Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East (Volume One)

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Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East (Volume One)
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ISBN-10 : 1684931657
ISBN-13 : 9781684931651
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Book Synopsis Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East (Volume One) by : Baird T. Spalding

Book excerpt: Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East (Volume One) (1924) is the first in a six-volume work of New Thought and mysticism by writer and lecturer Baird T. Spalding. Purporting to share the life and lessons of "Great Masters of the Himalayas," the work uses a fictional trip to India as a means to share the great laws of the spiritual world. The life of Baird T. Spalding (b. 1872 - d. 1953) is one of many questions. Even the most basic of facts are debated. Spalding claimed to have been born in England in 1857. But records indicate that he was in fact born Bayard Spaulding in 1872, in Cohocton, New York. Spalding also said he had family in India, and that he had studied at Berkeley, Stanford, and Columbia. Yet there are no records to support any of these assertions. So what is the truth? Certainly, he made a living as a mining engineer in Alaska, Montana, and California's Yukon Territory during the 1890s. And in 1924, he published the first of a six-part series, Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East. According to the book's introduction, this work is an account of an 1894 expedition to India, Tibet, and China to meet with the "Great Masters of the Himalayas." Over the course of three and a half years, Spalding and ten other researchers traveled the land, living and conversing with these great masters to learn the "great Law." The first volume (included here) is a record of their first year's experience. Is this a true account of a trip to the Far East? The other members of the team are not identified, nor are the "Great Masters" by their true names. There are no maps or photographs from the trip, despite the note in the forward that "Records and manuscripts...were preserved." The general consensus is that Spalding did not go to India in 1894, and there was no such research expedition. The fictional account of a spiritual journey was a popular genre at the time, so it's highly probable that Spalding's work was an invention. In truth, it appears that Spalding's first trip to India was not until 1935, after the release of Volume 3 of Life and Teaching of the Masters. In spite of this fiction-or perhaps because of the tall tales told by its author-Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East was a massive success. With four volumes released during his life, and the last two published posthumously, this series was influenced by and later contributed to New Thought circles in the 1920s and 1930s. In this volume, Spalding describes events that would be considered miraculous-communion with plants and animals, astral projection, the manifestation of 40 loaves of bread to feed the party, and walking on water, among others. Much of this is explained by Emil, a Great Master whom the expedition encounters repeatedly throughout their journey. According to Spalding, "The Masters accept that Buddha represents the way to Enlightenment, but they clearly set forth that Christ is Enlightenment, or a state of consciousness for which we are all seeking-the Christ Consciousness." This Christ Consciousness is displayed by the Masters. It is the state of enlightenment, of love, and of ultimate understanding that was embodied in "Jesus, the Christ made manifest, or God manifesting through the flesh man." For those who wish to follow, they must "...let love flow forth to balance all, and when this is done, the Christ is revealed." The fictional approach to this work does not mean that the spiritual content is not valuable. Presented as a series of personal stories and anecdotes, the book presents New Thought ideas in an approachable way that proved incredibly popular with spiritual thinkers. Life and Teaching sold over two million copies in the first half of the 20th century and is still read widely today.


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