The Beginnings

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Find out more about the origins and the history of the School in the 7 minute video below.

Leon MacLaren…

During the 1940’s and 50’s the founder of the school, Leon MacLaren, began to develop the Practical Philosophy course out of his study of economics and philosophy.

leon maclarenIn the mid 1960’s he was introduced to Shri Shantananda Saraswati, a leading figure of the Vedantic tradition in India.

Over the next 30 years Leon MacLaren paid frequent visits to India; receiving guidance in the study and practice of philosophy from the holy tradition known as Advaita, which literally means ‘non-duality’ or ‘unity’.

Shri Shantananda Saraswati

At the first meeting, Shri Shantananda Saraswati talked about the direction of enquiry and the part he could play in it.

sri shantananda saraswatiHe said “It is not my desire which has to be carried out. The desire, which has to be helped, is that which arises in people looking for the truth, wishing to acquire the divine life, and to make efforts in that direction; and so far as I can, I will always be ready. My door is always open to anyone, known or unknown, eastern or western, irrespective of his upbringing or culture, because in fact we all come from the same stock. As long as that desire and the decision are strong, permanent and stable, the help will always be available.”

The School found this to be so: for the next 30 years he gave fully of his wisdom and guidance upon it through a series of conversations with the School’s leader at the time, Leon MacLaren.

How it works on our courses

A tutor presents material, and leads a discussion based on what arises. Being practical rather than academic, the emphasis is on personal knowledge. Students are encouraged neither to accept nor reject the ideas put forward, but to test them in practice for themselves, in the light of their own experience.

Frequently asked questions

The course is practical in the sense that it is designed to be of direct use in our everyday lives. The intention is to stimulate enquiry and through this expand the way we look at the world and ourselves.

Online or by emailing [email protected]

If you register online, you will receive a confirmation email with your day of attendance. If you register by any means other than online, you will receive a receipt confirming your registration.

Yes, we have a local venue where you can attend the course face-to-face. We also have other venues across the UK.

No, all you need is an open and enquiring mind. The course is intended for everyone, regardless of education, occupation, race, political or religious belief.

Face-to-face meetings will be held safely following all Health & Safety guidelines for your complete peace of mind.

Yes, we offer an online version of the course via Zoom. To find out more click here.

What some of our students say...

Local Course

Local face-to-face evening courses available at a choice of locations.

Peace of Mind

Following all Health & Safety guidelines for your complete peace of mind.

Practical Wisdom

Courses in practical wisdom for everyday living. Meet with like minded individuals.

Offer only £10

Introductory offer – 10 week course only £10. (Normally £65) Limited spaces. 

philosophy course reviews
“Absolutely loving the course!! …Really changing how I think about things and life in general.”
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“...I am benefiting greatly from the content and the practical nature of it. Thank you, it is enriching my life.”
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“The daily awareness exercises … have changed my thinking and I feel more relaxed about situations in the media and other aspects of my daily life.”
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"The knowledge and experience that I have gained from the philosophy classes has helped me to discover more about myself and better prepare for dealing with life's daily surprises and challenges."