FAMOUS AS: Philosopher, Writer & Speaker
BORN ON: 06 January 1915
BORN IN: Chislehurst, Kent, England
DIED ON: 16 November 1973
NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
WORKS & ACHIEVEMENTS: Popular philosopher known for his Eastern philosophy and Zen teachings, Wrote famous books like The Way of Zen (1957), Psychotherapy East and West (1961), The New Alchemy (1958) and The Joyous Cosmology (1962).
Alan Watts or Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, writer, and speaker who popularized and interpreted Eastern Philosophy for the Western audience. He attended the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and received his master's degree in theology. He became very popular in San Francisco Bay Area as a volunteer programmer at KPFA, a Pacifica Radio station in Berkeley. Having written more than 25 books on important topics related to Eastern and Western religion, his famous books include The Way of Zen (1957), Psychotherapy East and West (1961), The New Alchemy (1958) and The Joyous Cosmology (1962). He also studied Chinese and was known for his Zen Buddhism, his reading and discussions delved into Vedanta. He was also interested in cybernetics, semantics, process philosophy, natural history, and the anthropology of sexuality. Alan Watts Childhood & Early Life
Alan Watts was born in a middle class family in the village of Chislehurst, Kent, England on January 6, 1915. His father worked for the London office of Michelin Tyre Company, whereas his mother was a housewife. Alan grew up in pastoral surroundings. Her mother’s religious family had a significant impact in shaping his religious side. From his childhood Alan was attracted towards the storybook fables and romantic tales of the mysterious Far East. Alan was believed to be headstrong, imaginative and talkative since his childhood days. From his early years, he was sent to boarding schools to receive academic and religious training. During his teen years, he got an opportunity to travel France when Francis Croshaw, a wealthy Epicurean took Alan with him. Croshaw’s Buddhist beliefs influenced the mind of Alan. He faced a situation where he had to choose between Anglican Christianity and the Buddhism. Watts chose Buddhism and became the member of London Buddhist Lodge. This lodge was established by Theosophists and was operating under barrister Christmas Humphreys. In 1931, at the young age of sixteen, Watts became the secretary of the organization. During these years, he learned several styles of meditation. He attended the King’s School which was situated near to Canterbury Cathedral. After completing his graduation from the secondary school, he started working in a painting house and later worked in a bank. In his free time, he was involved with the activities of Buddhist Lodge. Watts widely studied philosophy, history, psychology, psychiatry and Eastern wisdom. His involvement with the Buddhist Lodge gave him many opportunities for personal growth. He came in contact with eminent spiritual authors like, Nicholas Roerich, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan and theosophists like Alice Bailey.
At the age of 21, Watts attended the World Congress of Faiths at the University of London in 1936. It was in this congress, where he heard D.T. Suzuki, an esteemed scholar of Zen Buddhism and later met him. He also studied the fundamental concepts and terminology of the main philosophies of India and East Asia. The same year in 1936, Watts published his first book, “The Spirit of Zen” which was mostly influenced by the writings of Suzuki. After two years in 1938, he and his wife, Eleanor Everett left England and moved to America. In New York, Watts left Zen training as the method of the teacher didn’t please him. To find a professional outlet for his philosophical dispositions, he entered Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, in Evanston, Illinois. In this Anglican school, he studied Christian scriptures, theology, and Church history. Watts wanted...