English Mystic – Dr. Paul Brunton

Dr. Paul Brunton

The 20th-century English mystical philosopher, Dr. Paul Brunton (1898 – 1981), was a dedicated seeker after spiritual Truth, who travelled in the Orient in the 1930s (and later too) and explored and practised both the teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism. His The Wisdom of the Overself  is a book which I highly recommend (it has much in common with certain aspects of Buddhism, especially the Mind Only school, although is independent of it – drawn from Brunton’s own direct experience and wide-spread learning). His Notebooks (published posthumously) are a treasure trove of spiritual insights and profundity. Every single paragraph of those notebooks is replete with spiritual depth and discernment and provides rich nutriment for meditation. I recommend them without reserve. They comprise inspirational paragraphs of philosophical and mystical reflection, written down by Brunton whenever the inspiration seized him. 

Brunton was the most penetrating, balanced, sincere, articulate and rounded of all the mystics of the 20th century that I have encountered. His main teaching was of the hidden reality of the immortal, beneficent, peaceful and immanent ‘Overself’, as he termed it – the deathless divine Principle within all beings. This is clearly analogous to the True Self of Tathagatagarbha Buddhism. Ultimately, however, Brunton was his own man and followed his own independent spiritual path. 

You can read Dr. Brunton’s deeply wise, reflective and meditative Notebooks here:


© Dr Tony Page 2004