By Paul G. Hackett
In 1937, Theos Casimir Bernard (1908–1947), the self-proclaimed "White Lama," grew to become the 3rd American in historical past to arrive Lhasa, the capital urban of Tibet. in the course of his remain, he collected 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 by means of chinese language Communists.
Based on hundreds of thousands of basic assets and infrequent archival fabrics, Theos Bernard, the White Lama recounts the true tale at the back of the purported adventures of this iconic determine and his position within the progress of America's non secular counterculture. Over the process his short existence, Bernard met, linked, and corresponded with the foremost 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 an excellent pioneer by means of the media, Bernard additionally had his flaws. He was once an entrepreneur propelled by means of grandiose schemes, a good-looking guy who shamelessly used his seems 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 brilliant destiny prior to him, yet disappeared in India throughout the communal violence of the 1947 Partition, by no means to be visible again.
Through diaries, interviews, and formerly unstudied files, Paul G. Hackett stocks Bernard's compelling lifestyles tale, together with his efforts to evoke 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 mild at the explorer's mysterious disappearance.
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Extra info for Theos Bernard, the White Lama: Tibet, Yoga, and American Religious Life
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 shouldn't be capable of photo the impressiveness of those countless numbers of twinkling lighting that have been positioned in a row of 2 thoroughly round the room. The partitions have been adorned with handpaintings of the deities, showing grasp craftsmanship at the a part of their Lama artists. The Buddha was once of the main remarkable measurement, all studded with priceless stones. The 16 bodhisattvas that are frequently painted at the partitions have been represented right here in titanic figures including immensely to the impressiveness of our surroundings which might instill spiritual devotion in any soul—even the main hardened heathen would wish to bow or do whatever. that's the feeling that it supplies, it is advisable do whatever, you recognize no longer what and also you comprehend now not why, yet a whatever deep inside is moved that maybe you by no means learned existed prior to. No much less awesome to Theos was once the sheer volume of gold, semiprecious, and necessary gemstones that looked as if it would decorate each stupa, statue, and shrine in the corridor, and it boggled his brain to “fathom the wealth” kept away contained in the monastery. Having disbelieved the money owed he had learn, pondering that “the authors borrowed significantly from their imaginations,” he used to be confident whilst he observed the temple together with his personal eyes that these bills needs to merely have scratched the outside referring to “the untold wealth that has been collected” by way of the monasteries. Theos used to be duly inspired by way of all that he observed that day, and mirrored at the incontrovertible fact that he had now not visible any account, or perhaps point out, of such points of interest 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 might be have loved the main intimate courting with the Tibetans, of any eu, fail to narrate this type of event of chance. ” He concluded, hence, that he needs to be the 1st to have noticeable such issues, and extra suspected that he may well declare this prestige as “the first” in lots of achievements, if his good fortune held out. “To be invited to the area heart of those teachings will be the first time the barrier has been damaged. humans have stolen their manner in, fought their approach in, and bought in lower than a variety of 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 okay as , an d t h e He ro of Chaks am Fe r r y one hundred seventy C5744. indb a hundred and seventy 12/20/11 9:22 AM Tharchin in addition used to be doing his half. No quicker had the day’s occasions transpired than Tharchin wrote up a brief account, highlighting Theos’s generosity, and despatched it right down to Kalimpong for book within the subsequent factor of The reflect, understanding complete good that it'd be learn in Lhasa in an issue of weeks—conveniently, with reference to the time that their petition to go to will be acquired.