Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How i found Buddha through an English plumbers son

When I first read the The Saffron Robe and The Third Eye by T (Tuesday) Lobsang Rampa I had no idea at all about the controversy relating to his writings, his claims to being a Lama, and even his claim that he was Tibetan.

Rampa wrote The Third Eye in 1955 and it became a bestseller. I was given a first edition print for my 21st Birthday and it has been a treasured keepsake ever since. I later read The Saffron Robe, as I had been so moved by the plight of the Tibetan people, and the intimate insights into the day to day life of a Lama as described by Rampa.

The book, like the later work The Saffron Robe is written as if from the viewpoint of a young Lama. Spiritual and physical teachings carried out in secret in the high altitude Buddhist Lamaseries of Tibet are described in loving detail.

The books introduced Tibetan life to audiences who had not before had access to such detail.

Before him, the Hungarian Alexander Csoma de Kőrös had lived in Tibet and compiled the first English Tibetan Dictionary, and his story too was fascinating. The hardships he went through and the hospitality of the Tibetan people were extraordinary to say the least. Rampa though, seemed to come from the perspective of a Tibetan Lama, and was a convincing first hand account.

Imagine my surprise then, when I found out accidentally, that T Lobsang Rampa was also Cyril Henry Hoskins, the son of a plumber who had been born in Plympton in Devon, Also, he had never been to Tibet, and spoke no Tibetan.

The claim he made was that his spirit had transmigrated from Tibet into the body of Cyril Hoskins after a concussion caused by a fall.

The fact remains that he wrote many spiritual works that moved many people, and inexplicably (aside from his explanation) told of intimate details of the life of a Lama.

It should be noted that one of the books, Living With The Lama, was claimed to have been dictated telepathically to Rampa by his pet cat, Mrs. Fifi Greywhiskers.

The very heart of a spiritual belief in most cases, is to believe that supernatural things can happen for reasons that benefit or teach man. Buddhism accepts transmigration, astral planes, and reincarnation, so in many ways Rampa’s story was consistent with a spiritual supernatural event or a miracle. His books brought much information to the people of the west that they previously may never have thought to pursue.

If religion and spirituality ask only one thing, it is to suspend disbelief and have faith that, at least sometimes, the extraordinary can happen.

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