Theravāda budistička zajednica u Srbiji

The Technicalisation of Buddhism:

Fascism and Buddhism in Italy – Giuseppe Tucci – Julius Evola

Bhikkhu Nanajivako

At the beginning of the twentieth century Buddhist studies in Italy were already well established, also on the academic level, and primarily against the background of the Pali suttas. The first significant translations that appeared (from 1912) were “Testi di morale buddhistica”, the Dhammapada and Sutta-nipata, translated by P.E, Pavolini, followed by a few selected texts from the DIgha-nikaya (Mahanidana- Mahaparibbana, Mahasatipatthana-suttas), translated by C. Puini. From 1916 G. de Lorenzo became the best known translator with his Majjhima-nikaya in three volumes. He collaborated with K.E. Neumann, one of the first and best translators of Pali texts into German since the late nineteenth century. De Lorenzo’s translations were not simple retranslations of Neumann, because his sense of aesthetic beauty and literary value of the original Pali excel in some points even the refinements of Neumann’s style. These were already brought to artistic perfection in De Lorenzo’s presentation of selected texts in his India e Buddhismo antico, which preceded the translations of the Nikayas to their full extent. This initial selection (whose fifth edition appeared in 1926) denotes an obvious aesthetic guiding principle in its composition as a whole. It is my impression that no other book of international Buddhist literature (not to speak of the standard English translations which have remained notoriously the ugliest since H.C.Warren and C.A.F. Rhys Davids) could have won the enthusiasm of an artist such as was J. Evola (1898-1974), a prominent painter of the Dadaist movement at the beginning of his career (about 1920), one of whose earliest writings was on the Arts Astratta.


At the time of political and social transition to the Fascist era, Evola decided to abandon his artistic career and (about 1923) turned completely to the study of philosophy. In his autobiography, Il cammino at Cinabro (1963), he declares the significance of that decision in the statement: ‘I do not at all deny my past experiences, and am far from considering them as “sins of youth”.’ According to a witness of these times, [1] ‘Evola as a painter has commenced, passed through and concluded an accomplished circle; he has delivered a discourse in full whereupon he had not to add a single word,’ This was an extreme negation: he denied himself; ‘a negation that reached its acme in the moment when he gave up painting,’ According to another author, ‘a reflex of the situation of crisis in connection with the spirit of Sturm und Drang, characterising in the Intellectual surroundings the period of the first war and the subsequent postwar situation.’

Italian philosophy of the early twentieth century was dominated by two outstanding and independent neo-Hegelian thinkers: Benedetto Croce (1866-1952) and Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944). [*] At the beginning of his philosophical career Evola first came under the influence of both.

The development of this Italian version of idealist absolutism in the philosophy of the ‘Hegelian Left’ was characterised by a forceful enhancement of dialectical engagement stimulating a revolutionary revaluation of the classical culture of the Roman Empire, of a pre-Christian and anti-Christian ‘aristocratic’ tradition. Fascist tendencies, in their first impetus, could only exacerbate the clash against this ‘decadent slaves’ religion’. Evola’s reflections on the importance of Nietzsche’s criticism of Christianity, from an openly Buddhist standpoint — as we shall see it in the sequel — will emphasise further how far also the overcoming of Nietzsche’ s passive assessment of the ‘European form of Buddhism’ as an emerging danger of ‘European Nihilism’ will remain a fundamental dialectical postulate of Evola’s standpoint of Fascist absolutism.

Initially, a specific characteristic of Italian neo-Hegelianism came from a more constructive positive heritage of its ‘modern’ culture, from the revitalised universalist foundations of the Italian Renaissance. This humanistic trend was enhanced primarily by Croce in his philosophy of culture whose modernised paradigmatic models he found in G.B. Vico and De Sanctis. The aesthetic intuition as the first grade of mental activity and its immediate creative expression, reveals such intrinsic value which remains inalienable in the history of classical cultures. Like Karl Jaspers in his later critique of Hegel’s dialectical law of apocalyptic holocaust of antitheses of history, Croce in his ‘Philosophy of the Spirit’ insists that the history of the spiritual life does not signify merely the succession of spiritual activities and that progress takes place by greater and greater inclusion in the subsequent, ‘being virtually what it is by virtue of producing it.’ Thus, ‘every present fact of spiritual life contains its entire past’ [2] — or, as we would say, is an authentic fruit of its karma. Insights in this essential meaning of the difference between Croce and Hegel have brought some foreign critics to designate Croce without hesitation as an anti-Hegelian. In the pre-Fascist period Croce was senator of the Liberal Party in the Italian parliament. During the Fascist era he lived independently on his family estate in Apulia, still able to publish some of his books, mainly on the central topic of his philosophy, aesthetics, [**] After the Second World War he returned to parliament as a representative of the same Liberal Party which in the meantime had become inevitably conservative.

Giovanni Gentile, born ten years later and assassinated a decade earlier, in his main work on the ‘Theory of mind as pure act’, took a stance dialectically opposed to both mysticism and to Hegelian intellectuallsm. With Christianity he had the same task to find a forcible, somehow reluctant, compromise as had Mussolini himself and, later, Evola who consequently remained more persistant in his traditionally aristocratic opposition, even in his post-war neo-Fascist radicalism ‘against the stream’ of the reality of a lost war.

A few years after the War I read in a Roman newspaper of the publication of a book by Mussolini (unknown until then but written during the aggressive stage of Fascist ideology) on Jan Hus, one of the earliest pre-Lutheran Protestant rebels against the Roman Catholic Church. Obviously its publication must have been prevented by the more cautious Fascist ‘hierarchs’ in order to avoid further acerbation in the conflict with the Catholic Church at a time when the solution by a concordat was realised to be the only realistic, albeit reluctant, way out of this most dangerous early conflict with the new totalitarian regime. However, Catholic rancour against Protestantism was still strong enough to re-emerge in Rome not long after the end of the War in organised attacks of mobs on Protestant churches with attempts to damage or demolish them. Such attempts were meant also as ‘popular’ protests against the non-Catholic religions of the new invaders of Rome — the Anglo-American occupation forces. (As for Mussolini’s book on Jan Hus, I could not find it in bookshops at that time, before I left Italy.)

Gentile designates his rejection of (Catholic) mysticism and (Hegelian) intellectualism as a ‘profoundly Christian’ standpoint ‘meaning the intrinsically moral conception of the world’, a belief in the perfection of human personality, in other words, the power of the human Self. In Gentile’s words: “It is man himself who rises above humanity and becomes God.’ In the same context he makes haste to emphasise that ‘This moral conception is one which is alien to India’, since Indian morality ‘ends in asceticism’. [3] And yet Gentile’s reduction of Christian morality to an anti-mystical and anti-intellectual purely humanistic voluntarism may have influenced Evola more strongly than Croce who, soon after the Second World War, published a moderate and short treatise under the title ‘Perche non possiamo non dirci Cristiani?’ (‘Why can we not not call ourselves Christians?’). It appeared at a time when Croce’s Liberal Party, reduced to a small historical remainder, joined the government of the leading popular Christian Democracy, and Gentile had already died as a Fascist.

The Indian historian of The Chief Currents of Contemporary Philosophy, Direndra Mohan Datta, wrote in the Conclusion of his critical presentation of the Italian idealism of Croce and Gentile: ‘We may also mention in conclusion that the idea of the creative activity of mind — the theory that the mind, our own human mind, has the freedom to create the world — has exercised a great influence on the Italian mind. It has bred the confident belief that mind is the maker of his destiny and this conviction is at the back of the modern Italian political renaissance. The teachings of Croce and Gentile that our mind makes reality, that man makes history, are the speculative background of the political doctrine of fascism. Gentile’s denial of the metaphysical independence of the individual leads to the fascist denial of political independence of the individual. Gentile is regarded, therefore, as the philosopher of fascism.’ Thus he was recognised as the founder of the educational system for that era. Croce, the theorist of the new expressionist art, abstained from such Ideological activity.

However, the reality of the expressionist art and its development after the First World War did not remain apolitical within the framework of Crocean aesthetics. Dadaism, among whose Italian and Mitteleuropean founders Evola has been mentioned above, soon became so radical, notably on the stages of French theatres, that it provoked brawls between actors and spectators on the open stage. In 1923, during a show of the leading Dada writer, Tristan Tzara, in Paris, the surrealist leader in art and polititlcs, Andre Breton, jumped onto the stage and with his walking stick broke the arm of a Dadaist player while the author’ Tristan Tzara, with some others, had to be taken to the police for first aid. Precisely at that time Evola renounced his artistic career and dedicated his most diligent interest to the study of philosophy. Already in 1924 he had written two extensive volumes of his main philosophical treatise, Teoria e Fenomenologia dell’ Individuo fissoluto, a Hegelian glorification of the powerful Individual as the world-creating force. He will never abandon this belief in an Absolute Self despite all the crises and conflicts which his Fascist commitment will oppose as an absolute Realism against the idealistic background of Hegelian sources of its origins; not to speak of the politically insoluble conflict of Fascism vs. Christianity (Croce’s ‘Why can we not not call ourselves Christians!’). Intimately, at its lowest ebb in the “The Doctrine of Awakening”, Evola will, under Buddhist influence, succeed in grappling with the ‘Destruction of the Demon of Dialectics’ without sophistication.

In the meantime, in the arena of fine arts another expressionist trend in modern art had predominated over Dadaism and pushed it aside. This was the futurist art — similarly politically dangerous for the new order — which was popularised especially in Marinetta’s poetical trend. Ultimately, the Italian figurative art of the Fascist era found its most adequate brutal expression in the Cubism of Carlo Carta, the sculptor of Mussolini’s warrior profile with the threateningly protruding jaw — la mascella fascists. It may have happened in some vague analogy suggested by that jaw that some time later Evola’s ostensibly pro-germanlc Istituto de Mistica Fascista was dubbed by his antagonists as mastica fascista, or ‘Fascist mastication’.


Giuseppe Tucci {1894-1984} was the dominating personality, towering above Italian interests in Asian cultures (prevalently Indo-Tibetan) between 1920-60. In his prohibitive authority as protector of the Fascist regime against popular infiltration of Asian religious and spiritual influence (see Gentile’s stress on ‘moral conceptions alien to India’ quoted above), Tucci was above all anxious to detect and prevent any appearance of such Buddhist tendencies that might provoke actual existential interest beyond his own exclusive level of strictly specialist and limited academic levels — not to speak of the most widespread theosophical attempts at mediation in romanticist rapprochements toward spiritual universalism. This was also the orientation in which we might visualise an implicit dialectical tension against Evola’s subsequent attempt — at the time of the decline of the Fascist era — to integrate the ressentiment of his Fascist traditional aristocratism with the tragical world-view of the original Pali Buddhism of primeval Indo-European ‘Aryan-ness of the Doctrine of Awakening’. [4]

Pali Buddhism had for Tucci a marginal importance besides the main stream of his Mahayanist concern. As far as I know there never occurred an open confrontation between these two Fascist possibilities. Tucci obviously considered himself incomparably above any other alternative approach. Besides that, it would have been too late in 1943, when Evola’s book appeared, to venture such political disquisitions. Soon after the publication of Evola’s book in Bari, Rome was conquered by Anglo-American forces, and Tucci was pensioned off as Professor Emeritus for a few years as a Fascist suspect of illegal journeys and depredation in Tibet. But already by 1948 this ‘Marco Polo redivivus ‘ was rehabilitated and enabled to organise his last expedition to Tibet with the most splendid display in the effects of cultural results, equipped with experts in recording colour films and music in temple ceremonies and documentation of the art. As an expert, presumably the best known in the world at that time, in linguistic (Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese), epigraphical and archaeological knowledge, he was considered indispensable in organising the planning of further excavation work in Pakistan and Afghanistan for the next ten years.

Since his first expedition to Tibet in 1933, enabled ‘through the enlightened intervention of the Head of Government’ (Mussolini), and the financial backing of Italian industry and commerce, Tucci’s ambition was ‘to study the country from the historical, archaeological and epigraphical point of view’… ‘collecting precious material’… and above all ‘to place Italy firmly on the map as far as Oriental studies were concerned’; and ‘in this he succeeded brilliantly.’ In the obituary of his death he was called ‘the Great Lama of the West’.

Since his initial visit to Tibet in 1927, Tucci was ‘always travelling on foot and in the company of a lama, claiming to have been a Tibetan in a previous life’, and behaving as a humble novice, recognised occasionally as a ‘lama rinpoche’ – but on the other hand, he was notoriously known in Europe as very clever and ‘able to transport from Tibet to Rome enormous quantities of manuscripts, objets d’art and artefacts for subsequent study and reproduction’. [5] For these results and for his overall attitude to the Buddhist religion at home we could almost designate to him the attribute defensor fidei; but of what faith? – It is better not to ask that question.

The most conspicuous result of Tucci’s last expedition was the outsize luxury edition of “Tibetan Painted Scrolls”, ‘an artistic and symbolic illustration of 172 Tibetan paintings in perfect colour reproduction, preceded by a survey of historical, artistic, literary and religious development of Tibetan culture’ (3 vols, Rome 1949; repr. Kyoto 1980). This became a landmark in Tucci’s reorientation towards a free and most fertile activity in the domain of widespread cultural production of works of universal interest during the last twenty-five years of his literary and scholarly writings. At the beginning of his explorations in Tibet, the best he dared present with a Fascist smack of murder mystery was the book on Santi e briganti nel Tibet ignoto (Milan 1937; repr. as Tibet ignoto, 1978), However, in the ‘Chronicle’ of his expedition in 1933, we can also find serious and sincere efforts to explain how ‘this people, apparently so rude and primitive, who have been able to rise to the supreme heights of philosophic speculation and the highest mystic exaltation, also possess an innately profound and spontaneous sense of art.’ Speaking of Buddhism, he emphasised “the grand doctrinal conceptions and profound mystical experiences of the mahayana , . , one of the mystical creeds most worthy of study and of the most profoundly felt and uplifting beliefs,..’, concluding that ‘it is therefore desirable… that one begins the study of this mystic and magic literature of Tibet from which psychologists and psychoanalysts will have much to learn’. [6]

The first title on the list of Tucci’s bibliography is an article published in the periodical Bilychnis (XV) in Rome 1920: ‘A proposito dei rapporti tra cristianesimo e buddhismo’. In the next year’s issue of the same periodical (XVII) he published: ‘L’influsso del buddhismo Bulla civiltd dell ‘Estremo Oriente’. This was not Tucci’s last contribution to Bilychnis, whose publication was discontinued as a consequence, it seems, of its association with the Theosophical Society which at that time broke into two factions due to political pressure. Evola appears in this conflict as an important protagonist on the Fascist side against the originally English organisation presided over at that time by the Irish revolutionary Socialist active in India, Annie Besant. In Bilychnis of 1926, Evola announced the split. (‘E doveroso avvertire che con la teosofia besantlana non ha connessione alcune la Lega Teosofica di Via Gregoriana a Roma, che e un raoviraento italiano indipendente, verso direzioni di sano e positivo misticismo…). [7]

At about the same time Tucci availed himself of the theosophical contacts of the aristocratic relatives of his family with Adyar’s theosophists to organise successfully his first visit to India.

Before that, Tucci had started his career as a Sinologist and published two books – “Storia della filosofia cinese antica” (1922) and “Apologia del Taoismo” (1924). The advantage of these books was that they appeared a few years before the more extensive works on the history of Chinese philosophy which later became standard textbooks in European literature, at least In Germany: A. Forke “Geschichte der chinesischen Philosophie” (Hamburg 1927) and H. Hackmann “Chinesische Philosophie” (Munich 1927). Even R. Wilhelm’s books on this specific subject (“Chinesische Philosophie”, Breslau 1929) and the best-known Chinese scholar’s (Hu Shih) on the development of Chinese logic appeared at the same time, if not later than those of Tucci.

In India Tucci taught Chinese besides Italian at the University of Calcutta and Tagore’s free university at Shantiniketan. His best known work of this Indian period was Pre-Dinnaga Buddhist Texts on Logic from Chinese Sources (Baroda 1929; repr. San Francisco 1967). His treatises on similar aspects of Buddhist logic continued to occupy him even later. The high Standard of his knowledge of Indian philosophies was ultimately confirmed in one of his main post-war voluminous works, “Storia della filosofia Indiana” (Bari 1957), A rare and most useful advantage of this history consists in 400 pages (the second volume of the second edition of 1977) dealing with ‘Problems’ specific to all schools, trends and systems of classical Indian philosophy (problems of knowledge, of methods, of God, of the self, of categories, of ‘physics and atomistic theory’, of causality, of the universals, space and time, ethics, language and aesthetics).

Tucci’s investigations into Tibetan epigraphy and history during the Fascist era were published in Italy by the Reale Accademia Nazionale del Lincei In Rome (whose member he was since 1929) in four volumes of indo-tibetica (1932-41). Vol. IV contains reproductions of photographs of documentation without much pretension to their artistic value. [***]

After the War his reawakened interest in subjects of religion contained in books of general interest began with “Asia religiosa” (Rome 1946) and culminated in “Teoria e pratica del Mandala” (Milan 1949; repr. Rome 1969 – English translation, “The Theory and Practice of the Mandala”, London 1961, New York 1978; German, “Geheimnis des Mandala, theorie und Praxis”, Munich 1972; French, “Theorie et pratigue du Mandala”, Paris 1974).


After the fall of Fascism the books of the pre-Faccist era, especially the Neumann-De Lorenzo translation of the Majjhima-nikaya, were no longer available. It was only in 1960-61 that the same publishers, Laterza in Bari, published the first integral translation of the Digha-nikaya by Eugenio Frola. Frola’s new translation of the Dhammapada L’orma della Discipline), appeared in Turin in 1962 with the translator’s comments and crossreferences to other Pali texts, Frola died that same year but a second edition appeared in 1968.

In 1971 a new organisation based on Pali Buddhism, connected with the Buddhist Publication Society of Nyanaponika Mahathera in Kandy, was constituted in Florence by Luigi Martinelli under the name Associazione Buddhista Italians. Its first publication was the Dhammapada, translated by Martinelli with a comparative interpretation under the title Etica buddhista et etica Christiana. This was followed by his translation of a manual of Buddhist meditation by Nyanaponika. In 1972 a Buddhist shrine room was opened at the centre of the Association in Florence. Since then I have received no further information about the activities of that group.

The Intention of this group was to present Buddhism in a more popular, non-academic form, in contradictinction to Tucci’s exclusive and forbidding analyses of particular aspects of Mahayanic doctrines primarily from their Tibetan sources.

In his critical comparison with Christianity the fundamental attitude of the Buddha is distinguished by Martinelli as an ‘anticipated awareness of the fact that only a small group of persons distinguished by a special character and capacity would be able to appreciate, to understand, and to follow the true and full value of his teaching’. [8]

Martinelli’s conclusions tend to explain doctrinal differences as arising from the background of psychological differences between two types of human character or religious mentality within a still wider historical framework. These typological categories are broadly determined as the rational and the emotional. The Buddha and Christ are ‘two sublime models commendable to two different types of human character, perhaps also to two different situations in the life of one and the same man.’ Buddhism suits better the rational, and Christianity the emotional type of religious mentality.

Thus Martinelli’s book appeared in an Italy permeated hy the new conciliative climate, inaugurated by the well-known change of attitude of the Roman Catholic Church in inviting other religions to a ‘dialogue’ (a term justly preferred in Rome to the less friendly word ‘discussion’).

Yet, pressed between two neo-mahayanist currents, resulting both from a Fascist impetus — Tucci’s academic exclusiveness on the one hand, and Evola’s pseudo-aristocratic emulation of a samurai militant brutality on the other –, conciliatory endeavours to establish a ‘middle way’ corresponding to Martinelli’s readiness to enter into ‘dialogue’ could find no sufficient footing in the barren ground of the puthujjana commonsense and ‘horizontal’ rationality flatly discredited in all authoritarian religious establishments.


Between the two ‘eras’ — the pre-Fascist and the post-Fascist — Evola remained isolated at least as the last Pali Buddhist of the Fascist model. However, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of his death as a neo-Fascist ideologist, he remains indisputably the most remarkable non-popular and nonconformist elitist who, ultimately, after his desperate neo-Fascist ‘riding on the tiger’ was brought as an invalid on a stretcher to the court of justice as one of the neo-Fascist leaders prosecuted in the 1951 lawsuit.

In the sequel to the present survey our positive interest will be concentrated on the exceptional value and emphasis laid by Evola on the aristocratic virtue as an essential prerequisite — sllam, karmically conditioned — for the approach of an ariya-puggala gotra-bhu to the ariya-sacca-magga that is a noble character’s introversion on the ennobling way of cultivation of truth conceived essentially as the ethos of knowledge. [9]

(1) Unfortunately, our analysis of Evola’s ‘Study on the Buddhist Ascesis’ in the first chapter of “The Doctrine of Awakening” discovered that the two fundamental terms for ‘thus proceeding’ (tathagatam) did not find their proper and unequivocal place in his otherwise clear conception and determination of noble characters designated by the underscored terms: gotra-bhu and the specific quality of Ethos in the deepest radical layer of its structure – alaya-viññanam, corresponding with its karmically pre-established determination to the Greek idea of innate fertility – hypokeimenon. Instead of that, Evola’s interpretation of the basic term ‘ascesis’ – throughout its ‘varieties’ – continues to prolong the (Buddhistically) ‘wrong effort’ – miccha-vayamo – of his predeliction for ‘The Yoga of Power’ (to Yoga della potenza), a kind of vulgar “multi-purpose yoga”, even quoting explicitly the notorious tantric interpretations by J. Woodroffe (A. Avalon). In his forceful short cuts by violence, Evola already maintains in the first chapter “on the varieties of ‘ascesis'” (p. 8): “In Buddhism, the elements of sila, that is of ‘right conduct’, are considered purely as ‘instruments of the mind’: it is not a question of ‘values’ but of ‘instruments’, instruments of a virtus not in a moralistic sense but in the ancient sense of virile energy.,, when an ascesis is understood as a technique for the creation of a force that can be applied, in the first place, at any level.”

– For Evola, a pure ascesis is “one made up of techniques for developing an interior force , the use of which, to begin with, remains undetermined, like the use of the arms and machines produced by modern industrial techniques…” – Delimiting “ascetic reinforcement of the personality” so that “we could even conceive of an ‘Ascesis of Evil’, for the technical conditions”, he points out the famous negative model of Nietzsche trying to outdo critically even his ‘limitations’: “Nietzsche himself, as we have already pointed out” – insists Evola already on p. 6, referring to p. 4 of the first chapter – “partly shared the modern widespread prejudice against asceticism: when dealing with his ‘Superman’ and when formulating the Wille zur Macht, did he not take into account various disciplines and forms of self-control which are clearly of an ascetic nature?”

Evola’s ‘exposition of a complete ascesis’ is summed up by three propositions: “the first is the possibility of extracting easily from Buddhism the elements of an ascesis considered as an objective technique for the development of calm, of strength and of detached superiority, capable in themselves of being used in all directions. The second is that in Buddhism the ascesis has also superior signification of a path of spiritual realisation quite free from any mythology, whether religious, theological or ethical. The third reason, finally, is that the last stretch of such a path corresponds to the Supreme in a truly metaphysical concept of the universe , to a real transcendency well beyond a purely theistic concept. [10]

May it suffice here to remind the reader of the first line of the Karaniya metta-sutta, the most popular Buddhist text containing moral instructions as a pre-requisite for any ‘meditation’ in general. In metta-bhavana, cultivation of universal love as friendliness for all living beings (sabbe satta bbavantu sukhitatta), in the fourfold formula of appamana (‘boundless’) or brabma-vihara (‘divine state’) of mind, it corresponds to the first level of spiritual purification of jhana – the state of contemplation subjectively corresponding to rational investigation of the same ethos of knowledge (sa-vitakka sa-vicara):

Karaniyam atthakusalena – yam tam santan padam abhisamecca (This should be done in keeping with the moral aim by him who yearns to proceed on this peaceful way).

The peaceful progress (santam padam) on this ‘path of purification (visuddhi-magga) in its moral finality (attha kusalena) can in no way and by no technical means be adapted or even reduced to a purely ‘objective technique’ as visualised by Evola. From the first chapter of his ‘Principles’ and varieties of ‘ascesis’ to the last chapter on ‘The Ariya still gather on the Vulture’s Peak’, Evola insists on degrading “what we may call a pure ascesis, that is to say, one made up of techniques for developing an interior force, the use of which, to begin with, remains undetermined, like the use of the arms and machines produced by modern industrial techniques” and used also in their wrong effort (miccha vayamo) – sicut historia docet in our Kali-yuga of atomic blasts – “on the level of the temporal aspirations and struggles which absorb practically all the energies of modern Western man. Furthermore, we could even conceive of an ‘Ascesis of Evil’, for the technical conditions, as we may call them, needed to achieve any positive success in the direction of the ‘evil’ are not different in kind from those needed, for example, to attain sainthood”. [11] Hindu mythology abounds indeed with such upaya, or skilful means, and Mahayana scriptures praise them occasionally as unavoidable in extreme existential situations (but most often for slandering prominent arahant disciples of the Buddha, such as Sariputta and Ananda), However, is there really no essential difference in the moral roots of such purposes of karaniyam atthakusalena? – Evola will persist in his efforts to negate such distinctions in specific essences of the ethos of knowledge. This will appear most obviously in his arguments against the Buddha’s fundamental teaching of anatta or negation of any absolute Self.

This teaching, the same as the consequent interpretation of nibbanam as an-upadi-sesam , or ‘extinction without remainder”, [12] forcibly reduced to the Vedantic model of the Absolute Being, will be discussed subsequently.

Symbolically, ‘The Vulture’s Peak of the Ariya’ suggests the ominous analogy with the vulture as the emblem on the Fascist coat of arms and the highest peak of the Apennines, Gran Sasso d’ Italia, where Mussolini was first captured and then liberated before the end of the War. Thus, ‘riding on the tiger’ from the Himalayas, across Olympus down to Europe, Evola’s Ariyan ascetic arrived in his newly acquired technical garb on the horseback of Kandinsky’s ‘Blue Rider’.

This was the ultimate glorification, the climax in Evola’s gradual extolling of the advantages of the Mahayana in Chapters VII-X1I of the second part of the Doctrine dealing with ‘Practice’, from “Discrimination between the ‘Powers'” (VII), culminating (XI) in “Up to Zen” – the attainment of the heroic pinnacle of irrational absurdity in the religion of the samurai – the dialectical antithesis of the preceding astonishingly sober and detailed description of the reasonably cautious way of “The Four Jhana – The ‘Irradiant Contemplations'” in Ch.V. The tragic neo-Fascist anti-climax of the ‘Blue Rider’, who tried to change again his vajiana (carriage) for a wild ‘tiger-ride’ and broke his neck in a Fascist secret mission to Vienna at the beginning of 1945, will be described nearly thirty years later by the invalid Evola in his second important book “Cavalcare la tigre”. Among his earlier writings on mistica fascista , the following titles reveal his lifelong Indo-Germanic obsession:

– Imperialismo pagano (1928; characterised as a ‘violently anti-Christian’ text);
– L’uomo come potema. I. Tantra nella loro metafisica e net loro metodi di autorea1izzazione magica (c. 1930);
– La leggenda del Graal e il mistero dell Impero;
– Sul sacro nella tradizione romana (c. 1934);
– ‘Per la ricostruzione spirituale fascista’ (article in Diorama filosofico);
– La yoga della potenza (1968);
– ‘Razza e ascesi ‘ (1942);
– ‘Stirpe e spirtualita’ (1931);
– ‘Razza e cultura’ (1934);
– Il Fascimo (collected essays, 1970).

In these contexts Evola speaks of sila, or ethical roots (sila) of the way of purification, from his standpoint of ‘technical’ heteronomy in moral and religious obligations (sila-bhata-paramasa), opposing to them, as much superior and more reliable for a noble nature, the aristocratic standards of his hereditary Roman virtu (which he aspires to regenerate in keeping with the Fascist model of his failed expectations). This ideal of static stabilisation in Evola’s belief corresponded to the aim of Nietzsche’s Will to Power and his The Antichrist. In Nietzsche’s own words: “I recognize virtue in that it is in the Renaissance style – virtu – free from all moralist acid”. [13]

This could hardly be recognised as a valid interpretation of the Buddha’s advice of ascetic renunciation (pahaya) of the whole world of disgust (sabba-loke anabhirati). [14] Even Nietzsche agreed on this point more emphatically with the Buddha than with Evola’s heroic rejection of a pessimist world-view. In Nietzsche’s terms the statement that the Buddha “stands beyond good and evil” implies that “for the same reason, he does not ask his followers to fight those who think otherwise : there is nothing to which his doctrine is more opposed then the feeling of revenge, antipathy, ressent iment” (Antichrist, sect. 20). Evola speaks of “a technique which carries us far beyond the plane of the contradictions against which fought without hope , for example, the soul of Nietzsche and Dostoievski”. [15] Against such fighting ‘without hope’ Evola insists too often (there are no less than ten entries on ‘Olympian element, spirit’ in the Index to the Doctrine) on equating Himalayan mayavic visions with the ‘Olympian bearing of the spirit’, far from the painful renunciation implied by the Buddha’s first Noble Truth of dukkha. His ‘Olympian and heroic vision of the world’ is reduced to the historical ‘Olympian-Homeric phase of the Aryo-Hellenic tradition’ where his ‘Olympian nucleus in ourselves ‘ supersedes far and wide above the Buddha’s too modest simile of the man ‘searching for heart of wood… in a mighty plantain-trunk… but finding no pith inside. Much less would he find heart of wood’ (S XXXV, IV, 3).

In his younger years, trying to formulate the ‘Theory and Phenomenology of the Absolute Individual’ (1924) on the model of the Hegelian ‘absolute idealism’, Evola had ultimately to abandon, under Fascist pressure, even that ‘Idealism’ ‘after the manner of Hegel’, and to revert to ‘a restoration… of an entirely positive reality ‘ in his books on the ‘Man as Power’ (L’uomo come potenza) and ‘Essays on Magical Idealism ‘(Saggi sull idealismo magico, 1934). After so much emphasis in the sequel to his writings on the ‘Absolute’, ‘Self’, ‘Atma’, ‘I’ (Italian ‘Io’ and ‘IO’, over thirty entries in the Index to Doctrine) and its ‘Power’ , – it would be useless to look any further for anything like an-upadi-sesa-nibbana as “extinction without remainder. Instead of this, what still remains on the obverse of the medal are the symptomatic references to ‘nirvana, nibbana’ in the same Index.

(2) S. Radhakrishnan, in his “Indian Philosophy” (1923), insists on the presentation of Buddhism on the fundamental basis of its reintegration into the broader Brahmanic tradition at a higher developed historical level. His most authoritative disciple, Professor T.R.V. Murti, specialised in Buddhist philosophy and, in his dissertation on “The Central Philosophy of Buddhism” (1955), undertook to reformulate a deeper tenet of neo-Hinduist trend in defence of his teacher’s fundamental thesis. To that effect Murti transferred the weight of his own central conception to a later, but doubtless authentic, beginning of the history of independent Buddhist philosophy initiated by Nagarjuna (second-third cent. A.C.). The dialectical leap in Evola’s mistica fascista, by which his thesis on the ‘Absolute Self’ was overthrown from the Hegelian idealism into the antithesis of ‘Brahma’s net’ of ‘Reality’ of the same sacrosanct ‘Absolute’, could not be reduced to the same historical reason that may have induced the Mahayanist dialectialism of Murti. However, it was the same trans-critical ‘will for the unconditioned considered also as liberty and power’ [16] which brought them both to their equally absolutist decision. Murti commits himself to his dialectical reversal from the ideal to the real nature of the ‘Absolute’, confessing without the slightest critical caution his full support for the arbitrariness of another, no less disputable modern authority, that of his teacher Radhakrishnan, as ‘unerringly’ correct in the proposition: ‘Buddha did not doubt the reality of Nirvana (Absolute)’. [17] His thesis on this point has often been characterised and resolutely criticised as an untenable doctrine of the ‘negative absolute’. [18]

Evola’s doctrine of the Absolute Self and the ‘specific place of the Ariya’ in the ‘race of the spirit, which is at least as important as that of the body’, has been expounded in his book “Sintesi di dottrina della razza” (Milan 1941). In the “Doctrine of Awakening” he consequently pleads that ‘above all, one must rely on this strength to replace delight in craving (kama-sukham) by delight in heroism (vira-sukham)”. [19] It follows that his absolute ‘Reality of Nirvana’ is depicted with so much stronger colours than Murti’s obedience to absolute faith: “we have purposely made considerable use of the term ‘Olympian’… From the ancient Mediterranean ‘Olympian’ world, where opposition between region of being and region of becoming, between the cycle of generation and the super-world corresponds exactly to the Indo-Aryan opposition between samsaia and Nirvana, we derive our highest heritage, that which the modern world has forgotten but which still persisted in some measure amongst the Germanic and Romanic elements of the best of the Middle Ages. The Olympian view of life, to which every true ascetic value is intimately bound, is the highest, the most original and the most Aryan of the West. It holds the symbol of all that, in a higher sense, can be called classical and aristocratic… In the second place, ascesiss as affirmation of pure transcendency… can ensure that the immobile is not overturned by the changeable, that forces of centrality, farces of the world of being are set up against forces of becoming…” [20]

In the Index to Evola’s Doctrine, the word abbidhamma is recorded with only one reference in the penultimate chapter, centred already on the advantages of the Mahayana , ‘Up to Zen’: “… A second aspect of the degeneration of Buddhism is the philosophical one. Already the later part of the Pali Canon, the Abhidhamma, often shows the same stereotyped, unalive and rationalistic profile that belongs chiefly to our own medieval scholasticism”. [21]

In this connection there is no mention of the khanika-vada theory of momentariness and impermanence – anicca – of illusory aggregates of sankhara-khanda (formations), the first of the three essential tenets of the Buddha’s fundamental teaching. Earlier, when explaining “the overcoming of the belief in ‘personality’ antanuditthi , and in its persistency”, which “is a sign of a form of ‘ignorance'”, Evola explains the principle of his ‘determination of the vocations’ in an extensive description of the preliminaries for ‘Practice’ and ‘The Qualities of the Combatant’ dealt with in Part II of the book:

“One places oneself at a distancee until there is a feeling that one’s own person is a simple instrument of expression, something contingent which in due course will dissolve and disappear in the samsaric current, without the super-mundane, Olympian nucleus in ourselves being in the slightest degree prejudiced”. [22]

(3) The shadow that all these reflections ultimately casts on Evola’s judgement on Nibbana is expressed in the chapter dedicated to its definition under his own fanciful designation with the French term The Nonpareil , obviously to avoid the central conception of ‘extinction’. For him it is ‘a fact that is confirmed by the whole Ariyan ascesis, in its comprehensive significance” for which “we do not, therefore, propose to put forward a learned argument designed to confute the Ideas of those who hold that Nibbana is ‘nothingness’. It could only occur to a chronic drunkard that the ending of intoxication was also the end of existence; so only someone who knew nothing but the state of thirst and of mania could think that the cessation of this state meant the end of all life, ‘nothingness'”.

Referring to the authority of A.B. Keith’s “Buddhist Philosophy” {London 1923), Evola agress that “it has been said with justice that… one must have always in mind the general Indo-Aryan concept which indicates that the extinguishing of the fire is not its annihilation, but its return to the invisible, pure, supersensible state in which it was before It manifested itself through a combustible…” [23]

Speaking of ‘extinction’ in another context, in one of the most detailed (and still, today, valuable) extensive analyses of the central and unavoidable importance of the jhanas and samadhi, Evola insinuates, however, shortly and most categorically his thesis of reduction to Vedantas “Turlya, the unconditioned state of the atma in the general Indo-Aryan tradition, would then correspond to the state of nirvana in the Buddhist terminology”. [24]

Murti sustains his and Radhakrishnan’ s reduction of the Buddha’s teaching on nullity or nothingness – sunna-vada (sunyata) – to the Upanisadic teaching of Yajnavalkya in the Brhad-aranyaka-upanisad (II 3, 6; III 9. 26; IV 2, 4; IV 4. 22), as “a close parallel, as is pointed out by many scholars, (to) the Upanisadic way of defining Brahman as ‘neti’ ‘neti’, as what cannot be grasped by speech, thought or senses,,. Far from being unreal on this account, it is the sole reality, the soul of the universe” According to the standard formulation in this Upanisad, “This Self is not this, not this. He is incomprehensible for He is never comprehended. He Is unattached for He does not attach himself. He is unfettered. He does not suffer. He is not injured” (Radhakrishnan’s translation).

For the same argument Evola uses rather the Christian analogy: “As in the Carmelite symbolism of the ascent of the mountain, the path which does not become lost, which leads straight to the summit, is that to which are attributed the words: nada, nada, [25] nada – nothing, nothing, nothing’. His conclusion in the last chapter ‘The ariya still gathered on the Vulture’s Peak’, admonishes that “Anyone who can lay hands on the Buddhist texts or the Bhagavad-gita or the Yoga and Vedanta texts should be able calmly to close the doors on these modern publishers and commentators and adaptors, leaving himself only the serious task of study and achievement”. [26] However, it remains established for Evola, and he confirms it in several references to these systems, that “the Samkhya theory relating to the purusha, and the Upanishad and then Vedanta theory relating to the atma, have the same sense” as “Bodhi, absolute Illumination” in Buddhism: “the Atma or purusha is eternally present. It is not this that ‘revolves’, that ‘acts’, that strives, that advances”. [27]

The Buddha’s explicit answers to both positions, referring to Samkhya dualism and to Vedantlc monism, standardised in two alternative ‘views’ (ditthi) in Samyutta 35, suttas 23 and 92 – Sabbasutta, on the ‘All’, and Dvayasutta, on ‘Duality’ – sound extremely clear and counter such argumentation extended throughout millennia – just as fresh as if they were given to the present readers:

(S 35, 23) – And what, bhikkhus, is the all? It is eye and object, ear and sound, nose and scent, tongue and savour, body and tangible things, mind and mind-states (mano ca dhamma ca). That, bhikkhus, is called ‘the all*. Whoso, bhikkhus, should say: ‘Rejecting this all, I will proclaim another all,’ – it would be mere talk on his part, and when questioned he could not make good his boast, and further would come to an ill pass. Why so? Because, bhikkhus, it would be beyond his capacity to encompass it (avisayasmim).

(In S 35, 92, the word ‘all’ is replaced by ‘duality’ in the same context.)

(4) Still on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Evola’s death his merits and demerits for the cause of Buddhism in Italy were rediscussed no less than the actuality of an apologetic for his neo-Fasclst activity. On the one side there was reconsidered the inauspicious circumstances in the ‘climate of the Fascist era’, on the other the weight he laid on the spurious ‘ariyanity’ of the Indo-Germanic provenance of his Sicilian nobility (turned separatist, by the way, at the end of the War). And these trends still remain interwoven in the perennial conflict with ‘Christian Democracy’. Among Italian Buddhists (in their journal Paranita), some remain still completely and uncritically in Evola’s favour, while others tend almost equally to disqualify his attempts to approach ‘the doctrine of the Buddha’. [28]

Why then still so much discussion? From an outsider’s standpoint it seems to me that at least some problems thus raised cannot yet be dismissed as barren and sterile. Evola’s central theses, embedded between two hard crusted covers, still contain in their middle part an essentially good and reliable core on points regarding which, in the meantime, several other more superficial, ‘technically’ streamlined, interpreters have missed their intrinsic essence. This must also have been the impression of H.E.Musson, the English translator of “The Doctrine of Awakening” (published in London 1951). In 1949 he became a Buddhist monk – Bhikkhu Nanavira – at the Island Hermitage in Sri Lanka, where he died in 1965, not long before the arrival at the same hermitage of the author of the present survey, who read the same book at the same time and under similar war-circumstances in Italy where it appeared in 1943.

The first essential premise visualised under the pressure of those most unfavourable conditions for the European reawakening of Buddhism – prophesied already by Nietzsche (14) whose strong and direct influence was often recognised by Evola – was on the first pages of Evola’s book: the ‘aristocratic – aryan’ requisite and preliminary attainment of the initiatic ethos of gotra-bhu .

Evola did not formulate the explicit equation of his term “aryan-ness’ with the Pali gotra-bhu. According to the Pali Text Society’s Dictionary, “there is no word in English for gotta (Vedic gotra, to go) – ancestry, lineage…” In H 142 (PTS ed. , Vol. III. 25%) there is a reference to anagatamaddhanan gotrabhuno, translatable is ‘to those who have not brought to an end or stand-still” – ‘to erasure, abrasion , dissolution and disintegration (parimaddnita ) ‘ , their genealogical (gotra) dependence of their being (finu) in the world*. According to Buddhadatta’s Dictionary, a gotrabhu is ‘one who destroys the lineage’. Nyanatiloka in his “Buddhist Dictionary” designates, with reference to Puggala-Pannatti 10, ‘gotrabhu: lit. who has entered the lineage (of the Noble Ones), i.e. the Matured One*. Cotrabhu-citta, ‘Maturity -Moment’ is ‘immediately preceding the entering into an absorption (jhana) or into of of the supermundane paths’. In Puggala-Pannatti 10, the ‘Matured One’ is described as ‘He who is endowed with those things, immediately upon which follows the entrance into the noble path (ariga-magga)’. In the Commentary to this passage it is said: ‘He who through perceiving, Nirvana leaves behind the whole mulititude of worldlings (puthujjana), the family of worldlings, the circle of worldlings, the designation of a worldling and enters into the multitude of the Noble Ones, the family of the Noble Ones, and reaches the designation of Noble One, such being is called a Mature One (gotra-bhu).’

How far does Evola’s interpretation of ‘Aryan-ness’ correspond contextually to a comparatively authentic meaning of this apocalyptic premonition which may have also have predetermined the Mahayanist alternative described on the turning-point from Ch.X – on ‘The Void’ – ‘If the mind does not break’- to Ch.XI – ‘Up to Zen’?

Evola’s forboding of his personal Fascist tragedy is underlined in his quotation from the Prajnaparamita (1,35) in Ch.X:

“If, indeed, by this doctrine, by this exposition, the mind of one who aspires to illumination is not cast down, does not feel the abyss / does not sink /, does not feel anguish, if his spirit – is not seized, if he is not as though with a broken back , is not alarmed, does not feel terror – then such a one is to be instructed in the fullness of transcendent knowledge.”

(5) The second part of Evola’s Doctrine, on the Practice of Buddhist Ascesis, whose Principles have been set forth in Part I, is centred in Chapters V-Vl on ‘the Four Jhana ‘ and the ‘States Free from Form and the Extinction’. These chapters (pp. 182-228) contain mainly what has been designated above as the ‘essentially good and reliable core… embedded between two hard crusted covers’ technically reduced to serve as a pedestal without any concern about the original purpose of the ethical or even aesthetic function of the whole work ‘that should be in keeping with the moral aim of him who yearns to proceed on this peaceful way’.

The teaching of the four jhana is preceded, in Ch.III of Part II, by an exposition of the threefold division of the eightfold path of training {sikkha) in ascetic purification, under the title ‘Rightness’, leading to ‘consolidation of the spirit* (p.148 ff).

The threefold division of the path consists of:

1. adhi-sila-sikktia, cultivation of transcendental morality by
2. adhi-citta-sikkha, the ethos of knowledge to
3. adhi-panna-sikkha, the ripeness of liberating wisdom.

These three levels of the spiritually informed Path of Purification (visuddhi -magga) correspond to the transcendental structure of sila -samadhi -panna, explained in D 16 as follows:

“It is through not understanding, not penetrating noble morality… noble concentration… noble wisdom… noble deliverance that I, as well as you, have had for such a long time to pass through this round of rebirths.”

Evola sums up the Implicit meaning of the transcendental “ought’ in conformity with the aprioristic structure of Kantian Practical Reason: “Thus, by Rightness’ we must understand more than an accepted morality; it is rather as internal mode, a capacity for standing fast at all times without deviating or wavering, by eliminating every tinge of tortuousness . . . the “virtues” are essentially so many duties to oneself which the re-awakened interior sensibility brings to light; but once they have been put into practice, they encourage, strengthen and establish a state of calm, of transparency of mind and of spirit, of balance and of ‘Justice’, by which every other discipline or technique is made easier.” – “And if this mastery is not to be an entirely psycho – logical character and therefore ephemeral, the ascetic must, in his earthly existence, have developed to a high degree both the contemplations that produce a superior calm (samatha) and the ‘wisdom” that is closely connected with the will for the unconditioned which leads to change of heart and detachment, and which brings realisation of the non-substantiality of all that is samsaric (vipassana)”. [29]

Evola’s criticism of the ‘ephemeral reduction of various ascetic disciplines’ to ‘an entirely psychological character’ is directed primarily against its psychoanalyst interpretations. It was in the situation between the two wars that he was justified, at the beginning of his Doctrine, in stating: “We need hardly discuss the low level to which asceticism has been brought by recent ‘psycho-analytical’ interpretations. In the West, then, a tight net of misunderstanding and prejudice has been drawn round asceticism. [30]

Speaking in terms of Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakosa (fifth cent. A.C.), the entity of antarabhava “has a pre- and inter-natal existence; nourished by ‘desire’ and carried by impulses fed by other lives, it seeks to manifest itself in a new existence.” With reference to this “the doctrine in question is singularly in agreement with what ‘psycho-analysis’ – even with its various deformations and exaggerations – has presented to our modern eyes in the guise of theories of the libido. [31]

In further references, Evola insists particularly “to put us on our guard against the exclusively psycho-analytical and Freudian interpretation that, in dealing with sexual impulses and, in general, the libido, admits of no other action than either ‘repression’ – Verdrangung – which creates hysteria and neuroses, or alternatively ‘transposition’ and ‘sublimation’. A high ascesis is neither one nor the other, and we must be very careful that during development we maintain a just balance and that the central force, spiritually virile and awakened and strengthened by the various disciplines, gradually absorbs the whole of the energies which call for expression once the road to animal generation is barred… How important it is to divert the basic energy of life from subjection to the samsaric law of craving and thirst, which is clearly dominant in the field of sex is clearly illustrated, moreover, by the Buddhist simile which states… this precept of sila… A particular rule of sila . . . is abstention from ‘strong’ or intoxicating substances… [32]


In 1916 the Pali Text Society published “Manual of a Mystic” – a translation from the Pali and Sinhalese work entitled “The Yogavachara’s Manual”. According to the Sinhalese authorities quoted by C. A. F.Rhys Davids in the Preface and Appendix, ‘at that time Buddhism in Ceylon was so decadent that there could not have been much samadhi and jhana practice among the monks. The life they led was apparently so loose that King Vimala Dharma Suriya (1684-1706) and his successors had to get theras from abroad (Siam etc.) to hold ordination ceremonies, and thus impart new life to the Buddhist Sasana’. Such was the situation in Sri Lanka when there arose ‘the moving spirit in the reform of the eighteenth century ‘… ‘We see, then, that the old Theravada tradition had either survived in Ceylon, or was flourishing in Siam, or both, when this Manual was written. And this venerable skeleton, with its incrustations of later thought and fancy, lends a quite special interest to the little work which… is from a literary point of view so unsatisfactory”. The existence of this Dhyana book was ascertained by the Anagarika H.Dharmapala in… 1892’. At that time ‘the bhikkhu Doratiyaveye Thera, was incumbent of the Hangurangketa Wihara in the Western Province of Ceylon, and was living so recently as 1900. He came by the knowledge of the system…’ instructed by his guru, ‘then an aged monk’ who instructed him as ‘his chosen disciple in the system, and not long after passed away. The disciple, it is said, did not practise the process himself…’.

About the same time, at the beginning of this century, the old method of Buddhist meditation was also rediscovered in Burma in a fragmentary form, apparently even more incomplete, but it found a much better acceptance in the revised practice and later became, from the time of Buddha Jayanti (1956) internationally popularised. This ‘Burmese method’ is called sukkha-vipassana or ‘bare insight’, because it entails ‘dispensing with the prior development of full concentrative absorption jhana). [33] By virtue of skipping over the meditation-development of ‘tranquillity’ (samatha-bhavana) as the first condition for ‘right concentration’ (sammma-samadhi) — which is the highest and ‘the last link of the 8-fold Path, defined as the A meditative Absorptions (jhana)’ in the ‘one-pointedness of mind’ (cittassekaggata) [34] — this Burmese method is criticised as a ‘shortcut to Nibbana’ bereft of its fundamental psychological condition.

About twenty years prior to the Buddha Jayanti, Evola’s “Doctrine” had the fortune and advantage of being written before the popularisation of the artificial reduction by a psychologically impossible vivisection and transposition into ‘dry’ words of sukha-vipassana, or ‘objectified’ insight, from samatha -bhavana, or inner stillness of a mind appeased by introverted cultivation in jhanam. The dead remainder of this hair-splitting cleavage on the side of samatha is thus ‘appeased’ and explained away in relegating it eventually to Indo-European mythology, although Buddhism as in its historically preceding archetypal model of Jainism, was of a different, much deeper extraction, and also belonged to a logically rationalised mythology. [35]

‘If a bhikkhu should frame a wish, as follows: … Let me through the extinction of intoxicants (asavanam khaya) in the present existence attain by myself the freedom of mind from intoxicants, the freedom of wisdom by proper understanding — then he must attain perfection in virtues (silesu), bring his mind to a state of quiescence, practise diligently the jhanas, stabilise insight (vipassana), and tend to frequent lonely places.’ (Akankheyya Sutta, M 6)

‘With his mind so collected, made pure, clean, stainless, without defilement, supple, ready to act, firm, imperturbable, he applies and inclines his mind to the knowledgeable insight just as if in a mountain current there were a pool of water, clear, transparent, undisturbed; and a man of clear sight, standing on the bank should perceive the oysters and the shells, the gravel and the pebbles, and the shoals of fish as they move about or lie within it. He would know: ‘This pool is clear, transparent, undisturbed, and there within it are the oysters and the shells, … and the shoals of fish are moving about or lying still..,. This is, maharaja , an immediate fruit of the life of a recluse, visible in this world…’ (Samahnaphala Sutta, D 2)

‘Just as a woman or a man, or a clever boy or girl, looking at the image of his own face in a clean and brilliant mirror or in a basin of clear water, and if it had a mole on it, would know that it had, and if not, would know that it had not, …so the bhikkhu in his mind — concentrated, purified, translucent, blameless, free of moral defilements, supple, ready to act, firm and imperturbable — directs and inclines his mind to that knowledge which penetrates the heart…’ (D 2, 92)

In Zen and other Mahayana schools, to which Evola turns for ‘technically’ preferable alternatives at the end of his “Doctrine”, the mirror represents (also in rituals and ceremonies) the best visible symbol of archetypal purity described in these and several other Pali texts on the ‘invariable sequence’ [36] of the threefold training (tividha sikkha). Progress is made by following safely, slowly and with an aesthetically cultivated enjoyment the ‘way of purification’  (visuddhlmagga) consisting of ‘the aggregate of virtue, the aggregate of concentration and the aggregate of wisdom’, without any danger of shortcuts, so pernicious for ‘modern’, and still more for ‘post-modern blue riders’ on the ‘tiger’s back’, or hair-splitting pundits entangled in psychologically impossible and physiologically dangerous attempts at dislodging the kundalini vital force of their spines by vivisection, anaesthetised with psychedelic dope.

The same texts bear testimony also to the criterion for the selection of prerequisite virtues in the ethos of knowledge of ‘those sons of noble families who having trust in me have gone forth from home into the homeless life’ and ‘found contentment in their ascetic life’ (M 68).

Buddhaghosa ‘s manual of meditation par excellence, Visuddhimagga (‘The Path of Purification’, [37] 5th c. A.C.), which is the best-known text in classical Pali literature, is increasingly cited by followers of the Burmese ‘dry insight’ (vipassana) method and by their opponents as the basic authority for introducing ‘a distinction between two types of yogis, differentiated by their paths of contemplative development’, the samatha-yanika and the vipassana-yanika. Pointing out the superficiality of this kind of word-splitting, Kheminda Thera quotes the commentary to the Visuddhimagga, the Paramatthamanjusa by Dhammapala: ‘By mere knowledge alone one is not established in Purification of Mind’, and concludes that ‘since the vipassanayanika has completed Purification of Mind he must therefore have previously gained jhana too’. [38]

When Evola was writing his “Doctrine”, in the pre-Jayanti era, the danger of this dilemma was not yet formulated in the exegeses of the dogmatic dialecticians of our days. Otherwise he might have been attracted by this apparent analogy with the absolutism of neo-Hegelian dialectics by whose fascist trend he was educated and ultimately ruined in the way in which political revolutions ‘devour their children’. Saved at least from this premature pitfall, however, he could continue writing in the following undisturbed way at the outbreak of another world war:

“In A IV 170 it is said that the bonds give way and the path opens when samatha is combined with vipassana.

If to this ‘knowledge’ (of vipassana) is added the calm and the control of samatha, then its development is assured and transfigured, and the result is the ascesis which leads to awakening. In any case, these two factors are such that they reciprocally integrate each other (cf. A V 92-94).

And if this mastery is not to be of an entirely psychological character and therefore ephemeral, the ascetic must, in his earthly existence, have developed to a high degree both the contemplations that produce a superior calm (samattha) and the “wisdom” that is closely connected with the will for the unconditioned, which leads to change of heart and detachment, and which brings realisation of the non-substantiality of all that is samsaric… (cf. A IV 124 ).”

This doctrinal discussion refers to Chapter XVIII of Part III of the Visuddhimagga, on ‘Purification of View’. Concerning the same discussion, the orientation of the author of the present survey was predetermined — at the same time and in the same direction as Evola’s — by another, preceding and more fundamental passage in the Visuddhimagga. [39] Its purely descriptive import to direct experience of individual essences of the first and second jhana in their logical sequence (savitakka-savicara bracketed by the avitakka-avicara state of one-pointed concentration) and specific distinction — suggested, still unawares, a preliminary definition on the unprejudiced background of the primordial event and the hub of meditative cultivation (bhavana). Its analogy became for me the most suggestive guideline to understanding the entire Visuddhimagga as the basic manual of Buddhist meditation and its application in ascetic practice during the last thirty years — since Buddha Jayanti when I first read it in Nyanatiloka’s German translation (Konstanz, 1952):

“So it should be understood that seclusion-by-suspension of lust is indicated by the phrase quite secluded from sense desire, and seclusion-by-suspension of all five hindrances by the phrase secluded from unprofitable things… So far the factors abandoned by the jhana have been shown. And now, in order to show the factors associated with it, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought it is said: Herein, applied thinking (vitakkana)… hitting upon, is what is meant. It has the characteristic of directing the mind on to an object… Its function is to strike at and thresh — for the meditator is said, in virtue of it, to have the object struck at by applied thought… It is manifested as leading the mind on to an object. Sustained thinking (vicarani)… is continued sustainment. It has the characteristic of continued pressure on the object… It is manifested as keeping consciousness anchored on that object. And though sometimes not separate, applied thought is the first impact of the mind in the sense that it is both gross and inceptive, like the striking of a bell. Sustained thought is the act of keeping the mind anchored, in the sense that it is subtle with the individual essence of continued pressure, like the ringing of the bell. Applied thought intervenes, being the interference of consciousness at the time of first arousing thought, like a bird spreading out its wings when about to soar into the air, and like a bee diving towards a lotus when it is minded to follow-up the scent of it. The sustained thought is quiet, being the non-interference of consciousness, like the bird flying with outspread wings after soaring into the air, and like the bee buzzing above the lotus after it has dived towards it… This difference becomes evident in the first and second jhanas (in the fivefold reckoning)… Thus it is said in the text ‘The mind arrived at unity enters into purification of the way, is intensified in equanimity, and ie satisfied by knowledge’ (Patisarabhidamagga I, 167)… There let him find joy with a mind that is glad in seclusion…”

To the question ‘Why is only the second jhana said to have confidence and singleness of mind?, it may be replied as follows: It is because the first jhana is not fully confident owing to the disturbance created by applied and sustained thought, like the water ruffled by ripples and wavelets… Also, it is said in the Vibhanga: “So this applied thought and this sustained thought are quieted, quietened, stilled, set at rest, … done away with, … dried up, … made an end of; hence it is said: without applied thought, without sustained thought” (Vibh 258)… In the same way this (second) jhana is without applied thought and without sustained thought, not as in the third and fourth jhanas… with just absence, but with the actual act of stilling the applied and sustained thought… so that it does not indicate the bare absence of applied and sustained thought… So only this jhana is called “born of concentration”… [40]

The pivotal point for the whole structure and procedure of jhana is contained in the Kolita Sutta (S XXI 1): the noble silence (ariyo tunhi-bhavo) — ‘And what is the noble silence? My experience of it, friend, was as follows: In this state the bhikkhu, with the stilling of conceptual and discursive thinking (vitakka-vicaro). Attains the second jhana: the Internal clearness, the one-pointedness of mind without conceptual and discursive thinking, the alertness and ease (piti-sukha ), and abides therein. This is called the noble silence.’

In another text of the same collection (S XXII 80). the Buddha exhorts a group of new disciples: “Bhikkhus, it is advisable to cultivate markless concentration (animitta samadhi). Markless concentration, when cultivated and continuously practised, brings abundant fruits and great advantage.

According to some other texts, the noble silence should be understood as the fourth jhana. A the bhikkhu who has attained that jhana, as well as he who has taken it for the basic subject of meditation (mula-kammatthana), should be considered as dwelling in noble silence.

Consequently it is stated in Dhammapada 134: ‘If you make yourself as still as a broken gong you have attained Nibbana (extinction), for agitation is not known to you.’

Evola showed a sensitive understanding of this ‘noble silence’ and its importance for alertness in the cultivation of meditative attentiveness upon which the integral proceeding of jhana-bhavana is based. Under the heading ‘Sidereal Awareness – The Wounds Close’, in the chapter preceding the main part of “Doctrine” on ‘The Four Jhana’ (designated as the ‘Irradiant Contemplations’ – Ch. VI-VI et seq. ), ‘the initiation into the doctrine of the Ariya’, described as ‘the discipline of the watch over the senses or binding the wounds… is shown by the simile of the man who has at a cross-roads a thoroughbred team and can guide them wherever he pleases’ (S XXXV 198). ‘The man who does not know or who forgets this practice is dominated by forms, sounds, smells, tastes, contacts and thoughts, instead of being their master.” The continuation of this essential connotation of jhana is adequately compared with its closest analogy in Greek religious philosophy: ‘In another way this discipline can also be summed up by the word silentiura… in the sense of the Eleusinian siope. Impressions are arrested at the periphery, at the limit of the senses. Between them and the ‘I’ there is now a distance, a zone of silence which consists of not pronouncing either the exterior word or the interior word, and this in turn implies not hearing, not seeing, not imagining. [41]

(a) The first part of Patanjali’s Yoga-sutrani, samadhi-pada, deals with the same problem of the relation and sequence of the first two dhyanas. Even the basic structure of this section shows the development of dhyana – bhavana On this level not only on an analogical way but also in a homologous sequence of synonymous constituents corresponding with the Buddhist model in whose scholastic sequel it seems to have been formulated. The cardinal constituents in this common essential structure on both sides are:

Pali                         Sanskrit
nirodho                   nirodhah
vitakka-vicara         vitarka-vicarah
appamanna            aparimana

According to sutra 2 ‘yogah is inhibition (nirodhah, cessation, or bracketting in terms of modern phenomenological philosophy to a wide extent) of the mental processes’. [42]

Nirodha, the third “noble truth’ — ariya-sacca of the Buddha, referring to dukkhakkhaya — extinction of suffering, is defined, according to sutra 2.15 of Patanjali, as follows; ‘Because of the sufferings caused by changes and anxieties and the samskarah (aggregates of existential factors), to the one who sees clearly, everything is pain,’

The definition corresponding to the first jhana is given in sutra 1.17 of Patanjali: ‘It is cognitive (samprajnatah) because accompanied with reasoning and reflection (vitarka-vicara), with joy and the consciousness that “I am” (asmita).’

Sutras 1.42-44 describe the relation between savitrarka and nirvi tarka samadhi, corresponding to the first and the second dhyana:

1.42 – (Sa-vitarka dhyana) is disturbed by uncertainty concerning understanding of the proper meaning of words.’

1.43 – ‘When pure awareness (smrti, Pali sati) is attained, nir-vitarka (dhyana) with the object alone (cf. noema in the phenomenological philosophy of Husserl) shines forth apparently devoid (cf. Husserl’s epoche) of the own nature of knowing (subject; Husserl’s noesis).’

1.44 – ‘In the same way are explained the subtler objects (on the subjective side, i.e. of noesis) of discursive thinking — sa-vicara and nir-vicara — and their abstracting in bracketing (svarupa-sunyeva in sutra 1.43 quoted above).

The last attainment mentioned in the sequences of our homology appamanna (Skt. aparimana) is explained both in Pali and Sanskrit context as brahma-vihara — the four ‘boundless states’ or ‘divine abodes’ described as moods of sublime virtues, appeased in pervasive emotional attainments on the subjective side of mindfulness, corresponding to rational purification (inhibition by epoche) as results in the ‘pilgrim’s progress’ on the way to the four jhanas: friendliness (empathy, metta, Skt. maitri), compassion (karuna), gladness (sympathetic joy, mudita), equanimity (upekkha).

It is only on this same track of encompassing attainments that I can understand the parallel reflective (patibimbba) progress of ‘objective’ (noematic) contents in harmony of arupa- with rupa-jjhanas (see chart on next page).

(b) In the Pali Buddhism of the late Sinhalese Theravada tradition the practice of meditation has been reduced to schematised rudiments of a primitive ‘ technicalisation ‘, as described in the Manual of a Mystic. Its ‘mystical’ method of presenting the system of the classical meditation subjects (kammatthana) consists in ‘the way of making wax-taper offerings for the fivefold rapture’. [43]

The early schematisation of the Abhidhamma scholasticism was decaying between its accomplishment at the time of Asoka (3rd c.B.C.) and the Sinhalese compilation of the Abhidhammatthasahgaha (in the late Middle Ages), the ‘historically latest layer of dry bones survived archaeologically’. [44]

Already at the time of the early, but still Indian, formation of Mahayanist philosophy, Nagarjuna’s dialectic ignored the mechanically vivisected atomisation of Abhidharma ‘elements’ (dhatu), fixed as ‘the ultimate constituents’ of the world as a whole, in keeping with ‘the simile of the butcher’ (M 10). The analysis of structural elements of the phenomenal world, from a revived biological viewpoint at the time of transition from the Theravada statically deadened conception of abhidhamma vibhajjavada to the Mahayanist thesis of the vijnapti-matrata-siddhih, occurred in Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakosa. This determined the specific difference of the vijnanavada trend from the Madhyamaka dialectical logic. Whilst in modern European philosophy, Kant’s transcendental criticism preceded Hegel’s relapse into metaphysical speculation, in Buddhist philosophy the historical ripening followed in a slower and more extensive natural course of time from the speculative idealism (analogous to Hegel) to the critical idealism in transcendental logic (analogous to Kant). [45]

(c) This is the situation in its broadest historical complexity, as seen from the alienated standpoints of ‘modern’ and ‘postmodern’, ‘contra- and infra-cultural’ groping for ‘alternative solutions’, applicable by mass media and emergency ‘techniques’, primarily with ‘psychedelic’ effects, on existential problems wherefrom the last traces of ethical conscience have been excluded, ‘scientifically’ reduced to pure verbal meanings, and banished by ‘hermeneutical analysis’. The last traces whatsoever of any ‘ancient path of purification’ have been erased to make room for new ‘post-structural shortcuts’.

To recapitulate the actual position of all such gropings indicative of the crisis in our Kali Yuga and symptomatic of the rapid decadence from the beginning of this century:

On the one hand the primitive ‘technique’ of ‘mystical’ sterilisation inherited from the preceding centuries (as the last remnants of the Sinhalese yogavacara have been dubbed by C. A. F.Rhys Davids) were dismissed in the concluding section of Evola’s “Doctrine” in his advice to ‘the reader who is attracted by true spirituality’ who should turn to more authentic traditional doctrines ‘to understand what a “spiritual science” really is: these doctrines will teach him the clarity of pure knowledge, divorced from all forms of visionary “clairvoyance”, joined to a spiritual sovereignty, and to the will to break not only the human bond, but the bond formed by any other “world”. Modern Man has not only to fight against materialism, but must also defend himself from the snares and allures of false supernaturalism”. [46]

On the other hand the Burmese ‘dry insight’ method of troubleshooting results in the strictest cutting short the practice for fear of unpractical and therefore unnecessary erratic penetrations in the states of jhana. The slow way to these states is called the way of tranquillity (samatna-yana) and requires (‘technically’) two ‘relays’. [47] leading from ‘access concentration’ to ‘full concentration’. But a suddha-vipassana-yanika, i.e. ‘one who has pure insight as his vehicle’, proceeds ‘without developing either of these concentrations’… ‘Access (or Neighbourhood) Concentration (upacara-samadhi) is that degree of mental concentration that approaches, but not yet attains, the Full Concentration (appana) of the First Absorption (jhana). [48] For the follower of pure ‘dry insight’ the access-concentration may remain a tolerably sufficient signal to turn away from the danger of ‘full concentration’ and absorption in jhana and samadhi. Consequently, the dread of jhana-factors which constitute the whole scheme of virtues synoptically presented in our table on the preceding page, results as a consequence of the still worse dread of ‘asceticism’ (comparable, for me, to Kant’s most meaningful ‘radical evil’).

Ultimately, in the most precarious situation at the fin de siecle of our Kali Yuga, when all ethical requisites of such ‘practical’ references have been precluded, all that remains for our serious consideration appears to be reduced to exclusively ‘scientific’ experimental psychiatric investigations. An unsurveyable jungle of treatises on such, mostly pseudo-scientific, investigations has mushroomed in this field of ‘Meditation as Metatherapy’, on ‘Psychotherapy and Liberation’, ‘Mysticism and Schizophrenia’, ‘Drugs and Mystical Experience’… [49] Since Evola’s prophetic warning nearly fifty years ago: ‘A thing then occurs, with reference to which the doctrine in question is singularly in agreement with what “psychoanalysis” — even with its deformations and exaggerations — has presented to our modern eyes in the guise of theories of the libido and of the “Oedipus” or “Electra complex”. [50]

William James, among the founders of experimental psychology, in his “Gifford Lectures” (1901-2) spoke of the strong impressions and influence that Swami Vivekananda (the first outstanding Indian missionary in America) made on him. At that time the Swami was still under the strong influence of Buddhism. James met him in New York in 1895 and read his book on Raja Yoga. [51] Unfortunately, James also became the first who started experimenting for scientific purposes with hallucinogen drugs. His younger contemporary, Henri Bergson, tried to explain it in defence of his friend James by the historical analogy of the irruption of Oriental mysteries in Greek religion with the cult of Dionysos:

“If mysticism is really what we have just said it is, it must furnish us with the means of approaching it, as it were experimentally… Indeed, we fail to see how philosophy could approach the problem in any other way.

As a foreign god from Thrace, Dionysos was by his violence a sharp contrast to the serenity of the gods upon Olympus. He was not originally the god of wine, but he easily became so, because the intoxication of the soul he produced was not unlike that of wine. We know how William James was treated for having described as mystical, or at least having regarded as such for the purposes of study, the condition induced by inhaling protoxide of nitrogen. People took this to be a profanation…” [52]

Carl Gustav Jung, in his extensive comparative studies of archetypal mythology, remained ambiguous and often inconsequential in his assessment of the comparative value and applicability of Eastern (Indian and Chinese) criteria for Western psychotherapeutic purposes, notwithstanding his early pre-War diagnosis “Asia ante portas”. [53]
Erich Fromm remained always more of a positive, consequential and assiduous student and direct collocutor with such Asian experts as D.T.Suzuki, [54] always ready to extend the scope of his universal culturological interest beyond the limits of a psychiatrist technician’s object considered more or less exclusively as a geographically conditioned givenness.

Prof. J.H.Schultz (Berlin) in his ‘clinically-practical’ presentation of ‘the autogenous training’ also describes references to Indian and Japanese motives appearing in his clinical praxis with symptoms of Asia ante portas. The fundamental denotation of his method as ‘autogenous training’ has the exceptional advantage of non-passivity of samma vayama, or the proper effort as an essential quality for the ‘high level’ of psychotherapy in its ‘closest relations to the rational wakefulness’, underscoring the importance of mindfulness for the ethical aim of ‘psychokatharsis’. [55]

Chapter XI, under the heading ‘The Yoga’ is the central chapter of the last part (C) on the ‘Procedures related’ to the method of Schultz. This comparative part begins in Ch.IX with detailed references to ‘Analogies in ethnology and psychology of religion”. Special attention is paid to books on religion by W.James. In the whole context of the psychology of religion, the most valuable, in my estimate, are the pages (213-4) on ‘Nirvana-therapy’ for psychosomatically incurable patients, ‘leading to religiously coloured experiences of diving into states of meditation’ (Versenkung, the term for dhyana adopted In German Buddhist literature).

(d) Reverting at the end to the contemporaneous aspect of the philosophy of religion, it may suffice to mention A. N. Whitehead’s book “Religion in the Making” (1926), where religion is defined as the ‘force of belief cleansing the inward parts’ of the human character. ‘For this reason the primary religious virtue is sincerity, a penetrating sincerity’ — the opposite of all Dionysian ecstasies and trances, invariably misleading the modern and post-modern revamping of thirst for religious short-cuts since W.James’ experiments with “Varieties of Religious Experience”. According to Whitehead’s definition, ‘religion is solitariness, and if you are never solitary, you are never religious’. It is ‘the direct negation of the theory that religion is primarily a social fact’. ‘Religion is the art and the theory of the internal life of man’, and, consequently, meditation is ‘what the individual does with his own solitariness’.

Let the reader judge for himself how far Evola in his fascist attempt ‘to ride the tiger’ has fallen short of understanding the Buddhist philosophy of conscience, and not merely of formal consciousness with its logical and ‘technical alternatives’, in order to avoid renouncing, giving up (pahaya) the way of purification {visuddhimagga) through jhana, and to escape the ‘extinction with remainder’ (anavasesa nibbana).


[1] Gianni Ferracuti “Julius Evola”, Rimini 1984, p. 8. [Natrag]

[*] Ed. See Eugenio Garin “Cronache di filosofia Italians, 1900-43” (Bari 1955) and Alastair Hamilton “The Appeal of Fascism. A Study of Intellectuals and Fascism, 1919-45” (London 1971, pp. 3-89). [Natrag]

[2] Wildon Cam “The Philosophy of Croce”. Quoted from an Indian standpoint by Dhirendra Mohan Darta in “The Chief Currents of Contemporary Philosophy”, University of Calcucta 1961, p. 87. [Natrag]

[**] Ed. The only refetence to his apparent interest in Buddhism would appear to be ‘Croce and Buddhism’ in S.N. Dasgupta Philosophical essays (Calcutta 1941. repr. Delhi 19B2). [Natrag]

[3] Cf, Datta, op. cit., p. 109. [Natrag]

[4] ‘Aryan-ness of the Doctrine of Awakening’ is the title of Ch.II, part I. — ‘Principles’ of Evola’s basic ‘Study on Buddhist Ascesis’ in “The Doctrine of Awakening”: quoted in the sequel to the translation by H.E. Musson, later Bhikkhu Nanavira (who died in Sri Lanka in 1965). The original — La Dottrina del Kisveglio — was published in Bari 1943; a new edition appeared in Milan 1973, a year before Evola’s death. [Natrag]

[5] See the obituary of Tucci by R, Uebb in BSR 1, No, 2, 1984, pp. 157-9. [Natrag]

[6] Ib., p. 158 f. [Natrag]

[7]. Ferracuti, op. cit., p. 9, n.13. [Natrag]

[***] Ed. All four volumes (in seven parts) have been translated into English and, under the editorship of Lokesh Chandra, published by Biblia Impex, New Delhi 1988. [Natrag]

[8]. References are from my book review in Buddhist Quarterly, Vol.5, No. 3, London 1973: ‘Buddhism and Christianity in Italy: a new comparative analysis based on the Dhammapadam.” [Natrag]

[9]. Cf. my paper ‘The Ethos of Knowledge in Kantian and in Buddhist Philosophy’ in Kant Studien, No.l, 1986. [Natrag]

[10] “La Dottrina del Risveglio” (quoted In the sequel as Dottrina), pp. 14-15. [Natrag]

[11] Ibid., p. 6. [Natrag]

[12] See “Extinction without Remainder” by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Bodhi Leaves B 33. [Natrag]

[13] “The Will to Power” II, ‘Criticism of Religion’, 4. [Natrag]

[14] See Bhikkhu Nanajivako, “Studies in Comparative Philosophy I”, ‘The Philosophy of Disgust: The Buddha and Nietzsche’, Colombo 1983, p. 132 ff. [Natrag]

[15] Dottrina, pp. 183-4. [Natrag]

[16] Ibid., p. 99. [Natrag]

[17] T.R.V, Murti, “The Central Philosophy of Buddhism”, 2nd ed., London I960, p. 48. [Natrag]

[18] See my paper ‘Hegel and Indian Philosophy’ in “Indian Philosophical Quarterly”, No. 3, 1976. pp. 307-10. [Natrag]

[19] Dottrina, p. 122. [Natrag]

[20] Ibid., pp. 295-6. [Natrag]

[21] Ibid., p. 278. [Natrag]

[22] Ibid., p. 103. Underlinings are mine. [Natrag]

[23] ibid., pp. 254-5. [Natrag]

[24] Ibid., p. 227. [Natrag]

[25] Ibid,, p. 189. [Natrag]

[26] Ibid., p. 298. [Natrag]

[27] Ibid., p. 241. [Natrag]

[28] Cf. Paramita V, No. 17-19, Rome 1986. [Natrag]

[29] Dottrina, pp. 148 and 249. Underlinings are mine. [Natrag]

[30] Op. cit., p. 4. [Natrag]

[31] Ibid., p. 80. [Natrag]

[32] Ibid., pp. 157-8. [Natrag]

[33] Nyanaponika Thera in his Translator’s Foreword to “The Progress of Insight” by Mahasi Sayadaw, Kandy 1965. [Natrag]

[34] Cf, Nyanatiloka’s “Buddhist Dictionary”, under samadhi. [Natrag]

[35] Cf , my lecture ‘The Place of Ahimsa in Buddhism’, published in “New World Buddhism Annual” (1986), pp 54-60. [Natrag]

[36] Cf, my review of Kheminda Thera “The Way of Buddhist Meditation” (Colombo 1982) in Pali Buddhist Review 5,3 (1980), p. 94 ff. [Natrag]

[37] Translated hy Bhikkhu Nanamoli, 4th ed, Kandy 1986. [Natrag]

[38] Op.cit., p. 38 ff. [Natrag]

[39] Viz. Part 1, Ch.IV, S 90. p. US. [Natrag]

[40] Ib., S 84-148, pp. 144-65. [Natrag]

[41] Doctrine, p. 175.[Natrag]

[42] Cf. my study, ‘The Indian Origin of Pyrrho’s Philosophy of Epoche’, “Indian Philosophical Quarterly” HI, 4 (Poona 1985), p. 329 ff. [Natrag]

[43] “The Manual of a Mystic”, p. 24. [Natrag]

[44] Cf . my article, ‘An Atlas of Abhidhamma Diagrams’, Buddhist Studies Review 1, 2 (1983-4), p. 113. [Natrag]

[45] Schopenhauer’s interpretation of ‘these moments, when, delivered from the fierce pressure of the will, we emerge, as it were, from the heavy atmosphere of the earth’ which ‘are che most blissful that we experience. From this we can infer how blessed must be the life of a man whose will is silenced not for a few moments, as in the enjoyment of the beautiful, but for ever, indeed completely extinguished, except for the last glimmering spark chat maintains the body and is extinguished with it…’ “The world as will and representation I”, 390, S 68. (See my “Studies in Comparative Philosophy I”, Colombo 1983, p. 66. J. [Natrag]

[46] Doctrine, p. 299. [Natrag]

[47] Cf. Kheminda Thera “The Way of Buddhist Meditation” (pp. 20-1) on M 24, Rathavinita Sutta. [Natrag]

[48] Mahasi Sayadaw “The Progress of Insight” (Kandy 1965), p. 2 (Translator’s Foreword) and p. 28, n. 10. [Natrag]

[49] References taken at random from books edited by John White, “The Highest State of Consciousness: What is Meditation?” (New York 1972, 1974). [Natrag]

[50] “Doctrine”, p. 80. [Natrag]

[51] “Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion” (New York 1936), p. 503. [Natrag]

[52] H. Bergson “Two Sources of Morality and Religion”, tr. R.Ashley Audra and C. Brereton (New York 1946). pp. 229, 207. [Natrag]

[53] Wilhelm and C.G.Jung “Das Geheimnis der Goldenen Blute” (Zurich 1946), p. XIV. For a general survey of Jung’s standpoints see his revised edition of the Terry Lectures in French translation, “Psychologie et religion”, Paris 1958. [Natrag]

[54] D.T.Suzuki, E.Fromm and Richard DeMartino “Zen Bhuddhism and Psychoanalysis”, New York and London 1960. [Natrag]

[55] “Das autogene Training”, 9th ed., Stuttgart 1956. [Natrag]