Allan Watts was a British philosopher, author and bulging Zennist who was known for his commitment to interpreting, promoting and ensuring the availability of Eastern ideologies to Western audience.
Born on 6th January 1915 in Chislehurst, England in a middle class family, Allan Wilson Watts was the only child of Laurence and Emily Watts. A studious Watts spent most of his time studying Eastern wisdom, psychiatry, psychology, history and philosophy. He believed that Buddhism should be seen as a way to help a person improve their wellbeing, mental health, overcome troublesome beliefs, thoughts and emotions, improve relationships and social skills rather than a religion.
From a tender age, Watts loved reading romantic stories from Far East as well as understanding butterflies and flowers. His visit to France in his teenage while accompanying Epicurean Francis Croshaw exposed Watts to deep Buddhist philosophies and practices. This helped him make a decision to choose Buddhism over Anglican Christianity. He then became a member of London Buddhist Lodge enabling him to meet great Buddhist spiritual leaders such as Dr. Radhakrishnan and Theosophite Alice Bailey. He learned Chinese and conducted research on Zen Buddhism, its beliefs, India and East Asia philosophies and religious practices.
He wrote and published his first book, “The Spirit of Zen” after a meeting with D. T. Suzuki, a celebrated Zen Buddhism scholar during World Congress of Faiths at the University of London where he was delivering a lecture. He later rebuked the book in his second book, “The Way of Spirit.”
Watts explored modern science and psychology with the aim of finding the similarity between material theories of the universe and mystical experiences. This enabled him to write over 25 books throughout his life. He died on 16th November 1973 in his sleep leaving behind 7 children: 5 daughters and 2 sons.
Watt taught himself Chinese brush calligraphy and writing Chinese.
Omnipotence is not knowing how everything is done; it’s just doing it. Alan Watts
The relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything
defined as other than yourself. Alan Watts
Religion is not a department of life; it is something that enters into the whole of it. Alan Watts
The reason we want to go on and on is because we live in an impoverished present. Alan Watts
Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command. Alan Watts
Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth. Alan Watts
We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain. Alan Watts
You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean. Alan Watts
The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention. Alan Watts
To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. Alan Watts