The White Buddhist: The Asian Odyssey of Henry Steel Olcott
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Book ID : 7762
ISBN-10 : 81-7030-552-7 / 8170305527
ISBN-13 : 978-81-7030-552-1 / 9788170305521
of Publication :
of Publication :
Edition : (First Indian Edition)
Language : English
xiv, 242p., 13 Ills., Bib., Index, 23 cm. (Bibliotheca Indo-Buddhica Series No. 182)
CONTENTS:- 1. Universal reformer. 2. From spiritualism to theosophy. 3. An Errand to Asia. 4. The Sinhalese Buddhist revival. 5. A united Buddhist world. 6. The Indian renaissance. 7. Things fall apart.
The New York Times denounced him as an "unmitigated rascal." Others described him as a reincarnation of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka or perhaps Gautama Buddha himself. He was Colonel Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907), friend to Madame Blavatsky and president-founder of the Theosophical Society. This book tells the fascinating story of his spiritual odyssey. Raised a Presbyterian in nineteenth century New York, Olcott embraced spiritualism and then theosophy before becoming the first American of European descent to make a formal conversion to Buddhism. Despite his repudiation of Christianity, Olcott's life was an extension of both the "errand to the wilderness" of his puritan ancestors and the "errand to the world" of American protestant missionaries. Olcott viewed himself as a defender of Asian religions against the missionaries, but his actions mirrored theirs. He wrote and distributed tracts and catechisms, promoted the translation of scriptures into vernacular languages, established Sunday schools, founded voluntary associations, and conducted revivals. And he too labored to "uplift" his Asian acquaintances, urging them to embrace social reforms such as temperance and women's rights. However one views his work, his legacy was a lasting one, and today he is revered in Sri Lanka as a leader of the Sinhalese Buddhist revival and in India as a key contributor to the Indian renaissance. Prothero's portrait of Olcott is an engaging study of spiritual quest and cross-cultural contact. Drawing on exhaustive research conducted on three continents on previously untapped sources-including colonial office correspondence, Olcott's diaries and letters, and the personal scrap-book of Helena Blavatsky-Stephen Prothero paints Olcott as an indefatigable reformer and culture broker between east and west. Olcott helped bring about a new spiritual creation known as "Protestant Buddhism, " a creative "creolization" of American Protestantism, traditional Theravada Buddhism, and other influences.