The Temenos Academy, or Temenos Academy of Integral Studies, is an educational charity in London which aims to offer education in philosophy and the arts in the light of the sacred traditions of East and West.
The academy's origins began in 1980 when the Temenos journal was launched by Kathleen Raine, Keith Critchlow, Brian Keeble and Philip Sherrard to publish creative work which acknowledged spirituality as a prime need for humanity. Ten years later the academy was founded to extend the project through lectures and study groups. It was accommodated initially in the Prince of Wales's Institute of Architecture in Regent's Park. Since the closure of the institute, the academy now holds meetings in different venues in London.
The Prince of Wales is patron of the academy. He said:
The work of Temenos could not be more important. Its commitment to fostering a wider awareness of the great spiritual traditions we have inherited from the past is not a distraction from the concerns of every-day life. These traditions, which form the basis of mankind's most civilised values and have been handed down to us over many centuries, are not just part of our inner religious life. They have an intensely practical relevance to the creation of real beauty in the arts, to an architecture which brings harmony and inspiration to people's lives and to the development within the individual of a sense of balance which is, to my mind, the hallmark of a civilised person.— HRH The Prince of Wales
Also, the work of the Temenos Academy addresses the importance of the teaching of what may be defined as the Perennial Philosophy which underpins every civilisation and every religion. In accordance with Kathleen Raine's message:
The Temenos Academy is an association dedicated to the teaching and dissemination of the perennial wisdom, which has been the ground of every civilisation.
Whereas in Shelley's words, 'the deep truth is imageless', the Arts (from architecture, painting, music and poetry, to the songs and dances of the villages and the designs of textiles and pottery), have within every civilisation been the flowering of a vision of the Sacred, embodied in some tradition of spiritual teaching. The arts of the imagination flourish therefore in the Temenos - the precinct of that sacred centre, be that centre temple, synagogue, church, mosque, or the invisible sanctuary within the heart. Since knowledge is universal we seek to learn from all traditions. Within western civilisation, Temenos follows the Platonic and Plotinian tradition from its pre-Socratic origins to the present day.
Our purpose is to study the learning of the Imagination, both in the arts and also in such metaphysical teachings as are likewise the expression of traditional spiritual knowledge. We reject the premises of secular materialism, widespread at the present time, which deny the very ground of meaning and value. W.B. Yeats wrote of the soul:
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence
Therefore we look also for contemporary expressions in the arts and other modes of thought which are rooted in that unageing spiritual reality.
People associated with the academy
Lecturers include Hossein Elahi Ghomshei and Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi (Warren Kenton). The academy staged a talk by the Dalai Lama during his visit to London in 2004. The journal Temenos was continued as the Temenos Academy Review.
Shusha Guppy (26 May 2000). "Orient your thoughts". Times Higher Education. London: TSL Education Ltd. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
Scholars from all over the world have given lectures and seminars at Temenos Academy, in a spirit of the affirmation of 'the excluded knowledge' - the spiritual tradition, Platonic in the West, Vedic in India - that was once central to academic education but has now almost disappeared.
Janet Watts (8 July 2003). "Obituary. Kathleen Raine. Singular poet who stood as a witness to spiritual values in an age that rejected them". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
The editors of Temenos (the word means the sacred area around a temple) declared that 'the intimate link between the arts and the sacred' had fired imaginative creation in almost all human societies, except our own.
- "Message from HRH The Prince of Wales", Temenos Academy website.
- The 2004 Singhvi - Temenos Interfaith Lecture
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