Herman Vetterling

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Carl Herman Vetterling (1849–1931), also known by the pseudonym of Philangi Dasa,[1] was a Swedenborgian philosopher who converted to Buddhism in 1884 and took the Arabic-cum-Sanskritic name Philangi Dasa (meaning Western Devotee). He was one of the first Americans to officially embrace Buddhism.[1] He founded The Buddhist Ray in Santa Cruz, California in 1887, which was the first Buddhist journal in the United States.[2]

His most well-known work was Swedenborg the Buddhist, or The Higher Swedenborgianism: Its Secrets and Thibetan Origin, published in 1887. It is a fictional spiritual dialogue between Swedenborg, a Buddhist monk, a Brahmin, a Parsi, an Aztec Indian, an Icelander, an anonymous woman, and Vetterling himself. Six years later this work was translated into Japanese.[3]

Due to his eclectic combination of Swedenborgianism, Theosophy, Buddhism, homeopathy and Spiritualism, many scholars of his lifetime questioned his authenticity as a "real" Buddhist.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Dodin, Thierry. Imagining Tibet : Perceptions, Projections, and Fantasies. Wisdom Publications. pp. 171–172. ISBN 0-86171-191-2. 
  2. ^ Loy, David (1995). "The Dharma of Emanuel Swedenborg: A Buddhist Perspective". The Swedenborg Association. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  3. ^ "53. From Yoshinaga Shin'ichi (Nov. 24, 1999)". Retrieved 2007-03-31.