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Book Title: My Journey to Lhasa|
The author of the book: Alexandra David-Néel
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1314 times
Reader ratings: 4.8
Edition: Beacon Press
Date of issue: July 20th 1997
ISBN 13: 9780807059036
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 546 KB
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I was amazed for some reason to see this book on Goodreads. I knew that I had it and I've been searching for the past half hour. The reason I couldn't find it first of all is that my book is in French.
It's just called "Le Tibet d'Alexandria David-Néel". I purchased this at her museum in Digne-les-Bains in Provence in 1991. I had spent a year in France and at the time my spoken French was dreadful. Even now I doubt if I will ever be fluent in the language. It is such a rich and sophisticated language. Still I communicate I guess and I hear the errors spilling from my mouth when I speak...
Anyway, I digress. I went to this museum for the simple reason that there was a Buddhist monk in attendance. I was very influenced by Buddhism at that time.
Needless to say, the monk was not to be seen but I saw this wonderfully illustrated, relatively short book of 155 pages and thought, well I haven't seen the monk but I can take this one as a "souvenir". I did have problems reading it at the time.
Imagine a woman all alone, an explorer, who had tried to disguise herself as a Tibetan (very difficult looking at the photos) and travels to Sikkim in Tibet in 1913 and then on to Lhasa. What an adventure. The photographs are a treasure in themselves. You see the author sitting with the women in the market and then there are fabulous photos of Lhasa itself. And the author lived to 101 years of age. Evidently we must all go to Tibet!
I'm so pleased that I came across this again.
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Read information about the authorAlexandra David-Néel (October 24, 1868 - September 8, 1969) was a French explorer, anarchist, spiritualist, Buddhist and writer. She is most known for her visit to the forbidden (to foreigners) city of Lhasa, capital of Tibet (1924). She was born in Paris, France and died in Digne, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. She wrote more than 30 books, about Eastern religion, philosophy, and her travels. Her well-documented teachings influenced the beat writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and philosopher Alan Watts.
Her real name was Louise Eugenie Alexandrine Marie David. During her childhood she had a strong desire for freedom and spirituality. At the age of 18, she had already visited England, Switzerland and Spain on her own, and she was studying in Madame Blavatsky's Theosophical Society.
In 1890 and 1891, she traveled through India, returning only when running out of money. In Tunis she met the railroad engineer Philippe Néel, whom she married in 1904.
In 1911 Alexandra traveled for the second time to India, to further her study of Buddhism. She was invited to the royal monastery of Sikkim, where she met Maharaj Kumar (crown prince) Sidkeon Tulku. She became Sidkeong's "confidante and spiritual sister" (according to Ruth Middleton), perhaps his lover (Foster & Foster). She also met the thirteenth Dalai Lama twice in 1912, and had the opportunity to ask him many questions about Buddhism—a feat unprecedented for a European woman at that time.
In the period 1914-1916 she lived in a cave in Sikkim, near the Tibetan border, learning spirituality, together with the Tibetan monk Aphur Yongden, who became her lifelong traveling companion, and whom she would adopt later. From there they trespassed into Tibetan territory, meeting the Panchen Lama in Shigatse (August 1916). When the British authorities learned about this—Sikkim was then a British protectorate—Alexandra and Yongden had to leave the country, and, unable to return to Europe in the middle of World War I, they traveled to Japan.
There Alexandra met Ekai Kawaguchi, who had visited Lhasa in 1901 disguised as a Chinese doctor, and this inspired her to visit Lhasa disguised as pilgrims. After traversing China from east to west, they reached Lhasa in 1924, and spent 2 months there.
In 1928 Alexandra separated from Philippe. Later they would reconcile, and Philippe kept supporting her till his death in 1941. Alexandra settled in Digne, and during the next 10 years she wrote books.
In 1937, Yongden and Alexandra went to China, traveling there during the second World War, returning to France only in 1946. She was then 78 years old.
In 1955 Yongden died. Alexandra continued to study and write till her death at age 100.
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