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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for anyone interested in Tibetan Buddhism, 25 Jun 1999
By A Customer
A travel book written before the age of travel books, written by a devout Buddhist pilgrim in which his outer journey mirrors his journey within. A classic book about travels in Tibet in 1947 which reveals so much about Buddhism and Buddhist traditions as they were before the Chinese invasion. A beautifully written book and an absolute must for any serious student of Tibetan Buddhism.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Buddhist Discovers Traditional [ Pre-Chinese] Tibet, 2 July 2000
By A Customer
Lama Govinda [ a life long Buddhist practictioner] visits Tibet before the Chinese invasion . Through his beautiful discription of life and spiritual practices , as well as an artist vison of the incredible natural world of the world's highest plateau, Lama Govinda [ a German ] sees the Buddhist landscape with eyes accustomed to meditation and ritual. Without fear or supersition he leads one through some truly remarkable events and Buddhist teachings . The Lama is a world class interpreter of what was phantasy and mystery until very recently. This is the movie Hollywood should have made !
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing spiritual travelogue, 29 Jan 2008
By 
K. Elmer - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Whether you come to this book interested in Tibet, travel writing, or Buddhism there is much here to appreciate.

The preface alerts us to the fact that the Tibet the author knew has changed. As a 'Lost world' portrait this book is note worthy since both the world, headspace, and style of the Lama's writing has changed.

As a piece of travel writing the places mentioned are still there and while largely fallen into disrepair and the ardent traveller can find these places with some reward, probably more so if you read the relevant passage from the book and have a look for signs of their previous majesty. Furthermore, rather than simply a series of places joined together with basic travel narrative, the reasons and experiences of the author are frankly enthralling for anyone with yearning to experience different cultures while travelling. His description of profound, spiritual, supernatural and mundane events continually propel the reader through the story as wide eyed and breathless as the author himself.

Sadly I'm not knowledgeable enough to say other than on general level how this book rates as a guide to Buddhism, but as a non-practising perhaps philosophical aficionado of Buddhism I found his descriptions of Buddhist practices and his personal journey of discovery inspiring.

As such this book recommends itself to any sort of reader who is interested in a good story with descriptive history, theological geography (A la Da Vinci code - only much better and factual) and great characters.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Way of the White Clouds - By Lama Anagarika Govinda, 13 Dec 2010
The author, Lama Anagarika Govinda, was born in Germany as 'Ernst Hoffmann' (1896-1985). He studied the Philosophy of Architecture at the University of Freburg, before travelling to Sri Lanka in early January, 1929, and was ordained into the Theravada School of Buddhism as a 'novice' monk. He never received full ordination, but for many years lived a life of austerity and celibacy. He initially believed that Tibetan Buddhism - as a different and distinct school of Buddhism - was tainted by demonism and shamanism, thus deviating from the original and pure teachings of the Lord Buddha. Govinda always saw a deep meaning in coincidences and the unfolding of casual circumstance. One such happening occured in the late 1920's, where he was invited to Darjeeling, India, to lecture on Theravada Buddhism and its scriptures. Govinda says in the book that he saw this opportunity as a means of preserving the 'pure' tradition of Sri Lanka, against what he termed the 'weird' practices that had infiltrated it. However, it was because of this trip that Govinda eventually met with his Tibetan guru - Tomo Geshe Rimpoche (1866-1936) - a meeting that changed Govinda's attitude toward the Vajrayana School that is Tibetan Buddhism, and of course, his life. During World War Two, as a German citizen living within the British colony of India, he was imprisoned for the duration of the war.

This book is about his travels in Tibet in the early to mid 1930's, and again in 1947, just prior to the Chinese invasion of 1950. After the invasion, Govinda and his partner, Li Gotami, left Tibet and settled in Almora, Utter Predesh, India. With Indian Independence, Lama Govinda acquired Indian citizenship and pursued a successful life as a university lecturer. This book is a spectacular journal of the travels of a spiritual pilgrim through a mystical land. Make no mistake about it, the climate and the terrain of Tibet can be unforgiving and harsh, but somehow, the presence of Govinda as a sincere being brings a spiritual glow to circumstances that others might find daunting and debilitating.

The hardback (2009) edition carries a new Introduction, written by the American academic and Tibetan Buddhist - Professor Robert Thurman - who offers an over-view of Govinda's life, and an assessment of his importance to Tibetan Buddhism, and authentic Budddhism in the West. He also recounts the time he personally spent with Lama Govinda in the 1970's in India, and again in the USA toward the twilight of his life. This edition not only contains this Introduction, but also has different photographs to those included in earlier editions. This book has five sections, an Epilogue and two Appendices:

Part One - Three Visions.
Part Two - Pilgrim Life.
Part Three - Death and Rebirth.
Part Four - Southern and Central Tibet.
Part Five - Return to Western Tibet.

Epilogue - Guru and Chela and the Journey into the Light.

Appendices
1) The Kings of Lhasa.
2) The Rise and Fall of the Kings of Guge.

The hardback (2009) edition contains 400 numbered pages, whilst the paperback (1977) edition contains 305 numbered pages. At a time when Chinese Communist oppression is currently colonising and corrupting Tibet, this book presents the memory of how Tibet use to be, before its modern distortion and degradation. It is a remarkable achievement, and probably one of the best spiritual travelogues ever written. A timeless classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book for spiritual development, 18 Mar 2014
By 
Mrs. Guilan Huang (Leicester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way Of The White Clouds: The Classic Spiritual Travelogue by One of Tibet's Best-known Explorers (Kindle Edition)
This is a spiritual book. It only makes sense to those who are prepared to explore beyond this material world. To many people, Tibet was a place of under development. But to those whose spiritual eyes are open, It is a wonder land. The land of gods or was a land of gods. Each explorer has his/her only answer. Each gets different things from that land. Lama Anagarika Govinda had the most he could get from that land. His life had been so enriched by his travelling experiences through Tibet that he has left this great legacy which will benefit myriad of people who want to explore the higher plane of the eternal life. I am deeply grateful to him for having written such a beautiful book, which open my eyes to a higher level. I should regret if I haven't read this book in this life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 9 Jun 2013
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This book is another of a style of book that relates both travel and belief. It makes you think about the trip that the author made and also his isead about Buddhism and the world. Lovely, well written and a marvellous reference point for anyone wanting to travel there.
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