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Periodical: The Buddhist Ray

Summary: From Pat Deveney's database:

Buddhist Ray, The.
Devoted to Buddhism in General, and to the Buddhism in Swedenborg in Particular / Devoted to the Lord Buddha's Doctrine of Enlightenment.
Hail to thee, pearl, hidden in the Lotus
1888-1894 Monthly, bi-monthly
Santa Cruz, CA.
1/1, January 1888-1894. 8-16 pp., fifty cents a year. Its prospectus in the first issue proclaimed that it would "set forth the teachings imparted by the Mongolian Buddhists to Emanuel Swedenborg, and published by him in his mystic writings." Philangi Dasa, actually Carl Herman Vetterling (1849-1931), was the author of the strange Swedenborg the Buddhist, or, The Higher Swedenborgianism, Its Secrets and Thibetan Origin (Los Angeles: The Buddhistic Swedenborgian Brotherhood, 1887; reprinted Charleston, SC: Arcana, 2003). He was a Swedish immigrant to America, a former minister of the Church of the New Jerusalem, a Theosophist, and an enthusiast:

"As one would expect from his background and the texts available in his time, Philangi Dasa knew more about Swedenborg than about Buddhism, and his ostensible aim, to show that Swedenborg was really a Buddhist, is shadowed by another concern, using Buddhism to reveal the shortcomings of Swedenborgianism." David Loy, "The Dharma of Emanuel Swedenborg: A Buddhist Perspective," Arcana 2/1 (1995), 5-31.

His form of Buddhism, gleaned apparently from books alone, was of the no-doctrine, no-creed sort that appealed easily to the free-religionists of time. "We are extremely happy to say that Buddhism has no creed. His majesty the Devil would long ago have swallowed Buddhism, had it had a creed. He has thus far swallowed all organizations with Creeds, Boards of Control, and Directors, anointed and unanointed; and because of their presence in his belly, he is now noisomely flatulent in the world;—as heard and seen in the pulpit and in the religious press! Dear subscriber;-Buddhism has come West, not to tickle surfeited palates with 'old-church' or 'new-church' hash, but to teach men to think righteously and to act righteously, that they may become spiritual freemen!" Cited by Alois Payer in "Anfange des Buddhismus in den USA," online.

Das had the effrontery to criticize A.J. Davis for supposed errors in his views on Buddhism, drawing a response from J.R. Loomis in the journal itself and from A.E. Giles in the Banner of Light, both explaining that, unlike modern scholars, Davis could directly perceive the original ideas of Buddhism. A.E. Giles, "Buddha and A.J. Davis," Banner of Light 69/24 (August 22, 1891): 5.

The journal drew contributions and letters of appreciation from Paul Carus, the Revs, Sumangala and Dharmapala, A.R. Webb (on Mohammed), and from the enigmatic C. Pfoundes, and regular reprints of articles (including one by H.P. Blavatsky) on Buddhism. A Japanese scholar has pointed to a curious passage in Vetterling's book and questioned whether he had met P.B. Randolph: "A few years ago I met a mulatto. He said he was a Rosicrucian. But I thought he is not a true Rosicrucian when he drank alcohol and loved women. . . . He ruined himself. How pity! He once said to me he believed or better knew the seven existences in the spirit world . . . .") Yale University; Boston Athenaeum; Newberry Library; UC Santa Cruz; Huntington Library; BNF; BL, etc.

Issues:Buddhist Ray V1 N10 Oct 1888
Buddhist Ray V1 N11 Nov 1888
Buddhist Ray V1 N12 Dec 1888
Buddhist Ray V1 N1 Jan 1888
Buddhist Ray V1 N2 Feb 1888
Buddhist Ray V1 N3 Mar 1888
Buddhist Ray V1 N4 Apr 1888
Buddhist Ray V1 N5 May 1888
Buddhist Ray V1 N6 Jun 1888
Buddhist Ray V1 N7 Juk 1888
Buddhist Ray V1 N8 Aug 1888
Buddhist Ray V1 N9 Sep 1888
Buddhist Ray V4 N1-2 Jan-feb 1891
Buddhist Ray V4 N1-2 Jan Feb 1891 Cover
Buddhist Ray V4 N11-12 Nov-dec 1891
Buddhist Ray V4 N3-4 Mar-apr 1891
Buddhist Ray V4 N5-6 May-jun 1891
Buddhist Ray V4 N7-8 Jul-aug 1891
Buddhist Ray V4 N9-10 Sep-oct 1891
Buddhist Ray V5 N1-2 Jan-feb 1892
Buddhist Ray V5 N11-12 Nov-dec 1892
Buddhist Ray V5 N3-4 Mar-apr 1892
Buddhist Ray V5 N5-6 May-jun 1892
Buddhist Ray V5 N7-8 Jul-aug 1892
Buddhist Ray V5 N9-10 Sep-oct 1892
Buddhist Ray V6 Partial

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