H. P. Blavatsky’s Love of Buddhism
Blavatsky’s love of Buddhism is among the most fascinating aspects of her life and teachings. She was in fact one of the first, if not the first modern “Westerner” to formally become a Buddhist. However, it has since the beginning also been a topic of great discussion what Blavatsky actually knew of Buddhism and what the relation is between Theosophy and Buddhism. The aim of this paper is to show how Blavatsky first got into contact with Buddhism, why she fell in love with it, and how she integrated it in her writings. In discussing these topics, this paper will explore Blavatsky’s travels, Buddhist scholarship during Blavatsky’s lifetime, and how key Buddhist concepts such as nirvana, arhat, Buddha and skandhas relate to Theosophy. Finally, Blavatsky’s key text The Voice of the Silence (1889) will be discussed as an example of Blavatsky love of Buddhism.