Author Topic: White Lama?  (Read 13041 times)


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White Lama?
« on: October 11, 2012, 02:50:34 PM »
Heard of Theos Benard? Apparently he's the world's first white lama...hmmm found an article on him. Quite an interesting read for a fake...

On March 21, 1939, members of a Reno audience paid 50 cents apiece to see a curious figure step onstage inside the State Building to deliver a lecture with the exotic title “Penthouse of the Gods.”

The man speaking was Theos Bernard, and underneath his easy-on-the-eyes Hollywood looks and charming speaking voice was a man dedicated to studying and teaching the ancient traditions of Tibet to American audiences.

Bernard, born and raised in Tombstone, Ariz., had given up a law practice to travel to the far east to learn about the then-unknown practices of yoga and Tibetan Buddhism. With Tibet sealed off to foreigners, it remained one of the world’s last unknown places. Bernard, ever charming, managed to befriend the Tibetans and was eventually invited to study in their country. Upon his departure, he brought back 50 muleloads of ancient scrolls and priceless artifacts, given to him by Tibetan monks in order to spread the word about Tibetan Buddhism and yoga.

At his peak, Bernard enjoyed superstar status and was on the cover of Family Circle magazine. His travels were covered by the New York Times and London’s Daily Mail, resulting in front-page articles. At a time when yogis were viewed with suspicion, Bernard broke down barriers and infused new philosophies into the western world.

Then, in 1947, at the age of 38, Bernard’s voice was silenced when he was killed in sectarian violence in Tibet, but his legacy as the man who introduced Tibetan Buddhism to the west carries on to this day.

Douglas Veenhof, a Buddhist journalist and author of Bernard’s biography “White Lama: The Life of Tantric Yogi Theos Bernard, Tibet’s Lost Emissary to the New World” will be in town this weekend for a lecture and series of meditation classes as well as a book signing Oct. 3 at Sundance Books and Music.

The Friday night speech, entitled “The Biggest Spiritual Question of Them All: How Do You Turn Concepts into Realizations?” is at 6:30 p.m. at Diamond Heart Center, 606 W. Plumb Lane. Donations are welcome. There will be two days of meditation courses also at Diamond Heart Saturday and Sunday at noon and 3:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 per session. The reading and signing is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3 at Sundance Books and Music, 121 California Ave. In an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, Veenhof talked about Bernard’s lasting influence, saying, “today there are 16 million people doing some form of yoga in the United States and 18 million in North America. There are 1,500 Tibetan Buddhist centers in the U.S., North America and Europe. 75 years ago, there was virtually nothing here.”

Veenhof says a direct line can be drawn from Bernard’s teachings and today’s widespread popularity of yoga and Tibetan Buddhism.

The complete Q&A follows below.

Q: Let’s start with the talk you’ll be giving Friday night. What sort of ground will you cover?

A: Theos Bernard went to Tibet with a question. He was the first real researcher in the west making an academic study as an anthropologist and a philosopher of Tantric yoga and Tibetan Buddhism. He went with the question, “do these ancient spiritual technologies have any relevance for the modern world?”

The Friday talk will address this question. The Three-Step Dance of Turning Concept into Realization. It relies on new discoveries in neuorscience and how the world of our experience really depends on whether it’s the left or the right hemisphere of the brain that is paying attention to the world. The really fascinating premise in this neuroscience is that the 21st Century World of Modernism and Post-Modernism is simultaneously the product of a radical imbalance of these two hemispheres. My premise is that these 2,500 year old practices of meditation and yoga are probably the best methods ever devised to bring that third step of the three-step back into play and rebalance the hemispheres.

Q: This calls to mind the famous Harvard study where Buddhist monks were hooked up to EEGs to look at their brain activity when they were meditating.

A: There’s evidence all over the place now. A lot of it deals with mindful attention, like John Kabat Zinn’s approach to mindfulness and stress reduction. Also, Stanford has undertaken a whole new series of research dealing specifically with advanced meditators and Tibetan monks and how this development of compassion affects the brain, and the health aspects of it. There’s a huge amount of research now answering that question that Theos went to Tibet to answer for himself.

Over the weekend, we’ll be getting into the real nuts and bolts of this 2,500-year-old system of meditation called Shamatha meditation. It’s the method of really establishing stability, clarity and vividness in meditation; a way of placing the mind where you would like to and developing the ability to keep it there. This is based on techniques derived from three different Buddhist schools of meditation.

Q: With four different meditation sessions, people can just drop in on any one of them?

A: They can drop in and hopefully they will come to the first one and decide to come to all of the others also because it is a progression. Definitely anybody coming to the third session will regret that they didn’t come to the first session.

Q: Can people of all experience levels come?

A: That’s right. The reason a beginning meditator would want to come here is we’re going to be getting into really experiential methods for laying the foundation for good meditation practice. These are things I wish I had learned 25 years ago. People who have been meditating for 25 years or so are also excited about these techniques because it’s a blending of techniques. It’s a very interesting and enlivening approach that works very well for meditators that have plateaued.

Q: Before we get into Theos, tell me about your background and how you came to these studies.

A: I’ve had a lifelong interest really since age 18 when I went to college and in my study of poetry at St. Olaf College (in Minnesota), I became really enamored with Carl Jung during my study of the Beats. When I was 18 I found on the remainder table of a bookstore a reproduction of the 1935 edition of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and that book had a forward by Carl Jung. That started me on a long fascination with Tibetan Buddhism.

Q: Interesting. I stumbled on Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha” around the same age, which got me interested.

A: It was Herman Hesse that also was part of my interest in Jung, especially (the 1919 novel) “Demian.” All of that fit together for the same way it did for you. Interestingly, this whole idea in the introduction to the book that Jung credits his own idea of Shadow Projection, which is a very important topic in humanistic psychology, to the Tibetan Book of the Dead for giving him that idea that he introduced in analytical psychology to the west.

After college, I moved out to Washington state and became obsessed with climbing and glaciers and I worked as a professional mountain guide for seven years. I had a group of private clients that would take me traveling and frequently to the Himalayas, where I’d spend six months to a year. When I went there, I spent more and more time in the monasteries there. That really began to intrigue me. In 1987, I was there leading a trip to Lhasa in Tibet for the 40th anniversary of Mao’s Communist victory in China. That was a very sensitive period in Lhasa because the Chinese wanted to make a celebration of it and the Tibetans wanted to protest. I was witness to a demonstration and its brutal crackdown in which seven Tibetans were killed. So for 20 years already at that point, I had been a writer working on poetry, a novel and a screenplay. I thought that I had the story of this very powerful international event, which I was one of the first people to get out of Tibet a week later and get to Kathmandu because Tibet was locked down in martial law. I realized I didn’t know anything at all about news reporting and I hadn’t reported the story. So, all I had was my first-person, subjective account of events. What I realized I wanted to really be able to do that sort of thing, so I went back to the University of Washington and got a degree in journalism.

Q: Theos was certainly a very interesting character. How do we draw a direct line between Theos and the modern Buddhist and yogic movements in the west today?

A: Today there are 16 million people doing some form of yoga in the United States and 18 million in North America. There are 1,500 Tibetan Buddhist centers in the U.S., North America and Europe. 75 years ago, there was virtually nothing here. Through unique circumstances, this boy growing up in Tombstone, Ariz., became fascinated with yoga and tanrta. He undertook the first academic study in the United States of tantra.

At that time, yoga and Tibetan Buddhism were really known only for their caricatures in the mainstream media. Zen was getting a real foothold here, but Tibetan Buddhism and yoga both were thought of as depraved, cultish, deity-worshiping, demon-filled paths. Most of the knowledge that we had of those came from missionaries to Tibet. Tibet, for Victorian adventurers, was the last great unsolved problem. The source of the Nile had been found, but Tibet, since 1792, had been sealed off. It was a romantic destination for adventurers and explorers. Tibet was “the last place.”

Theos was the first one invited in as a spiritual pilgrim because of his preparation. He spoke fluent Tibetan and spent six months learning the culture. He was an anthropologist, so he was really trying to understand this culture, so he was treated like royalty when he spent his three months in Tibet and sent back with 50 muleloads of the finest quality scriptures and priceless artifacts. He was the first one to come back with a story.

In the fall of 1937, just when Theos was returning to Tibet, Frank Capra was just releasing “Lost Horizon,” which had been an international bestseller. Theos then became the poster child for someone who actually did go to Tibet and came back with the truth of “Lost Horizon” and the wisdom that was going to save the world.

In my account of the “Lost Horizon” mania, there’s a 1939 advertisement from the Reno Evening Gazette because Theos went to Reno that read something like, “Have you seen ‘Lost Horizon?’ Then come hear Theos Bernard tell you the real story of Shangri-La.”

There are a couple of Reno episodes in the book. After the law was changed in Nevada legalizing divorcing, Viola, Theo’s first wife, spent a month in Reno gaining residency.

Theos became a cultural phemonenon because of that cultural interest in Tibet. It was the powerful, forbidden, romantic and last great destination for the world to explore. Also, in 1937, the country and the world felt like it was the darkest moment in history. That was the zeitgeist. In fact, it was James Hilton, author of “Lost Horizon” who called it that in a piece in the L.A. Times. It seemed the United States was about to be dragged into another European war, and technology had created the instruments of destruction that could completely annihilate all of human culture. That was heavy on the minds of people. The storyline of “Lost Horizon” is that that’s exactly what happens. So the news events and “Lost Horizon” fit together so perfectly with Theos’ return from Tibet and bringing this ancient wisdom that had a power that people were hoping would bring peace to the world.

Q: So, the world was really sort of primed for him. Was he well received at first?

A: He became such a huge celebrity. Within six months of his return, he had two book contracts and his editor was Maxwell Perkins at Scribners who was famous for discovering Ernest Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. His picture appeared on the cover of Family Circle, the leading personality magazine of the day four times in 18 months. It had a circulation of 3.5 million. He shared those four covers with people like Errol Flynn, Bette Davis and Dorothy Lamour, and his picture was twice the size of theirs.

He went on a speaking tour to capitalize on his celebrity and to spread the story of Tibetan Buddhism and yoga. He toured the country and crossed the country four times, stopping in major cities, including Reno.

The London Daily Mail gave him a front page story and called it the greatest adventure story of the year when he returned.

Q: Why are we so interested in Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism here in the west?

A: I can tell you why I became fascinated. On my visits to the Himalayas and spending time in Tibetan culture, I was always fascinated why people who had so little could be so happy. I think that’s what really intrigues westerners. The Dalai Lama is just the poster child for someone who is well-adapted and seems to just live and breath genuine, sustainable happiness. I think that really intrigues people who are unhappy. The thing you always hear is that, “I don’t know what they have, but I want some of that.”

Q: Right, like “how do you bottle that?” Maybe that’s what’s wrong with our approach is that we look at happiness as something to be possessed.

A: Yeah. But that’s always the proof of a philosophy; the success of those who are practicing it. I believe that’s what leads people to show up for yoga for the first time or to show up for a meditation class, is that they’ve met someone for whom it seems to be working.

Q: Are these practices good for those of us in the west as they are, or do they need a little bit of modification, culturally, to get it?

A: How is Buddhism being introduced to the west, because it’s a one-generation old phenomenon? A number of things are happening. You still see the absolutely pure lineage that the absolute masters in Tibet 200 years ago would have been using the same monastic textbooks and doing the exact same practices. And then, at the same time, there’s a group of Buddhists that are changing it, I think very dramatically and to a point that we need to see whether this new approach still has the power of the proven, old approach. The basic idea of whether the phenomenon of consciousness can be reduced to the brain. So, is the mind nothing but the neurological correlates that can be measured in the laboratory? If you believe, as materialist, reductionists do who say that the mind ends at death, that changes the scope of practices and the goal of practices.

Could this journalist be a reincarnation of Theos Benard...promoting his former life?  hmmm....

DS Star

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Re: White Lama?
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 08:50:43 PM »
"Quite an interesting read for a fake..."   Ensapa. why did you said he is a fake?

From the information I gather online, he seems to be 'a real deal'...

"Tibet in the late 1930s was a country struggling to maintain its independence in the face of increasing pressure from the surrounding empires of Great Britain, Russia, and China. The object of much political intrigue, the Tibetan government attempted to maintain a strict policy of border control. Few Westerners, and fewer still Americans, were able to breach the borders of Tibet. Theos Bernard, with his knowledge of literary and spoken Tibetan, coupled with papers of introduction from his Tibetan teachers—and the friendship of the Tibetan cabinet minister, Tsarong Shapé—was one of the few ever to reach Lhasa.

Although his journey from home lasted 16 months, only four were spent in Tibet. During his stay in Lhasa, Bernard was privy to unprecedented levels of access to Tibetan ceremonies and resources. Documenting his experiences in pictures, Bernard left a historical record of an age-old civilization on the brink of political upheaval."
- Paul G. Hackett



Full description for The White Lama
"When Theos Bernard first arrived in Tibet with a traders' caravan he was welcomed as a God and given unheard-of access to shrines and monasteries, as well as full initiation as a Lama of the Gelugpa sect. He shot over 10,000 ft of film of people, places and secret ceremonies and was given a caravan of 147 yaks loaded with the finest editions of the most important Buddhist scriptures, which he sent back to America. These books now form a precious collection and are divided between Harvard and Yale universities. Theos Bernard became a celebrity scholar and author. Fluent in Tibetan, with a PhD in Oriental Philosophy, he was married twice to two rich heiresses. His adventures were well covered by both the British and American press, for example the "Daily Mail" sent a reporter to Tibet in 1937 to interview him. He was last seen in 1947 en route to a monastery in Ladakh.His friends at the Explorer's Club in New York had three explanations of what happened to him. Some believed he was mistakenly killed by a group of drunken tribesmen. Others that his disappearance was staged to provide a cover for spying on the Russians and Chinese. Still others say that Bernard slipped away when his pack train was attacked and chose to disappear into a life of study and meditation in the monasteries of Tibet. This remarkable book will throw new light on a great traveller, and on his unexplained disappearance."

Big Uncle

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Re: White Lama?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2012, 06:41:03 AM »

This is extremely interesting - this White Lama. I have never heard of him but I did read about the explorer-scholars Lama Govinda Anagarika and Li Gotami.

Lama Anagarika Govinda (May 17, 1898–January 14, 1985), born Ernst Lothar Hoffman was the founder of the order of the Arya Maitreya Mandala and an expositor of Tibetan Buddhism, Abhidharma, Buddhist Meditation as well as other aspects of Buddhism. He was also a painter and poet.

Life in Europe

He was born in Waldheim, Germany, the son of a German father and a Bolivian mother. His father was quite well to do and owned a cigar factory. His mother died when he was three years old. While enrolled in the German army during World War I, he caught tuberculosis in Italy and was discharged. He recovered at a sanatorium and then studied philosophy, psychology and archeology at Freiburg University. He did not finish his studies, but went to live in a German art colony on Capri in Italy, as a painter and poet. He studied at the Universities of Naples and Cagliari and made archeological research journeys in North Africa. He lived on Capri from 1920 until 1928. Already at the age of 16 he started to study philosophy and by way of Schopenhauer he encountered Buddhism. After having made a comparative study of the major religions, he became a convinced Buddhist at the age of 18. He joined the Bund für buddhistisches Leben (~Association for Buddhist Living). On Capri he practiced meditation with an American Buddhist friend.

Sri Lanka

In December 1928 he moved from Capri to Sri Lanka and stayed as a celibate Buddhist layman (brahmac?ri), and later as a celibate, homeless layman (anagarika), for nine weeks at the Island Hermitage with Nyanatiloka Thera, a teacher and scholar in the Theravada tradition. He was instrumental in founding the International Buddhist Union (IBU) in 1929, of which he made Nyanatiloka the president. The aim of the IBU was to unite all Buddhists worldwide and to promote Buddhism through the virtuous and exemplary conduct of practising Buddhists. As secretary of the IBU, he travelled to Burma and Europe to raise support. Although he came to Sri Lanka with the aim of becoming a Buddhist monk, he was discouraged to do so by Anagarika Dhammapala on the grounds that it would be difficult to travel as a Buddhist monk. In 1930 he founded the Variyagoda Hermitage in a tea-estate in the mountains near Gampola, but he only lived there for one year with his German stepmother Anne Habermann who had come with him from Europe. At Variyagoda Govinda studied Abhidhamma and Pali.
[edit]Life and travels in India and Tibet before WWII

In April 1931 Govinda went to All-India Buddhist Conference in Darjeeling as the representative of the IBU, to propagate the “pure Buddhist teaching as preserved in Ceylon, in a country where it had degenerated into a system of demon worship and fantastic forms of belief.” However, in nearby Sikkim he met the Tibetan Gelugpa meditation teacher Tomo Geshe Rimpoche alias Lama Ngawang Kalzang (1866–1936), who greatly impressed him and completely changed his views about Tibetan Buddhism. From then on he embraced Tibetan Buddhism, although he never abandoned his Theravada roots and stayed in contact with Nyanatiloka and later with Nyanaponika. Lama Ngawang Kalzang taught meditation to Govinda, who remained in contact with him until his death. During their 1947–1948 expeditions to Tibet, Govinda and Li Gotami met Ajo Repa Rinpoche, who, according to Govinda, initiated them into the Kagyüpa school of Tibetan Buddhism.

The scholar Donald Lopez questions whether the 'initiations' that Govinda received are to be understood in the traditional Tibetan way of the term, i.e., as an empowerment by a Lama to carry out Tantric rituals or meditations. When he first met Lama Ngawang Kalzang, Govinda spoke no Tibetan and his description of the initiation is vague. According to Lopez, no initiation into the Kagyu order or any other Tibetan order exists, and it is unclear what was the nature of the initiation ceremony and the teachings that Govinda and his wife received from Ajo Repa Rinpoche. Govinda himself wrote in Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism that he understood 'initiates' to mean 'individuals who, in virtue of their own sensitiveness, respond to the subtle vibrations of symbols which are presented to them either by tradition or intuition.' And in The Way of White Clouds, he wrote: “A real Guru's initiation is beyond the divisions of sects and creeds: it is the awakening to our own inner reality which, once glimpsed, determines our further course of development and our actions in life without the enforcement of outer rules.”

Govinda stayed on in India, teaching German and French at Rabindranath Tagore's Vishva Bharati university in Santinekan. He lost interest in the IBU, which caused it to collapse. In 1932 Govinda briefly visited Tibet from Sikkim (visiting Mount Kailash), and in 1933 from Ladakh. The summer months of 1932 and 1934 he and his stepmother, who had followed him to India, stayed at his hermitage at Variyagoda, where a German Buddhist nun, Uppalava??? (Else Buchholz), and a German monk, Vappo, were then also living. Uppalava??? acquired the property from Govinda in 1945 and stayed there until the 1970s. In a letter dated 1.9.1934 Govinda wrote that he had come to Sri Lanka accompanied by Rabindranath Tagore and had given a series of lectures on Tibetan Buddhism in various places in Sri Lanka, trying to raise support for the planned Buddhist university at Sarnath. The reception in Sri Lanka was poor and Govinda, who had run out of funds, was quite disappointed.

On orders of Tomo Geshe Rimpoche Govinda founded his order, The Buddhist Order Arya Maitreya Mandala, on 14.10.1933. Fourteen people were then ordained. Govinda received the name Anangavajra Khamsung Wangchuk. In 1934, in Calcutta, he had the first exhibition of his paintings. From 1935 to 1945 he was the general secretary of the International Buddhist University Association (IBUA), for which he held lectures on Buddhist philosophy, history, archeology, etc., at the Buddhist academy at Sarnath. In 1936 he got a teaching position at the University of Patna, from where he gave guest lectures at the universities of Allahabad, Lucknow and Benares. His lectures on Buddhist psychology at the University of Patna were published in 1939 as The Psychological Attitude of Early Buddhist Philosophy, and his lectures at Shantinekan as Psycho-Cosmic Symbolism of the Buddhist Stupa in 1940. In 1938, after two failed attempts and on recommendation of the prime minister of Uttar Pradesh, he managed to become a full British citizen. In 1947 he became a citizen of India. From 1937 to 1940 he lived with his stepmother in a house in Darjeeling.

World War II

Although Govinda was now a British citizen, he was nevertheless interned by the British during WWII due to his associations with “persons of anti-British sympathies,” i.e. the Nehru family. First he was interned at Ahmednagar. Because he made no secret of being against Fascism, the Nazis in the prison camp bullied him, just as they did with other anti-fascists. This bullying compelled British to open a special camp for anti-fascists at Dehra Dun, to where he was transferred in 1942. Nyanatiloka and other German Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka were also interned at Dehra Dun. In the camp Govinda stayed with the German monk Nyanaponika, with whom he studied languages, and formed a close friendship that lasted till the end of his life.

Life in Kasar Devi after WWII and travels to Tibet

In 1947 he married the Parsi artist Li Gotami (original name Ratti Petit, 22.4.1906 - 18.8.1988) from Bombay, who, as a painter, had been his student at Santinekan in 1934. Govinda and Li Gotami wore Tibetan styles robes and were initiates in the Drugpa Kagyu lineage. The couple lived in a house rented from the writer Walter Evans-Wentz at Kasar Devi, near Almora in northern India. Kasar Devi, in hippie circles known as 'Crank's Ridge', was a bohemian colony home to artists, writers and spiritual seekers such as Earl Brewster, Alfred Sorensen and John Blofeld. Many spiritual seekers, including the Beat Poets Allan Ginsberg and Gary Snyder, the LSD Gurus Timothy Leary and Ralph Metzner, the psychiatrist R.D. Laing, and Tibetologist Robert Thurman came to visit Govinda at his ashram. The number of visitors became so great that the couple eventually put signs to keep unwanted visitors away.

From Kasar Devi, Govinda and Li Gotami undertook journeys to Tibet in the late 1940s, making a large number of paintings, drawings and photographs. These travels are described in Govinda's book The Way of the White Clouds. While on the expedition to Tsaparang and Tholing in Western Tibet in 1948-49, sponsored by the Illustrated Weekly of India, Govinda received initiations in the Nyingma and Sakyapa lineages.[15] Pictures of the Tsaparang frescoes taken by Li Gotami, then, before the Cultural Revolution, still intact appear in Govinda's The Way of the White Clouds Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism and Tibet in Pictures (co-authored with Li Gotami).[16] In The Way of the White Clouds Govinda writes that he was a reincarnation of the poet Novalis.

Li Gotami, Lama Govinda, Nyanaponika Thera, late 1960s or early 1970s
1960s and 1970s world tours

The German Hans-Ulrich Rieker, who was ordained in the Arya Maitreya Mandala Order in 1952, was ordered by Govinda to set up a Western wing of the Order. The founding took place simultaneously in Berlin by Rieker, and in Sanchi by Govinda, on 30.11.1952. In 1960 Govinda went to Europe as a representative of Tibetan Buddhism at an international religious conference in Venice. Subsequently he went to England, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands. In 1965 he went on a lecturing tour through Germany, France, and Switzerland. In 1968-69 through the USA and Japan. In 1972-73, and 1974-76 he went on world tours. In 1977 he last visited Germany.
On his journeys to the West Govinda made friends with the Swiss philosopher Jean Gebser, the Zen and Taoist teacher Alan Watts, the pioneer of transcendental psychotherapy Roberto Assagioli and the author Luise Rinser.

Later years

For health reasons Govinda finally settled in the San Francisco Bay area, where he and his wife were taken care of by Alan Watts and Suzuki Roshi's San Francisco Zen Centre.[19] In San Francisco he established a branch of his order, called “Home of Dhyan”.[20] In 1980 he visited India for a last time and gave up his house in Almora. He remained mentally agile despite suffering from several strokes from 1975 onwards. During an evening discussion on 14.1.1985, he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his neck that traveled downwards. He lied down on his right side and died laughing.

His ashes were contained in the Nirvana-Stupa, which was erected in 1997 on the premises of Samten Choeling Monastery in Darjeeling.


Govinda wrote several books on a wide variety of Buddhist topics. His most well known books are The Way of the White Clouds and Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, which were translated in many languages. Some of his works such as Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism were written in German and were subsequently translated in English. His articles were published in many Buddhist journals such as the Maha Bodhi, and the German journal Der Kreis published by his Buddhist Order Arya Maitreya Mandala. Govinda considered The Inner Structure of the I Ching, the Book of Transformation as his most important book.

Works in English language

Art and Meditation, (an introduction and 12 abstract paintings), Allahabad 1936.
The Psychological Attitude of Early Buddhist Philosophy, Allahabad 1937; New Delhi (Motilal Banarsidass Publishers), 1992: ISBN 81-208-0941-6, 1998 edition: ISBN 81-208-0952-1
Psycho-Cosmic Symbolism of the Buddhist Stupa, Emeryville 1976 ( Dharma Publishing): ISBN 0-913546-36-4. First shorter edition published as Some Aspects of Stupa Symbolism, Allahabad 1936.
Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, London 1957, 1959, 1969 edition, ISBN 0-87728-064-9
The Way of the White Clouds, London 1966; Fourth reprint, 1972. 1988 edition: ISBN 0-87773-462-3, reprint: ISBN 0-87773-007-5, Hardcover: ISBN 1-58567-465-6, Paperback: ISBN 1-58567-785-X, Ebury: ISBN 0-7126-5543-3.
Tibet in Pictures: A Journey into the Past, coauthored with Li Gotami, 1979, 2004, Dharma Publishing. ISBN 978-0-89800-345-1
Drugs or Meditation? Consciousness Expansion and Disintegration versus Concentration and Spiritual Regeneration, Kandy 1973, Buddhist Publication Society, Bodhi Leaves Series No. 62.[6]
Creative Meditation and Multi-Dimensional Consciousness, London 1976, Allen and Unwin.
Pictures of India and Tibet, Haldenwang and Santa Cruz 1978. (Perhaps identical with Tibet in Pictures: A Journey into the Past?)
The Inner Structure of the I Ching, the Book of Transformation, San Francisco 1981 (Wheelwright Press). Reprinted: Art Media Resources, ISBN 0-8348-0165-5
A Living Buddhism for the West, Boston 1990, (Shambhala), translated by Maurice Walshe, ISBN 0-87773-509-3
[edit]Compilations and biographies

Buddhist Reflections, New Delhi 1994, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-1169-0 (Collected essays.)
Ken Winkler, 1000 Journeys: The Biography of Lama Anagarika Govinda, Oakland 1990, Dharma Press; reprinted: Element Books, ISBN 1-85230-149-X
Insights of a Himalayan Pilgrim, Oakland 1991, Dharma Press. ISBN 0-89800-204-4. (Thirteen later essays on Buddhism, art, and the spirituality that appeared in American, British, German Buddhist magazines.)
The Lost Teachings of Lama Govinda: Living Wisdom from a Modern Tibetan Master, Wheaton, IL, 2008, Quest Books. Ed. Richard Power, Foreword by Lama Surya Das. ISBN 978-0-8356-0854-1 (Collection of essays and dialogues. Includes a comprehensive introduction to Govinda’s life and work by R. Power.)
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 06:44:33 AM by Big Uncle »

Jessie Fong

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Re: White Lama?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 03:24:32 PM »

While reading up on Theos Bernard, I came across the following passage from Columbia University blog April 13th, 2012 at 9:47 am

The Death of Theos Bernard, the White Lama

In 1894, a Russian by the name of Nicholas Notovitch published a small book in Paris called La Vie inconnu de Jésus-Christ. Appearing in English translation later that same year, The Secret Life of Jesus detailed a trip that Notovitch claimed to have taken to Hemis Monastery in Leh, Ladakh. While there, Notovitch further claimed, he had seen a Tibetan translation of a manuscript written in the early years of the first millennium in India, detailing the activities of Jesus—“Issa,” as he was called in Islamic sources—in India and Tibet, where he had “studied Pali and thoroughly read the Buddhist scriptures,” proving once and for all that Christianity was not “a Jewish thing.” Several scholars at the time took great exception to these ideas, while others attempted to confirm them and locate the manuscript themselves. Each concluded that Notovitch was a fraud and his account pure fiction.

There is an article re : Jesus was a Buddhist monk that is related to the above passage.


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Re: White Lama?
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2012, 11:00:04 AM »
He is a spiritual master with German and Italian ancestors,living in Germany as well as Asia.Tulku Khyingdor Rinpoche is a master of the Dorje Lingpa of the same lineage.Appointed by Agya Rinpoche to carry on with the tradition.His lineage was connected to Darjeeling and Sikkim since the ancient times of Dorje Lingpa  personally.His lineage of predecessors had great influence in this part of the Himalayan culture and connected with the cultural history of ancient Sikkim.
Political importance and spiritual power are the cause for the locations of his predecessor to be taken down by other lineages.He specialized in the Tantric Yoga practices of the Kagyu and Ningma lineage of Buddhism and receive training according to the Kagyu and Nyingma schools.He was inspired by his Guru H.E.  Drubwang
Nubpa Rinpoche.Studied holistic medicine and due to his medical background, he focus on chanting of ancient Sanskrit mantras and perform healing rituals as well.He is known as an artist and musician.Some parts of the training and ritual are to be complimented with the music composed for this purpose.


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Re: White Lama?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2012, 01:23:29 PM »
The fact is, I, the person about to be initiated into Tibetan sacred mysteries, was no native, no Tibetan, not even an oriental, but an American, hailing from Arizona. And here, at the end of the ceremony, I would become a full-fledged Buddhist monk, a Lama."

Bernard at the Kum-bum temple, Gyantse
The story of Theos Bernard begins in the deserts of southern Arizona. Raised by his mother in Tombstone, Bernard entered the newly founded University of Arizona, in Tucson, in 1928. Bernard's early college years were interrupted, however, by a near fatal illness which profoundly altered his life. It was while convalescing in the Dragoon Mountains that Bernard met his first spiritual teacher, a yogi from India who had been a friend of his family for many years, who began to instruct him in the fundamentals of yoga. Although he had been pursuing a degree in law, Bernard completed his studies in 1934 only to turn to religious and philosophical pursuits.

Theos Bernard entered Columbia University in the fall of 1934, immediately following his graduation from the University of Arizona. At the time of his entry, there was no formal program of studies in religion, and courses on the subject had only been being taught for seven years, mostly through the efforts of Bernard's advisor in the philosophy department, Herbert Schneider. The records of Bernard's career during this time are sparse, and his official transcript gives no account of any classes taken or grades received, noting only that on June 2, 1936, he was awarded the degree of Masters of Arts (AM).

Completing his master's degree in 1936, and with the financial leisure accorded him by his marriage, Bernard was able to embark on an extensive trip to India and Tibet in late summer of 1936. Narrating his account, Bernard tells of seeking out the teacher of Hindu yogi whom he had met once in Arizona through his mother. Arriving in India in time only to hear of the death of his would-be guru, Bernard sought out other teachers in India traveling the length and breadth of the country, from Kasmir to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) taking religious initiations and instruction on various yogic techniques. He finally made his way to Calcutta where he was able to make contacts which eventually led to a meeting with and becoming a student of Lama Tharchin in Kalimpong. Here, Bernard spent a period of intensive study of the Tibetan written language and three spoken dialects. After close to a year in India, he was finally able to secure permission from the British political officer in Sikkim, J. B. Gould to travel to Tibet. Once there, Bernard had audiences with the Ganden Tri-pa, the Regent of Tibet, Reting Rinpoche, and numerous other officials in the Tibetan government. In addition, Bernard received Tantric empowerments, engaged in a meditative retreat, and acquired numerous books included a complete set of the Buddhist canon, a set of the Treasury of Revealed Teachings (rin chen gter mdzod) and several hundred more volumes of Tibetan works.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: White Lama?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2015, 09:15:47 AM »
Today there are many celebrity Tibetan Buddhists, just to name a few like Richard Gere, George Segal and so forth.

However in the early 20th century circa 1930s there was a man, Theos Bernard who spoke Tibetan and went to Tibet and returned to America and began being a celebrity with his propagating Tibet and the cultures there obviously Buddhism too.

Thereafter there were also other "white lamas".  Currently of course the most renowned monk, the Dalai Lama has made much inroads into the western societies with his visits and jetting around the capital cities of the world.

At the same time, Tibet is not as remote or impenetrable like before.  Interesting history lesson on the spread of Tibetan Buddhism and its mystics to the world outside of Tibet.


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Re: White Lama?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2015, 08:48:17 PM »
Also check out Alexandra David-Neel. She gained recognition as a white Lama prior to Theos Bernard. Her book Magic and Mystery in Tibet is an interesting read!