The Formative Years

The Life of Allan Bennett, Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya - (Volume 1 of Allan Bennett, Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya: Biography and Collected Writings) - Elizabeth J. Harris

Elizabeth J. Harris [+-]
University of Birmingham
Elizabeth Harris is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow within the Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion, University of Birmingham, UK. Before this, she was an Associate Professor at Liverpool Hope University. She specializes in Buddhist Studies and inter-faith studies, and has published widely in both disciplines. Her publications include: What Buddhists Believe (Oneworld, 1998): Theravada Buddhism and the British Encounter: Religious, missionary and colonial experience in nineteenth century Sri Lanka (Routledge, 2006): Buddhism for a Violent World: A Christian Reflection (Epworth, 2010/now published by SCM).
John L. Crow [+-]
Florida State University
John L. Crow holds a Ph.D. in American religious history from Florida State University, where he is an instructional design faculty member assisting other faculty in course design and use of education technology.


Chapter One covers Allan Bennett’s life from his birth in 1872 to his departure from England for colonial Ceylon either at the end of 1899 or the beginning of 1900. It examines what his early years were like, when he lived with the support of his grandfather, who was employed in the arts as a theatrical manager, and the more difficult years, after the death of his grandparents and mother. From that point forward, Bennett depended on the support of his sister, while also taking every educational and employment opportunity presented to him. These opportunities, however, were limited by his poverty and poor health. It was during this period that he encountered both Buddhism and occultism. The first group he engaged with was the Theosophical Society, and, through it, he was introduced to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult initiatory organisation, whose members practised ceremonial magic. In 1899, he met Aleister Crowley through the Golden Dawn. Bennett began teaching Crowley the art and science of ceremonial magic and Crowley gave Bennett a place to live. The relationship continued until the Golden Dawn in London began to deteriorate. Crowley facilitated Bennett’s journey to Ceylon.

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Harris, Elizabeth; Crow, John. The Formative Years. The Life of Allan Bennett, Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya - (Volume 1 of Allan Bennett, Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya: Biography and Collected Writings). Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Mar 2025. ISBN 9781781797983. Date accessed: 19 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.36332. Mar 2025

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