Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Lobsang Rampa - True or False?

The multiple books (The Third Eye, The Thirteenth Candle etc.) of Lobsang Rampa are certainly interesting to read. They trace the experiences of a Tibetan monk - supposedly - in Tibet, China, the US and the UK. But many claim that there was no such person at all, and that, infact, the books were written by Cyril Henry Hoskins in the UK. One claim is that Rampa "borrowed" the body of Hoskins via transmigration.

Nevertheless, as I said, the books are interesting. There is a bit of tiresome stuff appearing often which usually reads like this "In the West, they do this .......(something ignorant or negative)". And then "In the East, we do this....(something great and extraordinary)". But the stories and storyline are intriguing and detailed. Tuesday Lobsang Rampa doesn't look Tibetan

This picture was taken from http://www.lobsangrampa.bravehost.com

Rampa followers even have a yahoogroup to themselves http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Rampa_List2/


david raphael israel said...


those books enjoyed some popularity in the States -- mainly in the 1960s & '70s, far as I happen to be aware. At the time, I enjoyed a couple of them (The Third Eye prob. the best known). It's amazing how books have a life of their own -- and persist as a phenomenon in some new circle, after having died from interest in a different circle.

But those were, I suppose, but some among of a rather wider handful of semi-popular volumes that (each in its own way) served to introduce (interpret and/or misinterpret) some or another facet of Asian esoterica for a curious non-Asian readership.

That process has been going on, in various flavors, since (say) the time of Ralph Waldo Emerson -- albeit he would never have thought of inventing Lobsang Rampa. ;-)

Actually, the German philosopher Schaupenhauer was also a very interesting interpreter of Hindu & Buddhist insights . . . He, too, wasn't up for inventing Lobsang.

That that photo was passed off as the visage of a Tibetan monk, is a thing that could only have happened some long decades back -- before we had so much exposure to literal Tibetans!

A conceptual descendent -- or peer -- of Lobsang Rampa, was perhaps the old pop TV program Kung Fu (with its mystic Chinese esoteric-martial-arts acolyte transferred to a 19th century wild west) . . . though I stray afield from your subject.


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