Alan Watts

The World's Most Dangerous Book [Part 3] by Alan Watts

It should be understood that the expression "son of" means "of the nature of," as when we call someone a son of a bitch and as when the Bible uses such phrases as "sons of Belial" (an alien god), or an Arab cusses someone out as e-ben-i-el-homa "son of donkey!" or simply "stupid". Used in this way,"son of" has nothing to do with maleness or being younger than. Read More...

The World's Most Dangerous Book [Part 2] by Alan Watts
Alan W. Watts

When one considers the architecture and ritual of churches, whether Catholic or Protestant, it is obvious until most recent times that they are based on royal or judicial courts. A monarch who rules by force sits in the central court of his donjon with his back to the wall, flanked by guards, and those who come to petition him for justice or to offer tribute must kneel or prostrate themselves simply because these are difficult positions from which to start a fight. Read More...

The World's Most Dangerous Book [Part 1] by Alan Watts

For many centuries the Roman Catholic Church was opposed to translating the Holy Scriptures into the "vulgar tongue." To this day, you can still get rid of a Bible salesman by saying, "But we are Catholics and, of course, don't read the Bible." Read More...

Alan Watts - Philosophy of the Tao

The subject of this seminar is going to be Taoism as contained in the teachings of Lao-Tzu and Juang-Tzu who lived approximately 400 years or more before Christ, separated probably by 100 years from each other. Read More...

"How to Reach Where You Already Are" by Alan Watts

So, how can an individual realize that they are the universal self? In what way can a person who is under the impression that they are a separate individual enclosed in a bag of skin effectively realize that they are Brahman? This, of course, is a curious question. It proposes a journey to the place where you already are. Now, it’s true that you may not know that you are there, but you are. Read More...

“Behold the Spirit” (New Preface) by Alan Watts

This book was written twenty-five years ago, during the experiment of trying to immerse myself in Christianity —to the extent of being a priest of the Anglican Communion, Episcopal Chaplain at Northwestern University, and an examining chaplain for candidates for holy orders in the Diocese of Chicago. Read More...

"Judo: The Gentle Tao" by Alan Watts

"Man at his birth is supple and tender, but in death, he is rigid and hard. Thus, suppleness and tenderness accompany life, but rigidity and hardness accompany death.”

I have just been reading from Lao-tzu on the philosophy of the strength of weakness. It is a strange thing, I think, how it is men in the West do not… Read More...

"Philosophy of the Tao" by Alan Watts

The subject of this seminar is going to be Taoism as contained in the teachings of Lao-Tzu and Chuang Tzu who lived approximately 400 years or more before Christ, separated probably by 100 years from each other. Read More...

"What is Zen?" — Alan Watts

---Zen Dream by Roie Galitz

I just finished reading an essay by Alan Watts entitled, "What is Zen?" Comically, the commentary below made my belly smile like a Buddha!
—Bei Kuan-tu


"So it is Zen that, if I may put it metaphorically, Jon-Jo said, 'the perfect man employs his mind as a mirror. It grasps nothing, it refuses nothing. It receives, but does not keep.' And another poem says of wild geese flying over a lake, 'The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflection, and the water has no mind to retain their image.' In other words this is to be—to put it very strictly into our modem idiom—this is to live without hang-ups…”

—Alan Watts


"Myth of Myself" (excerpt) The Tao of Philosophy by Alan Watts

...Generally speaking, we have two kinds of consciousness. One I will call the "spotlight," and the other the "floodlight." The spotlight is what we call conscious attention, and we are trained from childhood that it is the most valuable form of perception. When the teacher in class says, "Pay attention!" everybody stares, and looks right at the teacher. That is spotlight consciousness; fixing your mind on one thing at a time. Read More...

"The Wisdom of Insecurity" by Alan Watts — Alan Watts

"...when you really understand that you are what you see and know, you do not run around the country-side thinking, 'I am all this.' There is simply 'all this.'

"Science, Religion and Living for the Future" (excerpt) THE WISDOM OF INSECURITY - Alan Watts

The scientific way of symbolizing the world is more suited to utilitarian purposes than the religious way, but this does not mean that it has any more “truth.” Is it truer to classify rabbits according to their meat or according to their fur? Read More...

"Was Jesus a Freak?" (excerpt p.147) CLOUD HIDDEN WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN (1971) by Alan Watts

A few days ago (1971) I gave a ride to a rather pleasant hippie couple who seemed to have no particular destination. I asked, "What trip are you on?" He said, "Like spiritual trip?" I said, "Yes." He said, "We’re on the Jesus trip." "Whose Jesus?" I asked, "Billy Graham’s or mine?" Read More...

“On Being Aware” (excerpt from) The Wisdom Of Insecurity by Alan Watts

The question "What shall we do about it?" is only asked by those who do not understand the problem. Read More...

"Ego" (excerpt) THE ESSENCE OF ALAN WATTS by Alan Watts

The word person comes from the Latin persona, which means that through which {per) the sound (sona) goes. It referred originally to the masks worn by actors in classical drama, because those masks had megaphonic mouths, so that in the open-air theater they would project the sound. Read More...

"God" (excerpt) The Essence of Alan Watts by c

Modern Protestant theologians, and even some Catholics, have been talking recently about the death of God and about the possibility of a religionless religion, a religion which does not involve belief in God. What would become of the Gospel of Jesus Christ if it were shown that Jesus' own belief in God was unnecessary and invalid? Read More...

"In Order to Discover God "(excerpt) DEMOCRACY IN THE KINGDOM by Alan Watts

In order to discover God you have to stop clinging entirely. Why does one cling to God? For safety, of course. You want to save something; you want to save yourself. I don’t care what you mean by saved, whether it means just feeling happy, or that life is meaningful, or that there is somebody up there who cares. Read More...

Alan Watts' Letter of Resignation to the Episcopal Church

After long and careful thought I have had to take a step which will perhaps be most disturbing to many of you, though to others it may come as no surprise. I have come to the conclusion that I cannot remain in either the ministry or the communion of the Episcopal Church. Read More...

“Death” by Alan Watts - PART 2 (excerpt) THE ESSENCE OF ALAN WATTS

The universe is a system which forgets itself and then again remembers anew so there’s always constant change and constant variety in the span of time. It also does it in the span of space by looking at itself through every different living organism, giving an all-around view. Read More...

“Death” by Alan Watts - PART 1 (excerpt) THE ESSENCE OF ALAN WATTS

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of death as far back as I can remember, from earliest childhood. You may think that’s kind of morbid, but when a child at night says the phrase If I should die before I wake, there’s something about it that’s absolutely weird. Read More...

"Yin-Yang Polarity" (excerpt) — Tao: The Watercourse Way by Alan Watts

At the very roots of Chinese thinking and feeling there lies the principle of polarity, which is not to be confused with the ideas of opposition or conflict. In the metaphors of other cultures, light is at war with darkness, life with death, good with evil, and the positive with the negative, and thus an idealism to cultivate the former and be rid of the latter flourishes throughout much of the world. Read More...

"The Ego and the Universe: Alan Watts on Becoming Who You Really Are" by Alan Watts by Maria Popova

The cause and cure of the illusion of separateness that keeps us from embracing the richness of life.

During the 1950s and 1960s, British philosopher and writer Alan Watts began popularizing Eastern philosophy in the West, offering a wholly different perspective on inner wholeness in the age of anxiety and what it really means to live a life of purpose. We owe much of today’s mainstream adoption of practices like yoga and meditation to Watts’s influence. Read More...

"TAO - Two Insights" — Alan Watts (TAO:THE WATERCOURSE WAY) and commentary by Bei Kuan-tu

As days turn to months, then years, a blurring of all that once appeared axiomatic becomes the ground for a germinating process of the heart, an upward flight to freedom—the flowering of a hungry soul. In part, this gift is an ongoing process of seeing/learning beyond the tentacle-like cultural biasses that seem to haunt so many of us… Read More...

Jesus and His Religion (or the religion about Him) [3rd of 3 Parts] by Alan Watts

But you see what happens. If you pedestalize Jesus you strangle the Gospel at birth. And it has been the tradition in both the Catholic Church and in Protestantism to pass off what I will call an emasculated Gospel. Gospel means "good news," and I cannot for the life of me think what is the good news about the Gospel as ordinarily handed down. Because, look here – here is the revelation of God in Christ… Read More...

Jesus and His Religion (or the religion about Him) [2nd of 3 Parts] by Alan Watts

Now so therefore everybody who receives divine inspiration – and I'm using that in a very loose way – you could mean anything you like by "divine" – that's your option – but anybody who receives it will express it within the limits of what language he knows. And by language here I don't only mean English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, or Sanskrit. I mean language in the sense of what sort of terms are available to you; what kind of religion were you brought up with. Read More...

Jesus and His Religion (or the religion about Him) [1st of 3 Parts] by Alan Watts

Some years ago I had just given a talk on television in Canada when one of the announcers came up to me and said "You know, if one can believe that this universe is in charge of an intelligent and beneficent God, don't you think he would naturally have provided us with an infallible guide to behavior and to the truth about the universe?" And of course I knew he meant the Bible. I said "No, I think nothing of the kind. Because I think a loving God would not do something to His children that would rot their brains." Read More...