Alan Watts (1915-1973) was one of the most widely read and listened to philosophers of the 20th century, and is best known as an interpreter of Zen Buddhism. For more than forty years, Alan Watts earned a reputation as a foremost interpreter of Eastern philosophies for the West. Beginning at age sixteen, when he wrote essay for the journal of the Buddhist Lodge in London, he developed an audience of millions who were enriched through his books, tape recordings, radio, television, and public lectures. Alan Watts wrote more than twenty-five books and recorded hundreds of lectures and seminars, all building toward a philosophical perspective that he shared in complete candor and joy with his readers and listeners throughout the world.
Recordings of hundreds of public lectures and seminars have been preserved in the archives of Electronic Educational Programs, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to higher education, and the producer of Alan Watts radio programs, podcasts, and multimedia projects. His life and work reflects an astonishing adventure: he was an editor, Anglican priest, graduate dean, broadcaster, author, lecturer, and entertainer. He had fascinations for archery, calligraphy, cooking, chanting, and dancing, and still was completely comfortable hiking alone in the wilderness.
He held fellowships from Harvard University and the Bollingen Foundation, and was Episcopal Chaplain at Northwestern University during the Second World War. He became professor and dean of the American Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco, made the television series “Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life” for National Educational Television, and served as a visiting consultant for psychiatric institutions and hospitals, and for the United States Air Force. In the mid-sixties he traveled widely with his students in Japan, and visited Burma, Ceylon, and India.