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The Way of the White Clouds
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The Way of the White Clouds

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  133 ratings  ·  16 reviews
"A devoted Buddhist and a spokesman for Tibetan culture, Lama Anagarika Govinda was one of the last foreigners to journey through Tibet before the Chinese invasion of 1950. Govinda's luminous and candid account is a spectacular and gloriously poetic story of exploration and discovery, and a sensitive and lucid interpretation of Tibetan traditions. Comprised of elements fro...more
Paperback, 704 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Overlook TP (first published December 31st 1968)
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Erni Bär
This book is about the "old" Tibet. Having read it about 35 years ago for the first time when it was kind of a hippie classic I was simply overwhelmed. No Tibetan Lamas were known then in the USA or EU. Of course Govinda created his very own Tibet bubble to live in mentally and partly physically too. But who cares? He has never fantazised along in a way Lobsang Rampa did for example. Being a born German one cannot blame him for being a rather romantic person. And the Lama was a serious artist in...more
Few books are life changing. This one was for me - in its own way. It is a powerful autobiographical account by Lama Anagarika Govinda of his discipleship with a Rinpoche of great fame, from Tibet. Of course he could have made the more interesting bits up - but when you read the account and come to a judgement about his character, you may conclude that fantastic as some of the experiences are, he did experience them.

His description of camping in the high mountains of Tibet and coming across rock...more
Spiritual-travel autobiography of the famous Western seeker who became an an ardent Tibetan Buddhist. Govinda's writing of the his journey and the austere, haunting Tibetan landscapes is great, as well as his admiring portraits of the Lamas and Gurus he encounters along the way. I share his distrust of some of the more bizarre mortification practices intermixing in Tibetan Buddhist rituals. Govinda though spends 3 chapters arguing to demonstrate the reality of reincarnation and is obviously capt...more
Nguyen Hanh Phuoc An
This book was on my father’s shelf, but I didn’t know its presence. One day, after watching the film “ Seven years in Tibet”, I was truly interested in Tibet. By chance at that time I touched this book and read it thoroughly. After finishing “ the way of the white cloud” , I clearly knew that Tibet was deeply in my mind. Thank to this book, I found my own way
Nov 04, 2008 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Tibetan Buddhism
Shelves: metaphysics
This is a fascinating account of Tibetan Buddhism and customs. A must read for anyone interested in the subject. After reading this I wished I could have lived in Tibet before the latest Chinese occupation. What a fascinating culture!
This book worked my brain as well as my heart and my spirit. The author writes very poetically. The author's tone is very endearing and evoked compassion and empathy.
The first Buddhist book I ever read.
Grady McCallie
Born Ersnt Lothar Hoffman in Germany, Lama Anagarika Govinda (1898-1985) converted to Buddhism as a young man and spent his life learning, teaching, and writing, as well as painting. The Way of the White Clouds describes Govinda's several visits to Tibet in the 1930s and 1940s, grouped into five sets of chapters. Each batch of chapters has a geographic focus, but each is also a vehicle for introducing a particular theme: his mystical experiences with his guru; the metaphysical powers demonstrate...more
Tony Gualtieri
Fascinating memoir of Tibet just prior to the Chinese invasion written by a European born Buddhist scholar. While text has a few slow spots and is somewhat disorganized, the poetic description of the Kailas kora and the insights into Tibetan monastic culture more than make up for any weaknesses.
I came across references to this book in many other books about Buddhism and was excited to find it on the shelf at Powell's. However, it is in many ways more travelogue than spiritual guide. It is a fascinating story of a young German man who becomes committed to Buddhism (along with his eventual wife) and their travels in Tibet prior to the Chinese occupation. It makes you long to have seen what they saw (although I'm not sure I would have survived the physical difficulties!) I can't quite buy...more
Rosemary Allix
My Buddhist friends were surprised I had not read this book, so I immediately ordered a lovely second hand copy off Amazon (it's one of those books better read in a well thumbed edition). Parts of this book are mid-blowingly amazing. How did they make those journeys across such a wild part of the world and find such hidden treasures. I know this book has inspired people to take up Tibetan Buddhism, and I can understand why. Loved it. Not in a cosy way, it is writing to be in awe of.
Mar 20, 2013 Wm added it
Read this book way back in the '90s . Came across this in Clementi library and borrowed it to read again . I recall that this was about a German who happened to be in Tibet just before China became a communits country and some of the experiences he went through. I was impressed. I am still impressed with this second reading. Read it with an open mind...
An introduction of an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. An interesting narrative. Suspend your disbelief for a bit and let the story do its job - won't regret it.
Karl Schissel
This book more than any other inspired my travels.
Helen Bennett
Read the book and open your mind to thinking differently
Oct 19, 2010 Mckinley marked it as to-read
Shelves: buddhism, non-fiction
BQ960.O96 A3 1970
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He was the son of a German father and a Bolivian mother. His family was quite well to do, owning silver mines in South America as well as a cigar factory.[1] After spending two years in the German army during World War I, he caught tuberculosis and was discharged. He briefly studied philosophy and archeology at Freiburg University. From 1920 until 1928 he lived in an international art colony on Ca...more
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