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Alan Watts
from The Essential Alan Watts
Alan Watts
photographer unknown
Erowid Character Vaults
Alan Watts
Summary
Alan Watts began his training in writing and public speaking while attending King's College School in Canterbury, with the goal of becoming an Anglican priest. His interest in Eastern mysticism and religion began early and at the age of 16 he began writing for (and eventually became editor of) The Middle Way, the journal of the Buddhist Lodge in London.

In 1938, at the age of 23, Watts married and moved to the United States. He earned his Master's degree in Theology from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Illinois and was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1944. He was also given an honarary Doctorate of Divinity from the University of Vermont. In 1950, while a chaplain at Northwestern University, Watts was invited to join the American Academy of Asian Studies (a predecessor of CIIS). He moved to San Francisco and became a lecturer, professor and dean at the Academy.

Watts wrote prolifically during the 60s and became a somewhat unintentional spokesperson for the counterculture movement. He was widely recognized for his zen writings, produced more than 25 books, and lectured extensively on individuality, self-expression, and spirituality. Alan Watts died in his sleep at his home in California in 1973 (we had previously written that he died of lung cancer. this appears to be incorrect, our apologies for the error).
Quote
"Psychedelic experience is only a glimpse of genuine mystical insight, but a glimpse which can be matured and deepened by the various ways of meditation in which drugs are no longer necessary or useful. If you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen..."
-- Alan Watts, (Joyous Cosmology Prologue, 2nd ed. 1970).
Author of (Books)
  • The Essential Alan Watts (1976)
  • Tao: The Watercourse Way (1975)
  • In My Own Way (1972)
  • Does It Matter? (1970)
  • The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (1966)
  • This Is It (1962)
  • The Joyous Cosmology [online version] (1962)
  • Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen (1959)
  • The Way of Zen (1957)
  • Myth and Ritual in Christianity (1950)
  • Behold the Spirit (1947)
  • The Meaning of Hapiness (1940)
  • The Legacy of Asia and Western Man (1939)
  • The Spirit of Zen (1936)