has been only Buddhists and Theosophists who rejected that!

As Udana was read twice Sunday there is little to add. This person has objected to mass murdering of infants by any and all power-structures. What one fears is another fiasco when Lama Govinda comes. The Roerich museum did not abhor war, just war that would destroy churches and museums and they got it—in full, and the complete collapse of their own gigantic efforts.

We now have International Center of Meditation in the town of Novato, to the north and it means International Center and not just Profs. Phops, Stops, Spots and Me two coming together and using the name. Master Seo is here and we hope to have him visit the place. It is well endowed, all the property and following needed, and only leadership is lacking—a most unusual situation.

We are using the Jhanas to build up Peace and they are not only successful, they are attracting more and more. Next week Sam is going to make an effort to be a Pied Piper. The way is clear.

Faithfully,

Sam

Buddhists Correspondence

[undated]

 

Dear Sam:

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 turquoise blue.

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.

Constance Luick

 

 


17 Lyell St.,

San Francisco, 12, Calif. Friday [undated]

 

Dear Sam:

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,

Lottie.

 

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,

Richard Holt

& Jeanette Page

 

 


[undated]

 

Dear Samuel:

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 guiding star.

The copy of the letter you wrote Reverend Wagner was excellent and about covered everything.

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 done.

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.

Constance Luick

 

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.

Sincerely,

Mary Farkas

 

 


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,

Sincerely,

Mary Farkas

 

 


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,

Mary Farkas

 

 


The First Zen Institute of America, Inc.

156 Waverly Place,

New York 14, N. Y.

June 2,1958

 

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 me.

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.

Sincerely,

Mary Farkas

 

 


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 added.

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. Sasaki.

I am enclosing my own comment on the Zen scene.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Farkas

 

 


156 Waverly Place

New York 14,

New York

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.

Best regards,

Mary Farkas

 

 


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 named Bennett.

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 good.

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 this summer.

Always glad to hear the California news.

Sincerely,

Mary Farkas

 

 


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.

Sincerely,

Mary Farkas

 

 


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.

Cordially yours,

Andrew J. Howie

 

 


The Maha Publishing Company B

uddhist World Philosophy

Box 28,

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!

Marie Harlow

 

 


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 aspects.

All creatures are Buddhas!

Marie Harlowe

 

(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 Gautama.

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.

Marie Harlowe

Box 28, Three Rivers, Michigan. 49093

The Perfume of the Dharma

 

Bodhisattva,

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 one.

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 learn.

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 this.

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 Joy.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

S. A.M.

 

 


April 6, 1964

 

Dear Samuel:

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 answer.

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 and characteristics.

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,

C.M.L.

 

 


San Francisco, May 13, 1964

 

Dear Sam:

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 America spiritually.

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 half-gods go.”

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

Gary.

Faithfully,

S..A.M.

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


August 25, 1964

 

Dear Samuel,

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 himself upon.

As mentioned before he is quite sad because he wears a robe but is not a Buddhist—yet.

Connie Luick

 

 


September 28, 1964

 

Bodhisattva:

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 speculations.

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 establish precedents.

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.

Faithfully,

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 Sachidanananda.

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.

Faithfully,

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 (Sanskrit samata).

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 shared.

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 least.

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 teacher!”

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 his lesson.

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 practice.

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 functioning now.

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 apprehension.

Sam

 

 


October 3, 1964

Dear Bodhisattva:

 

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.

Sam

 

 


October 3, 1964

Bodhisattva:

 

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 left.

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 knife.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


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 financial.

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.

S.A.M.

 

 


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 worthwhile.

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 IT.

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 “teachers.”

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 enlightenment.

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.

Sam

 

 


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 compasses.

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 voice.

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 Self.

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 people.)

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 to Jacqueline.

Cordially,

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.

 

 


November 1964

 

Bodhisattva:

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 ego-effort.

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 there is.

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 a conference.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


November 9, 1964

 

Bodhisattva:

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 egotism.

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 karma.

As related this person, when a wood-cutter, submitted a Gatha to the Roshi Ishida from
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….

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


November 19, 1964

Grahame H. Petchey

686 12th Ave.,

San Francisco 18, Calif.

 

Bodhisattva:

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.

Faithfully

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 Bodhisattva.

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 the rice.

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

 

Dear Sir:

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,

A.L. Rogers

 

 


Holiday Season and Santa Claus Time United States Style

December 1964

 

Samuel:

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 contemplate it:

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.

Constance Luick

 

 


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 ground-work.

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 comes.

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 why not?

Faithfully,

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 price.

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 facets.

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 mother-temple.

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.”

Faithfully,

 

 


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 life.

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 students, etc.

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 again.

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 illness.

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.

 

Dear Sir:

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 Francisco.

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 whatever.

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 ordination.

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,

John Roger

 

 


[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 ordination.

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 himself.

Otherwise, we agree with many of your comments, and thank you for the time and trouble you take in writing us.

Sincerely yours,

L. Roger

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 clarified.

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,

A.L. Roger

 

 


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 be helpful.

Very truly yours,

John Roger

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco, Calif.

September 5, 1965

 

Very Rev. Dom Aelred Graham,

Prior, Benedictine Community,

Portsmouth, Rhode Island

 

Reverend Sir:

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 verbalized somehow.

 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 posturing!

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 the universe.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 He Kwang

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

7th October, 1965

 

Dear Bodhisattva:

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 treason.

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 receiving.

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.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

November 23, 1965

 

Dear Neville:

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 Pope’s visit:

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 earned.”

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 together.

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 lower level.

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 altered.

Faithfully,

Sam

 


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

 

Bodhisattva:

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 Berkeley.

“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.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


December 7, 1965

 

My dear Neville:

One does not know whether you will understand copy of the letter enclosed.

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 intolerable.

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.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

January 4, 1966

 

Bodhisattva:

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 this science-of-the-elements.

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 level.

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 throughout.

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 proper time.

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 acceptable.

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 some messiahs.

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

 

Bodhisattva,

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 go.”

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 of Reality.

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 astonishment.

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 them anything.

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 other.

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 beings.

Sam

 

 


772 Clementina. St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

March 13, 1966

 

Dear Bodhisattva:

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 persists.

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 an earthquake.

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 impersonalism.

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.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco

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 Yoga.”

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 the silence.

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 over that.

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 leader-complex-wallas.

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.

Sam

 

 


April 3, 1966

Buddha’s Way,

781 Fairview Ave.,

Fairview, N. J.

 

Bodhisattva:

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 happy.

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


May 6, 1966

 

Bodhisattva:

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 transmissions.

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 them.

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 that.

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 personally.

The forthcoming chapter in “Dharma Transmission” will be “Buddha Hridaya” which is not secret, not esoteric and not known.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

He Kwang

 

 


May 25, 1966

 

Dear Sam:

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 Library.

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 also.

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 never learn.

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 file.

in friendship,

ih

 

 


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 hardcover.

With best wishes and again thanks,

Sincerely yours, Mary Farkas

 

 


June 24, 1966

 

Bodhisattva,

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 too.

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 not?

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 it.”

The overtones are tremendous—there are disciples, money, possibilities in sight, provided we can kick the little egos out of ourselves.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


July 1966

The Mentorgarten News

 

Bodhisattvas:

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 heart.

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 back.

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.

The Guardian

 

 


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.

Venerable Sir:

 

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 Japanese Culture.

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.

Faithfully,

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

Clementina St.

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 well attended.

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,

Mary Farkas

 

 


Late Monday, Riverside [date likely in April 1967]

 

Bodhisattvas:

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 “centers.”

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, Tibet.”

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.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


May 9, 1967 [?]

 

Dear Bodhisattva:

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. Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


May 17, 1967

 

Bodhisattvas,

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 Sutra.

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 ignored.

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 Dharma.

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 philo­sophical prowess.

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.”

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


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 a murmur.

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)

Mahayana           Dhyana-Karuna-Prajna

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.

Faithfully,

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 them.

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 research.

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.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


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 conjectures.

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 rest.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


June 3, 1967

Muriel Lewis

11133 Ventura Ave

Ojai, Ca. 93023

 

Bodhisattva,

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 suffering.

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.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


June 3, 1967

 

Bodhisattva:

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,

Sam

 

 


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 would      do.

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 heavily.

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.

Faithfully,

 

 


June 14, 1967

Bodhisattva:

 

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 frustrations.

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 “natural.”

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 up.

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.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


June 15, 1967

Bodhisattva:

 

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 or venerate.

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 that way.

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.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco

August 21, 1967

 

Bodhisattva:

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.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


September 27, 1967

 

Bodhisattvas:

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 burden.

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 publisher.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

Copies to

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.

 

Bodhisattvas:

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 radically wrong.

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 practice.

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 to learn.

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 accepted.

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,

Sam

 

 


October 11, 1967

 

Bodhisattva:

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 spiritually advanced.

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. Burdick’s fiction?

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 actual supermen.)

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 it up.

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 happy. Faithfully,

S. A. M.

 

 


October 11, 1967

 

Bodhisattva:

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 tragedies.

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 be.

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 default,

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 continue.

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 not?

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 Sir
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 meant.

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.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


October 13, 1967

 

Bodhisattva:

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 Marin county.

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?

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


October 16, 1967

Anne Freemantle

c/o The Reporter,

660 Madison Ave.,

New York, N. Y. 10021

 

Bodhisattva:

I am very pleased to receive your note which I am sending to this address, the slight
“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, i.e. limbo.

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.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Mentorgarten 410 Precita

San Francisco

October 17, 1967

 

Dear Bodhisattva,

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,

Gassho,

Sam

He Kwang Zenji

(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)

 

 


San Francisco, 94110

410 Precita Ave.

November 3, 1967

 

Mr. Rosemary Kiefer,

Sect. California Bosatsukai,

Box 74,

Del Mar, Calif. 92015

 

Bodhisattva:

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 disciples.

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

 

Bodhisattvas:

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
Bud­dhism.”

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 part.

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 teachings.

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 others.

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 tendency.

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 Dharma .

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 support Jack.

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.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 


Box 355

Chiloquin, Oregon. 97624

December 13, 1967

 

Dear Sam:

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 relatives.

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 comfortable.

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.

Affectionately,

Lottie

 

 


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 places.

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 Sam Lewis.

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 Zendo. Those
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 Krishna.

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,

Sam

 

 


December 15, 1967

Bodhisattva:

 

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 not.

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 young bod-

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 worked.

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 sinners.

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 accord.

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.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


December 18, 1967

Bodhisattva:

 

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 “Sanghas.”

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 away.

Faithfully,

Sam

 

 


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, Calif. 92014.

If I should come to San Francisco this year, I would like to have a talk with you about Senzaki­sensei, if it is convenient.

Gassho,

Rosemary Kiefer

 

 


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,

Sincerely,

 

 


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, recently.)

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 Lun.

Gasshō,

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 master.

 

 


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.

Sincerely,

 

 


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 him.

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 lines!”

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,

Gasshō,

Rosemary Kiefer

 

 


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:

Ordination

Bodhisattva vows taken in the presence of persons who are traditionally ordained.

Those who are endowed by any form of Bodhisattva discipline:

Monks

Priests.

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 Vinaya.

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 motion.

By request, John Reynolds explained the difference in the ranks of the Tibetan Clergy.

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 accomplishment.

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)

To Lun

Rinzai Zen

Vajrayana Society

American Buddhist Order

Home of the Dharma

Soto Ze

Western Buddhist Order

Arya Maitreya Mandala

Nyingmapa

Blue Mountain Center (Buddhist-Hindu)

Sufi-Buddhism

Theravada

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 13th.

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.

Respectfully submitted,

Eugene Wagner

 

 


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

 

Bodhisattva:

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 Dharma.

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 “unless.”

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 chance.

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 all.

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 initiatory side.

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 devotee.

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.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


September 5, 1968 Evening

Rev. Dr. Neville Warwick

1551 Octavia St.,

San Francisco 94109

 

Bodhisattva:

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 not clear.

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 dukha.

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.

Mehta,

Sam

 

 


October 22, 1968

1455 Clay St. #7

San Francisco, Calif.

 

Samuel:

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 activities.

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 “my” blessing.

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 Zen—

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 recluse—

Happiness in Novato,

Constance Luick

 

 


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 me.

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.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

cc Stanley Amin Quance

 

 


410 Precita

San Francisco, Calf, 94110

January 2, 1969

 

Dr. Reverend Neville Warwick

1551 Octavia Street

San Francisco, 94109

 

Bodhisattva:

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 self-evident.

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 the Roman

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 delightful program.

Sam

 

 


February 27, 1969

Lottie Fernandez

Box 355

Chiloquin, Oregon 97624

 

Dear Lottie,

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 again.

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.

Gassho Tai

 

 


San Francisco, Calif. 94110

February 28, 1969

 

Anh The

225 Monroe St.

Monterey, Calif. 93960

 

Bodhisattva:

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.

Mehta,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Mrs. Lottie Fernandez

March 8, 1969

 

Dear Sam:

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?

As ever,

Lottie

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

April 28, 1969

 

Rosemary Kiefer,

Sect. California Bosatsukai,

Box 72,

Del Mar, Calif. 92014

 

Bodhisattva:

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 come.

We are cooperating in a Summer Camp for Colorado but that will occur in June.

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 Francisco’s.

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.

Faithfully,

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 left.

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.

Thanks

 

 


410 Precita

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 them.

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.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


November 25, 1969

Zen Mission Society

149 Arkansas Street,

San Francisco 94107

 

Bodhisattvas:

We are pleased to send you now a copy of “Text For Zen” by Master Seo Kyung-Bo.

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 over.

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.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

He Kwang, Zen-shi

Dr. Paul F. Fung, Dr. George D. Fung

Buddha Universal Church

720 Washington Street

San Francisco 94111

 

Bodhisattvas:

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 off.

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 (his remarks).

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 seniors.

Cordially,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif.

December 7, 1969

 

Dr. Neville Warwick,

1551 Octavia St.,

San Francisco, Calif. 94109

 

Bodhisattva:

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 cause, too.

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 is Mahakasyapa?”

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????? An-atta?!

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 confusion.

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.

Mehta,

Samuel L. Lewis

cc Seo

cc Needleman

 

 


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 Zen Center.

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.

Sincerely,

Stan & Thad Fisher

 

 


February 2, 1970

T. Fisher

7518 June St.

Springfield, Va. 22150

 

Bodhisattva:

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. Seo.

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 person.

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 them.

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.

Faithfully,

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.

Sincerely,

Thad Fisher

 

 


February 8, 1970

Thad Fisher

7518 June St.

Springfield, Va. 22520

 

Bodhisattva:

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 than curious.

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.

Faithfully,

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 Washing­ton.

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 any type.

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 leaving for
Europe.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

February 14, 1970

 

The Secretary,

Buddhist Vihara Society

5017 16th St., N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20011

 

Dear Sir:

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.

Mehta,

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

Secretary

 

 


April 15, 1970

Rev. Dr. Neville Warwick

1551 Octavia St.,

San Francisco, Calif. 94109

 

Bodhisattva:

You may be pleasant to learn you have a much better reputation far off than at “home.”

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.

Sam

 

 


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,

Wali Ali

Secretary to Rev. Samuel L. Lewis (He Kwang)

 

 


May 1, 1970

Buddhist Order of Shingaku

140 N.E. 25th Street

Pompano Beach, Florida 33064

 

Dear Friends:

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:

Melvin Meyer

410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

Thank you,

Faithfully,

Melvin Meyer

 

 


May 4, 1970

Buddhist Church of America

2121 Channing Way

Berkeley, California

 

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 Bishop Hanayama.

Faithfully,

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

 

Bodhisattva:

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 Hierarchal-Transmission.

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 here.

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 Wesak
Celebration. We hope you will inform us of your doings and we will be glad to cooperate in any way possible.

Sincerely,

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.

Best,

Melvin Meyer

 

 


May 16, 1970

 

Bodhisattvas:

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 organi­zations.

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 no.

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 practice them.

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 selflessness?

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 what­soever.

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 Dharma.

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 derivatives.

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 way that

May All Beings Be Joyful, May All Beings Be Blissful, May All Beings Be Happy. Faithfully,

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 understanding.

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

Secretary

 

 


Box 444,

San Cristobal NM 87564

June 12, 1970

 

Calvin C. Steimetz

1720 Hearst Ave.

Berkeley, California 94703

 

Bodhisattva:

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 grounds.”

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.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Box 444

San Cristobal NM 87564

June 13, 1970

 

Buddhist Vihara Society

Inc. 5017 - 16th Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20011

 

Rev. Sir:

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.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


July 26, 1970

Zen Mission Society

P.O. Box 606 Oakland, Ca. 94604

 

Bodhisattvas:

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 literature.

But I agree that even a single breath of practicing Zen outstrips any literature, including my

own.

Faithfully,

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

 

Rev. Mahathera:

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 official Buddhist.

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 acceptable.

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

 

Bodhisattvas:

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 funny.

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 op­eration.

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 appointments!

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 more hands.

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 more hands.

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 benefit.”

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,

Zenshi

 

 


August 15, 1970

Jiyu Kennett

The Zen Mission Society

P.O. Box 606 Oakland, Calif. 94604

 

O Bosatsu-san:

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 you.

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

 

O Daiosho-sama,

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 Buddha, hail!

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.

Sincerely,

Jiyu Kennett

 

 


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 extending recognition.

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 University of

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 World War

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 rejections

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.

Faithfully,

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

Secretary

 

 


October 5, 1970

Mahathera H. Gunaratana,

Hon. Gen. Sec’y. Buddhist Vihara Society, Inc.

5017 - 16th Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20011

 

Honored Sir:

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 soon.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Eugene Wagner

October 13, 1970

 

Bodhisattva:

There is no better proof of the real prajna than what has happened just now.

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, Nashville, Tenn.

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.)

Faithfully,

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.

Best wishes,

Dr. Thich Thien-An

 

 


Anh-The

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.

Cordially,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Dr. Thich Thien An

International Center of Buddhist Meditation

542 North Irving Boulevard

Los Angeles, California

 

Bodhisattva An:

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 him again.

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 uncertainty.

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

He Kwang

 

 


November 10, 1970

Journal of the Zen Mission Society

P.O. Box 606

Oakland, Calif. 94604

 

Bodhisattvas:

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 communications.

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 Sutra, etc.

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 Buddha.

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 apologize.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

Rev. He Kwang, Zenshi

 

 


November 16, 1970

The Zen Mission Society Dharma House

468 Hanover Avenue Oakland, Calif. 94606

 

Bodhisattvas:

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 ego, and

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 unreason.

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 it.

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 you all.

Faithfully,

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 opportunism.

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 do?

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.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

Buddhists International Correspondence

Permanent Mission of Ceylon to the United Nations

May 14, 1963

 

Dear Mr. Lewis,

Thank you for your letter of March 4, 1963. I was away in Ceylon all March and April and then again in Texas and in Canada and I have just got back.

I am very happy to learn from your letter that the opening of the new Universal Buddha Church passed off successfully. Dr. Paul Fung had asked me for a message to be read on the occasion. I sent him one but whether it was used I do not know. I should be grateful if you could send me copies of the reports which you are writing for “The Eastern Buddhist” and “The Golden Lotus.”

I am also happy to read what you say about the “unusual growth of interest in the Dharma.” It must be a source of great satisfaction to you as one closely associated with Paul Carus and Dwight Goddard to know that your work has been fruitful.

As you are probably aware, I have been entrusted with the task of editing the Encyclopedia of Buddhism, which is being published under the auspices of the Government of Ceylon. When completed it will contain as much information as we can possibly get on all aspects of Buddhism throughout the world and throughout the centuries. It will necessarily take a long time to finish the work but I am glad to say that I am getting co-operation from many quarters. If you could agree to send me such information as you have regarding the history of Buddhism in this country, particularly on the West Coast, it will be of great help to me in getting together an article on the history of Buddhism in America. I shall, of course, make due acknowledgement of your assistance. If you could, in addition, send me biographical articles on Paul Carus and on Dwight Goddard, I could publish them under your name in the Encyclopedia. Please give thought to this request and let me know whether you could accept it. I should also like to have materials for a biography of the late Robert Clifton who, as far as I am aware, was a tireless worker in the good cause. I met him a couple of times and was impressed by his earnestness.

With greeting,

G. P. Malalasekera

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

October 19, 1964

 

Princess Poon Diskul

President, Buddhist World Federation,

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Dear Princess Poon:

It is a long time since we have been in direct contact, but I remain a sort of historian for Buddhism in this country. Also the representative in this area of Rev. Harold Priebe, who has been selected by the World Federation as representative for the United States. He is about the best man (among the Caucasians) I know for this purpose. No doubt there has been some ruffling of personalities, but I hope the Federation will give a little attention to some fundamentals:

a. The Triratna

b. The Namotassa

c. The Pancha Sila or the Bodhisattvic Oaths.

Little attention is paid to these things here and even less to sacred literature. A few months ago Dr. Richard Robinson, friend of Phra Sumangalo, gave the most illuminating talk at the University of California but refused absolutely, to speak about what be calls “fiction writers” whom we need not name but of whom you are well aware.

Yesterday I spoke to a few people in the home or Rev. J. Eugene Wager, another disciple of Phra Sumangalo on “A Scientific Interpretation of Maha-Nidana­-Suttanta” calling attention to masses of profound, noble and beautiful literature ignored today.

From what I understand, on short notice it may be impossible to send any delegates from the United States at the forthcoming conference. But I also wish to call to your attention that there will be a meeting of the United Nations in this city next year and the continuance of Dr. Paul Fung in his position as Vice-President of the WBF will then be most effective. He has now a thriving organization which probably draws more non-Orientals then all other groups combined. And, at least in his Church you can see pictures of Lord Buddha, that wonderful character who has been almost exiled from so much of what passes for “Buddhism” in America, as you well know. The rise and fall of one charlatan has been followed, by the rise and fall of others, and people who talk about karma do not observe karma.

Strictly speaking I could be acting as representative of the Rinzai Zen people and indirectly for Rev. Harold Priebe as above.

I have recently joined “The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1424 Sixteenth St., Washington, D.C. 20036. A book review in their spring 1964 issue states: “Theravada Buddhism, the religious faith of almost ninety percent of Burma today, was introduced into Burma in the eleventh century...” I am writing in protest. Unfortunately such protests are seldom heeded, which is most unfortunately.

Hoping you are well and assuring you of my appreciation for your good will many times in the past,

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

November 9, 1964

 

Arthur Osborne

Sri Ramanasram

Tiruvannamalai

India

 

Dear Ram:

This letter is written because in the last few weeks a tremendous power has been place in this person’s hands, coming rather simultaneously from two different external sources. Yet undoubtedly the source of power is internal and real, but hardly personal except as a mode of manifestation.

Your reviews make you aware, of the existence of that strange type of person who may be called Homo pseudosupergenius californicus, that here in California, more than anywhere else in the world there is a search for some sort of superman rising in part out of hazy folklore and in part from the appearance here of what the theosophists some time back called the new root race. That this race is appearing, following all the predictions of all kinds of writers strikes the theosophists and metaphysical dreamers least of all. So side by side you find here the ethereal people and the devout people alike, drawn to those who come from the Orient.

The last heroic venture on the part of this person came when a man calling himself a Maharshi arrived here, to be welcomed by all the European authorities and experts (?) on Asia, by the metaphysical and ethereal people. When a series of robberies and blackmail incidents occurred, and by Divine Grace the passport of this pretender came into the writer’s hands, those who were not yet victimized became very dignified and turned on him, though he had the full cooperation of governmental authorities. And since then he has sat by and let the continued though diminishing parade of charlatans come from Asia to beguile the public and the seekers and always, without exception, to enter into rivalry and competition with that mass who can be known as dualistic-pseudo advaitins. These dualistic-pseudo advaitins have, until this week, dominated both in high places and low presentations of Oriental teachings—many of them being neither Orientals nor Americans, and of those Asians, hardly one of them has any standing in his own country.

The combination of circumstances which is now changing the whole trend can be summarized into three divisions:

For the first time calling upon real Buddhist leaders to present Buddhist at conclaves on comparative religions.

The rise of two important societies composed of two types of scientists to study the religions of the world with the same integrity, honesty and impersonality as the sciences, or rather “nature,” is studied.

The extreme complexity of events in that part of the world where some form of Buddhism is, or has been predominant.

These three tendencies will introduce morality where morality has been notable absent but the crow’s cry: “Moral and spiritual ideals” has been echoed and re-echoed from top to bottom.

Las week there came to this city the head of the Indian Farm Delegation. We were to meet the Cultural Attaché from India. We went to a wrong place, and there he was! And like the Zen Satori this led to a realization that we were one—it came suddenly and there followed a series of delightful comic opera incidents, here in a few minutes your colleague met all those people for whom he was seeking and the writer has another home in India both for agricultural and spiritual purposes.

Self Realization Fellowship. This is exactly the sort of incident which is not understood by these people. Nor would they understand your remarks about the “Autobiography of a Yogi” who never seems to have understood the identity consciousness nor identity experience. Knowing little Sanskrit the writer’s interpretation of Samadhi, is Samadhi, with the universe, with the oneness.

The dualistic pseudo-advaitins, seizing on name and glamour, no doubt gain by any sort of practice. But the complete absence of disciplinary endeavor where guru and chela are one sees these people only as ice breakers. And the ability of one of the original disciples of Yoga Yogananda to experience a little more penetration of the cosmos than his fellows has resulted in competition and all those manifestations of dualism which today appear far more among the “seekers” of Oriental culture, or wisdom, than the Christians who accept sometimes each other’s communion and are trying to unite in many ways.

J. Krishnamurti. Universal for no doubt levels all ranks; shows the presence of light but does not manifest complete light. The traditional American “Great Stone Face,” the European substitute of Galahad for Percival the real finder of the Grail, and for Jesus Christ, is the common religion of the day. With Galahad dominating Christian art, you may understand that the appearance of Galahad brought great welcome. But there is no individual possession of the Grail or of Light. The test for a Buddha or a Maharshi is not his wisdom but the manifestation of the Light through disciples. Sri Sankara used his cook. The last person who would be welcomed here in California as an exponent of enlightenment would be a cook.

Prynce Hopkins is not strictly speaking among the Californians but has come here. He is an intellectual and has played many roles among man classes of intellectuals during a long time, rising and falling as he has changed his points of view. Though we have discussed many subjects, that of his own spiritual awakening, or absence of it has not come up. Sending up copy of remarks on his book, he reacted dualistically. The present series of circumstances makes it advisable to try to bring about understanding and conciliation. To put it short:

This person has been selected as representative of the World Buddhist Federation in this country.

The combined confusion in S.E. Asia, the ranks of Buddhist and the complete breakdown, division and separation of students and disciples of Dharma here invoke the most serious consideration of subject involved. This person was recognized in all parts of Asia as having experience Enlightenment in some form, but has never been given any serious consideration here, a point which must be understood by the remarks made in the book review about the Homo dualicticus pseudo-advaita.

Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch, is studied by more groups of Buddhists than anybody else. Of all the Buddhist groups in Northern California, not one is studying Pali or Sanskrit literature. Over half presumably accept “The Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch.”

This person has been a wood cutter at two times in life. On the second occasion he was living in the woods in another part of the country, chanting OM!, every afternoon but performing Sufi practices in the morning and evening. Whatever took place is of no interest whatsoever to the dualistic pseudo-advaitins here who cannot face realities or the experiences of enlightenment and never, never associate with each other.

The first occasion brought forth a Gatha which was accepted by a Soto Zen Master who was living here and who immediately him an initiation. But among the students of Zen and Buddhism the formal ritualistic ordination is given every preference over initiation and not a single student of any school here would understand the term pratimoksha (pratimoksha=pattimokka) which was explained to this person more than forty years ago. The complete absence of curiosity and humility is even more marked that the absence of the spiritual experience.

World Buddhist Federation. The Chinese government, taking advantage of the support of Protestant missionaries by the leaders of one political party; and of Catholic missionaries by the deceased leader of the other, began a huge Buddhist revival campaign. It did not fail entirely either, winning supporters in both parts of Vietnam, in Cambodia, and to some extent in each country where there are elements of Buddhism, even Indonesia.

There has been no counter effort. The one American who was selected as “expert” on Buddhism has long since been dismissed. The one American in foreign service who was Buddhist and had the experience was dismissed many years ago. The confusion entered Burma, and Thailand, being surrounded, started a counter revolution and counter infiltration, something which no “law and order” American would think of doing.

At the moment the World Buddhist Federation is in the hands of anti-communists. Not only that but being Buddhists and not pseudo advaitins, they are far more concerned with agreements and similarities than differentiations. This person does not wish to relate his own experiences, inner or outer here, long since accepted in Asia but given no consideration here, but why should this writer be an exception? The forces in the United States being more anxious to Christianize the Orient than to stop communism are now faced with dilemmas.

Program: Without going into details this person will appeal to the WBF and through it for some sort of study of Lord Buddha, any way, any how. This was already asked by Dr. Malalasekera but failed because almost every pseudo Buddhist has his own Sangha and will not associate with other Buddhists. And Sangha members are no different from others in their solid walls against the initiation experience or the moksha or satori which is real.

Zen Literature is not, or course, Buddha experience and when the “enlightenment” (satori) was reported in certain writings he found it a comparatively low grad or outer samadhi; it was real, it was samadhi, but outer and did not evince the Identity Consciousness which is presented alike by all true schools of Dharma.

Personalism has been strongly attacked in Soviet Russia. It was attacked from the beginning by Lord Buddha, but nowhere, in any religion on earth is personality so predominant today as within the ranks of Buddhism that pseudo-faith erected on the Dharma of the Enlightened One. Japanese largely substitute Dogen Daishi or Shinran Shonen for Lord Buddha. Americans substitute Daisetz Suzuki, or else some fleeting personality like the late Nicholas Roerich not to mention names commonly known. Nowhere is the samadhi or moksha in evidence.

Fortunately here there is an Arhat from Korea and it is possible that he will rise above this dualistic nonsense which permeates the world. When this person received the Dharma transmission from Sokei-An Sasaki he was able to explain most of the Upanishads and those which he could not explain then have come to him either in further diksha or in the receiving the actual literature and not the commentaries by some dialectical Occidental.

Scientific Study of Religion is simply the integrity, the clarity of definition, and the study both of words—at their own levels—and contents of Veda Upanishads, Suttees, Sutras or any other divine literature. It means the removal of logic and pseudo logic, or emotional and exhortational appeal, and of demonstration through living experience.

This is not only done in the sciences but the recent experiences of the writer show that new devices reveal the shadows of the Supreme Light, the measurable out of the Immeasurable, as no ego consciousness or ego activity can.

By the end of next year it is hoped that the scientific scholars who wish integrity and probity will have at least a solid basis for understanding World Religions offered by those who have had the wisdom of direct experience by transformance of consciousness.

Report to WBF will be based first on the experience of that Peace which is beyond manas.

The Christian Peace beyond understanding means simply Peace beyond manas (nous in Greek, not dianoia which is close of Vijnana).Here dualists have led the world astray. The experience of Peace, Great Peace or otherwise, is the Fount of Wisdom. From the Fount of Wisdom we can control our minds and those of others.

The Siddhantic experiences control only the phenomena of immediacy. From Sokei An this person saw the whole history of the world for many years including the destruction of Germany and Japan. He does not wish to look, but if he looks now it will be to the Great Peace of Lord Buddha and he hopes to influence a few Buddhists toward or to the reality of the Buddha experience.

Some people have said the late Maharshi is the Buddha of the age. That is why this letter is written. Some of our brethren have had that Enlightening Peace which is necessary now for the leaders of Buddhism and for the whole world.

Shanti! Shanti! Shanti!

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

December 20, 1964

 

Aiem Sangkhavasi

Hon. General Secretary

World Fellowship of Buddhists

41, Phra Athit Street.,

Bangkok, Thailand

 

My dear Aiem:

I do not think it was the intention of either of us to carry on lengthy correspondence but a number of events of the last few weeks warrant some communication.

There are in this city about eight so-called Buddhist “Sanghas” with which I am acquainted, but there are others too. And if one includes the whole of the State of California, there are over a dozen “Sanghas” most of which do not communicate with other “Sanghas.” And excepting the Pure Land groups (of all things), you practically never hear the Triratna, much less the Pancha Sila.

A number of years ago I presented twenty five years of research to Alan Watts, which only made of him an enemy and socially a most successful one until recently. The revolts against him have only established more “Sanghas” which alike are based on personalisms, and have nothing to do with traditional Dharma or Dhamma—sometimes these words are used, but almost never the content. The splinter leaders are without exception personally antagonistic to Watts, but often without any intellectual contact, sharing only the desire to lead and teach.

Ordained in Japan as “Fudo” to fight the enemies of “Buddhism,” it has only made me socially unacceptable. Which allies and aligns me with some other Americans, all withdrawn from society, who among them know, I think every school of Buddhism in Asia, and have been regarded in different parts of Asia as men of high integrity and honor.

Recently at the home of Rev. Iru price, in the absence of the regular invited speaker, I took the floor, “I beg you listen to me and then you may judge. It does not matter whether you accept the person or not. This may be my last appearance to you. I am going to start a revolution and I mean revolution and nothing but a revolution. I am going to read from some of the most sublimed, most profound and most beautiful of all human literature.” I then added that they had the right to reject the literature and the explanation, but it was my farewell appearance unless—so I read some Pali Scriptures and excepting Rev. Price himself, I don’t think there was a person there who had ever read or heard the words! Some had been “studying Buddhism” for years. Some had presumable academic degrees, etc.

The reaction was profound. Many severe critics apologized and all drew around me afterwards. Yet it has taken years even to get one small group, and, as said before, there are several Americans in this region, all today socially ostracized who have been honored in Buddhist lands by Buddhist prelates!

The British philosopher, C.P. Snow, holds we have two cultures and for my part, I should called them “truth-centered” and “ego-centered” and there does not seem to be any compromised. For years now I have watched one so- called “Buddhist” leader after another go down into disgrace rather than to accept in his personal life, karmic principles. One does not have to change human nature and one does not have any joy in watching the constant observation of cosmic laws.

In rapid succession I have met Hon. Roger Hilsman, Dr. Carroll Parrish and Admiral Felt. There has been most satisfactory communion and communication and the Admiral has validated my effort to write a paper on “The Buddhist of Vietnam.” It has been perpetually rejected by everybody heretofore. It is a subject many times discussed with the late Phra Sumangalo. But it is the American propensity to honor individuals and adhere to slogans rather than realities.

Dr. Strong, University of California, Berkeley. In the middle of the struggle over Free Speech this man is now in danger of losing his office. In 1963, in full charge of a conference on “Asia” he positively refused to recognize the World Buddhist Federation or to permit Dr. Paul Fung to appear. What is more, in this conference on “Asia” he did not have a singles Chinese, and exactly one Asian, in panels which totaled about fifty spokesmen, quite a few from Europe.

I have since had other rebuffs from him on Asian matters. And to show you how ridiculous it is, a story is related:

I rushed back from Southern California to attend a reception for the Hon. Sri Surendra Ghose, deputy leader of the Congress Party in the Indian Parliament. The meeting was called by Dr. Haridas Chaudhuri and the “professors” who give out degrees (?) in the so-called Academy of Asian Studies with which Princess Poon Diskul had been connected while in San Francisco. Imagine the dismay of the audience when the speaker pointed his finger at the writer: “Why you are the man I came to San Francisco to meet. I traveled five thousand miles just to meet you!” Which was true, and which has further thrown me out of the society of “experts.” But now those who have been so treated are increasing in number. I have just met a man who lived in Vietnam among the Buddhists and his conclusions corroborate my own experiences.

The totality of these events has been that at least one “Sangha” has agreed to participate in a Wesak Day celebration in Golden Gate Park of this city where there is a gigantic statue of Lord Buddha—long disregarded by the many non-communicating “Sanghas.” Pressure is now being exerted to restore a festival which was held when I was young.

Any reports or suggestions will be graciously received. And one hopes that the turmoil of the day will lead to better understanding.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

October 2, 1965

 

World Buddhist Federation,

41 Phra Athit St.,

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Dear Aiem and Friends:

The arrival of Volume 2, No. 4 of the News Bulletin, coming so soon after the visit of Her Serene Highness and her entourage may justify some remarks.

Despite the statements of His Excellency Hon. U Thant that we need a moral and spiritual revolution to keep up with the progress of Science, my own remark that the scientific revolution is the moral and spiritual revolution and it is the people outside of sciences who have to fall back on maxims and aphorisms because their own egos are still too active. In the scientific world every discovery of every person is regarded as a triumph of the Ego. And it is easy to see here which is in accord with the Dharma/ Dhamma.

Besides this it is in the universities that one finds the pure teachings (Dr. Richard Robinson, etc.) and also the active Bodhisattvas whose names are not mentioned but all of whom know both Her Serene Highness Princess Poon Diskul and your good selves. So it is not surprising that when one turned from one’s past efforts where one meets only egotism and sanskaras, to the universities, that one finds those who are either very sincere about the Dharma/Dhamma or are anxious to learn more.

The articles on Sraddha/Saddha and on Prajna/Panna are not to be taken lightly. You can now readily appreciate that when one does not find the Triratna or the scriptural studies in the temples, churches and so-called “Sanghas,” that does not mean there is neglect. It is only that one must go in an entirely different direction and despite the Hon. U. Thant, it is among the scientists and those influenced by the scientists that one finds sincerity, humility and curiosity. And by following the teachings which appear in the first two articles by Charles Knight and Miss Soni, one finds oneself suddenly in a new atmosphere of cordiality, harmony and mutual appreciation and exchange.

This is all the more important because the first errand was for Peace-not the dualistic, ephemeral “Peace” that metaphysicians, politicians and diplomats talk about but never experience, but that “Peace” which evinces a state or states of consciousness above dualisms, ego-separations and all those forces which make for distinctions and differences. And in outlining a peace-approach there was immediate response. What will come of it, one does not know, but the seeds have been sewn.

 The peace-proposal was a forward step beyond that sent to your good selves based on the successful practice of Dhyana (Jhana) or other Upaya inherent in the Eight-fold path of enlightenment. Needless to say this was rejected by all but one group here, and there is no sense of any dualistic reactions to groups of any kind who simply are incapable of experiencing the higher stages of consciousness.

Previously a letter was sent to our good friend, Dr. Radhakrishnan, whose every pain and anguish have been felt in this heart. Anatta has long since been discarded as a basic element in dharma-study in this country because it is the metaphysical people who carry the banners. But the scientific people are not concerned with egocentricity and when one goes to the universities there are so many people, both professors and scholars, who welcome the anatta approach, one can hardly realize how much incipient or open wisdom there is in the United States-a point inferred in mentioning by a professor who knew your good selves, but who stays far away from all religious groups.

This month there will be a lecture on Milarepa. That is fine, but the idea that people can and do go through the experiences of Marpa and Milarepa is the very thing that will be rejected by most of such audiences who delight in the lectures, but do not dare to leave off their egocentricities. On the other hand one finds now in the universities, among the Anthropologists and Psychologists a sincere interest in experiencing ether, and especially “higher” or expanded states of consciousness. And there is no question but that there are two separate “revolutions” going on in the United States against the egocentric dualism which determines our life.

This new step means that this person will not follow in the pathways of the late Dwight Goddard and Phra Sumangalo to die of a broken heart trying to bring people who call themselves “Buddhists” closer together. The scientific age demands experience and as the evidences of karmic-retribution are only too clear in the recent events within this country (pardon one for not describing them but in some respects they are worse than the Viet Nam imbroglio), both from the scientific and heart-standpoints it is very easy to both explain events and to interpret stages of consciousness and what they mean in the larger life.

Maxims are a necessary part of equipment of those who have not attained wisdom. The “Sangha” consciousness explained in the latter part of the publication only parallels organic life. Jesus has said, “I am the Vine and ye are the branches thereof.” This is quite evident to those, who like the writer are Botanists, Horticulturists, etc. Not only that, but there is communion and brotherhood among those studying plants and their care which one does not often find elsewhere. Despite all the symbolism and actuality of the Tree in both mythology and biblical traditions, it has remained outside our conscious experience because certainly we in the West, are cemented into egocentric outlooks, and though we may develop degrees of sympathy, we shun identities.

Even in India this person had to struggle against those who could not conceive or would not experience identities; and had nothing but wonder with many who lived first, and then preached identities as is verbalized in Tam Tvat Asi.

 The publication of David Kapleau on real Zen experience is working havoc with those who have accepted semi-fictional literature for the true Dharma. Sooner or later the scientific world, which is coming into ascendancy, will insist on experience even against those subjectivities known as “Right Views” a miserable misinterpretation of Samma Drishthi.

Today after over forty years study one can see how important the early pioneer work of Paul Carus was. When we recognize the part played by Mind in our affairs-actually and not as a philosophy, there will be more care and consideration of thinking.

Peace, understanding and wisdom can only come from experience, or awakening and not from discussions about them. You may not be able to introduce such words as Srotapanna and Sakrodagamin inside many of our Buddhist organizations, but you can today in our universities where there is both curiosity and humility.

Grand Master Seo of Korea put this person through several kinds of examination and validated his position in the Dharma/Dhamma. It is now important to operate from the proper level and one finds excellent reception in our universities where previously this was not expected. Indeed there may soon be a chapter of the American Oriental Studies established here, which means we shall no longer be limited to or by European and British professors who do not recognize spiritual experiences.

When the Dharma/Dhamma is presented from the dignified view of our intellectuals, it means that we can hope to present the scriptures, both from the Pali and Sanskrit sources, instead of public lectures which are not based on the Grand Awakening. In any event we shall soon be finding serious study of that grand cosmology of the Orient, with its many grades of evolution, its states of consciousness, the movements of the Wheel-of-the-Law and those basic teachings which are so necessary for our mental as well as spiritual understanding.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif. 94103

7th December, 1965

 

V. Ganesan, Editor,

“The Mountain Path,”

Sri Ramanasraman, P.O.

Tiruvannamalai, South India

 

Dear Ram:

Once Stanley Lane-Poole wrote that he was leaving his book unended with Emperor Aurungzeb facing Sivaji, each with his private antipathies and the Dream of Akbar was over. Today the United States faces the Vietnamese and India faces Pakistan; the Dream of Akbar is repressed and suppressed. And proud India, announcing the doctrine of Karma, equally evades the principles of Karma and counter-Karma. Full of real or self-styled “avatars,” Sadgurus, and Maharishis (to be a rishi is not enough anymore), the country is starving, the rains have not come and no one dares to act the part of Sri Ramakrishna (who was recently severely taken to task).

Instead of studying the Dharma, we seek each his own Messiah or Deliverer, and will have no traffic without those who take another Deliverer. And so the Sutra of Forty Two Sections which explains exactly the behavior of his relation to holy beings, is set aside. Each criticizes whom he will and by addition of the word “humility,” those who would never, never play the part of the “dust of the earth” go out to preach what they call “universal religion.’

In the days of the rishis were those who could control the weather, the crops, the affairs of man. If a few people could practice the type of Tapas known to the ancients there would be crops, there would be favorable conditions, but that is no more. It is not only in India but in so many parts of the world that people are looking for a magical Messiah-but as you do not know the earth as a whole, one will not explain it.

My “Deity” is the Lord of all men, of all races, of all classes and as the bible teaches, there are no high nor low nor Jew nor Barbarian nor Greek in Christ Jesus. This is better explained in the Upanishads, but the total confusion between the acceptance of those of deva consciousness and the rejection, let us say, of those of “Prajapati” consciousness makes a clear picture impossible-in certain quarters. And just as possible in other quarters where there are inquiring minds. This person has just been given a letter of thanks by the World Congress of Faiths of London for his proposed “solution” of a discussion of the relative merits of Christianity and Hinduism at higher levels. This has been possible because in this life this person has experienced the deep stages of awakening consciousness at those levels.

There are today in this country several organizations studying religion from a scientific point of view. The one in which the writer is involved at the moment is that of Ritual and Vision. Everywhere there is Ritual, in so few places Vision. But when this person was permitted-and this is the first time it was permitted- to present his Vision, there was not a single challenge.

In talking to one of the top scientists involved in such investigations he asked, “Why is it that if a person claims mystical experience or spiritual awakening he is regarded as a pompous egotist, but when a person claims to have a scientific discovery he is regarded as genius? Why is it that in the sciences you have to have laboratory and life experience but elsewhere this is ruled out?”

In further discussion this one said, ”The Ritual was the Michelson-Morley experiment, the Vision was Einstein’s teaching; the Ritual was the Vedic ceremonies, the Vision was Lord Buddha’s Enlightenment.” The scientist not only agreed but has asked the writer to continue to work in that vein. This is the West which does not pride itself; this is the West where scientists are curious. This is the West where “God” somehow or other seems to have inspired people who have not the “magics” of ceremonies and philosophies. This is the West where one finds more and more scientists (very few non-scientists) looking into the reality (if possible) of universal consciousness.

First the heart, then the head, then the funds. This has been my experience with Mrs. Dickermann Hollister who conceived the “Temple of Understanding” and is attracting more and more people-and funds. In her work I find the Dream of Akbar coming true, coming true despite, not because of all the new leaders who follow more or less either “Sivaji” or Aurungzeb” and preach endlessly non-dualism.

Hindus claim, claim, claim to be following Lord Buddha. My own Guru, Papa Ram Das, said that the capacity for pain and suffering was no greater than the capacity for Bliss, and that Ananda consists in willingness to accept equally and exactly Pain-Suffering and Bliss. This writer suffered for weeks when the hostilities broke out and so wrote Dr. Radhakrishnan with whom there is empathy, sympathy and understanding. It is true but there is need to make followers of each particular Deliverer believe that some sort of Wisdom manifests in the followers of some other Deliverer.

Papa Ramdas was met first in the realm of Heart, or beyond it. And then gradually in the outer manifestation. This person had a debate with one of the persons whose writing you accept: “What are you here for?” “I had a pain.” “Is it gone?” “Yes.” “What was the pain?” “It was the pain of 50,000 starving Hindus.” “You are crazy, how could you have the pain of 50,000 starving Hindus.” Then Papa Ramdas entered: “No, you are crazy because this man knows what he is talking about and you do not.” But although Papa Ramdas said that this man knew what he was talking about, my friend, you accept the former view, and we must let it go at that. So how can I subscribe to a magazine that does not include the whole universe while claiming that. Claims plus exclusions are the order of the day.

The Mahamudra Meditation which is perhaps the denouement of the teachings of Lord Buddha is either foreign or unpracticed although in all likelihood both for the most part. One must exclude Dr. Radhakrishnan and Bhikshu Rahala, especially the latter who explained it in detail to the writer. But he did not permit the writer to reply from his own history. It was beautiful, it was enlightening and it was one-sided.

One of your writers complain about the lack of Sufi teachers. When the Government of the United States appointed Dr. Lyman Wilbur as its chief authority on the history of Southeast Asia he wrote the same thin and this person sent him the names of twenty Sufi teachers! The difference between the East and West is manifest-he accepted the names and went to call on them, but this is almost impossible with your countrymen. If there was an ounce of humility and curiosity you would be glad to know about them.

 I must mention one of them. He wrote a book, “Whither Sadhu.” I read it: “Why this is the Upanishads! You have had the whole experience of the Upanishads!” Yet he is known as a Sufi and is rejected by your people.

One time I said: “Sahib, I think this is where the rishis used to meet. Will you please look and tell me?” “Yes, this is where the rishis had many temples.” It is at the base of the Himalayas and there are many springs and fountains there and this person could feel and “smell” and my friend could “see.”

At another time I said: “You know, my brother, that Saraswati and the great gods and goddesses are realities to me but I dare not explain this especially to those people who hold themselves high in the dharma.” “There is no question but that Saraswati is real and I accept Krishna and Rama and all Indian deities.” Yet he is a Sufi-and his existence contradicts some of the remarks made by your book-reviewers.

It is here that the scientist and metaphysician part company. The scientists want the “truth of religion” from experience and not from personalisms or doctrines. When I met Dr. S.C. Chatterji of Calcutta University he challenged me. “Which do you want? To hear the Flute-of-Krishna or to have a discourse immediately without preparation on the Chandogya Upanishad?” Our host said, “He is not fooling, he means exactly what he says.” The professor apologized. But no metaphysician, no cult leaders will have any of that. Thank God, so to speak, for our open-minded scientists. They meet in a few days. They want to investigate religion with that same fervor found in church and temple and ashram. This is the new America which is rising rapidly to the front. Not the America of politics, economics and press-reviews, but the America of the people who like Lord Buddha, wish to examine Causation and find answers, for the answers are there.

Like Lord Buddha the writer believes that the ego is the source of all ignorance, and that the solution comes in removing the ego, and the solution does not come with any doctrines of removing the ego. We love the doctrines and have the doctrines and the ego together.

About ten days ago I meet a Seeress who is an old friend. She was lecturing and explained that in one sense she had no faculty but as soon as the ego was removed, when there was no more manas and shankara, she could see anything. She has been accepted by the scientists and rejected by the metaphysical people. The metaphysical people do not wish to remove the ego. Buddha may have said, “Foregoing self the Universe grow I.” But we like doctrines about it, we like persons to acclaim it and accept those persons and no others. This is the age that is dying. It is not Science that is triumphant, it is anatta that is triumphant.

I retain my funds to and for those who practice Brotherhood and mutual exchange. India is starving, India lacks rain, India is wedded to Samsara and one feels the pain of all of it. Someday I hope your hearts will be as inclusive as your emotions.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3, Calif.

September 1, 1966

 

Dr. G. Malalasekera

High Commissioner of Ceylon

London, England

 

Is World Peace Possible?

My dear Friends:

I have before me Science and Peace by the famous Linus Pauling from which one quotes: (italics his)

I believe that there is a greater power in the world than the evil power of military force, of nuclear bombs—there is the power of Gods, of Morality, of humanitarianism.

Last week I called at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, California, as part of my theoretical “How California Can Help Asia” and was amazed to find the personal outlook often better expressed by either famous or scholastic-research people. But when I asked how they would translate some of their fine verbiage into action, the answer was not forthcoming. And the double invalidism of Prof. Pauling and my good friend, Prince Hopkins, made it advisable to make another trip to that city.

One remembers years ago an interview with the late Villabhai Patel (I was the only American admitted to his presence) when one offered an answer to a similar question. This brought friendship but as the years have gone on with the noble Dr. S. Radhakrishnan as President of India and the noble Vice- President, Russian, we see something in practice which was common to the words of both the Indian and American savants.

It is almost fifty years since my first meeting with our common teacher, Rev. N.T. Kirby. Almost everything he said is clear before me all the time and there has been a similar phenomenon in the case of the late real Zen teacher, Sokei-An Sasaki. And one is very pleased to read your remarks on Mahayana and Theravada which the Western analytical mind has twisted out of distortion, and having had the same man (Kirby) introduce me to each and both, working with and toward Unity and Unification one has never accepted those differences.

Besides I have lived near Taxila and Takht Bhai is on the estates of friends of mine. When I visit these places one is reminded that the divisions of schools was no greater than the divisions in departments at a single university and it is only the insistence of the manasic-Aristotelian mind that keeps us ignorant of the true Dharma (I am much more used to Sanskrit terms and will not apologize.)

After innumerable rejections recently some one lent me a hall to speak on “Vietnamese Buddhism.” With all the fighting going on and all the verbal proclamations, not the slightest attention has been paid to the poor peasants of the region in conflict. The purpose of that speech and of a repeat to be given under the auspices of our good friend, Rev. Iru Price, the idea is to collect funds for the Kwan Yin orphanages, terrible victims of senseless strife.

There is no apology for any emotional tones here for I am sitting in a chair once occupied by the Phra Sumangalo wherein he poured out his heart. We were like that for thirty-five years and this chair will some day be a museum piece to real Peace. It may have been prophetic that then he acceded to the writer as to the knowledge of Oriental teachings and this was confirmed last year by the Grand Master of Korea (Seo) and indirectly by several Zen Masters.

But what is important is our failure to recognize the reality of what may be called “The Grand Universe” in which Prof. Pauling has faith and which may be—and to me is—The Reality. For my climax, “Peace is Power” is explicable alike in the realms of Physics and Metaphysics.

The abbot at the Kegon Temple at Nara gave forth almost precisely what you are proclaiming now.

The day after the lecture the latest copy of the World Buddhist Federation magazine came and it was the vindication of one’s life. Since you left this region I have been engaged in a fierce some and generally losing battle against Farangi “pseudo-Buddhism.” We are fortunate in having in this country Prof. Richard Robinson and now some of the universities in the Midwest which will haves nothing to do with “Four-Englishmen pseudo- Buddhism.” And these four combined or separate seem to have no knowledge either of our teacher, Rev, Kirby, or of the Rhys Davids whose works I had to study both with him and my teacher in Comparative Religion.

Actually one night I addressed a small group here: “I am not going to lecture. I am merely going to read the words of the Lord Buddha and if anybody has ever heard them before, there will be an apology forthcoming.” One read from the Pali texts without comment. One man present cried—and later on he was blessed with the Grand Experience. But we have “Buddhism” here without any texts, Pali or Sanskrit, and at least half the “temples” do not even repeat Triratna.

In 1929 one met the late Dr Henry Atkinson of the World Church Peace Union and the then functioning, “Society for World Peace Through Religion.” At his request also one studied all the faiths not on our agenda and in 1957 one was able to reach him on his death-bed “mission accomplished.” To me his work is being continued by Mrs. Judith Hollister with her “Temple of Understanding” in Washington D.C.

In a joint letter once to Dr. Radhakrishnan and the WBF one wrote on “Four ways to Peace in Vietnam”—The Jhanas, the Mahamudra, the Ko-an and the Mantram.” They accepted these approaches. They are all experiences and all grew out of ay association with Dr. Kirby. And it to from this level of “Peace” that “Peace is Power” and this can and should be translated into action.

This is what I hope to do, to communicate more semantically to Dr. Linus Pauling and his colleagues in Santa Barbara.

[next page(s) missing]

 

 


772 Clementina St.

San Francisco 3. Calif.

March 12, 1967

 

Pauline Offner

c/o American Embassy, Consular Division

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Bodhisattva:

This is not a nice letter. It is written by an unnice man if, had he been nice would probably have died of a broken heart. I have watched Robert Clifton die, I have watched Eugene Burdick die. I am afraid now of Julie Medlock. She lived all over Southeast Asia and her on-the-spot were reports were rejected so she writes only now for the Asian press. Americans simply do not and will not trust other Americans. And we want Peace!

Last week I went to the first real Peace Conference of my whole life. I mean real ones. Everybody had to listen to everybody else and did and respected everybody else. There was no pick-and-chose. There was universal respect. I asked the man sitting next to me what his religion was. “I am a Buddhist. At least I am what used to be called a Buddhist.” I asked him what group he was associated with. “With no groups. I believe in Lord Buddha. I don’t believe in the local groups all of whom reject Lord Buddha. I practice the Jhanasa, I study the scriptures.” This rare bird was a real man, really sincere and working for real peace, not for some imaginary negative to be labeled peace , the first item of which is to reject what is told you by some old acquaintance.

I know there are others like him. But the real Buddhists who study the Scriptures and Practice the Way are far overwhelmed by noisy and popular groups who practice everything from rump-culture to drugs, but agree in not studying the scriptures and generally in not even repeating the Triratna.

The most curious thing is the total rejection of Karma by all these people. They are not observers of any moral principles; they do not respect their fellow-man, and often don’t respect society at all. Some of them are downright anarchists.

Our friend, Doug Burns returned and said there are no living Arhats. This is wonderful “Buddhism.” He has not met any so there are none. If I were an Arhat I certainly would not see him. All these people who read the Zen stories about over flowing tea-cups and then fill their minds so much they can not receive. And I have, without mentioning his name, challenged this to the WBF, challenging them to deny that Dr. Radhakrishnan is not Arhat or Bodhisattva. One does not carry any more. The person who affirms is an “egotist” and the one who denies is followed. This is the “only in America” way to? Enlightenment????

This has been the busiest part of a very, very busy life, no time at all. Endless legal litigation held up by a brother’s protracted illness. Then Vocha comes and gets sick and she sends me on an errand to my two life­long friends, Rudolph Schaeffer and William Gaskin and they both are ill.

Then Lottie Fernandez gets ill and thinks she may not live long (Lottie and Vocha are friends but I dare not mention either to the other on account of illness.) Lottie decided that the old Mentor-garden Library started by Senzaki should go to someone who believe in the Buddhist Scriptures so I have it. I never wanted it, I am not a collector and old Sensei was not. But the local “Buddhists” have never accepted any prowess on my part, the institutions, excepting Asia Foundation will not have it. So the library. And just in time.

For there was a man sent out by Colgate University to study the effect of Buddhism on American culture. He asked me if I could explain Zen without a lot of enigmas and metaphysics and metaphors and I began, “However innumerable sentient beings are, I vow to save them all.” He stuck out his hands. He can’t be a leader in “Buddhism” in America, impossible (French pronunciation). He is an American who studied with Japanese and lived a long time in Japan and that means out, but the universities have discovered him.

Then a magazine agent came and gave me a long, long interview, the first in my life. Why that man actually believes that an American who goes to Asia and associates with Asians might know more of Asian philosophies than socially polite Englishmen or socially impolite Americans or complex Germans. It hasn’t been done, it is now being done.

It is regrettable that surrounded by illness I have not been able to keep up with Vocha. But I have written the WBF, I am not a “good Buddhist.” I teach the Jhanas and the breathing exercises of Lord Buddha and Shaku Soyen. But I emphasize Prajna. I don’t think there is a group here that does that. The silly Sixth Patriarch, writing at length on Prajna and saying that one did not come to Enlightenment by Meditation alone. Why all the Rumpists know better. If you can get calluses on your rump you have Enlightenment! And the people die in Vietnam and the war goes on and we think we can bring peace in the world by first distrusting each other.

As soon as I got the library I did a silly thing—demonstrated Sangha outlook. I consider myself tenant only, trustee, and have willed it to Rev. Iru Price whom Her Serene Highness selected because of his “House of Dharma.” Although Grand Master Seo selected me I am, despite all criticisms of egotism, not egocentric, I am dharma-centric and Sangha—centric and own nothing, just hold. I have no intention to trying to impress “Buddhists.”

I am impressing the young. They come and learn Buddha’s meditation and Shaku Soyen’s meditation and hear lectures on Prajna. I work with the disciples of our late Sensei, Nyogen Senzaki and the friends of the late Robert Clifton. We are all one. This I practice. Shaku Soyen said, “Practice Oneness.” I do this and therefore am not a “Buddhist.” I traveled all over Japan with a friend of old Sensei—two bodies, one mind. I am teaching this to the young. They accept and learn. They like it.

May all beings be blissful, may all being’s be peaceful, may all beings be happy.

Samuel L. Lewis (S.A.M.)

Rev. He Kwang (Zen-shi)

 

 


Pauline Offner

American Embassy Consular

Bangkok, Thailand

Summer 1967

 

Venerable Zen-shi—He Kwang

Thank you very much for your long, fascinating summer letter. I beg your forgiveness for my long absence. Living among huge buffaloes & tiny lizards, one enters a timeless mode of life. And asking butterflies & mosquitoes about “time” is useless. They know of no such man-made foolishness.

Your various expositions were of great interest. Have you restored the Mentorgarten yet? And thank you also for the superb picture of your “Fairy Godmother”—yes, she belongs to all.

Now, two years have passed since I came to Thailand, & it has been an enriching experience. Theravada has a great deal to offer—to those who have little dust in their eyes! They put great emphasize on understanding & wisdom; going into our own mind laboratory & getting the facts. And when one is busy with such wholesome work, there is little time for quibbling & foolish talk about labels & sects.

Today I am fasting in memory of my beloved teach, Nyogen Senzaki, who opened the door to the Dhamma for me—by showing me his living example of “Buddhism.” He passed away on May 7th & I usually fast the 7th of every month. His portrayal of Metta & Karuna has penetrated my whole being. My great hope I can continue a simple, secluded life for a longer time, so that the teachings—through study & meditation practice—will permeate me profoundly. And your letter arrived on the 7th!

Presently I am living at a small countryside monastery with 5 monks & 7 nuns (I moved here a few months ago). I go to Bangkok once a week to visit my teacher. It’s a 3 hour bus trip & rather expensive for my beggarly status, but I must sacrifice because the monastery offers a fairly good environment for study & practice. I keep a rather strict daily schedule to avoid the danger of sloth & torpor and eat one meal a day of fruit and vegetables.

I understand our dear Vocha is going to Japan. I hope very much we will meet during her travels. You mentioned a Mrs. Fernandez—I remember her well but haven’t heard from her for a long time. If you meet her again, pleas relay my very best regards.

Poor Dr. Doug Burns has been drafted & has left Thailand. He tried many ways to avoid it, but all failed.

There are now about 14-15 foreign monks here—from England, Germany, America, Switzerland, Canada & Australia & Philippines. Most of them are very sincere, but some are eager to “teach” or write—before they have climbed even 1/10th of the mountain. I prefer to follow monk Nyogen’s advice & practice 10 – 20 years first. But I am so dull-headed, I fear I may need about 50 years. Well, in any event, the climbing itself is of tremendous importance, isn’t it?

Your letters will always be heartily welcomed—your activities, Dhamma news & notes.

Hoping you are in best health and serene mind.

Metta,

Seiko

 

 


August 21, 1967

World Fellowship of Buddhists

41 Phra Athit St.

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Dear Aiem and Friends,

This place is called the Mentorgarten. The writer first became a member of the Mentorgarten under the influence of the late Re. M.T. Kirby, who later introduced one to Nyogen Senzaki, and when the Mentorgarten became active, around 1922, one was one of the first members. After Nyogen Senzaki moved to Los Angeles, and especially after most of his direct disciples left his world, both the remaining ones and the late Phra Sumangalo urged one to restore the Mentorgarten.

This year the Wheel turned bringing either the reward for punya, or for other reasons or non-reasons. Now one has the library of the old Zendo, the manuscripts of Nyogen Senzaki and also those of the Roshi Shaku Soyen and Tai Hsu. A favorable letter from Charles Tuttle has expressed willingness to examine these manuscripts.

At this time there is a check enclosed for Nine Dollars ($9.00) for three subscriptions, as follows (please note my new address):

Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Ave

San Francisco, Calif.

94110 USA

 

Rev. J. Eugene Wagner

135 Ninth Ave.

Sa Francisco, Calif.

94110 USA

 

Rev. Dr. Neville Warwick

1551 Octavia St

98109 USA

 

One is now taking the opportunity to write on a most serious subject. A single individual does not represent a group, nor a Sangha unless he is officially recognized as such. Science is vast and there are in this country the American Association for the Advancement of Science and it has a sub-body Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. This person belongs to both associations but believing in the anatta doctrine just a little he does not propose that he stands for either of these large important bodies. He has spoken in gatherings of each, that is all. He is not a spokesman for them.

At a recent gathering here in San Francisco, both the officials of the International Society for General Semantics, and Dr. Abraham Kaplan, a noted philosopher, presented scientific aspects of the ego far more in line with what I have understood to be Buddhist teachings than our good friend, Dr. Burns. Whatever his views, they are not the views of any large group either of Buddhists or of scientists.

 Lord Buddha appeared in the midst of a great culture and he did not combat that culture. In modern terms it would be said, he semanticised it. he demanded human experience as the basis for any system of philosophy or metaphysics. Not only did he see no reason to reject the existence of beings of various grades and gradations of evolution, seen and unseen, he acted and spoke as if certain types of beings were real, though our Western culture, at least certain phases of it, have never accepted such beings and such existences. But other people have.

It is only egocentric people that deny the experiences of others. Rev. Kirby, aforementioned, told me in detail his own satori and explained at length Prati-moksha (Pattimokha)  based on real experience. If other people do not accept it, it is most unfortunate. Ignorant and untrained people do not accept Truth; that does not affect Truth, or Dharma.

The same applies to “The occurrence of Arahants.” If one has a private definition that is one thing. But if one calls those people “Arahants” who have had the experience of Moksha (Mokha) either once or many times, and have reached a state of cosmic ideation and cosmic function, their evolution is quite apart from public or any recognition.

It is certain in this lifetime this person has met several people who have attained. The WBF has recognized Dr. Radhakrishnan, and Dr. Radhakrishnan has called a number of persons “liberated souls” who are, in a sense, historical characters of this age. Whether Dr. Burns recognizes them or not is a matter of total indifference.

Nor do I accept, “At this point one may ask whether or not Buddhism is a satisfactory religion, for it offers salvation to so few.” This is neither my instruction nor my experience.

You will find on the walls of this house credentials in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. If Dr. Burns is right, these Orientals are wrong and if they are right he has the privilege of becoming humble. I am not going to name persons, for the very attitude of the denial of ego-substance itself carries one a long way toward liberation from Samsara.

If Buddha failed to establish lines of liberated souls (meaning name-and-form) then Buddhism had better recognize the parent Dharma from which it sprang. If he did—and to me there is evidence that he did—it is for Western scholars and devotes to study and practice. I refuse to accepts any advantage in Dharma (Dhamma) not based on attainment in the Bhumis and Paramis—this is my position; nor do I assent to the superiority of those who verbally and psychologically bypass the Bhumis and Paramis. But I bow in the dust to those who have had such experiences, at any level; and in any form.

Buddhist logic teaches that when syllogisms and logical forms are contradicted by human experiences the syllogisms and forms are wrong. In this it differs from the formal Logics of the Greeks and Hindus. And it is this Logic I believe will have to be adopted in the modern world as it accords with both scientific and spiritual progress.

It is not very sober when a writer claims to know what will happen to persons other than himself when a new phenomena occurs. And if it were to happen, he is not responsible for the resulting karma. I am glad Dr. Burns has said, “then perhaps the percentage of being reaching Nirvana is much greater than realized.” Realized by whom?

The Tevijja Sutra has been my own “Ocean's razor.” The individual is not constituted to speak for others because he has so self-considered himself to be spokesman. This is entirely against all Buddhist teachings and schools.

Dewdrops melt into shiny seas whether they are watched or not. The light can be recognized when we ourselves are equipped to recognize the light.

It is because I have known many who have experienced Moksha that I remain optimistic. Naming names is unimportant (though this can be done). “Seek out your own salvation with diligence” is much more important.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


October 14, 1967

Rev. Soen Nakagawa

Ryutakuji

Mishima City

Shizuoka, Japan

 

O Roshi San:

You will please forgive this miserable, stupid person (Japanese have the words, Americans do not) for having had the audacity to met the late Nyogen Senzaki in 1920 and to have been a member of his first Mentorgarten and later his first Zendo and also the first Zendo in Los Angeles on Turner St. He also had the audacity to have been one of the first Americans to have sat before the late Sokei-An Sasaki in 1930 when he knew hardly anybody and received Dhrama-transmission from him which Mrs. Ruth has accepted, to the annoyance of a lot of people. And again and again he had been asked to restore Mentorgarten which is now being done to the annoyance of people who do not accept the anatta of Sakya Muni, nor even the Triratna.

Now this person is not in erected in money or fame and never attached his ego-signature in collaborations with Nyogen Senzaki thus attaining money or fame. Ignored in this land he had the satori experience by Samma Drishthi immediately upon coming into the presence of Roshi Asahina Sogen, but the members of Zendos and much less of other “Sanghas” are not scientists and not moved by facts, or events.

The fact that there was some sort of Dharma-transmission was proven on the day you arrived at the San Francisco airport and the Dharma transmission was passed on immediately to a lady named Helen who averred she was the last secretary of the late Nyogen Senzaki. We met for a few minutes then and on some other occasions but it is very strange that too many people are concerned neither with facts nor anything but dualism.

This year brought an increase in income and one regrets to have to put on paper that 1/3 of one’s income is used for the Dharma now. One has one the walls credentials in Japanese, Chinese and Korean, and soon some from India, which is the type of nonsense dualistic people like.

Now without consulting others the Mentorgarten is restored exactly as wished by the late Roshi Soyen Shaku and his disciples Shaku Shaku and then Nyogen Senzaki. A whole trunk was picked up by this person and to his amazement his found his name written all over the possessions of our elder brother Monk, sometimes with instructions. One is holding this for Sangha. One ignores ego- self, and one is making a Sangha-will which none of his critics do as they have not studied the teachings of Buddha Sakya Muni, nor does one care.

It is many, many years, and this was started in the life time of our Elder brother, that we considered going over his lectures, and editing them to have a single Master Copy. This work will still take a long-time. The fact that this person say in the audience of some of the very first lectures and was given copies, does not touch the consciousness of ego-personalities. For from the beginning, both in the lectures and apart from the lectures the emphasis was on establishing the Dharma in the United States. That was not only the Supreme Wish of Nyogen Senzaki but also of the great Shaku Soyen. This is the Wish of this person and he holds this mission of Shaku Soyen above all else, to establish the Dharma in America.

Now therefore there are three things:

Permission is asked from you to edit Nyogen Senzaki’s papers. We would also like to publish them some day in some way. We do not care about any financial returns and indeed legal steps are being taken by myself to legalize the Mentorgarten which will act as custodian of papers and any moneys collected but would be turned over to you if requested.

We are having published manuscripts of Master Tai Hsu left the Nyogen Senzaki (this person was present at the lectures of Tai Hsu when he as the guest of Mentorgarten) . Also the lectures of Roshi Shaku Soyen. We are also seeking to republished “Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot.” The libraries are filled today with books by those who have had no Satori, no Dharma-transmission, no Patriarchal Zen and no Prajna-Paramita. All those things are removed and the single word “Zen” remains.

This person has submitted to examinations from the Grand Master of Korean, Ven. Seo Kyung Bo and passed #l in each test, and is accepted by Master Seo’s disciples. A report was made to Roshi Sogen Asahina, no answer.

A big meditation center may be established here soon with this person in charge. This person prefers to act as Sangha representative not as ego-individual leader. But also invited will be a Vietnamese Master. Both Dr. Thich Thien An and venerable Roshi Yasutani accepted this person on sight. You have been very kind to send recognition. At the moment all spare funds are used to work on these manuscripts, typing, buying supplies, paying secretary and all other things. If the manuscripts are published, any returns will go to Mentorgarten. If there is extra expense this person will pay. If the late Nyogen gave you any rights, you certainly could have any moneys from the sale of these books, excepting the Korean ones.

In the name of the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha and in appreciation of what you are doing in this world.

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 

 

 


[To The World Fellowship of Buddhists, first page missing]

November 17, 1967

I am compelled almost by force of circumstances to devote the rest of my life to the editing and perhaps publication of Buddhist manuscripts. It is a long story going back to the time when the late Rev. M. T. Kirby, later teacher of Dr. Malalasekera, was here. The Kamma of activity and perhaps the punya has brought not only a voluminous amount of material but the constant adage to study the Buddhist scriptures.

Good “Buddhists” are exempted from studying Buddhist scriptures. One does not know who gave them the exemption but they are. Go to all the many Buddhist centers in this immediate vicinity and you will find very, very few using any scriptures at all and the majority not reciting the Triratna. And they being “good Buddhists” have the say and one no longer cares. One must watch the detrimental Kamma and it is going to come for the Law is not changed by anybody exempting anybody. I personally saw the rise and fall of the Roerich Museum in New York. If anybody should have learned from this bizarre affair it ought to have been “Buddhists” but the same old mistakes, the pushing forward of personalities, the rejection not only of scriptures but of Bhumis and Paramis which are verbally posited and that is all. They do not present the Bhumis and Paramis much in this country as a whole and don’t have to—who exempted “them?"

Some of us are uniting together both in this land and in England to give the American people some inkling of teachings of Lord Buddha in both the Theravadin and Mahayana forms and also in human experience, in the real “expansion of consciousness” which is quite possible. But the one who has such experiences is supposed to shut up and the one who has not is permitted to comment at will, especially if he has the right robe and right ordination.

We did introduce Philip Kapleau into our class work here because he had experience and we accept experience in religion as we do in the sciences. And we do not permit speculation but we do permit devotion. The number of disciples of this person is growing rapidly. And we are also going to work with some of the ordained people of this vicinity.

The war continues and the principles of Lord Buddha are ignored. One represents Dr. Radhakrishnan shortly at a conference here. Is he a “Buddhist” or not? He has posited Prajna (Panna). So does the writer. The writer recently read Tevigga Sutta which is not of particular importance to “Buddhists.” There it shows clearly that moksha depends on human experience and not on conventions. We need more Buddha and less “Buddhism.” Next semester the University of California is going to accept the work one is doing on real Buddhist manuscripts and real teachings of both Pali and Sanskrit origin, mostly without commentary and entirely without speculation.

 Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco

November 18, 1967

 

World Fellowship of Buddhists

41 Phra Athit St.

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Dear Aiem and Friends,

It is with great sadness this letter is written and although largely in comment or responds to Brahmachari Dharmarakshita's remarks on Kamma there is little evidence in practice that Kamma is or has to be accepted by those who call themselves “Buddhists.” Indeed, “Buddhists” like other religionists, consider themselves above and this mere consideration is itself a contradiction of the teachings of Lord Buddha, the one thing that the majority of “Buddhists” seem to have in common. And there is nothing one fears more than the Kamma of the pretense and personalisms having invaded the Sanghas, what is the aim or goal rather than large memberships.

This person is one of the few that teaches Breath-Mindfulness as a basis of meditation, as noted on page 13 in reference to Upasaka Ratnasuvanno.  Indeed, as soon as one is properly ordained, he can get rid of  Breath-Mindfulness or anything else. And to ignore the kamma of the breaches of Dhamma is itself a contributing factor to the degradation of the world.

Buddha may have taught anatta, but there is little in contemporary Buddhism to support it. The words are used, that is all. And one does not agree that “Science alone will never be able to eradicate disease and mental and bodily suffering from human life” is an unsubstantiated opinion contradicting the very teachings of Lord Buddha not to put the mind on probabilities and improbabilities. But one writes fairly certain that this point will be ignored and the Kamma will operate detrimentally to those who ignorantly or otherwise contradict the actual teachings of Dhamma.

For one thing is certain: Scientists accept each contribution of their fellows (1) which Buddhists do not; (2) the contemporary scientists have accepted the anatta position in actuality, and many, many “Buddhists” are either verbally noncommittal or posit the words but not the depths behind those words.

The article reads: “In Buddhism there is moral law and moral order, and these principles are supreme.” What moral law? What moral order? What examples? Yes, in Buddha's teaching. But you are advertising works by Dr. Douglas Burns who has severely contradicted nearly all the teachings of Lord Buddha and many of the teachings of both Theravada and Mahayana which he is privileged to do but one wonders who bestowed that privilege?

In the sciences experience is needed and in the teachings of Lord Buddha experience is need but now “fame” is needed and if one has the proper “fame” he does not need substantiating experience at all!

 Sunday I spoke on The Five Ashrams. I do not believe anybody in the world has ever spoken on this subject. Indian society had four ashrams—student, householder, forest dweller and wandering ascetic. There was a school here called The American Academy of Asian Studies and the staff stood unanimous against my presenting my own experiences in these Ashrams—excepting one man who has since returned to India. This show how ignorant we are of Indian Dharma. We like it that way; we like the short cut of lectures by people. We are afraid not only of transcendental experiences but even of slight adventure which takes any comfort from us.

I do not choose to repeat this lecture or write until it is presented to Rev. Warwick here who will probably laugh all over. For it, like the real Great Truths is something very, very obvious, and almost, as Christ taught, clear to little children. metaphysicians simply can't get it and egocentrists will have no idea about it although it is right in front of them.

This lecture had the strange result of attracting two young men and two young women, in addition to my regulars and irregulars. And on the next night, while lecturing on Compassion, I found one of them had a stiff neck. I said, “I am like everybody else—filled with words, filled with sermons, telling about the wonders of “Compassion” and somebody in the audience has a stiff neck.” Well, I not only have a stiff neck but I am stiff-necked like the Bible says. We are going to get rid of that stiff neck and then talk about “Compassion.”

I know this is contrary to any ethics of any church of any kind. But being a Master of Esotericism—or beguiled to believe I am and all the young think I am—I was able to give them many esoteric exercises and we got rid of that stiff neck—We, not I.

The result is that these young people are now all attracted at a time when I must move and am not particularly interested in gaining disciples of followers. But one is constantly discussing the Bodhisattvas and verbally demonstrating them. It is more than words.

Rev. Warwick has pointed out that if ten people would do the Mahamudra they would change the affairs either of their surroundings or of the world. But I am still skeptical of any people in Ojai, pretending to believe in Tibetan teachings and I am also skeptical of my own skepticism, that if any are, I should like to meet them. True Tibetans defy Prajna but that is much better than the tomfoolery all over the country which neglects it. The Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch is based on Prajna and the “Zennists” of this land know as much about it as I know of Japanese and Chinese. So the world suffers because of ego-dishonesty.

Therefor, when I have moved I shall present again Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch with its great teachings of Prajna and Repentance and I believe the young will accept what you can squeeze into their elders unless these elders have some transcendental experience, which most of them fear, and fear terribly.

 The Bodhisattva realizes that world-healing and self-healing are the same. In each pain he knows the reflection of suffering on the surface of the world, without and each affliction is nothing but a reflection of the world scourge. So long as there are enemies there will be war.

Buddhism cannot and will not achieve peace because Buddhists will not—although they can—recognize each other. They simply won’t. Each has its ritual and each suspects anybody that does not achieve by their particular ritual. So whether it is Dr. Douglas Burns in Burma, or anybody here one can go around and fail to find those who have the Enlightenment Experience, or rather some weird subjective transformation which they call “Enlightenment” which is beyond their experience. 

Despite the Sixth Patriarch modern “Zen” Buddhists are of two sorts. One group rejects Prajna entirely and is very insistent upon ritual. The rituals have no effect. Years of sitting and no satori and everybody blames oneself and the blame is in the abolition of Prajna. Therefor one is going to buy more and more copies of Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch and distribute them around the world, or else one will simply contribute to Kwan Yin Hospitals. And one fears with a terrible fear all the separate collection gatherings of all different groups calling themselves “Sanghas,”  looking for palace retreats instead of finding the Three Refuges within themselves.

The more dominant Buddhists throw out the Pancha Sila and everything else that is noble and promote fantasies and fancies.

The Diamond Sutra, among others, tells of the grades of Bodhisattva. but we superior people prefer the statement that “those who know do not speak” and then we listen to the chatter-monkeys who add, “those who speak do not know” and we accept the chatter -monkeys and follow the world into damnation instead of helping together toward enlightenment.

Wesak Celebration here in San Francisco will have the virtue of being a get-together, an achievement and the chief speaker is a man who is versed in the Dharma.

The visit of Dr. Thich Thien An was an achievement. Mutual understanding was easy. he found, despite the number of “Sanghas” and leaders that there are some Americans who have experienced various phases of enlightenment, which means, have developed the capacity of infinite empathy for the suffering of others, and who take the Bodhisattvic Vow seriously.

No ritual is going to save us. But ritual; will continue and war will continue and confusion will continue and we will not “love the neighbor as the self,” the worse because the Lord Buddha tried to efface the ego-demarcations and that is the last thing “Buddhists” wish to do today, will do. The only answer is Do It Yourself.

 The world cannot go Buddhist because Buddhists either reject their own scriptures or slavishly follow the words. There need be no effects. And if one does achieve, his fellows arrogate to themselves the right to reject such achievement. So we need a scientific religion (or Dharma) in which those who have not achieved will listen, if only rarely, to those who have. As one said to a fellow Bodhisattva in this general region: “Buddhism is the greatest of all religions". “Yes, I know but why do you say that to me?” “Because it is the only one where those who know have to sit and listen to those who do not.” “Exactly, and that is why you never ever see me at any temple or gathering."

Instead of the ignorant listening to the wise, it is the other way. But one reserves the right to recite the scriptures even as a ritual and to hope someday the Triratna can be restored and from that some effort is made even if only by a few to reach levels of understanding and awakening that will benefit themselves and the world.

What the world needs is an institution where the wise may speak and the unwise will listen. Or where the unwise, unwilling to listen to others, will listen to the Wisdom within themselves. One is not optimistic. Most “Buddhists” in America will do nothing of the sort. Samsara marches on—but unseen the Dharmakaya.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

He Kwang

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif.

June 11, 1969

 

W.B.F. News Bulletin.

41 Phra Athit St.,

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Dear Aiem and Friends:

There is a vast abyss between the word “compassion” and the extension of this magnificent quality to others. The common misusage which is quite approve is to “extend it to all mankind” and in the name of this verbal extension refuse it to the one next to you. This means, of course, the decay of Dharma, and I shall continue to use the Sanskrit terms because they were taught to me by the late Dr. M. T. Kirby the hero of our good friend, Dr. Malalasekera. Besides, in general, Sanskrit is in use now in this country.

I have no intention of imposing my own elevation as Fudo Bosatsu in Japan because any such report is regarded as “egotism.” But the training and discipline and the hard adherence to honesty and experience more than doctrine, till now gaining no friends, is just as rapidly gaining friends and “followers.”

No sooner had this letter been written than a letter was received from the Department of East Asian studies at Harvard accepting my report on the late Trebitsch-Lincoln and I shall certainly send facts to these people although my own papers were destroyed in 1949. But religionists in general and sectarians in particular do not like facts, no matter how substantiated, which interferes with their theologies, claims and speculations.

I spent a whole year once studying nothing but Tipitaka to give a single lecture on “Buddhism” During the years I have found all kinds of “experts,” “authorities,” and of course, “sectarians,” who do not have to do any such thing to be accepted and the acceptance of the deniers of Tripitaka as “Buddhists” is going to work out its own cosmic karma. And as a Fudo I cannot help “seeing” the karma of pretense, ignorance and egotism.

I do not see where the speculative so-called “Mahayana Philosophy” by Bhikku Yen-Kiat has anything to do with anything but book-pseudo-knowledge. There is a vast difference between such speculations and either the Bodhisattvic oath or the application of this oath to the dally life. Like the American Walt Whitman, one practices, “In all men I see myself.” But I do not are anything in the speculative Philosophies of anybody about anything.

The article by Bhikkhu Khantipalo is, of course, true both theoretically and practically. Some day we are going to have impersonal, quasi-scientific disciplines which will remove any statements of whosoever because “he” said it. On this point Lord Buddha and “Buddhism” (which he did not teach) are far, far apart.

I believe that here in America we shall soon have, and indeed we have already Arya Dharma. I know of several professors in universalities who are offering what none of the temples, churches and I-me-Sangha groups are offering. I see no sign that any Parami is running around telling somebody, anybody, much less everybody that they are right, etc.

We are rapidly moving to a day when many of us will get together and listen and accept those who have had Enlightenment experiences and stop once and for all the egoists (who, of course deny ego) from stopping those who have had such Enlightenment experience. The influence of Kapleau is spreading, but I believe there may be many other Upayas which work, including the four Jhanas and others, actual Upayas and not speculations or discussions about unsuccessful Upayas. Tathagata spoke endlessly against useless means. And so long as means are important and more important than experience, we shall no doubt have “Buddhism” but we shall not have Arya Dharma, we shall not have Enlightenment.

No, I do not expect any answer, no, I do not expect any of this to be published. No, I do not expect anything but karma operating and not just to please authorities and important people. When those who write about “selflessness” become a little more curious about the Enlightenment experiences of others, we shall have a better world.

Mehta,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

September 22, 1969

 

World Fellowship of Buddhists

41 Phra Athit St.

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Dear Aiem and Friends:

This will introduce to you Staff Sergeant James H. Bank who is now stationed in your country and I understand, also in Bangkok. Any courtesies extended will be more than appreciated. And all my friends have heard, of course, of Her Serene Highness, Princess Poon Diskul Pismai.

It was only a few days ago the decision was reached to attend the next international gathering of The Temple of Understanding. Some of you no doubt accompanied Her Serene Highness to the Calcutta gathering this year. Since that time financially, socially and intellectually my own affairs have improved making travel possible where and when there is a need. So I am going to ask Sergeant also to act as my intermediary in your land.

Also this morning I gave a check to our mutual friend, Rev. James Eugene Wagner. He is also going very well today. This check was to cover copies of The Encyclopedia of Buddhism. I have given two copies to the University of California at Berkeley as my golden anniversary offering and am now prepared to give copies to the University at Los Angeles through our mutual friend, Dean
Carroll Parish.

Another copy will be given to the University of New Mexico, through the Philosophy Department and especially through Prof. Archie Bahm with whom most excellent relations have been established. I intend to place copies of The Encyclopedia of Buddhism into as many institutions as I can afford.

Mehta,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave,

San Francisco, Ca. 94110

September 27, 1969

 

Dr. Malalasekera

National Council for Higher Education

P. O. Box 1406

Columbus 7, Ceylon

 

My Dear Dr. Malalasekera:

The years roll on and this quondam disciple of the late Dr. Kirby is more active than ever. Some day I hope to convert a few of the actual so-called “experts” on Oriental Philosophy to the principles of “the wheel of the law” for the most part I am too busy, too active, to be concerned with human foibles.

Using some of the moral principles found in the teachings of Lord Buddha, the most complicated problems of life become settled. In addition the most important former enemy is now a close friend. We have both benefited financially and otherwise. And persisting meditative meditation on was directed, so to speak, to use some of the added income to purchase copies of the Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Here, this had been done in cooperation with Revs. Prices and Wagner, both of whom are well-known to you. Copies of the encyclopedia have been placed in two libraries of the University of California, Departments of south Asian Studies and Far East Studies. To follow, copies will be placed in the libraries of the University of California in Los Angeles and the University of New Mexico. One reason for this is that Dean Carroll Parrish of the University of California in Los Angeles has been a good friend of our mutual friend Her Serene Highness Princess Poon Diskul.

As to the University of New Mexico. There is an instructor there called Archie Bahm, who is both Interested in Buddhism and the Broad Universal Outlook. He is one of a growing number of American professors who are gradually displacing the European “experts” who so dominated the picture when you were here. This is very satisfying.

One of the next copies will be sent to The Temple of Understanding in Washington, D.C. I do not know how much interest you have in this undertaking but her Serene Highness Princess Poon attended the convocation in Calcutta early this year. I now have a personal representative in Bangkok who may act as an emissary between San Francisco and the WBF, but the copy for The Temple of Understanding may be purchased locally, wrapped, etc., here.

However, I wish to send the fascicules as available also to my personal Roshi Master Kyung-Bo Seo, Dean of Buddhist College, Dongguk University, Seoul, Korea. Can you or your associates see to this? Dr. Sec has been also Grandmaster of all the Buddhists in this country. If you will let me know, I shall be glad to send you the money as soon as advised. Or if you so feel, you may ship the parcel and bill me. I may continue to work thru Revs. Price and Wagner but my fields of operation are geographically much larger.

I shall also want another copy sometime next year for the Lama Foundation which is located in the state of New Mexico. This is a growing enterprise of young Americans interested in spiritual development—in Upayas and not in speculative metaphysics. It is a growing institution, and there are a number of such institutions now manifesting in this country.

In 1965 I spoke at the Psychedelic conference here. This was held under the auspices of the University of California and therefore not dominated by arrogant, self-centered “experts,” On that occasion I spoke three times on “Joy Without Drugs.” And now I present the first two jhanas to all my audiences. I think exactly one other person in this vicinity presents the jhanas. I am not concerned. Americans are by nature pragmatic; they soon find out that the jhanas are real and operative. In general this applied to a number of New Age movements in this vicinity which have generally been written up negatively. It is my intention to cooperate further in this direction after the next convention of The Temple of Understanding aforementioned.

With kindest personal regards,

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif.

December 7, 1969

 

Embassy of Ceylon Washington, D.C.

Attention: cultural attaché

 

Sirs:

In re “Encyclopedia of Buddhism”

We are very much interested in getting copies of this most important effort on the part of your countrymen. You may be aware of the growing interest in actual Oriental studies in this land, and we hope you will agree that it is important to get valid materials at least in the hands of scholars and devotees. But we have been unable to get any answer from our inquiries, though we have the funds, etc., available therefore.

We have already placed copies of this encyclopedia, in so far as available, in several of our universities, and wish also to have at least one for The Temple of Understanding, about which we hope you have some inkling. It also has been offered because we have promised to pray for another set for the chief Sangha in Korea.

The writer first studied Buddhism many years ago under the now probably forgotten Dr. M.T. Kirby, who passed away while living at the Island Hermitage. We have never forgotten his instructions, nor lost interest in his endeavors.

Any information that you can place in our hands that would further better international understanding along these lines, would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Feb. 7, 1970

Pauline Offner

Wat Kow Chalark

Bangphra Siracha Cholbari, Thailand

 

My dear Pauline:

Thank you for your post card on your return to Thailand. So much has been happening, is
happening.

I am now a sort of “Guru” with a large and growing following, nearly all young. I eschew orthodoxies. Last week I said there were more Buddhist organizations in San Francisco than there are people who have read the words of the Buddha. We do use the jhanas, and I again spoke on the Tevijja Sutta. I am going to carry a copy of this sutra with me for my projected trip to Geneva.

There is scheduled a meeting for the leaders of all faiths, to meet under the auspices of The Temple of Understanding. Her Serene Highness Princess Poon Diskul is one of the chief speakers and leaders in this movement. It may even become historical when we meet again, she representing in a sense “the East” and I representing in a certain sense “the West’.

Although we are verbally followers of quite different faiths, we are in entire accord with the manifestation of thingness from ultimate Universal Silence and Peace, and the differentiations between what the Hindus call maya and samsara on the one hand and Moksha (Mokkha) on the other. We both agree that salvation and liberation belong to human experience and are the objectives of our ephemeral existences.

I long felt as you do that the Bodhisattvic Oath compels me to work in the midst of turmoil. There is a New Age in this land; new generations arising with totally different outlooks, and many of these in the general direction of peace, understanding, and spirituality. The universities now have professors presenting the religions and cultures of Asia chiefly where they themselves have been students of Asians. This is a very far cry from the past. Everything is a far cry from the past.

We hope also to arrange some talks on Vietnamese Buddhism here, to find out what it is all about.

I suppose I am spoiled by the wonderful weather we have here, especially in the San Francisco Bay region, never too hot or cold all the year round. This makes it possible to work in the gardens and to go for walks, and thus to keep in excellent health year in and year out. There is now a new Zendo here whose Roshi an Englishwoman was a disciple of the late Phra Sumangalo. Everything is moving and moving right in what one may regard as “the right directions’.

Mehta,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


London

April 8, 1970

 

World Fellowship of Buddhists

41 Phra Athit Street

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Dear Aiem and Friends:

May all beings be blissful, may all beings be peaceful, may all beings be happy. If you ever attended any of my meetings in California, you would be greeted by many happy shining faces. The number of these is increasing in quantity. The brightness of many of them is also increasing in quantity. Why should one challenge the merit of another?

The conference at Geneva was a wonderful external achievement. The bringing of many persons together on any basis of friendship is more than any theory and doctrine of any faith. One had the supreme advantage of being able to converse with each and all, and on their basis not one’s one.

This person came from a fairly well-to-do family. He passed with highest educational honors possible. And what was his reward? He was taught neither trade or profession, he was not permitted anything, no matter what it was, and he saw many, many thousands of dollars squandered on a brother who had no consideration for any moral law. Now this person is a scientist, rather than a religionist. Most religionists do not practice their own moral code; they expect others to practice it. But this person met Dr. M.T. Kirby early in life, and had read the Dhammapada even earlier. He tried it scientifically rather than hypocritically. His father called him on his death bed and relented and began to restore everything, so that after his father’s death, he was able to retire free heavy material duties, not entirely but largely.

His brother was even worse. There is no need to recount. Karma is karma, and there is a endless stream of it. Samsaras are Sanskaras and it is doubtful whether they can be self-eliminating. Here again, one practiced the Dhammapada. His brother hovered for many months between life and death and suddenly assented to one’s traveling abroad. Now one’s brother has just passed away, leaving sufficient funds for one to live at ease and travel or do anything necessary in this life.

One told Ven. Gunaratana that one was a firm believer in dukha, anicca, and anatta, but this did not make one a “Buddhist,” one becomes a “Buddhist by joining an organization, not by enlightenment experience. One can have endless enlightenment experience, but if one joins the right organization, one can become a Buddhist. One can have complete control over lust, greed, and anger. Another can put on robes, without or without shaving the head—he is a superior person. The layman who does not run around disguised is inferior. The robed dignitary does not have to spread bliss or happiness or peace; he just has to utter words; he just has to perform some ceremony.

Lama Anagarika came to San Francisco, talked on compassion, and would not let anybody sit near him in a crowded hall. He also wrote that he never met an enlightened man in all southern Asia, but he is a dignitary, he is a monk, he has been permitted to marry, and he is definitely a superior person who should not be crossed. This person is accepted and his articles are acceptable. It has been the personality than counts, not the truth of experience. As Alan Watts used to say, “The right means in the hands of the wrong person are of no value.” I don’t know where he got it, but it is not enlightenment, it is personality that counts.

You have recognized with honor and, I think, rightfully, the great Dr. Radhakrishnan. Was he? is he? a Buddhist? You have so accepted him. I don’t think there is a point on which we differ. We have sat together united in deep, meditation.

You can come to California. There are a lot of so-called Buddhist groups. Many of them do not even recite the Triratna. The largest and richest groups do not recite the Triratna, but they are recognized as “Buddhists’, although I have been as being so-called “Mahayana’, the first thing I teach to all young people who come to me in the first jhana. The other Buddhists do not practice the jhanas; my young people do. The practice of the first jhana or deep meditation results in increased capacity for bliss, increased capacity for love, increased capacity for peace. This is very effective in their lives actually. They practice jhanas, they have the resulting experience toward enlightenment from the jhanas, but we have no ceremonials, no ritual, no temple, and no church. But I think we shall have a Temple of Understanding, and not only a Temple of Understanding but a temple with understanding.

The young people do not want church, they do not want sect, they do not want distinctive differences; they want Sangha in all its meanings, including perhaps the hole human race and not some distinctive group. They will practice meditation, they will practice love (and I distinctly do not mean lust), but they will no longer accept priest craft or monkery.

I think we are the only group in San Francisco that regularly studies the Tevigga Sutta. We do this in scientific spirit, but we also accept “union with Brahm” which this Sutta teaches. We try to actualize all the teachings, all the methods and all the enlightenment experiences of this “Sutta” and in a scientific spirit I say it works and I see it work.

You have accepted personalities from California as “Buddhists” who teach exactly the opposite of what many Buddhists believe—we mean concerning the existence of nats, gandhabbas, devas etc. You have published such articles. The persons writing such things have no following except a few personal friends. They play no part in either the spiritual or intellectual life in California and there is nothing we can do about it except watch the deleterious karma. What these detrimental articles based on ego ignorance have to do with, enlightenment, I do not know.

The young want enlightenment and you give them words, words, words written by self-superior men. What can that do in the world?

This person worked with the late Dwight Goddard trying to bring Buddhists together in friendship. Goddard died of a broken heart because of extreme ill- will between one Buddhist group and another. This person tried it a few years ago; it was impossible. The very persons you have accepted showed such displays of temper, ignorance and ego-centricity that we were not able to complete properly even a single meeting. One has extreme admiration for Her Serene Highness Princess Poon Diskul Pismai. One has just been highly honored by her by trying to correct one of faults which may or may not exist and totally ignoring faults in personalities which the WBF recognizes.

I do not believe this is the way toward enlightenment. I do not believe this is the teaching of Lord Buddha. I do not believe it is the dharma in any form.

This person was put upon the Bodhisattvic oath in 1923. He is unconcerned whether it is accepted or not, whether it is acceptable or not to or by others. He tries to keep away from ill-will. He has illustrated above the most important incidents. Now if you can keep away from ill-will, greed and anger, those persons whom you have recognized in my country, one would be very happy indeed. But one has long since ceased to demand or expect from others. Anyone can utter noise word like “compassion”; it is the living, loving heart that illustrates it. With all good will.

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita

San Francisco 94110 California USA

May 7, 1970

 

H.S.H. Princess Poon Pismai Diskul

41 Phra Athit

Bangkok 2, Thailand

 

Your Serene Highness:

It was with great joy that we could meet again now in a third part of the world, although under somewhat different conditions. We had brought with us some documents which would support the establishment of The Temple of Understanding and also copy of Tao Te Ching.

The experiences of a person who has not only studied all the religious but been a devotee in each may be unusual. Several of the orthodox present tried to convert me; none of them asked me what I believe. It is juvenile to speak on “love and compassion” and then try to convert or correct others without seeking first to ascertain what they believe; or more than what they believe, what they practice.

It was no vain threat when I spoke, “If seniors could not establish a Temple of Understanding, the young people would.” There is nothing, absolutely nothing, standing in the way of this at this writing. We are not going to try to shock others into action, but we are going to try to show by example and by this example and all this verbal nonsense about love and compassion and brotherhood. These are going to be demonstrated by the young. These belong to the universal dharma.

I am very sorry to have to offer any type of correction to anybody, but when Dr. Radhakrishnan offered certain wards, you accented them without a demeure. Now you have full right to right to make a distinction between Dr. Radhakrishnan and the writer, but when this is done: what happens to the anatta doctrine which Buddhists proclaim?

I was given a grand departure by a crowd of young people with smiling faces when I left for Geneva. I was given an equally worm departure by the young in London and a still warmer farewell from Boston, Massachusetts. When I returned the brightness of the smiles and the radiance of the personalities of my young friends was too much. I took my secretary, Mansur, with me so I could have a living witness to the type of experiences, inner and outer, which form the patterns of my life.

Assuming for the moment that there is such a thing as personality, it was an earlier version of your good self that predicted and predicated the potential good karma. When I reached London, the news came that my brother had died. My income today up to that time had been three times as much as it was when I was in Bangkok with you and four times as much as when you were in San Francisco. Now it is increasing again with signs of further and further increase. That is one aspect of it.

I think I am the only one in this region who presents the practice of the four jhanas. There are a lot of Buddhists here. There are a lot of Buddhists here which then WBF recognizes. Many of them do not even repeat the Triratna, but they are “good Buddhists,” they are recognized. I have long since left this type but find that one of them, highly honored, which refused to repeat the Triratna when I proposed it, now repeats it. This shows the superficiality of the acceptance of the teachings of Lord Buddha by so-called Buddhists. So long as superficiality and membership rolls and financial prowess are important, the dharma is sure to decline.

I find that the practice of the jhanas transforms the personality. This has not been officially recognized, and I accept this non-recognition. Neither acceptance nor non-acceptance have anything to do with wisdom. A number of years ago, all the so-called Buddhists in this region submitted to an examination given by Master Seo Kyung Bo of Korea. This person passed number 1. Although among the various applicants were a number of personalities highly esteemed by the WBF, so be it.

The other day a devotee of one of these schools came to my house without invitation. He claimed to be an advanced student of a highly recognized teacher, and when I asked him what enlightenment was he gaped and gawked and sat paralyzed. This is in contrast to my disciples who practice the jhanas and are living lamps of the real teachings though we be recognized, though we be not recognized.

I give at least one talk a year on the tevijja-sutta. I think I am the only one in this region who does that. Some day I may write a commentary on it. It seems that Lord Buddha was not entirely in accord with “Buddhists,” He showed the way to union with “Brahm,” It is in the scriptures. I am not interested in the rejection of these scriptures by anybody. A person slightly in accord with the Anatta and Anicca teachings could cognize and recognize the transformatory flow Of life. Therefore I disdain all the analytical and differential teachings of all orthodoxies. I Might as well proclaim right here that I have had both the satori and samadhi experiences and am not the least bit interested in the egocentric rejections of them by any faith or no faith. Tathagata

Tathagata taught: “May all beings be blissful, may all beings be peaceful, etc.” That is exactly what I expect from myself. I hold myself responsible when my students or even my audiences do not attain greater accommodations for bliss, peace, joy and love. I hold myself responsible and not others. The result is that an ever-growing number of young people come to me, come to me, are coming to me, for many reasons or for no reason.

It is notable that the two masters a Japanese and a Korean, in whose presence satori-samadhi was evinced; both declared that Christ and Buddha are one. I see no difference between the beatitudes of Jesus and the declarations of Tathagata. But beyond that, I make it my business to enforce them by trying to show others how to lift their veils and become lamps to themselves and to the world.

We visited the Vihara at London where there was light and morality. We visited the largest Buddhist Center in London where there was social acceptance and intellectuality, membership money and prestige. We visited certain other personalities who would be called Mahayanists whose very atmospheres emanated peace, power, love, and joy. We saw something of this in the personality of the representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Geneva.

Personally, I do not accept sectarian divisions any more than I can cut a flowing river with a knife. Orthodoxies mean nothing to me. I can pray and worship with all peoples. I am not interested in correcting them. I am interested in joining in their devotions and working or common ideals.

The dharma is no respecter of persons. One by one I have seen the downfall of all the various personalities with whom you had to associate when you were in San Francisco. Yes, I did, object strenuously when one of them was named to become more active for the Temple of Understanding. A representative of lust, greed, and anger on any board would sooner or later destroy the undertaking.

I tell you Your Serene Highness that the youth of the day will have no more traffic with pretense, with personality acclamations, and with empty oratory. Jesus has said, “Let your light shine before men.” I don’t think there is any difference with Lord Buddha here. Sometimes I perform darshan. It is real, it is effective and it is only now even being accepted superficially, but that is something.

I am hoping to be present at the next conference of the Temple of Understanding and evince more love, more joy, more peacefulness; and even bring evidence of this by having more disciples with me than just my secretary, Mansur. I do not like to write this way, but at a time when all factions within my country, the United States of America, seem to be united on the quest for excitement, it is possible that a firm personality can and does win hearts towards something more than excitement, toward real living peace, love, joy and bliss.

Most faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


May 11, 1970

Department of Cultural Affairs

135 Dharmapala Mawata

Colombo 7, Ceylon

 

Honored Sirs:

The writer has long been a student in oriental philosophies. His very first teacher was the late Dr. M. T. Kirby, who later became the Thera of the famous Dr. G. Malalasekera. His closest friend for a number of years was the late Dr. Robert S. Clifton, sometimes known as Fra Sumangalo.

Circumstances, and/or punya, have resulted in a considerably higher income than one had earlier in life, and one has wished to obtain copies of The cyclopedia of Buddhism for oneself and immediate disciples; for two departments at the University of California in Berkeley; for the University of California in Los Angeles, and for the University of New Mexico. The available fascicles have been purchased and donated.

One would like to have copies of all later editions, etc., until the entire Encyclopedia might ultimately be in the hands of students and scholars. There is a great interest in various forms of ritualistic Buddhism but not much attention has been paid to scholarship. I think both are necessary, but it is the scholastic aspect wherein my interests lay. Besides this, I was for a long time colleague of the late Dwight Goddard, whose work was never completed.

You may be interested to know I have been recently to the conference of the world’s religions held at Geneva, Switzerland. There I met my old friend Her Serene Highness Princess Poon Diskul. Also the Ven. Gunaratana Maha Thera. Later I visited the Vihara in London.

Hoping you can supply me with the desired information and also publications, and assuring you on my part a proper financial cooperation,

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Winston L. King % Dr. Hachiro Yuasa

64 Nakakawara-cho,

Shimogamo, Kyoto 606, Japan

November 27, 1970

 

Mr. Melvin F. Meyer

311 White Drive,

Starkville, Miss. 39759 USA

 

Dear Melvin Meyer:

I am sure that by now you may be having unkind thoughts about me. But two misadventures occurred to your letter: (1) It was held in Vanderbilt for a time before forwarding; (2) I did not note that your return address was only on the envelope and not on the letter itself until I had thrown the former away. What to do? I finally wrote back to VU and all they had was what is supposed to be your home address. Later I wrote to someone else in California who likewise knows the Rev. Seo, but have not yet heard from him. So I will write and ask to have it forwarded. I hope you get it—and I am sorry about the delay.

I don’t know what the NY Times says (said) about the conference. (If you happen to have the clipping I would be interested to see it.) Actually we just happened to be in Korea at that time, and were invited at somewhat late date. We were the only U.S. “representatives” there. My impressions of the conference are somewhat as follows:

(1) It was very much of a Korean effort of Korean-Buddhist motivation (it seemed me) hoping to put Korean Buddhism on the map. And it has been neglected, in scholarly and practical ways.

(2) Dominating all of the sessions (and this was not confined to Koreans) was a sense of the urgent need for Buddhists to involve themselves in socially relevant activities, particularly with respect to world peace. This went along with a somewhat “doomful” sense of the hitherto ineffectual role that Buddhism (and perhaps all religions) have been playing in the face of crisis situations in the world in general. By contrast one or two of the few Europeans who were there felt that the most important aspect, or one that must not be neglected, was the inward purity-peace theme. East going West, and West going East!

(3) There was a sense of the need for Buddhist ecumenicity. And while the Koreans as hosts and sponsors organized the proceedings, there was on the part of all a genuine attempt to reach out across sectarian lines.

(4) It was largely a-political in the narrow sense. There were no pronouncements on the Korean or Vietnamese situation, though the Koreans that I talked to were strongly vs. N. Korean politics and the Vietnamese (to whom I talked more) were strongly pro-American.

There were also some questions left with me: (1) Though it was a Buddhist Leaders” Conference (which put us in a rather ambiguous position) I kept asking myself, What actual force of numbers, or power, or money do they represent? Several were functionaries from various groups here and there. How many will “follow” the leadership of the secretary of the Mahabodhi Society, for example? In particular is this the case with Buddhists, who are very little organized. (2) How far will it get beyond the fine phrasing of resolutions and the constitution—particularly when the offices are so widely distributed. (I was put on the nomination list for an office, but withdrew my name. That was perhaps mostly because I worked on the constitutional committee at some length.)

I am very genuinely glad that we were there. Before the Conference we visited two of the famous old temples. I was much impressed with the quality of some of the persons we met. And on tour I had a long talk or two with a youngish monk there who also impressed me as very able and dedicated. I wish that I could see him again.

It was a fine experience to meet the Rev. Seo at one of our banquets. His gentle wisdom and serenity come through without his even trying. I am getting a copy of his book on Korean Buddhism from a Rev. Robert King somewhere in California—Walnut (Ridge, Grove, Road???) who says that he knows the Rev. Seo very well. (I wrote to him for your address too.)

I hope that this letter gets to you without further delay. If you have any further questions that I could answer please let me know.

Sincerely yours,

Winston L. King

Burton, Phillip Correspondence

May 19, 1964

Hon. Phillip Burton,

1622 House Office Bldg., Box A,

Washington 15, D. C.

 

Dear Congressman Burton:

I wish to thank you for your communication as well as the list of Agricultural bulletins. I marked a number of them and then noticed a preference for the limit of five. However I wish to use these bulletins in my giant project: “How California Can Help Asia.” And perhaps, from the news below you will be willing to obtain them.

But it is even more from your assignment on the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee that many of the projects before me will be of interest to you both as a member of this committee and otherwise.

On May 15-17 inclusive, there was a gathering of scientists from all parts of the nation discussing problems of “Food and Civilization.” And it was most timely that one or the main projects discussed was introduced by Prof. Revelle, Dean of research and Director of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at San Diego whose subject was: “Salt, Water end Civilization.”

It just happens that he covered almost the same territory I did; faced the same problems, but has not a clear picture of solutions. Dr. Seymour Farber came up to me during the convention and said, “Well, you had your problem discussed.” I told him, “Yes, I am going to send Revelle a complete report and send you a carbon.”

Prof. George L. Mehren, who was long connected with the University of California and is now Asst. Secretary of Agriculture also spoke at length and brought up problems—not answers—and I believe I can give him some answers. In turn, he has extended a willingness to give all assistance and introductions when I reach Washington. Although I am now going to Western Pennsylvania, I am waiting for colleagues from Pakistan before going on to Washington and New York—which may take place later in the year.

On the final day Dr. William Vogt, the well known conservationist, not only spoke but read my name and work into the record. He gave particular attention to the work of Ford Foundation and I happened to have a copy of their efforts in India with me—I have been their guest.

What Prof. Mehren did not know is that a colleague of mine is planning to go to Pakistan if arrangements can be made, to handle the problems of saline soils and salt water conversion. He is Bryn Beorse and has done research on these subjects at Berkeley, Richmond and UCLA. Mehren is very pessimistic about salt-water conversion but this week’s copy of “Time” has a whole advertising page devoted to it.

Recently Dr. Bothmann of the American Friends of the Middle East came and spoke of the impasse on the Jordan waters. During the discussion I presented my program which is a combination of the efforts of my friend, Beorse and myself. It was accepted at once by the speaker and the audience and more information was requested. It has been my experience (nothing second hand here) to have discussed these matters in detail with UAR officials, with at least one Saudian Arab and with men on the staff of General Burns looking after the Palestine refuge. They all agreed that the programs preferred would mean a recognition of Israel by the Arab world—with some psychological but not territorial changes of policy. But all efforts to have even the slightest paper accepted by Americans and British and especially those on so-called “Peace” organizations have been sharply rebuffed—they have refused even to examine these schemes.

My own thesis holds that the solution of the water and soil problems of California would lay down patterns to be followed elsewhere, with or without direct aid. Unfortunately, the wonderful survey of Dr. Milton Fireman of the University of California, now at Davis, has been pigeon-holed and this is not the only wonderful survey that has been pigeonholed—first person direct knowledge, no hearsay.

When I returned from my first tour of Asia, every report was accepted by the late Hon. Henry F. Grady who was still alive—and then dead-ended, excepting for Asia Foundation. The direct experiences of American citizens in Asia which criss-crosses, in any respect, so-called “foreign policy” is a priori rejected.

All one has to do is to read the works of Nicol Smith on Tibet and then that of Lowell Thomas. We believed Thomas, we rejected Smith despite his “Burma Road” and we have “lost” one country in Asia after another and will continue to do so, so long as the State Department, regardless of party in power, considers some Americans as “more equal” than others.

I have met now perhaps half a million Asians all told and this conference of scientists, if you please, has been the first one that recognizes the facts of life. And adhering to water problems alone, we must come to grips with this reality.

The State Department is also officially unaware of a recent peasants’ revolt in East Pakistan. It came over the fertilizer problems and the pseudo-attempts to solve (?) them. This thing also occurred in Hong Kong and S. E. Asia and is one of the factors—concealed of course, for anti-American feelings with which the Russians are not the least concerned.

Sometime the practicing farmer has more answers than the “experts” and I have discovered some in turning the State. A group of farmers—and previously the Four-H members, can do, will do as much as any other group in facing some actual problems of actual people of the actual world.

On May 28 the World Affairs Council is devoting his luncheon meeting to problems of
contemporary China and I have invited my, or shall I say, our good friend Kwock to attend.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


772 Clementina St.,

San Francisco 3, Calif.

 

February 26, 1968

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California 94110

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

This will acknowledge and thank you for your recent letter and the copy of your letter to Dr. G.P. Malalasekera.

I appreciate, as always, the benefit of your views. The free and open discussions of which you speck are essential in a free society and I have confidence that truth will always survive in the free and open market place of ideas.

Kindest personal regards,

Sincerely,

Phil Burton

 

 


May 14, 1968

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California 94110

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

This will acknowledge and thank you for your recent letter and the enclosure of your letter to Mrs. Henry F. Grady.

Mrs. Grady is one of the fine ladies of San Francisco and I was most pleased that she had decided to take an active part in Senator Kennedy’s campaign.

I appreciate, as always, your most candid views. Kindest personal regards,

Sincerely,

Phil Burton

 

 


June 7, 1968

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you very much for your letter regarding making friends in Asia and also for the copy of your letter to the Senators from California.

As usual, you present a great deal of interesting information and observations and you may be assured that they will be kept in mind as these international matters are considered in Congress.

Best personal regards,

Sincerely,

Phil Burton

 

 


June 24, 1968

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis 410 Precita

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Sam,

Belatedly, thank you for your assistance in the primary and your participation in my reception. Your friendship and support are most sincerely appreciated.

Kindest personal regards.

Sincerely,

Phil Burton

 

 


July 17, 1968

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California 94110

 

Dear Samuel:

This will acknowledge and thank you for your recent letter. I appreciate, as always, having the benefit of your views.

I thought you might be interested in the enclosed copy of my most recent remarks on the floor of the House when voting for supplemental appropriations for Vietnam.

Sincerely,

Phil Burton

Member of Congress

 

 


Congressional Record

Vol. 114 No. 99

Washington, Tuesday, June 11, 1968

House of Representatives

HON. PHILLIP BURTON

OF CALIFORNIA

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

The War in Vietnam

Mr. BURTON of California. Mr. Chairman, it is regrettable that in addition to the major thrust of this supplemental appropriation bill, which provides funding for escalation of the war in Vietnam, that there is included in the bill additional routine funding of various domestic programs, which domestic programs I, of course, support.

 If these domestic program funding items were in a separate bill, as they normally are and should be, I would vote in support of this supplemental bill-but such is not the case.

Mr. Chairman, as I did on May 5, 1965, again on March 1, 1966, and again on March 2, 1967, I must once more rise in opposition to a request for supplemental funds to pursue the war in Vietnam. All that I have said before on these occasions could be repeated and reaffirmed now. It is true now and it was true then, that “we pursue a futile attempt to achieve, by force of arms, solutions to problems which are not primarily military but essentially political, economic, and social.”

The cost in lives, in human sacrifice and suffering, in dollars which could be more wisely and humanely spent and in terms of the almost irreparable damage we do the fabric of our own free society, must cause us to reassess the role we have assumed, for whatever reason, in Vietnam.

At a time when this Nation, mourning the tragic death of one of its vital, young leaders, seeks answers to the causes of violence within our society, is it not apparent to all but those who dare not see, that this war bears great responsibility for the atmosphere in which we find ourselves? By our conduct, we have affirmed that in the affairs of nations, war and violence are acceptable instruments in solving differences. Is it any wonder that in the affairs of men, resorting to violence becomes more frequent?

Do we not collectively bear some responsibility for demeaning the value of human life by our actions, which in the first 5 months of this year cost 8,342 Americans, 8,645 South Vietnamese and 107,941 Vietcong and North Vietnamese lives? Are we not as a people and as a society brutalized by so gigantic a slaughter of humanity?

The numbers continue to rise. U.S. casualties for the period 1960 through 1964 were 255 fatalities, an average of approximately four per month. In 1965 they rose to 1,365 or about 114 per month. 1966 saw 5,008 deaths, average 417 per month. In 1967 the toll rose to 9,378 averaging 781 per month. Through May of this year, U.S. fatalities totaled 8,342—an average of 1,668 American deaths per month.

Even as we have moved to the conference table the scale of the war we wage continues to escalate, to become more brutal. As negotiations commenced in Paris on May 13, U.S. combat deaths for the period May 12 to June 1 were 1,409 and 8,839 wounded in that same period.

In a war that General Westmoreland just this week said could not be won in the classic military sense, we continue to sacrifice our youth and brutalize our society.

 In a decade which opened with hope and promise, we have seen, in large measure, that hope give way to despair and promises remain unfulfilled as more and more of our resources were drained for war.

The efforts to rebuild our cities have been diminished as moneys are spent to destroy cities and the countryside of Vietnam.

 

 The efforts to relieve suffering and the ravages of poverty in our own society have been subjected to curtailment and cutbacks as the drain of dollars for the war has taken its toll.

We can know the direct Defense Department expenditures on the war but the additional costs of this policy are incalculable; 1965 saw $103 million spent on the war, 1966 $5.8 billion, 1967 $20.1 billion, and conservative estimates for 1968 project an expenditure of $28.1 billion, which many
believe will be as high as $30 billion.

Troop strength reflects this same escalation. On May 5, 1965, when I voted against the first supplemental appropriation, we had 42,000 men in Vietnam. At the end of 1965 we had 165,000 men committed in Vietnam. There were 389,000 in 1966. There were 486,000 in 1967 and 533,000 as of
June 1, 1968.

 American wounded figures reflect this same continuing upward spiral; 6,110 wounded in 1965, 30,093 wounded in 1966, 62,004 wounded in 1967, 50,470 wounded during the first 5 months this year.

Yet with this continuing expenditure of money, increasing commitment of troops, the wounding of more and more men, the loss of more and more lives, we continue to sink deeper and deeper into this conflict. Even now as negotiations take place we are asked today to vote more funds for war.

Can we hope that negotiations will be fruitful in the face of this action?

Let us pause and reflect on the course that we pursue, the price we have already paid, and the apparently open-ended commitment we are repeatedly asked to supplement.

Is it not time to say let us disengage?

Is it not time to act in such a way as to de-escalate the conflict?

How much more of the lifeblood of this Nation must be shed?

How many more needs of our people must go unmet and promises of a better life go unfulfilled?

How long must we wait before we heed the voices of men and women of good will who across this Nation call for peace?

It is my conscience and their voice which I respond to today in once again voting against funds to pursue and extend this conflict.

 

 


February 11, 1969

To the office of

Hon, Phillip Burton,

450 Golden Gate Ave.

San Francisco, Calif., 94102

 

Attention Mrs. Kennedy:

My dear Suzan. Confirming our telephonic conversation. There is something in my private life that may become public and once it becomes public may prove to be a veritable powder keg. Playboy Magazine for March 1969, out in about two weeks, has a long article on the cults of California (evidently this magazine is quite unaware that I was once a professional reporter in this very field).

 A leading article almost begins with reference to “Sam Lewis”; they call me by this name, no objection. They also give the residence but refer to this house in a most untrue, unfair, and misleading manner. Part of the article is quite true being almost verbatim what I actually said but scoffing at this and referring both to myself and to certain persons in the audience in manners to which the medical profession could take offense. There is much difference between criticizing the foibles or even the character of the person to giving him a medical diagnosis—in this case totally untrue, and printing it for public consumption.

 I do not know about many of the cults referred to. I am described as a Sufi, which is true. I belong to the same movement as the Presidents of India and Pakistan and to notables of other countries generally referred to as Islamic. My work in the field of religions has been enormous. I never speak against any religion; in fact I am leaving the house shortly to lecture on Jesus Christ and mystical Christianity.

None of this would matter but—there are more Sufis in this world than there are Vietnamese Buddhists. There are more Vietnamese Buddhists that there are Israelis. I am not alluding to quality; I am referring to general statistics, quantitative numbers.

Our foreign office and our press and what we call “realism” is not concerned with the hard facts of life. Thus at the moment the Iraqis are deliberately persecuting and I mean persecuting Jews—I mean Jews per se and not just Israelis. The center of Sufism for all practical purposes is in Baghdad. Sufis had much to do with the establishment of this country (vide Gertrude Bell). I know what I am talking about and I know far more, regrettably, than too many men in the foreign office holding high positions. They are interested in policies not facts. I am interested in facts and the policy of the foreign office is not in my hands.

But if and when a copy of Playboy gets into the hands of any Iraqi or for that matter Arab, or if there is a suit against Playboy on this matter there will be hell to pay.

I am not in politics. There was a delegation from a Jewish Sunday School here last week. I regret to say I found them more interested in Sufism than in their own faith. I regret even more to find their leaders interested in my personality which is a matter of no import. What is of importance is to bring peace and understanding into this world. There are no signs of it in the press and our common views on general foreign policies need not be discussed here.

 I feel it proper to write to the State Department. I have never gotten any satisfaction from the State Department. All warnings about attacks on our embassies, etc., have been shunned. Of course I do not know what the present administration desires. I am all for the Four Power Pact to bring peace in the Near East, but I can hardly be reconciled to a foreign office which ignore its own citizens.

Furthermore, and most unfortunately, my being connected with the real Sufis of the real Orient has resulted in my being excluded from presumable East-West Conferences in this country. We have already lost the good will of most Asian and African Nations—there are plenty of Sufis on both of these continents.

But I do not wish to take any action yet which might be detrimental to a progressive cause. I am therefore writing this before I send anything to senator Cranston’s Office. Nor shall I write anything to the State Department yet until I can properly advise Sen. Cranston. In another day I knew the complete California delegation to Congress. What is needed, however, is the acceptance occasionally of hard fasts not of personalities.

It is regrettable also that the B’nai Brith, organized to prevent defamation against Jews, does not agree with me that any and all defamation is indefensible.

I do not know how clear this is. There is plenty of time. The March issue of Playboy may not be out for two weeks.

Otherwise, all my affairs are going along very well indeed. Why, I may be able to deliver a large packet of votes next year. This is not a very comforting approach to a policy, but it is opportunistic and will not be ignored.

With kindest regards,

Samuel L. Lewis

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

 


Feb. 18, 1969

Hon. Philip Burton

House office Building Washington, D.C.

 

My dear Phil:

It used to be that only a million dollars could make suggestions, and now it is a million votes. I have never intended to work openly in the fields where you are engaged but the way matters stand now I am consciously or unconsciously bringing recruits both intentionally and unintentionally. My campaign “Joy without Drugs” is gaining more and more adherents, practically all young.

I am now appearing in the Haight-Ashbury district and expect soon to be in Golden Gate Park. So far the police have not objected to my efforts. So far the Fourth Estate has ignored it all. But Playboy magazine has not. There is an article “Cultsville USA” in the March issue and I am mentioned in it. Our first impression was to seek some emolument for derogatory remarks. But considering the fact that in foreign affairs, Asian ones in particular, we are so far from the objectivity Rand-McNally must have, that the mere fact of being mentioned is something.

I am enclosing a copy of a letter to the State Department. It may also interest you that after Time said we were getting nowhere in the Paris negotiations, I wrote them that I have yet to meet a Vietnamese with whom I have not reached almost immediate understanding. This has perplexed Time. But it has not perplexed the Vietnamese. I have been invited by them to address the School of Languages and also the general public in and around Monterey because of my background in Asian Philosophies of Asians. This is what I am doing for the young here and now.

Fortunately, there are now departments and courses at the University of California which permit, nay invite, objective studies of the Asia of reality. This will help us go a long way toward establishing peace or at least understanding.

Cordially,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif.

March 29, 1969

 

Hon. John Burton,

5144 State Capitol,

Sacramento, Calif. 95814

 

Dear Assemblyman Burton:

This is to acknowledge your report for the month of March and as an encouragement to let you know that by and large I am in full accord and agreement with you on every single subject, down to details, with one possible exception and even here we may not differ:

San Francisco State College: I have been unwittingly an eye-witness of dramas occurring both on the Berkeley and San Francisco campuses and under our very strange culture this is considered the very worst background from which to make remarks. In crime we expect only eye-witnesses or those involved to testify; in the campus brawls it is totally different.

I am not only in favor of stopping “political absenteeism” from controlling colleges and universities. I am in favor of stopping all absenteeism but do not know how it can be done.

No doubt you agree that the acumen of students today is much greater than a few years back. You may also agree that the acumen of instructors is high—I am of the extreme that the universities have the highest intellectual and sometimes even the highest moral and spiritual leaders of the day. This is based on having visited many campuses but especially being in California.

I do not agree that the representatives of the Fourth Estate have any such backgrounds—intellectual, moral or spiritual. We cannot argue on the last two points but the control of intellectual institutions by non-intellectuals or those of much less knowledge is the biggest obstacle to our social and scientific growth. Men who could not pass college examination tests have the “liberty” not only to speak freely, but to advise and even control. While those who are qualified to give such tests are seldom heard from.

Equal Rights on Air for University Students: I think some legal means must be had that every radio and television station which provides any time to any non-student in regard to any subject under discussion on any campus should be by law compelled to give equal time to some student.

We have on our statute books laws or requirements which compel TV and radio stations to give equal time to disputants on political problems, especially partisan ones. We have no such laws in regard to student matters.

In the case of San Francisco State, plenty of time is given to TV officials, to senior minority leaders, to supporters of far out groups who themselves are not usually enrolled at the college, and very little time is given to the students themselves or to the officers of student bodies who certainly represent the majority of students insofar as there is any form of representation.

When I was at San Francisco State we had a student revolt. It succeeded. It was a student revolt, not a revolt provoked from the outside. In this generation, too, I have friends who lead successful student-revolts. Not only were these revolts successful but no property damage was involved, no outsiders of any kind.

If we are going to let outsiders—quasi-communists, editors, news reports, etc., etc. and a flock of etc., to have time on the air in any way I believe we must provide time for a few students, especially their elected officers of their student bodies. We have today everything but representative governments involved in the campus brawls.

It is interesting that the majority of students at the Berkeley campus and also the majority of students at the San Francisco State campus have not even been given minority time on the air. Until, of course, it was all over and the issues became dormant (not settled, but dormanted).

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco. Calif.

April 9, 1969

 

Hon. Phillip Burton

House Office Building.

Washington. D.C.

 

Dear Phil:

The Problem of Our Asian Relations (cont.)

Lord Snow has predicated two cultures, which he calls humanist and scientific. The same trend is found in the remarks of several of the columnists in the local “Chronicle” who, while they belong, because of their professor to the ‘humanist’ group, nevertheless realize there is a vast difference between the subjective “realism” of the day and actualities.

Recently the Hindu students had a picnic and not a single one of our local “experts” on Indian culture was there. And I had reason to look up some items in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society and found not a single one of these “experts” listed. I easily passed my “entrance examination” to this more important institution.

We now have the continued plights of Pakistan and the prolonged impasses in the Near East and Vietnam. In facing these problems everything is of importance but basic facts and basic factors. We read continuously of “left wing” leaders in Pakistan, where there are practically no social service laws, no suitable labor laws, no grand movements which we have seen in this country and especially since the regimes of the late president Roosevelt (and to a certain extent the Democratic president that followed him.) We prefer to be muddled or misled by “important” persons than to have information at our command.

After my meeting the other night a friend appeared and told us that the CIA had offered large sums to anybody that would teach Oriental Philosophy to diplomats. I think I have already told you, that one received nothing but blastings from the Foreign Office for attempting a Pakistan-India peace feeling and they called in Kosygin.

We have made a timid step forward in the Four Power talks on the Near East. These must be implemented. Our Nation, misled by newspaper reports, and particularly newspaper reports from British and European sources, has no basis to bring about a better understanding excepting the one policy which we have absolutely and adamantly refused to consider: Call in consultation those Americans who have lived in the countries involved.

We have spent untold billions in Vietnam and lost many lives simply because our Foreign Office and press adamantly and absolutely refused to accept the reports of my long deceased friend, Robert Clifton, who lived there. And even now we have refused to accept the work and even existence of Rev. J. Eugene Wagner of this city, secretary and companion of the aforesaid Robert Clifton. Rev. Wagner may have been the “guru” of the Maharani of Sikkim, but we do not permit a “little fact” like this to interfere with our “foreign policy,” or reliance on European and British newsmen for our “information.” Any English or European news reporter may have access to our Embassies and USIS centers and be listened to carefully. Americans are not so treated. They are “interiors.”

We cannot have peace in the world until we have information and until our American citizens abroad are treated as full human beings. Nor can we have exchange and understanding until we listen more to Asians (and others.)

I was told by various leaders of the so-called “Third World” group here that they wanted Asian courses taught by Asians; African courses taught by Africans, etc. on the same or similar basis that we have European courses taught by Europeans. Of course this may not all be candor or honesty but it is well worth considering. I am glad to say that my last classes in Asian problems were addressed only by Asians and by Americans who have lived in Asia and studies with Asians.

In the scientific part of our culture facts are wanted and information is sought. In the non-scientific part of our culture prestige and pressure are to the fore. It might be well for us to learn a little about both Arabs and Israelis and stop pious sentiments. Now the pressure is to get into Biafra. Where will it end?

The Oracle will be out shortly. I am told, which has some material from this person. It will mean sooner or later that the young people will accept the experiences of the little man who has been there, rather than the opinions of the fly-by-night important persons. My audiences are slowly but steadily increasing in numbers and even my financial circumstances are eased. I do not have to beg any more, but to see war after war, misunderstanding after misunderstanding arise when we could have the information and knowledge if we adapted methods akin to those of the sciences and scientists, is not going to pass unnoticed. The generation gap is only too often a gap between “realism” and Reality.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

cc-ISGS

cc-Cranstone

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

May 2, 1969

 

Hon. Phillip Burton

House Office Building, Washington, D. C.

 

Dear Phil:

There are two dominant arguments in contemporary “Logic” which are money and followers. In the law-courts and in scientific conferences, conclusions are reached from evidences but generally not otherwise. And this is one of the main causes for the “generation” gap which is not so much a generation gap, but that the young, compelled by their elders to repeat: “One Nation under God with liberty and justice for All” (which was not the Pledge of Allegiance by us oldsters) have actually come to believe we should have One Nation under God with liberty and justice for all. Oldsters are they who want the words, and juveniles are they who want the reality.

Every single week this year without exception my income has gone up slightly and the total of audiences has gone up slightly. This, of course is not news. Three hundred young people causing a fracas on the Berkeley campus is world news and no nonsense. Over three hundred, considerably over three hundred being turned away from an Indian film festival, and not a word in the press! I can tell you that KPFA and the Tribune are brothers under the skin and both are staunch supporters of “realism” as against Reality.

I now have no less than eight sessions a week trying to present the Asian-Asian philosophies to the American people, at least to the young. The last effort has been the hardest—out in the Haight-Ashbury district, but yesterday the audience reached at least 40 and not a challenge. One had to acquaint them with some hard facts of Asian history—not generally taught— and then stressed the hard, hard fact, that “left,” “center” and “right” have alike universally refused lectures and papers on Vietnamese culture. No wonder Hon. Hugh Scott wants out; a lot of people want out. If we are going to tangle ourselves in somebody else’s backyard we should at least learn whom that somebody else is. We have refused; our whole culture has refused excepting … (which is very important).

Someone told me that the State Department has offered high sums for anybody that could instruct the foreign office in Asian philosophies. Of course one does not know what is going on but this is hardly in line with “foreign policy” no matter which party is in, or for that matter if any of the minority groups would come to office. “Realism” is utterly far from Reality.

Now The Oracle is out. This also began as a Haight-Ashbury adventure, and somewhere along the line it failed. Now almost the whole issue is dedicated to this person or to his closest friends and associates, something which “realists” will have to accept even if they do not accept “us.” One does not know what the sale will be but a copy will soon be in the hands of your San Francisco office. Why, even my picture is in it and I am in the cartoons, but a greatly changed “front” so my old friends and acquaintances will not recognize me excepting for my short height. (I still have the stentorian voice which persists.)

How California Can Help Asia. This, of course, is not news. A number of years ago I called on the official historian and told him his history was marvelous but his “problems” were terrible because every single one of them had been faced and even solved by professors or teams of the “multiversity.” You never heard about that.

Now my relations with the professors at both the University of California and San Francisco State has reached a high plateau. And I have been moved to find a department at Berkeley which has listed all the literature and Projects of the professors and is going ahead on this theme. This is only one of the examples of accomplishments which, of course, is not-news. Everything encountered lately at the University is contraction, including the solution of most of the problems aroused bySilent Spring. (I have been a professional spray operator and horticulturalist too and therefore am not welcomed at discussions in this field. We seem to want excitement and problems and not solutions; and we have the solutions but try to impress editors and publishers!)

Fortunately, the Alumni Association is beginning a campaign to publicize accomplishments, so much greater than the “excitement” procedures which have convinced the Birchites that education is nothing but a process in subversion. The extremists agree in blatancy, and also in a suppressing information.

With The Oracle out and with the May celebration at my Novato place I may never be in obscurity again. We are combining the Buddhist Wesak Day with effort to restore the old May Day festival. We have a pole and a number of dances choreographed by myself. We intend to work to restore old folk festivals. At the opposite pole of the year we wish to restore All Saints Day and get rid of this blackmailing “tricks or treat” which has no foundation in history or mythology.

The Oracle is also for my American-American philosophy. I think there is a whole page for Emerson. I am for Emerson, Whitman, James, Pierce, Thoreau, Hawthorne and a lot of forgotten men and here I find an enormous portion of the young in accord.

Oriental Documents. So far have been unable to find a publisher or professor willing to accept until recently. I studied Chinese Buddhism under the Great Master, Tai Hsu, whose fame and efforts are not being resurrected. My present teacher in Buddhism, the Korean Seo Kyung Bo was also a disciple of this great man. My theme that we might learn Oriental philosophies from Orientals will not be changed. We have to adopt the same attitude toward Asians as we do to Europeans only I, born in this city, have always looked to Asia. And still do.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

cc: Lim P. Lee

cc: Arthur Hoppe

 

 


May 16, 1969

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Sam:

This will acknowledge and thank you for your recent letter. It was, as always, good to hear from you, and to get the benefit of your views.

Kindest personal regards.

Sincerely,

Philip Burton

 

 


June 2, 1969

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Sam:

Thanks very much for your letter which was most interesting. I do hope you will continue to keep me posted.

Sincerely,

Phil Burton

Member of Congress

 

 


Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California 94110

October 1, 1969

 

Dear Sam:

This will acknowledge and thank you for your kind letter. As always, it is good to have your views.

Kindest personal regards,

Phil Burton

Member of Congress

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco. Calif.

October 4, 1969

 

Hon. Phillip Burton

428 House Office Building,

Washington. D.C.

 

My dear Phil:

Thank you for your letter of the 1st. I am acknowledging it because it gives one the opportunity to send a copy of a letter just written to Ted Sorenson which just appeared in the Saturday Review.

I personally believe, along with Lord Snow, that we have two cultures; one depending on participation and other on opinions. And generally the opinions of important persons are placed way above the experiences of lesser persons. And calling this land a “democracy,” it is causing endless confusion.

In the worlds of science and technology on the one hand and in the law-courts on the other, only participants are presumably permitted to testify. But in the vast areas of the so-called “social science” prestige alone matters.

You must understand then, that the young are in revolt and now this person, among others, is being called on more and more by the young to express his experiences (which elders spurn) and philosophy (which is not so important but which elders also spurn and for that reason it is most welcomed by the young).

As matters stand I should be going, along with associates, to Istanbul next year and I am waiting to find out whether we go to New York or Washington first. I cannot ask you for more time than may be available, but should be assigned to some secretary or colleague to place the cards on the table.

Sooner or later my biography or autobiography will appear and it will make Zola’s J’Accuse look like a Sunday school theme. The young are not going to stand for these endless wars—from which small groups profit. They want a world in which they can live and let others live. And what is going on in the class-rooms of the colleges and universities never gets into the papers. It is sublime.

Faithfully,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

October 17, 1969

 

Hon. Phillip Burton

Federal Building,

450 Golden Gate Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif. 94102

 

My dear Phil:

I have been watching very closely news concerning your efforts especially in behalf of peace and understanding. There are some curious types of rank dishonesty, such as the Heart papers claiming to show a way out of the “generation gap.” And it was refreshing to find some newsmen also in the protest lines.

At the present moment my affairs are prospering in most directions and point to attendance at a conference of all the world’s religions at Istanbul, Turkey, next year. It is a sad thing that this conference has to be held outside the boundaries of a land which regards Thomas Jefferson as perhaps the greatest of its founding fathers. We simply do not permit an open conference of the world’s religions, although the theme was first offered in Chicago at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. It seems that since then any effort in that direction has to be supervised by the State Department.

True, there was a reason for this that the Japanese Government used presumably prelates as spies prior to the War. But we still exclude representatives of certain faiths, or what is worse, have non-American, Non- Asians dominate the teachings of some of Asian religions in the great institutions of the land.

My immediate reason for writing was the receipt of a letter from a Vietnamese friend. I shall try to provide a program for him some Sunday night soon. I am not only for peace through friendship with the Vietnamese people, I have met more and more civilians who have visited that unhappy land and concluded that they are beautiful people. And we, despite our spending billions of dollars, have not given a single thought to the contributions of the Vietnamese to world-civilization.

I have been one of the chief speakers at The Family Dog at Ocean beach and spoke to, I understand, 1500 young people. I have given them two aphorisms which our Hearts simply cannot understand:

(a.) Youth of the World, Unite, You Have Nothing to Lose!

(b.) Dance Together instead of March Together!

 

 I shall soon be reappearing in the Haight-Ashbury district. My work with the young is to instruct them in the real cultures of real Asia, and very gradually this is seeping through the minds of men at home and abroad, with the climax, presumably next year.

The news of my affairs plus the rejections by previous generations is also reaching the leading poets of the area, who themselves are becoming more and more steeped in Asian cultures. My general theme to American people has been the integrations of American-American philosophy with Asian-Asian philosophy. This looks very simple, but I never met a USIS librarian abroad that was acquainted with the books on American philosophies by Americans (Emerson, Whitman, the James family, Pierce, Keyser, Reiser, etc.) This is too complicated and specialized to take up.

But what is not so complicated is that I am actually attending classes at “Hayakawa” State College as an authority on Asian culture! And my relations with the American-born instructors in all branches of Asian cultures is a friendly and warm as it was not with non-American, non-Asian “experts” who are gradually disappearing.

Yet it is this sort of person who has brain-washed our “Peace Cops” recruits and misled them.

 I believe that the youth of America is more intelligent than the youth of previous generations or even previous ages. With all their shortcomings, I see in them the hope of the world.

At least the Hitler government had “gauleiters,” who were trained in the cultures of lands they in intended to invade. We just invade and the excuses about Laos are both more comical and more potentially tragic than anything in previous history.

I am sure if the weather had been better the turnouts would have been greater all over the country. There is so much going on that does not reach the press or radio-TV. There is a vast difference between the “destroy property” invaders of our campuses. They seize the headlines, but the student bodies all over the country, by their unreported elections, are showing exactly where the trends are.

I shall keep you informed of any physical movements. My visits to New Mexico and any appearance before the young here may be indicative of what may at presented to a world conference, not dominated by our press and foreign office.

Faithfully,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


October 20, 1969

Hon Phillip Burton

Federal Building

450 Golden Gate Ave.

San Francisco 94102

 

Dear Phil:

I hope you saw the article in yesterday’s paper: the British commentary on President Nixon. This person stands in such utter contrast to that very great soul, the late Winston Churchill. In one sense I feel a capacity to contrast these two men, for I was already aware of Churchill by 1903, not exactly yesterday. I was also a friend of former congressmen Jerry Voorhees and lived at Whittier at one time, so I have excellent vantage points.

A great man has great vision and can work wonders. A little man is very glib. To assure world peace and tranquility Churchill both conquered and surrendered. Mr. Nixon seems quite incapable of either. I think you can carry it on from there. My birthday has just been celebrated; about 100 young people took part in the party at Novato, my Marin home. 50 others showed up Saturday to a party given by me, not for me, in this city. As I have been writing Art Hoppe, my campaign to become a Pied Piper is something of a wash-out, only the young show up, but more and more and more—every week more. Old people stick to “realism”; the young want realities and not war.

We are working on programs to foster better American-Asian relations and all signs point to the situation that Asians and young Americans will accept one another. The older people may continue to accept our Hearsts, our Nixons and our warmongers. Sooner or later they will have to face a type of judgment which they cannot understand. This week I am speaking at “Hayakawa State College.” Even that master-mind cannot prevent the enrolled students from finding out a little of the realities of this world. I shall keep you informed.

Sincerely,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

November 19, 1969

 

Hon. Phillip Burton,

House Office Building,

Washington, D.C.

 

Let Us Have War! (by the successor to President U.S. Grant)

Dear Phil:

I have nothing but new and impossible news. It is all news, it is all true and it is all impossible. I have long given up trying to reach either the State Department or the press. Now I don’t need the press. But there is a certain truth in the Vicissimo’s charges, for once a Fourth Estate man says anything, that becomes super-gospel truth, and it takes an army of testimonials to change that. For that unreason I am leaning over backwards for Mayor Alioto, for I was long ago brain-washed, and quite wrongly it would appear, that a man is innocent until he is proven guilty. Not when the Fourth Estate enters, no sir.

At the same time the Vicissimo has convinced me I must join the next moratorium, for I was also brain-washed to believe that this country was formed so we could have a government to listen to redress for grievances and now that we have dissolved President Grant we might as well take in Washington and Adams and Jefferson also; besides they wore long hair.

Last week I met in turn a Chassid Rabbi from Jerusalem, the chief Vietnamese “Zen” Master residing in this land and a teacher of Indian spiritual dancing. All fell in with my “impossible” Dances of Universal Peace. And besides, this is the land of “freedom,” opportunity,” etc. I am preparing to present these dances outside the United States, but under the direction of an American Institution, The Temple of Understanding, which is being built near Washington.

They have sent for a world conclave which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, next spring and they have already accepted and will want over forty years researches, besides the hard facts of real events in this presumably objective world. As I have written before, the direct story from Vietnam years ago was absolutely corroborated by Dulles’ appointment secretary but we hold on adamantly to that American scripture, “A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court” and therefore the war must go on and on and on because the script says so.

I am already scheduled for at least one Vietnam Day at this house, perhaps next month, so we can listen to a Vietnamese. We have heard the Hawks, we have heard the Doves, we have heard the Hawks and Doves and Squawks, but never, never a Vietnamese!

It is remarkable that there are pages and pages on the moon exploration, but hardly a word on the significance of the latest election in our most “loyal ally,” i.e. the Philippines. The government represents a majority who voted against any more western-controlled Asian policy. They seem to be withdrawing their army and unilaterally.

I personally believe our greatest mistake this whole century has been the way we have ignored the thoughts, the words, the appeals of that really great Oriental diplomat, Carlos Rumolo. I think he has put it so plainly. But it is not only our warmongers but so many, even, of our anti-war people who seem incapable of listening to Asians, which must be part of any program toward peace in and with Asians.

Our totally blind spot in considering peoples of other lands as our equals is going to get us into further trouble, or else cause the rest of the world more trouble. Only “Asian Student” has mentioned the conference of Nations, Muslims and others, who have protested against the sabotage on a sacred Mosque in Jerusalem. It is not mentioned in the press; neither Agnew nor those whom we criticize touch that subject.

We are piously saying that the Israelis and Arabs should get together—all pious words, words, words, words and more wars. What Jewish leader in this land seems willing to meet with Arabs, and for that matter what Arab leader with Israelis! The only difference seems to be that the Arabs distinguish between Jews and Zionists and non-Arab Muslims do not. They are anti-Jewish. And we are so afraid that the Russians will get in.

I tell you, Phil, the Russians will get in. I myself was sent on a peace feeler mission, from Pakistan to India and got the usual from the foreign office. So they called in Kozygin. If we do anything (but continue to give and receive peace awards) it will be a new step. It is our recalcitrance which is building the Russians up. We have no Teddy Roosevelts today who can have any Portsmouth conference, and our Republication leaders, they especially, are about as anti-Roosevelt as anti-Grant!

Now, I am not only getting ready to attend an international conference held outside the domains of the United States, but have received an invitation from a group in New England to further elucidate on views and knowledge, which views and knowledge might at least do something more than the present American policies of (liberty, democracy and humanity plus peasants, shut up!) The peasants are not going to shut up, Phil, they are going to confer as they are already.-3

The war protesters include those very brains which make this Nation great. These men are not only not in sympathy with the Administration and the V.P. but are far from the super-encyclopedic commentators against whom the Vice-President protests. The brains, the informed men, the really educated scientists and literati are going to express themselves despite the administration, despite the press and the radio-TV monopolies.

The call either to go to New England or to work with the young there is following the call to go to Istanbul and then back to various parts of this country.

Nothing is going to be gained by suppression. I admire the Greeks. I have studied Greek civilization for many years and am a great admirer of Greek food and Greek dancing. But not the suppression of freedom by scions of this marvelous people either at home or abroad.

Another group in New England of Christians (evidently) want some cooperation. I tell them and I am sure you will re-echo this, that we need nothing more today than

Blessed Are the Peacemakers.

I shall keep you informed. I am steadily but regularly getting a larger following. I am working on “Dances of Universal Peace,” rejected, of course, by the respectable of all sorts, but being joined by more and more of the young. Last week, in turn, had the most lovely meetings with a Jerusalem Rabbi, a Vietnamese “Zen” Master and the Hindu lady who teaches the spiritual dances of her land. The “respectables” don’t want them—the young welcome them and they welcome the young.

Youth of the World Unite, You Have Nothing to Lose.

Faithfully,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif.

February 6, 1970

 

Hon. Philip Burton,

428 House Office Building,

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Phil:

I have just received copy of your remarks regarding the 1970 session. On the whole I am quite satisfied with your stands on nearly every subject. I am, and a lot of others also, concerned with problems of conservation and having another home in Marin county, especially with Point Reyes.

I am having no trouble at all with the young. For years have been writing Art Hoppe, that the campaign to be a Pied Piper has been a dismal failure—only the young show up. My following in basic endeavors is slowly but steadily increasing. The main item is “Dances of Universal Peace.” There are now two proposals by others to have “this work” cinematized or televised—these proposals are out of my hands, but two others, to have them choreographed, etc.

Part of the latter is in connection with the present visit of former Professor Richard Alpert of Harvard University, who now it known as Baba Ram Dass. He has been successful in reaching audiences of thousands and also raising thousands of dollars for his efforts, which will benefit me personally, directly and indirectly. Thousands come to hear him and not a word in the press and I don’t know if the radio or TV has bothered.

The subject has its overtones. I am being called from this district on several missions, one of world-wide importance and two of national importance, but am remaining here because my brother is hovering between life and death. Either his recovery or demise will benefit me. This would lead me also to Washington; that is why you are being informed.

Am attending a class on the problems of Southeast Asia, lead by Prof. Kosicki of the University of California. The class discussions are as unlike what one reads and hears as the actual campus revolts at Berkeley were unlike the reports thereon. I am expecting also to have a Vietnam day either here or in connection with one of the local campuses in the not distant future—Vietnamese speakers!

The sad fact, Phil, is that our people are being kept totally misinformed about the beliefs and feelings of foreigners, and for my part, especially Asians. And I hope to arrange a real peace meeting anent Palestine here in June. You may wish to have an observer. And you can bet the meeting will between the humanity concerned and not between egocentric “experts,” commentators and ivory-tower dwellers.

The rest of my affairs are also prospering, so I do not have any days off at all.

Cordially,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


February 13, 1970

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Sam:

This will acknowledge and thank you for your most recent letter.

As always, it is good to hear from you, and to have the benefit of your views.

Kindest personal regards.

Sincerely,

Philip Burton

Member of Congress

 

 


March 24, 1970

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Sam:

This will acknowledge and thank you for your recent letter and for your courtesy in sending me a copy of your correspondence with Art Hoppe.

I hope your trip is most productive.

Kindest personal regards.

Sincerely,

Philip Burton

Member of Congress

 

 


March 9, 1970

Hon. Phillip Burton

House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Phil:

I am enclosing herewith a copy of a letter to our good friend Art Hoppe. The tragedy is that the seemingly humorous report is based on actual facts given by eye-witnesses and participants who, not having the proper credentials, have never been taken seriously. The sad and bitter truth is, as Dr. Malalasekera said before the United Nations, “How can you trust a nation which will not trust its own citizens.” The learned gentleman was absolutely correct, he also being privy to the actual facts upon which the Hoppe letter is based.

No doubt we have a CIA, but we do not have an intelligence system, central or otherwise. And, if you dare to challenge that system, you are for practical purposes blackballed or blacklisted; and a person who has had to face real communists where they were not supposed to be and find them operating not in accord with “secret agent,” “mission-impossible,” etc., is too often regarded as worse than a nuisance, and I am not talking nonsense. Apparently, the only purpose the Laos complex has served is to give us an excuse not to interfere in the Nigeria-Biafra mix-up.

There is no question that there are insidious forces working in this country, in all kinds of troubles going on. But I don’t know what we can do, and I, myself, am not going to do, because I know darn well factual reports are not accepted, and newspaper rumors often are. Anyhow, I now have my Passport for Switzerland and England, and shall be given the floor, as I have not been locally, and I shall work, not for resolutions—the old game—but for peace and understanding.

Recent correspondence and local events indicate that sooner or later, large numbers of our citizens will because more concerned with truth than with ivory tower opinions from well known power structures. As I told Susan Kennedy the other day, not only are the young listening to me, but it is possible that I may be televised before the year is out.

At this writing it does not appear I shall be able to visit Washington on this trip, but will, nay must, keep you informed. And one of the things we are planning on my return is a meeting between actual Arabs and actual Israelis who have preserved mutual regard and friendship, something a diplomat cannot understand and a newsman won’t.

Sincerely,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

cc San Francisco office

 

 


March 9, 1970

Mr. Sam L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Friend:

Thank you very much for your letter. I always find your communications very stimulating.

Peace and friendship,

John L. Burton

 

 


April 14, 1970

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Sam:

This will acknowledge and thank you for your recent letter.

It was good, as always, to have the benefit of your views, and I sincerely hope that your travels were most productive.

Kindest personal regards.

Sincerely,

Philip Burton

Member of Congress

 

 


Boston, Massachusetts

April 22, 1970

 

Hon. Philip Burton

House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

 

My dear Phil:

I am writing you under the most favorable of circumstances and am sending a copy also to our immediate neighbor to the south, The Hon. Paul A. McCloskey Jr.

As you know, I have been to Geneva where the first steps were launched to real peace in Palestine with benefit of clergy, literally, and without benefit to diplomats, generals, and New York Times super-experts. I think if we can clear these pompous self-supermen out of the picture, something can be done be done to establish peace on earth or at least a portion of the earth.

I return home at the end of the week and hope to establish, by the opening of the fall semester, a scholarship for “Peace in Palestine” through the Department of Near East Language Studies on the Berkeley campus.

This journey has been enlightened and brightened by three things:

A. the ease of communication to and from the top ecclesiastical and spiritual leaders of this actual world.

B. the growing acceptance of this person by the young people. There has been no generation gap anywhere. The methods used, of course, are anathema to every sort of dialectician and sociologist of every camp, and they are just are successful as they are obnoxious to those subjectivists who prate about “realism.”

C. a very large increase in my monthly stipend due to deaths of relatives, etc. and coming at a time also when my incomes from my own endeavors are rising.

This means I may come to the eastern seaboard later in the year, including a visit to Washington. As soon as I return to San Francisco, I will repair to your headquarters and then will consider seriously those things which are mutually acceptable to your good self and neighbor McCloskey.

Cordially,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

cc McCloskey

 

 


April 26, 1970

Hon. Phillip Burton

428 House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

 

My dear Phil:

Many thanks for your letter of April 14.

You will find carbons of two letters recently written which will give you some backgrounds of recent endeavors. At this writing everything looks very propitious and auspicious. There are a number of very necessary private matters, but also there are a number of more public campaigns.

I have noticed your name in several of the newspapers in the eastern part of the country, connected with what may be most worthy projects. I shall try to visit your San Francisco office tomorrow, both to report and to learn more of what you are doing.

Generally speaking, you have the youth of America with and for you. I write from firsthand experience and not from the mere private judgment of agreement.

Cordially,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


May 28, 1970

Hon. Philip Burton

House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

 

My dear Philip:

This is just a letter of expression of good will and cordiality. I have to go away again, this time to the state of New Mexico. I shall be in charge of a summer school to teach organic gardening, and the Asian Philosophies of Asians. It is notable, and noticeable, that in these days when we have dared to intrude into another land, we know nothing about these peoples, and seem to care less, other than to see they do not adopt any philosophy, or for that matter religion, which does not stand in good with the personalities in charge of our rather vague foreign policies.

I have felt very uncomfortable ever since the days we emotionalized the Kellogg-Briand pact to declare verbally there would be no more war and along with that accepted a philosophy so akin to that of the late Adolph Hitler, that one sometimes wonders why we entered World War II at all. Fortunately, we have a district dominated by those who have humanitarian outlooks, and most fortunately we have adhered marvelously to such outlooks.

My own efforts have been in the direction of what used to be called peace—that is, to get peoples to fraternize with each other. The hollowness, the shallowness, the duplicity of the present administration shows up in that we have established and are increasing cultural exchange with Russia, while at the same time using the very existence of this nation to foment mass-murder of strange peoples. And we do not have any such sort of cultural exchange with nations and races that have historically contributed so much. And it is here that youth will not accept the decisions of age.

We are going to have fraternization, be it through religions, through a new or old political or social philosophy, or even through botanical derivatives, long used for peaceful purposes. The local police are today blaming almost all crime on what they call “the new Left.” Only yesterday it was marijuana or something else. Tomorrow it will be something else again. Rape, murder, and what used to be crimes in the past are increasing numerically, while the so-called law-enforcers pretend to be horrified because the youth of today are pursuing the same policies as their ancestors in the Boston area two centuries back. What was good enough for those people??? I don’t think we have to say any more.

My own successes with the young seem to be due to the simple fact of keeping in close touch with their hearts and minds. I think you understand this very well yourself. I expect to return here in the month of July, and am not forgetting for one minute the splendid efforts in behalf of real liberty, real democracy, and real humanity.

Most Cordially,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

 


Lama Foundation

Box 444,

San Cristobal, New Mexico, 87564

June 10, 1970

 

Hon. Phillip Burton,

House Office Building.

Washington, D.C.          

 

My dear Phil:

This is written from high in the Rockies where I am engaged both in teaching the Oriental Philosophies of The Asians and cooperation in organic gardening.

Just returned from a rather successful trip to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, where I have two new audiences. You would think, if we are going to invade a country, we should learn a little beforehand of the cultures and ethos of the people. The Germans did much better: they had Gauleiters who trained themselves in the geography, culture, social organization, etc. of the people they either invaded or proposed to invade. We do nothing of the sort, we just invade.

I have been very unhappy ever since the Kellogg-Briand Pact, wherein we emotionally abolished war and began murdering each other at a tremendous rate. There are no more wars, Russia into Czechoslovakia and we into whatever Asian land that strikes our fancy. The Japanese, even if they did not have Gauleiters, at least studied the economic geography of the lands they later invaded; we study nothing, we just invade.

This brings up two subjects: the need to know something about Asian peoples; and peace, whatever that is. It is remarkable with all the blowing, that among the few countries we have anything like cultural exchange are Russia and Israel, both of which, if not exactly communistic, have strong leanings that way. Whereas other lands, which have greater cultures than Israel and Russia (and I am not belittling either), we have not recognized, culturally. Warning is of no value. The elections in Ceylon we bypass, as if they did not occur. It seems that we either deliver lands over to the military or landlords, or ignore them.

The time has passed when we can continue to regard Asians as second-class human beings. Now my contacts are increasing and also, I have been receiving apologies from important persons and organizations who were “too busy” to grant interviews. Never mind the past, this is a situation and when I visit Washington and the East Coast, I shall probably have a number of introductions that will facilitate matters.

I am working for peace in the Near East, based on a study of history, religion, water supplies, desert reclamation, etc. and I am about to establish a scholarship at the University of California therefor. It is remarkable how the various receivers of “peace awards” keep quiet when called upon to face realities.

This all prepares one for striving for actual peace and opens both ears and hearts of the young.

I have first-hand knowledge of the affairs at UCB, UCSB, San Francisco State, New Mexico and Harvard, to say the least. I do not get my ideas from the ideas of a celebrated commentator, of from the “experts” who react to that commentator or the editors who react to the “experts” reacting, or from the Vice President. The young are in revolt because they are not considered. Full consideration is given to the writers and important people. But by now I have met representatives from most parts of the country and many think that the other sections are slack with their protests.

I am equally concerned with what has happened to the old science of Ecology. Every sort of litterateur and commentator is horning in and confusing real problems, real issues and real solutions. Everything is becoming emotionalized and personalized. Everybody blames everybody else.

I have heard there has been a “Holy Men’s Jamboree” in San Francisco. It only needs a catalizer to start something which may bring a general strike of the young, quite different from that envisioned by Marxists. I have always said the world cannot remain half dialectical and half free. The dialecticians are divided and the youth are becoming united. And if they can be persuaded to go to the polls this November, do not be surprised.

Cordially,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

cc Hon. J.S. Cooper

cc S.F. Office

 

 


July 24, 1970

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Sam,

Thank you for your recent letter in support of my efforts to restore reason and peace both at home and abroad.

I appreciate this support and your candor deeply and am glad that things are working out well for you at last.

Sincerely,

Phillip Burton

Member of Congress

 

 


July 28, 1970

Congressman Phillip Burton

House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Phil:

I recently received a letter of thanks from you for my effort in promoting peace. I considered the matter closed and then…. This afternoon I was dictating a long, and what I thought, important letter to Bishop Myers of the Episcopalian Cathedral. It was in the direction of what I called “The Nathan the Wise” Plan for Palestine. In the middle of it, we were interrupted by a telephone call from a man who plans to promote such a scheme. And we were hardly through, when we received a long distance call from a Rabbi from Jerusalem, now living in New York.

I think I have written you that a publisher, who is a friend of mine, will put this out. I have lost interest in the press and so-called peace organizations in this land. I do not propose to have another experience like the 33 rejections of my article on Vietnamese Buddhism. The press and the State Department will continue their “democratic” practice of considering that the opinions of the big men who have never been there are more important than the experiences of the little men who have. But I am very much afraid, Phil, we are either going to have violence or a real peace crusade led by the young themselves.

I now have all the personality contacts I need everywhere in the world. I am only hoping that I may not have to write articles which may make Zola’s J’accuse look amateurish. The young are associating with each other, and their elders write horrible subjectivisms which are received as news.

Although I may have to go to Washington before the Fall campaign takes place, we may even be demonstrating for you, and if not, otherwise, with my “dances of universal peace.” These dances, inspired by the late Ruth St. Denis, are now being presented in many parts of the land, and probably more so, before long. I also have excellent Washington connections. And I am encouraged most of all by the long distance telephone call, just received, from the Rabbi returning to Jerusalem.

 I have been writing a lot of “not news” to Art Hoppe. I am not, of course, operating contrarily to any effort by officials to bring peace in the world. I understand the Jewish people and their religion or non-religion; I understand the Arab people and their culture and religion, and ignorant emotions. But, I well realize the impossibility of even trying to convince newspapers and publishers of sound solid facts which don’t fit into their nonsensical pro or anti-Marxist dialectics.

Faithfully,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


August 3, 1970

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California 94110

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you for your letter and copy of your letter to Art Hoppe. I certainly hope that peace will be restored in the Middle East and an end to the killing and hatred will take place.

Sincerely,

Philip Burton

Member of Congress

 

 


August 8, 1970

Phil Burton

Congress of the United States

House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Phil:

This will acknowledge your letter of August 3.

I had intended writing you to enclose copy of letter written to Reverend Lowell Ditzen of Washington. This important clergyman is the stepfather of Senator Tidings, and the way matters stand, I may be his guest the fall of this year.

You may recall that when you were elected I wrote: “It is not what your congressman can do for you, but what you can do for your congressman.”

Everything in both my private and public life is progressing marvelously. This covers many items not alluded to in the letter to Rev. Ditzen; e.g., peace in Southeast Asia. Also, local affairs which should redound to your benefit. We can’t stop the nonsense of the press and TV discussing “generation gaps.” To me it is entirely “reality” vs. “realism,” whatever that last word means. I think you understand that many aged persons are interested in their dreams and imaginations which they call “realism” while the young want truth.

Cordially,

Samuel

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


August 17, 1970

Hon. Philip Burton,

House office Building,

Washington, DC

 

My dear Phil:

“Every ten years a Noble peace prize,

Every five years another war.”

While the “peace” organizations and winners of awards are running to cover concerning both Palestine and Vietnam, I have again had to abandon any idea of any day off. Once a man told me I had the best plan for the Near East he had ever heard of. His name was Gunner Jarring. Some Israelis and some Arabs agreed. That is all.

Since writing Senator Cooper, my unrecognized followers have arranged two dinners, one called by “Jews” and the other by “Arabs.” They will probably take place within a month. If Art Hoppe of the Chronicle returns, he will be invited. The only other way to gain publicity in the “Judeo-Christian Ethic” is to have marijuana or pornography or a brawl or something off color. But I am having Jews and Christians who really believe in God read the book of the prophet Malachi, which is, of course, quite out.

Tomorrow, I expect to visit the Department of Near East Languages on the Berkeley Campus to establish a “Peace Scholarship.” My own small funds mean a modest scholarship. As a member of class of 1918, I am supposed to give $50 (or more) a year. I am now able to start with a thousand dollars, but the way things are improving it may be much more.

This, of course, does not make that “news” either. I know of endless wonders performed by professors on the various campuses, but nothing is news unless the police are involved. Neither the “New Left” nor the Regents seem to have any idea of the wonders of class-rooms and laboratory and other creative efforts. These things are definitely not-news.

 But, my editor will be back in September and there will be the opportunity to have published not only from this person, but from a lot of others real history—not news, but history.

At Geneva, the “great” Sir Zafrullah Khan, whom we dare not approach, was sat down and sat down good and hard. A lot of “nobodies” came up with wonderful ideas and plans, not rhetoric, not emotion, not garbeldy-gook.

Philip, the young are going ahead. It is wonderful. They are doing a lot of things besides “grass” but what is “grass?” The “experts” don’t know anything about it; “experts” don’t want to know anyhow.

The war of “Reality” vs. realism can have but one ending. Watch and wait and see.

Faithfully,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


August 31, 1970

Hon. Phillip Burton

House Office Building

Washington, DC

 

My deal Phil:

Since writing Senator Cooper, I am pleased to report everything is coming along marvelously well. I have just received a cordial letter from a second Jerusalem Rabbi at a time my young friends are making considerable progress in their efforts toward peace and understanding.

The program which Gunner Jarring listened to was originally taken by me to Washington at the request of the State Department. They made a special appointment for me which was later confirmed on my arrival, but when I came to the office designated, there not only was nobody there, but no note or anything, and it cost me hundreds of dollars for this trip.

Nor did the State Department take me seriously when I warned them incessantly of a pending Arab attack on our Embassy, which took place. Nor does the State Department ever answer any letters from me, including my signed application for the Peace Corps. No wonder we are where we are in foreign affairs.

The only time the State Department ever listened to me was when the communists let me off in Lahore to run some errands and it happened these were quite near the consulate. When they telephoned the Pakistani security police, every one of my statements was confirmed. All of this is going into my autobiography. Or, as the celebrated Dr. Malalasekera of Ceylon said to the UN, “How can you trust a government which does not trust its own citizens?” But I don’t care anymore. The young are with me more and more and all my efforts out here are growing, and I am hoping to leave for the East Coast late in September.

Cordially,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

cc: Senator Cooper

 

 


November 4, 1970

Honorable Philip Burton

House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

 

My Dear Phil:

It has been necessary to cancel my visit to Washington, but mostly for good reasons. I became involved in the politics both of New York State and Maryland and found myself—I am sure you would have found yourself—on some losing sides. But some things are being accomplished.

There is a revolution coming on in America. It is a revolution also against the very word “revolution,” which is being used by conflicting forces in power to apply to the use of force or violence. It does not cover very radical or entirely new outlooks. This you can find. among the young, and I have certainly been meeting the young, more and more and more. “We,” in a sense, are taking comfort in the fact that the vast majority of the young people who have been found in minorities will still be alive in 1972, and this does not hold quite so true of their fixed-minded conservative opponents of various camps. On the whole, I am quite satisfied with the election, including, as it does, some repudiation of the almost despotic attitude of personalities in power.

It is this very revolution, so to speak, which is making me return home. I am now engaged in five projects all gaining ground, sometimes financially also gaining ground: 1) organic gardens and health food stores 2) joint Israeli-Christian-Arab functions (no more crap about peace by subjective, “realistic” power-complex people) 3) expansion of my “Dances of Universal Peace” (have to do it in Central Park again Sunday) 4) my teaching of Oriental Oriental philosophy, not derived from European dialecticians admired by the previous generations of Americans 5) my autobiographical notes, for which there is a publisher.

The same feelings which dominate the vast majority of the students and professors of the University of California are now gradually coming to the surface in the universities I have visited in the East. Neither Vice Presidents nor ivory-towered “experts on every subject,” seem to have any ideas of either the outlooks or practices of the vast majority of really cultured people. In 1920, I predicted the real world war would be between the professors and commentators; we have come to that. And I think, Phil, you recognize that professors and students have more votes than Vice Presidents and their mutually despised ivory-towered commentators. These are all off the earth, away from humanity.

There is no bad news other than the defeat of certain people you probably admire. We will be working for real peace in the Near East the last few days we remain in New York.

Faithfully,

Sam

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


December 8, 1970

Mr. Sam Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Sam:

Congressman Burton asked me to contact you.

I would appreciate very much if you would call me at the office: 556- 4862 ,or drop by some afternoon when it is convenient to you.

Sincerely,

Sue

Susan Kennedy

Caen, Herb Correspondence

410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

March 14, 1969

 

Herb Caen

c/o S.F. Chronicle

 

Dear Herb:

Marking predictions is a great game, especially if they don’t come true. I have been to Virginia Beach. I know Hugh Lynn Cayce and like him. He is popular. If one makes predictions and they don’t come true, he (or more likely she) is popular. If not, God help you.

Well the Cayce Bees have been warning me about earthquakes. “You are talking of a veteran of San Francisco, Santa Barbara, not to say Whittier, Los Angles, Tokyo and Rawalpindi.” This is the worst form of argument, to have had the earth rock you to sleep.

Now I have not been in the prediction business because if you predict and the predictions come true you soon won’t be in business. But some enterprising friends of mine have taken over the quondam publication, The Oracle and I suggested they publish some true predictions. They might do just that.

If you make predictions and they come true you will have against you the communist party, all the editors, all the metaphysicians, all the psychics (especially). And Allen Ginsberg will run around saying, “What this country needs is more Blakes and Whitmans being very careful to keep out of your way.

You can’t blame me for giving up looking into the future, and looking into pretty girls’ eyes instead. It is more rewarding however you regard it. Anyhow when I am gone my predictions will no doubt be published—and possibly before.

Now I have another career, becoming a Pied Piper. It is horrible. Only the young show up. More and more every week. And you know, Herb, there’s votes in them there Jacks and Jills.

I am now off to Haight-Ashbury where I attract, but only the young, Herb only the young.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Aug. 9, 1970

Mr. Herb Caen

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco, Calif. 94119

 

Dear Herb:

I am going to send you some “not-news.” It is about the not-newsy young people who are only noticed if they are caught with grass or pornography. The fact that they haven’t been convinced that grass is harmful and booze delightful is making an ever-enlarging gap which ought to be called not a generation gap but a degeneration gap. I have just received from England a series of pictures of Rabbis and Imams together. When a Rabbi meets with an Imam that is news, but when a devotee of the Rabbi’s Congregation and a devotee of the Imam’s congregation worship together that is treason of absolutely the worst kind, and no question about it, it is treason. Well some of us have had the audacity to try to get Israelis and Arabs to associate with each other and even to worship together. Of course we have been successful. We have been amazed at the success. But we are quite aware that this is absolutely unprintable. Only we are going ahead anyhow.

This person went to Geneva to a Conference of the World’s Faiths, and he was permitted to speak, which is never done in the good San Francisco where he was born. Now we have determined to try to get Arabs and Israelis to recognize each other as human beings. It is not only easy, it is being followed by a successful fund collecting. The dear old Rabbis and the dear old Imams will gather together, will worship together, and will go home and warn their disciples and congregation that they must never think of doing anything like it. Thus the degeneration gap. But we have been most successful in getting young people to recognize each other as children of the living God, and going on from there, and not only doing that, but have been very successful in collecting funds to advance such a program. If one of us should smoke marijuana or raise the red flag or the Vietnamese Flag this would be news. Tomorrow it is going to be news anyhow. Thus the degeneration gap.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


September 2, 1970

Herb Caen, Chronicle

San Francisco, Calif.

 

Dear Herb:

You will find enclosed copy of a letter to our mutual friend Gavin Arthur. [Of August 18—Ed]

I shall not apologize for my tone. There is nothing more terrible than to be an eye witness of dramas in foreign lands. My friend Robert Clifton lived many years in Vietnam and died of a broken heart. My friend Julie Medlock, widow of a Hearst editor and herself a press representative, worked as a reporter in many lands. She had the temerity to be an eye witness of dramas in many parts of both Asia and Africa. Every report she made was published by Asian papers and less than 10% by the American press.

I have at last found an editor who is going to accept my eye witness reports and probably the conversations with Mr. Gunnar Jarring. This man thought the plan I presented was the best he had ever encountered for the Middle East. This was turned down by every “respectable” American organization. Fortunately, it was part of a larger program labeled “What California Can Do for Asia” and now the universities are accepting all efforts. There’s am beautiful story here which the young and coming generations will level at so-called establishments, establishment including all disciples of schools of every form of dialectics. All dialecticians and “realists” select.

Fortunately all our efforts to bring human beings together are succeeding. More fortunately we are not the only ones trying to bring human beings together. I may write a letter to the editor of the Chronicle. Why not even the local Marin papers have published anything from me, although even years ago I was news.

Well I have to go on to other things now, including letters, and hope to God we can find a few good editors who will get out of realism ad into reality. You are certainly invited to attend any of the joint Israeli-Arab meetings. I understand even TV and radio stations are recognizing them.

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Sept. 14, 1970

Mr. Herb Caen

c/o San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco, Ca. 94119

 

Dear Herb:

There used to be a saying, “When dog bites man it is not news, but when man bites dog it is news.” I dissent. When dog bites man it is news; when man bites dog it is news; when man kissed dog or dog kisses man it is not-news.

We have been very successful in having joint Israeli-Arab-Christian meetings, right here in San Francisco. Verboten of course. If they took marijuana they would be investigated, and they are thinking just of that, because it might bring them news, or maybe?

I think we have informed you of a joint Jewish-Sufi gathering in Jerusalem. But that isn’t news either, because Sufis are not to be mentioned unless detrimentally, as in yesterday’s paper.

Now we have received a letter from Rabbi Irving Lehman of Temple Emanu-El in Miami Each. He approves entirely of our efforts. In fact I have seen him sit down at a table with Muslims myself. Not-news of course.

Soon you or your colleagues will be approached by some young people who are having inter-religious, inter-racial gatherings, why even an emissary of President Nixon has discovered what we are doing.

I would like to see San Francisco change from the Gomorrah by the Bay to the Baghdad by the Bay. Don’t you think this is a good idea? Do you know anything about Baghdad? I do. And I began riding the streetcars in San Francisco about 1904. I also think I know something about San Francisco but respect you in this regard.

Sincerely,

 

 


Sept. 21, 1970

Mr. Herb Caen

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco, Calif. 94119

 

Dear Herb:

The stage is all set for a book which may make Zola’s J’accuse look simple and elementary. Only “excitement” is news, and in everything that is occurring we are supporting the communist contention that our social order is decadent. Even the front page of today’s paper has an item that the Russians have reached the moon. I understand there is going to be an outbreak in Marin County, a protest parade against starvation. But it is not news if the scientists have made it possible, and I believe they have made it possible, to solve practically all our so-called food problems.

Already another long distance call that we have another Rabbi who is supporting our joint not-news Israeli-Christian-Arab dinners.

There is a lot more going on—real or potential history. But unless it is terribly “exiting” it is unworthy. Man bites dog is news; dog bites man is news; dog kissing man or man kissing dog….

Every little real or putative achievement of the Communists is news. Actualities by “unexciting” Americans ha ha ha and ho ho ho. You bet youth is in revolt and it has nothing to do with any kind of wing-ism.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


San Francisco Chronicle

 

Dear Wali:

That’s a wild story alright and many thanks for sending it my way.

Yours,

 

Herb Caen

California Public Officials Correspondence

February 1969

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, Cal. 94110

 

California State Senate George Moscone

Tenth Senatorial District State Capitol

Sacramento, Cal. 95814

 

Dear Senator Moscone:

I met you once only, in the streets of San Francisco and was so favorably impressed that I voted for you then, have been voting for you since and am entirely satisfied with your philosophy and your record.

I am not a sociologist. My interests run in other directions, in the international field and food problems. We are getting nowhere simply because the éclat of personalities and pressure emotions are far more to the fore than thinking, calm or otherwise. I do not see any generation gap. I find the young wish to think and their elders wish to emote. While dispassionate about presumable sociological problems, justified or unjustified, I would rather at this time see millions wasted in questionable slum clearance than in a dramatic and totally wasteful efforts to land a man on the moon. Besides this we are stuck with a war economy and constructive alternatives are shunted or shunned if the right person (in a so-called democracy) does not present them. Nevertheless I shall answer or comment seriatim on the problems you have listed.

1. “It is not enough to threaten to expel campus agitators.” The most obvious campus agitators are members of the Fourth Estate. I have seen them foment agitation and turn it into world news. They interview anybody on the campus but the students themselves. Cameras are never seen in the classroom, studios, and laboratories. I believe we have one of the greatest systems of education in all history. I believe the state of California is in the forefront, along with both the University and State colleges. I have plenty of collected literature and much direct experience not wanted by the Fourth Estate. I do not stand alone in this.

I have been a campus agitator myself—when the campus agitators were the enrolled students attending classes and studying hard. Unfortunately at this time leadership in campus agitation has been taken away from the students by the channels of communication on one side and revolutionary non-students on the other. These groups and especially the press ignore the age of the so-called agitators. The young are by-passed by the persons who pretend to lead them, but who themselves are not so young.

2. “Law and order.” I am all for law and order so long as they do not mean that the past must have a strangle hold on the present and the future. I do not believe the term “college administrators” is necessarily clear.

3. “It is not enough to threaten educators….” Who is doing the threatening?

4. “It is not enough to threaten our young.” Here I am so much in agreement with you that I can easily be accused of joining the emotionalists as against the thinkers.

5. “It is not too late to seek better ways of communicating between generations…. “ I am doing just that. I am succeeding. I am succeeding by methods which alike are disdained by power-structures both of the prevailing social order and those who are demanding change—meaning they wish to lead.

What I fear is are constant confusion between words and the things or principles which they presumably represent. Dr. S.I. Hayakawa, professionally a literary semanticist drawing his income from the theme that words are not the things they represent, does not hesitate to fail into the very pattern which he verbally execrates when his own ego is involved. If we had to cut the tongues of men who say in one direction and do in another doctors and hospitals would be very busy.

I have merely stated my position here. On the subject of Priority Legislation I am in substantial or absolute agreement with you. It is no doubt encouraging to an official to find a number of his electors are so in accord with him.

Season’s greetings,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


March 1, 1970

State Senator George R. Moscone

540 Van Moss Ave.

Room 209

San Francisco, Ca. 94102

 

Dear Senator Moscone:

I have your “A Report to the People” and also a letter dated Feb. 19. On the whole I am quite satisfied with your performance, your reports, and your endeavors. Where we differ—and I do not know whether we differ or not—is on what might be called “the semantic problem.” I believe the world is suffering more from the misuse of words than from any other misuse; that from this stem both the greater and lesser problems of the day, and that at the moment I see no way out, because “solutions” come only from the well-to-do, or from the pressure groups of the not so well-to-do. Both are adept in using the word “science” without any proper referent, and so we are kept in confusion both from objective problems, and subjective confusions brought about by our own attitudes.

One of the greatest disturbances in the world come from Mahatma Gandhi’s coupling of peace and non-violence. He used those words together whether they can be coupled or not with the awful result that today we do not have peace. I believe that peace cannot be coupled with anything. So also, the words hunger and malnutrition are coupled; they are very distinct and I see no way of proving this to non-scientists. I do not believe emotions can solve problems; I never have, and I am very nasty on this point.

Why is it so much pressure is being exerted to study sex in the public schools and none whatever to teach nutrition? I can assure you little children are far more interested in food than they are in sex, and far more effected by diet. This is not to belittle our sexual or social problems; it is to promote an honest, objective program when it comes to stomach feeding, be it of the fortunate or of the unfortunate.

I have lived in many parts of the world and found everywhere malnutrition, and from everywhere our press reporting starvation. And a million facts do not overcome prejudice caused by emotional non-objective reporting. For instance, we have in California all kinds of edible wild plants. There have been books written on the subject, lots of them. I don’t know a single one of them used by editors, commentators, reporters, and if any of them are used on educational TV stations it is a rarity. During the last years I have voluntarily given up eating grapes, but not grape leaves, only it happens to be my own grape leaves. We have abundance of natural foods; even so-called liberals, and this could include yourself, have not always interested themselves in evils of certain kinds of foods. A blind emotionalism has convinced multitudes of ignorant people that tobacco may be causal as to cancer, but is there one major laboratory that has studied the effect of malnutrition with regard to this most virulent disease? To me, malnutrition can be ended by balanced diet, and not by more increase in quantities. Why, even such things as grapes leaves as above, peach leaves, carrot tops, and a multitude of wild plants can be utilized to and some of the disturbances of human kind arising through the digestive tract.

While the economy is supposed to be suffering from a depression of sorts—I am not an economist and do not intend to go into this matter—my own friends are preparing because they have found a rapidly growing market for natural foods. And why not? Once a lady wrote her congressman asking how to rid of weeds, and he wrote back, “Learn to love them, man, learn to love them.” Well I tried this on dandelions and the dandelions soon disappeared (down my stomach), so my health improved without going to any doctor. I tell you Senator, the first thing you must do is to take all mystery away from food and diet and dictation and nutrition can be studied much more easily than can the chemistry of petroleum products or radionics, etc. but we have made it exoteric, and the world suffers. We are polluting our bodies. Pollution is inside of us as well as outside of us.

I once lived in the city of Los Angeles. Campaigns such as yours failed when they run into opposition from the dairy industry. Milk is measured for its butterfat content, not for its mineral content. I tell you Senator, the young who have gone to universities, many of whom are graduates of universities, no longer accept the platitudinous emotions of their elders when it comes to the problems of the day. They want to solve them.

Sure, South Carolina gives lunches, plenty of lunches, and has plenty of malnutrition. I have lived in that state, and I know. Clean milk and non-devitalized foods should be given, and some of them are very cheap. The whole world would benefit if we took our school children around, let them study their natural environment, and learn about the edible plants in our midst—there are still lots of them. I am glad you have used the term “nutritious lunch”; I am all for nutritious lunch, not just for lunch, but for nutritious lunch. And I am all for any program which would produce sound minds in healthful bodies.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


March 1, 1970

Assemblyman John L. Burton

State Building

350 McAllister St.

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

Dear John,

I am taking the opportunity on receiving both reports from you and Senator Moscone at the same time to unload a little and I hope not too much so that you may understand what I am writing about.

By and large, I agree with your position. Where we differ is not so much in opinion or philosophy as in our psychological approaches. Mine is basically scientific, but I do not wish to imply that this word “scientific” has divine sanction. It can become quite de-humanized. A letter from a person of authority becomes more valuable when that person is also amenable to ideas arising from his constituents. I wish to therefor say something about pollution. There are two sorts of pollution besides that of the atmosphere, one being that of the stomach, about which I have already written to your colleague in the upper house (copy enclosed). the other is a sort of pollution of the mind. I gave up direct interest in local politics years ago when called to testify on traffic problems: Brooklyn, Cleveland, and Boston were well-received but as soon as I mentioned the word Los Angeles I was abruptly dismissed. We have retained our traffic problems. Therefor, when it comes to pollution, I hesitate to use the word Pittsburgh lest the same treatment arises, so I leave that to controversial groups wondering when those who clamor the most will become objective in their accumulation of facts.

That is to say, we have two kinds of pollution: the physical pollution of indefinable terms such as “smog” etc., and the mental pollution of giving into wealthy or noisy persons and groups regardless of facts, and this in an age when common scientific knowledge is rather high, and the scientific knowledge in the channels of communication very low indeed.

We cannot stop, or rather we will not stop, agitating commentators from speaking endlessly on subjects on which they are ignorant. In many countries of Europe only scientists are called upon to address the public on scientific problems; many European countries will not think of calling in editors and commentators and permit them to rouse emotions with regard to actual problems. We do not permit non-physicians to prescribe medicines or even to suggest them, but we practically forbid the average citizen, often very well educated, from suggesting solutions in fields on which he may know what he is talking about. And until this is done I think we are going to remain in endless dilemmas. If you go a little deeper you will find that many of the present day campus revolts, if not caused by, are maintained by learned scholars who can no longer stand the ignorance of those controlling channels of communication and making solutions of present day problems almost impossible. Freedom of speech does not permit citizens from prescribing medicines for the sick of body, but freedom of speech gives endless latitude for totally ignorant editors and commentators from filling the air and sound waves with emotions, when knowledge is needed.

And I can assure you, we are not going to end the campus revolts when the well educated graduate is smothered under the noise and emotion of the press, radio, TV, and publications.

I am getting ready to go a world peace conference, and I hope that something more than oratory, emotional rhetoric, and a plethora of thought. I am keeping your brother informed of efforts and potential achievements.

I am opposed to sending any water to Southern California. I am in favor of establishing all the salt water conversion plants possible along our southern coast, giving people and industry what they need without depriving the North of anything.

If there is anything omitted here it is because I thoroughly support the positions you have taken.

Sincerely,

Samuel. L. Lewis

 

 


March 22, 1970

Hon. Sam Yorty

City hall

Los Angeles, Calif.

 

My dear Sam,

For some weeks I have been contemplating writing to you—this quite apart from your announced candidacy. I am about ready to leave to attend a world peace conference at Geneva, Switzerland. Whatever my background, there has been an accumulation of knowledge during the years, but having a point of view which is anathema alike to all schools of dialectics and existentialism, doors have been barred in all directions inside the United States. The great mores of the day is “excitement,” not information  or solutions.

I had intended to visit England in 1967 to study pollution and sewage problems. A legal victory had been followed by a celebration ending in ptomaine poisoning. It was quite an experience for an otherwise healthy old codger to be in a hospital. Anyhow, when I came out, the doors opened, making it possible to become a Pied Piper of the young people drawn to psychedelics. One has been most successful in attracting more and more young and beautiful people in manners so out of tune with American culture 1965 to 1970 that you cannot get any publicity. Or rather, not until two weeks hence when suddenly cameras and klieg lights and microphones descended on my private life. O cannot pay any attention to the follow up because of opportunities now in front of one abroad and in new England.

One blends within oneself world outlooks amalgamated with American traditions and philosophies, practically all from New England and Columbia University. None, absolutely none, from Europe, directly or indirectly. And I have met in this world more types of anti-communists, anti-dialecticians, anti-Hegelians, who because they have points of view not in common with diplomats and newspapermen, have been insulted literally and otherwise.

I have been three times in the hands of communists, and do not owe my life to any direct assistance from any foreign office, etc. But I have my diaries.  And among my close allies is a man who lives within your city, who was one of the followers of Robert Heinlein in years past and became a top CIA official. Another is the now retired Lt. general Edward Lansdale who had been my personal war hero for private reasons.

Yes there is nothing more offensive than being an eye-witness, and you can be pretty sure that it is useless to write articles. A veteran of both the San Francisco and Santa Barbara earthquakes, I have been unwittingly, quite unwittingly, an eye-witness of the disturbances on the Berkeley campus and San Francisco State college. Personally, I think we have the most marvelous educational system that has ever been devised my man. Outsiders, not only communists, but anti-communist dialecticians, have joined together to try and put pressures on, and everything they do is first communicated to the press and TV networks, and the cameras are there when they start jumping. It is droll or vicious according to one’s point of view. But so long as we live in a world dedicated to “excitement” we are going to have it.

The control of the channels of communication by the commentators, the sociologists and the literati makes calm solutions of the problems of the day almost impossible. Personality, not knowledge, is what counts. But I am still optimistic enough to believe we have within the confines of these United States not only the keys to solutions, but even the solutions themselves to many of our present day problems and pseudo-problems. If by any chance I am successful in my international ventures I shall communicate further. If not I shall keep mum.

Cordially,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


April 26, 1970

State Senator George R. Moscone

5110 Van Ness Ave., Room 209 San Francisco 94102

 

My dear Senator Moscone:

After an absence of a month, I have returned from abroad and find your very interesting letter with enclosure, dated March 31. My main mission abroad was to work for living world peace with benefit of clergy, actually. But free from all the stupid editorials and emotional bombasts from over-verbalized diplomats and editorial writers, who are in control of the American form of brainwashing. For it was also evident that in trying to solve problems of war and peace we must face food problems.

I have done considerable research in this field and present indications are that I may be so released from worldly burdens as to devote the rest of my life to the solution both of the war-peace and food, problems. I can assure you Senator, that there is very little starvation in this world; there is an overwhelming amount of malnutrition, too often reported by blatant ignorant newspapermen and UN officials as starvation, when it is almost totally malnutrition.

I agree with you heartily that we most terminate malnutrition, but if we are going to continue our programs of offering denaturalized white breads and Cola drinks to the young, we are going to add to our problem. It is already becoming better known that the number of ulcers in the young is rapidly increasing, and they are not going to be diminished by any pompous editorials from television networks or famous columnists. We need natural foods. The young are being involved more and more in these natural food crusades. When we get these natural foods, malnutrition will automatically diminish.

I agree with you whole-heartedly about the lunches for children. I never suffered from malnutrition because I was born in this state at a time when we had a vast surplus of fresh fruits. I believe malnutrition problems can be solved not only with increased milk consumption for children, but also by giving them from our surpluses of fresh fruits and vegetables. Bu if we are going to make newspaper-science superior to laboratory-science we are merely going from one difficulty to another.

The recent Earth Day celebration was an example. The appropriation of the word ecology, and the misinterpretations put upon it by columnists and sociologists is going to get us into further difficulty. Yes, food for the children. Yes, free lunches for the children. But also honest wholesome nourishment, nowhere more easily obtained than in this our state of California.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

Carillo, Ramona Correspondence

December 21, 1969

Mrs. Ramona Carrillo

1855 Washington St.,

San Francisco 94109

 

My dear Ramona:

I am sorry not to have been home when you called recently; or rather one has two homes or residences and splits the week generally being in San Francisco weekends and in Novato in the middle, but that is not always so. Christmas eve will be spent here, Christmas day in Sausalito and New Year’s eve in Corte Madera.

Things have changed remarkably this past year. The will of God is most certainly not the will of man, much less the whim or wish of man. There is such a thing as divine surrender of which most people are terribly afraid. But once this stream is crossed life is very different. Not necessarily easy, but different.

One has two or three huge projects, the size of which is so great that acquaintances cannot get a vision of it. The poetry class at the university got one whiff of it and this went on fine. A certain group in Washington and my closest friend in Seattle have sized up the aim of life and its projects, but hardly anybody locally.

We simply do not believe in peace. We toy with the word but what most of us want is our wills and while verbally praying to God, “Thy will be done,” what most people pray for is that God conform to their own wills. So we have war and are going to have war despite the headline today that there is hardly any pure air anywhere in the United States. We want it that way and we are going to have it that way and we are going to die in misery as persons and at a Nation rather than change. Only a tragedy can change or a great miracle.

But people are seeking for a miracle that will be according to their own wills. So we seek avatars, and sadgurus and maharishis who give us strange shibboleths which can repeat and think we are ‘saved’ and we are no more ‘saved’ than going around with a subject ‘Jesus saves’ which has nothing to do with Jesus and much to do with our egos.

We practice here the sciences of peace, joy and love so that the capacity for peace, joy and love are increased. Much of this is through chanting and dancing and I invite you to come here either some Saturday night at 8 or Sunday at 3—you will be given a ride home but I cannot vouchsafe for a ride to this place. You will see what many of our contemporaries absolutely refuse to look at.

This is wonderful that they won’t look. It is marvelous. Lots of old peoples are filled with self-will and are very unhappy. One is quite willing to have them stick to their unhappiness. This is the cruelest form of revenge, let each stew in his own here own misery.

Our growth is nothing compared to that of Father Blighton. Evidently he is doing what God wishes him to do and is succeeding as God wishes success to manifest on earth.

I am not concerned with the social scene; that is his dharma. He has been most successful. He is sending out his disciples to many parts and they are succeeding because they are working with the Divine Law. This is bringing first transformations to individuals and then to the social milieu. It is just as real, just as successful and just as important as it is shunned and will be shunned by elders, who fortunately are passing from the scene.

I have a different job in the arts and with the world’s religions. I am not concerned with the refusals and rejections of the powerful, unimportant people. This coming year may see one go out into the public—not here, of course, and present my themes which the self-centered elders utterly reject.

The great issues of actual peace, taking into consideration the actual people who are suffering in actual places in the actual world is part of my dharma, so to speak. But one cannot emanate peace and love and joy until one manifests and demonstrates and that is what we are doing her—at least the young and they do not want the wars, the race and other hatred which older people “love.”

This is a week of transformation. We are joining Father Blighton on Christmas eve and in other matters. You should look. It would open eyes.

Love and blessings,

Sam

 

 


May 23, 1970

 Ramona Carrillo

1855 Washington St., #404

San Francisco, Ca. 94109

 

Dear Ramona:

I want to thank you for your letter of May 17. I am about to go away again. This time to the state of New Mexico. It would seem young people are quite interested in my undertakings, and I have enough invitations on the agenda to keep me occupied indefinitely. There will be a farewell party Sunday which is also in celebration of some of the disciples’ birthdays. I have today a growing number of fine disciples, slightly complicated by the fact that the rather celebrated Baba Ram Dass may be leaving this country, permitting or inviting me to carry on where he left off. This will involve many undertakings. I shall also have a big party here on my return early in July.

But I am answering you for quite a different reason. While I shall be away during the whole month of June two of my disciples will be attending a summer school in ceramics in the neighborhood of Guerneville or Rio Nido. I shall be turning your letter over to them for you probably will be even within walking distance. They are both fine young women.

We already have a kiln at the Sufi center in Novato which they will be operating later on. In fact too many things are going on for us to seek any sort of so-called “excitement.” Indeed there is something doing every hear in all aspects of my life. Again thanking you.

Faithfully,

Sam

Center Letter, The Correspondence

The Center Letter

A network of communication for those forming a coalition of concern for man’s future

Published by The Deerfield Foundation Communications Division New York City     

Address Correspondence to:

Mrs. Earl Hubbard, Editor

The Center Letter

Lakeville, Conn. 06039

May 9, 1968

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California 94110

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you so much for your letter of May 1st. I would like to know your views on the evolutionary significance of mankind’s birth into the universe. What do you feel will be the effect of the union of men on earth? Do you feel mankind will be a self-contained entity—or do you think that we are at a new beginning as mankind in the universe?

One of the purposes of Center Letter is to draw forth ideas on this new theme. I look forward to knowing more of your views.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Earl Hubbard

 


The Center Letter

A network of communication for those forming a coalition of concern for man’s future

Published by The Deerfield Foundation Communications Division New York City     

Address Correspondence to:

Mrs. Earl Hubbard, Editor

The Center Letter

Lakeville, Conn. 06039

July 18, 1968

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California 94110

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

I am delighted to hear that you are going to help build Auroville. I am sure that all your skills will be needed. I wish you every success.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Earl Hubbard

 

 


September 4, 1968

The Center Letter

Mrs. Earl Hubbard, Editor

Lakeville, Conn. 06039

 

Beloved Ones of God,

“Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” (Ps. 127) I am very much interested in “ The Center Letter.” My skepticism is aroused because I believe that in Lakeville there is also a center for the General Semanticists. These people hold that words are not things. My skepticism is aroused because I also am under this influence. The word people is still a thought form unless it involves actual persons.

I am having some difficulties here with some people who call themselves Buddhists and with some others who are vegetarians, who use the word compassion constantly; who wail and weep over the sufferings of clams and oysters and who have not the slightest compunction at calling others liars or otherwise insulting them. This is happening all the time.

The word mankind that excludes human beings and their experiences is thus to me a useless noise. It can easily compound hypocrisy and ignorance.

I began my “joy without drugs” several years ago. I have succeeded in convincing exactly two people of mature age as to its validity. I have succeeded however in convincing many scores of those under forty, and all signs are that it will run up into hundreds or more. But the hard facts of actualities do not always impress people with well-intended emotions or those capable of writing noble editorials. The success in this field has led me into contacts with numerous “utopian” groups. They are all out to revolutionize the world without being able to control either their emotions or their bodies. They pretend spiritual outlooks and always ignore karma when it applies to themselves. This does not affect the karma.

At this writing I am involved in the near tragedies of these utopians. I have been compelled to bring out some solid personal history. When this history is contrary to the dreams, fancies, and fantasies of well-meaning people they generally reject you and go on with their beautiful literature about humanity. I must agree that sentimentally there is nothing but total acceptance from this individual; But I also find that my acceptance of others does not lead to their acceptance of this ego-personality. Or leaving the self out, in their various mutual relations. It is remarkable how idealists can ignore the existence of each other.

At the present moment I am preparing a team to go to India. Their immediate objective is a convocation at Darjeeling, India, of the actual real spiritual ecclesiastical and religious leaders of the real world. No one is left out; no one is ignored because of non-agreement.

This team will be given letters of introduction to a great many real notables of a real world, including Dr. Zukair Hussein, the President of India whose unknown views so contradict many peoples’ hyperbolic dreams that they ignore his existence.

This team is also directed to visit Auroville, in Pondicherry, both to exchange—and I mean exchange—ideas and experiences and to ascertain ways by which they might help the very worthy Auroville project. But so far I have been unable to obtain import permits and other most necessary material requirements which would validate such help.

I am sending copy of one of my recent letters to the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, one of a multitude of institutions which has hyperbolic claims and simply ignores letters and refuses interviews. Having chucked out God, nuisance human beings are also excluded. This is a customary “only in America” behavior pattern found among those who misappropriate words like humanity, democracy, people, etc.

I am sending Dr. Oliver Reiser at Pittsburgh University my actual achievements in both his Project: Prometheus, and Project: Krishna. These are actual accomplishments of an actual person in an actual world. They have now been accepted by the celebrated Dr. Huston Smith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with accumulated knowledge in various fields.

While at the moment all attention is being paid to affairs occurring in India, I hope soon to have annotated and an accumulation of research papers and direct experiences which could answer all the sob-slob editorials of famous people about coming world starvation.

Fortunately there are plenty of young people who examine objective data rather than their own subjective reactions to various persons. Jesus Christ has said, “Whatsoever ye do to the least of these my creatures, ye do it also unto Me.” In my work here I personally practice “I am the vine and ye are the branches thereof.” There is no sense of separation permitted by me to myself in dealing with disciples and those on probation. There is no nonsense about “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

I therefore take without apology an attitude toward originations which claim to be humanitarian quite different from that taken toward individual people. With persons there is heart recognition and heart feeling. With institutions I accept no longer any one-way streets. God made man; man made institutions. I return to “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”

I am not particularly happy because from outward signs God seems showing his favors with increased following, increased opportunities and potentially a large increase in increments. But I am now compelled by an inner discipline not to share with those who do not recognize spiritually and intellectual accumulations. Whether it be the reconciliation’s of religions to each other or the pragmatic solution to world food problems, one has adhered to hard facts and the recognition of other human beings as belonging to the universal stream of life. It is not by editorials, but our pragmatic acceptance of “Love ye one another” that I see the way out. I happen to be the first American validated by numerous Asian masters to represent their various cosmic outlooks.

I am no longer asking quid pro quo. The heart is not concerned with commercialism. But the heart functions both ways, and today there are so many groups working in the same direction that I am actually confused. All mean well—there is no doubt of it.

At the present time I am particularly interested in the manifestation of “utopianism” of the late Sri Aurobindo. I do not demand this from others. I return to the acceptance of God-reality.

Love and blessings,

Samuel. L. Lewis

 

 


December 9, 1968

410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

Mrs. Earl Hubbard, Editor

The Center Letter

Lakeville, Conn. 06039

 

My dear Mrs. Hubbard:

This morning I wrote to our mutual friend, Dr. Oliver Reiser. This was written in good faith (copy enclosed) and I then intended to write to Mr. Edward Cornish.

But hardly had the envelope been sealed, another letter came from our good friend, Miss Julie Medlock of Auroville who is doing things, not writing editorials and is facing various what I call real problems of the real world.

She has made me feel utterly ashamed of planners who plan, end imagine the world is going to accept their plans. It is just like here: this person started out to advertise himself as a Pied Piper. It failed utterly? Only the young showed up. The young show up very week more and more living humanity, nearly all under 30 and they accept the outlooks of Heart and a global attitude attained and obtained by travel and studying under many non-Americans of many outlooks in many directions.

No doubt I am emotionally upset or inspired at the moment but I feel I must support Julie all the way and not with words—plenty do that—but with actions and even try to get her financial help.

Love and Blessings,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

[see Julie Medlock file for letter written to her on this date-Ed]

 

 


The Center Letter

A network of communication for those forming a coalition of concern for man’s future

Published by The Deerfield Foundation Communications Division New York City     

Address Correspondence to:

Mrs. Earl Hubbard, Editor

The Center Letter

Lakeville, Conn. 06039

December 18, 1968

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you for your letter. I certainly agree with you that the work of Auroville is of primary importance. But I do not feel that because we feel one thing is important that we should call other things less real. I think that our effort must be to find the way to include the constructive endeavors of all different kinds of people—not because they agree with each other, but because they are all attracted toward a common goal.

I think that those who write editorials, as well as spiritual leaders, have a contribution to make as well as those facing the materials problems of city building. We need each other and we must not exclude each other.

With every good wish,

Sincerely,

Mrs. Earl Hubbard

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif.

December 22, 1968

 

Mrs. Earl Hubbard,

The Center Letter

Lakeville, Conn. 06039

 

Beloved One of God:

Your very encouraging letter of the 18th has come Just at a time when we are celebrating the reality of the Christ-consciousness. Not just some ceremonial, not just a series of lectures, sermons, homilies, emotional or non-emotional appeals that have the same effect as a cocktail, but the rousing of the consciousness of those who are quite willing, eager and hopeful to find their true natures and to see their inner consciousness operate more to the full in the daily life.

The Sufis stand out almost preeminently in that they have recognized the spirituality of others, but others do not recognize them or each other very often. And there are more living Sufis now and generally have been then all other types of mystics and spiritual devotees combined.

It is the failure of the American culture that not only do Americans expect others to recognize them; they do not recognize others so much and have power to almost compel or bribe weaker nations groups, and individuals to accepting them.

Vietnam is only one case in point that we as a Nation, doves and hawks alike think—dare to defy the universe—by suggesting that we alone have the ability to tell these unfortunately people what their destiny is. Whatever course we pursue, it is based on a narrow national selfishness, not so evil as unconsciously blind.

We shall soon have hear Swami Ranganathananda Maharaj, who is one of the men in the world with a complete cosmic consciousness, not literary stuff of important or self import people in this direction. His atmosphere speaks for itself and himself. And there are others.

We encourage Auroville and at the same time we are building our own work with the Divine Help that comes when the devotee has the heart awakened to God-concourses and is able to respond to that consciousness. The cosmic consciousness of the realized mystic is often quite different from that of the literati.

On December 24th we hope to have the Christ Darshan just as we have had the Buddha Darshan the Krishna Darshan, the Rama Darshan and the Islamic Tawajjeh. I have no time to write on this subject and much time to use the glance to demonstrate that “the eyes are the windows of the soul.”

Sufism, which has many millions for disciples, is either excluded from the academies and conferences or (mis)-represented by others. A great Sufi has said: “Consideration consists of showing consideration for others and not demanding consideration from them.” I am glad to report that our good friend Julie Medlock has now come to their point of view.

We may not have influence or affluence yet but we have the awareness of Divine Guidance and the growing acceptance by the New Age people.

Love and blessings,

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Feb. 24, 1969

Mrs. Earl Hubbard, Editor

The Center Letter

Lakeville, Conn. 06039

 

Dear Mrs. Hubbard:

You have placed me in the strangest quandary I have ever encountered in a long life. I was all set to make some remarks on The Center Letter which remarks would be dualistic. The very basis was that I felt that Earl’s statements do not conform to the principles (or revelations) of the late Sri Aurobindo. Then I read references to my colleagues Oliver Raiser and Julie Medlock.

I am too much under the influence of what Aldous Huxley called “The Perennial Philosophy” to accept a blank statement, “All Societies in the past have been dominated by the need for food, clothing and bodily security. The bull’s eye of human endeavor was the predication of enough material goods to survive from day to day.” This is quite out of line only with the teachings of Sri Aurobindo but with a good deal that has come out of various Asian philosophies and religions.

The statement, “Man’s attention has already shifted from goods to man,” is simply not true. I repeat it is simply not true. It is true only in certain traditions. Even today the influence of Lord Buddha makes it untrue, e.g., Burma, so that these people do not always welcome us. It is also the nexus of the misunderstandings between the Americans and others with the Vietnamese.

I agree entirely with Oliver Raiser’s cosmic humanism. I should like to see us very superior Americans and Europeans sit down with Asians and occasionally listen to them. I should like to see how many of the older people can listen and learn.

Today I am addressing a slowly but steadily increasing number of younger people who think our over attention to material wants and lusts is absolutely absurd. We call it “generation gap.” Being beclouded with humility we are unable to picture life, or the universe, as do Japanese, Chinese, Arabs, and a lot of other Asians. I think this is the only country in the world that has a world Brotherhood restricted to Christians and Jews.

I do not think you mean anything of the kind.

I should like to fill out the questionnaire of “The Cathedral of Action” but until we become as impersonal or super-personal as geographers etc.; until we are willing to sit down and listen to other outlooks, other potentially wise people, either the aged of Asia or the young of America, I am totally stumped.

In my private life I am receiving more and more attention from the young and now not only locally but from distant places. I want to join. I want to exculpate, but I reject anything that even by innuendo suggests one group of people is more equal than another. As I said before, I don’t think this is your intent. I am therefore leaving the matter of membership unsettled, but send my love and blessings.

Samuel L. Lewis

Cerminara, Gina Correspondence

Gina Cerminara

221 South Springer Rd.

Los Altos, California 94022

October 12, 1963

 

My dear Sam,

Your very kind letter was delivered to me last week by a person in Santa Barbara, but this is my first opportunity to answer it.

I was so happy to know that my new book wins your full approbation! I have had other letters of appreciation, but none that I value more than yours because you are one of the most if not the most knowledgeable person I know. So thank you for all that you say! It is much appreciated.

Errors do creep into things, as you know, and I would be happy to know of mine. In the chapter on GS for example I said a few things which disturbed headquarters considerably—I don’t mean my critique so much as my description of the structural differential, about which I misspoke in several sentences, according to Mrs. Reed. I hope to correct this in the next printing.

I wasn’t aware of having said that Sufis don’t believe in reincarnation On pages 138 and 139 I state that the Parsi texts do not refer to reincarnation; I believe this to be correct, but if I am wrong, please do tell me and I will correct this also in the next printing!

As for review copies, I know that my publisher has sent out a number of them. Can you tell me which groups you may have in mind to give them to? I believe I can get some additional copies from the publisher for this purpose, but I know they will raise this question in order to avoid duplication. Let me hear from you on this. I wouldn’t want you to have to buy extra copies.

Talbot Winchell, 2016 Hanscom Drive, South Pasadena, California, is probably the most conscientious General Semanticist I know, and he probably would answer letters from abroad on GS. I suppose you have already tried Hayakawa?

Your comments on Buddhism were most enlightening and helpful; I was glad to have them.

I wish I had time to write you more fully and more frequently, but my current schedule is quite demanding—mostly an increased number of lectures and classes. Have this 4-week series on Parapsychology in Santa Barbara, for example, which I enjoy very much and which surprised me for its overflow attendance. I think people are really beginning to get excited about this subject.

Thanks again, Sam, and all my warmest wishes.

Yours,

Gina

 

 


October 24, 1963

 

Dear Sam,

My publisher has authorized me to send you two complimentary copies of MLML [Many Lives, Many Loves—Ed] for publicity purposes, as you see fit. I trust the matter to your judgment. I am sending them to you today, together with a Reincarnation Annotated Booklist which the ARE printed (and very badly, I feel) some months ago. In any case, it is a useful list, and if you know of anyone who cares for additional copies, they can be ordered from the ARE (or from me) for 35¢ a copy.

I am very happy about the attendance at the Parapsychology lectures in Santa Barbara. The interest in this subject seems to be really growing. I enclose a mimeo’d sheet which I passed out last week. It doesn’t tell you anything you don’t already know, but it may interest you anyhow.

I was in Palo Alto last weekend; addressed a small group in a private home and then spoke to about 250 college students of a Psychology class at Foothill College in Los Altos—subject: Parapsychology. Had I been able to get into San Francisco would have been delighted, of course, to see you or phone you. But my time was too brief.

Always my best wishes.

yours,

Gina

 

P.S. I would like the idea of copies of MLML going to India, and England. In any case, please drop me just a card letting me know your final disposition of them, so that I can let my publishers know.

 

 


February 27, 1965

 

Dear Sam:

Thanks for delivering my message to Gavin, and please give him my regards!*

Thanks also for the exciting report of all your goings-on.

Yesterday I received a batch of new leaflets describing my 3 books from the publisher. It occurred to me that if you wish to bring my material to the attention of the Buddhists etc. these leaflets might be of some use to you. With this in mind I am enclosing a small batch of them, for you to use at your own excellent discretion. If you should ever need more I have plenty.

Saw a preview last night of an interview with Madelyn Murray the atheist in Hawaii. It is on a TV series to be given soon in Seattle. The woman certainly has courage and what she said made a lot of sense. She admitted that she had precognitive dreams constantly. After the interview, I was told, she and the Unitarian minister were given a private séance with a noted medium and the minister was so impressed he preached a sermon on it, and Madelyn was so impressed she started reading about psychic matters…. The results should be interesting.

Belle cose, e grazie!

Gina

 

* I have just learned that the person to whom I referred Gavin may not be too reliable after all. She may be very good in the field that interested him, but from what I just heard she seems to have gone overboard. Would you please convey these reservations to him? Thank you.

 

 


221 S. Springer Road

Los Altos, California

July 12, 1966

 

Dear Sam,

So many exciting things are happening in the field of parapsychology! On my recent trip east, I learned about some of them, and I thought you might be interested in a brief report.

First, a personal note. I spent the week of June 26 - July 3 at the Cayce headquarters in Virginia Beach—the occasion being a conference on reincarnation and karma. I conducted three sessions on the race problem in the light of reincarnation. But here are the events that should be of special interest to you.

1. Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia has just had his book published by the American Society of Psychical Research. It is called Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, and it can be obtained from the A.R.E. at Virginia Beach, Virginia, or directly from the A.S.P.R. at 880 5th Avenue, New York City for (I believe) $5.95. It is truly a remarkable book, containing cases of spontaneous past-life memory studied at first hand by Dr. Stevenson in Alaska, Lebanon, Turkey, India, Ceylon, and Brazil. The birth-mark cases are perhaps the most exciting ones, and perhaps the most important in the sense that the new evidence they provide will make it very difficult for scoffers to use “telepathy” or “obsession” as an escape hatch. Some of the cases (like the one of the child who remembered the details of his own murder, a few years before, and the  identity of the murderers—both of whom were still alive!) may well be the subject of some future movie.

2. Talking about movies, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever has been purchased by a major Hollywood studio. In case you hadn’t heard about this Broadway hit, it is a reincarnation story of the Bridey Murphy type, in which a psychiatrist regresses a patient to a previous life.

3. Jess Stearn’s new book, Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet, will be published by Doubleday in November. Doubleday always does big promotion jobs on its books—so this one should reach a large public.

4. A television special on the life of Edgar Cayce is in the making. It hardly requires a crystal ball to predict a great explosion of interest in the subject of reincarnation and Cayce—and a snowballing expansion of A.R.E. activities.

Other items of interest: Flying Saucer Pilgrimage, by Bryant and Helen Reeves (in my opinion one of the finest surveys on the subject of flying saucers) is again in print, in paperback, and available from the Amherst Press, Amherst, Wisconsin. Mr. Reeves also has an excellent new book called The Advent Of The Cosmic Viewpoint, available from the same publisher. Electronic research into survival is being intensively carried on by a scientist whom I met; and extraordinary things are happening in the field of psychic healing, all over the world. Living With The Lama, a delightful book written by Lobsang Rampa’s Siamese cat, has some interesting things to say about the telepathic abilities of cats; and I know of no finer note than this on which to end my report. Best wishes!

Gina

 

 


Gina Cerminara

221 South Springer Rd.

Los Altos, California 94022

June 4, 1968

 

Dear Sam,

Thank you for the copies of the two letters which you recently sent me; I found them both most interesting!

I was under the impression that after the break on Thursday night you proceeded with private disciples, which is why I left early. In any case I enjoyed hearing you, as always. You are a fine teacher, and it is wonderful to see how you are helping all these young people.

I am wondering if you could spare me an hour some day, possibly a Sunday afternoon? (I couldn’t do it on the 9th of June but could on the 16th if you have time available.) There are some questions I would like to ask you along the lines of some research I am doing.

Here are some of them:

1. I have read the word baraka in the Sufi literature. Is this similar to what is known as Darshan in India? A kind of power that is transmitted wordlessly from one person to another?

2. In the Hadith I have read several statements of Mohammed concerning the kind treatment of animals. I have also read a legend concerning his love of cats, and the fact that he once cut off his sleeve rather than disturb a sleeping cat.

Question: Do Mohammedans treat animals with notable kindness, possibly as a result of this? How do they regard cats, for example?

3. It is my understanding that many different collections have been made of the sayings of Buddha. Is it known how many collections? Dozens? Hundreds? Are the different Buddhist positions largely based on the differences between the different collections?

4) It is my understanding that in the Zen approach humor is often used. From reading Indries Shah’s book on the Sufis, I find considerable humor used by the Sufis. I personally find the humor of the Sufis much more intelligible and enjoyable than that of the Zennists.

Question: Is this preference of mine due to the fact that I have not undergone Zen training and hence am not in the “In” group? Or do you share my preference?

Recognizing that your time is limited and that you might find it less time-consuming to answer these questions in person than to write them out, I have suggested an interview; but I leave it up to you, and trust that I am not imposing too much!

My questions are not idle ones, I assure you, and I shall make good use of the information.

love,

Gina

 

 


410 Precita Ave.

San Francisco, Calif.

June 6, 1968

 

My dear Gina:

It is with great delight that one reads your letter of the 4th. Sunday is open house and I also stay home in the afternoon to anticipate visitors, often have them for dinner—or we go out. And in your case Mr. Hunt is very anxious to meet you. He was the chum of Hugo Seelig, on and off for many years.

Sunday night meetings begin at 7:30 and have no particular stopping point, excepting that one considers those who have come long distances; also those who have to work on Mondays. We teach or present a number of Yoga-systems and meditations, none of which are offered elsewhere. If somebody comes and offers any one we shift our ground for there is knowledge of a very great number of Yogas, not taught here—by which I mean ways to Union-with-God, not with some muscular or even mental off-setting which makes the persons involved a little healthier, a little saner, and a great deal more egocentric.

Thursday night we meet 7:30 with a break and then on till 9 or 9:15 after which non-members are dismissed—not at the break. Then we have Zikr and other Sufi practices.

1. Baraka is of the same root as the Hebrew b’rocha which is translated blessing but also involves certain energy-movements which Hazrat Inayat Khan called “magnetism.” These are not subjects of lecturing or metaphysics but the transforming or awakening of actual energies which are in all of us. But they are best awakened by attunement or osmosis, for which a teacher is needed.

Darshan means “views” and his might be either physical or mental. The glance of the teacher is called “darshan” but in Sufism “tawajjeh.” This is a supreme light-electricity-magnetism penetration by the teacher. As this person has had both of these experiences and had the results therefrom one knows. Knowing one can impart this to others, but with caution and circumspection.

Samma-Drishthi which is mistranslated as “right views” by the unattained means “Highest Darshan.” It is, for practical purposes, identical with the Maha Mudra of the Vajrayana School and the Mushahida of the Sufis. Mushahida means attainment in Shahud. This was one of the fundamental teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan. But such is the nature of humanity that one has never been permitted to present it to so-called “Sufis” in the West, and has had great joy in presenting it, as a test to Saints and Madzubs.

2. Mohammed treated all sentient beings with kindness. Present day “Buddhists”
are hung on the phrase “sentient beings” which seems to include everybody but “me” and “thee.” But Muslims as a whole are not that way. They are like the Christians, worshipping the personality and ignoring the teachings.

3. There are basically two collections of Buddhist writings. The Pali is supposed to be based on “historical Buddhism.” It roughly resembles the Hebrew bible, having collections of the actual words of the Master but also a number of versions of tradition stemming down with extreme niceties in very small thins, far, far away from the doctrines of the Eight-fold Path.

Mahayana means working toward the cosmic instead of egocentrically. It becomes “finite and unbounded.” The Tibetans collected all of both as they could but in the mass of literature there were selections. This selectivity lead to the formation of sects and schools and the establishment of doctrines instead of the basic experience of Enlightenment.

4. Nyogen Senzaki taught me seven forms of humor—I think I have the documentary. This was all abolished by the “only in America” experts, along with most of Lord Buddha’s teachings. Then Sabro Hasagawa presented me with an eighth form of Humor, which none of the experts have, and therefore cannot use. This eighth form is close to that of the Sufis especially Shams-i-Tabriz. It is also used by Dervishes and sometimes be the “crazy” people called Madzubs. One must say here that experts who do not have to meet Madzubs have very different outlooks from the Madzubs themselves who seem to have favored this person above all other outsiders, and in this all other you can include or exclude anything and anybody.

When the term “Zen training” is used as a dualistic term it has no meaning. The establishment of a “Zen School” is contrary to the Dharma. Those real Zen Masters—and we have some right here in California now, do not accept this division into schools and sects. The purpose of Zen is meditation, not doctrine. And Al-Ghazzali said, “Sufism is based on experiences, rot premises.”

Now Sufism is in the West in two forms, the premise-type and the experience-type. The premise-type is presented by the followers of Inayat Khan, Meher Baba and Idries Shah who curse the world by announcing “one single brotherhood in the Brotherhood of God” and who keep away from each other and all deny that Sufism is based on experience rather than premises.

We have in the West two cultures, according to Lord Snow, the scientific and the literary-humanist. In the first faculties determine the person and in the second the personality determines or pre-determines the faculties. Jean Dixon did not say anything about Robert Kennedy nor do the “elite” among the occultists have to do anything of the kind. They are of the “elite” and names make fame not knowledge.

It is not so difficult to peer into the future but it will bring you enemies. Two weeks ago, being a priori rejected at the University of California on some factual reports on Pakistan, Sam went to the San Francisco State College where a professor who has lived in Asia accepted the facts at once—in fact he knew about them himself. He is not an “expert.” He has never appeared on public panels, like the people who a priori reject.

The professor asked if I were the Sam Lewis who worked with Luther White man on “The Psychological State of California.” He had thought so because of the resemblance of behavior and literary pattern. (He was not an “expert” and so did not have the prerogative of “a priori” rejections.) The book is now being used for research material. It was based on honest, integrity and sincerity. In the course of years practically every prediction made came true. The percentage of predictabilities far, far above that of famous and not famous psychics and seers.

You should not be surprised that reports from this person have been invariably rejected by occultists and seers. During the war, at the suggestion of GII I destroyed most of my predictions because they were coming true—GII yes, “occultists,” nix! Therefore one stopped “looking,” call it Darshan, call it shahud or anything else. And especially after coming to full agreement with Dr. Radhakrishnan on the affairs of the world and their “cures.”

We passed a “law” against the word war calling it the “Briand -Kellogg” pact. Since then there has been no surcease of fighting. We are now campaigning against the word “violence.” But the older people, now withdrawing from incarnations, are unable to accept: “Whatsoever ye do to tee least of these, My creatures, ye do it unto Me.” And the young cannot and will not think otherwise. It is the sign of cosmic evolution.

This evolution, applied personally, was discussed at great length with Swami Satchidananda, the successor to Swami Ramdas. It was not even discussed with the top Sufis; it was applied. And now one is also working with the followers of Sri Aurobindo although they are unable accept that anybody else could have had the same vision. Only now the young accept impersonally and their elders can only accept personally. But they are going. The New Age is at hand. The New Age will accept faculties and the older people stick to persons.

After bunches of self-proclaimed leaders of various and varying doctrines all called “Buddhism,” most having nothing to do with Lord Buddha, the Dharma is going to be taught openly here very soon at 125 Waverly Place (mostly). This will answer objectively elements of your inquiry.

We are going to have a wedding tomorrow where Sri Haridas Chaudhuri will perform the ceremony and Murshid Sam will give away the bride. Then we shall have a great curry feast here. The followers of the Sufi Teachings and of Sri Aurobindo will join. Previously we joined with the Christians of “The Church of Man” and Saturday some will go to the Mosque. Others talk; they are famous; we demonstrate and are making no more appeals to society. The young come, every week more and this is the way of Enlightenment, to Enlightenment.

Nyogen Senzaki used to teach that the Theravadin Buddhists said and the Mahayanists did. Elsie Siegrist says over and over: “Prayer is man talking to God; meditation is God talking to man.” There is something wrong here. If man can listen to God, why are we hung up? The point is that man can but does not listen. Here we teach the listening.

Every Sura of Qur’an but one begins: Bismallah which means “listening to God.” The Christian bible says; “Let him that hath an ear to hear, hear what the spirit sayeth.” The Jews pray: Shem (listen). The Buddhist Sutras (having “experts” we do not study them and have no need to study) begin “Thus Have I Heard.”

Truth is as near and simple as that but Ego-me, Ego-expert, Ego-big man must talk; and “isn’t he wonderful” remains the bastard answer. Naturally the world is hung up and will remain hung up until we accept God, humanity and “love thy neighbor”—not the words, those terribly, ghoulish words, but the process. Words have saved nobody. It is time to do. We do, here.

Love and blessings and will hold open Sunday, June 16 or other days by arrangements.

Sam

 

cc-Siegrist

 

 


July 16, 1968

 

Dear Sam,

Thank you for your fascinating letter! It is always exciting to hear from you. I love your statement about “sins may be forgiven, virtues never.” Was interested especially in your contact with Judith Hollister of the Temple of Understanding. Do you know Swami Radha, a truly lovely German lady who studied in India and has now founded an ashram up at Kootenay Bay in British Columbia? She too is starting a temple of all religions. If you don’t know her I think you would like to, and vice versa.

Sam, since you are in touch with so many wonderful young people, would you please do me a favor? To wit: will you bring to their attention the enclosed data? Either on your bulletin board or through telling them about it? These unspeakable barbarities continue because people for the most part don’t know about them; and if more young people knew about them I think there might be a gathering momentum of protest and finally reform and then total abolition. I am sure the Buddha will bless you if you do something. I can’t bless you, but I will give you my heartfelt thanks.

love,

Gina

 

 


July 18, 1968

 

My dear Sam,

I didn’t mean to put you on any spot, and I am delighted to know that you recognize the seriousness of the matter I wrote about. I do not know, of course, to what extent being a Sufi would preclude taking a stand on the barbaric misuse of animals; I should think, however, that the all-embracing love which Sufis customarily have would dictate some active objections. Christian ministers, of course, are (for the most part —which is to say 99.99/100%) unreachable because of their idiotic fixation on man’s supposed “dominion” over the animal creation as delineated in Genesis.

On the accompanying sheet I have indicated what my semantic analysis of your situation would be; if I am in error, kindly correct me.

I am enclosing an extract of a lecture I gave on the subject a few years ago; I send it by way of indicating my position in the matter and also by way of indicating the names of some of the major organizations working to help animals.

I feel about this matter as Voltaire did about the monstrosity which was the Catholic church in his time. Ecrasez l’infame! was his war cry. Crush this  infamous thing! It is my war cry with regard to vivisection. You will see that Gandhi, Mark Twain, and a number of others feel as I do.

So I would wish to inform as many people as possible wherever possible about it. The public is uninformed, and kept that way. If they knew, I think there might be a general revolt.

Certainly I would think that the young generation, with which you are now dealing so well, would have strong feelings of indignation if only they knew what was happening. If I had any slightest temptation to “drop out” of society as it is, I think the knowledge that these unspeakable things were being done to helpless creatures would change my mind promptly.

The trouble is, too, that other countries—like Japan, for example, are following the lead of American sophistication and technology in this thing—Japan, where the Buddha’s influence might have been supposed to restrain it!

The issue is a basic and not a trivial or superficial one. It is between technology and ethics, between unrestrained science and concern for sentient life. When people can beat dogs to death with sledge hammers in order to test football helmets, something is radically wrong.

Do what you can. Love,

Gina

 

 


Gina Cerminara

221 South Springer Rd.

Los Altos, California 94022

September 19,1968

 

Dear Sam,

It was a pleasure, as always, to see you and hear you speak last week!

Please let me know if you change the schedule and meeting place of your classes.

I am wondering if you could clarify something for me regarding the doctrine of “skilful means.”

This is my understanding of it, but I may be wrong. Please correct me if I am.

The Buddha was able to adjust his sermons to suit the level of intelligence and the temperament of his hearers. This came to be known as upaya-kausalya or “skill in (devising) means (to convert people).”

In the Mahayana branch of Buddhism, the doctrine of skilful means is used to justify (?), explain,(?) account for (?) the numerous gods or Bodhisattvas which exist in the system; that is to say, people of different intellectual levels and temperaments need to be taught in different hays and by different means.

Am I missing some point here? Please clarify! It’s an important point to me. Thank you so much.

Love,

Gina

 

 


March 2, 1969

 

My Dear Gina:

Thank you for your notice but it is impossible for us to accept any invitation or notices unless they come at least two weeks ahead of time. We had already accepted two different invitations last Friday, which were rather welcome My Marin County people have their own meetings and some few of us go to Gavin’s if we have nothing else to do. There are some quite interested in the psychic sciences who go to class with Lois Robinson in Oakland.

Last week I wrote a letter in reply to Prof. Hoagland. He is a great biologist and because he found Mrs. Paladino was a fraud years ago he condemns the whole field of UFS investigation. On behalf of Oliver Reiser I wrote to “Science” calling attention, among other things, that Charles Richet, regarded in his time as the greatest of French laboratory scientists, also was leading in what he called Metapsychics.

As to G.S. Hayakawa, will have to face the circumstances. Today it is nothing but a narrow personality cult, very Stalinish and with no relation to any real scientific movement. Hayakawa, who always a priori rejected Sam, turned on his former associate, Alan Watts, for daring to uphold the possibilities of the psychic realm.

In “The Rejected Avatar” both the psychic and “casual” realms are proposed. Now, despite your so-called “psychic” people including Cayce, Garrett, Koharich and others who are also trying to make Stalinesque personality cults out of potential sciences. The Oracle is beginning to publish some of my “oracular” poetry. All predictions came true, and no questionable Nostradamus, Blake, etc. No wonder they were ignored or snubbed. Watch and see. The young are working for Sam and he is working for them.

We still have the Dervish dancing class on Saturday afternoon here, some Yoga dances on Sunday night and elementary Dervish dancing on Monday nights. On Wednesday this is combined with real occultism. Wednesday, Sam who has been initiated into both the real occult and the real mystical schools, speaks at the Sonoma State College which has an “Occult-Mystical Society.” Sam no longer care how many people snub realities for he as associated early in life with both the Martinists and Hemetics. The later age refuses absolutely to accept this! But the young listen to my very real Egyptian experiences.

We are gradually using real occultism in our Wednesday night classes. Last week the Water group alone was so large it had to be split. Gavin has a disciple who will be trained in the Astrological Dancing and no nonsense and no more egocentric reject’s. The young want and we can and do teach.

You will be welcome Saturday afternoon here or Sunday or Monday nights.

Yesterday we had a family meeting—too many birthdays between March 18 and 23, but we decided to attend Gavin’s party here and our own on Saturday and Sunday nights at Novato. The young are coming more and more every week. And all the stuff rejected by the “occultists” and generals of semantics will now be published by the young both here and elsewhere.

The doors are open at the University, all departments, all subjects.

Hope you had a good attendance but please, please let us know ahead of time. We overflowed for Lois Robinson.

Love,

Sam

 

 


Gina Cerminara

221 South Springer Rd.

Los Altos, California 94022

October 26, 1969

 

Dear Sam,

I have just been reading a very interesting discussion of the manner in which the early Hebrews wrote—i.e. using only consonants and not vowels. The point was made that in 1 Kings 17:5-6 Elijah probably was not fed by ravens at all; that the consonant group RBH could have been expanded into ravens; Arabs; or inhabitants of the town of Oreb.

There is a question I would like to ask you, as I believe you know Hebrew. I understand that the Hebrew word for rib was Tsela. The book I am reading says: “The Hebrew word for rib (Tsela) remained the object of various exegeses. It was often translated as side.”

My question is this: does this author really mean “translated” or is he referring to the guess at a consonant group which was originally simply written TSL?

Or, if I haven’t made myself clear, were there two words, tsela and, let us say, tsula, the first meaning rib and the second meaning side, both represented by TSL, and then later mistaken the one for the other?

Or, did the error possibly occur later or in an actual translation of Hebrew into Greek or some other language?

The point is of considerable interest to me and I would appreciate very much any light you could shed!!

Thank you.

Love,

Gina

 

 


October 28, 1969

 

My dear Gina:

I am answering your letter of the 26th immediately because I go to Novato during the middle of the week, and also we are having some changes in this house—no problem, just changes.

I believe you are entirely right in your conclusions. It makes sense that Elijah was fed by the Arabs, although a “Hugo” might well have been fed by Ravens.

The word “tsela” may or may not have meant rib. When the bible was translated (or mistranslated) into the Greek, the Greek equivalent of rib was used, copied into other languages, and then, as usually happens, the Jewish people, having given up the original Hebrew, relied on the presumed translations.

This makes no sense, physically or metaphysically! The concordance gives “side chamber” more than any other term as the English equivalent of tselah. Fabre D’Olivet says “envelope” or “involution.” We can picture that Humankind might have been male-female and then, as humanity neared incarnation, the male and female were separated, but each having some of the essence of the other.

This also refers to the manifestation of Aisha or Ayesha and not of Eve. There has been so much confusion, identifying terms without any background, linguistically, metaphysically or esoterically. If the above is not clear, write some more.

There has been a change in outlook and life. My birthday party was celebrated here on October 18 where I had come 50 people as guest, all young excepting Ted Rich and Bill Hathaway. The next day about a hundred gave me a party with the most heart-loving presents I have ever had. It was very difficult not to cry. And besides the art-work and the choral singing alone “sent” me.

Am now busy six nights of the week:

Monday: Sufism and Dervish Dancing; 

Tuesday: to college, poetry class.          

Wednesday: San Anselmo, public meeting with dances

Thursday: Novato, esoteric classes

Friday: free night

Saturday: dancing class

Sunday: Dharma class

The dancing class takes up mystical, esoteric, and “mystery” dances, as fast as they can be assimilated.

Gavin is doing well now. He lives at 1575 Octavia (or 1565) same phone number.

Love,

Sam

 

 


Gina Cerminara

221 South Springer Rd.

Los Altos, California 94022

December 14, 1969

 

Dear Sam,

Greetings of the season!

Some time ago I read Sholem Asch’s book, What I Believe. On page 62 he said: “According to the Talmud, man was created hermaphrodite, and the two sexes were united. Male and female he created them. It was only later that the sexes were divided out.”

Do you happen to know where exactly in the Talmud this is stated? And would you agree that this is the position that the Talmud takes on the creation off mankind?

Would very much appreciate hearing from you on this!

Love,

Gina

 

 


May 23, 1970

Gina Cerminara

c/o San Francisco Interplanetary Club

Understanding Unit #11

P.O. Box 1228

San Francisco, Ca. 94101

 

My dear Gina:

I want to thank you for your invitation. But that I may not be able to attend is due to the tremendous gap between realists and reality-ists. Realists simply cannot understand reality. Realists accept what they thinks; reality-ists accept what happens to themselves and others, especially to others.

I am very much interested that you are going to speak on Ethics. I am very much interested in ethical people. I am no longer concerned about speaking myself before the ethical people. The ethical people have absolutely refused to consider that I have been in many lands of this world and met the spiritual leaders of all faiths actually, and I mean here in the flesh. I mean in the flesh because the ethical people won’t accept that I might have met them beyond the flesh.

Anyhow, I have been to a summit meeting of the real leaders of the real religions of the world. These religions were represented by their own people and not by some carefully Madison Avenued expert. Indeed there was only one single European professor of Oriental Philosophy, and he is not very well known in this country. Besides, the Asians accepted him. I mean those flesh and blood Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.

There were three aftermaths:

1. I have met so many of the real leaders of this world, spiritual people, opening up new enterprises, especially The Temple of Understanding, originally a dream of an American house wife and not of some super-super Mahatma.

2. I am becoming welcome everywhere by the young who want to learn my spiritual dances. In fact I am going away almost immediately to conduct a summer school, presenting the spiritual teaching of East and West without interfering with customs or spiritual teachings of East and West Without interfering with customs or traditions.

3. I have been approached to participate in a gigantic Olympiad without Brundage and with spiritual and folk-dancing from all parts of the world. This keeps me busy, and very profitably busy.

The real religions and their leaders are accepting my poetry, which our ethical friends absolutely refused to examine.

This is a New Age, Gina, in which honesty, integrity and direct experience are prevailing over subjectivisms and opinions of the narrow.

On the horizon there is still a greater project. Before departing for Europe we put on a Spring Festival and thereon celebrated Gavin Arthur’s birthday. About 200 young people participated, and in addition to that, the whole thing was televised. You see Gina dear, all the world is not composed of ethical people who refuse to listen and look. Our next venture has been to introduced the walks and dances of Pluto. Here the ethical people aren’t interested and the young, are, very much so. In fact, God seems to be favoring the young are, very much so. In fact, God seems to be favoring the young, for I am getting letters and responses showing that the young people can see far more deeply into the empyrean than the ethical people of the past. God bless them. Well my work is cut out, and although I am in one sense super-annuated, the work with the young and beyond the young, with the living God who is, and who loves his humanity, that this keeps one alive, alert, and active.

Love and Blessings,

Sam

Churches and Synagogues Correspondence

April 7, 1959

Universalist Church of Hollywood

Rev. Leland P. Stewart

Minister

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

772 Clementina Street

San Francisco 5, California

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you kindly for your recent letter and its expression of interest in the work of the World Congress of Faiths in this country. It was good to know of your connection with the founding of the movement.

We have been trying to do the kind of job here in the Hollywood Church which would lead very naturally into such developments as this. Our symbolism, for example, contains the symbols of the six major religions written up in “Life,” all within the circle and the flaming chalice of freedom. I have been involved in a number of similar activities already, such as being vice-chairman of the Festival of Faith held in the Pomona Valley in 1956 before 2500 people. This was patterned after the San Francisco Festival in 1955 at the 10th anniversary of the U.N. It drew about 16,000 people. Perhaps you were involved in that occasion.

In any case, I would like very much to meet you and talk with you about the World Congress potential. Do you contemplate doing something in the Bay area, or could you locate here? The interest is rising in Southern California, though we still do not have too many outstanding scholars and leaders from which to draw. It might be possible to work out some kind of a west coast venture in which we would share speakers from the two areas as often as possible. What thoughts do you have?

Do let me hear from you again soon. This is something that we should be about in the near future. New York has already held its initial meeting for the formation of a chapter, under the direction of a Universalist friend of mine—Roland Gammon. Have you met or heard of him?

Best regards. It is interesting that you have passed our church in the past. We have been here about 2 1/2 years.

Cordially,

Leland P. Stewart

 

 


May 15, 1959

Universalist Church of Hollywood

Rev. Leland P. Stewart

Minister

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thanks very much for your letter, which I received today. I have been anxious to know how things are proceeding, and have hoped that you could come here to our church and become acquainted. It is very good to know that this will soon take place.

May I ask that you definitely plan to be here on a Sunday morning at eleven during your stay, assuming that you can arrange this. I would like to have you say a few words on whatever Sunday you can come, so that people will know you. I met someone recently who has since joined our church who knows you from a time you spoke at the First Universalist Church of Los Angeles; his name is Irving Mandell. He is hoping to help start a forum here.

Hugh Butler is a very good friend of mine. He and I worked together on the Pomona Valley Festival of Faith in 1956, and he has since helped at the church on several occasions. His address, by the way, is 1707 Wright St., Pomona, rather than 1424 Hacienda Pl. The latter is the address of a good friend of his, and I imagine the letter would have been forwarded.

I have also written to Roland Gammon since your letter was sent, and I hope that he will answer soon. However, we do not have to wait until then to form plans, since I have a written account of what they are doing there. When you are here we can go over this in detail. In addition to writing to Roland I also contacted a close friend in Chicago who is tied in as secretary of the Buddhist Church of America and the Vedanta Society. She might well serve as a Chicago coordinator for beginning efforts in that area. There should probably be someone of more prominent position to actually head the organization when it is formed. Much groundwork has already been laid there, though perhaps the Festival of Faith and Pageant of peace put us in the lead.

Please let us know, if possible, what time you will be in L.A. On the 7th of June we are having a talk entitled “Glimpses of India” with slides by John Aroliasamy; this might be an especially good time for you to speak. On the 21st of June we plan to have the 76 United Nations Children from Long Beach as part of an unusual Children’s Day Service. The 14th could be made available to you also to a limited extent.

I appreciate very much the “Symphonia Orienta” record which you mentioned. We’ll look forward to playing it.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Most cordially,

Leland

 

 


First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles

December 29, 1964

 

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

772 Clementina Street

San Francisco 3, California

 

My dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you for your very nice letter of December 23rd. I thoroughly enjoyed having it.

I’m glad you enjoyed the Kennedy memorial service and I hope you will visit us again many times.

If you do write a paper, as you suggest in your letter, I wish you would send me a copy of it and we could go on from there, either using it as a basis of a study or inviting you to speak. Don’t feel any pressure on this, but we do have many groups and some of them are asking me for suggestions for speakers from time to time.

Ever sincerely yours,

Stephen H. Fritchman

 

 


May 20, 1965

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

772 Clementina

San Francisco, California 94103

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Just as I was leaving for Boston and my vacation, your letter on “On Being A Lafcadio Hearn” came to me. Thank you so much!

I found its contents most interesting and should you be here when I return, I should be most pleased to discuss its contents with you.

But off I must rush and I note that you may be leaving the country, too. If you do, all good luck. If not, I’ll see you on my return.

Cordially,

Howard G. Matson

 

 


410 Precita Ave.,

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

August 1969

 

Blue Mountain Center of Meditation

Box 381,

Berkeley, Calif. 94701

 

Dear Ram:

Many thanks for your fine brochure, “Ramagiri” and for “The Little Lamp.” It is many years since, on my sixtieth birthday I was introduced by Swami Ranganathananda Maharaj to Prof. S.C. Chatterji of the University of Calcutta. The latter, without waiting, immediately attacks me bitterly for coming from a country that “honored” European professors of “Oriental” Philosophy. Swamiji, unlike the grand “experts” of moral and spiritual (?) outlooks, said, “Wait until you hear his viewpoint before attacking him.”

So I said to the professor, “Which do you want, a discussion of the Chandogya Upanishad without any preparation, or to hear the Flute-of-Krishna.” Swamiji said, “He means exactly what he says.” Professor Chatterji apologized so I did not have to give an impromptu talk on the Chandogya Upanishad. But the great “experts” of Oriental philosophy (????) still hold forth and nobody wants Sri Krishna actually on their side—they verbalize Sri Krishna and go after fame and money just the same, whatever they claim. I am still on bad terms with “European” professors of Oriental philosophy and their disciples.

With most people their sins may be forgiven; my virtues have not. I might meet Prof. S.C. Chatterji as an equal but never his leading disciples in this land and as for the disciples of those people—I am “too small” even to be considered. They still see “Brahm” in the wild elephant but never in the peasant or outcast. It just has not been done.

Well I have met and remet Swami Ranganathananda Maharaj in all kinds of places in the outer (and maybe also in the inner) worlds with accompanying draws. The last is so outstanding that my biography is now being sought and may be financed. I might be able to talk on the Chandogya Upanishad without preparation but my brother and I were unable to find any heir to whom to allot money because each of the preta-groups wanting money for “research” in East-West relations or “yoga” had too high “ideals” to accept a proposal of prowess-recognition, as terms. And rather than admit that this person was a sort of reincarnated Prince Dara Shikoh they have refused money and the money, praise to God, is increasing and no takers! So the man who can speak on the Upanishads without preparation (any more) is regarded as a braggart and bombast, while Prof. “Von Schozzel:  who ?graduated” from steen universities as a “professor” in “Oriental” philosophy is honored, and his pupils, etc. And no one takes he Tevigga Sutta seriously, or do they?

The whole life-story is of the same genre. This person is one of the few, perhaps the first in history to have passed all the tests making one an accepted teacher in Sufi mysticism and Zen Buddhism. One does not expect “experts” and PhDeists to accept this, and although the Gita says over and over again that Manas and Ahamkara do not achieve the “kingdom of heaven” one merely has to watch the karma of such dualistic inner positions run their courses (and they are always verbalized as “non-dualism”).

I have just returned from a Summer School that was given carte blanche. Unlike the “non-dualists” there was a complete presentation of all the different types of Buddhist meditation available—from the first Jhanas to the highest Maha Mudra. Of course those only could be outlined but they were and not talks, not emotional homilies that pass for transcendental wisdom. Why even the so-called “Maharshi” has come to respect this person.

But this ties one in with another mountain center of meditation, because this group accepts the historical and mystical backgrounds and prowess. The other groups want, want, want. Indeed the chief wanter, an Englishman, showed up. He has his very private “world government’, in competition with a lot of other very private “world governments’, and one has to watch them pass by. And they would rather relinquish a thousand dollars than accept a person as a spiritual teacher who is recognized by other spiritual teachers as such!

I did not wish it that way. I am for a world Heart-brotherhood, a world Love-Understanding, not personality prowess.

The late Ruth St. Denis was my “fairy god-mother.” From her I learned how to tap akasha—a reality which has been accepted by Dr. Radhakrishnan and Swami Ranganathananda and others. When cards had to be placed on the table at Geneva at a meeting of the top religious leaders of the world, this was done and now the doors are open. One is attracting thousands with spiritual dances, mostly from the “non-sitting”  Sufis and Dervishes, but also from Indian sources.

And my newfound allies hope to present dramatically episodes of “Ramayana” and “Mahabharata” which I have studied though my friends the PhDeists, deny this. So we are going to do that. And we are sending a television technical team now to India, etc.

Lama Foundation where I have been has become a success: organic gardens; spiritual rituals; Sufism and Buddhist techniques, etc. And the constant use of mantrams and real work-work-work Karma Yoga which no intellectual PhDeist is able to present. We live and move and have our being in God and no tripe intellectual superflage cum emotionalism passing as Yoga.

Our Sufi prayer says: “Allow us to recognize Thee in all Thy holy names and forms. Let us know Thee as Rama, Krishna, as Siva, as Buddha; as Moses, as Jesus, as Mohammed….” You may regard this as piety. We regard this as actuality. When this Sufi was beseeched for a “Hari Krishna” dance, he taught just that and no emotional superflage passing a “Krishna-conscious.” We even went further than that, but that is for those who have open hearts and open minds.

The spiritual brotherhood will come through mutual recognition. We are, with God’s help and His Grace going ahead.

God bless you.

Samuel L. Lewis

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

Rev. He Kwang, Zen-shi

 

 


Holy Order of Mans

August 29, 1969

 

Mr. Samuel Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California, 94110

 

Dear Dr. Sam:

Spiritual Teacher of Naadia

I observed the following when talking with Naadia when she was here, that she is a God-Realized being that is surely so. The one thing that interested me particularly was that instead of the usual blue that exists of one who has gone through the veil, I found the following, that Naadia has the deep purple which is so frequently associated with, and I believe is also the case here, as having one of her missions the sorrows of the world at certain periods to contend with or a missions of bringing not only the welding of the East and the West through woman but will also experience great compassion for all people. I just thought you might be interested in this.

Your Universal Brother,

Master Raul

 

 


Jan. 27, 1970

Episcopal Diocese of California

1055 Taylor

San Francisco, Ca.

 

Dear Sirs:

No doubt a person is rude if he takes advantage of the misfortunes of others. I do not apologize.

For forty years I did research for the World Church Peace Union, and when their leader the late Dr. Henry Atkinson died, they turned down flat all the endeavors. At the other extremes I found The Temple of Understanding, which is seeking “My church shall be a house of prayer for all peoples” actually looking over my notes, and taking the extremely opposite position. Perhaps neither of these policies might be important excepting we are having continuous warfare in the so-called holy land, and doing nothing to stop it.

The other day I was teaching from the Epistle of James to a number of young people and felt the full impact of the teachings of the Scripture, laying down policies absolutely opposite to those in vogue today.

I am not appealing any longer to any church to accept anything from an unknown, but I feel very positive that when churches really become concerned with Biblical teachings, and less concerned with their organization and its preservation, there will be no problem whatsoever about funds, attendance, or anything else.

I may be leaving soon to attend the conference of The Temple of Understanding, and I know when I return the young will listen to me in multitudes. I consider it most unfortunate that many sectors of our culture should be so subjective, so institutionally minded, and so little concerned with “the least of these my creatures”.

I am making no suggestion here, but I think you can easily find an answer to your own problems by turning to a living God, who is all the scriptures and prayer books say about Him and to the spiritual teachings of the scriptures without interposition of ego-centric dialectics in the interpretation or mis-interpretation thereof.

In fairness therefore, I am sending a copy of a letter written to Arthur Hoppe. Fairness is something I demand of myself not from others. Justice is something I demand of myself, not from others. But I do believe such standards would go far to help us to overcome many of the difficulties of the day.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Feb. 7, 1970

Mr. Howard G. Matson, S.T.B.

First Unitarian Church

1187 Franklin St.

San Francisco. Ca.

 

Dear Rev. Matson:

As you will observe by the enclosed, I am preparing to leave as soon as convenient to attend a conference of the religious leaders of the world under the auspices of The Temple of Understanding.

This is a New Age in which honesty, objectivity, and culture mean more than personality. You can ascertain this very quickly, if you don’t know it already, from the throngs that are attending the sessions led by my colleague Dr. Richard Alpert -Baba Ram Dass.

It is the same kind of approach which one now finds in the universities, e.g., a class in studies on the problems of Southeast Asia where nearly all of the registered students have already lived in that part of the world and mingled with the populace thereof.

I believe that it is this new, objective, and honest approach which is going to help solve problems.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


March 6, 1970

Diocese of California

1055 Taylor St.

San Francisco, Ca. 94108

 

Dear Canon Freeman: 

You certainly have my indulgence. At least the writer can thank God, and truly, for the excellent health he usually enjoys despite being in his seventies. But I shall ask you to try to arrange an interview either with His Reverence Bishop Myers or with your good self somewhere around the first of May.

I shall be leaving here toward the end of this month for Geneva, to attend a conference with the ambitious program of peace through religion. I have been in this field for many, many, many years without any reports ever being accepted by persons or bodies verbally interested. But now action of some part is necessary. The failure of important persons to study history, or to be aware of what their fellows are doing, is as much an obstacle to peace and understanding as are all the convenient and machinations of the presumably powerful. Beside, it is so easy to blame others.

One has not only to oppose both establishment and anti-establishment, one has still more to deal with those who pretend to be champions of integration while they themselves ignore the facts and factors of life, history, and humanity. A few years ago when the Jewish peoples, however defined, were in many respects the unfortunate victims of intolerance and persecution, a great deal was heard of Boccaccio’s story of the three rings, and the sequel of Nathan the Wise written by the German philosopher Lessing, but now no more. Why?

I hope to present a three-ring approach to the complex of Palestine, but I shall not favor any Resolutions whatsoever. Resolutions are invariably followed by wars and conflicts even worse then those of a previous era. If religion will not accept its own Living God; if religions do not accept the promises of their own Scriptures, we must look either for something new or something destructive.

For the first time, youth, youth and not apologists for youth, is going to be given every opportunity to express itself, and this alone will help toward peace and understanding. But if I add more, I shall be going counter to my own negative attitude toward others. It is the acceptance of God, not the acceptance of words, which will bring peace.

Most Faithfully and sincerely,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


March 16, 1970

Rabbi Alvin Fine

3330 Jackson

San Francisco, Ca.

 

Dear Rabbi Fine:

At this writing one is preparing to attend a conference of the faiths of the world, who have chosen as their subject “peace through religion.” This to many may be an interesting subject, but we are no longer in an age where prestige alone counts; we are no longer in an age when the opinions of the high and mighty mean something. Although all the established religions may unite to see that valleys are not exalted nor hills laid low, we are in an age where the young simply will not accept prestige and authority as capable of handling the affairs of the world, or even solving problems.

We new have a general strike in San Francisco. I cannot account for the merits of demerits of any faction, but as all unite in the quest for excitement, and as excitement is our motto, our aim, our goal, like ancient Rome we are willing to give up even prosperity and power for excitement, and excitement being the thing, that is what we are having.

But excitement and peace do not go together. And one is going to have a rather easy time facing the champions of excitement when they plead for peace. They won’t give up the excitement, and today thank God, the young will not accept the old-style sermons, the old-style emotions, the old-style oratory, as functional.

This person has a very powerful weapon, a most powerful weapon—that those in authority, that those who are themselves recognized, will not recognize others; the very moral law places them in a ridiculous position, and no one dares to speak against those in high places. The late Clemenceau said, “War and peace are two things too serious to entrust to diplomats and generals.” Why we would even rather lose the war in Viet Nam than take the power away from the Generals.

(I am neither a Dove nor a Hawk. I am a student of and lover of the Vietnamese people themselves. In recent days I have met quite a few students and lovers of the Vietnamese people themselves, and someday we will get rid of slogans, shibboleths, and mottos, even though rarely, occasionally, and listen to the Vietnamese people themselves or to those of our follow countrymen who have lived in that part of the world, including some eye witnesses of the pseudo-dramas now going on.)

Fortunately there are enough open-minded people in the world, who under scientific influence, believe that eye witnesses and factual participants may, though on rare occurrences, give us valuable information which may promote stability or even peace.

I am not going to argue with anybody. Thank God I am being given a chance elsewhere to plea for international friendship and respect by and through the examination of points of view which orators, “experts’, and editors refuse to examine.

Before God, I rejoice today that not a single Rabbi or Iman has ever answered any letter proposing any kind of meeting between one and another, while one is constantly receiving letters and also meeting common people who wish to sit down with those whom they are being stirred up to hate, with or without cause.

The young simply will not accept the hypocrisy and duplicity of those who quote verbal “Golden Rules.” Every religion of the world, without exception, teaches hearing. And almost every Rabbi, Priest, Minister, Cleric Ecclesiast, monk, of every faith demands that others listen to him. So we have it. While the peace societies self-praise, the youth of the world are meeting other youths and establishing friendships.

Personally, I believe in universal draft, beginning with the people around 100 and moving downward, and I am not fooling. If all people over 30 had to sacrifice 75% to their incomes during wars, and all young people were so exempted, hostilities would end all over the world.

Believing in a Universal God, who can be variously interpreted, one is willing to take a chance at a global convocation where one has to face every sort of opinion and outlook without any damn pretenses of “liberty, democracy, and humanity”.

I am not asking anything from anybody, but I should like to see on rare occasions some cleric stop forward and do something to end both the useful and useless wars of the moment.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


March 16, 1970

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco, California 94110

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

How nice to have your letter of March 10th. We will be looking for you when you stop over here in New York on Sunday, March 29th, and will reserve two seats for you, though we have a very large church and I doubt that reservations will be needed.

Please do stop after the service to say hello to me.

With all good wishes, I remain,

Yours warmly,

Donald Szantho Harrington

 

 


March 23, 1970

 

Swamiji,

This is a sort of letter of farewell for the time being. One leaves this week and to attend a conference of all the world’s religions to be held in Geneva Switzerland under the auspices of The Temple of Understanding. This is a project in which I have been involved for the greater portion of the life, and heretofore have not been permitted to function partly because I did not have the financial means but even more so because the presence was vetoed by persons of presumable importance who in the end proved not to be “important” at all. I have seen such projects fail so many times. I have seen the refusal to accept “Unless the Lord buildeth a house, they labor in vain who build.” And while I am certainly not demanding that the world or anybody accept a particular scripture, I am hoping to see a day in which devotees accept their own scriptures.

The failure of devotees to accept their own scriptures has made it impossible for them to convince others. There are plenty of persons and groups who talk glibly about universal religion or “the Truths” behind all religions. Just words; often empty words; usually words which end in nothing because they were conceived in nothing but empty ego. But now there is a New Age. Young people are no longer beguiled by emotional charm. Young people want achievement. Young people are willing to join in the accomplishment of achievements. And while one is not expecting the elderly in age to accept and practice the teachings of their own scriptures, one feels pretty sure that youth is coming to its own in a new way, in a New Age, in a time predicted by many sears, actualizing the Indian doctrines of cosmic evolution.

It is become easy and simple to give instructions on the Upanishads and Gita when these are accomplished by actualizations, by living experiences, and the corresponding awakenings into the vast areas and arenas of truth and love. Any fool can arise and criticize the use or misuse of psychedelics. It requires much more to bring the awakenings associated with the words “expansion of consciousness”.

I think it is wonderful that today a growing multitude of young Americans accept the possibility of expansion of consciousness. The Greeks used to say, “When the Gods arrive, the half-Gods go.” In this sense, the Gods, are arriving, and it is very easy to raise the young above the levels of manas-ahankara, and awaken them to the higher levels invoked by the terms Vijnanavada and Anandavada, or the corresponding terms found in other Upanishads and other Scriptures.

But we are not going to be content any more with empty words. We have to choose between war and terror on the one hand and actualizations on the other. Personally, I am not troubled at all. The young are no longer beguiled. The universities have a growing number of instructors and professors who quite understand the shortcomings of the philosophies and psychologies of the day, and are finding answers in cosmic outlooks, especially as they have been presented to the world by the various saints and sages of India. I differ from some of the best known of these presentations because they exclude. Even when they call themselves “integrative’, they exclude; and often, especially when they call themselves “integrative,” do they exclude. This is nonsense, and in the end it will prove to be totally ineffectual. Jesus Christ has said, “Whatsoever ye do to the least of these my creatures, ye do it unto me.” Exclusions, no matter how embroidered, fail in the end.

We held our Spring Festival last Saturday. About 200 young people joined in the dancing. This number does not include the onlookers, the children, and the technicians who made the television recording. The time may come when what we validly have to offer can no longer be shunned by those who wish to lead rather than demonstrate Divine Wisdom in their daily lives.

I personally performed Ras-Lila and must say this cannot be done without a transformatory experience. It is one thing to recite “Hare Krishna,” it is another thing to awaken the Krishna-consciousness in one’s one own self, and from that to awaken love and joy in others actually- no nonsense, no sermons, no words- direct illuminative experience.

So the time has arrived, as I felt it might, when one has 100 and more disciples; when one has to organize them properly; when one has to instruct them properly; when one is willing to take on responsibilities for their spiritual development.

I shall try to contact you on return. Trusting in God, however he be called, for the success of this venture. To man is given the right to action; the fruits of such action belong to God.

Sincerely and Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


May 8, 1970

Rt. Rev. C. Kilmer Myers,

Bishop

Discuss of California

1055 Taylor St.

San Francisco, Calif. 94108

 

Your Reverence:

I have before me a note from Canon Freeman dated March 4. A number of events have occurred in my, alas, private life, events which ought to be public. I have returned recently from a convocation of the leaders of the real religions of this world. It was held under the auspices of The Temple of Understanding of Washington, D.C. I went tongue in check, wondering if it would ever be possible that the religious leaders of the world would permit “the valleys to be exalted, the hills laid low, and the crooked places made straight.”

It is wonderful to report that when the leaders have to face each other and have to have knowledge and perhaps wisdom, they did not pour out blatant emotionalisms upon each other. Instead it was wonderful to see the vast majority of the representatives of the world’s faiths practicing their own moral teachings in the presence of each other. When the subject of peace was presented, it was presented, and on the whole I should say there was far more progress in this direction than in any convention of diplomats, newspaperman, sociologists, and these misled and misleading personalities who persist in keeping the world in turmoil.

When the cards were laid on the table I believe they selected as their standing committee the finest personalities of each of the different faiths. No doubt I am slightly prejudiced here, because I already knew some of them, and certainly was won over by the others. Personalities aside, it was marvelous to see the mutual respect and cooperation.

We had 14 prayers given jointly in the cathedral at Geneva, fountainhead of Calvinism! So much good will was engendered we all felt that next year even more progress will be made, though the press may ignore us and our leaders, so steeped in international conflicts, may pay little attention, even to accomplishments.

Missing from the gathering were representatives of the Negroes, especially Africans, and the young. I think this will be corrected. In any event, the writer was given a marvelous reception by the young in London and in Boston, Mass. He has already warned that it elders do not establish “a house of prayer, which will be a House for all peoples,” youth will. I can further advise that it is highly probable a pilot structure may be built and dedicated this summer by the young who want to worship God and worship with each other, and not be separated by orthodoxies or heterodoxies.

One type absent was the European expert on Oriental philosophy. This type was long in control of the lecture platforms in this region, and they still have control over such institutions as the University of Hawaii. But in the presence of the Orientals themselves, only a single European (Dr. Bens) stood out. His profound knowledge and his evident high moral character made him most acceptable to the various Asians.

When I said above that I came tongue in cheek, it was because after 40 years co-operation with the World Church Peace Union, practically every clergyman and institution refused adamantly and absolutely to examine the reports. And because also, with some knowledge of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike, I seek ways toward peace in the Holy Land. The first days were marked by the most profound almost abject apologies, from Jewish and Protestant clerics. Fortunately, excellent personality relations were established, and during the last three days when declared myself to be an incarnation of Lessing’s “Nathan the Wise,” nobody scoffed; quite the contrary.

As to the Roman Catholics; within an hour after my arrival I met Father Masson, personal emissary of His Holiness Pope Paul. It was simple and easy to present my program for Palestine to him. And on the day immediately following the convocation I was sought out by at least two VIPs to work further toward this end. I am not, however, seeking interviews here. Neither am I refusing them. The young have programs afoot to bring Palestinians who are displaced, Arabs who are citizens of Israel, disgruntled Israelis, and Jews who are not Israelis, together along with some representatives of some Christian churches. It is on this subject I hope you will show interest. Regardless of the events of the day I see no reason to depart from Boccaccio or Lessing and even to move one inch from the divine teachings, “Love ye one another.”

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


May 8, 1970

First Unitarian Church

1187 Franklin

San Francisco, Calif.

 

Dear Sirs:

We have understood that you had some interest in The Temple of Understanding which plans a “house” which shall be a house of prayer for all peoples.

There has been a gathering at Geneva, Switzerland, recently in which much progress has been made, and also you will find a copy of a letter to a local clergyman partly touching on this subject.

My principal, Mr. Samuel Lewis, of this city has returned but is disinclined to give public lectures or try to contact the more sedate and more nature members of the community. There is no question in his mind that it is the young who do not wish to be divided, who ultimately further this project.

The dominant figure at the convention was Swami Ranganathananda Maharaj of the Vedanta Order whom you have already heard. He was a veritable Vivekananda addressing a most learned audience of some of the finest moral and spiritual persons now living in the world.

Faithfully,

Melvin Meyer

Secretary to Samuel L Lewis

 

 


May 24, 1970

Rev. Alan S. Miller

Regional Secretary

United Ministries in Higher Education,

330 Ellis St.

San Francisco, Calif. 94102

 

My dear Rev. Miller:

In Re: Peace in the Near East

This is written under quite different circumstances then when we met a few years ago at a political gathering. It seems almost nonsense to caption a letter “My trust is in Yahweh Who made heavens and earth.” I can assure you it is in the Living God, and no nonsense, and I am not in the least concerned with altering the faiths of men, but rather in strengthening them. There is a sentence in the Bible, “The stone which is rejected has become the cornerstone.”

There is another sentence in the Bible, “In the hour ye think least, the son of man cometh.” I have always been concerned that either Jesus Christ himself or the Divine Spirit might manifest to and through the least likely people. Yes, there have been many sermons on it, but in practice it may be different. However, I am not demanding ethical standards from others, I demand then from myself.

I number of years ago a very horrible creature known as the Secretary General of the United Nations had the effrontery to address a mob: “What we need is a moral and spiritual revolution.” All the cardinals, metropolitans, high-titled clergy of all religions, applauded and yelled. A single Buddhist said, “No, what we need is a revolution within each of us.” Silence.

I looked into the heart of the universe and saw nothing but more and more and more wars, and it has been so. But I also looked into the heart of the universe and received nothing but blessing directed toward The Temple of Understanding, the inspiration of a housewife, not of a dean of encyclopedic commentator, or of an official or diplomat, but from a presumably ordinary person. And I thank God constantly that this seemingly ordinary person is an American, and that we may have a universal temple in this land, whereas theoretically it should have been in the Holy Land.

My own life history has been so tragic it has become comically droll. Rejected here on all side, I visited Asia and met so many holy man and even high officials. I came back and my reports were rejected. I went again and the same thing happened in Asia. I even worked out a peace program for the Near East which all the UN Officials enthusiastically commended. The Israelis liked it, the Saudians, the Egyptians. But between our foreign office and the so-called “peace” groups it was killed, and killed.

Well, I had worked 40 Years at my own expense for the late Dr. Henry Atkinson of world Church Peace Union. I studied all the religions of the world and the histories of all Asian countries. Dr. Henry Atkinson accepted my reports on his deathbed, his successors and most church groups would not even give me an interview—please don’t get angry, the whole thing has become a farce comedy. Now the young are accepting me in great quantities simply because their elders wouldn’t give me an interview.

I still believe in prayer, and though I pray seldom, the batting average is near a thousand, and no nonsense. I had long wished to attend a conference of the world’s religions, but as the Bible teaches, “My time had not yet come.” And whom God, so to speak, lifted my eyes, also the money come.

I still had the program for the Near East. Senators like Charles Percy and Hugh Baker had accepted it. I prayed I might meet the Papal representative and within an hour after arriving at Geneva I walked smack into him, a day before the convocation was to assemble. There was no difficulty whatever. In fact it was remarkably easy. Within two days I received the profound apologies from the leaders of both Jewish and Protestant organizations. Not Only were apologies received, but friendships instituted.

There has been another, to me, quite related matter. I am directing programs which might be labeled roughly, “Spiritual development through music and dancing.” Some of my disciples have a choral group. They are constantly using items from Randal’s “Messiah.” This, to me, marvelous work begins, “Every valley shall be exalted and every hill laid low; the crooked places made straight.” This is something our so-called establishment organizations have forbidden, absolutely forbidden.

For instance, I encountered a so called peace movement in another part of the country organized by our good Presbyterian friends. They had 12 plans for Viet Nam: 10 from Americans, 1 from U Thant, and 1 from a Vietnamese. Where is God? What is democracy? Even today, I am not so concerned with the meta-politics of Cambodia as the hard but simple fact that there are human beings called Cambodians. They may not belong to our “realism” but they certainly fit in with God’s reality. They are even less real to us than the Vietnamese. Most of us, no matter what we think, seem quite unable to apply Shylock’s famous speech to Asians. But I am not concerned here with pointing out our defects. I am concerned here with doing something. And the first thing is to take into consideration that there are other peoples in this world who have hearts and living compassion. There is now a movement right in this city to bring together some Arabs who are citizens of Israel and some Palestinians, some dissident Israelis, some satisfied Israelis, and I wish there would also be present a representative of the Protestant and a representative of the Roman Catholic Church. I may not be present when this takes place, or it may wait until my return in the month of July.

I should like to keep you informed, or even there, as much as you would like to be informed or be there. The United States is now appearing as a monster in the eyes of much of the world and we can overcome this if we can promote real peace and get out of emotional nonsense, out of the poisons which were established in national and international consciousness with the so-called Kellogg-Briand Pact and all the pseudo efforts to “solve” problems by shallow emotionalism. Shallow emotionalisms neither solve problems nor prevent slaughter of God’s children.

I have reason today to believe that things can be done, that there are enough hearts concerned with the actual sufferings of human beings.

I have, in seeking some solution for the complexities in the Near East, researched on desert reclamation, water problems, etc. Seeking pragmatic solutions and contacting many real research technicians whose prowess we could see in promoting peace. I believe if we can keep away from the press, from the diplomats, and from the dialecticians, and keep our hearts firm in the belief of an all-pervading Providence having just those virtues and qualities which our prayers say He has, we can go forward to promote peace and justice without repeating such words as a substitute for the realities connoted by them.

It seems to be in tempo with the times that the young are responding more and more to my personal efforts. I have been sent for to conduct a spiritual summer school for young people which will keep me away for the whole month of June at least.

Last week, at long last, a Rabbi gave me an interview. I do not know who has been the most intransigent, the Israelis or the Arabs, in yelling and yelping they would be glad to sit down with the opposite number, and also in refusing to sit down when the doors were open. The exceedingly gentlemanly behavior of the Rabbis at the summit conference which I had recently attended makes it impossible for me to come to a pseudo-logical conclusion. I have still hope in mankind. Besides that, I have been approached by certain worthies of presumably Jewish origin who have shown absolutely full faith and human consideration, and who have themselves made proposals which I believe can do much toward promoting peace in the Near East, and perhaps everywhere else.

If you are interested you may write to this address, or from your San Rafael address leave a message at 897-5426, which is called the Garden of Inayat in Novato. There may be no hurry for an answer. It needs calmness, consideration, prayer, and meditation.

Faithfully,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

cc: Lowell Ditzen

cc: J. Needleman

cc: University of California

 

 


From the desk of

Rev. C. Kilmer Myers

Bishop , Diocese of California

 

June 3, 1970

Mr. Samuel L. Lewis

410 Precita Avenue

San Francisco,

California 94110

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

I am sorry this note comes so late but I do want to thank you for your report of the meeting held under the auspices of The Temple of Understanding of Washington, D.C.

It is good to hear of the mutual respect and cooperation you describe as the general tone of the meeting.

With all best wishes.

Faithfully,

C. K. Myers

 

 


410 Precita

San Francisco, Calif. 94110

June 8, 1970

 

The Rt. Rev. C. Kilmer Myers

Diocese of California

1055 Taylor St.

San Francisco 94108

 

Most Reverend Sir:

I wish to thank you for your letter of June 3rd. I am at the present time conducting a spiritual summer school in the Rocky Mountains in the northern part of the state of New Mexico.

Along with the dramas and melodramas and the excitement news there are some very fundamental changes going on in and with the hearts of the young in this general area.

I enclose copy of my most recent letter to the Temple of Understanding. I do not wish to preach nor even say that the old dictum from Jesus Christ yesterday, today or tomorrow is true or untrue. But there is now a source of multiple confusion altering or trying to alter everything that has been said about him true or untrue. I do not think that emotion can replace devotion or exhortation supplant spirituality. What is more, if one really contacted the young, one would find that many of the young agree with me, that the scribes are still the scribes and the Pharisees still the Pharisees.

Faithfully,

Samuel L Lewis

 

 


Lama Foundation,

Box444, San Cristobal

N. M. 87564

June 14, 1970

 

Rev. Earl Blighton

The Church of Mans

20 Steiner St.

San Francisco 94117

 

Dear Earl:

There is a strange almost legendary theme of the relation of being on mountains, especially high mountains, and getting great inspirations. Between my family affairs (all seemingly satisfactorily settled) and other complications of life, there was no time to spare before rushing to a spiritual summer school high in the Rockies.

My work in this region has been surprisingly satisfactory. The young are not only in revolt, but they also want love and guidance. It is even possible that I may lead, Pied Pipering so to speak, a gigantic spiritual march to Washington sometime. The word “peace” is not enough. You can war against but you cannot peace against.

I have two themes immediately before me. One is the establishment of a peace in the Near East scholarship at the University of California. God in his graciousness has provided the means. I am getting excellent cooperation today; mostly by and from persons who like myself had achieved but were ignored by the US government, by the press, by the channels of communication. I don’t believe there are any problems except the inability to convince the excitement mongers that probably all problems have been solved. But not even the Christian Science Monitor would accept that, for they like all establishment groups demand that the solutions come from the “right persons’-of course in the name of democracy.

The other is directly in your hands. I am planning to write a commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians. This will show that many of the teachings modern generations accept as coming from India are in the Holy Scriptures. It will be something like an Indian philosophical interpretation of Christian writ; this is how I propose, subject to your approval:

I shall give the lectures in your place on Monday afternoons to be tape recorded. Then the tapes will be read back, edited, and manuscripted. This will be not by chapters but by subject matters. I think I have this all in mind and it could become a very important undertaking.

I now have quite a number of the world’s bigwigs interested in my work but the inspiration from this high place has been to begin with this subject and in your establishment. You may have heard also from one of your boys whom I met in Albuquerque.

Love and blessings to all,

Sam

 

 


June 25, 1970

Mr. Samuel Lewis

410 Precita

San Francisco, Calif.

 

Mr. Lewis,

Many courses have been offered by the University of California Extension Program which address themselves to the question of meaning in life. I believe that you have been involved in some of these courses. It seems only natural to me that you could easily appreciate the work and values of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation. I happen to be just one of fifty who are giving all their energy to the search for meaning under the close guidance of Eknath Easwaran. I would like to tell you a little about the Center and the U.C. extension class that professor Easwaran is offering.

Our type of meditation, which is just one of many paths, is a dynamic discipline which requires focusing the mind at will, free from all other thoughts and feelings, in a state of deep concentration. The concrete results are simple. I noticed my nervous system calming down as I drew my attention away from the million and one petty problems which were consuming my energy, even in sleep. I am finding that I am able to actualize my concern for others now. My own personal problems many times stood in the way of my concern. I find that my hang-ups are falling away not by a frontal attack on my part but almost unnoticed as a result of meditation.

The center, which was founded over ten years ago in Berkeley, is now winning recognition throughout the country. For example, Western Behavioral Science Institute in La Jolla listed us as an organization of people who were trying to do something truly important. For this ten-year period Easwaran has been looking for property in the country on which to establish the Center’s headquarters for training the fifty of us who are committing all our time and energy to meditation. We do not think of ourselves as dropping out of society, but rather as taking a necessary economic and spiritual step which will aid us in our contributing to the larger community. As you may know, a community of meditators is called an ashram in India. Ashrams arose from students coming to live in the home of their teacher finding the close personal association with the teacher to be highly desirable in their inner quest. Also it helps a great deal to have the support and understanding of fellow students.

Several months ago we were able to begin the actualization of Easwaran’s desire for a country ashram where we could intensify our training. By pooling all our resources we were able to put together the money for a down payment on a ranch which was formerly used as a small Catholic seminary. We have received a great deal of help of various kinds from outside the Center which has supplemented the work of our own members. However, we are in real need now as you can see by looking over the last page of the “Ramagiri.” Needless to say, we would certainly appreciate your support in any form you feel like giving it. We are desirous of establishing a base of support in the community. This desire has led in part to Easwaran’s teaching a class for U.C. Extension on the “Theory and Practice of Meditation.” The class is in addition to the public classes held in Oakland three times a week. The extension class is every Saturday at 11 a.m. at our ashram near Tomales. A good way to learn more about the center is to attend the class.

Please feel free to write us with any questions you have regarding the Center or the class. If you want to take the class this summer quarter, you should contract the extension office now.

Thank you,

Paul Weaver

 

 


July 4, 1970

Mr. Red Weaver

Blue Mountain Center for Meditation

Berkeley, Calif.

 

Dear Ram:

After acknowledging the receipt of pamphlets sent, I found your letter of June 25.

As I began my studies of Oriental philosophy in 1916, I certainly do have years on my side if not wisdom. My whole life has been dedicated since early childhood toward East-West mutual understanding. One writes sometimes seriously, sometimes in mockery, concerning efforts and pseudo-efforts to transcend misunderstanding. In addition to what I have written in the letter. I have experienced, let us say, certain Yogic accomplishments also. These were under the tutelage of the late Swami Ram Das of Anandashram in southern India. I have no intention of insisting on any recognition from anybody.

But I have the right to lay down as a principle the refusal to contribute any longer to any group that withholds all forms of recognition in cultural and spiritual achievements. The world is now filled with so-called “integrative” movements which integrate nothing but bank accounts. The history of such groups will follow that of the belated Roerich Museum in New York which set up the prowess only of certain specified individuals and does not see Brahm in all of His creation.

As you can presume by the remarks already written, we are in an age of honest objective acceptance of honest objective achievements. When the metaphysicians discard, as they usually do, the noble impersonal standards of the modern scientist they can hardly be expected to achieve anything morally or spiritually.

No doubt we do not follow the standards of most groups -that is to expect others to recognize our prowess while we positively will not even look at theirs. Mysticism is like science in that it depends upon human experience and not on dictums or dogmas. I have been in India and traveled in India under an assumption that all Gurus represented Divinity in some respects. Under separate cover we shall send you copy of “The Rejected Avatar.” This is one way of measuring another person’s mystical prowess. But now having met during my lifetime actual spiritual leaders, whom I can name and place, of all faiths, I feel this is something more than the most excellent plans of the most noble planners.

I do not know how much is communicated here. It is not clear to me what you are planning to accomplish. But if it is in the direction of spiritual enfranchisement and liberation than most certainly I am more than interested.

Love and Blessings,

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


410 Precita

San Francisco 94110

California

July 22, 1970

 

Dr. Ezra Spicehandler

Hebrew Union College

13 King David Street

Jerusalem, Israel

 

My dear Roshi Spicehandler:

I am writing to you what to me is a very serious matter but to you it may not be so serious and have no right to demand any answer, but I am inwardly so disturbed by the present world turmoil that I am getting my opinions on paper, whether they are in the ultimate sense just or otherwise. And from one point of view, it is exceedingly easy to carp at the "Judeo-Christian ethic," but when one looks closer alternatives actually seem to be entirely missing despite excellent literature and momentous appeals of wonderful orators.

I must appreciate the fact that today very surely both Protestant and Jewish divines are apologizing. But the fact still remains that I did 40 years research into the religions of the world and not only retain that knowledge but I am still studying. I have known about Vietnam from eye-witnesses over since 1947 and have been given the dubious choice of watching two imperialistic groups of gangsters genociding Buddhist infants, with no way out.

I was drawn into the Near East conflicts for somewhat different reasons but what even those reasons may have been—and they cover a long history—I am at the moment facing two series of facts, both related to the conflicts in the Near East. Everyone seems to be horrified by the genocide of their own peoples and totally callous about the sufferings of others. At the same time I am living in a district which is receiving more and more persons who are refugees from the Near East, belonging to quite different groups. This very situation gives one the opportunity to look for means of possible peace feelers.

In previous years I had worked out possible program for the Near East which was hailed by one U.N. official after another as the greatest proposal they had ever heard. It was accepted by Israelis, Egyptians and even Saudi Arabians. It was smashed by the foreign office of the United States and by all the very best known so-called peace groups. I am not going into that again. But I was also excoriated by the foreign office of the United States government for even attempting to work for a peace feeler between Indian and Pakistan. Then these two countries in despair turned to Kosygin at Kashkend.

Barred from the floor by nearly all the so-called international study groups in the San Francisco Bay Area, I did succeed in breaking up a meeting by passing out a picture of Her Serene Highness Princess Poon Diskul with His Holiness Pope Paul. No one asked how I got this picture, but I am about now to have pictures taken of former or present day Arabs, Israelis, "Jews" of all kinds and "Palestinians" of all kinds. I am not the least concerned whom it horrifies.

But this is not a horror letter at all.

Some of us believe in a Living God, and not only that we believe He has exactly the qualities and merits which the various prayer-books proclaim. I am not going into that. But immediately after the conference we spent some time's with Norman Lurie and everything has happened exactly as we discussed with him but we have not heard from him. It sometimes makes us wonder how far promoting establishments really believe in themselves. But this is not going to stop as.

The next news was the death of my brother, leaving me in very good financial circumstances. But since my return the attendance of my meetings in various parts of the country has gone up and this is also a potential source of further income. We have had not the slightest difficulty in convincing young people about the merits of The Temple of Understanding.

And to further this trend Bob Kauffman, the youngest male at the Geneva gathering is with us here, is observing what we are doing and we have an interview coming up. He is thoroughly convinced that there is a living God and that the young people will accept a God while their elders will accept the institutions relating to this same God but will not always accept this God themselves.

There is a series of what they call Holy Men's Jamborees and there is an increasing number of appeals to me to attend. I rather ignored them until last week when I attended a Hasid gathering in San Francisco and was asked by a former Israeli of all people why hadn't I attended them. But my present plan is either to go to the next one or send deputies to make position pleas for The Temple of Understanding.

The next item is like a fairy story. A rather wealthy publisher has been looking for Sufis. Excepting in the single case of our good friend, Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Sufism is absolutely excluded from our culture by a strange negative alliance of former Germans and pro-Zionists, mostly quite irreligious man of British extraction. Whatever be the case this wealthy man has met Pir Vilayat Khan and now intends to support fully all movements based on the existence of the living God and the operations of Love in human behavior. He is now in Europe contacting some very great spiritual leaders more closely allied with scholastics than with religious groups.

These and other events are directing us toward bringing peacefully minded people, especially those of Arab or Jewish extraction together with enough Christian leaders who profoundly respect the existence of God, the need for peace on earth, and the restoration of the Holy Land as a Holy Land regardless of politics.

I now have my own summer school in the state of New Mexico. It is a spiritual commune. It and the neighboring communes absolutely and unequivocally refute the recent remarks of the well-known Margaret Mead on this subject. But we haven't a chance against Margaret Mead any more than we have a chance against self-important persons of any or all camps through one extreme to the other.

We had a great deal of spiritual singing, and outstanding among the chorals was one based on "Every man shall sit beneath his own vine and fig tree and there will not be war any more." Despite Margaret Mead, despite the emotional outbursts of nearly all writers, there are signs that this is coming.

Now I am reporting rather than seeking. I certainly do not intend to put you or anybody else in an awkward spot, but I am living in a district where an ever-growing number of young people of Jewish extraction are supporting (of all things) Palestinian Liberation Movements; it is very awkward.

Last week I attended a Hasid gathering based on the assumption that God is and not only is but is exactly what the prayer books say. The place was absolutely packed and I humorously remarked, "I never saw so many goyim in my life." But next day I went to a Christian mystical gathering and that place was also packed. On top of that I am compelled to start two more classes on "Dances of Universal Peace." I am no longer interested in whether older persons or organizations answer my mail, but I have just been approached by the Presbyterian Seminary in this district and have other of equal import to contact when there is time. I have not had a single say off since returning from Geneva.

Now the young Arabs and the young Israelis are being armed to the teeth and taught to hate. Nietzsche taught, "A just war hallows any cause." It seems that those in power believe in this. But I will join with my friends in chanting from the Prophets and at this writing there is every sign that multitudes of young Americans will support the same program. When I went to the woods in New Mexico hundreds of young people sought me out, but now that I am in more populous areas the number is increasing.

I have no hope in the press of America excepting Father Haughey. Nor is there any need regardless of their presumable camps of surrealism. I have nothing but loathing far all those religious groups which have repudiated the book of the Prophet Malachi. But at the same time there is also compassion. We also did call on a rabbi in San Francisco; he did not want to see us, but regardless of my personal emotions God created all of us and he loves all of us and the meeting turned out marvelously. Indeed, he has expressed a willingness to interview any Arab we might bring to him.

No doubt this letter is filled with emotion and I am probably guilty of the same tendencies which one condemns in others. But at least I hope I am working toward the termination of hostilities and misunderstandings. I see endless possibilities for The Temple of Understanding. God Bless you.

Samuel l. Lewis

 

 


July 28, 1970

The Rt. Rev. C. Kilmer Myers

Diocese of California

1055 Taylor St.

San Francisco, Ca. 94108

 

Dear Reverend Sir:

I am at this time asking if it would be possible for us to have an appointment together. I have had some very cordial letters from both you and your staff, but have hesitated asking for an appointment. My experience with churches has made me very sarcastic about their “Judeo-Christian ethic.”  When I was at Geneva early this year at the conference of the real religions of this real world, a good deal of the early proceedings were marked with profound apologies and repentances from both Rabbis and Protestant Ministers. These were more than ritualistic and have resulted in the establishment of some pretty solid friendships. The conference itself was followed by a series of incidents marking such a change in outer behavior and attitude that I began to refer to myself in letters to Art Hoppe of the Chronicle as Mr. Timon of San Francisco, only this is a Timon in reverse.

For forty years I gave up all my spare time and energy to study religions of the world at the request of the late Dr. Atkinson of the World Church Peace Union. His successors absolutely refused to accept any report. And I am the only person I think on earth who has spoken from the pulpits of at least five of the world’s great religions and feel myself quite at home with the devotees at worship. But in my hometown particularly I have been insulted, a little by clergyman, far more by an “only in America” type of expert which has great social standing and no intellectual nor moral background. Ways have been blocked that I can neither have interview nor floor time. But this is not a complaint. There is a totally new type of human being, young people who consider me as a folk hero without evidence other than such negative reports. And I am writing to you, not for sympathy or even encouragement, but to tell you what I am doing.

At Geneva I put on a little show that I was an incarnation of Lessing’s “Nathan the Wise.” Nathan the Wise was a grand hero during the rise of Hitlerism. But today nobody refers to him. This has not changed my attitude. I have written three epic poems the themes of which are respectively the Jewish, Christian and Islamic aspects of Palestine. They were are shunned by the different religionists, but recently have evoked such wonderful emotional responses that I can see that today there are persons and forces who really are concerned with peace and morality without regard to whether the peace and/or morality are connected with or opposed to “establishments.”

I have begun my commentary lectures on the First Epistle to the Corinthians. I speak on Saturday mornings, and this time the commentaries are being tape recorded. They will be copied and taken to Washington to some very important people, and it is only a question of whether they will be placed in the hands of these people or published first.

These commentaries are based on the existence of three bodies-sarkikos, psychikos, and pneumatikos. Even my most learned friend Dr. Huston Smith of M.I.T. was surprised when I told him these three bodies correspond to the three bodies mentioned in Hindu metaphysics. He had never given it any consideration although he is regarded, especially in Asia, as the greatest Western authority on Oriental Philosophies.

When Dr. Huston Smith asked me how I know I told him “through inner development; through mystical experience.”

I am not concerned her with the solid but simple fact that anyone who hasn’t had mystical experience may write on it, while actual mystics have been ignored until the more recent Holy Man’s Jamborees. The fact is that I have been accepted by the mystics of all faiths, and it is only in this region that I have been snubbed. But I am not asking for any sort of apology or contrition. It is evident to me that whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, but this doesn’t matter; this does not diminish one’s knowledge. Today I am getting further and further and easier and easier with more Professors, both at our local Universities and elsewhere.

Now the blindness of religion and philosophy in ignoring or rejecting the existence of psychic and spiritual bodies, in our culture has resulted in strangeness both to those who have psychic experience, and those who have not. As I said at the Psychedelic Conference some time ago—there they let me speak—”An hallucination is an unusual experience which someone else has had and I have not.” It is interesting that the only group that accepted this was the psychiatrists.

At that time Dr. Huston Smith had taken the first steps to go beyond the psychic body to the spiritual body. He has been followed more or less by his colleagues, excepting Tim Leary who is stuck on the psychic plane.

I am hoping that the Christians of the world will show some interest in their own Scriptures and find some semantic method of research for both the psychic and spiritual bodies. I say this openly because the semanticists have already thrown out Alan Watts, the “only in America” great authority on? Asian? philosophies. But Dr. Oliver Reiser who has been both a semanticist and humanist, has come to the conclusion that the psychic world is real.

I accept this. But I accept even more, that all the experiences and philosophies of St. Paul were real, are real, and could be of infinite benefit to this world if we only dropped a little “humility” and adopted a little curiosity.

And I believe that the teachings of St. Paul, properly explained, could revitalize our traditional cultures and, without offending the Hare Krishna people and others, find a supreme real semantic foundation for our religion and traditions.

The second theme is Peace. I have had to be an ear-witness-just a little bit an eye-witness-of what is going on in Viet Nam. We will have to take into consideration the remarks of Dr. Malalasekera at the UN, “How can we trust a nation that does not trust its own citizens” (directed at the U.S.). We are spending billions of dollars and may have to spend billions more because neither the State Department nor the press is in the slightest interested in the actual people of foreign lands, and even less in what common citizens report of them. Nicol Smith was a top intelligence official. He wrote Burma Road. Then he wrote a book of warnings on Tibet which was rejected absolutely, and the Chinese marched in.

I am not going to write more about Southeast Asia. I am more particularly concerned with the Holy Land, and my presumable theatrical efforts to function as a “Nathan the Wise”.

At Geneva, where I was presuming to be a “Nathan the Wise,” some of the top leaders of the real world, said I looked and acted just like Walt Whitman. This was wonderful and surprising, because in my conceit, I believe I am an incarnation of his “Song of the Answerer.” And now I am going to put this into operation without regard to the reactions of anybody.

I am first of all a spiritual teacher of Sufism, which may be regarded as Islamic mysticism. This has been absolutely rejected by Stanford, University of the Pacific, San Jose State, and the complex of Colleges around Claremont, but when I went to India at a time nobody was making appointments, I saw immediately Dr. Radhakrishnan, Swami Maharaj Ranganathananda, and Pir-O-Murshid Hasan Sani Nizami.

Some time ago a young man thought he would see a battle royal by introducing me to Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. We took one look at each other and there was a love-embrace. I have had such love-embraces from a Greek Metropolitan, Franciscan Fathers, a Vietnamese Thien, some Chinese Buddhist Masters, etc., and innumerable Muslims and Hindus. I am no longer considering the rejection of hard facts by subjectivists whom we have permitted to act as interpreters.

I began this letter because I am planning to meet a man who wishes to have joint programs for the Chassid Rabbi Shlomo and myself. This of course is impossible-all the “experts” and authorities know that! But we are going ahead anyhow, and I have been very successful off the record in getting Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs to fraternize!

On the very first day at Geneva I met the Papal Representative and told him that it was very necessary to have Christian represented in the peaceful settlement of Holy lands. I never met the late Thomas Merton but was told by two friends of his that he was on his way here to San Francisco to meet me when he died. I hadn’t heard from either of those men for some time and recently received letters asking what I was doing to help establish real peace in the real Holy Land. Believe me your Reverence, I am doing, though the unusual is never news, never.

My fairy-godmother, so to speak, was the late Miss Ruth St.-Denis. She approved of all my plans, and before she left the world I had begun my “Dances of Universal Peace.” I started out with Dervish Dances, and then Indian ones. Now I am all ready to restore or start Christian mystical dances. The greatest obstacle has come not from opposition, but from the realization that it is almost impossible to get the materialists of all camps to accept the first words of “The Messiah”-”Every valley shall be exalted and every hill laid low, and the crooked places made straight.” The words of “The Messiah” have greatly inspired my colleagues and disciples, not only in their singing and chanting, but in establishing the morality of their daily lives. In other words, Truth Is Truth and we cannot escape it.

I only hope you will be interested enough to grant me an appointment at your convenience, or at mutual convenience. God Bless You.

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


The Foundation of Revelation

59 Scott Street

San Francisco, California

4th Year Siva Kalpa

August 6, 1970

 

Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti

Samuel L. Lewis

110 Precita

San Francisco, California

 

Dear Sam,

With great joy I recall the beginning of your letter to Mrs. Dickerman Hollister of August 21, 2nd year Siva Kalpa (1968) which reads, “Everything is like in a “fairy story” and perhaps it is the revelation of God in His own way.” The last line of the second paragraph of the same letter says, “The young are in revolt against bombast, pretense, and PhD-ism which lauds names and solves no problems.” We agree with you in the above statements. This foundation is breaking down the fictions of lauding decorations of all brands of limitations. The enclosed release of The Foundation of Revelation is the thread around which lots of events are being strung like pearls. Hope it will merit your interest.

Best to you and would enjoy news of your recent trip to Llama in New Mexico where I too once visited.

Shotsy

 

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Aug. 8, 1970

Miss Shotsy Wallace

The Foundation of Revelation

59 Scott St.

San Francisco, Calif.

 

Beloved One of God:

One appreciates your letter of August 6th. Once Sam was in the Himalaya mountains, the real mountains, with a Holy Man. The Holy Man said, “I am greater than you in everything; I am taller than you. I am stronger than you. I am of more noble birth than you. I have far greater psychic powers. I have far greater spiritual powers. I am greater than you in everything.” Sam who was a dirty conniving nuisance said, “You are greater than me in everything but one.” The saint repeated. Sam repeated. The saint then asked (what none of the spiritual teachers of the age seem to be able to do), “In what way are you greater than I am?” Sam said, “I am a greater pupil than you are. I can listen better than you can.” The saint, who was not a SadGuru or a Maharishi, or anything like that, accepted. Why he even listened to Sam a little after than, something which the Maharishis and the Avatars and the SadGurus seem quite incapable of doing.

If Sam had been born in India he would be working there to see that the starving people are fed and that Hindus and Muslims would not be practicing their various abilities in violent non-violence. But Sam was born in the United States and he is under a sort of delusion that God wishes him to work here. So he is working here.

If he had been an Indian he would be working for the welfare of “unskilled laborers, bidi binders, smugglers, thieves, prostitutes and drunkards.” In fact, he is under the delusions that Shankaracharya was right, and that Brahm is in all people. He does not believe that Lou Gottlieb is a chosen vehicle of God. He believes in some forms of morality. He believes that all religions are correct, but he has no intention of trying to change the beliefs of anybody.

We do not believe in our superiority. We believe the Divine Light is in everybody. Which means everybody. Which means everybody. If one had been born an Indian one would be working to lessen starvation in one’s own country. One has been born an American and is therefore working one hopes to lessen the spiritual ignorance of the Americans. One does not praise oneself for one’s work. One works, works with the heart, with the mind, and with the dirty fingers.

Yes, one believes that the Sanatana Dharma also presents the truth. But one is not moved by emotions, no matter how glorious the emotions may seem. Emotions do not feed the starving. Emotions do not remove the pains of others. And who are the others? One can accept that others are one’s self in another form. One agrees with the Upanishads about grades and states of Ananda. One sees nothing but tyrannies in words. It is the active love that flows from the heart that can produce joy and good will, and perhaps even more than joy and good will, in others. One does not accept that people who have not experienced the many grades of consciousness can know the Divine Wisdom. One does not believe that self-satisfaction is Divine Wisdom. One does not care at all about personal approvals. One only hopes you can learn to grow and appreciate others, even if only on rare occasions.

We do not accept that upstart Americans are Saints and super-Saints. We believe there is a moral order. We believe there is a cosmic order. But we do not believe it is necessary for others to accept our points of view.

God bless you.

Samuel L. Lewis

 

 


Aug. 10, 1970

Rabbi Alvin Fine

3330 Jackson

San Francisco, Calif.

In re: Peace in the Near East and the “Judeo-Christian ethic’

 

Dear Rabbi Fine:

A number of years ago I was among those who applauded your receiving a peace award by The World Federalists. I have also applauded other recipients of peace awards. I am unable to understand how you and your colleagues can profess to believe in an omnipotent deity, etc., and defend your silence at times when real troubles face the human race.

There is a saying in the Bible—though I do not expect the followers of the “Judeo-Christian ethic” to accept it—that every valley shall be exalted and every hill laid low. In our judicial system we depend upon eyewitnesses and the decision of either a judge or a jury. In international field it is very different. If there is an eyewitness he must not only explain what he has seen, but why he was there. In international affairs our whole culture accepts the opinions of the “right persons” against the testimonies of eyewitnesses.

Last year I was enrolled in a course on Southeast Asia. Practically everybody in the class had lived in one or more of the countries of Southeast Asia. Not a single person in the class had ever had any papers written by himself accepted by any channel of communication of any type. We got along beautifully with each other, but we were as far from so-called “realism” as you can imagine.

Circumstances in my life compelled me to make a rapid decision whether to try to help bring peace in Southeast Asia or in the Near East. Fortunately, one of my closest friends has been one of the very top persons in Southeast Asia so I am turning the other direction.

Realists, including practically all the peace groups and fourth estate, are not particularly interested in eye-witnesses. This year I attended an international conference under the auspices of The Temple of Understanding of Washington, D.C. There we met the real leaders of the real religions. I had the audacity, the presumption, the unmitigated gall, to present myself as an incarnation of “Nathan the Wise.” At the end of the conference this was accepted very seriously by all and sundry-no newspaperman, no State department officials, etc. Indeed the first days were marked chiefly by apologies from the top Protestant and Jewish representatives, and some of them are now my very best friends. Some day indeed I may publish my letters from Mrs. Hollister and Mr. Dunne of The Temple of Understanding.

“Nathan the Wise” was all right when there were pogroms. It was fine then. Now I have had the impertinence to arrange meetings between Muslims and Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Israelis, etc. Not only have these meetings been successful, but they have encouraged certain upstarts to begin to raise funds so that human beings can meet with human beings, regardless of politics and encouraged hatreds.

This year I have not only met a large number of very important people—elsewhere of course—but also my income has increased to the point I can travel anywhere.

It is noteworthy that when real people got together such socially important people as Sir Zafrullah Khan never had a chance. It is quite evident that peace does not come, is not coming, from plaudits given to personalities who may have achieved fam