Buddhism and Immortality
William Sturgis Bigelow
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In 1885, a young Bostonian, William Sturgis Bigelow, entered formal training at Homyoin, a sub-temple of Midera near Kyōto under Sakurai Ajari, a direct disciple in Enchin's Jimon line. After a number of years, Bigelow received inkan shomei, or formal ordination into the Tendai school, adopting the Buddhist name of Gesshin Koji and returning to the U.S in 1889 to spread the word.
And spread the word he did. Bigelow's lecture, Buddism and Immortality, given in 1908 as part of the Ingersoll lecture series, provides a wonderful insight into his understanding of the Buddhist and Indian concept of consciousness (avidyā). It is well thought out, clearly articulated and thoughtfully given to an obviously skeptical audience given the time period.