Tuesday, 21 June 2016 16:13

Life and teaching of the masters of the far east: By Baird Thomas Spalding: Book Review

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Life And Teaching Of The Masters Of The Far East

Baird Thomas Spalding (1924). Life and teaching of the masters of the Far East.  Camarillo, California, Devorss Publications

A Book Review by Ozodi Osuji


I just read "Life and teaching of the masters of the Far East" by Baird Thomas Spalding. The author claimed to have visited India and other parts of the Far East in 1894 and spent some years there studying under those he called "masters of the far east". The book is a narration of his interactions with those alleged masters.

One fact stands out in my perception of the book. The various masters he was interacting with were really not talking about Oriental religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, as they should if they were oriental religionists, but about Christianity.

The masters were talking about Christianity and were supposedly actualizing what Jesus taught and did; they replicated most of the miracles that Jesus supposedly did, such as walk on water, feed many with a few loafs of bread, heal the sick, enter into locked rooms, travel long distances instantaneously.

What the masters of the far east were doing are what one would expect Christians to do if they, in fact, lived according to the promise made to them by Jesus; Jesus had told his disciples that they would do what he did and do even more but the fact is that they do not do so.

Spalding's masters not only have lived hundreds if not thousands of years in human bodies but also did not physically die. Apparently, they so "perfected their bodies with their Christ consciousness" that their bodies did not have to die. Some of them simply disappeared to what Spalding called the Celestial Regions and from there occasionally manifest in our world to help teach us who are in the phenomenal world what we need to do to attain Christ consciousness; apparently, they came to teach Mr. Spalding and his visiting Western travelers in the far east what to do to attain Christ consciousness.

It should be noted that there is no evidence that Mr. Spalding ever went to India at the time he claimed to have travelled to India; empirical evidence shows that he was a mining engineer in Arizona and later lived in Alaska (during the years he claimed to be in India he was working in Alaska).

No one came and told people that he was a member of the party that Spalding supposedly travelled with; that is, no one corroborated his story.

Moreover, there is no map of the areas he claimed to have traveled to in the Himalayas; the places he claimed to have visited appear to be imaginary places, perhaps, they existed only in his imagination!

Spalding's writing does not evince knowledge of Hinduism and Buddhism and did not discuss them, as his masters would have discussed them if they were truly oriental spiritual teachers!

Apparently, Mr. Spalding was a writer who wrote about what we might call New Age perspective on Christianity and projected those ideas unto what he called masters of the far east.

Reading Spalding is like reading what one read in Christian Science, Unity Church and Religious Science literature; those written in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, around the time Spalding wrote (his volume one, of six volumes, of the masters of the Far East was published in 1924).

Does that make Spalding a fiction writer and a fraud?  Not at all!  He probably wanted to teach his new age version of Christianity and felt that the best way to make his case was to project his ideas into the heads of imaginary far-east religious masters.

In my experience, I noticed that many religionists tell lies on behalf of their religions and God. It appears that religion is a means of telling ourselves lies on knowing about  God and his heaven, what we hope exist but do not know for sure exist.

Much of what Christians, Muslims and traditional religionists believe to be true are a bunch of lies, lies that they believe are true.  Most talk on God and life after death is what we hope is real that we do not know is real; those who talk as if they know that they are real are generally talking lies.

Religion is replete with lies. Spalding's lies, therefore, can be placed into the framework of religious lies, lies motivated by wishful thinking.

If Spalding did not know that he was projecting his thoughts to imaginary characters he was dissociating from his thoughts and did not know that he did so.

There are psychological disorders where folks dissociate from their regular egos and project their ideas to alter egos, other characters and speak and write as those characters without knowing that they are doing so.  This is called multiple personality disorder.

Perhaps, Spalding had a dissociative disorder or perhaps he consciously projected his religious wishes to make belief characters that he called masters of the Far East. I have no way of ascertaining the difference for the man died a long time ago.

Spalding (his views projected into one of his masters) talked about Jesus' resurrection from death. He said that Jesus had, while alive on earth, perfected his Christ consciousness so that he would no longer die; he now lived as a spiritual body. But instead of disappearing from the world he wanted to teach people that their bodies do not die and that there is everlasting life.

Thus, Jesus deliberately allowed himself to be crucified knowing that he would resurrect from death (he could have avoided crucifixion by leaving this world).

Thus, he was crucified and two days (Friday to Sunday is two days, not three days) later resurrected; in Spalding's words, "he rolled away the stone preventing him from leaving the grave".

The idea of rolling away the stone blocking exit from the grave is supposed to be a metaphor meaning that Jesus rolled away the obstacle preventing people from knowing that they are immortal.

After resurrecting, Jesus showed people his resurrected body.  However, his new body is perfected, is spiritual body thus his followers saw it and did not recognize it as Jesus. Thereafter, Jesus brought his vibration down, from Christ to our human level, so that his followers could recognize who he is.

Thereafter, Jesus ascended to the Celestial World and from there keeps teaching us in the mortal world about Christ consciousness. Jesus now lives at a higher level of mental vibration so that he cannot possibly return to our world of lower mental vibration; he can no longer reincarnate in our world; he has transcended our world, a place of the ego, low mental vibrations.

I believe that this was probably what happened. I believe that Jesus did resurrect in body but a body of light forms; he transformed his dense body to light body; thereafter, he ascended to the world of light forms, what Hinduism calls the astral world.

Helen Schucman, in a reading that was not included in A course in miracles, in talking about Jesus' resurrection, talked about him rolling away the stone to the sepulcher where he was buried but did not elaborate.

A course in miracles is poetic and not explanatory; it leaves whatever it says at the poetic level and the reader has no choice but to try to figure out what it is actually saying.

In my view, the sepulcher is our ego and body; to roll away the stone in front of our grave is to remove the blocks to our awareness that we are Christ spirit and not ego and body.

The second coming of Christ into our lives, the being born again, or rebirth of the self that Christians claim to happen when one accepts Jesus Christ as ones savior is the reawakening of the awareness of our sonship in God in our minds and living from love.

If one lives from love one probably would not physically die; one would transit to the world of light forms. That is my belief, anyway.


Helen Schucman, in writing A course in miracles, probably projected her thoughts to an alter ego she called Jesus Christ.

Mohammed probably did the same thing and projected his thoughts to an alter ego that he called the angel Gabriel. Like other psychic mediums, Mohammed and Helen were probably dissociative in writing the Koran and A course in miracles; they probably projected their religious ideas to imaginary spirits.

Helen's mother attended Unity Church and Christian Science Church; she took her to her church services and extensively travelled with her to Europe visiting religious sites.

As a child, Helen probably read up on what was then called New Thought ideas (she was born in 1909). At college she studied philosophy and English with the hope of becoming a writer. Upon graduating from college she worked in her husband's bookstore, where, presumably, books on oriental religions were sold and she probably read many of them.

Apparently, later in life she denied belief in God although she generally associated with the Catholic Church and knew most of the characters in the Catholic circles of her home town, New York. Indeed, whenever Mother Teresa visited New York she chaperoned her around town.

In other words, Helen was associated with Christianity even though she denied been a Christian. At age 56, in 1965, she claimed to be hearing voices from a Character that she called Jesus Christ. The character essentially wrote through her what we might call a classic of Gnostic Christianity, A course in miracles.

As a clinical psychologist who also studied philosophy and Shakespeare, Helen certainly was quite capable of writing A course in miracles by herself.

Apparently, she thought about religion a lot and reached conclusions about what she believed that the real Jesus might have taught, not what is found in extant Catholicism and protestant religions.  She then projected her ideas of what true Christianity ought to be like to what she called Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit and said that she was merely scribing for them.

Was she telling lies? She probably dissociated from her thoughts so it would not help us to call her a liar.

Her version of Christianity is so radical that she probably felt that if she claimed ownership of it that folks would tell her to get lost or accuse her of mental disorder. No one would believe her if she said that we, the sons of God, invented this world, for in our world we say that God created this world. Thus, to be safe and also give her religious ideas credibility she had to dissociate from them and project them to what she called Jesus Christ.

Does this make her mad? Of course she was not mad. All it tells us is that she was not courageous enough to take ownership of her ideas and articulate them as her own; in a fearful mood she denied responsibility for her thoughts and projected them to the icon of Christianity, Jesus Christ.

Now that it appeared that it was Jesus who is reinterpreting his own religion and not Helen doing so she felt safe.

If you have read the teachings of the biblical Jesus you must conclude that his teachings are different from the teachings of A course in miracles.

A course in miracles reads like what Plotinus wrote in his Ennead; that is, Gnosticism; the biblical Jesus did not seem to teach Gnosticism even though Greek/Roman Gnosticism was around in his world.


Many people have unique ideas about God and what human existence should look like but do not have the courage of their convictions to take ownership of their ideas; instead, they attribute their ideas to religious icons like Jesus or Rama or Krishna or Buddha.

The fact is that those so-called religious icons are in our minds and whatever we say that they told us to say is our interpretation of their teachings.

Indeed, God is in our minds. God is our highest self; the Holy Spirit is the part of our minds that act from our highest self; the ego is our lower self, the part of us that operate in the world of separated selves and does what it has to do to survive in it.

The point is that whether we are talking about God, Holy Spirit or ego we are talking about our own ideas about those supposed entities and ought to accept whatever we say as our thoughts and not deny them and project them to so-called others outside us.

Psychics play the game of denying their thoughts and projecting them to seeming disembodied spirits. Psychics are usually folks (most of them are women) with unique ideas on spirituality but do not want to take ownership of their ideas. Instead, they dissociate from their own thoughts and project them to what they call disembodied spirits, angels and spirit guides.  They proceed to state their version of truth as if the so called spirit guides are doing so for them.

Psychics are not courageous enough to take ownership of their thoughts, for by projecting their thoughts to spirits and guides they give themselves the excuse of not living them; generally, they do not live their ideas of the truth.

If they do not live what they teach they can always tell themselves that they are imperfect whereas their guides are perfect; thus; they talk about love and perfection and live imperfect lives. Human beings always find excuses for not living what they preach as the truth.

Helen Schucman, for example, talked about love and human unity but there is no evidence that she concerned herself with racism and the civil rights struggles of her time; she made no actual efforts to bring about racial equality in America. Instead she lived in middle class white America and from its safety talked about human oneness.  Talk on equality is cheap; those who actually try to actualize their belief in human equality often meet with obstacles, some were even killed.

Moreover, by attributing their ideas to spirits psychics like Helen do not have to see the impossibility of actualizing them in our world. For example, the logic of total forgiveness that A course in miracles teaches is that if other people do harmful things to you, you forgive them. This includes if they physically attack you, even murder you.

If other people attack to kill you, you tell you that you are not your body and therefore do not have to defend your body and ego; if they destroy your ego and body they are merely destroying your dream self not your true self.

If you adopt that attitude it follows that if Muslim Jihadists attack Christian Americans and murder them, Christian Americans would say that the Jihadists merely destroyed their dream bodies but not their true selves; they would forgive the jihadists.

If Christians were to do so then Jihadists would kill as many Christians as is possible and use terror to intimidate the rest of Americans to embrace Islam. Islam would then prevail in America and Europe (the goal of Islam is a world Islamic caliphate ruled from Mecca, Saudi Arabia).

Can you imagine a world ruled by Islam, the most primitive and murderous religion on planet earth? Islam supplanting Christianity that teaches love would be a travesty on the world.  It would be outrageous to allow Islam to replace Christianity.

All religions are false ideas on reality but Christianity has the advantage of teaching love whereas Islam teaches hatred, violence and death for non-believers.

The point here is that if one were to practice A course in miracles' total forgiveness, if other people slapped one, one would turn the other cheek to be slapped and not defend one's self. One would allow evil persons to win over good people.

If others want to enslave you, you do not fight for your freedom; you either say that slavery is bad and refuse to be a slave and they kill you or you allow them to enslave you and you tolerate it and tell yourself that they merely enslaved your ego and body not your real self that cannot be enslaved.

Listen, it is better if the individual simply said that slavery is wrong and desire freedom and fight whoever wants to enslave him. That is, he would defend his liberty; he would insist on living on the condition of freedom or death.

To allow yourself to be killed by other people just because you do not want to defend your ego and body is cowardice; liberty is worth fighting and dying for.

If you die in the cause of freedom you died a noble death; if you allowed jihadists to kill you and you did not fight back you died a coward's death.

That is to say that Helen Schucman did not think her idea of radical forgiveness through by attributing it to Jesus; if she had taken ownership of it and thought it through she would have seen the drawbacks to blanket forgiveness.

If we practiced blanket forgiveness we would not defend ourselves; we should not even eat food, take medications, wear clothes or live in houses for all those are defenses; we would allow germs to destroy our bodies and not use our immune system to kill them, for those, too, are defenses.

If we followed A course in miracles we would die off, today, not tomorrow. No wonder no one practices it for folks instinctively know that what it is teaching is antithetical to what they need to do to live on earth.

This is not to say that there are no good in A course in miracles or that there is no God and other worlds. There are probably other worlds than our world.

Quantum physics tells us about the possibility of infinite universes, each operating with different dimensions of matter, time and space.

It is possible that in some of the multiverse is the world of light forms, what Spalding called the celestial regions and Hinduism calls astral world.  Here, people live as we do on earth but their bodies are in light forms.

There also may be a world of pure ideas, a world that we are in each other; the whole is in the part and the part is in the whole; the world that religionists call heaven.

The point is that there may be other worlds but we do not have to die to get to them. We can study their possibility and figure out ways to experience them without allowing other people to kill us under misguided notion of forgiveness.

Yes, if I defend myself I am saying that I am a separated self in body; defense makes my ego and body seem real to me. In ego I do what egos do: seek food and adapt to this world. But that does not preclude my knowing that there are other worlds that are not of the ego.

One can have wish for separated existence and use ones ego to love other egos and make our world a lovely place.

The world of light forms, what Helen called the real world is probably real; as she noted, it still has people with separated selves but they know that they are all from the same source and love each other hence live in peace and harmony. That world is still fictional, is still an insane place for people still see themselves as separated selves. Sanity lies only in the formless, unified world.

The world of light forms may be insane but it is beautiful insanity, as A course in miracles acknowledged.


Both Spalding and Schucman had useful religious ideas; the reader should take from them what resonates with him and ignore the attribution of their ideas to so-called disembodied spirits.

Spirits exist alright but they do not prevent one from thinking one's own thoughts and accepting what makes sense to one.

One of the reasons why people attribute their thoughts to God and spirit guides is to make them credible and accepted by people.  This is what people should do: evaluate what so-called spirits said. It should make no difference if an idea is attributed to Jesus, it should be evaluated and if found not rational dismissed.

Spirits, like all of us, do not have total information on anything and therefore there is no reason why we should accept what they say. Correct information lies only with God and to the best of my knowledge God has not spoken to any one, it is always those who claim to speak for him, who speak for their egos, that tell us what God said. We should only accept what makes sense to us.

Most of those who are into spirituality are egotistical; they have strong opinions and attribute them to what they call spirits and want you to accept them and if you do not do so they feel angry at you. These narcissistic persons have difficulty getting along with other people; they seldom have spouses and end up living alone.

What the individual should do is figure out what makes sense to him, live it and teach it by his behaviors.

It is okay to hear what so-called spirits tell folks to tell us but those utterances are not necessarily the truth hence they are to be evaluated and only what is rational in them accepted.

Only what is rational in the life and teaching of the masters of the Far East and A course in miracles is to be accepted, the rest thrown away as chaff.

Ozodi Osuji

June 21, 2016


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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: ozodiosuji@gmail.com (907) 310-8176