About Us

Since its founding in New York in 1964, The School of Practical Philosophy has sought to communicate what humanity’s great teachers have told us about our true nature, our purpose in the creation, and how we might live a happy, full, and useful life.

About Us

Since its founding in New York in 1964, The School of Practical Philosophy has sought to communicate what humanity’s great teachers have told us about our true nature, our purpose in the creation, and how we might live a happy, full, and useful life.

From the very beginning, the School has drawn men and women of all ages and all walks of life who have wanted to simplify their lives and realize the benefits accorded by true wisdom, consciousness, and joy.

Through the school, students explore life’s big questions in a supportive and systematic way that is guided by the approach of “neither accept or reject.”

Students engage in experiential classes—that are participatory and not lectures—in the good company of like-minded seekers with diverse backgrounds, and emerge with time-tested principles and practices to apply in daily living and a toolbox of skills informed by the wisdom of great philosophers.

Hospitality is the first rule of the School of Practical Philosophy. This principle ensures that the school remains a place suffused with a generous spirit of love, and provides a setting where wisdom naturally flourishes. As such, The School of Practical Philosophy is run by its students on a voluntary basis. The tutors are also students who have studied the School’s teachings and philosophy for many years; they serve without receiving any monetary compensation precisely because they want others to benefit from this knowledge as well.

Wonder With UsTM is an invitation and a provocation.

It is the first step in a life long journey of self-discovery and transformation.

From this seed of wonder sprouts a shift of attention towards the underlying unity connecting us all.

Wonder With UsTM is a call to action to delight in the mundane and the miraculous. It is where wisdom begins.

Our History

Our History

Throughout history, schools have arisen to make eternal wisdom available to those seeking the ultimate truths about themselves, the world, and the creator. These have included Plato’s Academy in Ancient Athens, Marsilio Ficino’s Academy in Renaissance Florence and the American Transcendentalism movement in Massachusetts. While the structures of these schools and their teachings have varied, the philosophical aims have been consistent: to help members discover the truth and to use that knowledge for the well-being of all.

The School of Practical Philosophy was established in 1964 as an independent not-for-profit organization. It arose from the School of Economic Science, founded by Leon MacLaren in 1937. The work of SES initially focused on economics and justice; however, the need for deeper insight into the nature of humanity led to the study of philosophy, which literally means “the love of wisdom.” By the late 1950s philosophy became the School’s central subject.

The arrival of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to London in 1959 introduced the School to the practice of meditation, which remains its core practice. In the mid-1960s the School made contact with one of the great philosophers of India, Shri Shantananda Saraswati, who, for over thirty years, provided invaluable guidance in the study and practice of philosophy and meditation. Through this connection, the School was introduced to the philosophy of non-duality, known as Advaita. Since Shri Shantananda Saraswati’s death in 1997, similar guidance has been provided by his successor, Shri Vasudevananda Saraswati.

The School of Practical Philosophy is pleased to offer a systematic teaching through which students may enjoy life more fully, achieve their full potential, and evolve one’s innate spirituality.

New York Locations

Upper East Side

12 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075

Upper West Side (Satellite Location)

5 West 63rd Street
New York, NY 10023

Hudson Valley

846 Borden Circle
Wallkill, NY 12589

We Operate With Your Support

The School is a volunteer organization with no paid staff. We believe that interest in Practical Philosophy — and not money — should be the only requirement to participation. Donations to the School are used to cover basic operating expenses.