By Paul G. Hackett
In 1937, Theos Casimir Bernard (1908–1947), the self-proclaimed "White Lama," grew to become the 3rd American in background to arrive Lhasa, the capital urban of Tibet. in the course of his remain, he collected the biggest choice of Tibetan texts, artwork, and artifacts within the Western hemisphere at the moment. He additionally documented, in either nonetheless images and 16mm movie, the age-old civilization of Tibet at the eve of its destruction via chinese language Communists.
Based on hundreds of thousands of fundamental assets and infrequent archival fabrics, Theos Bernard, the White Lama recounts the genuine tale at the back of the purported adventures of this iconic determine and his position within the development of America's spiritual counterculture. Over the process his short lifestyles, Bernard met, linked, and corresponded with the most important social, political, and cultural leaders of his day, from the Regent and excessive politicians of Tibet to saints, students, and diplomats of British India, from Charles Lindbergh and Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Gandhi and Nehru. even though hailed as an excellent pioneer via the media, Bernard additionally had his flaws. He was once an entrepreneur propelled by way of grandiose schemes, a good-looking guy who shamelessly used his appears to dance from wealthy spouse to wealthy spouse in aid of his actions, and a grasp manipulator who concocted his personal interpretation of japanese knowledge to fit his ends. Bernard had a vibrant destiny earlier than him, yet disappeared in India in the course of the communal violence of the 1947 Partition, by no means to be visible again.
Through diaries, interviews, and formerly unstudied records, Paul G. Hackett stocks Bernard's compelling existence tale, with his efforts to rouse America's spiritual counterculture to the unfolding occasions in India, the Himalayas, and Tibet. Hackett concludes with an in depth geographical and cultural hint of Bernard's Indian and Tibetan trips, which shed infrequent gentle at the explorer's mysterious disappearance.
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Additional resources for Theos Bernard, the White Lama: Tibet, Yoga, and American Religious Life
As he toured the monastery, Theos used to be saddened through the dying of the geshe, the architect of the monastery temple, simply because “one with sufficient feeling to have developed [the temple] needs to comprehend a bit concerning the exterior kinds of this stuff that are so arranged,” yet suggestion that “the grandeur of his paintings says that he held a T i b e t , Tan t r i ok as , an d t h e He ro of Chaks am Fe r r y 162 C5744. indb 162 12/20/11 9:22 AM greater spiritual feeling than non secular knowing. ” For Theos, those capacities—knowledge and creative sense—seemed unavoidably separate, although from the monastery grounds the abbot’s meditation retreat “many, many hundreds of thousands of toes above . . . at the ridge of the other canyon wall” was once in actual fact visible. Dung-kar Monastery proved very inspirational for Theos, because the wealthy, shiny colours of the hot work of art and statues sparked ruminations at the nature of colour, snapshot, and spiritual affection. yet Theos’s speculations have been interrupted whilst, having complete the final travel of the monastery’s temples, he and Tharchin have been trained that monastery’s oracle used to be getting ready for a trance and in the event that they wanted, they can remain for the development. Having spent a number of months examining numerous money owed of Tibetan customs and tradition, in addition to Buddhist philosophy, Theos determined to exploit the chance. because the rite started and the monk started to input into communion with the spirit of the oracle, notwithstanding, it was once excess of Theos had anticipated. We witnessed the complete performances of him coming into the separate shrine the place the spirit is expounded to reside and hear the chants and clashing of cymbals that should organize him for his kingdom and force the spirit into him after which suddenly he all started conversing at a frantic cost of velocity and writers have been getting every thing down simply as quick as attainable and abruptly he ups and collapses, one of many attendants grabbing him in his arm and allow him fall again into his throne progressively. They have been all very attentive and seemed to carry an analogous attention as we do for person who has simply cozy from the exhaustion of getting purge of the tummy. whereas every little thing else up until eventually this aspect had confirmed to be grist for Theos’s speculations and insights, this occasion used to be not anything he was once even remotely ready for, and so having acknowledged the adventure, he may perhaps purely comment, “That’s that. ” After a few extra tea and sightseeing, Theos and Tharchin resumed their trip northward towards the dak bungalow at Gautse for the evening. due to the day’s occasions, they ended up staying unsleeping past due, discussing quite a few points of faith. There couldn't were a stranger dialog for 2 males to have had at the moment and at that place—an American Hindu-Buddhist convert discussing faith with a Khunu Christian T i b e t , Tan t r i ok as , an d t h e H e ro of Chaks am Fe r r y 163 C5744. indb 163 12/20/11 9:22 AM convert seated in a British relaxation cease within the southern reaches of Tibet.