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By Paul G. Hackett
In 1937, Theos Casimir Bernard (1908–1947), the self-proclaimed "White Lama," turned the 3rd American in background to arrive Lhasa, the capital urban of Tibet. in the course of his remain, he accrued the biggest choice of Tibetan texts, paintings, 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 millions of basic resources and infrequent archival fabrics, Theos Bernard, the White Lama recounts the true tale in the back of the purported adventures of this iconic determine and his position within the progress of America's spiritual counterculture. Over the process his short existence, Bernard met, linked, and corresponded with the key 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 supposing hailed as a super pioneer by way of the media, Bernard additionally had his flaws. He used to be an entrepreneur propelled through grandiose schemes, a good-looking guy who shamelessly used his seems to bop from wealthy spouse to wealthy spouse in help of his actions, and a grasp manipulator who concocted his personal interpretation of jap knowledge to fit his ends. Bernard had a vivid destiny prior to him, yet disappeared in India throughout the communal violence of the 1947 Partition, by no means to be noticeable again.
Through diaries, interviews, and formerly unstudied records, Paul G. Hackett stocks Bernard's compelling existence tale, with his efforts to rouse America's non secular counterculture to the unfolding occasions in India, the Himalayas, and Tibet. Hackett concludes with a close 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
Sooner than the day was once over, the full population of Gyantse had heard of the general public career of religion and admire and used to be totally confident of his sincerity. For his personal half, Theos was once certainly truly moved while, upon coming into the most meeting corridor, he used to be struck by means of the imaginative and prescient that awaited him: 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 169 C5744. indb 169 12/20/11 9:22 AM There have been 3 thousand candles during this dimly lighted sanctuary, and your wildest mind's eye isn't in a position to photograph the impressiveness of those 1000's of twinkling lighting fixtures which have been put in a row of 2 thoroughly round the room. The partitions have been embellished with handpaintings of the deities, exhibiting grasp craftsmanship at the a part of their Lama artists. The Buddha was once of the main awesome measurement, all studded with beneficial stones. The 16 bodhisattvas that are often painted at the partitions have been represented right here in monstrous figures including immensely to the impressiveness of our environment which might instill non secular devotion in any soul—even the main hardened heathen would wish to bow or do anything. that's the feeling that it provides, it is advisable do anything, you recognize now not what and also you be aware of no longer why, yet a whatever deep inside is moved that maybe you by no means learned existed ahead of. No much less striking to Theos used to be the sheer volume of gold, semiprecious, and valuable gemstones that appeared to decorate each stupa, statue, and shrine in the corridor, and it boggled his brain to “fathom the wealth” saved away contained in the monastery. Having disbelieved the bills he had learn, considering that “the authors borrowed significantly from their imaginations,” he was once confident while he observed the temple along with his personal eyes that these bills needs to merely have scratched the skin relating “the untold wealth that has been accrued” via the monasteries. Theos used to be duly inspired through all that he observed that day, and mirrored at the incontrovertible fact that he had now not noticeable any account, or perhaps point out, of such attractions in any of the books that he had learn. “To date, there are not any files of any white guy ever getting into such chambers of the good monasteries at Lhasa. Even Waddell, Sir Charles Bell, and David MacDonald, who maybe have loved the main intimate dating with the Tibetans, of any eu, fail to narrate one of these event of chance. ” He concluded, consequently, that he needs to be the 1st to have noticeable such issues, and extra suspected that he may possibly declare this prestige as “the first” in lots of achievements, if his success held out. “To be invited to the area middle of those teachings will be the first time the barrier has been damaged. humans have stolen their manner in, fought their manner in, and obtained in lower than quite a few pretenses, yet nobody but has been invited to make a pilgrimage to Lhasa and had the guts in their teachings open to him. ” With this in brain, Theos persisted to “carefully lay a diplomatic beginning. ” 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 a hundred and seventy C5744.