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January 22, 2022


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Watts says here: - “We're not living in the now where reality lives”. And, “Be completely in the here and now. Come to your senses”. And, “Understand non-verbal reality. Very easy. Be fully aware without thinking”.

So, the symbol has taken over from reality. The word, the image or symbol obscures what is (or what could be) being perceived now. Makes sense but not too sure about: - “Very easy. Be fully aware without thinking”.

Well, perhaps not that easy! Perhaps a thought will always arise and the ‘trick’ is to be aware of it and not unconsciously follow it hence allowing a glimpse of ‘what is’.

An example of thought, the concept obscuring reality was when Britain changed over from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar skipping 11 days. People believed that their lives would be shortened by 11 days and riots ensued.

If he were alive today, would Alan Watts have voted for Trump over Biden?

Here's what Watt's said about progressive ideology:

"This then, is the last seminar in the series of seminars on the future. Devoted to the subject of the future of politics. All along, I’ve been emphasizing a particular point. Which is this: that the very idea of the future, has something spurious in it. That to live for the future is an indefinite postponement moment of life. And that the great political systems of the Western world, whether they be capitalist or communist, are based on the notion, that what we live for is the future and this is a very funny thing especially when you think about Marxism because the Marxists have always said that religion is the opium of the people because it’s based on the idea of pie in the sky when you die. But in fact, the politics of Marxism are just as much pie in the sky, it’s always a five-year plan for something to turn up that will be better than what we have now later on."

Five year plan or 5 trillion dollar plan -- same thing.
Using force to mandate federal control of elections -- same thing.
Using force to mandate that all Americans must take certain drugs -- same thing.
Saying any opposition to the party line is the "end of democracy" -- same thing, same doublespeak right out of 1984.

"Here's what Watt's said about progressive ideology"

And did Watts have anything to say about dishonest lying ignorant psychopathic narcissistic repulsive morally bankrupt mentally unsound hypocrites, and out and out morons that enable such to their own detriment?

Seriously, this man, this ape, he'd single-handedly made the US the laughingstock of the world. Everyone was pointing fingers at the richest and most successful nation in the world, because of the assclown putting up a clown show everyday, and even more so at the brain-dead fools that enabled him.

The horror of it was not that there should be such a creature as he. The horror of it is that some people, many people, would still raise this stinking piece of garbage onto their shoulders and cheer him on, even as he'd keep defecating on them from atop their shoulders.

Alan Watts probably said nothing about something like this, because even though he was, apparently, a drunken sex addict, nevertheless the possibility of such a nightmare turning into reality must never ever have occurred to him.

*raises glass of bleach for a toast*

Another news story about the Guru who wants to end democracy. Yes, it's Gurinder Singh.

Amritsar, January 16

Radha Soami sect Beas, which has a sizeable number of followers in Punjab and some other parts of the country, has asked them to vote as they see fit in the assembly elections in five states.

("As they see fit"? Clever of Gurinder to send out a missive saying he was giving all his followers free choice in the coming election. Why else would he do that unless he was up to something?)

Polls are being held in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur in seven phases between February 10 and March 7. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.

(Confidential sources tell me that Gurinder has installed his loyal satsangis at each voting center -- and they will only be counting the votes for the Guru's favorite candidate, Don Guido Sarducci Singh. Expect voting ballots for Kamala Singh to be dumped in the Beas river.)

According to sources, the circular issued from the Beas headquarters headed by Gurinder Singh Dhillon to all Radha Soami Satsang centres across the nation says the sect has “respect for all political parties as all are equal for us.”

(This news story neglects to mention that all RS satsangi centers will be receiving gallons of Don Guido Singh's Ghee. Wink wink, who ya gonna vote for?)

“To cast vote is the personal right of each individual. So, here we all should exercise our voting right after the application of mind and keeping in view the wellbeing of the entire society," said the circular.

(Sounds like something Huey Long would say. I really like how Gurinder baldly threatens everyone to "vote if they value their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their loved ones." Yes, freely translated that quote but I've seen others do it so apparently it's OK).

In the past too, the sect has refrained from asking its followers to exercise their vote in favour of a particular party.

(This can't be true. This blog has posted literally dozens of posts that claim Gurinder is directing the voting of the entire RSSB Indian sangat. Therefore it must be true that the Guru is ramrodding block voting just like Joseph Smith did).

Meanwhile, sources said Dhillon is going abroad in a couple of days and is expected to return after a few weeks.

(Going where, to see Putin? Donald Trump? Since the destination is being withheld from the public, then yes, safe to assume).

Dera Radha Soami, also known as Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, is situated in Beas town -- nearly 45 kilometres from Amritsar city. It has a number of followers in Punjab, Haryana and many other states and is usually visited by political leaders before elections.

(See! This article plainly states that Gurinder is visited by politicians! Therefore skullduggery is afoot and Gurinder is telliing everyone who to vote for via some secret channels yet to be discovered. On the other hand, the Pope is another religious leader who is constantly meeting with politicians of all kinds, and there's no evidence that Popes tell people who to vote for.)

Punjab goes to polls in a single phase of voting on February 14.

(Let me be the first to congratulate Guido Singh.)


"The reason is that you don't really exist. That is, as an ego, a soul, a separate will. When you realize this, you're liberated"

No, I don't think so. When you realize you are not who you thought you were, you have an opportunity. The next step towards liberation is only the next step on the journey.

When you are free of sexual addiction, drug addiction, fame addiction and all the other things that feed ego, then you may be in a position to view what freedom may look like.

But steeped in those addictions it is difficult to say what freedom is. You are only in a position to describe what being enslaved is like. You can only describe the walls of your prison. Trying to describe the free world outside those walls may resonate with some of the other prisoners. But it is a very distant and abstract view.

Allan Watts may appeal to drug addicts, alcoholics, sex addicts and fame addicts, but he would have done them greater good acknowldging his own struggles with these things.

A man who fails, but struggles, openly acknowldging his struggle, and fights directly as best he can, that is a source of real inspiration.

But a man who escapes his duty in a world of clever sounding concepts is no roll model.

Except to provide what appeals to some functioning alcoholics looking for an enabler : A clever but paper thin identify with which to paper over the windows of harsh sunlight, a means of enabling the denial.

We can only look at Watts deconstruction of identity as wishful thinking and in fact the creation of an identity of freedom that in fact enabled addiction.

Actually this raises an interesting philosophical question.

Clearly Alan Watts's message holds many things that are of great worth; even as there are warts aplenty there as well. Brian isn't trying to paper over those warts: he is fully aware of them, and clearly acknowledges them, and chooses to focus on the positive elements of what Alan Watts has to convey to us. And that is fair enough, as far as I'm concerned.

But let's leave that part of it aside. I brought the preceding up only to air it, and to overtly keep it aside for now. The philosophical question I'm referring to now, arises when we look at Alan Watts' positive message, and then find his personal life at odds with that message. (Tendzin, I'm taking at face value, for now, and without any independent checking up on my part, what you've said about the man's personal life and personal issues.)

Basically, it is a question of, as Dugneness I think put it, a question of "Do what I say, not what I do." How reasonable is that approach? That is the question I'd like to have people's views on.

Clearly there are two sides to this. On one hand, clearly it is an ad hominem fallacy to reject the message because of flaws specific to the messenger. That the anti-smoking crusader is himself a chain smoker does not invalidate his message, for instance. On the other hand, absolutely, hypocrisy of that kind does take away from that (anti-smoking) message.

The question I find interesting, and that I've not arrived (yet) at any answer to, is whether our discomfort with this ...this contrast, is merely an error in thinking that we need to correct, by recognizing this ad hominem fallacy for what it is, and focusing on and evaluating the message on its own terms, rather than getting distracted with the messenger; or whether we are right and correct to see in the messenger's shortcomings a flaw in the message itself.

Clearly there's much to be said on both sides of the question; but I'm not able, for myself, to arrive at even a provisional and tentative Yes-or-No answer to this. Finding myself balanced exactly in the center of the fence, I'm curious what you guys have to say about this.

Just to clarify, as far as the above, I'm not speaking specifically of Alan Watts here, but only using that example to try to see my way to what might be the best way to deal with something like this. Generally speaking, I mean, when the message contrasts glaringly with what we see in the messenger --- as, of course, happens often enough in real life.

Hi AR:
I'm with you on this. Alan Watts is clearly sincere and intelligent, and sensitive to the subtleties of Zen writings, as well as his interpretation of them.

Brian Ji does a nice job of clarifying the intellectual brilliance of this man.

But his writings are abstract, and personally, I find Brian Ji's writings much more direct, accessible, even if his skills as a wordsmith are not always at the level of genius of Watts. We love the poetry of Watts, but a poet who, tragically, sees something beautiful and insightful, but who hasn't travelled there himself...or if he has, only in glimpses, still imprisoned by his own addictions right up to the end of his life.

Watts points the way to some level of truth but at a distance. I would say Brian Ji, and the Saints, speak to their own experience.

As a lifelong student, I would say that is infinitely more useful.

Hey, Spence.

Actually I don't think any of those things, you know. First, I don't know if Alan Watts is sincere and intelligent, nor whether he correctly channels Zen philosophy; in fact, I've myself found some specifics within his message not very agreeable, and I've highlighted such in my past comments; but I do think some of what he says makes sense, and I trust Brian when he says Alan Watts's message corresponds with Zen teachings, without independently harboring any opinion on this, since I don't enough about either Alan Watts or Zen. Second, no, I don't see that Alan Watts writes any better than Brian --- although again, I haven't read Alan Watts directly, and so cannot really weigh in on that one way or the other.

But without a doubt some of what he's said, Alan Watts I mean, and as quoted by Brian, seems entirely sensible, and wise even. On the other hand, clearly the man (Watts, that is) did not live up to his own teachings, as evidenced by his entirely messed up personal life --- that is, assuming Tendzin is not mistaken in how he describes it.

And I was wondering, in general terms, what the correct attitude ought to be when one comes across a message that seems wise, but delivered by a messenger who is less than perfect, and who clearly does not live up to his own message. (Like I said, on the one hand, clearly such a view would amount to an ad hominem fallacy. On the other hand, hey, imagine a drunk staggering along preaching a message of sobriety; you'd be within your rights to kick him on his backside, figuratively that is, as opposed to putting him on a pedestal and drinking in his wisdom.)

Finding myself undecided about the correct response to this sort of thing --- and one does come across this sort of thing often enough IRL --- I was wondering what you, and the rest of the gang here, might make of it, what your views might be.

Hi AR:
You asked
"And I was wondering, in general terms, what the correct attitude ought to be when one comes across a message that seems wise, but delivered by a messenger who is less than perfect, and who clearly does not live up to his own message. "

Here are four things I have learned from Ambrose Bierce, that speak to this conundrum:

"A Moral Principle met a Material Interest on a bridge wide enough for but one.
"Down, you base thing!" thundered the Moral Principle, "and let me pass over you!"
The Material Interest merely looked in the other's eyes without saying anything.
"Ah," said the Moral Principle, hesitatingly, "let us draw lots to see which shall retire till the other has crossed."
The Material Interest maintained an unbroken silence and an unwavering stare.
"In order to avoid a conflict," the Moral Principle resumed, somewhat uneasily, "I shall myself lie down and let you walk over me."
Then the Material Interest found a tongue, and by a strange coincidence it was its own tongue. "I don't think you are very good walking," it said. "I am a little particular about what I have underfoot. Suppose you get off into the water."
It occurred that way."

2. three principles by Bierce:
a. The bee robs the flower it feeds.
b. The gods grant the wishes of those they would destroy.
c. Drugs, OPIATE, n. An unlocked door in the prison of Identity. It leads into the jail yard.

And finally:

And one adapted from Bierce for our current times:

Here Trump's political ashes now have lain
Whose loss is our eternal gain,
For while he exercised all his powers
Whatever he gained, the loss was ours.

Appreciative Reader and Spence, I'm planning to write a blog post tonight about what Alan Watts said about morality, since you two have what appears to be an erroneous conception that Watts' personal life contradicted his philosophy of life.

That isn't true. At least, I see no evidence that it is. So please explain in a comment why you think that Watts being married three times, having affairs, using drugs, and becoming an alcoholic is at odds with the philosophy he espoused.

I've read most or all of Watts' books, some several times. I've just finished listening to all of the audio recordings in the Tao of Philosophy section of the talks on the Waking Up app. I'm not aware of the slightest mention that Watts believed in rigid moral commandments such as the Bible and other religious texts contain.

In fact, the opposite is true. He urged people to trust themselves, and to not be taken in by the illusion that there's a Commander, a Boss, a God, who decrees what is right and good to do, or who controls people's actions. I've also seen no evidence that Watts put himself forth as a guru to be emulated. Again, the opposite is true. He jokes and plays around, not taking himself seriously, saying that he just gives talks for the money and because he enjoys it.

You two have piled onto Watts for reasons I can't understand. It's irritating when people try to kill the messenger because they don't like the message. It's fine to disagree with a philosopher's point of view, but I see no value in saying that Watts' philosophy is garbage because he had some human problems.

Are you aware of anyone who doesn't have problems? Could your own personal lives withstand a close look to see if you've overcome human weaknesses, or what appear to be human weaknesses? In part this is a sensitive issue for me because my mother was an alcoholic, along with being a strong independent woman who was an amazing thinker and persuasive talker, even though I came to disagree with her conservative political views.

The notion that someone who becomes an alcoholic or heavy drinker is amoral, a bad person, offends me. It's the worst kind of holier-than-thou sanctimoniousness to view a person as a failed human being because they drank too much, had affairs, or otherwise didn't live up to traditional standards. My family was full of flawed successful people who were interesting in part because of their flaws, not in spite of them.

It's one thing to criticize a religious leader like the RSSB guru who says one thing and does another thing. But unless you can provide evidence to the contrary, my view is that Alan Watts lived the life he espoused in his talks.

Alan Watts’s writings on ‘The Limits of Thought’ emphasizes an aspect of how thinking can be a ‘double edged sword’ in that it has brought us huge benefits and conversely huge sorrows and conflict – both collectively and individually.

On the subjects of separation and enlightenment Watts lays out basically the position of both Zen and Taoism revealing the philosophy of thought being a representation of something and not the object it signifies. This I feel is significant to our understanding of who/what we are.

There is a vast body of thinking that believes enlightenment is something wondrous to achieve and at the same time the preserve of a few ‘special’ people. Dogen said that the body is already enlightened but unseen due to the activity of the mind – of thinking. Steven Batchelor holds that enlightenment (or nirvana) is there when thoughts, feelings, emotions and beliefs (mind actions) result in conditioned reactivity (suffering) and that nirvana is freedom from such reactivity.

Included in the foregoing is the deep realisation that there is no self, no centre that is ‘me’. This realisation reveals the disconnectedness we feel from nature, from life - and perhaps ourselves. The Buddhist term ‘dukkha’ emphasizes the suffering that arises from living a life where mental constructs cause conflicts and acute feelings of separation. After all, from early childhood when a ‘self’ structure becomes strongly formed, lives are spent trying to regain the infant state when there was no ‘me’ concept separating us from life, from reality. Enter the seeker!

Watts – and quite a few others – in their own particular ways, attempt to point these things out.

Hey, Brian.

First off, I don’t think I, for one, am “piling on to Alan Watts”, at all, at least not in this thread. What I was trying to discuss, and to resolve for myself, was the question, in general, of what the right attitude might be when one comes across a wise message, but delivered by someone who doesn’t quite live up to it. We do see this kind of thing often enough IRL.

As far as my thoughts on Watts’s message, I’m afraid I haven’t read him myself, and my impressions about his philosophy derive entirely from your posts and comments here, and my impressions about his personal life from Tendzin’s comments.

As far as Watts’s philosophy, or what I’ve seen and read of it here, well, some things he’s said I found less than compelling, and I’ve commented on those already in other threads, as you know. But I found your clarification, that you’d presented earlier on, entirely reasonable: that you weren’t endorsing everything the man says, that you agree that some of what he says sounds off, but that his broad message is something you agree with and that is what you wanted to share here. Like I said, I found that entirely fair; and what is more, and like I said in a comment, seen in that light, absolutely, I appreciate this opportunity to learn about the man’s thoughts and ideas and philosophy, especially given that I haven’t, so far, read him directly myself.


Why do I think Alan Watts doesn’t live up to what he preaches? Fair question, and I had to introspect, a bit, to formulate clearly to myself why I think that --- especially given that I know so little, myself, of what he’s actually said and written.

Well, like I’d said earlier on --- and your response to me then seemed to imply that you agreed with me, as far as that specific issue --- some of what he “teaches” is definitely off kilter. For instance, where he says, very rightly, that killing others to further some abstract ideology is bad; but where he then, seemingly, delivers a very weird message that killing others to further direct organic simple selfish purposes was somehow better. (But sure, I take your point about your qualification about that particular issue, like I’d said at that time.)

Well, given that Alan Watts himself seems to have led a less than perfect life --- and wait on, I’ll come right after this to why I’m taking exception to that, and it’s not basis some rigid adherence to some random commandments or anything like that! --- and also given that his message, while broadly wise, does include some very unsightly warts, I’d say it has to be one of two options: Either his message itself is flawed, or else he’s failed to live up to it. It has to be the one or the other.

I assumed his message, which he apparently derives not from his imagination but from established Zen and Daoist philosophy, would be broadly sound; so that his personal failings are due not so much to a flawed philosophy, as to an inability to live up to such.

So that would be the answer to why, despite knowing near to nothing about Alan Watts’s actual writings and lectures, I’d suggested that, given how his personal life had turned out, he hadn’t been able to live up to the philosophy he taught. I agree, that conclusion I’d drawn doesn’t necessarily follow; but if not that, then what follows is the conclusion that the flaw, the failing, lay with the philosophy itself, that he taught and, presumably, himself followed.


Finally, the part about why I take issue with his alcoholism, his random sleeping around, et cetera --- assuming, that is, and like I’ve qualified already before this, that Tendzin is correct in reporting what he did about the man's life --- I’d like to discuss that in a separate comment, if I may. Both to separate that part out from this comment, that’s ended up getting very long, and also because the blog software tends to eat up overly long comments.

Okay, about Alan Watts’s alcoholism, and sexual promiscuity, et cetera.

First off, apologies for offending your sensitivity about the issue, given the thing about your mother! I had no idea. And in any case, that’s neither my business, nor anyone else’s, and nor is it something “bad”! I hadn’t, for a minute, meant to imply that people need to perfect, or that someone who’s an alcoholic is a bad person. That would be a reprehensible POV, the kind of POV that religion-addled commandment-worshipping crazies tend to come up with, and most emphatically not something I myself would ever dream of advocating.

Why it does matter, though, where Alan Watts is concerned, is because that is exactly what is his ‘thing’ : a philosophy of life, right and wrong, how to conduct oneself, all of that. (Which, incidentally, is exactly why I’d taken exception to his message that organic selfish simple crimes were somehow better than those committed for more convoluted ideological reasons.)

But first, one clarification. His three marriages are his business, and no one else’s. That cannot be seen as a failing or flaw, not by any stretch of imagination. But his alleged and protracted alcohol addiction, that apparently led to his (relatively) early death, as well as his alleged sexual promiscuity and regular philandering, apparently without regard of his wife at the time --- and again, I base this, like I’ve spelt out already, on Tendzin’s comments, without having independently checked any of that out --- those speak to a lack of inner peace, a lack of balance, and that is a whole separate matter.

Why is that a separate matter? In general failings like those wouldn’t concern anyone other than him and his own family and friends and associates, and most certainly wouldn’t mark someone out as “bad”, in general, or any such judgmental nonsense. However, the fact of the matter is that Alan Watts’s message is about things like one’s (general) philosophy of life, morality, right and wrong, all of that. Not in a thou-shalt-not-this-and-that, but still. Which is why it matters, in this case.

It’s like this. If I’ve designed a faulty car, that ends up crashing due to mechanical and design flaws, then that most certainly does not speak to my worth as a human being, and most certainly does not make me a “bad” person! But if you’re going to be evaluating me as a design engineer, specifically in the context of that particular and focused field of work --- as you no doubt would, if I went around "teaching" people, via lectures and books, how to build cars! --- well then clearly either my theory and/or my design were flawed, or else what was flawed was my execution of an otherwise sound theory and design.

Likewise, alcoholism, as well as rampant sexual promiscuity, these are not necessarily a measure of someone’s worth, generally speaking, absolutely not! But when it comes to someone who’s basically “teaching” others about the philosophy of life and living, well then, clearly something is amiss, right? Either the philosophy is wanting, or else the implementation in his life of that philosophy was wanting, it has to be the one or the other, right? Because while it would be foolish to look on alcoholism, or even sexual promiscuity, as “bad”, generally speaking; but surely if a philosophy of life were actually designed to lead to things like compulsive addiction and compulsive sexual promiscuity, then clearly that philosophy is off kilter somewhere? And it’s either that, or else it means that he, Alan Watts I mean, wasn’t able to live up to his philosophy in his personal life.

So well, that’s where I was coming from. And that thought is what, in turn, led me to think about, and comment on, what might be the right attitude, generally speaking, in regards to a message that is itself wise but that is delivered by someone who hasn’t been able to live up to it. (Like I said, there’s this other option, that I hadn’t considered --- or at least, not discussed in that comment of mine. Which is that the philosophy of life that he taught itself is flawed in some fundamental manner --- either in terms of Daoist and Zen-ic principles themselves being flawed, or else in terms of Alan Watts’s understanding and interpretation of such being flawed.)

Hi Brian Ji
You ask
"So please explain in a comment why you think that Watts being married three times, having affairs, using drugs, and becoming an alcoholic is at odds with the philosophy he espoused."

To have no ego you can't be addicted to inflating ego.

To be liberated you can't be enslaved by addiction.

To speak of being yourself freely, you can't down a quart of Vodka daily to get yourself to the podium.

You can't speak (with any credibility) about peace, health, balance, and leaving behind old concepts of self when you yourself are trapped by them.

But to speak such beautiful words may inspire others to reach for the stars you never did.

Even while such speech becomes a form of denial, a weakness, a game in avoiding the unpleasant and harmful parts of one's own character that are hurtful to oneself and others. The ugly truths.

We all have them. Avoiding them doesn't make them disappear.

Of course anyone can say anything.

You could claim an invisible dragon lives in your garden with the other fairies.

But, practically speaking, it ain't so.

Do your best Brian Ji on your next Alan Watts iconic.

Wear it out in this life.

AR and Brian Ji
Let me reiterate three principles by Ambrose Bierce mentioned above because they put the entire and sad but beatiful person of Mr. Watts, as a fatally flawed but sincere teacher, into perspective, whom yes we can find inspiration in his words, but whom we can also learn something important from in how he lived, and how enormous fame late in life during the sixties destroyed him.

a. The bee robs the flower it feeds.
b. The gods grant the wishes of those they would destroy.
c. Drugs, OPIATE, n. An unlocked door in the prison of Identity. It leads into the jail yard.

Brian Ji
If your house is on fire it hardly matters that you paint lovely landscapes.

What's wrong with gurus who are free with intoxicants or sex? Are those who point out these life choices in gurus just being judgmental?

Maybe these gurus are just mirroring our own life choices. And haven't you heard of Crazy Wisdom? You know, the Zen Masters or Avadhuts who spurned society's rules of normal behavior, showing us all how free they were from the constraints of ego (or some such rigamarole).

I sorta useta buy that stuff, but I haven't in a long while. Why? Because none of the gurus who preached free love and boozing ever made it work for themselves or their followers.

Trungpa famously drank himself to death at 47. I knew one of his students who confided to me that many of his followers likewise became alcoholic from trying to copy the guru's ways.

Maezumi Roshi did the drinking and sex with students thing. He ended up deeply regretting it, feeling he's betrayed the dharma. He couldn't let go of the drinking and drowned in a bathtub.

Da Free John famously threw huge parties of drinking, drugs, and sex. Even wife swapping. I attended one event where his students who'd taken part in the "spiritual" bacchanalia testified of the long-standing emotional that they regretted it very much.

I could name other gurus, but you get the point.

As much as I tried to understand the alleged spiritual value of the crazy wisdom teaching method, it rang false to me.

And so back to Alan Watts. What he did is to take Eastern religion and strip it of its right living foundation. In doing that, he was misrepresenting Eastern religion and giving his audience a false impression of what the wisdom of the East was all about.

On that note, there are now a number of woke commentators who are very upset with Western devotees of Eastern religion. They accuse many Westerners who got into Eastern religion of cultural appropriation, especially if they taught according to their own whimsical Western modification. These cultural critics feel that we Westerners engaged in an anglo-normative power grab of Eastern religion, etc.

I think their charges are largely nonsense, but with Watts, these cultural critics perhaps have a point. Here was a guy with no formal training or authorization in Eastern religion saying he was an authority of it, making money off it, changing it to suit his own designs, and living like a total hedonist.

Tendzin, you're wrong when you say that Watts wasn't an authority in Eastern religion. Here's a biography from AlanWatts.org
Alan Wilson Watts was born on January 6, 1915 in the countryside near London, England. From a young age Alan was fascinated by Asian art, literature, and philosophy (his mother’s students were children of missionaries to Asia). His parents recognized his bright and inquiring nature, and encouraged Alan to write. His father, a businessman, would bring Alan to the Buddhist Lodge in London, where as a teenager, Alan became editor for the Lodge’s journal, The Middle Way. In 1932, he produced his first booklet, An Outline of Zen Buddhism, a summary based on the Zen writings of D. T. Suzuki. In 1938, Alan moved to the United States to study Zen in New York, where he soon began lecturing in bookstores and cafes.

In 1940, Alan published The Meaning of Happiness, a book based on his talks. Ironically, the book was issued on the eve of the second World War. After a brief time in New York, Alan moved to Chicago and enrolled at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, deepening his interest in mystical theology. Alan was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1944, but by the spring of 1950, Alan’s time as a priest had run its course, and he left the Church and Chicago for upstate New York. There he settled into a small farmhouse outside Millbrook and began writing The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety.
In early 1951 Alan relocated to San Francisco, where, at Dr. Frederic Spiegelberg’s invitation, he began teaching Buddhism at the American Academy of Asian Studies (which later became the California Institute of Integral Studies). Drawing quite a crowd, his classes at the Academy soon blossomed into evening lectures open to the public and spilled over to local coffee houses frequented by Beat poets and writers.
Alan’s career took to the airwaves in 1953, when he accepted a Saturday evening slot on Berkeley’s KPFA radio station. That year he began a broadcast series titled “The Great Books of Asia” followed in 1956 by “Way Beyond the West” — which proved to be quite popular with Bay Area audiences. Re-broadcast on Sunday mornings, the show later aired on KPFK in Los Angeles as well, beginning the longest-running public radio series — nearly 60 years at this writing.

By the mid-fifties a “Zen Boom” was underway as Beat intellectuals in San Francisco and New York began celebrating and assimilating the esoteric qualities of Eastern religion into an emerging worldview that was later dubbed “the counterculture” of the 1960’s. Following the 1966 publication of The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, which sold very well, requests for appearances poured in. Alan lectured at colleges throughout the U.S. and conducted seminars at fledging “growth centers” across the country, such as the world-renowned Esalen Institute of Big Sur, California. Broadcasts of his talks continued at KPFA and KPFK, and spread east to WBAI in New York and WBUR in Boston. The weekly shows attracted a wide audience and Alan became an important figure in the counterculture movement.
As the movement gathered steam, the San Francisco Bay Area became a hotbed for radical politics, and a focal point of interest in Far Eastern ideas of enlightenment and liberation. The growing movement united civil rights activists, antiwar protesters, and members of the Free Speech movement, drawing thousands of young people to the Bay Area in 1967. After his stirring performance at a “Zenefit” for the San Francisco Zen Center, and a celebrated article on “Changes” in the Oracle alternative newspaper, Alan soon became recognized as a spiritual figurehead of the revolutionary movement. (Recorded at the Avalon Ballroom on April 6, 1967, Alan’s Zenefit lecture is titled Zen Bones.)

By the late-sixties Alan was living on a ferryboat in Sausalito in a waterfront community of bohemians, artists, and other cultural renegades. Alan’s ferryboat soon became such a popular destination that to maintain his focus on writing, he moved into a cabin on the nearby slopes of Mount Tamalpais. There he became part of the Druid Heights artist community in the late sixties. Continuing to travel on lecture tours into the early seventies, Alan was increasingly drawn to life on the mountain, where he wrote his mountain journals (later published as Cloud Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown), penned his monograph The Art of Contemplation, worked on his autobiography In My Own Way, and wrote his final book, Tao: The Watercourse Way. However, soon after returning from a whirlwind lecture tour that took him through the U.S., Canada, and European, Alan passed away in his sleep on November 16, 1973, on the mountain he loved.

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