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Harry Oldmeadow’s life and work
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Harry Oldmeadow
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Biography of Harry Oldmeadow

Harry Oldmeadow was born in Melbourne in 1947. His parents were Christian missionaries in India, where he spent nine years of his childhood and developed an early interest in the civilizations of the East. He studied history, politics and literature at the Australian National University, and after further studies at the University of Sydney he worked as a history tutor at La Trobe University in Melbourne. In 1971 a Commonwealth Overseas Research Scholarship led to further studies at Oxford University, followed by extensive travel in Europe and North Africa.

In 1980 he enrolled for a Masters degree in Religious Studies at the University of Sydney where he completed a dissertation on the work of Frithjof Schuon and the other principal traditionalist writers. This study was awarded the University of Sydney Medal for excellence in research, and was eventually published by the Sri Lanka Institute of Traditional Studies under the title Traditionalism: Religion in the Light of the Perennial Philosophy (Colombo, 2000), a winner of the 13th Book of the Season Award in the area of “Religions”. Under the auspices of this Institute, Harry delivered the Inaugural Ananda Coomaraswamy Memorial Lecture, in Colombo, on "The Religious Tradition of the Australian Aborigines".

He was the Coordinator of Philosophy and Religious Studies at La Trobe University, Bendigo. Over the last decade he has published extensively in such journals as Sacred Web (Vancouver), Sophia (Washington DC), and Asian Philosophy (Nottingham,UK). In late 2001, he was a key speaker at a large inter-faith gathering in Sydney, organised by the Australian Centre for Sufism; the theme of the meeting was the need for inter-religious understanding in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Oldmeadow lives with his wife and younger son on a small property outside Bendigo.

Harry Oldmeadow's most recent book as an author for World Wisdom is Black Elk, Lakota Visionary: The Oglala Holy Man and Sioux Tradition (2018). As an editor, his most recent World Wisdom book represents a substantial contribution to a new edition of Frithjof Schuon’s book The Eye of the Heart: A New Translation with Selected Letters (2021). To the volume, Harry Oldmeadow contributed, among other things, the “Editor’s Preface” and extensive “Editor’s Notes” that explain and annotate various key terms, references, etc., to enhance a reader’s full understanding.

Dr. Oldmeadow has also written what is, to date, the definitive study in English on the thought of the great Perennialist writer, Frithjof Schuon, titled Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy. He has also written an important study of twentieth century Western encounters with Eastern religions, Journeys East as well as a follow-up book, Light From the East . He edited The Betrayal of Tradition, and contributed the essay "The Firmament Sheweth His Handiwork: Re-awakening a Religious Sense of the Natural Order" to the anthology Seeing God Everywhere . The World Wisdom title on Swami Abhishiktananda, A Christian Pilgrim in India , was also written by Oldmeadow.

Books/DVDs containing the work of Harry Oldmeadow

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Harry Oldmeadow’s Writings Online
 TitleSourceAuthor 1Author 2SubjectWW HTMLWW PDFExternal Link
This "editorial" by editor Harry Oldmeadow to Crossing Religious Frontiers, the new volume of the Studies in Comparative Religion series, introduces the volume and inaugurates the new series. Oldmeadow has chosen some outstanding articles from the former Studies issues, from most of the luminaries of Traditionalism, but also included writings from some of the current voices of this school of thought. The central topic of the volume, honoring the unity of religions as well as their individual forms, is organized into three sections: "Principles," "Perspectives," and "Encounters."
Editorial (introduction) to "Crossing Religious Frontiers""Crossing Religious Frontiers" (2010) - first new volume of "Studies in Comparative Religion"Oldmeadow, Harry Comparative Religion, Inter-faith dialogue
In this foreword to World Wisdom's edition of Marco Pallis' "The Way and the Mountain," Harry Oldmeadow first gives some necessary background to the contemporary study of Tibetan Buddhism, and then looks at Marco Pallis' esteemed place among the commentators on that tradition. Oldmeadow states, "At a time when all too many of the Western cognoscenti hailed Buddhism as a kind of rational and humanistic psychology, Pallis’ writings served as an implacable reminder of the Transcendent which is the fountainhead of all integral religious traditions and without which all the doings of mortals are nothing." Oldmeadow also calls the book "Pallis' master work…focusing on the Tibetan tradition but situating it in the wider context of the perennial wisdom and the spiritual life which it entails."
Foreword to The Way and the MountainThe Way and the Mountain: Tibet, Buddhism & TraditionOldmeadow, Harry Buddhism
Author Prof. Harry Oldmeadow states that the goal of this essay is to "provide a sketch, largely through direct quotation, of a few of the key principles and doctrines which govern Schuon’s understanding of the natural order." This can assist us, because today we "witness a plethora of writings on the 'ecological crisis,' often well-intentioned and sometimes enlivened by partial insights, but fundamentally confused because of an ignorance of timeless metaphysical and cosmological principles. It has been the task of figures such as René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy and Frithjof Schuon, authoritative expositors of the sophia perennis, to remind the modern world of those principles."
Signs of the Supra-Sensible: Frithjof Schuon on the Natural Order"Sacred Web" journal web siteOldmeadow, Harry Environment and Nature
Besides a summary of Frithjof Schuon's role in the school of traditionalist thought, and his groundbreaking work, Oldmeadow's essay also includes interesting sections on Coomaraswamy and Guénon, the other two seminal authors of this school of thought.
A Sage for the Times: The Role and the Oeuvre of Frithjof Schuon"Eye of the Heart" journal web siteOldmeadow, Harry Commentary
Signs of the Times and the Light of TraditionThe Betrayal of Tradition: Essays on the Spiritual Crisis of ModernityOldmeadow, Harry Tradition
Traditionalism and the Sophia PerennisJourneys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious TraditionsOldmeadow, Harry Tradition
The Debate about "Orientalism"Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious TraditionsOldmeadow, Harry Tradition
Introduction to Light from the EastLight from the East: Eastern Wisdom for the Modern WestOldmeadow, Harry Eastern Religion
A Biographical Sketch of Swami Abhishiktananda (Henri Le Saux)A Christian Pilgrim in India: The Spiritual Journey of Swami Abhishiktananda (Henri Le Saux)Oldmeadow, Harry Christianity
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Harry Oldmeadow’s Bibliography


Traditionalism: Religion in the Light of Perennial Philosophy, Colombo: Sri Lanka Institute of Traditional Studies, 2000.

Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions, Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2004.

The Betrayal of Tradition: Essays on the Spiritual Crisis of Modernity, edited by Harry Oldmeadow, Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2005.

Light from the East: Eastern Wisdom for the Modern West, edited by Harry Oldmeadow, Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2007.

A Christian Pilgrim in India: The Spiritual Journey of Swami Abhishiktananda (Henri Le Saux), Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2008.

Selected articles and chapters

“Luther's Affirmation”, St Marks Review, No. 52, May 1968.

“Petrarch and Dr. Leavis: A Perspective on Literature and Society”, ANU Historical Journal, No 6, Nov 1969.

“Traditional and Modern Attitudes to Religious Biography”, Religious Traditions, VII-IX, 1986.

 “The Religious Tradition of the Australian Aborigines” in A. Sharma (ed) Fragments of Infinity: Essays in Philosophy and Religion, Prism Press, 1991.

“Disowning the Past: the Political and Postmodernist Assault on the Humanities”, Quadrant, March 1992.

“Sankaras Doctrine of Maya”, Asian Philosophy 2:2, 1992.

“The Life and Work of René Guénon” (introduction) in Reign of Quantity”, Sophia Perennis et Universalis, 1995.

“Modern Science and the Destruction of Traditional Understandings”, Australian Orthodontic Journal 14:3, October 1996.

“Tracking The Searchers: A survey of its critical reception”, Continuum, 11:2 1997.

“Delivering the last blade of grass: Aspects of the Bodhisattva Ideal in the Mahayana”, Asian Philosophy, 1997.

“Metaphysics, Theology and Philosophy”, Sacred Web 1, 1998.

“A Sage for the Times: the Role and Oeuvre of Frithjof Schuon”, Sophia, 1998.

“The Translucence of the Eternal: Religious Understandings of the Natural Order”, Sacred Web 2, 1998.

“To a Buddhist Beat: Allen Ginsberg on Poetics, Politics and Spirituality”, Beyond the Divide 3, 1999.

 “The Role of Mystical Traditions in the Contemporary World”, The Treasure: Australias Sufi Magazine, Issue No. 8, 2000.

“Formal Diversity, Essential Unity: Frithjof Schuon on the Convergence of Religions”, Sacred Web 5, 2000.

“In Search of Secret Tibet”, Esoterica, 2000, East Lansing: Michigan State University,

“The Not-so-Close Encounters of Western Psychology & Eastern Spirituality”, The Animist, 2000.

“Globalization and the Convergence of Religions”, in C.M. Cusack & P.R. Oldmeadow (eds), The End of Religion? Religion in an Age of Globalization, Sydney: Sydney University, 2001.

“Melodies from the Beyond: Aboriginal Religion in Schuonian Perspective”, Connaissance des religions, 2001.

“Signs of the Supra-Sensible: Frithjof Schuon on the Natural Order”, Sacred Web 6, 2001.

“Melodies de l’au-dela: Perspective schuonienne sur la religion des aborigènes d’Australie”, in P. Laude (ed), Dossier H Frithjof Schuon, Paris: Connaissance des religions, 2002.

“The Firmament Sheweth His Handiwork: Reawakening a Religious Sense of the Natural Order”, in Barry McDonald (ed), Seeing God Everywhere: Essays on Nature and the Sacred, Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2003.

“The Heart of the Religio Perennis: Frithjof Schuon on Esotericism”, in Edward Crangle (ed), Esotericism and the Control of Knowledge, Sydney: Sydney University, 2004.

“Debating Orientalism”, Australian Religion Studies Review, 18:2, 2005.

Online Resources about Harry Oldmeadow

The journal Eye of the Heart has an excellent listing of online articles in pdf format that should be of interest to readers of traditionalist/perennialist writing. Their archive of online articles by Professor Oldmeadow has numerous essays and other writings he has produced over the years.
Dr. Oldmeadow's page on the web site of La Trobe University has some current information on him and some links to additional online articles, etc.

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