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|Born||December 25, 1941
|Died||November 1, 1995
Riverdale, New York
|Cause of death||Cancer|
Lex Hixon (1941–1995) (born Alexander Paul Hixon Junior, also known as Nur al-Anwar al-Jerrahi in the Sufi community) was an American Sufi author, poet, and spiritual teacher. He practiced and held membership in several of the world's major great religious traditions, and documented his spiritual explorations in nine books and many articles and teachings given to various groups. His passionate conviction that all of the great religions are true was sparked by his study of the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, and he made his life a witness to this belief by fully immersing himself in multiple religious practices and studies, not as a research project but as an act of faith.
Life and education
Hixon was born on December 25, 1941 in Pasadena, California, one of three sons of Alexander and Adelaide Hixon. He married his second wife Sheila in 1965; they had two daughters and one son. Shanti, India, and Dylan. Hixon also had a daughter, Alexandra, from a previous marriage with Margaret Taylor. He graduated from Yale University in 1963, where he majored in philosophy, and received a PhD in comparative religion from Columbia University in 1976. His doctoral thesis was on the Gaudapada Karika, a Sanskrit scripture of the very early Advaita Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy, bringing out Buddhist influences.
Early spiritual training
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Hixon first studied prayer and meditation at the age of nineteen with Vine Deloria, Senior, a Lakota Sioux elder and Episcopal priest in Pierre, South Dakota. In 1966 he began his discipleship with Swami Nikhilananda of the Ramakrishna Mission, who headed the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York. The study with Swami Nikhilananda formed the basis for all of his latter spiritual quest. He simultaneously remained involved in various religions, or as he called them, "parallel sacred worlds". His experience of being "orthodox in five different spiritual traditions" produced a unique philosophy, a "theory of relativity for religions". He touched thousands of lives with his warm, joyful manner of teaching, celebrating, and encouraging spiritual seekers of all kinds.
From 1971 to 1984 Lex Hixon hosted in New York City a weekly 2-hour interview show "In The Spirit". On this long running program on listener-supported WBAI radio, he interviewed hundreds of spiritual leaders and teachers from different traditions, including: Buddhism: the Dalai Lama, the 16th Karmapa, Kalu Rinpoche, Lama Ole Nydahl, Zen teacher Maezumi Roshi and Sensei Bernie Glassman Christianity: Brother David Steindl-Rast, Father Thomas Keating, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Hinduism: J. Krishnamurti, Swami Satchitananda, Swami Muktananda Islam: Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Judaism: Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, Rabbi Gedaliah Kenig, Rabbi Dovid Din, and Rabbi Meyer Fund
Islam and Sufism
Hixon became known as Nur al-Anwar al-Jerrahi, and became a teacher in a traditional Sufi lineage, the Jerrahi Order of Dervishes. He co-founded the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Order in the United States, named for his teacher Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak (Ashki).
Hixon and his wife Sheila entered the Eastern Orthodox Church, through the inspiration of Father Alexander Schmemann, and studied at St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, New York, for three years. He traveled to Mount Athos.
Lex Hixon's literary works came about from direct experience in the field of spirituality combined with intellectual refinement and human sensitivity. Being intensely involved in both the cultures and religions of the world, his was a view of universal acceptance honed by discrimination and dedicated to harmony based on unity.
- Coming Home: The Experience of Enlightenment in Sacred Traditions, 1978, 1989, 1995. ISBN 0-943914-74-4
- The Heart of the Qur'an: An Introduction to Islamic Spirituality, 1988, 2003. ISBN 0-8356-0822-0
- Recolección de la Miel (Gathering Honey), 1989. ISBN
- Great Swan: Meetings with Ramakrishna, 1992, 2002. ISBN 81-208-1297-2
- Atom from the Sun of Knowledge, 1993. ISBN 978-1-879708-05-1
- Illahis of Shaykh Nur al-Jerrahi, 1993. ISBN
- Mother of the Buddhas: Meditation on the Prajnaparamita Sutra, 1993. ISBN 0-8356-0689-9
- Mother of the Universe: Visions of the Goddess and Tantric Hymns of Enlightenment, 1994. ISBN 0-8356-0702-X
- Living Buddha Zen, 1995. ISBN 0-943914-75-2
- Sufi Meditation, 1997. ISBN 1-879708-10-8
- 101 Diamonds: From the Oral Tradition of the Glorious Messenger Muhammad (translator, with Fariha al-Jerrahi), 2001. ISBN 1-879708-17-5
Hixon died at his home in Riverdale, New York, on November 1, 1995, age 53. He had cancer.
- Corbett, Rosemary R. (2016). Making Moderate Islam: Sufism, Service, and the "Ground Zero Mosque" Controversy. Stanford University Press.
- Sufi Review (Pir Publications, Spring 1997), p. 5–8
- New York Times obituary, November 9, 1995
- Yoga Journal Interview, Jan/Feb 1991
- Zen Peacemakers website
- Coming Home, 1989 & 1995 (2nd & 3rd Editions) biographical note (note differs in each edition).
- Free Spirit Journal, April & May 1996: Article by Cassia Berman. (reproduced online here)
- LexScape:A cyberspace memorial to Lex Hixon
- Interviewed on public radio's Kindred Spirits
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