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Founding the
Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation

No one person could possibly know or name all of the individuals who have been involved with the PBPF over its 40-year history.  What we’d like to do here is identify the individuals who have played a special role in its history.

To that end, we must begin with three very special people: Anthony Damiani, Kenneth Hurst, and Robert Larson.  A full appreciation of each of these good men would take many pages; at present we will focus mostly upon their relationship to the creation and operation of the Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation.

Kenneth Hurst


Robert Larson

(1930 – present)

The Original Board

Although Anthony Damiani had died by the time the PBPF was fully formed, he was very involved with the formulation and creation of The Notebooks of Paul Brunton. After the publication of Perspectives, Kenneth and Andrew Holmes conceived the PBPF, Inc. with the support of the Swedish publisher Robert Larson. Randy Cash and Timothy Smith were key to the success of the PBPF (two editors that PB had trained). Also invited to join the original Board were: Alan Berkowitz, Jeff Cox, Ella May Damiani, Harriet Eisman, Elaine Mansfield, Dr. Vic Mansfield.  Here’s a little bit of information about these individuals:

Micha-El [Dr. Alan Berkowitz]

Micha-El [Dr. Alan Berkowitz] is an internationally known private consultant and speaker who is highly regarded for his work preventing men’s violence, reducing substance abuse, and fostering social justice, as well for as his spiritual workshops.  He and his wife, M. Beatriz Rockett Berkowitz, have close ties to Jose Neto Trigueirinho and the Figueira community in Brazil and to Wisdom’s Goldenrod in New York.  Currently they are living in Mount Shasta, California where they are beginning a Figueira community and where there are plans for a monastery of the Ordem Gracia Misericordia (Grace-Mercy Order).  He studied with Anthony Damiani for more than a decade, served as a board member and Chair of the PBPF from its inception until 2005, and worked for brief periods as Paul Brunton’s personal assistant.  His website is

Paul Cash

Paul Cash has been the owner and operator of Larson Publications since its inception. PB designated him a co-editor of his unpublished writings. Due to various legal and economic changes, Larson Publications began prior to the creation of the PBPF, spent twenty years operating within the not-for-profit PBPF, and later became an independent entity again. Paul lived at Wisdom’s Goldenrod for some years where he studied with Anthony Damiani.  He also was PB’s last assistant and was with him when he died. Paul currently lives near the PBPF building with his wife, Amy Opperman-Cash who also works for Larson Publications and teaches piano.

Jeff Cox

Jeff Cox retired as the co-owner of Snow Lion Publications in 2012.  He was one of the first individuals to live as a resident monk at Wisdom’s Goldenrod, where he studied with Anthony Damiani.  He became involved with Snow Lion in 1984 and was instrumental in establishing it as the major publisher of Tibetan Philosophy.  He and his wife, Christi Cox, (who has also served on our board), are very active in the Tibetan community.  They are lifelong devotees of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and they continue to explore a wide variety of spiritual teachers and teachings when their busy schedule allows.

Ella May Damiani

Ella May Damiani was the wife of Anthony Damiani and the mother of their six boys.  A woman of extraordinary compassion, passion, and depth, she warmly welcomed hundreds of Anthony Damiani’s students into her home. She was a powerhouse of a woman with strong ideas and stronger feelings that never failed to inspire and challenge all who she met.  As the “great mother” of Wisdom’s Goldenrod she was truly loved by all, and her wise counsel was always welcome, even when it came with a bit of Irish salt!  Like her husband, she was a lifetime student of PB; they even hosted him in New York City from time to time when he visited America.  After her husband’s death in 1984, she entered fully into the direction and organization of the Wisdom’s Goldenrod community, as well as that of the Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation—so much so, that she was a lifetime member of both boards, a commitment that benefited both organizations until she died in 2008.

Harriet Eisman

Harriet Eisman has been a leading member of Wisdom’s Goldenrod Board of Directors for many years, actively organizing and participating in the weekly classes. She played a significant role in the PBPF effort to find the right university to house the PB archive. Harriet is a professional librarian now retired from the Watkins Glen Public library.

Andrew Holmes

Andrew Holmes has recently retired as CEO of a small software company he founded in 1989. He was asked by Anthony Damiani to be the architect and builder of the four buildings at Wisdom’s Goldenrod. He also accompanied Anthony to the last visit Anthony had with The Dalai Lama, a few days before Anthony passed on. He later worked closely with Kenneth Hurst to create the PBPF and helped Kenneth establish residence in the Finger Lakes. He is very interested in the Buddhism of Tibet and served on the Board of Snow Lion Publications. He lives near Wisdom’s Goldenrod with his wife, Marie, who is a volunteer for the PBPF.

Elaine Mansfield

Elaine Mansfield is a semi-retired health consultant specializing in women’s health and aging. She and her husband Vic studied with Anthony for many years and visited PB several times in his latter years. Elaine was involved with organizing the mammoth task of keyboarding thousands of small notebook pages from PB’s original material. She did a tremendous amount of that work herself. In her later years she has been deeply interested in Tibetan Buddhism and supported her husband while he completed his last book on that topic under extremely challenging circumstances. She lives near Wisdom’s Goldenrod in the house she and Vic purchased more than forty years ago.

Dr. Vic Mansfield

Dr. Vic Mansfield was a professor of physics and astronomy at Colgate University, where he taught for thirty years, often commuting weekly from his home near Wisdom’s Goldenrod so that he could stay active in studying with Anthony Damiani. Vic was the techno-wizard for the PBPF in the early days, spending many midnight hours nursing our 5MB machine back to life (at a time when any hard drive on a home computer was a rarity). He created the file that was the predecessor of our online searchable Notebook database and generally looked after all things technical. After Anthony’s and PB’s passing, Vic became increasingly drawn to Tibetan Buddhism and Jungian psychology; he wrote three amazing books on these subjects and was able to present a copy of his final book, Tibetan Buddhism and Modern Science, to His Holiness (who also wrote the introduction) just months before he died of lymphoma.  He is missed by many and is survived by his wife, Elaine, and two sons. More about Vic can be found on our Commentaries on PB page.

Timothy Smith

Timothy Smith is a semi-retired astrologer. He was the co-editor of PB’s posthumous The Notebooks of Paul Brunton.  He served continuously on the PBPF board since its inception. Timothy embraced the mammoth responsibility of managing the preparation and editing of the complete PB physical archive now housed at Cornell University and also the preparation of the files for the digital archive. He and his first wife, Devon Cottrell, served as assistants to PB for a year prior to his death, during which time PB instructed Tim on his plans for posthumous publication and the reorganization of his notebook material.  He co-edited (with Kira Lallas, a former board chairperson) a deluxe edition of PB’s A Search in Secret Egypt. Tim lived as a resident of Wisdom’s Goldenrod for several years and studied with Anthony until his death.  He also has had a lifetime interest in Hinduism and has translated several classic works from Sanskrit.  He lives near Wisdom’s Goldenrod with his wife, Karen, and a varying number of pets.

The History of PBPF

The Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation was incorporated in 1986 as a not-for-profit organization for the purpose of providing multimedia access to the writings, research, and biography of Paul Brunton, his teachers, and his students. Our first task was the publication of the material Paul Brunton reserved for posthumous publication; this material is presented in the sixteen-volume set The Notebooks of Paul Brunton. After completing this massive task, we focused on the equally large project of completing the physical and digital archive, as well as continuing our book publishing efforts with many smaller projects. At the same time we’ve developed this website with more useful and interactive content to aid individuals with their own spiritual research.


Please note: this timeline is hardly a measure of PB’s activities, nor those of Anthony Damiani; the dates listed here reflect the key moments that led up to the creation of the PBPF and its activities since its creation.


Anthony Damiani meets Paul Brunton in New York and begins a lifelong relationship with him, eventually becoming his primary student in the 1960s.


Anthony and Ella May Damiani host Kenneth Hurst while he gets established in the publishing business.  Paul Brunton visits often with them during his visits to America.


Anthony Damiani moves his family from NYC to Valois, New York to deepen his studies and open a spiritual bookstore.


Steve Damiani with his father Anthony opens The American Brahman Bookstore in Ithaca, New York.  Read more here.


Anthony Damiani begins classes at the American Brahman Bookstore; over 100 students gather there and start meeting at his home on Sundays.  The classes focus on Paul Brunton, Plotinus, Jung, Vedanta, and Astrology.


Paul Brunton students from Columbus, Ohio USA meet Anthony Damiani at his home for the first time.


The students of Anthony Damiani (now about 200 strong) offer to build a center in which classes and meditations can be held.  This is accomplished over the next two years, and Wisdom’s Goldenrod comes into existence.  Individual students begin visiting Paul Brunton in Europe around this time.  Anthony travels to Columbus, Ohio USA to meet with students studying PB.  Thereafter Anthony visits Columbus several times a year to give talks and meet with students.


At Anthony Damiani’s request, PB agrees to visit America for a last time.  The purpose of this visit was to meet the Ohio PB study group (long affiliated with Wisdom’s Goldenrod), meet all of Anthony’s students at Wisdom’s Goldenrod, and consider the possibility of spending his final years in or near Wisdom’s Goldenrod.


PB decides not to relocate to Wisdom’s Goldenrod, but does accept Anthony Damiani’s offer to have his students assist PB in his day-to-day activities.  The first assistant, Ed McKeown is dispatched at once.  He is followed by Robert Geyer, then Timothy and Devon Cottrell Smith, Micha-El (Dr. Alan Berkowitz), and finally Paul Cash.  Many others visit and assist for short periods of time—as do PB’s European students, notably Anna Bornstein, his Swedish translator.  (It should be noted that there were many other visitors, students, and helpers who spent time with PB that prefer to remain anonymous, or otherwise don’t figure in the history of the PBPF; the few individuals mentioned here are merely representative of a lifetime filled with such assistants and associates.)


Sidney Piburn who traveled to Dharmsala, India to meet the Dalai Lama, invites him to come to the US.  The Dalai Lama tours the US for the first time and also visits the Wisdom’s Goldenrod Center for Philosophic Study and dedicates the newly built library.


During Timothy and Devon Smith’s visit PB begins arranging his notes for posthumous publication.  As this project progresses, various students at Wisdom’s Goldenrod begin to assist in this massive task.


Paul Brunton dies.  His unpublished writings are sent to Wisdom’s Goldenrod Center.  His son, Kenneth Hurst, is made the literary inheritor.  Paul Cash and Timothy Smith are made co-editors to oversee organizing the material for publication.  The whole of the Wisdom’s Goldenrod community, under the guidance of Anthony Damiani engages in the task of keyboarding PB’s notes from the so-called Idea Series of unpublished notebooks; these become the basis for the published set  The Notebooks of Paul Brunton.


Anthony Damiani and Kenneth Hurst agree to begin publishing PB’s works; a ‘sampler volume’ is planned; this becomes Perspectives, which introduces key points from all 28 topics in PB’s notebooks.  Robert Larson, the Swedish publisher of PB’s works establishes an American branch of his business; Paul Cash is engaged to run this business.  Robert Larson provides a substantial financial base to fund the project of creating Larson Publications and to cover the material expenses of entering some 50,000 pages of handwritten notes into a computer database (managed by Vic Mansfield).


Larson Publications publishes Perspectives in July.  Work continues of publishing the Notebook Series.  Anthony Damiani dies in October, days after his final visit with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.


Kenneth Hurst, Robert Larson, and the community of Wisdom’s Goldenrod join together to form the non-profit Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation.  Kenneth signs over the copyrights to the posthumous material; Robert Larson contributes Larson Publications and additional financial support; and the Wisdom’s Goldenrod community of Anthony Damiani’s students contribute many hours of sweat equity.  The original board members are Kenneth Hurst (Chairman), Micha-El (Dr. Alan Berkowitz), Paul Cash, Jeff Cox, Ella May Damiani, Harriet Eisman, Andrew Holmes, Robert Larson, Elaine Mansfield, Vic Mansfield, and Timothy Smith.  Many others, too numerous to mention, have given invaluable volunteer support.  Their help is deeply appreciated.  By now the publication of the Notebooks series is in full swing, with several volumes coming out each year.


The publication of The Notebooks of Paul Brunton is completed; it takes 16 full volumes to house the paras from all 28 of PB’s original categories.  A full set is presented to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and to His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji, the 68th Shankaracarya, whom PB first describes in A Search in Secret India.


Three titles of Anthony Damiani’s writings were developed by students at Wisdom’s Goldenrod  and published by PBPF / Larson: Looking into Mind, Living Wisdom, and Standing in Your Own Way.  Then the first ‘small book; of PB’s writings, an abridgement of specific sections of the Notebooks of Paul Brunton focusing on specific issues, was developed.  The title is self-explanatory: Meditations for People in Charge: A Handbook for Men and Women Whose Decisions Affect the World.  In February of the following year the website was launched, and the second small book, Meditations for People in Crisis, was published.


Larson Publications (owner and operator, Paul R. Cash), which had been part of the Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation becomes an independent entity.  A new edition of A Search in Secret Egypt, edited by Timothy J. Smith and Kira Lallas, is published.  The editors also conduct a series of workshops titled Paul Brunton and The Myth of Osiris (available on DVD) that provide a provocative exploration of A Search in Secret Egypt with a focus on the Osiris myth as a symbol of the ego’s true death and the awakening of the soul.


The website started as a response to PB’s words, “The duty to which we are called is not to propagate ideas but to offer them…”  This internet service is a “window” through which questers who are not familiar with English can discover PB’s wonderful teachings in their own language.  Every day of the year there is a new inspiring note posted, at present in 16 languages, selected from The Notebooks of Paul Brunton.  You are welcome to visit the site daily!


The Paul Brunton archive is now housed at Cornell University, and also available online.

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