Perhaps I should start a new category for ‘Unusual People To Whom Australians Write’, for ‘People’ or ‘Miscellaneous’ do not do justice to this man. The cover has an advert for The Grosvenor, the leading Private Hotel, Adelaide, S.A. Opposite Railway Station. The pair of green 1d Q.E. stamps are cancelled with a roller ADELAIDE/ 430AM/ 28 MCH/ 1941/STH AUSTRALIA with the slogan AIR MAIL/ SAVES TIME. It is addressed to Edwin J. Dingle F.R. G. S., Preceptor Emeritus, Institute of Mentalphysics, Second & Hobart Blvds(?), Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. The reverse was not seen (Figure 1).
Edwin John Dingle was born in Cornwall England on 6 April 1881 and he was a journalist, author and founder of the Institute of Mentalphysics in California. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Soiety of Great Britain. He claimed to have learned advanced spiritual disciplines from a Tibetan mystic, and he styled himself as a spiritual teacher with the name Ding Le Mei. As the President and Preceptor Emeritus of the Institute of Mentalphysics, he described himself as a "psychologist, author and philosopher".
After his birth in England, he was orphaned at nine. As a journalist, he moved to Singapore in 1900 to cover the affair of the Far East, and became one of the first caucasians that went into China. He stayed for a period of time in a Tibetan Monastery and learned meditation and yoga. In 1910 he traveled to Tibet, stayed for nine months and claimed to have learned closely guarded advanced spiritual methods. These 8 Key Breaths were a form of pranayama (breathing control), and he spent nearly 21 years in China, India, Tibet and Burma.
In 1917, the North China Daily News & Herald of Shanghai published his The New Atlas and Commercial Gazeteer of China which was devoted to China’s ‘geography & resources and economic & commercial development’. The book served as a standard reference for years. After his return to England, Dingle wrote of his experiences in the East. In 1921 he settled in Oakland California and lived in a retreat until 1927, and he then began preaching on what he called the "science of mentalphysics’, a technique based on vegetarian diet, pranayama, and development of extrasensory perception. His "Institute of Mentalphysics" was incorporated in 1933-34, and a retreat centre was established in Joshua Tree (then Yucca Valley) California in 1941.
He also established a centre at the International Church of the Holy Trinity in Los Angeles, where he taught classes and also conducted correspondence courses on "mentalphysics across North America. Dingle dieed on 27 January 1972 and he was succeeded by Donald L. Waldrop. A picture of Edwin John Dingle in his oriental robe is seen in Figure 2.
Additional information was found at the Mentalphysics site: Edwin John Dingle, known as Ding Le Mei to over 220,000 students of the Science of Mentalphysics worldwide. He later became a journalist establishing a publishing empire in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Risking his life on both a mapping expedition and spiritual quest across China in the early 1900’s, he entered into Tibet. There he discovered the mysteries of Asia and India, secret wisdom, passed along from master to pupil, from wise man to wise man, for countless ages, beginning, perhaps, six or seven thousand years ago. In his quest for spiritual knowledge he became one of the first Westerners to enter a Tibetan Monastery. It was there that he was recognized as a highly evolved soul, and therefore stayed to study for a long period of time.
In 1914 Edwin J. Dingle, F.R.G.S published in Shanghai his "New Map of China." the publication of this bilingual map at once established his reputation as a geographer. The "New Map of China" was an unqualified success, and at once became China’s standard map. He writes in his preface to that work, "of producing in the Far East a volume requiring the joint labors of European and Chinese Translators, draftsmen, engravers, lithographers, machinists and bookbinders (to enumerate only a few of the craftsmen whose cooperation is essential). For his geographical achievements, Mr. Dingle was honored with Fellowships by the Royal Geographical Society and the American Geographical Society.