Though the two of the worked together in the early years I have heard there was a split between them later on.

When did this split happen? What was the cause? What is the implication and aftermath of it?

1 Answer 1


The reason stated in Anagarika Dharmapala's wikipedia page for his split with the Theosophical society is that he was against the idea of a universal religion that the Theosophists were aiming at.

Dharmapala eventually broke with Olcott and the Theosophists because of Olcott's stance on universal religion. One of the important factors in his rejection of theosophy centered on this issue of universalism; the price of Buddhism being assimilated into a non-Buddhist model of truth was ultimately too high for him."Dharmapala stated that Theosophy was "only consolidating Krishna worship." "To say that all religions have a common foundation only shows the ignorance of the speaker; Dharma alone is supreme to the Buddhist".


Later, in 1904 he had split with Henry Steel Olcott as well. The reason given in the book Relics, Ritual, and Representation in Buddhism is,

Dharmapala broke with Olcott in 1904 when the latter showed disrespect toward the relic of the Buddha's tooth, one of the most sacred relics of the Buddha worshipped in Sri Lanka.

The author cites Return to Righteousness: A Collection of Speeches, Essays, and Letters of the Anagarika Dharmapala as the original source for this and quotes the following phrase from this book in a footnote,

Col. Olcott insulted the feelings of the Buddhists by showing disrespect to the Tooth Relic, a copy of which he had placed under the shelf.

After the split I don't think there was enough time for something significant to happen, because Henry Steel Olcott died on 1907.


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