Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Oom the Magnificent?

I’m interested in tracking down material relating to “Oom the Magnificent.”

Looking on Google, nothing is to be had, which is weird since I have seen enough passing references to him over the years to know that they are out there. Wikipedia has nothing on him as well.

I do know that he was a turn of the century (19th/20th) cult leader based out of New York State. He preached a sort of “free love” and popular tantra thing and was a completely self-made fabrication. Basically, he was a con man who drew in all sorts of people. We can probably all think of a number of those in the last 150 years of the spiritual history of the U.S.

The thing of interest is that he keeps turning up in odd places, mainly because of the things his followers did or those who were involved with him at one point. The most recent one is Ruth Fuller Everett (later Ruth Full Sasaki) who was the first Western woman to be ordained and installed as the abbess of a Rinzai Zen monastery in Japan. She was also the mother-in-law of Alan Watts. In her youth, she was involved with Oom the Magnificent and his circle.

There is probably an interesting book to be written here on the people that passed through Oom’s circle (and possibly other spiritual figures at the time) and where they eventually wound up.