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Images of Tibet in the 19th and 20th CenturiesVolume I

tudes thmatiques 22

Images of Tibet in the 19th and 20th CenturiesVolume I

Edited by Monica ESPOSITO

Paris EFEO


Images of Tibet in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Textes runis et prsents par Monica Esposito, Paris : cole franaise dExtrme-Orient, collection tudes thmatiques , 22, vol. I, 2008. 427 + xxiv p. ; 27,5 18,5 cm. Notes en bas de page. Illustrations. Rsums en anglais et en franais. ISBN : 9782855396736 ISSN : 1269-8067 Mots-cls : Reception of Buddhism, Tibet, Japan, China, West, Sino-Tibetan relations, Orientalism, Tibetology, Esoteric Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhist Art, Anthropology of Religion, History of Ideas

Ralisation : KOBAYASHI Tsuneyoshi

2008, cole franaise dExtrme-Orient. 22, avenue du Prsident Wilson, 75116 Paris, France


CONTENTSx xiii xxi xxii

List of illustrations Introduction by Monica ESPOSITO Conventions Map of TibetWEST


Urs APP The Tibet of the Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer Isrun ENGELHARDT The Nazis of Tibet: A Twentieth Century Myth Elena DE ROSSI FILIBECK Tibet: The Ancient Island of Giuseppe Tucci Lionel OBADIA Esprit(s) du Tibet Le bouddhisme tibtain en France : topographies paradoxales, territorialisation et conomie de limaginaire tibtophile Hartmut WALRAVENS Some Notes on Early Tibetan Studies in Europe Donald S. LOPEZ, Jr. Tibetology in the United States of America: A Brief History






JAPAN 203-222

OKUYAMA Naoji The Tibet Fever among Japanese Buddhists of the Meiji Eratranslated by Rolf Giebel


ONODA Shunz The Meiji Suppression of Buddhism and Its Impact on the Spirit of Exploration and Academism of Buddhist Monkstranslated by Monica Esposito


FUKUDA Yichi The Philosophical Reception of Tibetan Buddhism in Japantranslated by Rolf Giebel

CHINA Part 1 267-300

SHEN Weirong & WANG Liping Background Books and a Books Background: Images of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism in Chinese Literature Gray TUTTLE Tibet as the Source of Messianic Teachings to Save Republican China Ester BIANCHI Protecting Beijing: The Tibetan Image of YamntakaVajrabhairava in Late Imperial and Republican China Franoise WANG-TOUTAIN Comment Asaga rencontra Maitreya : contact entre bouddhisme chinois et tibtain au XXe sicle CHEN Bing The Tantric Revival and Its Reception in Modern Chinatranslated by Monica Esposito







Part 2

LUO Tongbing The Reformist Monk Taixu and the Controversy about Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism in Republican China Monica ESPOSITO rDzogs chen in China: From Chan to Tibetan Tantrism in Fahai Lamas (1920-1991) Footsteps Henry C. H. SHIU Tibetan Buddhism in Hong Kong: The Polarity of Two Trends of Practice YAO Lixiang The Development and Evolution of Tibetan Buddhism in Taiwantranslated by Liu Jingguo





CHEN Qingying and WANG Xiangyun Tibetology in China: A Survey

TIBET 687-704

Erberto LO BUE Tibetan Aesthetics versus Western Aesthetics in the Appreciation of Religious Art Karnina KOLLMAR-PAULENZ Uncivilized Nomads and Buddhist Clerics: Tibetan Images of the Mongols in the 19th and 20th Centuries



Patricia BERGER Reincarnation in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction: The Career of the Narthang Panchen Lama Portraits Antonio TERRONE Tibetan Buddhism beyond the Monastery: Revelation and Identity in rNying ma Communities of Present-day Kham Sabina RAGAINI Life and Teachings of Tashi Dorje: A Dzogchen Tulku in 20th Century Kham Matthew T. KAPSTEIN Tibetan Tibetology? Sketches of an Emerging Discipline Index of Proper Names List of Contributors




819-856 858-859

ILLUSTRATIONSxxii Map of Tibet (CHGIS version 2, China in Time and Space, August 2003, DEM)WEST

19 44 59 101

Pallas: Sammlungen historischer Nachrichten vol. 1 (1771): Plate 10 Pallas, Sammlungen historischer Nachrichten vol. 2 (1801): Plate 14 Schopenhauers Buddha statue. (Schopenhauer Archiv, Frankfurt am Main) Giuseppe Tucci with a local dignitary. (Negative stored [Istituto Italiano per lAfrica e lOriente, Rome] 6027/21)


204 204

Kawaguchi Ekai (1866-1945) The departure of Kawaguchi Ekai from Lhasa for India. (Scroll of Kawaguchi Ekai, no. 24: courtesy of Miyata Emi )

CHINA Part 1

304 316 319 320 327 327 330 332 332 334 341

The ninth Panchen Lama. (Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art) Ritual implements used by the Ninth Panchen Lama in Hangzhou, China 1930s. (Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art) Peace Mandala of Shambhala on floor of Temple, Oct. 1932. (Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art) Kyil Khor of Shambhala, Oct. 1932, Back of inside Throne. (Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art) The Living God of Asia, 1934. (Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art) The Panchen Lama during the retreat, 1934. (Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art) Sign in front of Shanyindian, Beihai. (Photo by E. Bianchi) Mandala on the vault of Shanyindian, Beihai. (Photo by E. Bianchi) Statue of Vajrabhairava in Shanyindian, Beihai. (Photo by E. Bianchi) Nine niches on the ceiling of the Taihedian, Forbidden City. (Photo by E. Bianchi) Detail of Shanyindian, in front of the Baita, Beihai. (Photo by E. Bianchi) x

343 343 343 367

Statue of Vajrabhairava in Mizongdian, Yonghegong. (Photo by E. Bianchi) Statue of Vajrabhairava in Dongpeidian, Yonghegong. (Photo by E. Bianchi) Statue of Vajrabhairava in Yamandagalou, Yonghegong. (Photo by E. Bianchi) Asaga. (Collection of M. Donald Rubin)

CHINA Part 2

433 475 477 477 478 480 481 481 483 484 485 495

Venerable Master Taixu. (Source: Yinshun Cultural and Educational Foundation, Xinzhu County, Taiwan) Fahai Lama at Qianfo chansi. (Gift of Fahai Lama) Miaokong, the young Fahai Lama. (Gift of Fahai Lama) Gangs dkar rin po che. (Source: Yangdui , Hong Kong/Taibei: Tantrayana Publications, 1981-1985, vol. 3) Gangs dkar monastery, Mi nyag region [Khams]. (Photo by M. Esposito) Qianfo chansi , the Thousand Buddhas Monastery. (Photo by M. Esposito) Taijidong , the Great Ultimate cave. (Photo by M. Esposito) Fahai Lama and his disciples in front of Taijidong. (Source: Mianhuai Fahai shangshi , Hong Kong, 1995) Nuns practicing koutou at Qianfo chansi. (Photo by M. Esposito) Rev. Folian practicing the sixfold yoga of Nropa at Qianfo chansi. (Photo by M. Esposito) Fahai Lamas teaching session at Qianfo chansi. (Photo by M. Esposito) Dayuanman guanding yiji quanji Fahai lama [Complete collection of the explicative commentaries on Great Perfection initiations]. (Photo by M. Esposito) The Lamp of the Pure Space. (Source: Dayuanman guanding , Fahai Lama's manuscript) Adamantine strands. (Source: Dayuanman guanding , Fahai Lama's manuscript) Adamantine strands like a string of pearls. (Source: The Collected Rediscovered Teachings [gter ma] of Gter-chen Mchog-gyur-gli-pa)

513 517 517


517 518 525 525

Adamantine strands like knots tied into a horses tail. (Source: The Collected Rediscovered Teachings [gter ma] of Gter-chen Mchog-gyur-gli-pa) The manifestation of forms of deities. (Source: The Collected Rediscovered Teachings [gter ma] of Gter-chen Mchog-gyur-gli-pa) Guanyin. (Gift of Rev. Folian) Vajrayogin. (Gift of Rev. Folian)


729 729 730 733 733 735 738 741 753 757 762 775

Gyaltsen Norbu in the Sunlight Hall, Tashilhunpo Monastery. (Source: Fomen shengshi: The Confirmation and Enthronement of the 11th Bainqen Erdeni, 1996, 103) Sakya Paita, sixth portrait in the Narthang Panchen Lama series. (Theos Bernard Collection, Gift of G. Eleanor Murray) Sakya Paita, sixth portrait in the silk textile series of the Panchen Lamas. (Source: Xizang tangka, pl. 60) The 4th Panchen Lama, eleventh in the Narthang Panchen Lama series. (Theos Bernard Collection, Gift of G. Eleanor Murray) The 6th Panchen Lama, thirteenth in the Narthang Panchen Lama series. (Theos Bernard Collection, Gift of G. Eleanor Murray) The 4th Panchen Lama, eleventh in the series sent to the Qing court by the 6th Panchen Lama. (Palace Museum, Beijing) rya Lokevara, sent by Polhanay in 1745 to the Yonghegong, Beijing. (Source: Precious Deposits, vol. 4, no. 13) The 9th Panchen Lama, silk textile portrait made in Hangzhou. (Source: Xizang tangka, pl. 81) The Buddhist teacher and Treasure revealer Grub dbang lung rtogs rgyal mtshan. (Photo by A. Terrone) Monks outside the main assembly hall of Bla rung sgar in gSer rta (Sichuan). (Photo by A. Terrone) A view of the Buddhist center Thub bstan chos khor gling in mGo log (Qinghai). (Photo by A. Terrone) A group of Chinese lay Buddhist devotees enjoy sacred dances at Ya chen sgar. (Photo by A. Terrone)


INTRODUCTIONThese two volumes were conceived as an attempt to capture various images of Tibet from Western and Eastern perspectives. How did these various images take form? What were their sources of inspiration? How do they relate to the real Tibet? And what do these images tell us about the people who created them? Whilst a certain number of publications on the images of Tibet from the perspective of the Westits dreams and projectionshave appeared in recent years,1 a study on the image of Tibet in Far-Eastern countries during the 19th and 20th centuries was still missing. The present work represents the first attempt to explore various manifestations of the images of Tibet from a more global point of view, one that includes religious, aesthetic, and intellectual-historical dimensions. It is divided into four sections: the West, Japan, China, and Tibet. The China and Tibet sections do not strictly correspond to geographical or political entities but rather to cultural areas. While the China section includes contributions on the reception of Tibetan Buddhism in Hong Kong and Taiwan,2 the Tibet section features both studies related to Tibetan areas today assimilated within Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and to Tibets religious and cultural interaction with Mongolia, India, Himalayan regions, and the West.3 Each section ends with a history of the Tibetology of the respective areas. To facilitate use of these two volumes, I added an index of proper names at the end of the second volume. The twenty-five contributions by scholars from all over the world offer case studies spanning more than two centuries, beginning with the image of Tibet of the Western philosophersKant, Hegel, and Schopenhauerand ending with the question of whether a Tibetan Tibetology can exist in todays China. In between, images of Tibet from Western and Eastern travelogues, myths, religious literature and artworks offer pertinent examples of cultural intersections between Tibet, Japan, China, and the West. These studies are based on extensive original research and field-work, and analyses and translations of numerous primary sources are presented here for the first time. Instead of summarizing their content in this introduction, I decided to include an abstract in English and French at the beginning of each contribution. The case studies in these two volumes reveal not only a variety of images of Tibet but also mirror the changing world views and motivations of observers in both East and West.See among the others: Peter Bishop, Dreams of Power. Tibetan Buddhism and the Western Imagination (London: Athlone Press, 1993); Donald S. Lopez, Prisoners of Shangri-La, Tibetan Buddhism and the West (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998); Thierry Dodin and Heinz Rther (eds.), Imagining Tibet: Perceptions, Projections & Fantasies (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001); and Martin Brauen, Dreamworld Tibet: Western Illusions (Bangkok: Orchid Press, 2004; orig. Traumwelt Tibet Westliche Trugbilder, Zurich: Haupt, 2000). 2 See the contributions by Henry Shiu and Yao Lixiang in the second volume. 3 See the contribution by Erberto Lo Bue, Tibetan Aesthetics versus Western Aesthetics in the Appreciation of Religious Art, in the second volume.1


At the end of the 19th century, with the opening of China to the Western world, a violent process of re-evaluation of the Chinese empire and its political and religious structures took place. The confrontation between West and East led to a clash of civilizations that shook the foundations of their respective world views. The discovery of the other and its different history, language, culture, and religion elicited the need to define ones own identity. The search for origins, the race to track down the roots of civilization, language, and religion was launched. At the same time as the tradition of Noahs Ark began to founder as Biblical authority waned in the West,4 Buddhist countries experienced a movement of modernization and transformation triggered by the contact with the Wests science and its religious and philosophical systems. Through the influence of missions from and to the West, they became aware that survival in the modern world required better education and training for the spreading of their teachings and that there was a need to unite within each country and worldwide through the creation of national and international Buddhist associations. One of the aims of such associations was to promote selfawareness among believers of their religious identity and, at the same time, to join with other Buddhist countries of Asia in advocating international solidarity based on Pan-Asian Buddhism.5 In the context of a certain colonial frustration fueled by Western imperialistic and nationalistic desires, a new generation of Buddhist monks and lay devotees dreamed of building a strong Orient to counter the dominance of the Christian world. Stimulated by Oriental studies in the West and their 19th-century obsession with Sanskrit sources, a call for Buddhist revival and a return to its primitive spirit were discussed with fervor, thanks in part to the philological investigation of its origins. This had a strong impact on the establishment of modern Buddhist studies in Japan and the Meiji movement to reform Japanese Buddhism. It was among such circles that a phenomenon known as Tibet fever arose as the most radical manifestation of this investigation. In the face of doubts of Western Orientalists, Japanese reformistsas representatives of Mahayanawanted to prove that Mahayana Buddhism was an original teaching taught by the historical Buddha. The investigation of Tibetan Buddhism was supposed to help in fulfilling such a hope. The quest for acquiring the Tibetan canon and the original Sanskrit texts transmitted in Tibetan translation was set up among Japanese explorers. In 1901 Kawaguchi Ekai (1866-1945) was the first Japanese to reach the Forbidden City of Lhasa with this aim in mind. 64 The interrelation of the Western biblical world view and the discovery of Buddhism and Tibet are explored in the opening study of this volume, the one by Urs App on The Tibet of the Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer. 5 See the contributions by Onoda Shunz, The Meiji Suppression of Buddhism and its Influence on the Exploration Spirit and Academicism of Buddhist Monks, and Luo Tongbing, The Reformist Monk Taixu and the Controversy among Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism in Republican China. 6 On Tibet fever and the role of Kawaguchi Ekai in the Japanese discovery of Tibet see Okuyama Naoji, Tibet Fever among Japanese Buddhists of the Meiji period. For the development of Buddhist studies in todays Japan see the contribution by Fukuda Yichi, The Philosophical Reception of Tibetan Buddhism in Japan.


The renewal of Buddhism in Japan and its Tibet fever came also to influence China, its pedagogical activity, and the formation of Buddhist educational institutions that took the nascent Japanese Buddhist universities as model.7 China also discovered Buddhist traditions and texts lost to them but still preserved in Japan. This incited a generation of Chinese monks and laymen to go study in Japan. They hoped to reestablish via the living Japanese Buddhist esoteric tradition the lost Chinese esoteric tradition of the Tang. By the late 1920s Chinese turned progressively to the esoteric tradition of Tibet, and Chinese monks went for the first time to study in Tibet at the feet of Tibetan lamas.8 Like the first Japanese explorers they were also searching for Indian Buddhist original teachings that were reputedly preserved in the Tibetan Tripitaka. Thanks to these monks Tibetan scriptures came to be translated into Chinese, and this in turn led to a gradual assimilation and popularization of Tibetan wisdom.9 At the same time, the arrival of Tibetan high-ranking lamas in China proper stimulated a stronger interest in Tibetan Buddhism as a living tradition.10 The sense of mystery and secrecy embodied in Tibetan esoteric rituals and its paraphernalia not only fascinated those who were looking for new religious paths of salvation but also provoked strong debates within Chinese circles advocating the preservation of Chinese Buddhist traditional forms of practice.11 In spite of this revived interest, Tibetan Buddhism had in fact remained since immemorial times a source of cultural and historical misunderstanding. Though it enjoyed great popularity among the ruling class as early as the Yuan dynasty (1206-1368) and was an important part of the cultural and religious lore of the Qing (1644-1912),12 it wasAs Onoda Shunz (The Meiji Suppression of Buddhism) shows in his contribution, the Chinese monk Taixu (1890-1947) was inspired by Bukky University (present-day Rykoku University) to reform his Wuchang Buddhist Institute, and his observation of the Buddhist universities in Kyoto made him feel necessity of training Buddhist priests academically. 8 More on this in the contribution of Chen Bing, The Tantric Revival and Its Reception in Modern China. An important source documenting the shift of interest in Chinese Buddhist circles from the esoteric tradition of Japan to Tibet is illustrated by the articles published in the monthly Haichaoyin or Sound of the Tide, a review founded and edited by the reformist monk Taixu. In 1920, a special issue was devoted to Shingon; see the contribution by Luo Tongbing, The Reformist Monk Taixu. 9 This process of popularization of Tibetan teachings is well illustrated in the contribution by Franoise Wang-Toutain, Comment Asaga rencontra Maitreya: Contact entre bouddhisme chinois et tibtain au XXe sicle. 10 Tibetan esoteric traditions and practices like rDzogs chen or Great Perfection came to be transmitted and translated for the first time into Chinese; see Monica Esposito, rDzogs chen in China: From Chan to Tibetan Tantrism in Fahai Lamas (1920-1991) footsteps. For the transmission of rDzogs chen among Tibetans and Chinese by a living Tibetan master from Kham see the contribution by Sabina Ragaini, Life and Teachings of Tashi Dorje, a Dzogchen Tulku in 20th century Kham. 11 This is exemplified by the work of the reformist monk Taixu and his changing strategy in integrating both exoteric and esoteric teachings into a new unified and modernized Chinese Buddhism. See the contribution by Luo Tongbing, The Reformist Monk Taixu. 12 See the contribution of Ester Bianchi, Protecting Beijing: The Tibetan Image of Yamntaka-Vajrabhairava in Late Imperial and Republican China, on the worship of the Tantric deity Yamntaka-Vajrabhairava (Tib. rDo rje jigs byed) at the Imperial Court.7


always the target of sharp criticism by Chinese literati. Negative images of Tibetan monks and their religion abound in Chinese background books from the 11th century until today.13 Yet Tibet was also a subject of Japanese and Western background books that produced countless fantastic and conflicting images as well as fascinating hypotheses and speculations. Among Western historians and philosophers of the 18th century an image of Tibet arose that identified it as the cradle of humanity, the place where the original human race had survived the great flood.14 Ever since, Tibet has continued to haunt the imagination of academics, as well as novelists and seekers after concealed truths fascinated with the alleged powers of its Himalayan yogis and the mysteries of its hidden kingdoms of Shambhala and Agarti.15 Tibet and its image were also involved in the construction of international relations and the shaping of new political alliances and imperialistic dreams. Parallel to the creation of an image of Tibet which, as product of the British agenda, had a distinct Indo-Tibetan face, others images of Tibet emerged, for instance, as products of Far-Eastern agendas.16 While the Japanese were dreaming of a political and religious cooperation between Japan and the sphere of Lamaism encompassing Tibet, Manchuria, and Inner Mongolia, Chinese reformers had already been working since the end of the Qing on the foundation of a new Chinese modern state that would include Tibet. At the beginning of the republican era, as profound distress and severe famine ravaged the country, Tibetan Buddhism was called on to overcome the crisis. Massive dharma assemblies and rites for averting national calamities were organized and sponsored by Chinese lay Buddhists and political leaders alike. As the new re13 Through the analysis of Emptiness (a collection of modern short stories of Ma Jian), Shen Weirong and Wang Liping (Background Books and a Books Background: Images of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism in Chinese Literature) trace the long history of misrepresentation of Tibetan culture rooted in Chinese background books. It is under the influence of these background booksan expression taken from the Italian writer Umberto Ecothat the traveler or explorer, irrespectively of what he discovers and sees, interprets the other world. In her contribution, Uncivilized Nomads and Buddhist Clerics: Tibetan Images of the Mongols in the 19th and 20th centuries, Karnina Kollmar-Paulenz examines instead the representations of the Mongols in Tibetan background books. 14 Interesting cases of Japanese and Western representations of Tibet are presented in the contributions by Okuyama Naoji, Tibet Fever, and Urs App, The Tibet of the Philosophers. 15 The development of popular perceptions of Tibet in the West as the land of the occult and the home of such powers is discussed in the contribution of Isrun Engelhardt, The Nazis of Tibet: A Twentieth Century Myth. She presents in detail the growth of myths about the occult and Nazism as exemplified by the Ernst Schfer Tibet expedition of 193839. On Tibets representation of the Italian Tibetologist Giuseppe Tucci see Elena De Rossi Filibeck, Tibet: The Ancient Island of Giuseppe Tucci. 16 On the British construction of the Indo-Tibetan image see the study by Alex C. McKay, Truth Perception and Politics: The British Construction of an Image of Tibet, in Imagining Tibet, 67-89.


publican politicians became increasingly aware of the advantages of using Tibetan Buddhism for solving the Sino-Tibetan conflict, they followed their Qing imperial predecessors steps in promoting the performance of Tibetan state-protecting rites and conferring prestigious titles, like protectors of the country, on Tibetan lamas. As a result, first the Chinese republicans and later the communists came to form an image of Tibet linked with China and to promote a distinct Sino-Tibetan identity. This identity gradually gained a profile by the use of Tibetan religion as a fundamental link between China and Tibet.17 Whereas a whole generation of Tibetologists studied Tibet primarily in connection with India and its culture because of political restrictions from the foundation of the PRC in 1949 until the end of the Cultural Revolution, they could not enter Tibet but were instead obliged to study in the Himalayan regions and Tibetan refugee communities of South Asia, it has more recently become possible for a new generation of scholars to pursue their Tibetan studies in Tibet itself and turn their attention also to Tibeto-Chinese relations. In the 1980s, Tibetological research in China gradually began to emerge and the term zangxue or Tibetology also came into use. This produced a dramatic increase in publications on Tibetan studies and the opening of two important establishments: the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences in Lhasa (1980) and Chinas Tibetology Center in Beijing (1986).18 Riding the wave of the religious revival and reenergized religious research in academia that occurred after the Cultural Revolution years (1966-1976), there was a constant flow of publications on Chinese and Tibetan religions and their esoteric techniques, modern Buddhism, and religious texts.19 Among them were reprints of materials on Tibetan Buddhism from the republican period, local histories and biographies, studies on Tibeto-Chinese and Tibeto-Japanese relations, works of Chinese monks who went for the first time to study in Tibet, etc. Thanks to the availability of such materials and under these new circumstances it became possible to consider, for instance, how a Sino-Tibetan identity could be built in those eastern Tibetan areas which, while aspiring to autonomy, seemed to accept closer ties with China. Important figures like the Panchen Lama (1883-1937), who had served in diplomatic relations17 See the contributions by Chen Bing, The Tantric Revival, Luo Tongbing, The Reformist Monk Taixu, and Gray Tuttle, Tibet as the Source of Messianic Teachings to Save Republican China: The Ninth Panchen, Shambhala and the Klacakra Tantra. Tuttle, in particular focuses on the Panchen Lamas religious and political role in linking Tibet to China. 18 See the contribution by Chen Qingying and Wang Xiangyun, Tibetology in China: A Survey. 19 Antonio Terrones contribution, Tibetan Buddhism beyond Monastery: Revelation and Identity in rNying ma Communities of Present-day Kham, emphasizes how and why the relative freedom that was inaugurated after the Cultural Revolution by the new religious policy of Deng Xiaoping had an impact on the revitalization of Tibetan Buddhist practices in todays Kham. As shown in the contributions by Chen Bing, The Tantric Revival, and Monica Esposito, rDzogs chen in China, Tibetan Buddhism also gained new momentum in the wave of religious revival and increase in publications fueled by the so-called qigong fever phenomenon in China during the 1980s and 1990s.


between China and Tibet since the Qing Empire, came to be at the center of this new construct.20 Presenting such phenomena from a Far-Eastern perspective and in its religious, cultural, and political terms through case studies is one of the purposes of the present book. While observing the progress of Tibetological research in these two last centuries,21 this study wants to provide a moment of reflection about past and present ways of seeing Tibet in order to gain a better understanding of outlooks colored by historical misunderstandings and of current tensions. Although these two volumes document some little-known trends of modern Tibetan studies, particularly in Tibetological research in China and Japan, they also show that the examination of Tibets cultural and historical image is only at its beginning. 22 Difficulties in evaluating Tibetan society and its history critically, in particular when it comes to religious issues, persist for all parties. Nonetheless, they become more pressing for ethnic Tibetans and Han Chinese involved in the Tibet-China conflict.23 In this volume this is illustrated by the study of Chen Bing and his Sino-centric and nationalistic way of reviewing the assimilation of Tibetan Buddhism in the PRC24 and, above all, by this books lack of contributions by ethnic Tibetan scholars or Tibetan religious figures living in todays PRC. Without any doubt the Tibet section should

This is well illustrated by Tuttles discussion in Tibet as the Source of Messianic Tea-chings, of the role of the Panchen Lama and his Kalacakra Tantra transmission in republican China. The Chinese Communist government is continuing to work on this construction in order to shape Tibetan Buddhism to suit its political requirements. An image of the dilemma facing Chinese religious policy in contemporary Tibet is captured by the contribution of Patricia Berger (Reincarnation in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction: The Career of the Narthang Panchen Lama Portraits) on the controversy over the selection of the 11th Panchen Lama. 21 While Lionel Obadia presents the assimilation of Tibetan Buddhism in France (Esprit(s) du TibetLe bouddhisme tibtain en France: territorialisation et conomie de limaginaire tibtophile), Harmut Walravens (Some Notes on Tibetan Studies in Europe), and Donald S. Lopez (Tibetology in the United States of America: A Brief History) offer an overview on the development of Tibetan studies in Europe and America. 22 See the first introduction in a Western language to the status of Tibetan studies in China by Chen Qingying and Wang Xiangyun, Tibetology in China, as well as the contributions by Fukuda Yichi, The Philosophical Reception on Tibetan studies in Japan, and by Matthew T. Kapstein, Tibetan Tibetology? Sketches of an Emerging Discipline. 23 On this issue see, for instance, the study by Elliot Sperling, The Tibet-China Conflict: History and Polemics, Policy Studies 7 (East-West Center Washington, 2004): 1-48, and Melvyn C. Goldstein, Tibet and China in the Twentieth Century, in Governing Chinas Multiethnic Frontiers, ed. Morris Rossabi (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004): 186-229. See also the volume edited by Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille, Le Tibet est-il chinois? (Paris: Albin Michel, 2002) and its English edition: Authenticating Tibet. Answers to Chinas 100 Questions (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008). 24 See in particular the section entitled Difficulties and Problems of the Reception of Tantrism in the PRC where Chen Bing presents nave and simplistic views on Tibetan Buddhism emphasizing the lack of a critical evaluation of Tibetan religion that still persists in certain Han Chinese academies and Chinese Buddhist circles.



have included contributions by ethnic Tibetans who, as men on the spot, could have reflected on their own self-image; but the present situation in the PRC has not allowed the realization of such a project.25 We cannot but hope that this new century may fulfill this expectation. ., The present two-volume work would not have been possible without the help of several people and institutions. First of all, I want to express my gratitude to all the members of the scientific committee who were in charge of reading at least one of its twenty-five contributions: Ester Bianchi, Anne-Marie Blondeau, Anne Chayet, Hubert Durt, Donald Lopez, Okuyama Naoji, Donatella Rossi, and Shen Weirong. Among them, my special thanks go to Anne-Marie Blondeau not only for having checked the Tibetan transcription of this volume but also for her incisive reading of almost all contributions. Her precious advice was of primary importance for the completion of this book. As main consultants for the sections West, Japan, and China, Donald Lopez, Okuyama Naoji, Shen Weirong, and Ester Bianchi equally deserve a special mention for their valuable suggestions and helpful criticisms. I am also grateful to Hubert Durt who, as member of the scientific committee, read a substantial number of contributions and checked their Sanskrit transcription. A special, heartfelt thank you goes to Phyllis Brooks and Cate Pearce who copyedited the book with exceptional dedication and turned the articles written by contributors speaking about seven different native languages into readable English. I am also indebted to Karnina Kollmar-Paulenz for supervising the simplified transcription of Mongolian letters (see Conventions below), and to Chen Qingying, Donatella Rossi, Onoda Shunz, and Jay Goldberg for their help in identifying Tibetan masters, places, and Sino-Tibetan texts. I am grateful as well for the precious suggestions I received during the preparatory phase from Funayama Tru, Toni Huber, Roberto Gimello, David Germano, Nagano Yasuhiko, and Samten Karmay. I wish to thank the ex-director of the cole franaise dExtrme-Orient, JeanPierre Drge, for having accepted this project, and the present director, Franciscus Verellen, for offering the necessary institutional and financial support for its accomplishment. I owe a great debt of gratitude to my Institute, the Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyjo at Kyoto University, and its members, in particular director Kin Bunky and Mugitani Kunio for giving me the opportunity to devote myself to research and realThis does not mean that ethnic Tibetans are not involved in critical debates about this issue; but due to restrictions in the PRC, available studies on this topic are often confined to specialist circles of Tibetologists or intellectuals living abroad (for example the well-known studies of Tsering Shakya or Jamyang Norbu, or of religious figures and members from the Tibetan community-in-exile). However, as Toni Huber has noted, the publications from the Tibetan exile community are not necessarily free from propaganda and censorship. See Toni Huber, Shangri-la in Exile: Representations of Tibetan Identity and Transnational Culture, in Imagining Tibet, 357-371.25


ize this project. I extend my gratitude to Zio Pio of the Magic Mountain for his generosity and support; to Evelyne Mesnil for revising and translating the majority of the English abstracts into French; to Sandra Bessis for her help in revising my French translations; to Benot Jacquet for his reading of French contributions and abstracts; to Fabienne Jagou, Wang Xiangyun, and Gray Tuttle for their kindness in answering to my inquiries; to David Riggs for his help in finding translators; to Rolf Giebel and Liu Jingguo for their translations from Japanese and Chinese into English; to the Tucci Institute and Francesco DArelli for sending me a photo of Giuseppe Tucci; and to Merrick Lex Berman for the base map of Tibet.26 Finally I wish to thank Kobayashi Tsuneyoshi for having not abandoned the work of layout in spite of the throes of multiple drafts and last-moment revisions, and my husband Urs App for his constant companionship, his unstinting support and encouragement of all my projects, for his help with this two-volume work and for his willingness to prepare the book cover.27

26 The base map is available at Please note that it includes territory disputed by the Tibetan-government-in-exile and the India government (territory on the northwest frontiers). The boundaries for the Tibetan cultural world (and autonomous political units under the PRC) are drawn from the county boundaries in 1990 on the CHGIS version 2, China in Time and Space, August 2003, DEM. 27 The base image for the book cover is from Peter Simon Pallas, Sammlungen historischer Nachrichten ber die mongolischen Vlkerschaften (St. Petersburg: Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1801): vol. 2, pl. 15.



Systems of transcription Chinese: The pinyin system of alphabetic transcription from Chinese is used throughout the book, except for names better known in the vVade-Giles, Taiwanese, or Cantonese transcription systems. In this case, pinyin followed by Chinese characters has been put into brackets (ex. Chiang Kai-shek Uiang Jieshi Jlff1r;p D. Traditional Chinese characters have been privileged. In references, however, some authors have chosen to use either simplified or traditional characters depending on where works referred to were published, the People's Republic or Taiwan. Japanese: The book adopts the Hepburn system. Mongolian: The book generally adopts the simplified transcription of Mongolian letters adjusted to common usage (though in few cases a different transcription has been used according to the sources utilized by the authors):Standard transcription Simplified transcription



gorkh kh

Sanskrit: The book generally adopts the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) system. The diacritics have not been used for Sanskrit terms that are part of the common usage and included in English dictionaries like MerriamWebster or the Oxford dictionary. Examples of such words are Mahayana, Hinayana, Vajrayana, Tripitaka, tantra, sutra, prajna, mandal~, stupa, dharani, vinaya, shastra, deva, etc. Tibetan: The book generally adopts the Wylie system, with capitalization of the radical letter (ex. Klong chen, sNgags chen, etc.). When the authors in their contributions have used the Tibetan phonetic as adopted in their country (Chinese phonetic adopted in the People's Republic of China or in Taiwan; Japanese phonetic according to the katakana system; etc.), the Wylie transcription has been put into parentheses by the editor, except in the case of common terms like lama, rinpoche, thangka, etc. AbbreviationsBCE CE


Before Common Era Common Era Taish6 Buddhist Canonxxi


Basemap from CHGIS version 30 Underlayer: DEM images by USGSo


* .6

Site of Tibetan Buddhist activities Tibetan Town

The Tibet of the Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer The manifold discussions in the wake of Edward Said's 1978 book on "Orientalism" and pioneer attempts to portray the history of the Western discovery of Buddhism showed that there is a dire need for case studies that throw light on the views of specific persons about specific Asian phenomena at specific points in time. Here, the views of three well-read philosophers from Germany, a nation without any colonial interest in Tibet or neighboring regions, are explored. The views of all three men are well documented through their own writings or through lecture notes by students. What kind of information were they gathering, and from what sources? What did they focus on, and what did they come up with? What motivated them to read about Tibet, and to what extent did their world view, their religion, their philosophY, and particular interests shape their ideas of the mysterious country in the Himalayas? The views expressed by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) from the 1750s to the turn of the gentury reflect a rapidly changing breakdown of the biblical view of history and the philosopher's pronounced interest in the history of the earth and of humanity. To Kant Tibet appeared as the first country to emerge from the latest great flood. He ignored the Bible in viewing Tibet as the cradle of humanity and the seat of mankind's most ancient culture and religion. G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) also adopted an Asian origin of history and a gradual progress from a primitive state to perfection, but in contrast to Kant he still clung to a strictly biblical timeframe. Unlike Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) showed a pronounced philosophical interest in Asia. He is the first European philosopher to be influenced by Asian philosophy and religion at an early stage in his career. He became convinced that the Kangyur was the oldest and most complete repository of Buddhist texts and admired early translations of some of its texts. In 1850s the philosopher . became the first Westerner to refer to himself as a Buddhist.

Le Tibet des philosophes : Kant, Hegel et Schopenhauer Les discussions apres la publication du livre "Orientalisme" d'Edward Said, ainsi qu'un nombre d'esquisses pionnieres de I'histoire de la decouverte du bouddhisme par les occidentaux ont montre la necess.ite d'etudier des cas .parliculiers mettant en lumiere les points de vue de personnes distinctes concernant des phenomenes orientaux specifiques dans un cadre historique defini. Cette contribution presente les opinions de trois philosophes erudits originaires d'Allemagne, un pays sans interets coloniaux au Tibet ou dans les regions voisines. Ces points de vue sont relativement bien documentes tant par les ecrits de ces trois philosophes que par les notes de leurs etudiants. Quelle sorte d'information ont-ils cherche et quelles etaient leurs sources? Quels phenomenes ont attire leur attention et quel etait Ie resultat de leurs recherches ? Quels motifs animaient leur lecture sur Ie Tibet et comment leur vision du monde, leur religion, leur philosophie et leurs interets particuliers ont determine leurs idees sur ce pays mysterieux de I'Himalaya ? Telles sont les questions posees. Le point de vue exprime par Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) entre 1750 et la fin du siecle reflete I'affaiblissement' progressif de la conception biblique de I'histoire, ainsi que I'interet prononce du philosophe pour I'histoire de la terre et de I'homme. Pour Kant, Ie Tibet est Ie premier pays iL emerger des oceans du deluge. Abandonnant I'approche biblique, Kant voit Ie Tibet comme Ie berceau de I'humauite et par consequent de toutes culture et religion. G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) situe, lui aussi, I'origine de I'histoire de I'homme en Asie. A ses yeux, cette histoire se presente comme un progres graduel vers la perfection iL partir d'un etat primitif mais, iL la difference de Kant, il ne parvient pas iL abandonner Ie cadre chronologique de I'histoire biblique. Contrairement a Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) montre un interet prononce pour les religions et les philosophies de I'Asie. II est Ie premier philosophe europeen iL s'etre laisse autant influencer par elles au cours de sa periode formative. II etait persuade que Ie Kangyur representait la collection la plus ancienne et complete des textes bouddhiques et "tait un ardent admirateur des premieres traductions de certains de ses textes. Dans les annees 1850 ce philosophe fut Ie premier occidental iL se dire bouddhiste . . .


UrsAPpKANThe 1757 announcement of Kant's pioneering course on "physical geography"-by far his most popular lecture series which ended only in 1796- signals his interest in theories of our earth's formation. For example, the presence of sea shells and maritime fossils on high mountains indicated that "all firm land once formed the bottom of the sea"i but how did animals and plants of the tropics end up petrified or frozen in faraway lands? Had there been a drastic climate change due to a changing inclination of the 'earth's a;j:is?' Kant had little sympathy for the likes ofvVoodward l and Whiston4 who, in the wake of Father Athanasius Kircher, had ended up using science to prop up the Old Testament narrative. Already in his General Theory ofNature and The01J1 of the Heavens of 1755 Kant had outlined an earth formation process in which an initial liquid state was followed by the gradual formation of a crust. Subsequently, the familiar features of the earth gradually took form primarily through erosion by the receding sea and by mighty rivers which carried water from higher plains to lower regions.' At this early stage


Immanuel Kant, Kants Worke (Akademie-Textausgabe; Berlin: "Valter de Gruyter, 1968): voL 2 (Vorkritische Schriften II), 8. Note: All translations from non-English materials in this contribution are by the author. 2 Kant, Werke, vol. 2, 8. Louville D'Allonville had proposed in 1714 that over the unheard-of period of 200,000 years a drastic climate change had occurred. See Manfred Petri, Die Urvolkhypothese - ein Beitrag zum Geschichtsdenken der Spiitaufilikzmg ztnd des deutschelz Idealismus (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1990): 31. 3 John Woodward, An Essay towa/d a Natural History of the Emoth: and Te1restrial Bodies,especially iVIinertt!s: As also of the Sea, Riven, and Spzoings. With an Account of the Univezosal Deluge: and ofthe Effects that it had upon the Earth (London: R. Wilkin, 1695). 4 William Whiston, A New Theory of the Earth from its Original to the Consummation of All Things. ~VheZ"ein The Czoeation of the Wodd in Six Days, The Universal Deluge, And the General Conflagzoation, As laid down in the Holy Sc,oiptzl1"es, A,oe sbown to be perfectly agTeeable to Reason and Philosophy (London: Tooke, 1696).5

Kant, Worke, voL 1, 199.

Images afTibet in the 19 111 and 20 1/; Centuries Paris, EFEO, coIL Etudes thematiques" (22.1), 2008, p. 5-60



in his career Kant still used the biblical number of around 6,000 years for the age of the earth6 but guessed that it "may have existed a thousand or more years before it was in a condition to support humans, animals, and plants.'" He soon agreed with the naturalist Buffon that it was wiser to separate the history of the earth altogether from that of humanity. Buffon was convinced that Asia had been the first part of the earth to get dry; it therefore had to be substantially older than Europe, Africa, and of course also the region that was home to the Old Testament. 8 Kant also concluded that "humans first inhabited the most elevated regions of the globe; only at a late stage did they descend to the plains.'" The cradle of humanity was thus likely to be located in the high plains of Asia rather than the alluvial lowlands around the Eastern Mediterranean. This new birthplace of the human race is just one symptom of the profound change of world view that took place between Kant's first writings in the 1750s and Schopenhauer's death in 1860 (a year after the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species). Just as the earth and entire galaxies had, in Kant's eyes, become mere specks of dust floating in an immense universe,'o so the "crown of creation," the human being, appeared to him like a louse on someone's head which harbors the delusion of being the center and goal of every thing. 11 Such insight by the young Kant already points in the direction of his immortal philosophical achievement: the demonstration that our perception determines our reality rather than the other way around. Naturally, this fundamental change in Europe's view of the world's and mankind's origin and history is also reflected in the prism of the European image of Tibet and its religion; here, too, the reigning world views had a way of determining reality. Most of Kant's views on Tibet were aired in his Physical Geography lectures, but he only published the short announcement of these lectures mentioned above. The bulk of information is found in a complex set of materials comprising Kant's own lecture blueprint (the so-called "Diktattext" redacted before 1760); several printed compilations by other authors based on these notes as well as student notes; and finally heaps of lecture notes by Kant's students which for the most part were redacted, revised and combined with other student notes or with the "Diktattext" at some later pointY Quite a number of important manuscripts disappeared at some point or were destroyed during World War II, but luckily Helmuth von Glasenapp had before the war studied some of them and proceeded to cite or summarize relevant bits and pieces in his book Kant and the Religions of the East. A thoroughKant, vVerke, vol. 1,204. Kant, We7-ke, vol. 1, 352-353. g Erich Adickes, Kants Ansichten iiber Geschichte zmd Bau der Erde (Tubingen: J. c. B. Mohr, 1911): 37. 9 Kant, vVerke, vol. 1, 200. 10 Kant, Wer!", vol. 1, 352. II Kant, Werke, vol. 1, 353. 12 See Erich Adickes's detailed source studies in Untersuchungen ZZI Kants physischer Geogmphie (Tubingen: J. B. Mohr, 1911); Helmuth von Glasenapp, Kant und die Religionen des Ostens (Kitzingen, am Main: Holzner, 1954); and the web pages by Werner Starke on Kant's physical geography and its forthcoming critical edition.67

The Tibet of the Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer


study would obviously necessitate a comprehensive review of all extant manuscript sources. However, the currently available printed materials permit gaining an idea of the development and content of Kant's view of Tibet and its religion. Tibet first appears in a part of the "Diktattext" which can be reliably dated to before 1760.lJ Kant began his discussion of Chinese religion as follows: Here [in China], the religion is treated rather indifferently. Many do not believe in a God; others who adhere to a religion do not bother much about [God]. The sect ofFo is most numerous. They conceive this Fo as an incarnated deity which in particular inhabits today the great Lama in Barantola14 in Tibet. It is venerated in him, but after his death it goes into another Lama. The Tartar priests are called Lamas, the Chinese ones Bonzes. ls In preparation for his lectures Kant had read La Croze's essay on the idolatry of the Indies!6 which gives the lie to modern assertions to the effect that the European discovery of Buddhism began "by the mid-1830s" when" 'Buddhism' came to define the religious beliefs and practices of most of Asia,"17 or that the "joint birth of the word and the object" began effectively around 1820."18 Along this line, Almond boldly states: Throughout the preceding discussion, I have tried carefully to avoid giving the impression that Buddhism existed prior to the end of the eighteenth century: that it was waiting in the wings, so to say, to be discovered; that it was floating in some ethereal Oriental limbo expecting its objective embodiment. On the contrary, what we are witnessing in the period from the later part of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the Victorian period in the latter half of the 183 Os is the creation of Buddhism. 19 But La Croze's 1724 discussion of the religion of the "Samaneens" whose founder is "Budda"-a religion of Indian origin which after its disappearance from India survived in Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Japan and probably also in Tibet-shows just how baseless such assertions are. Using information from a wide variety of sources La Croze came to the conclusion that this religion

Adickes, Unte1"suchzmgen, 7-44. According to Kircher Barantola was the Saracen name for Lhasa. Athanasius Kircher, China Illustrata withSaC1"ed and Seculm" Monuments, Vi".ious Spectacles of Nature and Art and OtheT Nlemombilia, trans. Charles van Tuyl (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University, 1987): 46. Sometimes it is also used for the Potala palace. IS Kant, We1:ke, vol. 9, 381 (Physical Geography). 16 Mathurin Veyssiere de la Craze, Histoire du Christianisme des Indes (The Hague: Vaillant & N. Prevost, 1724). 17 Philip C. Almond, Tbe British Discovery of Buddhism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988): 11. 18 Roger-Pol Droit, Le culte du neant. Les pbilosophes et Ie Bouddha (Paris: Seuil, 1997): 36; similarly also Bernard Faure, Bouddhisnzes, philosophies et TeZigions (Paris: Flammarion, 1998): 17; Frederic Lenoir, La rencontre du Bouddhisme et de l'occident (Paris: Fayard, 1999): 90; and others. 19 Almond, The B1"itish Discovery ofBuddhism, 12.II




had been opposed to the Indian caste system20 and to the cults of Vishnu and Shiva, did not recognize a God,21 and had a founder called "Boudda" who was identical with the Chinese Xe-kia, the Sino-Japanese Xaca, the Siamese Sonznzona-codonz, etc.: "Boudda, Sommona-Codom, & Xaca refer to the same person. This is all the more probable as the inhabitants of the kingdom of Laos, where the Siamese Talapoins study, use all these names interchangeably to denominate their idol of which the cult has been established in China and Japan under the name of Xaca."" According to La Croze, "Boudda" had lived "several centuries before the Christian era" and likely came "from a kingdom in central India"23 or from Ceylon. 24 Since the Ceylonese monks wear the same yellow robes, follow similar customs, and have the same sacred language "Bali" as the Siamese, La Croze also concluded that the "Budu" of the Ceylonese must refer to the same founder. Thus "one may surmise that this Boudan, who apparently is in no way different from the Boutta of Clement of Alexandria and the Boudda of St. Jerome, is none other than the SommonaCodom of the Siamese who also call him Pouti-Sat, and consequently the Xaca of the Indians."" To La Croze this meant that the religion in question "which, apart from China and Japan, has infected the kingdoms of Siam, Cambodia, Laos, Cochin China, Tonkin, and several other countries to the North and South of India, "is much larger than Islam,,26-the religion which for some time had been regarded as the world's largest. vVhile' the world's religious geography, one step behind its physical cousin, showed its approximate outlines in the 16,h and 17'h centuries, these proportions only really sunk in during the 18,h century with its profusion of travel accounts and syntheses of the world's customs and religions. By far the most important collection for Kant was Astley'S New Geneml Collection of Voyages and Ti-avels.27 The relevant

20 La Croze, Histoire, 498. This is the earliest printed assertion I have so far found in the ,Vest of Buddhist opposition to the Indian caste system. La Craze drew this information from his careful study of the fifth chapter of the Halle manuscript of Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's Genealogie de>' malaba17schen GO"tte1' (manuscript of 1713) which was only published in 1867 by vVilhelm Germann with many alterations; cf. Daniel Jeyaraj, Bartholomitus Ziegenbalgs 'Genealogie dermalabarischen Gotter' (Halle: Francke, 2003): 14. 21 La Croze, Histoire, 498. La Croze bases much of his atheism argument on Simon de la Loubere, Du Royaume de Siam (Amsterdam: Abraham Wolfgang, 1691). " La Croze, Histoire, 502. La Craze uses various spellings for the name of the founder of Buddhism. 23 La Croze, Histoire, 502. 24 La Craze, Histoire, 505. 25 La Craze, Histoire, 513. Earlier identifications of the common referent of such diverse names which were not yet published in 1724 include Fernao de Queyroz's detailed comparison of Chinese and Ceylonese biographical data about the Buddha in the The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon (Colombo: A: C. Richards, 1930): 118-141; and Engelbert Kaempfer's chapter on "Budsdo" (Buddhism) in The History of Japan (London: Thomas Woodward, 1727): vol. 1,241-243. 26 La Croze, Histoire, 504-505. 21 Thomas Astley, A new general collection of voyages and travels: consisting of the most esteemed relations, which have been hitheno published in any language, comp"ebending every thing

Tbe Tibet of tbe Pbilosopben: lVint, Hegel, and Scbopenbazie7~


portions of the German translation which Kant relied upon had been published just a few years before he launched his geography lecture series." It was an exceedingly rich source of information consisting both of original sources and critical surveys and expositions. For example, Kant's major source about Tibet, volume 7 of Schwabe's German version of Astley, contained not only comprehensive descriptions of Tartary and Tibet but also many major travel accounts about these regions, from the 13 m century reports of Carpini, Ruysbroek and Marco Polo to materials from 17'h and 18,h century travelers and missionaries such as Johannes Grueber, Ippolito Desideri, and Francesco Orazio della Penna. Thus Kant was familiar with the view of Tibetan religion as a kind of degenerated Christianity communicated or implied by Andrade, Desideri and other missionaries featured in Astley/Schwabe's collection: The catholic missionaries describe the doctrines regarding Fo in such a way that they appear as nothing other than Christianity degenerated into great heathendom. Reportedly they [of the doctrine of Fo] posit three persons in the Godhead, the second of which had furnished the law and had shed his blood for humankind. The great Lama is also said to administer a kind of sacrament using bread and wine.29 Since Kant offered this description in his treatment of Chinese religion and immediately afterwards went on to describe other living religions of China (such as the veneration of Confucius), it is clear that for him the dominant religion of China, the "sect of Fo" which we today call Chinese Buddhism, formed the essence of the religion of Tibet: Fo (Buddha) is the divinity incarnated in the great Lama. Unlike Hegel who, more than 60 years later, was still wondering whether Lamaism was connected with the religion of Fo, Kant had, thanks to his study of La Croze and Astley/Schwabe, grasped this connection from the outset. Furthermore, Joseph de Guignes (1721-1800), another important source of Kant, had also identified a very widespread religion with an Indian founder that reigned in many Asian countries including China, Japan, Siam, Tartary, and Tibet. 3D In his works de Guignes portrayed this pan-Asian religion as a mixture of Egyptian idolatry (in Indian guise and propagated by a mighty impostor called Buddha) and early Christian teachings, with Christian heresies and Manichean doctrines thrown into the mix. We will see below that this potent brew inspired the fertile imagination of one of Kant's later sources, Father Agostino Giorgi, and formed a root of the two-Buddha theory that confused Hegel.Te77ZaTkable in its kind, in Emope, Asia, Africa, and A71Ze,~ica, wit" Tespect to t"e sev,,al E77Zpi,~es, Kingdoms, and P,~ovinces (London: Thomas Astley, 1745 -1747). 28 Johann Joachim Schwabe (ed.), Allgemeine Histo,.ie d,,~ Reisen ZZt 1-Vasser ad,, zZt Lande; odeT Sa77Z11Zlzmg alle,. ReisebeschTeibungen, 21 vols. (Leipzig: Arkstee & Merkus, 1747-1774). For

information on China and Tibet Kant mainly relied on vols. 6 and 7 (both published in 1750). 29 Kant, vVe,.ke, vol. 9, 381-382 (Physical Geography). )0 Joseph de Guignes, Histoi1~e ginrh~ale des Huns, des TuTCs, des NIogols, et des autl~es ta1~ tates occidental/X, & c. avant ]eSZts-Cb,ist jl/squ'a present, 5 vols. (Paris: Desaint & Saillant, 1756-1758): vol. 2, 234.



The impression that Asian religions with monks, rosaries, statuary, etc. (religions that we today identify as forms of Buddhism) resemble Catholicism had already been reported for centuries; but such reports gained in exposure when 18 th century protestants such as La Croze, Astley, and Schwabe were thrilled to fill pages with parallels between "heathen" customs and those of the Roman Catholic "papists."ll After Tartary and Japan etc. it was now Tibet's turn to exemplify that the degeneration of Christianity had not stopped in Rome, In the words of the protestant Kant: This Lama does not die, his soul soon inhabits a body that totally resembles the former one, Some subordinate priests also pretend to be animated [beseelt] by this divinity, and the Chinese call such a person a living Fo, What was said above [about similarities to catholic Christianity] and the fact that the great Lama, whom they also call Father, is in effect the pope of the heathens and could be said to have the patrimony ofPeter' in Barantola: this all confirms the guess mentioned above [that it seems to be a degenerated form of Catholicism],l2 Regarding the doctrine of this "sect" Kant also reproduced the dominant opinion of the time, namely, that it focuses on metempsychosis and karmic retribution and can be divided into an inner and an outer teaching. De Guignes had explained that the outer teaching varied depending on time and place, which explained the "considerable differences between the heathens of India and those of Tibet and Tartary.'>ll This was a very handy way of gathering the whole herd of Asian paganisms under a common roof, but it also meant that "transmigration" and the "secret teaching" had to provide a measure of unity to the "sect," Thus Kant wrote: The sect of Fo believes in the transmigration of souls. There is a notion among them that nothingness is the origin and end of all things, wherefore an insensibility [Fiihllosigkeit] and a temporary renunciation of all work are godly thoughts [gottselige Gedanken].34 Kant thus boiled the teaching ofFo down to three main features: L transmigration; 2. nothingness as the origin and end of everything; and 3. torpor and inactivity. These were the teachings of the Chinese "sect of the false contemplators [Secte de1' folschen BetmchterJ" about which Kant had read in volume 6 of his trusty collection of travel accounts. This sect reportedly aims at "ceasing to be and being engulfed by nothingness" and, "becoming like a rock or a stick." Its contemplators want to attain a state of happiness consisting in a "total insensibility and motionlessness, the ceasing of all desires [.,.J and annihilation of all forces of the soul, and in a total


Schwabe's Allgemeine Hist01'ie devotes an entire section to such parallels (vol. 7, Kant, We,'ke, voL 9, 404-405 (Physical Geography). De Guignes, Histoi,.e, voL 2, 225. Kant, We,'ke, vol. 9, 382 (Physical Geography).

212-215),12JJ 34

The Tibet of the Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer


quietude of thoughts.,,)5 Like many other 18'h-century intellectuals Kant was an avid reader of Pierre Bayle's dictionary, and this is exactly how Bayle, in his article on Spinoza, had portrayed "quietism": The sectarians ofFo teach quietism since they say that all those who seek for genuine beatitude must let themselves be absorbed in profound meditations to such a degree that they make no use whatsoever of their intellect and, in consummate insensibility, plunge into the quietude and inaction of the First Principle; this they hold to be the true method of resembling it perfectly and to participate in happiness.)6 The associatiol;l of Chinese quietism, pantheism, and Spinozism with Tibet was still evoked by Kant a decade before his death in The End ofAll Things of 1794: From this [mysticism] arises the monstrous system of Laohun [Laozi] of the highest good which is supposed to consist in nothingness: i.e., in the consciousness of feeling oneself engulfed in the abyss of the divinity through confluence with it and thus through annihilation of one's personality. Chinese philosophers, in order to anticipate such a state, strive in dark rooms with closed eyes to think and feel this nothingness of theirs. Hence the pantheism (of the Tibetans and other Eastern peoples); and the Spinozism which subsequently arose through metaphysical sublimation of the same. Both are closely related to the extremely old system of emanation of allliuman souls from the divinity (and its eventual resorption in the same).) vVhile Kant believed that it was Fa who was repeatedly incarnated in the Tibetan' lamas, he apparently was not yet able to link the lamas to other pieces of the mosaic such as the Siamese and Burmese Talapoins who venerate an erstwhile Talapoin called Sommona Cada71z,l8 Ceylonese monks who visit the footprint of their "God Budda,")9 and so on. But he was fascinated by the religion of the Siberian Kalmylcs and Mongols and its center in "Barantola"40: In Barantola, or as others call it, in the Potala resides the great supreme priest of the MongolTartars, the very image of the pope. The priests of this religion, who have spread from this region of Tartary to the Chinese sea, are called Lamas; this religion seems to be catholic Christianity degenerated into the blindest heathendom. They maintain that God has a son who came into the world as a man and lived as a beggar but was solely preoccupied with' making people blissful [selig]. In the end he reportedly was raised to heaven.

l5 Schwabe (ed.), Allgemeine Histo";e del' Reisen zu Wasse,' zmd zu Lande; od,,' Sa11Z71,izmg all,,' Reisebescb,'eibungen (Leipzig: Arkstee & Merleus, 1750): vol. 6, 368-369. 36 Pierre Bayle, Dictionnaire histohque et c)'itique (Rotterdam: R. Leers, 1702): 2769, s.v.

"Spinoza." 17 Kant, W"'ke, voL 8, 335 (Das Ende all,,' Dinge, first published 1794). )S Kant, We,'ke, voL 9, 385-386 (Physical Geography). )9. Kant, We"ke, vol. 9, 394 (Physical Geography) .. 40 See note 14 above.


UnAppGmelin41 himself heard this from a Lama. They also have a mother ';f this savior and make likenesses of her. They also have the rosary. The missionaries also report that they.posit a threefoldness in the divine essence and that the Dalai Lama administers a certain sacrament with bread and wine enjoyed only by him."

Though Kant reported some of this in a skeptical tone and thought that "what some travelers report, namely that the adherents of this creed carry the excrements of the Lama on them as a fine powder in boxes which they spread on their food" was probably no more than "simple slander,''''' there is not much evidence of a personal opinion at this point. But it must be emphasized that the "Diktattext" simply represents a basis of notes for Kant's lectures. In the lectures themselves he often introduced more recent information and contrasting viewpoints. Herder's notes from Kant's 1763-1764 lectures 44 are a case in point; they show that near the beginning of his career Kant already had a less confused picture of the religious geography of Asia than Hegel in the early 1820s: The [Chinese] national religion is that of the Fo or the Lamas; Xaca in Japan; Fo in Tartary; Brama in Ceylon; Sommonacodom in Siam probably is a man who had formerly lived and still animates the Lamma in Tartary, and as Sommonacadom in Siam a Talepoin. The supreme priest in Tibet (Daleylamma) is a living Fo, sits in the dark like God, underneath lamps; the Lammas are subordinated to him as the eternal father; they have a rite with bread and wine; also incarnation, or more properly enthusiasm [Begeisterung] of the Lamma. They believe in transmigration of souls [Seelenwanderung]; (so also Fo) = sect which approaches nothingness [Sekte, die sich dem Nichts ntfhen] 45 Herder's hasty notes are not without ambiguity, but Kant's overall view was dearly , influenced by La Croze, Astley/Schwabe, and de Guignes: 46 A Talepoin (Sommonacodom) seems to be one with many others: the Fo of China; Xaca ofJapan; Budda of Ceylon; and the Daleylamma is a living Fo:'41 Kant refers to Johann Georg Gmelin (1709-1755), the German botanist and explorer of Siberia. 42 Kant, vV;".ke, vol. 9, 404 (Physical Geography). 43 Kant, vVerke, vol. 9, 405 (Physical Geography), 44 These notes form part of Herder's manuscript remains at the Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin (Kapsel XXv, no. 44): Notes from Kant's lectures' on physical geography. See Hans Dietrich Irmscher & Emil Adler, Der handschriftliche Nachlass Johann Gottfried Herders: Katalog CWiesbaden: Harassowitz, 1979): 195. 45 Herder, Kant lecture notes, Kapsel XXv, no. 44: 5v. Thanks to vVerner Starke for sharing his German draft transcription from the microfilms on which this translation is based, Abbreviations and punctuation were adapted to increase legibility. 46 In the Herder notes (Kapsel XXv, no, 44: 51) Kant also mentioned de Guignes's book on the Egyptian origin of the Chinese: lVIemoir'e dans lequel on p,'ouve, que les Chinois sont une colonie egyptienne (Paris: Desaint & Saillant, 1760). 47 Herder, Kant lecture notes, Kapsel XXv, no. 44: 6r.

The Tibet of the Philosophers: Kant; Hegel, and SchopenhaueT


Tibet as Mankind's Al'kReports that Tibet was the destination of pilgrims from various surrounding countries were numerous; Andrade, for example, had written in 1626 that he accompanied Indians on their pilgrimage toward Tibet.4B For Kant this was an important confirmation of Tibet's antiquity.It is the most elevated land, was also probably inhabited earlier than any other, and could even be the original seat [Stammsitz] of all culture and science. The learning of the Indians, in particular, stems with great likelihood from Tibet, as on the other hand all our arts seem to have come from India, for example agriculture, numbers, the game of chess, etc. It is believed that Abraham hailed from the frontiers ofHindustan. 49

Already in the 16,h century Guillaume Postel had suggested that Abraham was the ancestor of the Brahmins or Abrahamins and that some Indian books were older than the deluge;50 but like Martino Martini a century later51 and the Jesuit figurists in his wake,s' Postel did not want to undermine the validity of the Old Testament but rather defend it. Though such defense became increasingly costly, the basic course of history from a golden age (paradise) via degeneration (the fall, etc.) to regeneration remained unchanged, and the geographical center of the whole enterprise was naturally Israel. But during the 17'h and the first half of tlle 18'h centuries, in the run-up to Kant's trailblazing lectures on physical geography, the situation took an ominous turn. 53 This change of outlook was not only due to travelers who were exploring the customs and religions of foreign lands but also to scientists like Buffon who gave increasing importance to the "book of nature." Furthermore, in Kant's time the traditional view was frontally attacked by Burne's Natu1'al Hist017 of Religion (1757) and its persuasive argument that religion had not begun with pure monotheism and god-given wisdom somewhere near Jerusalem but rather with primitive cults everywhere that were mainly driven by fear of accidents and natural

48 Hugues Didier, Les pom'gais au Tibet. Les pTemi'TeS 1'elations jesuites (1624-1635) (Paris: Chandeigne, 1996): 42. 49 Kant, We,ke, va!. 9, 228. For sources on Abraham and India see Glasenapp, Kant, 73 and Adickes, Untemtebungen, 189. The Indian origin of chess was first argued by Freret in 1719; see the references in Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Emope (New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1990): 472 note 25. 50 Guillaume Postel, De 01"iginibus seu de va7'ia et potissimum o1"bi Latino ad bane diem

incognita, aut inconsydeTata bistoria, quztrlz totius 07"-ientis, tum nUl,;'Cime Tat"tarorunt, Penan177t, TzwCaTZtnZ, &' OmniU17t Abl1tbami &' Noacbi alzmznont1lt oTigines, &' myste1-ia Bracbmanunt rete-

gente: Quod ad gentium, litenmtn'que quib.

utzmtu1~ Tationes attinet (Basel: J. Oporin, 1553): 70. See also Daniel Georg Morhof, Po1yhist01~ iiteTfl1'ius, pbilosopbieus et pmeticus (Lubeck: Peter Boeckmann, 1708): va!. 1, 50-51. 51 Ivlariino Martini, Sinicae bist01'ia decas p"ima (Munich: Lucas Straub, 1658). 52 See for example Claudia von Collani, Die Figzwisten in del' Cbinilmission (Frankfurt a. M.I Bern: Lang, 1981). 53 See my forthcoming monograph on Europe's IS rl'-century discovery of Asian religions.



disasters, Instead of a golden age followed by degeneration and marked by decadent plagiarism, a model of gradual progress from primitive beginnings gained adherents-a model, incidentally, that had prominent forerunners in pagan Greece and Rome. Kant, the avid reader of Hamann's translation ofHume's treatise, was among them;54 and Tibet as the nursery of mankind was about to take on some of the vibrant hues of Eden, With the shift of the world's center of historical gravity from the Mediterranean region to the mountains of Asia, Hebrew also gradually lost its status of being mankind's original language. 55 If all of the arts and even Abraham had come from the mountains north ofIndia, why not also language? For Kant this was only logical: China, Persia and India received their inhabitants from there. Here and nowhere else one ought to look for the trunk-roots of all primal languages [Ui'spmchenJ of Asia and Europe .... Abraham probably lived in the environs ofIndia, and his parentage with Brahma might not just be one of name. 56 Of course Sanskrit offered itself as an attractive candidate; long before vVilliamJones, the Italian Sassetti,57 the German Benjamin Schulze" and Father Cceurdom: from France s9 had detected a relationship between Sanskrit and European languages, and Kant had read in de la Loubere's travel account that Sanskrit could be the mother of all living Indian languages. 60 Thus it is hardly surprising that Kant thought that "Sanskrit has a quite definite quality and seems to be related to alllanguages."61 Another facet of this momentous shift concerned the traditional view of the origin of human races. How was it possible that in just a few thousand years the descendants of three sons of Noah could have acquired such diverse features and multiplied so much? Characteristically, Kant's 1775 treatise About the dif!emzt Races of iVlankind starts out with Buffon and seems to ignore the biblical narrative completely. However, underneath the scientific and speculative surface the remnants of the traditional worldview still show through: mankind's monogenetic origin (Kant's "original species" [Stmnmgattzmg]); a region warm enough for the naked first couple; and a catastrophic universal flood. 62 Kant, Wedee, voL 18, 428, See the brief overview of this process in Maurice Olender, The Languages of Pm'adise (New York: Other Press, 1992): 1-11. 56 Cited in Glasenapp, Kant, 73 from Vollmer's 1816 edition of Kant's physical geography lectures (see Adickes, Unte1"Suchzmgen, 11-12). See note 50 for the source of this idea. 57 Theodor Benfey, Geschichte de1' Spl'achwissenschaft und del' o1"ientalischen Philologie in Deutschland (Munich: Cotta, 1861): 222-223 and 333. Sassetti had been in India from 1583 to5455

1588.58 Benfey, Geschichte der Spmchwissenschaft, 261 and 336-338. In 1741 Schulze published the first Hindi grammar in Madras. 59 Benfey, Geschichte del' Spmchwissenschaft, 341. Coeurdoux's treatise comparing Sanskrit with Latin and Greek was read before the French Academy in 1768. 60 Glasenapp, Kant, 29-30. 61 Ms. 2599: 327 (Adickes Ms. Q); cited after Glasenapp, Kant, 29.' 62 Kant, Wel'ke, vol. 2, 440 (Von den vel'schiedenen Racen de," IVIensche,,). Kant here situated this region between the 31" and 52 nd degree of latitude.

The Tibet of tbe Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, and SchopenhauerThe native of Hindustan can be seen as originating from one of the oldest human races. His land, which to the north borders on a high mountain range ... (and to which I add to the north Tibet, possibly the general shelter of the human race during the last great revolution affecting our earth, and its nursery thereafter) features, in a temperate region, the most perfect watershed (drainage to two seas) " .. In the remotest antiquity it thus could be dry and habitable .... So it was here that over long periods of time a solid human race could be formed. 6J


Kant's speculations were soon boosted by those of Jean-Sylvain Bailly, a renowned historian of science who later became mayor of Paris. Published in the same year as Kant's treatise on human races, Bailly's multi-volume Hist01J1 of Ancient Astronomy'4 created quite a stir through its claim that the cradle of humankind was situated around the 49,h degree of latitude in Siberia. Though he seemed to have thrown the Old Testament overboard, Bailly's edifice rested on the old idea of a period of great wisdom at a very early time in human history; traces of this wisdom, he claimed, had survived in the form of the surprisingly advanced astronomical knowledge of antiquity. Bailly's enterprise shows some similarity to 20 th-century fantasies about extraterrestrials,65 which hold that mankind's supposedly very advanced ancient knowledge can only be explained by the influence of a "teacher" group. In Bailly's case these teachers were not extraterrestrials but rather the divinely inspired original human race hailing from Siberia. Like his modern successors, Bailly found "proofs" of his hypothesis just about everywhere; but in his case the data did not point to outer space but rather to North Asia whose celestiil phenomena appeared to match ancient observations. According to Buffon's theory the earth's poles had cooled first and could provide shelter to our naked ancestors. Bailly held that in mankind's Siberian cradle surprisingly advanced observational knowledge had accumulated and that later this knowledge had taken refuge in Tibet, where it survived the great flood and subsequently made its way to India and China-a scenario supported by the pilgrimages by Indians and Chinese to Tibet. 66 Tibet thus became, to put it provocatively, the enlightened European's Ark of Noah. Bailly's stunning theories seemed to confirm Kant's view of this region's "white-skinned yet brunette inhabitants"67 as the remnants of the original human species from which all known pure and~mixed races stem. 68

63 Kant, We1ke,vo!. 2, 439. Jean Sylvain Bailly, Histoire dd'astrononzie ancienne (Paris: Debure, 1775). 65 See for example Erich von Daniken, In Seal'cb of tbe Gods (New York: Avenel Books,64

1989).66 Preface by translator C. E. Wunsch to Jean Sylvain Bailly, Des Herr" Bailly Aufsebers iibeT den kO'niglichen Bildersaal wie auch deT kO'niglichen Akadenzie del' vVissenscbaften ZZl Pm'is Zlnd des Instituts ZZl Bologlle Nlitgliedes Gescbicbte deT Sternlamde des Altel'tbunts his auf die E1'7'icbtlmg del' Sol"tle zuAlexand1'ie1l (Leipzig: Schwickert, 1777); see Glasenapp, Kant, 27-28. 67 Kant, Werke, vo!' 2, 441. 68 Kant, We,'ke, voL 2, 432-434 and 440-441. For changes in Kant's view of races see Adickes, UmersZtcbu1lgen, 194-197.



Bible-based chronology had long been under discussion and sometimes attack, but Chinese historical records-which, according to some Jesuit experts, predated the deluge-had shocked many l7 th -century Europeans. It is in this context that astronomical information gained in importance as a tool for nailing down dates in the dawn of time. This is why Bailly's well-documented claims regarding the character and accuracy of ancient astronomical data attracted much attention in Kant's time and beyond. 69 When Kant lent his copy of Bailly's History of Astronomy to a friend in the summer of 1777 he urged him to take note of the North-Asian origin of science and to return the book expeditiously.?O His interest is understandable since Bailly's History of Astronomy appeared to confirm Kant's long-held view that the human race had survived the latest global catastrophe in the highest plains of Asia, which thus had to be the homeland not only of the Chinese, Persians, and Indians but of all humankind: Nowhere else than here ought one to locate the genetic roots of all original languages of Asia and Europe. It is from here that the Indian [religion] and all our religions came, learning, agriculture, numbers, chess, etc.... Pilgrimages are always made to the place of origin of a religion. The Europeans make pilgrimages to Jerusalem, the muslims to Mecca, the old Egyptians formerly to Abessinia ... and the Indians to Tibet, to the temple in the center of the city of Lhassa.71 Instead of India, which Voltaire in 1761 had famously declared to be the home of the most ancient and purest religion and the cradle of all civilizations,?' Kant in the 1780s came to regard Tibet as the mother of all homelands since it had given birth to the "pure basis and fundamental conception" of the Brahmanic religion. 7) Spurious texts like the EZOll1'Veda77Z 74 and Holwell's Cbm7:ab Bbade of Bmlmw75 were

69 Bailly followed up his Hist01j with his Lew'es sm' l'origine des sciences, et sur celle des peuples de l'Asie (Paris: Debure, 1777) and the Lettres sttl" l'Atlantide de Platon et S7". l'ancienne bistoire de l'Asie (London: E. Elmesly, 1779). In the latter the whole edifice is linked to Plato's Atlantis legend. 70 Kant, vVe"ke, vol. 10,209; letter to A. J. Penzel of August 12, 1777. 71 This passage is from Vollmer's 1816 edition of Kant's physical geography lectures which in general is a source of little value (see Adickes, Untenuchungen, 11-12). However, this line of argument is supported by various other sources; see Glasenapp, Kant, 72-77. In 1773, Voltaire expressed a similar opinion about the Indian origin of numbers, chess, the first principles of geometry, etc.; see Halhfass, India and Em'ope, 59. n Halbfass, India and EZl7'ope, 57-58. 7J Ms. 1296: 314 (Adickes Ms. 0); cited after Glasenapp, Kant, 38. 74 Guillaume Emmanuel Sainte-Croix (ed.), L'Ezozw-Vedam on Ancien C071lmentaire du Vedal", contenant l'exposition des opinions religieuses & pbilosopbiques des Indiens (Yverdon: De Felice, 1778). 75 John Zephaniah Holwell, Interesting hist01'ical events, "elative to tbe provinces of Bengal, and the emph'e of Indostan (London: Becket & De Hondt, 1767, part 2). A German translation appeared in 1778: Holwells merkwiinlige tmd bisto"isc"e Nacb1'ichten von Hindostan Zlnd Bengalen, nebst ehw- BeschTeibung de?' Religionslehren, det Nlythologie, etc. (Leipzig: Weygandsche Buchhandlung, 1778).

The Tibet of the Philosoph en: Kam, Hegel, and Scbopenbazte7


earnestly discussed by men like Voltaire, Bailly, Raynal, and Herder as expressions of ancient monotheism; but what had happened to this creed? And what relation did it have to the present religion of the Lamas in Tibet which, according to La Croze, was "a veritable paganism so similar in many respects to that of the Indies that there are authors who do not distinguish them at all"? 76 In Kant's view, the pure ancient religion of Tibet had made its way to India where it had become "mixed with many superstitious things several hundred years before Christ's birth, things which were in part supposed to be symbolic but ended up being objects of devotion."n The instigator of this mLx-up was none other than "Buda" who 300 years before Christ brought about in India a change of religion which almost immediately propagated itself back to Tibet." As a close reader of La Croze and de Guignes, Kant knew well that this "Buda" was identical with the Gotama of Burma, Samana Gotama of Siam, Butso and Shaka of Japan, Fo of China, and the Burchan of Tibet and Tartary.79 But how did Tibetan religion end up as the strange pseudo-Christian mishmash of which Kant got the latest news in the travel accounts of Pallas and Bogle?SO Had there been, after the Buddhist' conquest of Tibet in pre-Christian times, a second religious invasion of mankind's originally pure cradle-this tim~ by Catholics or by Christian heretics? At this stage, "the Lamaist religion" seemed to Kant "one of the strangest phenomena on this globe" and a showcase "that with regard to religion man has tried out just about any absurdity one could think of"" Although few details of such "absurdities" are mentioned it is clear that Kant was actually rather well informed about religious practices of the Tibetans which were not mentioned in the usual travel accounts. vVbat was his source of information? In student notes as well as Kant's own writings the name of the German scientist Peter Simon Pallas occasionally pops up. Pallas (1741-1811) was famous for his 1777 study on the formation of mountains in which he wrote that the granite peaks of the Himalayas had never been touched by any flood and that the southern slopes of the Himalayas were likely to be "the first homeland of the human race and of the white

La Croze, Histo;"e du cbTistianimze des Indes, 518. Ms. 2599: 237 (Adickes Ms. Q); approx. from 1781. Cited after Glasenapp, Kant, 33. 78 Ms. 1296: 310 (Adickes Ms. 0); after Glasenapp, Kant, 58. 79 Ms. 1729: 156 (Adickes Ms. S); Ms. 2599: 310, 329 (Adiclees Q); see Glasenapp, Kant, 59. Regarding Burchan see also Ms 2599: 309 (Adiclees Q); Glasenapp, Kant, 75. 80 Peter Simon Pallas, Sammlungen bistoTiscber NacbTicbten iih,,' die nzongoliscben VolkeTschaften (St. Petersburg: Kaiserliche Akademie der vVissenschaften, 1776): voL 1. For Bogle-related sources see Adickes, Untenucbungen, 121. In such reports Kant learned about the three head Lamas (Dalai, Taisha, and Bogdo Lama), etc. See Ms. 2582a: 63b and Ms. Dohna: 216 cited in Glasenapp, Kant, 76. 81 Ms. 2599: 309 (Adiclees Ms. Q); approx. from 1781. Cited after Glasenapp, Kant, 75. Kant might have been thinldng of the Tibetan prayer wheels which he described as similar to Christian pilgrimages to Loretto or Jerusalem. Immanuel Kant, Die Religion inne1'halh der' Grenzen deT bloflen Vennmft (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1974): 228-229. The original edition was published in 1793.76 77



humans."" But he was also the author of a three-volume illustrated travel account of his explorations of the Russian East S) and a two-volume study of the history and culture of Mongolia which contains some of the earliest accurate depictions of Tibetan Buddhist statuary (see pI. 10).84 Kant certainly read the former, which confirmed that pea-sized black "holy pills (Schalirr)" were imported from Tibet and given by Lamaist clergy to the rich and noble suffering from very grave illnesses." This information formed part of Pallas's pioneering 33-page survey of Tibetan Buddhism as practiced by the Kalmyks which included not only accounts of Tibetan cosmogony, apocalypse, and doctrine (as relayed by a Christian Kalmyk) but also a wealth of first-hand observations by Pallas and his collaborators on clergy, rituals, and religious customs 86

Tibet at tbe CrossroadsToward the end of his lecturing years Kant came across a worthy successor to Kircher's China Illustmta: Father Antonio Giorgi's Alphabetzmz Tibetammz." This is' not just a book about Tibetan letters but rather an ABC of all things Tibetan, a very rich' source of information, disinformation and speculation that exerted a great influence on the Tibet image of the aging philosopher. In particular, Giorgi addressed the mystery of Tibetan religion, which to Kant appeared so exceedingly strange. Struggling with the discrepancy between Asian sources (which held that Shakyamuni Buddha lived six or even ten centuries before Christ's birth) and the views of de Guignes (which regarded even the reputedly most fundamental text of Buddhism, the Forty-Two-Cbaptel' Sutm, as a concoction 'of early Christian times),88 Giorgi came up with an ingenious theory powerful enough to confuse some of the

82 Pallas, Ubel' die Bescbaffenbeit del' Gebi1-ge ztnd die Vel'iindemngen del' vVeltkztgel (Leipzig: Geest & Portig, 1986): 32. 8J Pallas, Reise dul'cb verscbiedene P,'ovinzen des Russiscben Reichs in den Jabl'en 1768-74 (St. Petersburg: Kaiserliche Akademie der vVissenschaften, 1771-1776). Reprint Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1967. 84 Pallas, Sa11Z11Zizt71gen bistol'iscbel' NaclJ1-icbten iiber die mongoliscben Viilkerscbaften (St. Petersburg: Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1776 and 1801). Reprint Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1980. 85 Pallas, Reise, vol. 1,358; Kant Ms. Ub 9: 187a (Adickes Ms. T); summer of 1793. Cited after Glasenapp, Kant, 75. Kircher had reported that Tibetans wear pellets of the excrement of the Dalai Lama as talismans around their necks and mi." his urine with their food. Kircher, Cbina Illustrata, 67. 86 Pallas, Reise, vol. 1, 333-364. 87 Augustinus Antonius Giorgi, Alpbabetwn Tibetanzt111 missiontlm apostolicant,n c011Zmodo editzmz. p1~ae11tissa est disquisitio qua de Va1~io litteraru'm ac regionis nomine, gentis oTigine 71t01~i bus, s'ltperstitione, ac lVlanichaeis71Zo fuse disse1~itzw: Beausobrii calu7nniae in sanctu77Z Augustinu7n, aliosque ecclesiae patl'es refutantuT (Rome: Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, 1762). Latin reprint edition by Rudolf Kaschewsky (Cologne: Editiones Una Voce, 1987) and German translation by Peter Lindegger (Rikon: Tibet-Institut; 2001). 88 De Guignes, Risto;,'e gthu!mle des Runs, vol. 2, 233-234.

The Tibet of the Philosoph en: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenbauel'


Fig. 1: Pallas: Sm1Z7"lzmgen bistorisclm' Nacbricbten vol. 1 (1771): Plate 10

brightest minds of the age: the two-Buddha theory. Faced with the danger that malevolent Europeans or Asians could portray Christianity as a plagiarism of the far older Buddhist religion,S9 Father Giorgi decided that he needed "to conclusively pulverize and eradicate" this "heresy which has extended widely across the lands of the Scythians, India, Tartary and Tibet, from the riverbeds of the Indus to the Chinese and Japanese at the extremity of world.,,90 Ieis with this ambitious purpose in mind that Giorgi ,established the thesis that "there are two Buttas or Xacas and that the Tibetans mixed up the first with the second."9! Giorgi's thesis, proposed in 1762, was a courageous attempt to shore up once more the centrality of the Eastern Mediterranean: the "old" Buddha is linked, mostly by hilarious etymological contortions, to the Egyptian Osiris, whereas the "younger" Buddha is none other than a distorted image of Jesus Christ." While the "old" Buddha was an amalgam of the worst paganism Egypt and Greece had to offer, including the ridiculous idea of transmigration, the "younger" Buddha was a parody of the Son of God from Israel. Word of him had reached India and China "around 60 A.D.," and without delay "his name and fame came to the ear of the Tibetans" who "soon afterwards received images brought to Lhasa from both Indiago See for example Simon de la Loubere, Du Ro)'au17le de Sia11Z, vol. 1, 413; and Astley, Collection, vol. 4, 220-221. 90 Giorgi, Alpbabetu11Z Tibetanzmz, x..'C (Lindegger trans., xxv). 9! Giorgi, Alpbabetzt17l Tibetanu11Z, xx (Lindegger trans., x..wi). As mentioned above, de

Guignes inspired this theory; but a different two-Buddha scheme was already proposed by Kaempfer (The Hist01Y ofJapan, 37). 92 Giorgi, AlphabetZt11Z Tibetanzmz, xxii (Lindegger trans'., 1Lwii'xxviii).



Genesis only to show (among others to his erstwhile pupil Herder) that one eQuId just as well do without it; and his Religion vVithin tbe Li77Zits ofiWere Reason presents a view of religion which, in Kant's pointed phrase, "makes use of everything including the Bible ... or also some other book if there is a better one of the kind."lOl The word of God had become one source among others and could, just like other sacred texts, be dispensed with. Religion had become "reified," an object of detached study; thus different religions could be studied just like different languages. 102 One outcome of this comparative perspective was that Christian customs could appear just as strange as Tibetan ones:

vVhether the bigot performs his statutory visit to the cburch or goes on pilgrimage to the sanctuaries of Loretto or Palestine; whether he offers his prayer formulas to the heavenly authorities with his lips or, like the Tibetan (who believes that these wishes do their job just as well in written form if they are written on something and moved, for example on flags by the wind or enclosed in a box by hand as a whirling machine) with a prayer wheel: whatever the surrogate of moral service to God it may be, it all comes to the same and has the same value.lOl Humankind's Tibetan cradle, it would seem, was no more than a step away from Jerusalem and Loretto.

HEGEL In the 1820s when G.WF. Hegel (1770-1831) prepared his courses on the philosophy of world history and the philosophy of religion (student notes of which constitute our main sources for his view of Tibet and its religion) the search for origins was still in full swing. Hegel's friend Friedrich Creuzer (1771-1858), for example, continued tracing the roots of Greek mythology to some ancient monotheism of Indian origin,I04 and the geographer Carl Ritter processed massive amounts of source material to support his related thesis that a prehistoric monotheism whose God was called "Buddha" had spread from India to other parts of Asia and even to Europe. lOS Ritter's ideas were inspired by Giorgi's two-Buddha theory, but under the geographer's pen Giorgi's idolatrous old Buddha of Egyptian origin 106 had mor101 Kant, Die Religion innerbalb de,' Grenzen d,,' blofen Vennmft (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1974): 12-13 (first publis.hed 1793). 102 Kant, Die Religion, 163. 10) Kant, Die Religion, 228-229. 104 Georg Friedrich Creuzer, Symbolik zmd Mytbologie del' aften Volker, besondeTS d,," G,"iecben, 4 vols. (Leipzig & Darmstadt: Heyer & Leske, 1810-1812). Hegel was using the revised and substantially enlarged edition of 1819-1825. 105 Carl Ritter, Die Vo,"halle ezwopiiisch,," VoJleezgeschicbten vo," Herodotus, 1tm den Kaukasus zmd an den Gestaden des Pont"s [Ante-chamber of the histories of European peoples before Herodotus, around the Caucasus and on the shores of the Pontus] (Berlin: G. Reimer, 1820). 106 Giorgi, Alpbabetzmz Tibetanzt1n, xxii (Lindegger trans., xxviii).

The Tibet of the Pbilosophen' Kant, Hegel, and Scbopenbaue1"


phed into God Himself, the creator and protagonist of the world's original monotheism. This monotheistic "old Buddha-teaching," so Ritter proposed, formed the root of all ancient religions. It thus constituted the first of Ritter's three periods of Buddha: "the Central Asian teaching of the One God, the Old Buddha." Reaching "back to the oldest prehistoric times" it was "preserved or mentioned in the dogmas of the oldest legal and religious documents of the Indians, Persians, and Hebrews, partly in accord and partly in contrast with each other, as for example regarding the dogma of the great deluge."107 vVhile few monuments apart from stupas, myths (the deluge etc.), and words (Buddha = Bod = Sur = Koros, etc.) remained of the monotheistic Buddha cult of this first period, Ritter's second stag'e is amply documented in Greek texts which already mention two kinds of adherents, Sanzanaeans and Bmchnzans. This second phase was characterized by a growing cult of idols and a gradual decline of original monotheism triggered by the "flowering of Brahminical and Zoroastrian wisdom."108 Ritter's third period of Buddhism took place in the "centuries around the birth of Christ when Manichaeans, Arrians, and Greek philosophical sects mingled with it and put a new cloak on the 0Id.",o9 This periodization attempted to overcome some of the problems posed by the various datings of Buddha, different branches of his religion, and their relation to India's living religions. In Ritter's eyes the original monotheistic cult of Buddha had thus undergone profound changes; and the (in his view) more recent Brahmanism was a major reason for its degeneration. Nevertheless, elements of original monotheistic Buddhism had survived in Indian folk beliefs. But rather than in India itself, primeval monotheism "was preserved purer and longer in certain mountainous asylums on the continent or on islands."llo For Ritter, Tibet and Ceylon were thus also a kind of Ark-but the God of this Ark was, interestingly enough, a monotheistic version of Giorgi's "old Buddha." As it happened, Ritter's wild associations of names 'll and the resulting "Buddhisms" became a major factor in Hegel's classification troubles during the early 1820s. Under the influence of his precocious friend Schelling, Hegel had at the beginning of the 19,h century developed a blueprint for his philosophical system. Spurred on by his friend's system enthusiasm, and inspired by Kant and Fichte, he wanted to trace the unfolding of the absolute which he called "spirit." From the outset Hegel's narrative was a fundamentally optimistic tale of progress from primitive beginnings to a lofty goal, a tale which combined Greek optimism, the Humean perspective on 107 Ritter, Vorballe, 26-27. On the background of monotheistic interpretation of Buddhism see my forthcoming monograph on the 18'h-centnry discovery of Asian religions. 108 Ritter, Vol"halle, 27. 109 Ritter, Vorhalle, 27. IlO Ritter, Vorhalle, 84-85. III Hegel was well aware of the dangers of this method; see G.WF. Hegel, Vodeszmgen. Ausgewiihlte Nachsch1iften und NlanZts!eripte, voL 12: Vodesungen iiber die Pbilosophie der Weltgescbicbte (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1996): 222 where Hegel praises Ritter's Vorhalle while acknowledging that "this is a very shaky field, very treacherous, little attested, since often kinships are established solely on the basis of sounds."



primitive religion, and an outlook on history that acknowledged God's i~carnation in Bethlehem as the pivotal event. All of this was cast in the terminology of German idealism. In his Phenomenology Hegel showed "the route that consciousness needs to travel in order to rise from the lowest level to the highest," a journey which appears like a "complete passage from the ABC of sensory certainty to the wisdom of absolute knowledge" in which "all way stations, classes, and lessons" are neatlrlined up.ll2 The lessons of sensory perception engendered discernment (Verstand); discernment led to self-consciousness and to Feason (Vernunft); this opened up the rich life of "spirit" (Geist) that blossomed in art and religion; and finally the paradise of "absolute knowledge" (absolutes l/Vissen) is reached: the lofty aim of the journey both of individual humans and the universe as a whole.ll3 Already in Hegel's Phenomenology such stages of consciousness had a tendency to suddenly incarnate themselves as concrete patterns of world history; self-consciousness, for example, made an appearance as oriental despotism. Oi:her works by Hegel such as his Logic show the same kind of linkage:1l4 somehow the events of world history find a way to form neat patterns that fit Hegel's philosophical constructs like a glove. As the examination of Hegel's views of Buddhism will show, this tendency of adjusting world history and religions or philosophies to fit the changing needs of his system became even more dominant in the professor's last decade. In the 1820s, when he held his Berlin lectures on the philosophy of world history and the philosophy of religion, the history of our planet and of its religions formed a neat series of way stations and lessons on the Spirit's trajectory. While their sequence could be rearranged if the need arose, the general geographical direction of this journey pointed, as with most romantics, from East to West, though Hegel's compass was firmly locked onto Prussia and its "perfect religion." But even the most accomplished adult had once been a messy child and was likely to remember some of the lessons that needed to be digested on the way to maturity and wisdom. For Hegel, Asia and its religions were such early stations on the highway to perfection: snapshots of mankind's childhood and monuments of the Spirit's dialectic progress. Asia was, so to speak, the grade school of humanity, and Hegel set out to present its curriculum to his students. "While preparing for the lectures-which kept him busy during much of the last decade of his life-he worked through great amounts of material in order to understand the lessons of Asia, condense them into a series of "principles," and thus define the Oriental way stations of the Spirit.ll5 With regard to Tibet and Buddhism Hegel relied on the collections of missionary and' travel accounts1l6 which Kant had so much used; but he also studied Abbe Grosier'sRudolfHaym, Hegel und seine Zeit (Berlin: R. Gaermer, 1857): 236. Haym, Hegel, 236. 114 Haym, Hegel, 321-322. 1I5 See the bibliographies of Hegel's sources on Asia in Michel Hulin, Hegel et l'Orient (Paris: Vrin,c 1979): '218-221; Reinhard Leuze, Die aufler6hristlichen Religionen hei Hegel (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1975): 247-249; Ignatius Viyagappa, G, w: F. Hegel's concept o[Indian Philosophy (Rome: Universita Gregoriana, 1980): 266-274; and the editions of student notes of Hegel's lectures cited below. 116 Schwabe, Allgemeine Historie, vols. 6 & 7.112III

The Tibet of the PhilosopheTs: Kant, Hegel, and SchopenhaueT


General Desc1'iption of China, 117 collections of recent news from China missionaries,1I8 arid more recent articles and reviews from the Asiatick Reseanhes, the Journal des Savants, and the Jozwnal Asiatique. So: INhere in mankind's education did Tibet and its religion fit in, what were the lessons, and how did Hegel's view of them evolve? These questions will be addressed based on student notes from Hegel's lectures on the philosophy of world history and the philosophy of religion given between 1822 and 1831. 119

The Religion ofFa, "Buddhismus," and LamaismThough Hegel had earlier expressed scattered opinions about Asia and its religions, it is in his lectures on the philosophy of world history of 1822/23 that a first image of Tibet emerges. He began the cycle by proclaiming "general world history, not reflections about it" (3)120 as the object of his lectures. But it immediately became clear that the professor's world view and system needs were determining history rather than the other way around. Thus the Christians were from the outset assigned a very special role in Hegel's enterprise: The Christians are thus initiated into the mysteries' of God; since the essence [vVesen1of God is revealed by the Christian religion, the key to world history is also given to us because it is the unfolding of his nature into a particular element. (23) The "final goal of history" (24) was thus fixed from the beginning, and it comes as no surprise that the starting shot of Hegel's world history rang out when the planks of Noah's Ark creaked on l'vlount Ararat as the waters receded just a few thousmi.d years ago (123-4). From China to Egypt all ancient cultures had to dance to the traditional timetable: China's history began in 2201 BeE, Egypt's in 2207, Assyria's in 2221, India's in 2204 ... (129). Though the philosopher informed his audience that "as one looks at history and the world, so history looks back at one," (21) he appears not to have grasped the deep implications of this insight for his own enterprise. Looking at world history as the course of a day, its birth appeared in the East where Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Grosier, DesC1'iption gem!",le de la Cbine, 2 vols. (Paris: Moutard,


1787).118 Charles Batteux & Louis George Brequigny (eds.), Nlbnoires concenzant !'bistoi,'e, les sciences, les a1'ts, les "'lEurs, les usages ... des Cbinois (Paris: Nyon aine, 1776-1791). 119 Though some sets of student notes from Hegel's last decade have recently been critically compiled and published, much work remains to be done. In particular, the detailed study of Hegel's developing view of Buddhism would necessitate research on many unpublished note manuscripts, for example those used by Lassen for the compilation of Hegel's remarks about the "Mongolian Principle" (see below). 120 G.W.F. Hegel, Vorleszmgen. Aztsgewiiblte NacbscbTiften zmd iVlanztskTipte, vol. 12: Vo"lesungen tiber die Pbilosopbie deT Weltgeschichte, eds. Karl Heinz Dting, Karl Brehmer & Hoo Nam Seelmann (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1996). Page numbers in parentheses in the text of this section refer to this book.



the sun rises ("The dawn of Spirit is in the East" [121]) and its goal in Berlin where the sun sets. INhen looking at history as a human lifespan, history revealed its babyhood in East Asia, its childhood in Central Asia, its youth in Greece, its manhood in Rome, and its ripe old age-where else?-in the German Reich (114-117). Fashioning such a custom-made world history and fitting it into an almost medieval time frame required intensive reading about Asia, an area which Hegel had hitherto neglected as he had focused on phenomena closer to history's "final purpose" (24). On December 22 of 1822 he wrote in a letter to a friend in Hamburg: My lectures about philosophy cause much work for me. In quarto and octavo volumes, I am still dealing with the Indian and Chinese character. But it is 'for me an interesting and pleasurable business to let the peoples of this world parade before me; but I do not yet quite know how to manage to treat them all up to the present age until Easter. l2l Although Hegel's history began with Asia, he paid less attention to ~mountains and high plains than had Kant and Bailly: It is possible that on the slopes of mountains leading to the valley plains one could historically show an earlier existence of peoples; but only moral existence [das sittlicbe Dasein] is historical, and thus only a moral people first elicits our interest. Such a one is first found in the valleys and river plains. (121) Hegel's "parade of peoples" was tightly bound to his concept of history heading toward a final purpose ("what God wanted with this world" [24]) and stages with particular meanings. vVhat he had in mind was not a random sequence of events but rather, to put it in a modern term, "intelligent design": an ascending line of actualizations of Spirit in which "each world-historic people is apportioned a necessary principle. These principles have a necessary temporal sequence and also a concrete spatial definition, a geographical position" (91). In Hegel's "geography of world history" (91), each country with its people and religion represents such a "necessary principle": a well-defined step on a staircase to the near-perfect actualization of Spirit in Christianity and Prussia. Primitive mountain people without an organized state were of course excluded from this scheme: for Hegel, moral existence was inextricably bound to statehood. No wonder that he chose China and Confucianism as the first step of history: it was the country where "the rise of self-consciousness as a state" (101), the "childhood of history" (114), had taken place shortly after the landing of Noah's ark. First we go to the Chinese river valleys, and from there to India, to the twin streams of the Ganges and Indus. To [India] we link information about the Tibetans and Mongols. The third is the mid-eastern life in the river valley of theTigris and Euphrates. (121)

121 G.W.F. Hegel, VoTleszmgen iiber die Pbilasaphie del' Weltgeschichte, ed. Georg Lasson (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1988): vii.

The Tibet of the Philosopher'S: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer


Tibet was thus not in a position to play the "culture cradle" role. Bailly's theories and the romantics' dreams of a cultured golden age in the dawn of time were incompatible with Hegel's neat dialectical progress from primitivity to perfection, and his view of history made speculation about times predating Noah's flood a vain exercise. Hegel needed a nation state to begin with, which is why in 1822 he spent so much of his time explaining the Chinese state religion, By contrast, the "sect of Lao-Tse" which marks "the beginning of man's elevation to the divine" was mentioned only in passing, as was the religion ofFo, which we today would call Chinese Buddhism: The private religion of the emperor is the lamaic one, that a living man is regarded as if the divinity were presently existing in him. This is connected with the religion of the Buddha. The religion of the Fo is very famous; [but] whether it [is] identical with that of the Buddha is still doubtful. (163-164) One must be careful not to read such statements with a modern mindset. It has been stated that "until about 1820 the absence of the word [Buddhism] corresponds to the absence of the object.,,122 This suggests that in the 1820s "the word" and "the object" of Buddhism appeared at the flip of a switch. We have seen how little truth there is to this; already in the l7th and 18th centuries some authors, including Kant, had realized that the religion of Fo, Lamaism, and the dominant religion of Southeast Asia were all forms of a single religion founded by Gautama = Shakya = Fo = Buddha. For some this religion was very ancient; for others it encompassed not only our Buddhism but also what we today call Hinduism; and for others again it coagulated around similar monasticisms, doctrines, imagery, practices, or founder's legends. The emergence of the object was tlms gradual and its boundaries unclear and fluctuating. The fate of the word Buddhism, however, was rather different. Hegel is a particularly interesting case study for this because his fame incited many students to take careful lecture notes and safeguard them. Their examination shows how during the 1820s he came to gradually perceive the object which we identify as Buddhism while Hegel's w07-d "Buddhismus" maintained throughout the limited sense of "religion of Ceylon, Burma, and Southeast Asia." To understand Hegel's view of Tibet and its religion we must now examine the development of his religious geography of Asia and in particular the domains which we today associate with the term Buddhism.

The Chinese ThesisHaving gained a fair amount of information about the "very famous" religion of Fo, especially in Grosier's synthesis of missionary reports,123 Hegel's doubts about the relation between "the religion of the Buddha," "Lamaism," and "the religion122 Droit, Le culte du neant, 26, See similar arguments by several modern authors critical of overly text-based, orientalist "constructions" of Buddhism in the West who paradoxically cling to the view that Buddhism could only be "discovered" once Europeans learned to read Sanskrit texts; for example Almond in The Bl'itisb Discovery o!Buddbism, 12. 123 Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Grosier, Description gb1l!mle de la Cbine (Paris: lVloutard, 1787): vol. 2, 147-246.



of Fo" (which Kant had already recognized as forms of a single religion) are somewhat puzzling. Abbe Grosier (1743-1823), Hegel's main source in these matters, left no doubt that Fo is simply the Chinese appellation of Buddha whose teachings had been brought from India to all parts of Asia.'"4 Just as "Gotama," "Fo," or "Shaka" all designate the single Indian founder of the religion, different names are in use for its clergy depending on the country, as Grosier explains: These priests attached to the cult of Po are called Talapoins by the Siamese, Lamas by the Tartars, Ro-chang in China, and Bonzes in Japan: by this last name that the Europeans designate them.125 Other sources, for example the collection of travel accounts used by both Kant and Hegel, also stated unambiguously that Lamaism and tbe religion of Fo "are identical and differ only in a few superstitious customs."126 If tbe relationship between Lamaism and the religion of Fo was unclear in Hegel's mind, there was at least the fixed date of 65 eE for tbe introduction of Foism to China, a date noted throughout missionary and secular literature. I27 Apart from Foism's journey from India to China at the time of the first apostles there was another ubiquitous story which not only clearly showed that the founder was human rather than divine but also provided a handy classification scheme for manifold doctrines and practices. Hegel had encountered a concise version of this story at the end of Grosier's biography of Fo: When he had attained the age of 79 years he felt by the weakening of his forces that his borrowed divinity would not prevent his having to pay tribute to nature like other men. He did not want to leave his disciples without revealing the secret to them along with all hidden profundities of his doctrine. Having gathered them he declared that until this moment he had always believed that he should use only parables in his discourses; that for forty years he had hidden the truth under figurative and metaphorical expressions; and that on the verge of disappearing from their gaze he wanted to finally manifest his real feelings and reveal to them the mystery of his wisdom. You must Tealize, he said to them, that theTe is no othe,- pTinciple of all things than emptiness [Ie vuide] and nothingness [Ie neant]; it is from nothingness that eveTything arose, and it i~ to nothingness that eVe7J1thing must nturn; this is where all our hopes end up.12B Variations of this story had for centuries been the mainstay of doctrinal descriptions of religions which we today put under the umbrella of Buddhism. This is one reason why it is hardly appropriate to portray Hegel, who for tbe most part just repeated to124

Grosier, Description gbufrale, vol. 2, 204.Crosier, Description genl1-aie, voL 2, 204.

125126 127

Schwabe, Allgemeine Risto,.ie, vol. 6, 38l. Grosier, Desaiptio12 generale, vol. 2, 202-203 presents the legend in its usual form with an I8-member embassy to India and its return to China with images "of the God Po or Boudba" and the F01-ty-Two-Cbapte,- Sut1-a on a white horse. The preface of this Chinese text is the original source for the date 65 CK128

Grosier, Description geniTaie, voL 2, 205-206. "Le vuide" is Grosier's spelling.

The Tibet ofthe Philosophers: Kant,


and Schopenhazter


students what he had read aboJlt this, as the instigator of a "cult of nothingness."129 In Grosier's account the dramatic story of the Buddha's deathbed confession forms the basis of a fundamental classification of the religion's adherents and teachings: These last words ~f the dying Po were the source of much trouble and divisions among his disciples. Some continued to adhere to his first doctrine while' others, who embraced the second, formed a sect of atheists. A third party wanted to reconcile the two and brought forth the famous distinction of exte1'ior doctrine and inte1'ior doctrine, the first of which had naturally to precede the second and prepare the minds for receiving itYo In addition to this fundamental distinction between exoteric and esoteric doctrine Grosier mentioned the dogma of metempsychosis as a central teaching of which Fo = Buddha "appears to be the inventor."1lI Before the 18th century it was often Pythagoras who had supposedly learned this doctrine in Egypt and passed it on to India where an Indian impostor named Buda used it to infect large parts of Asia; but in the course of the 18 th century's gravity shift toward Asia, the direction of transmigration's transmission became reversed. Egypt's rotten contributions to history-transmigration, idolatry, animal worship-were now the fruits of the Indian founder of the cult ofFo and helped explain a whole variety of Asian cults:Since he [FoJli-ved five hundred years before pythagoras, and as it is known that the Greek philosopher had traveled through Egypt and several parts of India, one can hardly doubt that he had borrowed this dogma from some disciples of the Indian philosopher. This doctrine of the transmigration of souls forms the origin of this multitude of idols which are revered wherever the cult of Po was established. Quadrupeds, birds, reptiles, and the most vile animals had temples and became objects of public veneration because the God, in his rebirths and metamorphoses, could inhabit individuals of all these species. ll2 But such "outer" beliefs as transmigration were also intimately linked with the core of "inner" teachings, i.e., "nothingness" viewed as a kind of mate1'ia prima: Nothingness [Ie neantJ is the principle and end of all that exists; it is from nothingness that our first parents took their origin, and to nothingness did they return after their death. All beings differ from each other only by their shapes and qualities. One can from the same metal fashion a man, a lion, or any other animal: if one then melts all these different pieces they forthwith lose their shapes and respective qualities and form a single and identical substance. The same holds true for all animate or inanimate beings: though

129 Droit, Le wlte du neant, now also in English: Droit, The Cult of Nothingness: The Pbilosopbm and the Buddha (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003). 130. Grosier, DeSC1-iption geni1-ale, vol. 2, 207-208. See below for the fate of these atheists in Hegel's hands. 131 Grosier, Description generale, vo!' 2, 205. m Grosier, Description gine11lle, vo!' 2, 205.


UnApp different in shape and qualities, they are all but one single thing which originates from the same principle which is nothingness. III

Hegel's sources descrihed this universal principle as very pure and subtle, eternally at rest, and-in the manner of negative theology-as free from virtue, power, action, intelligence, and desire. As explained by Abbe Grosier and numerous other authors, the aim of Fo's "inner" doctrine was to achieve union with this principle: To be happy one must, by continuous meditations and by frequent victories over oneself, make an effort to become similar to this principle, and to achieve this, to get used to doing nothing, wanting nothing, feeling nothing, and desiring nothing. As soon as one reaches this happy state of insensibility there is no more question of virtues, punishments and rewards, providence, and immortality of souls. All holiness consists in ceasing to exist in order to become merged into nothingness [se confond,"e avec Ie neant]; the more man approaches the nature of a stone or a tree trunk, the more he becomes perfect, and finally it is in indolence and immobility, in cessation of all desire and all bodily movement, in the annihilation and the suspension of all faculties of soul and mind [esp'"it] that virtue and happiness consist."4 This state-which Hegel subsequently linked to the "Buddhist" Nirvana-renders man perfectly similar to the God Fo: from the moment he achieves this degree of perfection there is no more transmigration "because he has ceased to be and has become perfectly similar to the God Fo."ll5 In the light of such sources Hegel's brief portrayal of the religion of Fo in his 1822123 lecture has a very familiar ring: The religion of Fo is very famous; whether it is identical with that of Buddha is still doubtful: One main idea in the Foist religion is metempsychosis, i.e., that all shapes [such as] man, stars, etc., are only forms, revelations of the One, of the Absolute. Furthermore, the adherents of this religion posit the ultimate in nothingness [das Nicbts]; man is thus said to elevate himself to God when he renounces all notions of particularity [E71Zpfindungen des Besondenn], turns himself into abstract contemplation [Anstbauung] and reaches a point where good and evil along with all distinctions have vanished and where he immerses himself totally in emptiness, in the motionless. Thus the utterly empty must be sought. (164)

The Indian AntithesisAfter this brief portrayal of the religion ofFo which nonchalantly equates immersion in nothingness with "elevation to God," Hegel's lecture moved straight to India where he detected two forms of pantheism. The first is a dispersed kind of pantheism where "everything sensual is [...] deified" (170); this corresponds to Hinduism ("BrahGrosier, Desct"iption gene",le, vol. 2, 208-209. Grosier, Desc,"iption generale, vol. 2, 209-210. Grosier, DeSC7"iption genemle, vol. 2, 210.



The Tibet of the Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhazte7'


manism"). In the second, the sensualization of God is concentrated and "reduced to a center which is immediately present." This second kind of pantheism reigns in regions that Hegel closely linked to India: Ceylon and Southeast Asia with its "Buddhismus," and of course also Tibet and Tartary with their "Lamaism." The general fragmentation belongs to brahmanical India, the second [concentrated] form to the Buddhist principle or Lamaism. The people of this [second] principle are mainly the Tibetans, Mongols, and Kalmyks, furthermore the Ceylonese and those on the eastern peninsula beyond the Ganges [i.e., the Burmese and Thais]. Of all religions, Lamaism is the most widespread. (170-171) It is interesting that Hegel made no mention of the "religion of Fo" here. Constrained by his geographical framework he contrasted the Chinese principle with an Indian one. Their relationship remained as hazy as that between the Chinese "religion of Fo," Southeast Asian "Buddhismus," and "Lamaism." Hegel's remark about Lamaism as the world's largest religion would indicate that he included the immense population of China among its adherents. Hegel learned that Indian places are regarded as sacred both in Tibet and in Ceylon (226), and this led him to regard "the religion of Buddha" as a remnant of ancient Indian religion: Thus also the Buddhists and the Tibetans point to India. Earlier on, both [Brahmanism and Buddhism] were united. This simple religion [Buddhism] may have originated through a reform of Brahmanism. More likely, however, is the older age of the Buddhistic [religion]. (226) Such guesswork by Hegel was obviously influenced by Carl Ritter's theories which peek through many formulations of the philosopher. But they contradicted most other sources and left Hegel full of doubts about the historical sequence of Brahmanism and "Buddhismus" as preserved in Ceylon and Southeast Asia: There is a great controversy as to which of these two religions is older and more simple. For both [views] there are reasons, but one cannot commit oneself with assurance. It appears that the Buddhist religion is simpler; as such, it could either be the oldest [religion] or the result of a reformation of an earlier one. (225)'36 As he continued to study in preparation for his lectures Hegel managed to somewhat clarify his ideas with respect to the founder figure. In the spring of 1823 he spoke of the "Buddha whom one believes to be identical with the Chinese Fo and who in Ceylon is mostly called Gautama" (225). This founder "is not somehow a phenomenon of nature, not heaven, not the sun, but he was substantially human" (227) and his creed "forms the counterpart of Brahma" (225) and Brahmanism: This religion [of Buddha] is in all respects more human [than Brahmanism]. With regard to its view of God this is so much the case that, on one hand,116 Cf. Vorleszmgen, vol. 12, 225: "Already regarding India it was noted that India proper can be called brahmanical, to which the buddhisric can be opposed."


UTSAppfor them their highest God has been a man, and on the other hand, their God is still alive as a man, so that they venerate a living person as God. (227)

The two elements of former humanity and living presence present the framework of Hegel's view of the "Buddhist religion" and of Lamaism in a nutshell. Though both appear to be linked to the same figure ("Gautama is the God of Ceylon but extends through Tibet up to the ice sea" [227]), the first is characterized by the "portrayal of God as a former man whose death forms an aspect of their veneration" (227), and the second by the worship of Lamas, i.e., "humans who are worshiped as the incarnated God" (228). In the "Buddhismus" of Ceylon and Southeast Asia "God as a former man" and the ideal of "Nirvana" (227) are central: Of his life on earth they have tales as extravagant as we have found with the other Indians. [He] is an incarnation, the ninth one, and is to be venerated as God. He has arrived at Nirvana, i.e., at the state of supreme abstraction, where the spirit [is] immersed in itself and does not hold on to anything, has become free of everything; in this respect we can call it bliss [Seligkeit]. The attainment of this state comes after death. He who attains Nirvana has become Buddha. This Gautama therefore is the true God. (227) Though Gautama had been "essentially human" [wesentlicb Nlenscb] (227), the Buddhists also "say of him that he is eternal, immortal" and "attribute to him all the characteristics that we use for the supreme being" (227). In this religion, both the Buddha who is "imagined as king, as teacher, as God" and his last disciples are venerated (226). They venerate him as image in temples where he is portrayed sometimes sitting, sometimes standing, and seemingly also together with his disciples. On the one hand, the Buddhists have temples where [his image] is installed; [on the other hand] in addition to these temples dedicated to him there are pyramidal buildings, for example in Java, which are completely solid and where relics of him are stored, some of them from his body, although it is said that his body was cremated after death on a heap of sandalwood. (227) This "Buddhist religion" of Ceylon and Southeast Asia is thus characterized by a classic euhemerist elevation of an eminent mortal to the status of God, and nirvana is a posthumous state. "They portray God as a former man whose death forms an aspect of their veneration" (227). In Hegel's "Lamaism," by contrast, worship entails the "veneration of a living man, the highest lama (priest) in whom God is present for them" (228)y7 vVhile such incarnations are a1so found in India, this cult is more prominent in Tibet behind the Himalayas and Tartary (228). There are three such Lamas. First the Dalai Lama in Lhasa, second the Tashi Lama in Taschi-Lumpo, and third, beyond the Himalayas and to the south of137 Hegel drew much of this information from Samuel Turner, Samuel Tzm",-'s, Capitains in Diensten del- ostind. Compagnie, GesandtscbaftS1"eise an den Hof des Tesboo Lama dunb Bootan ",zd einen Tbeil von Tibet (Hamburg: B. G. Hoffmann, 1801).

The Tibet of the Philosoph en: Kant, Hegel, and SchopenhauerLake Baikal on the slope of the high plain where Dschingis Khan came from, the Taranant Lama, also called Buddhista (sic) Lama, in Urga in Karim. (228)


Though Hegel found that "the details here show great confusion" (228) he thought that the Lamaistic cult which regards "men as the present [gegenwartige] God" does "link itself with the Buddhist religion, with the idea that Buddha here has a living presence" (228). Nevertheless, in 1822/23 Hegel was not yet sure how the veneration of these Tibetan and Mongol living Gods relates to that of a long-dead Buddha and other divinities: "However, apart from the Lama there are indeed also many other Gods, Buddha, or Gautama, etc." (229). With regard to the actual state of this religion Hegel was better informed. He knew that "these Lamas are both worldly and spiritual leaders, but worldly ones only in Tibet proper" (228-229). "They are venerated by the Mongol people as spiritual heads, asked for advice in political affairs, and spiritually venerated as God." Having read Turner's account of his meeting with the two-year-old Taschi Lama (Panchen Lama),llB Hegel was impressed both by the character and the government of the Lamas (229): One could imagine of such highest Lamas that they are the proudest men and would in their folly fall into supreme arrogance, but this is not at all the case [...] The priests choose excellent characters to be Lamas. The former Lama has been praised as the most noble and humble man. He was learned and far removed from pride and arrogance, lenient toward his subjects and aiming at their advantage in every possible way, as the government of the Lama is one of the most fatherly that is to be found. (22 9) However, Lamaism as a religion did not fare so well in his judgment. A Lama as one "through whom God is present to the peoples so that God may care for them" constituted for Hegel "a relationship that is very close to pantheism as such" (229). Rather than being an Indian pantheism where everything is seen as divine, the Lamas contract "dissipated [Indian] pantheism into the One" (229). This "contraction into one" was also reflected in the lives of the Buddhist and Lamaist people; with the partial exception of Ceylon no caste system is known, ~nd people thus enjoy "a freer, more courageous, friendlier existence" than the poor Indians (230). These people are benevolent, openhearted, servile, and "far removed from the tendency of the Indians to lie, from their cowardice, and their vileness" (231). The lYlongols and Tibetans, "trustworthy and friendly" as they are, "lead a quiet life," and "the laypeople go quietly and without worry about their business" because "the priests are devout" in their stead (231). On the whole, though they also have strange customs such as polyandry (188), they are peace-loving (231). Apart from their nonviolent lifestyle Hegel saw additional links between Lamaism and the religion of Buddha of Southeast Asia: Priests come from among the people; and especially in Tibet and in the Burmese empire they live together in large monasteries. Io Tibet the monks138

See previous note.


UrsAppin one monastery number more than 2,000. The priests do not form a separate caste but are individuals chosen among the entire people. In Tibet there is a rule that, of four sons, one must be trained as a priest. In Tibet, these priests draw an income from land holdings and subsist on gifts. In the Burmese empire they live predominantly from voluntary gifts; early in the morning, the priests wander through the streets seeking gifts from the populace. (230)

In contrast to the Indian Brahmans, the priests of Burma ("Rahans") and Tibet ("Gylongs") are humble, learned, and friendly (230-231). The Tibetan priests even distribute goods tothe poor and offer shelter to travelers (231). There are two sects, one of which marries and the other not. The latter is the most widespread. They are distinguished by their dress, red or yellow, and are opposed to each other to the extent of the bloodiest battles. They are pious, learned, and hold services both in temples and in monasteries. Their main service consists of chanting which they carry to the loudest shouting. The ambassadors were living in a monastery and could not stop marveling at these tremendously strong voices. (231) In his 1822123 lecture Hegel had thus in various ways linked Lamaism and Ceylonese/ Southeast Asian "Buddhismus" to India. But in spite of his study of the Asiatick Researches and other sources on Asiall9-many of which Kant could not yet consult-he conveyed little information about the doctrines of this alternative to Brahmanism. Compared with the lengthy discussions of Indian religion Hegel's remarks on Buddhism and Lamaism are very brief. But a major objective was nevertheless achieved: Hegel's "Indian principle" was erected, characterized by a dynamic juxtaposition of the Indian "diffuse" pantheism and the "focused" pantheism as exemplified by the "Buddhists" and Tibetans. This had to suffice as a stepping stone to the more advanced realizations of Spirit further West.

The Mongolian SynthesisAs Hegel read more widely, the confusing influence of Carl Ritter's theories gradually waned. The limits of Creuzer's Symbolics, a major guide for Hegel's initial conception of India and for secondary literature about its religions,14O also becameIl9 See the good survey of Hegel's sources on India in Viyagappa, G. W. F. Hegel's Concept ofIndian Philosophy, 11-60. Viyagappa focused too narrowly on sources of Europe's burgeoning indology (i.e., information which today is considered to be more or less scientific) and overlooked the importance of German authors of more general scope such as Carl Ritter and Joseph Garres. 140 In a letter to Creuzer translated by Viyagappa (Hegel's Concept ofIndian Philosophy, 54) Hegel wrote: "I lived much in your company il). the winter of the past year. It is so again this summer. My lectures on The Philosophy of World History, last year, and the resumption of the lectures on. Aesthetics as well, for this summer, have to depend upon your Symbolics, so much so that I draw from it the richest inspiration for materials as well as for thought. It is a reason for me to be much indebted to you."

The Tibet of the Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhaue7'


ever more apparent in the light of the erudite articles contained in the Asiatick Reseanhes, the Journal des Savants, Schlegel's Indische Bibliothek,and numerous other recent sources at Hegel's disposal. Vlhen Hegel gave his Philosophy of History lectures for the second time in the winter of 1824125 he acknowledged the difficulty of geographical categorization: how was he, for example, to categorize a religion that "partly belongs to China-where it was only imported later-and partly falls outside of what is characteristically Chinese" (333)? 141 Indeed, the geographical structure of Hegel's earlier scheme which somehow linked Ceylon, Burma, Tibet, Tartary, and China to India was not exactly ideal for a streamlined progress story based on "principles" bound to nation states. In 1824125 Hegel thus decided to focus' on doctrine rather than historical origin and fashioned a principle which could serve as a bridge between China and India: the Mongolian principle. Hegel's geographical description is exceedingly vague; for him, "the term .Mongols serves in general to refer to Far Eastern peoples" (j1intemsiatische Volker; 332). What is common to them all is "that they are nomads and recognize the Buddha and the Lama as their God." Such initial statements are immediately contradicted by Hegel's own explanations which make clear that this "principle" in fact simply encompasses everything which . we today associate with Buddhism. The title "Mongolian Principle," whether chosen by Hegel or his editors, should thus not be taken literally. vVe have seen that in 1822/23 Hegel was still not sure whether Buddha and Fo refer to the same person; but two years later he was certain that the "religion of F 0" in China is simply "another shading". (eine andere Schattierung) of the religion of "Buddha, Gautama, or Sakjamuni" (333-334). In the first lecture cycle (1822123) Hegel had portrayed the "Indian principle" as a juxtaposition of a diffuse brahmanical pantheism with a more focused pantheism which either worshiped the dead Buddha (Buddhism) or a living Lama (Lamaism). The religion of Fo was left out of that first scheme. Now, two years later, Hegel proposed a new configuration, namely, a "NIongolian principle" in which a negative transcendence (religion of Fo and religion of Buddha) stands against a positive transcendence (Lamaism). The elements have not changed ("religion of Buddha" still refers to the religion of Ceylon and Southeast Asia), but now Hegel had found an umbrella under which to unite the different "shadings" of the religion of "Buddha, Gautama or Sakjamuni." The facets of Chinese, Siberian, Tibetan, Ceylonese, and Southeast Asian religion which Hegel discussed under this label leave no doubt that his "Mongolian principle" corresponds more or less to our "Buddhism." Hegel's Lamaism, the religion of Fo, and his "religion of Buddha" had finally found a home in a greater whole that covered large parts of Asia; and even though the name was a bit lopsided the object now revealed its vast contours.141 Page numbers in this section refer to the Anhang (Appendix) entitled "Das mongolische Prinzip" (The Mongolian Principle) in G.W.F. Hegel, Vodeszmgen iibeT die Philosophie d,," Weltgeschichte, ed. Georg Lasson (no. 171 b-d): 332-342. It is not clear which student notes were used for this edition, and the dating is therefore' doubtful. Hegel read about this principle a total of three times (1824125, 1826127, and 1828129), but according to Lasson's introduction (p. x) he omitted this section in the last lecture cycle (1830/31).



The coagulation of Buddha, Gautama, Shakyamuni, and Fo "in historical form as teacher" rather than as God was one of the results of contemporary. scholarship, for example an article by the sinologist Abel-Remusat on the names of the Buddha which Hegel had read. [42 But Hegel continued to have doubts about this and tended to see Gautama, Shakyamuni and Buddha as different persons or incarnations. Furthermore, in spite of articles that portrayed Buddhism as unambiguously atheist (a fact immediately remarked and emphasized by Schopenhauer), Hegel kept bringing God into play. He obviously knew where history was heading; the question was just how to have it go there. As one would expect, Hegel's Mongolian principle also had two dialectical poles. Both are characterized by the term "Erhebung" (raising; transcendence) as, in contrast to fetishism and magic, both Hegel's FoismlBuddhism and his Lamaism "rise beyond" the immediate object. Foism does so negatively, i.e., by striving through meditation toward the elimination of all desire, will, and feeling, and toward union with a kind of Spinozan God: The conception which mainly concerns us here is that nothingness is the principle and goal, the aim of all things. From nothingness our first parents arose, and into nothingness they returned. All things are different by virtue of their forms and qualities; they are modifications of substance as in Spinoza. (334) Hegel's "negative transcendence" thus corresponds to the "inner" teaching which the Buddha had supposedly revealed to his closest disciples on his deathbed, as presented above in Abbe Grosier's words. It is deeply linked to transmigration: They see the connection with metempsychosis as follows: everything is change of form; it always stays one and the same.... This principle is complete, pure, simple, an eternal quiescence wherein God does not appear to man, without movement: its. essence consists in being without activity, intelligence, soul, without will. (334) Happiness then consists in "uniting oneself with nothingness. The more man approaches 'passivity and becomes like a rock or tree, the more he approaches perfection" (334). Hegel could read such things in numerous sources, but the link of this "nothingness" to the nirvana of Ceylon and Burma (where Hegel located his "Buddhism") was based on his study of a seminal article by Buchanan in the Asiatick ' Researches,t43 which the Berlin professor summarized for his students as follows:


Jean-Pierre Abel-Remusat, "Note sur quelques epithetes descriptives de Bouddha,"

Jou1"12al des Savants (1819): 625-633. Reprinted in Abel-Remusat, Melanges asiatiques (Paris: Dondey-Dupre, 1825): 100-112. Hegel mentions this article in Lasson ed., Vo1"lmmgen (no. 171 b-d): 339.. _ 143 Claudius Buchanan, "On the Religion and Literature of the Burmas," AsiatickResearches

6 (1799): 163-308. The passage containing "weight, old age, disease, and death" is found on p. 266; it was also crucial for Schopenhauer (see below).

The Tibet of the Philosopbe1'S: Kant, Hegel, and ScbopenbauerThis is approximately what also occurs in Buddhism, in Ceylon and in the empire of the Burmese; in Ceylon the divine teacher is still called Buddha, on the Eastern peninsula Gautama, and the described state is called Nirvana. An Englishman who had many discussions with the Burmese priests, the Ragunas, cannot praise them too highly; he has noted down many questions and answers from these talks. A main topic was Nirvana, which is described as follows: vVhen a man is no longer subjected to the following troubles: weight, old age, illness, and death, then he has reached Nirvana. Through meditation, i.e., abstraction of the human spirit in himself, does he reach this bliss, and the God Gautama is in essence [wesentlicb] in Nirvana. (335)


Based on the work of the Italian priest Vincentius Sangermano, Buchanan explained in the article used by Hegel that Nirvana (Nieban) signifies by no means a state of annihilation but rather one of "being exempted from all the miseries incident to hnmanity." In contrast to Hegel; Buchanan resolutely rejected the interpretation of Nirvana as an "absorption into the divine essence"l44 and questioned the doctrinal identity of the inner teaching ofFo and Burmese Buddhism. I45 In Hegel's 1824125 lectures, however, this "inner teaching"-which two years earlier was only briefly mentioned in the context of the Chinese "religion of Fa"-now made a gala appearance as the uniting link between Chinese "Foism" and Southeast Asian "Buddhism." The deep connection of this "negative transcendence" with Indian pantheism and Chinese Daoism also made it a good candidate for the fundamental characteristic of the "oriental character" in generaJ146 and ofIndian philosophy in particular that Hegel studied in the mid-IS20s.I4? But what about the positive transcendence of the Mongolian principle? vVhereas Hegel's Foists and Buddhists thought that "the absolute is Spirit" yet "imagined God only as a yonder" (das Jenseitige, 335) to be approached through "annihilation" and "abstraction" (i.e., negative transcendence), the Tibetan and Mongolian Lamaists by contrast grasped the absolute in its sensual, "immediate" form. This "affirmative transcendence" was necessarily a step closer to Hegel's perfection where "absolute Spirit" is "in Christ only through itself" (335).

If we now ask: what is the natural form of Spirit, the immediacy [Unmittelbarkeit], then it is nothing other than the human form .... Thus we arrive in the domain of the Dalai Lama where man is revered as God-something which is completely contrary to abstract reason, also in Christianity. Certainly, the modification must proceed until it eventually forms the core of Christian religion. (336)l44 Buchanan, "On the Religion and Literature of the Burmas," 180. Buchanan, "On the Religion and Literature of the Burmas," 267 (note on Grosier's account of the Chinese religion). 146 G.vV:F. Hegel, Vo,lesztngen. Ausgewiiblte Nachschriften und iVlanttskripte, vol. 6: Vorlesungen iiber die Geschichte del" Philosopbie, Part 1, eds. Pierre Garniron and vValter Jaeschke (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1994); 267 (lectures on the history of philosophy of 1825/26). 147 See the detailed study by Ignatius Viyagappa, G. Wop. Hegel's concept ofIndian Philosophy, which can now be revised based on the newly published materials mentioned in the previous145




The affirmative pole of Hegel's Mongolian Principle thus points toward the goal of history where Spirit forms a unique Son of God. Though obviously still far from the ideal incarnation of Christianity, for Hegel the "religion of the Dalai Lama" now represented a crucial phase of the Spirit's self-revelation, a phase which was all the more significant in view of the huge geographical reach: This is the religion of the Dalai Lama; of all religions it is the most widely spread. The Ivlongols, Tibetans, Kalmyks adhere to it. It reaches from all Mongols subject to the Chinese empire to the Himalayas, Hindukush, across Central Asia, and also to the Mongols in Siberia under the dominance of the Russians. The Manchus venerate all of the supreme Lamas; the Mongols also venerate the Dalai Lama. (336) If for Kant Tibet had been a crucial sanctuary of humanity during the earth's last upheavals and a way-station for trade and cultural exchange between China and Europe, Hegel zeroed in on Tibet's religion as a stepping stone to Christianity. Thanks to his study of recent French and English journals Hegel was now much better informed than Kant about the history of Tibetan religion, and the wild fantasies of Giorgi had given way to a much more modern perspective: The worship of Lamas, the cult of the spirit domain and generally of the spiritual has supplanted the religion of the Shamans, the magicians who intoxicate and benumb themselves through drink and dance, move, fall down in exhaustion, utter words, and are regarded as oracles. Buddhism and Lamaism have taken the place of this religion. (341-342) But for Hegel such origins were far less interesting than Lamaism's position as a springboard from Indian pantheism and Foist/Buddhist abstraction to the more advanced "incarnation" conceptions in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Far from finding the figure of the Dalai Lama "paradoxical and revolting," as has been asserted,148 Hegel actually defended Lama worship as a significant step in the right direction when compared with Indian pantheism: The Lama is thus the one through whom God is present to the people in order to care for them. The relationship is one that is very close to pantheism proper. But it is not the Indian pantheism where all mountains, all rivers, all Brahmans are divine so that Brahma [is] immediately present in him. Rather, the limitlessly encompassing [Indian] pantheism has in Lama worship contracted into the One. These peoples distinguish themselves from the Indians proper by their higher degree of freedom. They recognize themselves in

14B Lopez, Prisonen of Shang";-la, 23. The quote given by Lopez may be based on the passage in the 1824 appendix on the Mongolian principle translated above in which Hegel significantly includes Christianity: "vVe have thus come to the realm of the Dalai Lama where man is revered as God, which is entirely contrary to abstract reaSOll, also in Christianity" [was dem abstrakten Verstande ganz zuwider ist, auch am Christentum]. G.vV.F. Hegel, Vodesungen iib,, die Philosophie de,. vVeltgeschichte, ed. Georg Lasson, 336.

Tbe Tibet of tbe Pbilosopbers: Kant, Hegel, and ScbopenbauerGod by positing him as man, have a friendly view of their God, and have thus attained a freer God. 149


As the lectures on the Philosophy of Religions of 1824 also show, Hegel had now gained a more distinct picture of the world's religious geography and Buddhism's position therein: It is the religion of the Chinese, Mongols, Tibetans, furthermore of the Burmese and Ceylonese. However, what the Chinese call F 0 is there called Buddha; but both mean the same thing, and it is the religion which we lmow under the form of the Lamaist religion. The slight difference between the religion of Fo and Lamaism is only superficial. ... It can be stated that this religion is the most widespread and that which counts most adherents; those who venerate it are more numerous than those of Mohammedanism, which in turn has more faithful than the Christian religion yo After many centuries of delusions of grandeur, Christianity had once again become a minority religion and a relative newcomer on the stage of world history; so much more reason to portray it, as Eusebius l51 and the church fathers had in the old days, as the promised goal of other religions and philosophies. This tactic turned other creeds into preludes to Christianity: everything could become a pmepamtio evangelica. Hegel's lectures on the Philosophy of Religions, which will be briefly examine.d in the next section, form patt of this time-honored tradition of pious hijacking.

Buddha the BaptistIn his 1822123 lectures on the Philosopby of Histmy Hegel had tried to establish a streamlined religious geography of Asia by inserting the India-related "Buddhism" and "Lamaism" between India and Persia. This placed them on the ascending line leading from the more primitive creeds of China and India toward the Middle East. But two years later, when "Foism," "Lamaism" and "Buddhism" were congealing into Hegel's "Nlongolian Principle," it was more convenient to-place this principle somewhere between China and India. This meant, however, that the neat East to West progression was messed up: diffuse Indian pantheism appeared too close to Jerusalem for comfort, and the historical progression from older to more recent was quite obviously murley. A complex multi-national religion such as Buddhism was bound to cause problems in such simple historical and geographical schemes. Categories such as "magic"

149 Hegel, Vodestmgen tiber die Philosophie det Weltgeschichte (eds. Ilting, Brehmer and Seelmann): 229-230. Cf. the similar passage on p. 339 of the Lasson edition. 150 Jaeschke (ed.), G.W.F. Hegel, Vodeszmgen. Aztsgewablte Nachscl,,iften zmd il1anZtskTipte, vol. 4a: Vodesungen iib,,' die Philosophie del' Religion, part 2: Die besti77Z",te Religion (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1985): 211. 151 Eusebius of Caesarea, Die Pmeparatio Evangelica, ed. Karl Mras (Berlin: AkademieVerlag, 1954-1956).



or "spirituality" which Hegel employed in his Pbilosopby of Religion lectures seemed more adequate to his attempt to trace religion as the self-consciousness of absolute Spirit from childish-concrete forms ("natural" or "determined religion") to the adulthood of Christianity, the "perfect" or "accomplished" religion ("die vollendete Religion").152 Hegel was shooting for a classification of "religion" that encompasses all of its forms from the remote past to the present; and, as with his world history, this classification could be likened to a human lifespan. The magic of primitive mankind corresponded. to childhood and was as difficult to intuit: vVe can thus certainly unde7stand natural religion [NaturreligionJ, but we cannot put ourselves in that position, cannot empathize and feel it inside, just as we can well understand a dog but are unable to empathize with it. (176),53 Hegel called the religion of magic "the oldest mode of religion, its most savage and crude form" (177). In contrast to fetishism and other primitive magic where power is located in some object, Lamaism (which in 1824 still formed part of the "religion of magic") appeared slightly more advanced because it locates power in man himself. If this power does not depend on status or "outer existence" but rather on "inner spirituality" we have "that which we call Lama" (196). The religion of the Lama is the form, the aspect of reality, this self-consciousness, a real, living man, but there are several such highest lamas, especially three-the Lama in Northern Tibet, the Lama in Southern Tibet, and then back there in Russian Mongolia, in Siberia, there is also such a leaderall of whom are venerated as Gods. (211) For Hegel, reincarnation of the Lamaist kind became the key to understanding the confusing variety of Buddhas such as the thousand-fold incarnations of Fo (216), the Gautama of the Buddhists who is also the seventh incarnation of Vishnu (217), and the Lamas of Greater and Lesser Tibet (218). "Here the insignificance of form extends also to the objective, the eternal, to God. Buddha exists in several shapes, just like Lama; as soon as a Lama dies, another arises so that both have the same substance" (213). In Buddhism and Lamaism, death thus only happens "to the accidental exterior form in which the God shows himself" (271); the human form "is just an imagined form, as with Buddha" (274). Such Spinozan equations of substance with God indicate th~ direction in which Hegel's views developed when he lectured again on the Philosophy of Religion in 1827. The category of magic had been stretched beyond recognition by Buddhismrelated phenomena and it made more sense to reserve it for Daoism and Chinese

152 Jaeschke, Die Ve172zmft in de,. Religion. Studien zur Gmndlegung de,. Religionsphilosophie Hegels (Stuttgart! Bad Cannstatt: Fromrnann-Holzboog, 1986). ISJ Jaeschke (ed.), G.vV.F. Hegel, Vodeszmgen. Attsgewahlte Nachscl,,iften zmd 1VIanuskripte, vol. 4 a: Vodeszmgen iibez die Philosophie de7 Religion, part 2: Die besti77Z77Zte Religion (Hamburg: Felix.lVleiner, 1985). Numbers in parentheses in the text of this section all refer to this book.

The Tibet of the Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauel'


state religion with its ghosts, gods, and talismans. Thus Hegel created a new category for the phenomena associated with his Mongolian Principle: "Being-withinself" (Insichsein). The progression of Spirit in Asia thus presented itself as an ascent from the "religion of magic" (Daoism and Chinese state religion) to the "religion of being-within-self" (religion of Fo, Ceylonese and Southeast-Asian Buddhism, Lamaism) to "Indian religion." The introspective tendency (Insichgehen) present in Daoism is intensified in the religion of "Being-within-self" in which "the absolute is not grasped in the immediacy of self-consciousness but as a substance, as an essence (H7esen)" (459). The icon of this "most widespread religion on the face of the earth" (460) is "the image of Buddha in this thinking posture, feet and arms .intertwined so that one toe reaches into the mouth-this withdrawal into oneself, this sucking on oneself" (461). But in Hegel's protestant hands the goal of Foist, Buddhist, and Lamaist meditators soon revealed itself as union with God: The holiness of man is that by this annihilation he has united with nothingness [NichtsJ and so with God, with the absolute. Having reached this holiness, this highest level, a human is indistinguishable from God, eternally identical with God, and all change ceases; the soul must fear no further transmigration. (462) The Nirvana of the Buddhists (defined as in 1824 following Buchanan as the liberation from "weight, old age, sickness, and death") was now explained as follows by Hegel: "One is then identical with God, is regarded as God himself, has become Buddha" (464). Hegel was aware that this interpretation could raise eyebrows but defended it: At first glance it must be surprising that humans conceive of God as nothingness [NichtsJ; this must appear extremely strange. But considered more closely this definition means nothing other than that God is nothing determinate whatsoever, that he is the indeterminate; that there is no determinacy of any kind that applies to God; that he is the infinite. For when we say that God is the infinite we mean that God is the negation of everything particular. (464) "Being-within-self" is thus a "crucial stage in the progression from immediate empirical particularity to the determination of essence" which is seen as "a substance, a substantial power that governs the world, causing everything to come into being and to be produced according to a rationally coherent design [ZusammenhangJ" (467). In this elegant manner Hegel arrived at an interpretation of Buddhist nothingness that l"rads to the Christian creator God. He even called for tolerant underc standing of "the most revolting, shocking and unbelievable tenet" (467) that a man with all his deficiencies could be regarded as a God. Thus the Buddhist majority was unexpectedly defended by the Berlin philosopher: God is grasped as nothingness [NichtsJ, as essence overall; this calls for more explanation, especially also regarding the fact that this essential God is nevertheless known as a particular human being, as Fo, Buddha, Dalai Lama.... We must learn to understand this view, and in understanding it we justify it. (467)



Hegel's call for understanding echoes that of Church fathers portraying Egyptian religion, Judaism, or Greek philosophy as necessary steps toward Christianity, or by Jesuit figurists attempting to turn ancient Chinese religion and history into an episode of their Christian narrative. But Hegel went a step further: he in effect turned Buddha, the Jesuits' reviled impostor, into a kind of John the Baptist who prepared the way for the incarnated God of Christianity. Hegel's final conception of Asian religion, as summarized by D. F. Strauss (618) on the basis of the 1831 lectures, restores the "lamaist-buddhist religion" once more to its original place after India:1. Chinese religion. Here the substance is known, but as inwardly determined foundation, as measun. 2. Indian religion. The substance as abstract unity, akin to spirit; man raises

himself to this abstract unity. 3. Lamaist-Buddhist religion, finds in a particular individual this concretization of substance to which other human beings also raise themselves, which then is annihilation. (618) This final scheme shows Hegel's "lamaisch-buddhistische Religion" as the peak of religion in Asia before the Spirit's momentous move to the Middle East. All three Oriental religions were described as "pantheist," but Hegel's Buddhism (the religion of Fo, Ceylon, and Southeast Asia) and Lamaism produced "concretized substance" in the form of particular individuals, i.e. the Buddha and the Lamas. Thus a traditional core accusation against idolatrous Buddhism, namely, that of mixing up Godthe-creator with man-the-created, turned into an auspicious foreshadowing of perfect religion and its divine incarnation. The ancient art of typology had portrayed Adam as the promise oEJesus and Noah's Ark as the prototype of the saving church; but who would have dreamed that, in a curious twist of fate, the impostor Buddha, the cheating Lamas, and their nihilistic atheism would take on similar prototype roles in a German philosopher's mind? At the peak of Hegel's career, Tibet and its Lamas had thus become an all-important stepping stone to Christianity, a ray from the peaks of the Himalayas pointing directly to that humble crib in Bethlehem where the Spirit's promise was finally going to be fulfilled.


vVhen Schopenhauer was born in 1788 the French, British, and Russian colonialist and scientific enterprises were gradually closing in on Tibet and its religion from several angles. On the Western front (Persia, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Caucasus) the likes of Anquetil-Duperron, William Jones, and Herder were approaching the Himalayas in their search for the cradle of mankind and older testaments than the Old Testament. On the Southern front the first volume of the Asiatick Researches with a report on Tibetl54 appeared in Calcutta and opened a steady stream of British154

Samuel Turner, "An Account of a Journey to Tibet," Asiatick Researches 1 (1788).

The Tibet ofthe Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhazte1'


information on Asia with sensational impact across Europe. On the Eastern and Southeastern front news about Chinese and Southeast Asian religions and customs continued to amaze European readers. But it is the northern front which furnished some of the most interesting early information about Tibet and its religion. Several Russian expeditions exploring the outer reaches of Siberia had stopped with the Kalmyks among whom they were confronted with an old tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Much of this research was done by Germans employed by the Czar and published in German, which may be one reason why it has been almost totally ignored by 20,h-century historians of the Western discovery of Buddhism. At the time, however, the detailed reports of Pallas!55 (who also relied on data from Gerhard F. Muller [1705-1783] and others) were much read. Ah-eady in 1771 Pallas had, as mentioned above, furnished -a rather detailed description of the religion of the Kalmyks with its cosmogony, rituals, customs, and doctrine "which is the so-called lamaic one that for the most part they share with their brothers, the lVlongols."156 He had also included some of the earliest accurate drawings of Buddhist images ("Giitzenbilder"), for example statues of the founder "DshakDshimuni," "Abida," "Maidarin,"!57 and the Dalai Lama. By the year 1803, when fifteen-year-old Schopenhauer (1788-1860) stood fascinated in front of a Buddha statue in an Amsterdam shop, Pallas had also published a book which I regard as the first Western book-length study on Buddhism l58 On 440 pages with many excellent illustrations the "Tibetan fable doctrine," its origin, its cosmogony and myths, its major divinities, doctrines, rituals, precepts, clergy, altars and much else is presented in great detail and for the most part based on direct observation and interviews with Buddhists conducted with the help of Pallas' interpreter ]ahrig. The following illustration from this 1801 volume (pI. 14) may suffice to indicate once more how wrong it is to state categorically that Buddhism was "created" or "invented" by Westerners after the 1820s and that this happened primarily on the basis of texts rather than the ~bservation of actual practices. Given the international fame of Pallas it was hardly surprising that his results very soon found their way into other publications, for example the Gene1-al Mythological Lexicon of 1803 by Friedrich Majer who ten years later was to become Schopenhauer'sSee above, p. 17. Pallas, Reise, vol. 1, 332-364, here 332-333. Pallas, Reise, voL 1, Fig. 1,2, and 3. Maidarin is lvIaitreya. See the reproduction above



on p. 19. 158 Pallas, Sanz11Zlungen bistorische1" Nacbl'icbten iiber die 11Zongolischen V611"1"Scbaften, vol. 2 (St. Petersburg: Kaiserliche Akademie der vVissenschaften, 1801). Pallas's title at the beginning of the text reflects more accurately the content of this book: "Samlungen (sic) iiber denG6tzendienst, die Geistlicbkeit, Tempel zmd ab"-gliiubische Gebriiuche der nzongolischen V01k"'schaften; hauptsiicblicb die aus dem Tybet abstam77Zende Fabelleln'e zmd damit v"'kniipfte Hiemrchie"

[Collection about the idol worship, the clergy, temples, and superstitious customs of the Mongol peoples; mainly the fable doctrine of Tibetan origin and the hierarchy connected therewith]. An earlier publication, though of only 54 pages length, also deals with TibetanBuddhism: Karl Dietrich Hiillmann, Historisch-k1-itische Abhandlzmg "b,," die Lamaische Religion (Berlin: Carl Ludwig Hartmann, 1795).



India mentorY' Pallas was, of course, also studied by Benjamin Bergmann and Isaak Jakob Schmidt who lived among the Kalmyks between 1802-3 and 1804-6 respectively and continued the tradition of Germano-Russian research there. From the 1820s onward Schmidt was to become Schopenhauer's most trusted source on Tibet and on Buddhism.

Fig. 2: Pallas, Sanmzlungen bistoriscber Nacb17cbten vol. 2 (1801): Plate 14

Early Tibet-Related NotesPeter Simon Pallas and Benjamin Bergmann were adduced as the best sources on the Kalmyks and Mongols in Schopenhauer's earliest Central Asia-related notes from the year 18ll,'60 i.e., just around the time when the 23-year-old Gottingen University student took his first courses in philosophy.l6l These notes stem from the ethnography lectures of Professor Arnold Hermann Ludwig Heeren (1761-1842),159 Friedrich Majer, Allgemeines lVlytbologiscbes Lexicon (Weimar: Landes-IndustrieComtoir, 1803). For an appraisal of Majer's role in the birth of Schopenhauer's interest in India see Drs App, "Schopenhauer's Initial Encounter with Indian Thought" Scbopenbau.,,Jal,,'bucb 87 (2006): 35-76, here 40-44 and 52-59. 160 See the German transcription of these notes discovered i;' 1996 in App, "Notizen Schopenhauers zu Ost-, Nord- und Sudostasien vom Sommersemester 1811," SchopenhauerJahrbucb 84 (2003): 13-39, here 35. Heeren referred to Pallas' Sammlungen historisch,,' Nachrichten and to Benjamin Bergmann, Nomadiscbe Streife1'eien unter den Kalmiiken in den Jalmn 1802 zmd 1803 (Riga, 1804-5). 161 Schopenhauer took his first philosophy course in the winter of 1810-11 (Seminar on metaphysics by Prof. Gottlob Ernst Schulze [1761-1833]).

Tbe Tibet of tbe Pbilosopber's: Kant, Hegel, and ScbopenbaueT


a man of very broad interests who was extraordinarily well informed about Asia. Because mistaken ideas about the timing of Schopenhauer's acquaintance with Asia and with Buddhism persist I here include my English translation of the student's 1811 Tibet notes in their entirety.l62 Tibet. It is among the least well known countries, though missionaries had made their way there. The southern part is called Butan, has its own regent; the northern [part] or Tibet proper is under Chinese dominion. 16 ] Tibet is identified as the most elevated mountain country and can be compared to Switzerland. Many mountains rise beyond the snow line even though Tibet is next to the northern tropic. Due to the elevation winter is thus very cold, and products and animals of hot countries are no more present; but in exchange [there are] many native ones, for example the Yak (Bas grunniens of Linn[aeus]) whose white tails are a trade product; the angora goat; the musk ox, etc. There is much gold and silver which is why they are of low value. Tibet is well irrigated. The mountains are said to be considerably higher than the Alps, which is doubtful. Tibet has much trade as the low price of precious metals attracts many, from China, Kashmir, India, etc. There are also many lamaic pilgrims who make their way there. The ruler of Bhutan belongs to the clergy. The residence of the Dalai Lama is in Northern Tibet or Tibet proper. 164 The Tibetans are tall and strong, gende, and the nobles have knowledge and education. Their religion is said to be a branch of the Indian one, they themselves say that the Brahmins had been their teachers. On his death the soul of the Dalai Lama enters a child. He inhabits a monastery whose entire council of monks forms the government. The order lives in chastity, with prayers and spiritual exercises. The novices enter at age 10, receive instruction, are called Tuppas until age 15 when they are named Tobahs, and at age 24 they become Giilon monks and can take over monastic and state functions. Those in such positions are called Lamas; the first is the Dalai, the second the Teschu-Lama. There is dispute among them; they are divided into Geluppas with yellow hats and Lamas widl red hats. In Tibet tbe1'e is p09,and1Y: The wife of the elder brother is simultaneously that of the younger. The Tibetans not only eat cooked but also raw meat. Tibet has long been dependent on China and remains that way because of the Chinese protection. The Nepalese once invaded, and on the Lamas' request the Chinese drove d,em out. Since then they keep the country under


For the author's transcription of German text as well as Schopenhauer's notes related Next to these notes Schopenhauer wrote in the margin: "Georgi Alphabetum Tibeta-

to adjacent regions see App, "Notizen."16]

nUID, contains information about Tibet, also about its language and religion; is written very

confusedly and fuzzily." 164 Here Schopenhauer wrote in the margin: "The letters of the missionary Gruber of 1661 in the collection of voyages." This refers to Schwabe's Allgemeine Histo";e, vol. 7, 554561.



occupation: among the Nepalese some claimed to have seen Englishmen. Therefore Macartney was received coldly in China. Like Hegel a decade later, Professor Heeren was confused about the identity and origin of the "religion of Budda"; according to Schopenhauer's notes he felt that "the religion of Budda is a branch of that ofBrama,"165 and while he correctly mentioned its presence in Mongolia, Burma, and Japan166 it is not quite clear how this relates to the Chinese religion ofFo and to Lamaism. About Chinese religion Schopenhauer noted: The present religion of the empire is the lamaic one because this is the religion oLthe Manchu Tatars. The Dalai Lama came to Peking almost at the same time that Pope Pius VI visited Joseph II; he died there of small-pox. The Chinese themselves have the religion ofFo: their cult is said to be similar to that of the catholics; it is thus the most widespread. I67 Schopenhauer's good attendance record at Heeren's ethnography course and his careful notes indicate ~ certain interest in such exotic matters but not much more; there is no sign of independent reflection, reading, or reaction in 1811. Almost fifty years later, when Schopenhauer died on his couch in 1860, a "Tibetan" Buddha figure, which the philosopher had ordered from Paris and gilded in Frankfurt, was gleaming on a special console in his study, and a handwritten note in his major work equated the goal of his philosophy with pmjfiii piimmitii as explained in Isaak Jakob Schmidt's translation of the Diamond Sutra from Tibetan. What had happened in these five decades?

Empirical and Better ConsciousnessvVhile Kant's interest in Tibet focused on its role in the history of mankind and Hegel was trying to fit its strange religion into his grand theology of the Spirit's universal march to perfection, the roots of Schopenhauer's interest were more existential and stretch deep into his youth. In one of his philosophical notebooks Schopenhauer reminisced: In my 17m year, without any learned school training, I was so gripped by the misery oflife, like the Buddha in his youth when he saw illness, old age, pain, and death [...J and for me the result was that this world could not be the work of an all-good being but rather that of a devil who brought creatures into existence in order to enjoy their agony: the data pointed to this, and the belief that this was so gained the upper hand. I6s It is this experience of life's misery and the early loss of faith in God which lie at the bottom of Schopenhauer's "pessimism" which stands opposed to theistic "opti165 App, "Notizen," 22 and 33. 166 App, "Notizen," 22 (Burma); Mongolia and Kalmyks (35); Japan (39).167 lOB

ApPl "Notizen," 3l.

Arthur Schopenhauer, Der bandscbriftlicbe Nt/cblafl, ed. Arthur Hiibscher (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1985): vol. 4/I, 96.

The Tibet of tbe Philosophen: Kant, Hegel, and ScbopenhaueT


mism" marked by faith in an all-good creator God as well as polytheism and pantheism. 169 In view of his later pronouncements on Buddhism and his own philosophy it is important not to misunderstand Schopenhauer's "pessimism" as some kind of depressive world view or dark mood: for him it is a philosophical term and forms an antithesis to religious or philosophical optimism, for example the optimism of "and God saw that it was good" of Genesis 1 or of Leibniz's TheodicyYo Schopenhauer's decision to study philosophy was driven by the same experience. vVhen old Wieland advised him against pursuing this plan the young man reportedly explained: "Life is a miserable affair, and I have set myself as aim to spend it thinking about this.,,17! Such thinking of course involved contemplating ways to alleviate or eliminate suffering, and Rudolf Malter was right to regard the whole trend of Schopenhauer's philosophy as soteriological: He who suffers from the world and wants to flee its misery has to know what the world is and how he can escape it. The soteriology-as which Schopenhauer's thinking sees itself right from the outset-is in need of a metaphysics which furnishes an answer to its question about 'what' [the world is]; and metaphysics in turn presupposes the self-reflection of cognition [E,.kemzen] which seeks that essence. A philosophy whose aim it is to elucidate the origin and cessation of existence-as-suffering [Leidensexistenz] thus requires a complicated and lengthy exposition.172 Already around the time of Schopenhauer's 1811 notes about Tibet he compares life with a "long dream that often turns into a oppressing' nightmare,,17) (no. 23) and associates everything issuing from selfhood with "illusion and night" (no. 28). Religion is said to show "the connection between the world of illusion and the real world" (no. 32). These two worlds form the matrix of Schopenhauer's entire philoso169 In his 1836 Essay on "Sinology" Schopenhauer praised Buddhism for being neither monotheistic nor polytheistic or pantheistic "because Buddha did not regard a world immersed in sin and suffering, whose creatures are all destined to die and who subsist for a short while by eating one another, as a theophany." Schopenhauer, Ube,. die vieifacbe 'WiLTzel des Satzes Vom zZLTeicbenden Gnmde. Ubel' den vVillen in de,. Nat"z' (Zurich: Diogenes Verlag, 1977): 328. 170 In his monograph on Schopenhauer's use of the word pessimism Andreas Dorpinghaus rightly states: "Schopenhauer uses the concept of pessimism exclusively in a philosopbical sense; it is related to cognition [E1'kemztnisj and forms the antithesis to the concept of 'optimism' as coined by Leibniz. The rarity of his use of the word 'pessimism' is striking;even in later years he often- circumscribes pessimism as the antithesis to optimism." j1,lIundus pessimus. Untenucbzmgen zzt7n pbilosopbiscben PessimisntZts Arthur Scbopenbauen (Wiirzburg: Konigshausen & Neumann, 1997): 44. !71 Arthur Hiibscher (ed.), Az,th",' Scbopenhauez': Gesp"iicbe (Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann Verlag, 1971): 23. 172 Rudolf lvlalter, Del' eine Gedanke. HinfiibTZt1Zg zztr' Pbilosophie Art/JUT Schopenbauen (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1988): 2. 173 Schopenhauer, Del' bandscb1,iftlicbe Nachlafl, voL 1, no. 23. Translations are based on the German original version; the English translation by E.F.]. Payne (Schopenhauer, lYlanltSC1'ipt Remains, Oxford/New York: Berg, 1988) is unreliable. In the following section numbers are inserted into the text.



phy, and from 1812 onward they gradually gain profile in the young philosopher's mind. Schopenhauer soon associates the "real world" with "better consciousness": it is "beyond all experience and thus all reason" (no. 35). The world of illusion, on the other hand, "our world," is the domain of "our empirical, sensual, rational consciousness in space and time" from which we can only be liberated "by virtue and asceticism" (no. 79).

Virtue is the affirmation of the extra-temporal existence [AufleTzeitlichen Se)'ns] , indeed it is the unmediated expression of the consciousness of such [an existence]: pure affirmation.-However, with asceticism an intentional negation is added, the formal negation and rejection of all that is temporal as such (no. 72).God does not form part of this fundamental matrix unless one understands him as a symbol of better consciousness: But I say: in this temporal, sensual, rational world there certainly is personality and causality; they are even necessary.-But the better consciousness in me elevates me to a world where there is neither personality and causality nor subject and object. My hope and my belief is that this better (suprasensuous extra temporal) consciousness can become my only one: which is why I hope that it is no God.-But if one wishes to employ the concept God in a symbolic manner for that better consciousness itself, or for sundry things one is u;'able to distinguish or name: so be it; yet not among philosophers, I should think (no. 81). Schopenhauer's dissertation On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (1813) was a philosophical analysis of the world of reason: the world of subject and object in space, time, and causality. But in his philosophical journal Schopenhauer kept thinking about that "better consciousness which lies for above alll~easo7Z, expresses itself in conduct as holiness, and is the true salvation of the world" (no. 85). In this realm, "when we become conscious of ourselves as not in time and space,-then we rightly call that which is [in time and space] nothing" (no. 35). This passage, written in 1812 when Schopenhauer's system existed only as a bud and before any of his readings on Buddhism, prefigures the gloss he added before his death to the concluding word "nothing" at the end of his magnu77Z opus: Just this is also the Pratschna-Paramita of the Buddhists, the "Yonder of all cognition" [das Jenseit aller ETkenntnifl], i.e., the point where subject and object are no more. (See].]. Schmidt, Uebel~ das Nlahajana zl11d PradschnaPara17Zita.j114


Compare Schopenhauer, Tbe WiJdd as vVili and Rep,esentation (vol. 1), trans. E. F.

J. Payne (New York: Dover Publications, 1969): 412. See App, "Nichts. Das letzte Wortin Schopenhauer's Hauptwerk" in Das Tiel; das du jetzt totest, bist du selbst .... ArtlJ!w ScbopenbaueT li11d Indien, ed. Jochen Stollberg (Frankfurt: Vittorio Klostermann, 2006): 51-60.

Tbe Tibet of tbe PbilosoplJe7'S: Kant, Hegel, and Scbopenbaue1'


This quick sketch indicates that even before Schopenhauer's Asia-related readings began (and thus before he came to identify his two worlds with maya/samsara and with nirvana) there was a. basic affinity of outlook which may help explain Schopenhauer's curiosity and growing interest in Indian philosophy and Buddhism whose first traces go back to the winter of 1813/14.175

First ReadingsSchopenhauer's first reading on Buddhism was an article in Klaproth's Asiatiscbes lVIagazin entitled "About the Fo-Religion in China" which reflected the 18,h cenmry views of de Guignes about the "religion of the Samaneens," "one of the most widespread of the world since all people from Mustag to the East coast of Japan adopted it with more or less modifications."l76 Of Kashrnirian origin and almost extinct in India it was preserved most purely in Siam. Further north however, in Tibet and Tartary where Fo is called "Lab," his servants "Lalmza," and their chief resident in Lhasa "Dalai-Labnza," this religion was "extremely disfigured and changed."177 Two years after reading such opinions, Schopenhauer's careful study of the first nine volumes of the Asiatic1e Reseanbes in 1815-1816 resulted in numerous notes and excerpts l7B which for the most part concern Indian philosophy and hardly touch Tibet. But it is in these notes and excerpts that we can catch a glimpse of Schopenhauer's incipient interest in Buddhism, which a decade later was to focus increasingly on Tibet. In contrast to Hegel, the former student of theology eighteen years his senior, Schopenhauer's interest was from the outset philosophical: it is clear that he was the first European philosopher to take Asian philosophy seriously and to acknowledge this influence as central to his system. l79 Schopenhauer's notes relating to volume 6 of the Asiatick Reseanbe/ 80 already show some of the themes175 Schopenhauer's first documented reading on Indian philosophy was a German tran-slation of the Bbagavadgztii (see App, "Schopenhauer's Initial Encounter with Indian Philosophy"); on Buddhism it was the article "Ueber die Fo-Religion in China," Asiatiscbes Nlagazin 1.3 (1802): 149-169. It contained a German re-translation of the F01ty-Two-Cbapter Sutra. See App, "Schopenhauers Begegnung mit dem Buddhismus," ScbopenbaueT-Jabrbucb 79 (1998): 42-45. 176 H. Julius Klaproth (plagiarizing Joseph de Guignes), "Ueber die Fo-Religion in China," 149-169, here 169. l77 Klaproth (de Guignes), "Ueber die Fo-Religion in China," 166. For more information on Schopenhauer's early readings on Buddhism and a general timeline see App, "Schopenhauers Begegnung," 35-58. 178 These notes are transcribed (and when necessary translated into English) in App, "Notes and Excerpts by Schopenhauer Related to Volumes 1-9 of the Asiatick Researches," Scbopenbatte7-JabTbucb 79 (1998): 11-33. 179 The latter cannot be said of Buddhism, as Schopenhauer rightly noted; he named the Latin Upanishads, Kant, and Plato as his most important influences. See App, "Schopenhauers Begegnung mit dem Buddhismus," 39-42 and App, "Schopenhauer's Initial Encounter witb Indian Thought." 180 App, "Notes," 20-21. These notes and excerpts date from the first half of April of 1816.



that were to dominate his views regarding Buddhism and Tibet: transmigration and karma; the absence of a creator God; a strictly atheistic religion with highly developed morality; the ideal of humans who reach supreme happiness through their virtue; life as an affliction marked by aging, illness, and death; nirvana as freedom from such suffering; and the existence of numerous valuable books containing Buddhist doctrine. In the first edition of Schopenhauer's W07'ld as Will and Repnsentation (1818) he addressed several of these themes and particularly stressed the ideas of nirvana!S! and transmigration, the "non plus ultra of all myths."!" But it is clear that, in contrast to the Bhagavadgftii!B3 and especially Anquetil-Duperron's Latin Upanishads,I84 Buddhism played only a minor role in the formation of Schopenhauer's philosophical system. In fact, he expressed his surprise at discovering, years after Pllblication of his major work, how closely they matched: Were I to take the results of my philosophy as the measure of truth, I would have to prefer Buddhism to all other [religions]. At any rate, I cannot but be pleased to see such great agreement between my teaching and the majority religion on earth, the religion that has more adherents than any other. This harmony must be all the more pleasing to me as in my philosophizing I have certainly not been under its influence. Until 1818, when my work appeared, only very few, highly imperfect and poor reports about Buddhism were to be found in Europe; they were almost entirely limited to a few papers in the early volumes of the Asiatick Reseanhes and dealt mainly with the Buddhism of the Burmese. Since then more knowledge about this religion has gradually reached us, mainly in form of the well-founded and instructive treatises of the meritorious academician of St. Petersburg, 1. ]. Schmidt, in the memoin of his academy, and in addition through several English and French scholars. So I was able to furnish, under the heading "Sinology" of my book On the Will in Natzm, a rather long list of the best publications about this religion.!B5 Whether Schopenhauer's claim of "great agreement" was criticized!B6 or confirmed/ 87 the reference point was always a Buddhism which Schopenhauer did not yet know, namely, Buddhism as it came to be known at the end of the 19 i1i and in the 20,h

Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, 443 ( 63). Schopenhauer, Die vVelt als vVilie und Vo1"Steilung, 443 ( 63). 18J See App, "Schopenhauer's Initial Encounter with Indian Thought." 184 Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron, Oupnek 'hat (id est, secretum tegendum) (Argentorati: Levrault, 1801). See my forthcoming monograph on the discovery of the Upanishads. 185 Schopenhauer, Die vVelt als Wille zmd Vorstellztng, vo!' 2, 197 ( 17). 186 See for example Droit, "Schopenhauer et Ie bouddhisme: une 'admirable concordance'?" in Schopenhauer, Ne1v Essays in Honor of his 200th Bi1'1:hday, ed. Eric von der Luft (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1988): 123-138. 187 See for.example Glasenapp, Das Indienbild deutsche1' Denker' (Stuttgart: Koehler, 1960): 100 where the well-known indologist states: "No need to explain further that what was presented here as the core of Buddhism is in complete harmony with the core of Schopenhauer'slSI



The Tibet of the Pbilosophe1"s: Kant, Hegel, and Scbopenhaue1"


century. But Schopenhauer did not claim agreement with Hermann Oldenberg, D. T. Suzuki, or vValpola Rahula, as some modern critics seem to assume. So it may be time to examine what kind of Buddhism he was actually familiar with and primarily referring to. Roughly ten years after his first encounter with the Chinese Forty-Twa-Chapter Sutra and the Nieban of Burmese monks, Schopenhauer from the mid-1820s began to discover Mahayana teachings through his study of the first volumes of the Jounzal Asiatique l88 and Abel-Remusat's Melanges asiatiques. Deshauterayes's translation of a Chinese biography of the Buddha had a particularly deep impact on him and may well have whetted Schopenhauer's appetite for Mahayana doctrine, as the following passage from Deshauterayes's translation which he copied in his notebook indicates: With my eyes of Fa I consider all sentient beings of the three worlds; nature is in me, yet by itself disengaged and free of all bonds; I look for something real in all the worlds but cannot find anything; and as I have put my root in nothing also the trunk, the branches and the leaves are completely annihilated; so when someone is liberated or freed from ignorance he is at once liberated from old age and death. l8 ' Schopenhauer mused that one could classify all religions into two types: 1) an optimist, theist, and realist type that is exemplified by Persian, Judaic, and Mohammedan religion; and 2) a pessimist, atheist, and idealist type exemplified by ideal Christianity and actual Buddhism: The other world-religion is that of the Vedas or the Samanaeism from which Buddhism (the teaching of Fo, Gotama, Shigemuni) and Christianity of the New Testament in the narrowest sense stem: it has the Avatar and is characterized by recognition of the world as mere appearance [ErscheinungJ, of existence as an evil, of liberation from it as goal, of total resignation as way, and of Avatar as master of the way.190

The Mecca ofBuddhismInspired by Deshauterayes and Abel-Remusat, Schopenhauer began to seek and read publications on Buddhism systematically. The doubts that had been raised about the genuineness and reliability of his most revered Asian scripture, Anquetil-Duperron's Latin rendering of a Persian translation of the Sanskrit Upanishads, strengthened his determination to get information about Buddhism

1S8 Of particular importance was NIichel-Ange-Andre Leroux Deshauterayes, "Recherches sur ]a religion de Fa, professee par les bonzes Ho-chang de la Chine," Journal Asiatique 7 (1825): 150-173. 189 Schopenhauer, Del' handschriftliche NachlajJ, vol. 3, no. 161 (1826): 305. Schopenhauer omitted an explanatory comment in the French original and underlined the words as in this translation. 190 Schopenhauer, Del" handschriftliche NachlajJ, vol. 3, no. 162 (1826): 308.



only from trustworthy sources, i.e., European researchers who had proved their skill in handling Oriental-sources in their original languages by publishing grammars, dictionaries, or scientific studies of those languages. Hegel-who during the 1820s lived in the same city of Berlin as Schopenhauer and read the same journalswas still to a considerable extent relying on information from missionaries and travel report compilations. By contrast, Schopenhauer wanted to seek his information, as Abel-Remusat suggested, "in the writings of the Buddhists themselves whose testimony, needless to say, is vastly superior to that of European specialists.,,191 Having no command of Asian languages he could at least inform himself about the major original sou;rces. In 1827 he jotted in his notebook: The Chinese translation of the extract of the main source [Haupt-U7-kzmde] of the Buddhaic religion is called San-tsang fa sou and is attributed to the Buddha himself. A copy of this is in the Bibliotheque de l'amnal in Paris. Abel Remusat, Melanges-asiatiques Vol. 1, p. 103.192 Jean-Pierre Abel-Remusat, Europe's famous first professor of Sinology who at that point still enjoyed Schopenhauer's trust/"' claimed in the article cited by Schopenhauer that the sacred scriptures of the Buddhists, which they attribute to the founder of their religion; were composed close to the lifetime of the Buddha in Sanskrit, exist "as originals" in the countries where the religion is dominant, and were "conserved with scrupulous care," so much so that tfte versions made in more recent times in Chinese, Mongolian or Tibetan "were redacted with that almost servile fidelity which characterizes- the Orientals and represents the texts so exactly that, even apart from Sanskrit words which were retained, one recognizes in them the Indian genius down to the old-style phraseology."194 In addition, inspired by a genealogy of Zen patriarchs going back to the Buddha that he found in the SinoJapanese encyclopedia Wakan sansai zlte ~lJ:.::::.::t~1t, Abel-Remusat had cooked up a theory of transmission of Buddhism's original teaching which had, similar to Zen lore, the Indian monk Bodhidharma introduce the genuine teaching from India to China in the fifth century. In China, according to Abel-Remusat, this original teaching"had survived for eight centuries only to be transmitted once more, during Genghis Khan's reign in the thirteenth century, to Tibet where it was preserved in a continuous transmission of Lamas ever since. 19S

191 Abel-Remusat, "Sur quelques epithetes descriptives de Bouddha, qui font voir que Bouddha n'appartenait pas a la race negre," Melanges asiatiques vol. 1 (Paris: Dondey-Dupre, 1825): 100-112, here 102. 192 Schopenhauer, D,,- handsch,-iftliche NachlafJ, vol. 3, no. 209 (1827): 339. See AbelRemusat, "Sur quelques epithetes," note on page 103. Sanzang refers to the Chmese Buddhist canon (Tripi,aka). 193 His IvWanges asiatiques figure in the first version of Schopenhauer's list of recommended readings on Buddhism (see below) but were eliminated in the second version of 1854_ 194 Abel-Remusat, "Sur quelques epithetes," 103. 195 Jean-Pierre Abel-Remusat, "Sur la succession des trente-trois premiers patriarches," Melanges Asiatiqu~s, vol. 1 (Paris: Dondey-Dupre, 1825): 113-128.

The Tibet of the Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer


Such good news seemed to be backed up in an informative article by Eugene Burnouf ("On the literature of Tibet") which summarized some of Hodgson's and Csoma de Koras's discoveries in Nepal a~d Tibet. Apart from confirming the ancient presence of Sanskrit original texts in Tibet and the older age of Sanskrit compared to Pali, Burnouf related Csoma de Koras's information about "two very extensive compilations named Kah-gyur and Stan-gyur" which, though probably compiled rather recently, "are in effect translations from. Sanskrit originals.,,196 Schopenhauer's notes from the year 1829 about The History and Doctrine ofBuddhism by Upham 197 show that such informatioIi about "the teaching of Buddha proper" and about the best source that ought to be consulted in such matters had an effect: This book contains only a littIe of the teaching of Buddha proper, neither the life nor the doctrine of Buddha, does not mention the Gandschur; instead ,it tells mainly about the popular mythology connected with Buddhism in Ceylon [...] Of Buddhism it furnishes the scaffolding and body rather than tile spirit and is furthermore not well written but rather confused: the author exhibits litrle insight and esprit. I98 It is clear that around 1830 Schopenhauer already thought that Tibet was the land where original Buddhism had survived and was thriving, and it is at this juncture that he encountered the writings of the man who was to become, even more than Csoma de Koras, his hero and most trusted source on Buddhism: Isaac]akob Schmidt. I99 Schmidt's History of the East Mongols is a translation of an original Mongolian source thoroughly annotated by the knowledgeable translator. From its notes Schopenhauer immediately picked up bits and pieces that interested him and wrote, for example, in his notebook: The Gandschur is really called hka-aGjttr. p. 411. The Dalai-Lama is an emanation' of Awalokita-Iswara, or Arja Palo, or Chongschim Bodisatwa; p. 412: he is not Buddha because [Buddha] has become Nirwana while that [AwalokitaIswara] is an enduring incarnation of one of the Buddha's first disciples. p. 424: The beginning of the history of the Mongols translated by Schmidt tells about the origin of the world from elements, without any Deus creator; then the origin of mankind tIlI:ough sinful degeneration of higher spirits; and the origin of animals tluough metempsychosis of sinful humans. zoo196, Eugene Burnouf, "Sur la litterature du Tibet, e..'{trait du no. VII du QUal"terly Oriental Magazine, Calcutta 1826," JournalASiatique 10 (1827): 129-146, here 138-139. This article appeared in the same year and journal as Deshauterayes's biography of the Buddha that ScllOpenhauer so highly recommended. 197 Edward Upham, The History and Doctrine of Budbism [sic], Popularly Illustrated (London: R. Ackermann, 1829). 198 ScllOpenhauerr Der bandscbriftlicbe NachlajJ, vol. 3, no. 242 (1829): 622. 199 IsaacJakob Schmidt flrst appears in Scl1openhauer's notes in 1830: Der handschriftliche NachlajJ, vol. 4/1, no. 60 (1830): 33. Scl10penhauer made notes about Schmidt, Geschichte der Ost-lvlongolen und ibres FiJ,-stenhauses verfojJt von Ssanang Ssetsen Chungtaidschi der Ordurs (St. Petersburg/Leipzig: N. Gretsch/Carl Cnoblocl1, 1829). On Schmidt see also the contribution by Walravens in this volume, 200 Schopenhauer, Der handschriftliche NachlajJ, vol. 4/1, no. 60 (1830): 34.



Schopenhauer's enthusiasm found its first printed expression in On Will in Nattm of 1836 where he included a substantial section on Buddhism in his essay on "Sinology" that included a list of recommended readings "for the general study of the life and teaching of the Buddha." Schopenhauer excluded most of what he had read on this subject in the past decade, and this first edition of his list consisted of only three recommendations: For general knowledge about his [the Buddha's] life and teaching I especially recommend the beautiful biography of him, as it were the gospel of the Buddhists, by Deshauterayes in French in vol. 7 of the Journal Asiatique Parris] 1825.-Likewise one finds much valuable information about Buddhaism in the Melanges Asiatiques by Abel-Remusat Vol. 1 1825-as well as in J. J. Schmidt's History of the East Mongols 1829.-And now that the Asiatic Society of Paris finally has taken possession of the Gandschur or Kaghiour we can with joyful expectation look forward to a presentation of Buddhaism on the basis of these canonical books themselves. 201 Such presentation was to take considerably longer; but in the meantime Schopenhauer eagerly read about Buddhism in whatever publications he could lay his hands on. He placed orders for valuable foreign books such as Burnouf's Introduction Ii l'histoin du Buddhisme Indien 202 and part 2 of volume 20 of the Asiatic Reseanhes with Csoma de Koras's groundbreaking research on Tibetan Buddhist literature. 203 The second edition of On Will in Natm"e from 1854 contains a much longer list of recommended readings which reflects the explosion of Buddhism-related publications from the 1830s.204 Ten of twenty-six sources are about South and Southeast Asian Buddhism (Burmese Buddhism, Ceylonese Buddhism, etc.); three about Chinese Buddhism; two about Indian Buddhism and Buddhist history in general (Burnouf, Koeppen); and the entire rest of eleven publications plus several additional papers about Tibet. Notably, the first seven entries on Schopenhauer's list of recommendations are all about Tibet and begin with Schmidt's most famous translation: For the benefit of those who would like to acquire a more detailed knowledge of Buddhism I will here list out of the literature about it in European languages those which, since I own them and am familiar with them, I can really recommend; some others, for example. by Hodgson and A; Remusat, I leave out on purpose. 1) Dsanglun, or the Wise [Man] and the Fool, Tibetan and German, by I. J. Schmidt, Petersburg 1843, 2 vols., 4., contains in the preface to the first, Tibetan volume from p. XK.,'C[ to XL'{V[II a very short but 201 Schopenhauer, Sii771tlicbe We1i,e, ed. Arthur Hiibscher (Mannheim: Brockhaus, 1988): vol. 7, 125. 202 Schopenhauer acquired this volume in November of 1845, barely one year after its publication, in the auction of August Wilhelm Schlegel's library; see Arthur Hiibscher (ed.), A"tbur Scbopenba!m": Gesa77171Zelte Briefe (Bonn: Bouvier, 1987): 224 (no. 208). 203 Schopenhauer, D,," bandscbriftlicbe Nachlajl, vol. 5, 320. 204 The printed edition of 1854 contains 23 carefully chosen titles; see also Schopenhauer, Kleinere SchTiften (Zurich: Haffmans, 1988): 307. Modern printed editions usually add three more titles based on Schopenhauer's handwritten notes.

The Tibet, oftbe Pbilosophers: Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauerexcellent summary of the whole teaching, very well suited for, a first acquaintance with it; and the whole book, as part of the Kandschur (canonical scriptures), is to be recommended.


It is significant that Schopenhauer's first recommendation concerns one of the earliest integral translations of a Kangyur Buddhist text into a Western language. Schopenhauer continues: 2) By the same excellent author the respective volumes of the Academy's Memoirs contain several German papers about Buddhism read from 1829-1832 and later. Since they are exceedingly valuable for knowledge about this religion it would be'most desirable to have them published together in Germany. - 3) By the same: Researches about the Tibetans and Mongols, Petersburg 1824. - 4) By the same: On the parentage of gnostic-theosophic doctrines and Buddhism. - 5) By the same: History of the East Mongols, Petersburg, 1829. 40 (is very instructive, especially in the notes and the appendix which contain long extracts from the religious scriptures, many passages of which clearly present the profound meaning of Buddhism and breathe the genuine spirit thereof~ - 6) Two papers by Schiefner, German, in the Melanges Asiatiques ti,es du Bulletin historico-philologique de l'academie de St. Petersbourg vol. 1. 1851. - 7) Samuel Turner's voyage to .the court of the Teshoo Lama, from the English, 1801. In addition, Schopenhauer proposed the following Tibet-related publications:

11) Rgya Tsher Rolpa, transl. from the Tibetan by Foucaztx. 1848, 4. This is the Lalitavistara, i.e., the life of Buddha, the gospel of the Buddhists. [...] - 13) Description du Tztbet, trans. from the Chinese to Russian by Bitchourin, and from Russian into French' by Klaprotb. 1831. [...] - 18) Asiatic researches, [...] Vol. 20, Calcutta 1839, part 2, contains three very important papers by Csoma Kiirosi which contain analyses of the books of the Kandschur.For Schopenhauer Tibet clearly was the Mecca of Buddhism where his trinity (atheism, pessimism, and idealism) appeared to be fully realized and where Buddhism's authentic scriptures and original teachings were best safeguarded. The enthusiasm which he expressed both orally and in writing led to accusations of his being a Buddhist/OS and in this respect too Schopenhauer was ahead of his time. In his eyes Europeans had trouble understanding this religion because of their upbringing: There, by contrast, existence itself is seen as an evil and the world as a scene of misery in which one would rather not be; furthermore [Europeans have. difficulty understanding] because of the unmistakable idealism essential to Hinduism and Buddhism-a view which in Europe is only known as a paradox of certain abnormal philosophers that can hardly be taken seriously, whereas in Asia it forms even part of popular belief. In India it is generally accepted as the teaching of Maja, and in Tibet, the main seat of the Buddhist church, it is even presented in very popular ways: on the occasion of a great festival a religious comedy is performed that shows the Dalai Lama in dispute with the chief205

Arthur Hiibscher (ed.), A,"1;hur Schopenbauer: Gesammelte Briefe, 390 (no. 388).


UnAppdevil, the former defending the position of idealism and the latter that of realism. Among other things he [the devil] says: 'vVhat can be perceived through the five sources of all cognition (the senses) is not an illusion, and what you teach is not true.' After a long dispute the case is decided by throwing dice: the realist, i.e., the devil, loses and is chased away to the sneers of the public.'06

PTajiiit-PitranzititThus Buddhism became for Schopenhauer the best of all possible religions and Tibet the Ark of its original content. vVhile Schopenhauer continued purchasing and reading the latest publications such as Spence-Hardy's works'07 and Koeppen's synthesis,08 he remained convinced that Schmidt's portrayal of Buddhist philosophy and its copfirmation in his translations from Kangyur texts were the best expression of genuine Buddhist teaching. Schmidt stressed that the teaching ofPrajfia-pararnita "must be regarded as the peak of the whole edifice of Buddhism",o9 and summarized the content of its exposition in the Diamond sutra as follows:

It thus becomes clear ... that Mahayana ... aims at the recognition thateverything in namre, each single being or entity thereof, everything that has a form or a name-in one word, everything that represents the idea of an I-ness [Ichheit]-must be regarded as empty, and that only the encompassing unity beyond all limits of namre, that into which every I disappears, the Beyond-any-cognition, is genuine and true being.2IO The highest wisdom (praj71it-piira7nitii) of Mahayana Buddhism is therefore, according to Schmidt, the "beyond" of any representation or thinking: Here, in this Beyond, nothing is mirrored, and there is nothing to cognize; there is no relation to any object, and thus there is also no I, no subject. Here is the true unchanging being, as opposed to the illusory being of forms and shapes in the world of appearances.2l1 Schmidt's preface to The vVise and the Fool-which Schopenhauer found "very apt as a first introduction" to Buddhism212 -describes prajiiii-piiTmnitit or "Being in Non206 Schopenhauer, Ube,. die vieTfoche Wiwzel des Satzes V07n zZlTeichenden GTlmde. Ube7' den Willen in deT Natzw (Zurich: Diogenes Verlag, 1977): 329-330. 207 Robert Spence Hardy's Eastem Nlonachism (London: Partridge and Oakey, 1850) and A NIanual of Budhism [sic] in its modern development; t7'anslated from Singhalese mss. (London: Partridge and Oakey, 1853) were both lauded by Schopenhauer as useful for getting insight into Buddhist dogma. Schopenhauer, UbeT die vie7fache Wll1'zel, 327. 208 Carl Friedrich Koeppen, Die Religion des Buddha und ib,'e Entstehung (Berlin: Schneider, 1857-9). Koeppen's second volume attempted to gather all information about "the lamaic hierarchy and church." 209 Schmidt, "Uber das lVIahajana and Pradschna-Paramita der Bauddhen," 125. 210 Schmidt, "Dber das iVlahajana and Pradschna-Paramita der Bauddhen," 212-214. m Schmidt, "Dber das iVIahajana and Pradschna-Paramita der Bauddhen," 220. m Schopenhauer, Ub,,' die vie,-focbe Wurzel des Satzes va'" zzt7"eichenden Gnmde. Ub,,' den Willen in deT Nat!i1; 327.

The Tibet ofthe Philosophe1,: Kant, Hegel, and Sehopenhauer


Being [Shad the field to themselves. In due course, the assertions of terrifying conspiracy and demoniacal subversions which they produced made historians even less inclined to take the subject seriously.'>4 But historians must respond to simplified interpretations of history and attempt to uncover and correct popular myths, since simplifications and dramatizations of history continue to be a theme with relevance today and can spread like wildfire, particularly in the medium of the Internet. The theoretical inferiority of these ideas and publications, from an academic point of view, must not be permitted to obscure or belie their attraction, and their potential danger. s The growth of the mythology of the occult inspiration of the Nazis and its dependence in part on a distorted view of an "occult" Tibet provides an instructive example of the way such patterns of thought can influence judgments far beyond the absolute scope of the matters at hand, and occult Tibet provided an ideal setting for the emergence of European conspiracy myths.

The Invention of "Unknown Superiors" and "Hidden Masten" in TibetViews of Tibet as the occult land pm' excellence were not derived from any actual experience of the land and its people. Remarkably, the "occultization" of Tibet was not set in motion by those who had actually been there; instead, it was attributed to sources who never set foot in that country and who may not even have existed.Survival (Grand Rapids: Phanes, 1993). As a number of books of the occult historians were not available in Germany, I am grateful to Bianca Horlemann and Giinter Schiitz for providing me with copies from the Library of Congress, Washington and the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. 4 John Roberts, The Mythology ojSemt Societies (London: Seeker & Warburg, 1972): 9. S Armin Pfahl-Traughber, Der antise71zitisch-antifreima",'erische Ve"schwbi'1tngsmythos in de1' Weima1'e1' Q.epublik und im NS-Staat (Vienna: Braumiiller, 1993): 121.

The Nazis afTibet


One group seen as possible world-controlling hidden masters was the mysterious secret society of the Rosicrucians. As early as 1618, Heinrich Neuhaus, in his critique of the Rosicrucians, allegedly commented that one would seek them in vain in Germany since they had emigrated to India shortly after the society's foundation and were living in the high plains of Tibet. This statement has been repeated by a number of scholars, but without a scrap of evidence. 6 I have been unable to find any mention of Tibet by Neuhaus, even after repeated readings of his book. He merely writes that the Rosicrucians could not be seen because their whereabouts were unknown.' However, the mere inference of a retreat to Tibet by the Rosicrucians is interesting in itself. In 1710 Samuel Richter, writing under the pseudonym of Renatus Sincerus, did write that the Rosicrucians were no longer in Europe since they had retreated to India to live in peace thore easily.' (From 1782 an offshoot of the Rosicrucians was formed that even took tl,e name "Asiatic Brethren.") Their destination was pr~bably later shifted to Tibet since India was apparently not mysterious enough.' vVhen Gottlieb Baron von Hund founded the Masonry of the Strict Observance in the middle of the eighteenth century, he doubtless had in mind the Rosicrucians of the early seventeenth century.IO Its founder claimed to derive his knowledge and authority from "Unknown Superiors," who at the proper time and in the proper place would make themselves known and to whom implicit obedience was dueY

6 Paul Arnold, HistaiTe des Rase-Ooix et les O1'igines de la Fmnc-NIaronne1ie (Paris: Nlercure de France, 1955): 150; Arthur Edward "Vaite, The B,otheThaod of tbe Ras), Cross (London: Rider, 1924): 244; Rene Guenon, Le Roi du lVIo17de (Paris: Bosse, 1927): 97-98; cf. also Bruno Hapel, Rene Guinan et Ie ,oi.du ",onde (Paris: Editions Tredaniel, 2001): 204; Frans "Vittemans, HistoiTe des Rose-Ooix, 3,d ed. (Paris: Adyar, 1925): 51; Christopher McIntosh, Tbe Rosicnleians: Tbe Hist01)" Nlytbolog)" and Rituals of an Esot,,ie O,-cieT (York Beach, Maine: Samuel "Veiser,

1997): 5l 7 "Videri possent non esse, quia de nulla certo loco constat, ubi habitent." Heinrich Neuhaus (Henricus Neuhl~sius), Pia et utilissima admollitio de fratribus Tosae-cTucis, ni77Zirlt11t an sint? Quales sim? Unde nomen ille ascive1"int? Et quo sine eius modi jil1Jla7n spm"SeTinr? (Frankfurt: Vetterus, 1622): 5; (French translation: He",i Neube"s de Dantzig: Advertissement pieZlx et tres utile des p,e,es de la Rose-C,oix, Paris, 1623). Peter "Vashington (lVIadame Blavatsk)"s Baboon, New York: Schocken Books, 1995) quotes on p. 39: ""Vhen Heinrich Neuhaus mischievous-

ly suggested that these brothers could not be found because they had all retreated to India and Tibet, he neatly made their existence or non-existence impossible to prove either way, entrenching yet further popular belief in the reality of the brothers." , Renatus Sincerus, Die 7vabrbafte zl7ld vollkozmnene Bereitung des pbilosophiscben Steins de) Briide7"Sehaffi aus dmz O,den des Gulden wzd Rosen K,'eutzes [The true and complete preparation of the philosopher's stone of the brotherhood, from the Order of the Golden Rosy Cross; translation of the title, McIntosh] (Breslau: Fellgiebel, 1710), preface, no pagination, ca. p. 10. , See for example the polemical work: Anonym, Der Asiate in seiner BIOfle. Oder gTiindlieber Beweis: daft die Ritt" und B,iider Eingeweihten aus Asien debte Rosenk7'eZlz,,' sind. [The Asian revealed. Or: Detailed evidence that the knights and brethren of Asia are true Rosicrucians], Asien [sic] 1790. 10 ]. Godwin, Arktos, 85. II Paul K. Johnson, The NIasters Revealed: NIadame Blavatsl'J' and tbe NJ)'tb of the G,'eat Wbite Lodge (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1994): 20.




The myth of the imaginary retreat of the Rosicrucians and the "Unknown Superiors" certainly influenced the conception of the "Hidden iVIasters"l2 propounded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), the Russian founder of modern Theosophy, Her chief source of inspiration was her great-grandfather, Prince Pavel Dolgurukii, a member of the Strict Observance 10dge,1J Thus eventually "the Russian Rosicrucianism's legend of a worldwide network of iVIasters and a secret link with Tibet was a profound influence on HPB's development."14 Late in the summer of 1875, shortly before founding the Theosophical Society, she noted in her first notebook that she had received the order "to form a society-a secret society like the Rosicrucian Lodge,"15 She made the preposterous claim that she had spent seven years in Tibet, working with her mysterious hidden masters, who lived there but were not Tibetans, Tibet was their refuge from civilization, In 1906 an anonymous article even appeared in the Theosophical Review by ''A Russian," which referred to an anonymous manuscript supposedly from 1784, where a Rosicrucian from Berlin, Simson, "said he had heard that the true Masonry will arise once more from the kingdom ofTibet.,,16 The myth of the retreat of the Rosicrucians to Tibet was also taken up at the end of the 1920s by representatives of the Polaires, a group of French intellectuals, who were interested in occultism and orientated themselves on the PolestarY Jean Marques-Riviere, a student ofJacques Bacot, in his popular fictional autobiography A l'ombn des 77zonastens thibitains,18 contributed to the further "occultization" of Tibet by positing once again the existence there of mysterious power figures. (It was not until 1982, in an epilogue to a new edition, that Marques-Riviere admitted that the texts he presented were accounts of his nightly dreams as a young student, intellectually stretched to the limits of his capacity during his waking hours.Y9On the "Hidden ~Masters" of Blavatsky see p, K. Johnson, The NIasters Revealed. P. K, Johnson, The NIasten Revealed, 4. 14 p, K,Johnson, TheNIasten Revectled, 22, 15 Cited in Sylvia Cranston, HPB: The ExtmordinU1J' Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsk)', Founder of the NIodem TheosophicalNIove77Zent (New York: Tarcher-Putnam, 1993): 132, 16 A Russian, "The Rosy Cross in Russia: Russian ]\iIasonry and Novikoff," The Theosophical Revi,," 38 (1906): 489-501, here 495-496; 39 (1906/07): 9-20, 138-144,201-211, 304-306. 17 Zam Bhotiva [i.e., Cesar AccomaniJ, Asia m),steriosa (Paris 1929, repro Combronde: Editions Janvier, 1995): 68 and 148. Rene Guenon in his withdrawn foreword to Asia 77Z),steriosa, see Bruno Hapel, Rene Guenon et Ie 1~oi du monde, 204-206; Maurice Magre, La clef des choses cacbees (Paris: Fasquelle, 1935); I had access only to the German translation: Die Kraft dezfrzjhen Himmel (Bad Miinstereifel: Edition Tramontane, 1986): llS. Later Ambelain wrote that Magre had implied the lamas had come from Tibet to become politically active in Europe by using Tantric magic (Robert Ambelain, Les arcanes noi1'5 de l'hitlez~isnze, Paris: Robert Laffont, 1990, 114), For more on the Polaires, see Arnaud d'Apremont, "La fratemite des Polaires: Une epopee Romantico-Rosicrucienne du x,'{eme siecle," in Asia nt)'stez~iosa, ed. Z. Bhotiva, 8-41; J Godwin, A,-ktos, 87-92; Victor and Victoria Trimondi [i.e., Herbert and Maria RtittgenJ, Hitlez; Buddha, K,-ishna (Vienna: Ueberreuter, 2002): 271-288. 18 Jean Marques-Riviere, A 1'01nbz~e des 7lzonasth~es thiMtains (Paris: Attinger, 192 9), 19 J. M. Riviere, A l'onzbre des monasth'es tibitains (Milan: ArcM, 1982): 209-213.I2 Il

The Nazis of Tibet


In his "autobiography" he describes a supreme, mighty King of the World, superior in status even to the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, and a "Council of the Twelve Nom'-Kan," an organization that extends throughout the Orient and unites it in both a spiritual and political sense.'o Alexandra David-Neel also reinforced the myth of Tibet as a country full of occult sciences and magicians, principally in

lWystiques et magiciens du Tibet. 21 By the time of the rise to power of the founders of the Nazi movement, the supposed existence of hidden world masters in Tibet was thus widely known, and often believed in, throughout Western Europe.

Creation of Western iWyths of Shambhala and Agarthi as Subte7'ranean TheocraciesThe vVestern myths of the lands of Shambhala and Agarthi were created in parallel to the "Hidden Masters" myth, and also had wide popularity. Shambhala was indeed part of the belief system in Asia, a land from which a great king would emerge to bring peace to the world, but Agarthi was created from whole cloth to fill a need for a further mysterious realm beyond ordinary human knowledge. . In addition to popularizing the idea of Hidden Masters, Madame Blavatsky was the first to gain a large audience in the West for ideas of a hidden abode of spirituality in the East, and Tibet as a secret site of ancient spiritual knowledge. In The Secret Doctrine of 1888, based on a mysterious ancient text called the Book ofDzyan (probably created by Blavatsky herself), she popularized the first Western version of the Shambhala myth, linking the original Indian myth of Shambhala to other myths of legendary sunken islands (Lemuria, Atlantis) to produce a creation myth marked by esoteric and racist elements in which chosen survivors "had taken shelter on the sacred Island (72070 the 'fabled'Shamballah, in the Gobi Desen)."" The other popular hidden center of spirituality in the East had no source in history or Asian mythology. Louis Jacolliot created the myth of Agartha and mentioned it for the first time in the 1873 work Le fils de diezt. 2l This spurious legend of Agarthi or Agartha, was taken up and developed by French occultists from the end of the nineteenth century. In 1886 the holy city of Agartha was described in detail by Joseph-Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre in Mission de !'Inde en Ezwope. 24 This subterranean theocracy was apparently located under the Himalayas, from where its rulers directed global events. Its ruler, the Supreme Pontiff, presided over a spiritually and technologically advanced population many millions strong. The Polish20 ].

Nlarqnes-Riviere, A I'omb,'e des monasteres tbibitains, 154-156; see also R. Guenon, Le

Rai d" Monde, 46-47.

Alexandra David-Neel, lVlystiques et magiciens du Tibet (Paris: PIon, 1929). See Helena Petrovna Elavatsky, The SeC1'et Doct1'ine, 2 vols. (London: Theosophical Publishing Co., 1888): vol. 2,319. 2l Louis Jacolliot, Le fils de dieu (Paris: Lacroix, 1873): 237. 24 Joseph-Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, Mission de l'Inde en Europe. Originally published in 1886 by Paris: Calmann-Levy. It was deleted except for two copies and republished in 1909 in Paris; and as facsimile repro Nice: Edisane, 1981,49-54.2122


Isnm Engelhardt

explorer Ferdinand Ossendowski presented a further version of the Agarthi myth in his 1922 best seller Beasts, Men and Gods. 2s In his account, he claims that Agarthi is an actual kingdom lying under Central Asia. Its ruler, the King of the World, knows all powers of the world and can read the souls of men and the Book of " Destiny. Although claiming that the history of Agarthi could be traced to an ancient Mongolian legend, he actually adapted the key elements of his account from SaintYves d'Alveydre. 26 While the Agartha or Agarthi myth has no Indian or Tibetan roots whatsoever, it still influenced the French traditionalist Rene Guenon in his widely read work Le Roi dzt Monde, published in 1927 and translated into many languages, in which he supported Ossendowski's claims. The topos of both a subterranean kingd~m and an occult brotherhood in Tibet was also addressed by Theodore Illion in his popular Dark1iess over Tibet, although the work has no factual connection with Tibet.27 He tells of an alleged visit to the "Secret City in the Valley of Mystery," to a powerful "Occult Fraternity," in "the Underground City of the Initiates." Although their ruler pretended to be a "Prince of Light," he "was really the Prince of Darkness in disguise." The "City of Great Light Power" turned out to be the "City of the Evil One." This "Occult Hierarchy" planned to cmitrol the world through telepathy and astral projection.28 It may be worth noting that the Gestapo ordered Illion to furnish documentary evidence of his alleged visits to Tibet when he returned to Germany in 1941,29 "since he was under suspicion of being a liar, who claimed he had visited Tibet although he had never been there."3o15

Ferdinand Ossendowski, Beasts, lYlen and Gods (New York: Dutton, 1922): 314.

2. Cf. Sven Hedin, Ossendawski ,md die Wah,"heit (Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1925): 78-109.Although Sven Hedin was quick to reveal Ossendowski's sources by applying a synoptic comparison with Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, as did lVIarco Pallis later in "Ossendowski's Sources," Studies in Campamtive Religion 15 (1983): 30-41, Ossendowski's work was widely disseminated in several translations. 27 Theodore Hlion, Dmkness OVeI" Tibet (London: Rider, 1938). Various claims are made about lilian's nationality: Canadian (Bundesarchiv Berlin, R 43/4107, fo!' 193), Italian (Bundesarchiv Berlin 135/46, fa!. 164604), or American (Bundesarchiv Berlin R 135/46, fa!. 164600). Jiirgen Aschoff (Annotated Bibliography afTibetan Medicine, 1789-1995, Ulm: Fabri, 1996, 195) cites Hubert Novak, who knew mion personally, to the effect that he was born in Canada and was a scion of the great Plantagenet family. 28 Johannes Schubert, the Leipzig Tibetologist, reported of his meeting with Illion in 1941: "I am not familiar with another book of his, Dmkness OVeI Tibet; in it, he speaks-as he told me-of a Tibetan secret society assembled in a 'subterranean city' and closely aligned to the Freemasons. A reason why the book had been translated into Swedish, but not into German!! Mr Illion, like Alexandra David-Neel, places more value on the occult and parapsychological phenomena which Tibet evinces than on other things." However, in Schubert's view his excellent knowledge of the Tibetan language, both written and spoken, proved a "glaring contrast" to the content of Illion's first book Secret Tibet (Bundesarchiv Berlin, R 135/46, fa!. 164600-164601). See now also Hartmut Walravens, "BriefWechsel Johannes Schuberts mit Bruno Beger und Ernst Schafer," Nachrichten der Gesellschnft ft, Natztr- U1,d VOlke1"l",nde Ostasims"74 (2004): 165-224, here 173-174. '9 Bundesarchiv Berlin, R 43/4107, fo!' 20l. 30 Bundesarchiv Berlin, R 135/46, fo!' 164604.

The Nazis of Tibet


Thus two crucial concepts-that of a set of hidden masters and the existence of two possible realms where they dwelt, both of them in Tibet-were in place' to influence interpretations of the purpose of the 1939 Schafer expedition to Tibet.

Constr'Zlction of tbe Mytbology of tbe Nazis and tbe OccultCareful study of the evidence does not support, however, the idea that National Socialism was inspired by and permeated with occult ideas and purposes, especially to the extent of seeking an alliance with secret powers in Tibet. This lack of evidence has not, however, prevented the growth of a large literature-both contemporary and later-on the subject. Speculative historiography by French authors]! in the genre "Nazis and the Occult"" and the influence of occult forces on Hitler paved the way for an assumed connection between occultism and National Socialism. "The lightning successes of the Nazis, both electorally and later militarily, together with their manifest evil, stimulated notions of their demonic inspirations" and "represented the Nazi phenomenon as the product of arcane and demonic influences."J] As early as 1933, a text of primary importance in this regard was published by Teddy Legrand,Je who propounded an initial indirect connection between National Socialism and Tibet. However, it was not until more than a quarter of a century later that a part of this work received widespread attention and further elaboration by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, who included a passage from it, without attribution, in their "key work" The Morning of the JIIiagicians, a best seller ttanslated into many languages that opened the floodgates for similar publications. However, the authors, who were addicted to a fantastic realism, had themselves downplayed the importance of their work and warned that many of their claims were as fantastic and

II A reference to Hitler as being under the guidance of occult forces appeared as early as 1934 in Rene Kopp, "Le secret psychique des maitres du monde: Bonaparte, lVlussolini, Hitler," Le Cbm'iot 54 aune 1934): 85-89, which regards Hitler as a reincarnation of Luther (p. 86). Further French books consulted on the Nazis and the Occult: R. Ambelain, Les arcanes noit'S de I'bittel'is"te; Elisabeth Antebi, Ave Lucifer (Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1970); Jean Robin, HitleT l'ilu du dragon (Paris: Tredaniel, 1987); Roger Faligot and Remi Kauffer, Le marcbi du diable (Paris: Fayard, 1995); Adolphe D. Grad, Le temps kabbaliste (Neuchiitel: Baconniere, 1967); Fran,ois Ribadeau Dumas, Hitler et la somlleTie (Paris: Pion, 1975); JeanMichel Angebert, HitleT et la tmdition catbm'e (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1971); Jean-Claude Frere, Nazisme et societes Seel'etes (Paris: Grasset, 1974); Andre Brissaud, Hitl,, et l'oTdre nair: Histo;"e SW'ete du National-Socialisme (Paris: Perrin, 1969); ,Nemer Gerson, Le Nazisme, societe secrete (Paris: Pierre Belfond, 1969); Rene Alleau, Hitler et les societes sw'hes (Paris: Grasset, 1969); Serge Hutin, GOUVe1'11ants invisibles et societes sw'etes (Paris: Editions J'ai lu, 1971). Jl H. T. Hald, Unknown Soul'ces; Michael Rissman, Hitlen Gott (Zurich: Pendo, 2001): 145-161; N. Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun, 106-127; N. Goodrick-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism, 217-225. II N. Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun, 108 and 127. J4 Teddy Legrand [i.e., Frederic Causse? (1892-1951)], Les sept tetes du dl'agon vert (Paris: Editions Berger-Levrault, 1933). See below for further discussion of his identity.


Isntn Engelhardt

exaggerated as Marco Polo's accounts of his travels.)S A direct comparison between the texts of Legrand and Pauwels and Bergier is included below in the section titled The Legends of "Vril". Hitler himself has been represented as an 'occult figure, despite his own stated scorn for interest in the occult. The most influential publication for the "occultization" of Hitler was Hermann Rauschning's 1939 publication of a forged collection of talks with Hitler, Hitlez" Speaks,'6 intended to present Hitler as an infernally-inspired foe. In the spring of 1939, Edouard Saby published Hitler et les jones occultes, in which he depicts Hitler "as the sorcerer's apprentice" and manufactures occult connections between Hitler and Tibet: "vVasn't it Trebitsch-Lincoln, the friend of the Tibetan Badmaiev, who initiated Hitler, by revealing to him the doctrine of Ostara, a secret school of India, where the lamas teach' the supremacy of the Aryan?,,)7 C. Kerneiz's work La Chute d'Hitler, published in 1940, attempts to analyze Hitler "cosmo-biologically" and claims that the group around General Ludendorff of all people, with whom Hitler was in fact almost unconnected, had subjected Hitler to a course of training of a type practiced in India and Tibet since time immemoria).l8 Some Nazi party leaders, principally Himmler and Rosenberg did have strong mystical leanings, but these were falsely extrapolated to apply to the entire Nazi ruling elite, including Hitler. According to today's standards of historical research,'9 however, Hitler himself dismissed occultism and was skeptical of others' otcult ambitions, mocking the mystical interests of Himmler and Rosenberg40 in a speech at a Kulturtagung on September 6, 1938:35

Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, The j'yloming oj the j'ylagicians (New York: Stein

& Day, 1964): xvi; (orig. Le matin des magiciens: Int1"odllction au realisme Jantastique, Paris:

Gallimard, 1960). 36 Hermann Rauschning, Hitlez" Speaks (London: Thornton Butterworth, 1939). However, as Theodor Schieder (Hermann Rausdmings Gespriiche mit Hitler als Gescbichtsquelle, Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1972) remarks on p. 80, the relevant chapter on Hitler's occultism appears only in the French and English edition, not in the German one. See also EckhardJesse, "Hermann Rauschning-Der fragwiirdige Kronzeuge," in Die b7YIune Elite, ed. Ronald Smelser (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1999): 193-205; vVolfgang Ranel, Her71zcmn Rausc/mings "Gespr'iiche mit Hitle1""-Eine GeschichtsJiilschzmg (Ingolstadt: Zeitgeschichtliche ForschungssteIIe, 1984); Fritz Tobias, "Auch Falschungen haben lange Beine: Des Senatsprasidenten Rauschnings "Gesprache mit Hitler," in GeJiilscht! Betz"ug in Kunst, Litemtz,,; j'yIttsii72 "The Reichsfuhrer complied with Dr. Schafer's request to be permitted to conduct negotiations himself concerning the expedition's financing and organization. The ''Ahnenerbe'' subsequently transferred the file to Dr. Schafer."73 And later: "At the request of the Reichsfuhrer SS, SS Obersturmfuhrer Schafer's expedition was not conducted by the 'Ahnenerbe,.,,74 Doubtless financial factors also played a key role in this decision. Thus, in the end, the expedition was not sponsored or financed by the SS or the "Ahnenerbe." However, Schafer continued to receive political help from .the 67 Helmut Heiber, Reichsfiihrer! .:. Briefe an Zlnd van Himmler (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1970). 68 Final Intelligence Report (OI-FIR/32), "The Activities of Dr. Ernst Schaefer, Tibet Explorer and Scientist with SS-Sponsored Institutes," 12 February 1946,. National Archives, Washington, RG 238, M-1270, roll 27, fol. 3-4. 69 Ernst Schafer, Geheimnis Tibet (Munich: Bruckmann, 1943): 7-16. 70 Schafer in undated letter to Beger from the end of December 1937: "And I set the yardstick for our coming expedition quite independently of other people or explorations ... This independence awarded to me by the Reichsfuhrer-and without which I would never have taken 011 the charge ...." Bundesarchiv Berlin, R 135/43 fols. 163367-163370. 7! Bundesarchiv Berlin, NS 21/682, 23 January 1938; and NS 211165 from 27 May 1938. 72 Sievers to Wolff, 23 January 1938, Bundesarchiv Berlin, NS 21/682. 13 Memo Sievers, 9 March 1938, Bundesarchiv Berlin, NS 21/165. 74 27 May 1938, Bundesarchiv Berlin, NS 21/682.

Tbe Nazis afTibet


"Ahnenerbe" and Himmler. He was well aware of the fact that he was dependent on Himmler's goodwill, and was forced to compromise on some points in order to retain his support with the English and obtain passports. Himmler gave his consent to the expedition on the condition that all of its members join the SS. Himmler's meddling was not always helpful in dealings with the English, however. In preparation for the expedition, Schafer had had "Schafer Expedition 1938/39" letterheads printed and applied for sponsorship from businessmen. Schafer was forced to yield on the matter of the expedition's official title. In February 1938 Himmler decreed that on the orders of the "Ahnenerbe" the expedition's name would have to be changed and letterheads were ordered with the new text "German TibetExpedition Ernst Schafer [in large print], under the patronage of the ReichsfuehrerSS Rimmler and in cOlmection with the 'Ahnenerbe'" [in small printJ.75 This letterhead, in large Gothic type, caused Schafer considerable difficulties with the British authorities after his arrival in India. The consequence was that Schafer ordered new, discreet letterheads in Antiqua typeface, apparently while still in Calcutta, which stated simply "Deutsche Tibet Expedition Ernst Schafer." During the expedition he used only this and his original "Schafer Expedition" paper. Schafer continued his efforts to establish the financing of the expedition and carry through his research objectives. He actually raised the funds of his expedition by his own efforts, albeit with the support of the "Ahnenerbe." He received the sum of 30,000 Reichsmark (RM) from the DFG. 76 The final statement dated November 15, 1940, shows that the Public Relations and Advertising Council of German Business (Werberat der deutschen Wirtschaft) made the largest contribution, of RM 46,000. In return for supplying reports for the newspapers Viilkiscbe1~ BeobacbteT and the IllustTie1'te1' Beabacbte1~ their publisher Eher Verlag paid the sum of RM 20,000; Ri\1 7,000 came from the Foreign Office, and a further RM 6,500 from private donors including BrooIce Dolan. The costs totaled RiVI 112,111, of which the greatest expenditure, RM 12,119, was to be for the ethnographic collection. 77 Only a part of the hasty return flight from India-from Bagdad to Berlin- as the outbreak of war became imminent was financed by Himmler's "circle of friends.,,78 One of the greatest problems in those years was the procuring of foreign currency, which was only possible through Hermann Goring. Goring was a great hunting enthusiast/' and Schafer, also a hunter, was introduced to him through the agency of Himrnler at the Munich International Hunting Exhibition at the beginning of November 1937. 80 The meeting between the two hunters was successful, and the problem of foreign currency was solved.

75 Memo Sievers, 9 March 1938, Bundesarchiv Berlin, NS 211165. 76 Rudolf Mentzel, President of the DFG to Schafer, 8 March 1938, Bundesarchiv Koblenz, R 73/1498 and Bundesarchiv Berlin, NS 21/682. '77 Bundesarchiv Berlin, R l35/5, fo1. 150165. 78 For Rimmler's circle of friends, see Reinhard Vogelsang, Del' F"ezmdeskreis Himmle1' (Giittingen: Musterschmidt, 1972). 79 Schafer to Galke, 14 October 1937, Bundesarchiv Berlin, NS 21/682. 80 Memo Sievers, 4 October 1937, Bundesarchiv Berlin, NS 211165.


Isnm Engelhm-dt

The expedition was finally ready. It comprised five members: Schafer as mammologist and ornithologist; Ernst Krause as entomologist, photographer, and camera operator; Bruno Beger as ethnologist; Karl Wienert as geophysicist; and Edmund Geer as technical caravan manager. They set off in the spring of 1938, heading first to Calcutta. However, political reality caught up with them on their arrival. vVhen they left, the National Socialist propaganda newspaper Viilkischer Beobachter had printed an article headlined "SS Expedition Leaves for Uncharted Regions ofTibet.,,81 The. Indian Statesman immediately reprinted the article, but under the headline "Nazi invasion-Blackguards in India." This would cause Schafer enormous problems during negotiations with the English over entry permits for Sikkim and Tibet. The German Consul-General in Calcutta, Count Podewils, expressed unusually open and direct criticism to the Foreign Office: I attribute the refusal [of the entry permits] primarily to the fact that the expedition was overly presented as an 55 enterprise. The known fact that the English consider the SS to be a police and espionage organization could not do otherwise but cause the expedition's scientific goals to be regarded as a mere pretext and scent political objectives in the background. The detailed article in the Viilkischer Beobachte,' of 20 April, "Expedition into the Uncharted Regions of Tibet, Research Expedition with the Support of the SS Reichsfiihrer and Volkischer Beobachter" was as unhelpful in this context as the letterhead "Deutsche Expedition Ernst Schafer, Unter der Schirmherrschaft des Reichsfiihrers der SS Himmler und in Verbindung mit dem Ahnenerbe e.v. Berlin," which was used prior to the expedition's deparmre. Namrally, the English learnt of all this immediately and became suspicious, so that not only the London Times, but also the local press published notes pointing out the expedition's connection to the SS." In support of Schafer and his expedition, Himmler himself wrote a letter to his friend Admiral Sir Barry Domvile, a fact that also came to the attention of the India Office. s3 While Himmler's intervention helped to get the required permits, the suspicion of the English had now been awakened in earnest. Even though Schafer appeared to be successful in convincing the British of the exclusively scientific purpose of his mission, British suspicions of espionage clung to the expedition throughout its duration and imputed to it a far greater importance than was warranted. Although the Tibetan government refused entry to the expedition several times, some months later Schafer and his crew were admitted to Lhasa, where they stayed a full two months. The members of the expedition established official contact with the Kashag ministers and the Reting Regent, and friendly contact with many aristocratic families;81 82

OIOe, LlP&S/12/4343, fo!' 333. Podewils to Foreign Office, 11 June 1938, Bundesarchiv Berlin, ZM 1457 AS, fols.

47-48.83 Himmler to Domvile, 18 May 1938, OlOe, LlP&S!12!4343, fals. 264-265; Bundesarchiv Berli~, ZM 1457 AS, foIs. 78-79.

The Nazis o[Tibet


Given the myths surrounding the expedition's alleged secret political aims, let us now focus on the contact with the Reting Regent and perhaps the most famous outcome of the expedition, the letter the Regent wrote to Hitler. 84 Schafer convinced Reting to write a letter to Hitler, although Reting probably had little idea of who Hitler was. The letter, in the official accompanying English translation, reads: To his Majesty Fuhrer Adolph Hitler, Berlin, Germany. From The Regent of Tibet. On the 18'" day of the first month of Sand-Hare Year. Your Majesty, I trust your Highness is in best of health and in every progress with your goodly affairs. Here I am well and doing my best in our religious and Government affairs. I have the pleasure to let Your Majesty know that Dr. Schaefer and his party, who are the first Germans to visit Tibet have been permitted without any objection, and every necessary assist is rendered on their arrival. Further, I am in desirous to do anything that will help to improve the friendly tie of relationship between the two Nations, and I trust your lVIajestywill also consider it essential as before. Please take care of Your good self, and let me know if Your Majesty desire anything. I am sending under separate parcel a Tibetan silver lid and saucer with a red designed tea cup, and a native dog as a small remembrance. Sincerely Yours, Reting Ho-Thok-Thu. Although this letter is no more than an example of the noncommittal polite correspondence typical of Tibet, it gave rise to much speculation and is nowadays often cited as proof of the Tibetans' friendly attitude toward Nazi Germany. In 1995 Reinhard Greve published the German translation of the Tibetan original by the TibetologistJohannes Schubert. Schubert may have thought it advantageous to try to translate this letter in a Nazi style, and may thus have falsified the translation deliberately to flatter Hitler. But his translation is quite simply inaccurate. He even added remarles that are not found in the original document, the most egregious interpolation being the substitution of "At present you [Hitler] are making all efforts in creating a lasting empire in peaceful prosperity based on a racial foundation," for the correct translation of the common Tibetan phrase: "Here I [Reting] am well and doing my best in our religious and Government affairs."85 Schubert's inaccurate translation84 However, Claudio lVIutti ("Le SS in Tibet," claims that "the Panchen Lama received the expedition and issued a document of friendship with the Third Reich." See also next section. 85 Reinhard Greve, "Tibetforschung im SS-Ahnenerbe," in Lebenslust und Fremde71fzmht: Ethnologie im Dritten Reich, ed. Thomas Hauschild (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1995): 168-199, here 175, note 25; and recently v: and v: Trimondi, Hitler, Buddha, Krishna, 130.


Isrun Engelhardt

has since been used to demonstrate Tibetan sympathy for racist ideas and to ascribe to the Tibetan ruler an uncritical friendship toward the Nazis. S6 The expedition completed its projected work and was from a scholarly point of view highly successful, collecting an amazing amount of scientific material about Tibet that continues to be of great value even today. It ended, however, in a hasty and dispiriting return to Europe: some weeks after the return of its members the Second World War broke out. These, then are the facts-the history-of this expedition, as far they can be reconstructed on the basis of the sources available at present.

Myths a~d Fictions about the Schafer ExpeditionThe mere fact that a scientific expedition of SS members visited the mysterious land of Tibet at this time, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, has been enough to add weight to the fictitious occult links between Nazism, Hitler, and the "Hidden Masters" in Agarthi und Shambhala. But what of the distortions of fact and stories concocted on the basis of this history? And how was the expedition exploited to support myths of occult connections between Hitler, Nazism and Oriental theocracies? . Although Pauwels and Bergier were the most influential creators of the myth of a Nazi-Tibetan connection, they were not the first to do so; they used and expanded a story mentioned earlier in this article, one from a French spy novel of 1933, Les sept tetes du dragon vert, in which connections between the Tibetans and Hitler were fabricated. s7 Its author was allegedly a French secret agent writing under the pseudonym Teddy Legrand who was later said to have died under mysterious circumstances. The novel, which describes a powerful secret organization responsible for the rise of National Socialism and Communism, adroitly interweaves fact and fiction. ss In the novel, two British secret agents in 1933 visited an Asian magician in Berlin described by the Berliner Zeitzmg as "the man with green gloves." He had three times accurately predicted the number of Hitler's supporters who wo~ld be elected to the Reichstag. s9 The Tibetan 11Zala (rosary) with which the two British agents were presented-with 110 beads instead of 108, for occult reasons-implied that he was Tibetan, althoughB6


On the Reting letter to Hitler see 1. Engelhardt, "Mishandled Mail." T. Legrand, Les sept tetes dzt dmgon veTt, chapitre 4, "L'homme aux gants verts," 225-

245.8B However, I doubt that the author was a mere secret agent. There are too many details pointing to inside information concerning the French occult, and the Buddhist and Tibetan scenes of the day. In fact, whatever the true identity of Legrand himself may be, the authors are said to have been two experts on the occult, Pierre Mariel and Arnaud de Vogue. According to E. Antebi (Ave Lztcife'; 137) and]. Robin (HitZ,,'l'tZzt dzt d,-agon, 141), the Editions Berger-Levrault issued this book in a series of army books because the secret service was shocked by the rise of Nazism and gave them the form of briJZant dossiers to increase their success. See http://tessa-quayle.joueb.comlnews/52.shtml. S9 E. Antebi (Ave Lztcif"; 140) mentions the possibility that "L'homme aux gants verts" might have been the famous magician Erik Hanussen.

Tbe Nazis of Tibet


this is not specifically mentioned. His fluorescent gloves gleamed like glow-worms. His gaze was cruel, penetrating and sly; he had perfect control over his reflexes. Be addressed the British agents in perfect Oxford English: "Gentlemen, although you belong to a race other than mine, the green hand will be extended to you, since you bear the keys that open the 110 locks of the secret kingdom of Aggharti."90 Let us examine what Pauwels and Bergier made of this in their Tbe Morning of

tbe lVlagicians:In Berlin there was a Tibetan monk, nicknamed "the man with the green gloves," who had correctly foretold in the Press, on three occasions, the number of Hitlerian deputies elected to the Reichstag, and who was regularly visited by Hitler. He was said by the Initiates to possess the keys to the kingdom of Agarthi .... It was in 1926 that a small Hindu and Tibetan colony settled in Berlin and Munich. vVhen the Russians entered Berlin, they found among the corpses a thousand volunteers for death in German uniform without any papers or badges, of Himalayan origin. As soon as the [Nazi] movement began to acquire extensive funds, it organised a number of expeditions to Tibet, which succeeded one another practically without interruption until 1943 .. ,,91 In Tibet, acting on orders from Dr. Sievers, Dr. Scheffer [sic] was in contact with a number of lamas" in various monasteries and he brought back with him to Munich, for scientific examination, some "Aryan" horses and "Aryan" bees, whose honey had special qualities. 93 Here we find further occult details added to Teddy Legrand's fictional story, but none of them have any basis in fact. No green-gloved Tibetan monk lived in Berlin to advise Hitler. Furthermore, far from a constant succession of German expeditions to Tibet from 1926-1943, only a single German expedition went to that country, that of 1938-1939.94 There were also no Tibetan colonies in Munich, Berlin or other cities, no Tibetan monks, and no troop of uniformed Tibetans in Germany. In fact, in the first half of the twentieth century only a single Tibetan lived in Germany: he was Albert Tafel's interpreter, whom Tafel had brought with him after his expedition in 1907.95 There is also no proof at all for the claim of a thousand uniformed Tibetan corpses. This story may be a legend arising from the fact90 9192

T. Legrand, Les sept tetes du d1'agon ver't, 243-244. L. Pauwels and]. Bergier, The iVI07'ningofthe Magicians, 197-198. According to R. Ambelain (Les arcanes noiTS de !'hitle,'isme, 122), they are "the Tibetan

instructors of the Nazis."

L. Pauwels and]. Bergier, The NIoming of the NIagicians, 207. Plans for a second, military expedition in 1939-1940 failed, e.g. Final Intelligence Report (OI-FIR/32), "The Activities of Dr. Ernst Schaefer, Tibet Explorer and Scientist with 5S-Sponsored Institutes," February 12, 1946, National Archives, Washington, RG 238, lVI-1270, Roll 27, fols. 7-9; Bundesarchiv Berlin, NS 1912709, fa!. 35-41. 95 His name was Bordjal (Tib. spu rgyal i). However, his integration into German life was so complete that he could be traced only with difficulty at the beginning of the 19405 near Stuttgart. In 1920 he had married Tafel's cook and taken a German name. Bundesarchiv Berlin, R135/46, fa!. 162120, 162123, 164458, 164522, 164527.9J



Isnm Engelhardt

that in the Second vVorld vVar Mongolian Kalmyks had fought on the side of the Germans, although at the end of the war there were almost no Kalmyks in Berlin.?6 Nonetheless, it was thus that the myth arose. Once "Pauwels and Bergier had provided this basic stock of myths relating to the occult inspiration of Nazism, further authors were tempted into a sensational field."97 Trevor Ravenscroft added to this repertoire of myths in his widely read work, also translated into several languages, The Spem' ofDestiny: It was largely through the initiative of Professor Karl Haushofer and other members of the Vril Society in Berlin and Munich that exploratory teams were sent out to Tibet. The succession of German expeditions to Tibet, which took place annually from 1926 to 1942, sought to establish contact with Cave Communities and persuade them to enlist the aid of Luciferic and Ahrimanic Powers in the furtherance of the Nazi cause and in the projected mutation which would herald the new race of Superman. Three years after the first contact had been made with the Adepts of Agarthi and Shamballah, a Tibetan community was established in Germany with branches in Berlin, Nlunich, and Nuremberg. But only the adepts of Agarthi, the servants of Lucifer, were willing to support the Nazi cause. The Initiates of Shamballah, who were concerned with the advent of materialism and the furtherance of the machine age, flatly refused to co-operate. Serving Ahriman, they had already made contact with the vVest and were working in affiliation with certain lodges in England and America! The adepts of Agarthi were known in Germany as "The Society of Green Men" and strong measures were taken to keep silence about their real significance. They were joined by seven members of the "Green Dragon Society" of Japan, with whom they had been in astral communication for hundreds of years .... During the final months of the war the lamas from Tibet were utterly neglected by the Nazis. They had failed in their mission to harness the powers of Lucifer to the Nazi cause. To show his personal disfavour Hitler ordered that they should live on the same reduced rations as the inmates of the Concentration Camps. vVhen the Russians reached their quarters in the suburbs of Berlin, they discovered their naked bodies lying in orderly rows, each with a ceremonial knife piercing the abdomen." This freely invented fantasy obviously incorporated dualist ideas taken from the anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner. However, I was unable to discover any reliable information about the "Green Dragon Society" or the "The Society of Green Nlen." In the first book on this general topic in the German-speaking world, Dietrich Bronder's 1975 Bevo1' Hitler kanz, we read: In 1928 the Thule Society, via the strong Tibetan colony in Berlin with which Haushofer was in permanent contact, is said to have resu~ed the links to Tibet's secret societies of monks, which were even maintained during the Joachim Hoffmann, Deutsche und Kalnzyken, 1942-1945 (Freiburg: Rombach, 1974). N. Goodrick-Clarke, The Black Sun, 117. 98 Trevor Ravenscroft, The Spear of Destiny: The Occult Power Behind the Spear, which Piened the Side ofCh6st (New York: McGraw-HilI, 1972): 255-257.96 97

The Nazis a/TibetSecond vVorld vVar. The key used in radio communication between Berlin and the Tibetan capital of Lhasa at this time was the book Dz)'an, a secret book of magic of Tibetan sages. . The links to Tibetan Buddhism forged by Trebitsch, Haushofer, and Hess were represented by Karo Nichi, an emissary of the Tibetan Agartha in Berlin; he wore the brush-shaped moustache that indicated an adept. On the evening before the outbreak of the Second World vVar Schafer's SS expedition departed from Germany for Tibet, guided by Karo Nichi and Eva Speimiiller, bringing the Dalai Lama radio equipment with which to set up links between Lhasa and Berlin. Schafer's SS men were permitted to enter the holy city of Lhasa, otherwise barred to Europeans and Christians-and even the lamas' magnificent temple, containing one single enormous object, the holiest symbol of the Mongolian empire: the swastika.'9


Of course, the expedition was neither led by the unknown Karo Nichi, supposed emissary of Tibetan Agartha in Berlin, nor did it have the aim of supplying the Dalai Lama with radio equipment to pass messages between Lhasa and Berlin and establish an axis of the occult, as claimed by Dietrich Bronder. It is, however, correct that the expedition brought gramophones and a radio, which were presented to the Regent and the Kashag; however, these objects, which were part of the equipment of the expedition, were only converted into gifts during the course of the expedition. lOo The myth would be recycled and reconstituted in works in English, German, and French. Although the members of the Schafer expedition had no knowledge of Illion's Darlmess ove7' Tibet before 1941, the introduction to the currentlyavailable edition states: "It is believed that Illion's accounts of Tibet were instrumental in persuading the Nazi government of Germany to send yearly expeditions into Tibet,"IOI which "tried to find fossilized remains of giants. Anyone who attacked Horbiger was promptly suppressed by the 'Ahnenerbe'."I02 It is evidently of no importance that, as natural scientists, all members of the expedition categorically rejected the vVorld-Ice Theory and specifically refused to allow it to be included as part of the expedition's goals. The sources continued to be equally creative, stating that there were "persistent rumors that the Nazi interest in Tibet was actually inspired by a desire to contact the black adepts of Shambhala and/or Agartha and to enlist their aid in the conquest of the world."JOJ Rudolf Hess is said to have cried in a moment of euphoria, "The secret powers of Tibet are fighting on the side of the Axis powers."I04 And the German Tibet


Dietrich Bronder, Bevor Hitler kam: Eine histo1-iscbe Studie, 2"d ed. (Geneva: lVlarva,

1975): 248-251.

Bundesarchiv Koblenz, R 73/1498, fo1. 25. Theodore Illion, Dadmess over Tibet (Kempton, Illinois: Adventure Unlimited Press, 1997): v. Similarly David Hatcher Childress, Lost Continents and the Hollow Eartb (Stelle, Illinois: Adventure Unlimited Press, 1999): 325 as mentioned in Alan Baker, Invisible Eagle: Tbe Histo1J' OfNazi Occultism (London: Virgin, 2000): 121. 102 Dusty Sklar, Gods and Beasts: The Nazis and the Occult (New York: Crowell, 1977): 77. !OJ A. Baker, Invisible Eagle, 121. 104 R. Faligot and R. Kauffer,Le nzarchi dzt diable, 244.100 101


Imtn Engelhardt

expedition was said to be an attempt by tbe Nazis to establish communications witb true "supermen.,,105 In an American book, it is explained that tbese SS men "were the warrior elite of a new civilization, immeasurably superior to the old, tbe high priesthood of the New Age, the standard bearer of the corning Superman. Their leaders were magicians, who had formed alliances witb the mystic Tibetan cities of Agarthi and Schamballah and had mastered the forces of the living universe."106 vVe read in a French work that "there was continuous contact between National Socialist Germany and Tibet and it is known that orders were issued directly by tbe imaginary fatherland of the Germans tbat concerned tbe material conquest of the world by the Seven Initiates of the Society of Thule. v'iTe know today tbat our merciless sectarians were magically 'protected' by their Tibetan masters under the sign of the swastika."107 The letter to Hitler from the Tibetan Regent also triggered speculations: There were also claims that Schafer had brought tbe Fuhrer a document of inestimable value and tbat tbe Fuhrer locked it away in a dark corner of the bunker at Rastenberg where he was said to meditate. However, this docu-. ment was nothing more tban a parchment on which the Dalai Lama had signed a pact of friendship with Nazi Germany, where Hitler was known to him as head of the Aryans. vVhile it is possible tbat Schafer brought such a document with him, it is not possible to estimate tlle value ascribed to it by all sides. Was it a declaration of principles, or merely a document of diplomatic value? ... One item out of all those brought back by Schafer deserves particular attention: the Tantra ritual Kalachakra and a detailed dossier concerning this Tantric initiation ... the first document on this subject to reach the vVest.108 Once again, however, reality is less mysterious. Of course, at tbis time the threeyear-old Dalai Lama had not arrived in Lhasa yet. And, as Bruno Beger confirmed to me, the expedition members were not even aware of the term Kiilachakra 109 and brought no such documents back with themYo Perhaps the authors had confused the term Kiilacha/,ra with tbe Kanjur (bKa' 'gyur), a copy of which had been presented to the expedition in exchange for medical assistance. Yet even this fact galJames H. Brennan, Tbe Occult Reicb (London: Futura, 1974): 82. Gerald Suster, Hitler; tbe Occult NIessiab (New York: St. Martin's, 1981): 191-192. 107 Adolphe D. Grad, Le temps kabbaliste, 12-13. 108 E. iVIila, Nazisme et esoterimze, 86-87. 109 Interview on December 6, 2003. However, it was presumably Johannes Schubert, who had written a list "Desiderata der Tibetforschung," in which he did list a question as to whether there were special places in Tibet, where the Kalacbak1"a cult was still practiced. (Bundesarchiv Berlin, R 135/57 fo!' 151363). It is unknown whether the expedition received this list in time and took it to Tibet. Bruno Beger has no recollection of it. 110 Cf. Gunter Griinbold, Die tibetiscben Blockdmcke de,. BaYe1'iscben Staatsbibliotbek: Eine Titelliste (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1989),in which all blockprints brought to Germany by the Schafer expedition are listed. After having also checked all Tibetan manuscripts from the expedition with the kind help of Namgyal Nyima, I found absolutely nothing of an occult105 106

nature-rather, they concern mundane matters such as brawls in a restaurant, problems with

the hay harvest, and some prayers.

The Nazis of Tibet .


vanized other authors' imagination and inspired speculations such as those of Dietrich Bronder: "Finally the [Panchen] Lama presented the SS expedition With the Lamaist bible Kanjur in over a hundred volumes, as a gift for his friend Hitler, or Hsi Tale."lll This last "fact," however, would have exceeded the framework of space and time, since the Panchen Lama spent the last 15 years of his life outside Tibet and had died two years prior to the expedition's arrival. A mystery has even been concocted about the fate of this copy of the Kanjur. Peter Levenda speculated: "I have been unable to discover what has happened to it after the war, though I suspect it wound up in a- museum in Vienna."112 Peter Moon even added: "I have been informed by others that they [the documents] ended up in Russian hands and that they were copies of original sacred texts from the inner caves of Tibet. Monks would spend entire lifetimes dutifully copying sacred scriptures and depositing them in secret Ibcations.'>l1l In fact, this impressive hundred volume edition of the new Lhasa Kanjur, initiated by the 13 m Dalai Lama, has spent the last several decades in the Bavarian State Library in Munich. 114 A greater problem, and a murkier one, than that of the work of occult or cryptohistorians, sensationalist writers, or conspiracists are publications by those journalists and self-styled "agents of enlightenment" who, while purporting to bring light into darkness and to demythologize Tibet, actually construct new myths by skillfully mixing fact and fiction-deliberately or not. For example, the American historian Lee Feigon explains: "In the late 1930s Hitler and Himmler went so far as to send an expedition to Tibet to measure Tibetan head sizes and ascertain that the Tibetans were .not Jews but true Aryans. Hitler even is reputed to have brought a group of monks back to Germany, instructing them to perform special chants to alter weather patterns in preparation for his ill-fated Russian invasion."115 Orville Schell, an American professor of journalism, reports: "Indeed, as early as 1926, long before they were a force to be reckoned with, future Nazi supporters managed to send the first of several 'anthropological' expeditions to the area under the leadership of zoologist Ernst Schafer."ll6 The occult insinuations surrounding the expedition reappeared in 1997, when the release of the film Seven Years in Tibet, based in large part on his 1952 book,117 prompted research into Heinrich Harrer's Nazi past. Among statements published at that time we find things like this:111 D. Bronder, Bevor Hitler kam, 2S0-251. However, of course, in Tibetan "Hitler" was not spelled "Hsi Tale" but "he ti lar." 112 Peter Levenda; Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the OCCZtlt, 2nd ed. (New York: Continuum, 2002): 196. 11l Peter Moon, The Black Sun: Montauk's Nazi-Tibet Connection (New York: Sky Books, 1997): 211. 114 Cf. Gunter Gronbold, The Words of the Buddha in the Languages of the World (Munich: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, 2005): 128-129. 115. Lee Feigon, Demystifying Tibet (Chicago: Elephant, 1996): 15. 116 Orville Schell, Virtual Tibet: Searchingfor Shangri-La from the Himalayas to Hollywood (New York: Holt, 2000): 289. 117 Heinrich Harrer, Sieben Jahre i'; Tibet; mein Leben am Hoft des Dalai Lama (Vienna: Ullstein, 1952).


Imm EngelhardtIn 1938,Schafer left for Tibet with 30 men and a large cache of weapons, arriving'in Lhasa in early 1939.... The SS storm troops were on a mission to persuade the Tibetan army, by giving them gifts, to wean it away'from British influence .... The plan was ... that it was the Tibetans who would teach the Germans how to survive in the harsh environmentYs

And even more of a falsification: Himmler believed that the Tibetans were fellow Aryans. Schafer's mandate was to turn the Tibetans against the British with the ultimate end of forming a German-Tibetan Aryan alliance that would eventually conquer Asia. Tibet would be then settled by colonies of Germans seeking the precious Nazi ideal of Lebensraum-"living space.'H!9 However, even if individual authors were forced to admit, after conscientious research and, for example, after searching all files in the National Archives in Washington, that they could fmd nothing "about the occult activities and interests of the Third Reich concerning Tibet,"120 they often conclude with innuendo along the lines of this: "Thus we cannot rule out the hypothesis that Schafer was involved in something more than butterfly gathering in this historic (and official) trek to the Himalayas at that time of great international crisis and global tensions."!2!

An Attempt at Explanation, based on Considerations of Conspiracy TheoriesWhat is it that compels authors to write such things? The root causes, the methods of representation ahd the conventions of the genre may be approached from the perspective of conspiracy theories,122 where events are interpreted from the viewpoint of the occult, and groups are identified as "secret societies."lIB Gerald Lehner and Tilman Miiller, "Dalai Lama's Friend: Hitler's Champion," Rimal Ouly/August 1997): 42-44, here 44. This is the English translation of the article in the German magazine Stern from May 28, 1997, which triggered an avalanche of "revelations." '119 David Roberts, "The Nazi Shadow in Tibet," Men's Journal 6.8 (1997): 61-62, 119120, here 62. !10 P. Levenda, Unholy Alliance, 191. III P. Levenda, Unholy Alliance, 192-193. Despite Levenda's frequently quoted comparison of Schafer to a "Nazi Indiana Jones" (p. 194), he never had anything to do with the search for any Ark of the Covenant, Holy Grail, etc. III This section on conspiracy theories and myths is drawn from the following literature: Geoffrey T. Cubitt, "Conspiracy Myths and Conspiracy Theories," Journal of the Anthropological SoCiety ofO:iford 20 (1989): 12-26; Dieter Groh, "The Temptation of Conspiracy Theory, or: Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People? 'Preliminary Draft of a Theory of Conspiracy ;Theories," in Changing Conceptions of Conspiracy, eds. Carl F. Graumann and Serge Mbscovici (Berlin: Springer, 1987): 1-11; Daniel Pipes, Conspi1YlCY: Row the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where it Comes p"om (New York: Free Press, 1997); John Roberts, The Mythology ofSecret Sodeties (London: Seeker & Warburg, 1972); Armin Pfahl-Traughber, Der antisemitisch-antifreimaurerische Verschwbrungsmythos in de1" Weima1"er Republik zmd im NS-Staat (Vienna: Braumtiller, 1993): 115; Armin Pfahl-Traughber, '''Bausteine' zu einer Theorie tiber 'Verschworungstheorien': Definitionen, Erscheinungsformen, Funktionen und Urs.chen,"

The Nazis of Tibet


According to Geoffrey Cubitt, "A conspiracy myth tells the supposedly true and supposedly historical story of a conspiracy and of the events and disastrous effects to which it has given rise."l2l Daniel Pipes observes that "a conspiracy theory is the fear of a non-existent conspiracy. The German term Verschworungsmytbos ('myth of conspiracy') serves better than the English conspi7Y1cy tbe07Y, for it points more directly to the imaginary nature of the content."124 Conspiracy myths arise in times of radical social upheaval and sustained agitation. In this situation of insecurity and problems of orientation, conspiracy myths are a method of mastering crises and a simple cognitive tool, which "makes it easier to reduce dissonant perceptions, and allows one to reduce complexity," and there is a great "power of attraction resulting from the unburdening and reducing function in a dualist view of the world."125 Even though the act of revelation itself does not contain actual blueprints for solutions, it is an unburdeningl26 Thus in an effort to give a comprehensible explanation of the threatening situation of the rise to power of Hitler and National Socialism, the pivotal emotional experience of a superpower, and the need to exonerate one's own failure, Hitler and the Nazi ruling elite are demonized~since one is powerless against demons.127 However, the mysterious and secret nature of the alleged activities is one of the reasons for the attraction and power of conspiracy myths. The characteristic features of conspiracy myths are a dualistic world view and occultism: nothing is accidental and appearances deceive. Conspiracists adopt the role of champions of a duped public. l28 "Any conspiracy theory involves a claim to provide access to a realiin Verscbwo'T7mgstbeorien: Them'ie - Gescbicbte - Wir'kzmg, ed. Helmut Reinalter (Innsbruck: Studien Verlag, 2002): 30-44; Michael Hagemeister, "Die hotokolle del' FVeisen von Zion - eine Anti-Utopie oder der groBe Plan in der Geschichte?" in VeTscbwonmgstheoTien, 45-57; D. Rose, Die Tbule-GeselischaJt. The following articles are in Ute Caumanns and lvIathias Niendorf (eds.), VencbwoTUngstbemoien: AntbTopologiscbe Konstanten - HistoTiscbe Viwianten (Osnabriick: fibre, 2001); Rudolf, "Verschworungstheorien aus pSYchologischer und historischer Sicht," 11-30; Johannes Rogalla von Bieberstein, "Die These von der Verschworung der Freimaurer," 75-88; Michael Hagemeister, "Die PTotokolle deT Weisen von Zion - eine AntiUtopie oder der grosse Plan ... ," 89-100; Dieter Groh, "Verschworungstheorien revisited," 187-196; Ute Caumanns and Mathias Niendorf, "Ra11m und Zeit, Mensch und Methode: Uberlegungen zum Phiinomen der Verschworungstheorie," 197-210. 12l G. Cubitt, "Conspiracy Myths," 130 124 D. Pipes, Conspiracy, 21. 125 D. Groh, "The Temptation of Conspiracy Theory," 5. 126 R.Jaworsky, "Verschworungstheorien," 22. 127 No Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun, 108, 109, 113: "All writers in this genre document a secret history of the Third Reich, unknown to conventional historians, as the instrument of dark powers for the achievement of satanic ends" and "dehistoricize the facts of dictatorship, terror, war and oppression into a mythical tableau of demonic mission." The claim is made that "Hitler's rise to power is directly linked to supernatural, secret power that supported and controlled Hitler and his entourage" and "that the Nazi leadership was determined to establish contact with an omnipotent subterranean theocracy in the East, mainly Tibet, and gain knowledge of its power. It was supposed that this power would enable Germany to conquer the whole world."128

R.Jaworsky, "Verschworungstheorien," 27.




ty which is. by its nature, hidden,,129 and there is an occult force operating behind the seemingly real outward forms of political life. Such myths primarily tend to be triggered by groups and organizations that appear impenetrable, and that give rise to the wildest speculations on the grounds of their obscure organizational structure and mysterious rituals and symbols. Thus, according to the crypto-historians, the occult connection with Tibet in the era of National Socialism is supposed to have operated via the SS. A specific technique is used to establish causality and plausibility: the gap in one conspiracy myth is explained by yet another conspiracy mythY o Narrative techniques are also used in the attempt to create plausibility, when details are scattered throughout the text to convey insider knowledge or feign authenticity concerning insider knowledge. l3l A rational method is applied, although not immediately recognizable as such: the generation of calculated insecurity by means of manipulative elements of style,ll2 vague formulations such as passive verbs and indeterminate pronouns ("they"), allusions and references to long-lost printed sources and so-called secret dossiers. vVe have seen all these techniques at work in the specific case of the Schafer expedition. Despite the dubious treatment given to scientific and pseudoscientific speculative literature alike by these crypto-historians, they nonetheless view themselves as genuine historians, often making efforts to imitate the forms of genuine researchYJ Furthermore, occult historians and conspiracy theorists commonly slight traditional historians, promising to reveal secrets that they imply would have been avoided by these historians out of prejudice, cowardice or even a deliberate intention to conceal,u4 They dismiss contradictory evidence as a sign of a conspiracy. However, conspiracy myths must contain a kernel of truth and reasonableness to make them plausibleP5 Schafer did, after all, lead an expedition to Tibet at a time of great worldwide tension. Further, to make an organization appear more historical and weighty, the allegedly conspiratorial groups are depicted as a homogeneous block, even if totally unconnected with each other;1l6 this gives the impression of a united power operating its conspiracies in secret at not only a national, but a globallevelY7 Its leaders 129 G. Cubitt, "Conspiracy JVlytbs," 16.D. Pipes, Conspimcy, 41. U. Caumanns and M. Niendorf, "Raum und Zeit," 205. ll2 D. Rose, Die TbulegesellschaJt, 197. lJJ D. Pipes, Conspiracy, 34. 134 For example, the cover blurb of a book by James H. Brennan states: "This is the strangest book ever written about Nazi Germany. It deals with facts-but facts that orthodox historians ignore." James Herbert Brennan, Occult Reich, 2"d ed. (London, 1976), cited in D. Rose, Die Tbule-GesellschaJt, 166. Brennan went on to publish Occult Tibet: Secret P'Ylct;ces ofHimalayan Magic (St. Paul, Minnesota: Llewellyn, 2002). lJ5 Johannes Rogalla von Bieberstein, "Die These von der Verschworung der Freimaurer,"1)0III

78.136 D. Pipes, Conspimcy, 133: "Time and place hardly matter," Conspirators "are blithely located where they do not live," secret societies "blamed for conspiracies occurring long before either group came into existence." 137 A. Pfahl-Traughber, Der antisemitisch-antifreimaul''''iscbe Verschwb'rzmgsmythos, 117.

The Nazis of Tibet


commonly invent long histories of connections to other groups. However, "conspiracism turns some of history's most powerless and abused peoples into the most pmverful,"1l8like the Tibeta:rs in our case.

Ironic Pamdox: Nazi Construction of Tibetan Wodd ConspimcyIs there any evidence among writings by the Nazis themselves concerning a Tibetan connection? Here an ironic paradox emerges, one which devastatingly demonstrates the absurdity of the myths, attributions, and imputations of an occult collaboration with secret Tibetan world commanders. Beginning in the early 1930s, a number of National Socialist writings, all of which achieved widespread circulation, painted a diametrically opposed scene of a Tibetan world conspiracy directed against Germany and Europe, a topos that was developed by another group of crypc to-historians, using the same techniques we have seen coming into play in the creation of the Tibetan connection myth. As noted earlier, Hitler's attitude towards Tibet was characterized by his lack of interest and understanding of Asia and Tibet. "His thoughts and actions essentially fell into European categories at all times. To Hitler, Asia remained a foreign and misunderstood world."1l9 However, Alfred Rosenberg, the "chief ideologist" of National Socialism, already held decidedly different opinions as early as 1930. In his main work, The ~Myth of the 20';' Century, he expressed his understanding of "'history' as the struggle of antagonistically interrelated powers" and designated the Roman Catholic Church to be the principal enemy seeking world domination, claiming that its sole aim was the subjugation of the faithful to the claims of power and mastery represented by its exclusive caste of priests. 140 Thus all eras of Germany's history were assigned "without exception to the primary antithesis of 'Germanic struggles against Rome' and interpreted accordingly."141 Although Rosenberg was fascinated by ancient India142 and in general interpreted Buddhism in a positive light,'43 he was evidently influenced by Albert GrlinwedeP44 in his rejection of Tibetan Buddhism,'45 to which his conspiracy-based views ascribedD. Pipes, Conspi1'acy, 48. Johannes H. Voigt, "Hitler und Indien," Vie17:eljabTesbefte fiir Zeitgescbicbte 19 (1971): 33-63, here 33. 140 Cf. Frank-Leithar Kroll, Utopie als Ideologie: Gescbichtsdenken und politisches Handeln im Dritten Reich: Hitl,, - Rosenberg - Dam! - Himmle,- - Goebbels (Paderborn: Schoningh, 1998): 134-135. 141 F. Kroll, Utopie als Ideologie, 146. 142 Alfred Rosenberg, De,. iVlythus des 20. Jabdntnderts (Munich: Hoheneichen, 1940, first published 1930): 28-32,147-150,265-273,389-390,660-664. 143 A. Rosenberg, Mythzzs, 265, 341. 144 Rosenberg had obviously discovered the leading German Orientalist, philologist and archaeologist Albert Grunwedel through the inaccurate decipherings and strange interpretations of Etruscan texts that the elderly and already sick Griinwedel had attempted; cf. Reinhard Bollmus, Das Arm Rosenb"'g ztnd seine Gegner: Studi"z ZZim iVlacbtkampf im nationalsozialistischen He17'schaftssystem (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1970): 23, 257. 145 A. Rosenberg, iVlythus, 65. Grunwedel had viewed the Etruscan texts as "new testimolJB lJ9


Isrun Engelhardt

negative influences on the Roman Catholic Church such as "the rosary still in use today in Tibet, the mechanism of which has been perfected in the prayer wheel" and the custom 'of "kissing the Pope's foot; the Dalai Lama demands the same honor today .... Lamaism had, in the form of the Roman priestly caste, completed its invac sion and continued the Oriental policies of the Babylonians and Egyptians and Etruscans." Furthermore, we learn from Rosenberg, that'it was Martin Luther who had halted "the progress of that magical monster that had come to us from Central Asia" and had "marched into battle against this spiritual totality, remaining as the victor." Had Martin Luther not saved the Western world, "Europe today would have attained the state of the filth-encrusted holy men of India and Tibet, a state of the utter imbecility, the most dreadful superstition, poverty and misery-as its caste of priests grew steadily richer.,,146 The most absurd conspiracy myths, however, were developed by the retired general Erich Ludendorff and his wife Mathilde and their circle. After this brilliant commander of the First World War47 had lost his position of military and political power with the 1918 Armistice, "the frustrated manwho had been the virtual master of G~many's destimes, General Erich Ludendorff, sought an outlet for his bitterness,,148 and attempted to carve ,out an image for himself as a populist politician. The Ludendorffs were constantly at loggerheads with everyone, including Hitler.149 The anti-Semitic attitude they held, however, was even more radical than that of the National Socialists. 150 Ludendorff had developed a belief in the activities of "supranational powers"~worldJewry, the Roman Catholic Church, Freemasonryand believed it his historic task to uncover "global conspiracies" and "supranational powers" and to attack the imaginary foes who were supposed to have deprived him and Germany of victory. Around 1931 151 they discovered Tibet and the "Asian priests" as a further power in the global conspiracy, and began to denounce Tibetan monasteries as centers of a new, Judeo-Freemason, global conspiracy with the aim of installing the Dalai Lama as ruler of the world. In 1938 they put together their attacks on the "Tibetan priestly caste," recycling their collected articles for publication in their joint work Europa den Asienpriestern?ny to the original home of witchcraft and Satanism as 'being on European soil" and perceived a "close relationship with the Tibetan Tantras oflamaism." 146 A. Rosenberg, lvIytbus, 184-186. 147 "He possessed outstanding military talent, .. , and he must be ranked as one of the very greatest military organizers of all time," Donald James Goodspeed, Ludendo7if: Soldier: Dictator: Revolutionary (London: Hart-Davis, 1966): 248. 148 TbeAme7'icanMerczl1'Y 52 (February 1941), No. 206. 149 However, the allegedly prophetic letter written by Ludendorff to Reich President Hindenburg at the end ofJanuary 1933, in which he expressed a warning concerning Hitler, is pure fiction. Cf. Lothar Gruchmann, "Ludendorffs 'prophetischer' Brief an Hindenburg vom Januar/Februar 1933. Eine Legende," Vimeljabrsbefte for Zeitgescbichte 47 (1999): 559-562. 150 Winfried Martini, Die Legende vorn Haztse Ludendorff(Rosenheim, ca. 1949): 72; cf. also Gert Borst, Die LudertdorffBewegung 1919-1961: Eine Anatjse monologer Kammunikationsformen in der' sozialen Kamnzzmikation (PhD diss., University of Munich, 1969): 261-264. 151 Erich Ludendorff, Vom Feldberm zum Welt1'evolutioniir und Wegbereiter Deutscber Volksscbopftmg: Lebenserinnerungen II (Stuttgart: Hohe Warte, 1951): 343.

Tbe JVazis of Tibet


Although both Mathilde LudendorffI52 and Hermann Rehwaldt lS' frequently pointed out that at the time Tibet had neither a Panchen Lama nor a Dalai Larin and that civil war was imminent in the country, the specter of a global conspiracy originating in Tibet was conjured, as the following passages from Ezwopa den Asienpriestern? demonstrate: The General [Ludendorff] wisely let the situation develop until he directed the eyes of the people-initially a few years ago, and since then repeatedlyto the Roof of the 'World, Tibet, and to the desire for world power held by Asiatic priests,E4 With good reason, we refrained for a long time from informing the people of the danger emanating from the Tibetan priestly caste, for we were aware of the shoulder-shrugging and wanton indifference with which the Germans treat occultism, as if it were a mere game for semi-lunatics that could never hope to shape global history, to say nothing of that global history that portends such calamity for the freedom of the German people. In the past few years we have begun to reveal the goals of political world dominance held by the Asiatic priests to the people in all their detail. This aspect of our struggle has also achieved successYs In fact the spread of Central Asian occultism in tlle Western world, i.e., in Europe and the United States, to a previously unheard of extent is one of the strangest phenomena of the twentieth century. It was associated with the spread of certain secret orders that are inseparable froIll "mysteries." And yet today it does not seem so strange. The Buddhist caste of priests at the "Roof of the World" is the oldest priestly caste still in existence in the world. 'so Authors close to the circle of Ludendorff, whose writings had already triggered a renaissance in conspiracy theory in Germany beginning at the end of the 1920s,157 denigrated the Tibetans as a people greedy for spiritual power in Europe "and working for the purpose of the 'great plan' of the occult ruler of the world.,,'58 S. Ipares, Fritz vVilhelmy, Josef Strunk, and Hermann Rehwaldt published further writings concerning the Tibetan global conspiracy-and all, with but one exception, were published by Ludendorff's own press. Ipares explains that "this is by no means the start of the Eastern world's preparations for an unimaginably sweeping global attack on the white races' plans for world dominance .... However, behind these masses from the Middle and Far East

152 Nlathilde Ludendorff, "Es rumort im 'Dache der Welt'," Am heilige?! Quell deutsche?' Kmft 9 (November 5, 1938): 460-464. 153 Hermann Rehwaldt, "Gotter, Priester, Politik: Der Buddhismus als weltpolitischer Faktor," Am heilige?! Quell deutsche?' Kmft 8 (February 5,1938): 831-839. 154 Erich and Mathilde Ludendorff, Europa den AsienpTiestem? (Munich: Ludendorffs Verlag 1938): 27. 155 E. and M. Ludendorff, Ew'opa den AsienpTiestem?, 2L 156 E. and M. Ludendorff, Ezt1'opa den AsienpTiestem?, 5. 157 A. Pfahl-Traughber, De,. antisemitisch-antifreimmwerische Ve1'SChWo71mgsmythos, 64. 158 Hermann Rehwaldt, vVeissagungen (Munich: Ludendorffs Verlag, 1939): 133.


Isrun Engelhardt

pressing onto the great stage of world politics, there watches an invisible power that influences and guides them, the occult hiemnhia ordinis of the lamaist theocracy."159 vVilhelmy was troubled by the fact that the Dalai Lama is alleged to bear "the presumptuous sounding, pompous title of 'Secret Ruler of the vVorld'."160 Josef Strunk warns: "NIay the people therefore recognize the great danger threatening them more than ever before from the 'Roof of the vVorld.' May they be vigilant that their striving for freedom be not abused by these, for the spirit of Asia is already among them."161 Hermann Rehwaldt was one of the most active publicists of the Ludendorff movement during the Third Reich, and he continued to address the subject in his manifesto and several articles. Rehwaldt belonged to a new group of propagandists trained in this role by the Ludendorffs from 1935. 162 He argued: The occasional influence on the Occident by ideas from the Orient was not sufficient for Tibet's sages. Like all priestly hierarchies, they derive their power over men directly from heaven. Like all propagators of world religions, they take this as the orientation of their claim to world domination. However noble their motivation~world domination to world sublimation~ it is this that they strive for, conceiving ways and means to speed the achievement of this, their goal. And despite ali the sweet and seductive words of a world movement of love, peace and general global joy, the "Sages of Tibet" are prepared to use any methods in championing their claim to world domination~including monstrous genocide. 16] In 1939, he wrote that "Europe is currently undergoing a period of invasion by the third, previously little-known supranational power, the full form of which was only revealed by the General~'Tibet'!"164 And further on he added: "From there, the secret supreme priestly caste of all Asia extended its tentacles into every country in the Far East, Central and Northern Asia, India, the Near East, and even beyond to America, Africa, Australia and Europe."165 As late as 1955, writing under the pseudonym German Pinning, Rehwaldt mentioned that the Ludendorffs had reported on Tibet's supranational power and invas'ion of the vVest in EztTopa den Asienpl~iestern.2, and concluded by actually claiming: "Today, after some twenty years, they are suddenly 'topical' as if they had been written specifically for our age. At the time, in 1937, people still laughed at the idea that159 S. Ipares [i.e., Harry DorflerJ, Geheime vVeltmiichte: Bine Abhandlzmg iiber die "ln1ZelT Regierung" del' Welt (Munich: Ludendorffs Verlag, 1936): 45. 160 Fritz Wilhelmy, Asekha, del' Meistez, aus Femost: Der Kreztzzug del' Bettelmonche! (Dusseldorf: Verlag "Deutsche Revolution," 1937): 25. 161 ]. Strunk, Z" Juda - Rom - Tibet: 1hz' Ringen zan die vVelthez7'Scbaft (Munich: Ludendorffs Verlag, 1937): 51. 162 Helmut Neuberger, vVinkelnzass und Haken/,,-euz: Die F,-eimazwer zmd das D,'itte Reich (Munich: Herbig, 2001): 341. 163 Hermann Rehwaldt, Vom Dacb der vVelt: UbeT die "Syntbese aller Geisteskultur" in Ost zmd West (Munich: Ludendorffs Verlag, 1938): 16,57. 164 H. Rehwaldt, vVeissagzmgen, 14. 165 H. Rehwaldt, vVeissagzmgen, 48.

Tbe Nazis a/Tibet


some 'heathen,' 'savage,' idolatrous priests in the remote monasteries of impenetr!lble Tibet could influence the highly civilized political and cultural life of Europe and America. No one could believe that the religious and philosophical ideas of Asia, springing up everywhere and propagated on all sides, could be directed centrally from a specific location."166 . In the 1930s the reputation enjoyed by the retired general still sufficed to promote these claims, which evidently reached a broad public. In addition, the Ludendorffs could rely on their own publishing house, several periodicals, and, at one time, forty bookshops under their ownership. On lecture tours, the Ludendorffs succeeded in filling halls holding well over a thousand people.167 All this contributed significantly to the high sales figures of their writings. Even though the serious press refused to have anything to do with their publications,168 the Ludendor:ffs increasingly isolated themselves and the public prestige of the retired general crumbled. Yet, the Ludendorff's works were not without effect.169 For example, Ludendorff's fortnightly publication Am beiligen Quell deZttscher Kraft even reported on the adoption of their beliefs in Holland 170 and Italy.l71 A news report in the New York Journal from April 27, 1938, in which Henry Ford had stated in an interview that he was an adherent of the Indian doctrine of reincarnation concluded that "Ford [appeared to be] the spiritual representative of the 'Wise Men ofTibet'.,,172 Thus it is the ironic paradox of these Nazi writings that they not only do not provide any evidence to support the claim of the existence of any Nazi-Tibetan conspiracy for world domination, but rather corroborate our debunking of the claims of the above mentioned authors and crypto-historians.

Neo-Nazi Constructions ofa Nazi-Tibet ConnectionIn tile past; allegations that Hitler and National Socialist policy were controlled from afar by the supernatural and occult powers of Tibetan "Hidden Masters" were exploited to lend comprehensibility to the horror of Hitler and Nazi rule; by elevating them to a plane of magic. However, since the 1990s new trends have begun to emerge. These trends emerge from the right-wing neo-Nazi sector. On the one hand Neo-Nazi apologists employ the conspiracy myths about the Tibetans as supposed friends of the Nazis in order to exculpate Hitler and the Nazi regime and portray part of the National Socialist ruling elite as innocently ensnared victims, while166 German Pinning, "Tibet vor den Toren," De,. Quell, Zeitscb.-ift fli' Geistesfreiheit 7 (1955): 797-801, here 797. 167 G. Borst, Die Ludend01ff-Bewegtmg 1919-1961, 204. 168 Mathilde Ludendorff, "Tibet macht Weltgeschichte," De,. Quell, ZeitschriJt fur Geistesji-eiheit 7 (1955): 481-486, here 481. 169 A. Pfahl-Traughber, Der antisemitisch-antiji-eimaurerische Verschwii,.,.ngsmythos, 68. 170 Am heiligen Quell dentscher Kraft 9 (March 20, 1939): 775. 171 Am heiligen Quell deutscher Kraft 10 Uuly 14, 1939): 331. 172 Am heiligen Quell detttscher K,aft 9 Uune 20, 1938): 194. This was probably also an allusion to the "Protocols of the Elders [Wise Men] of Zion."


Imm Engelhardt

on the other hand assimilating the Tibetans and the Dalai Lama as their comrades in National Socialism. In this vein, an astonishing article was published in 1995 in a US neo-Nazi publication by A. V Schaerffenberg, entitled "The Fuhrer and the Buddha." Although the article itself is extremely diffici:!lt to locate, an abridged version of its content is widely available on the Internet as "Germany and Tibet," and it has been translated into severallanguages.173 Schaerffenberg writes: The Tibetans' relationship with National Socialism began even, while Adolf Hitler was batrling the Jewish strangle-hold on Germany. During the 1920's Thupten Gyatso was the 13 th Dalai Lama, or religious-political leader of Tibet. He was a scholar of deep learning and wide intelligence who sought to strike a balance between technical innovations from the West and the spirimal heritage of the East. He had many books translated from European languages into Tibetan. One of these was Mein Kampf Even in the distant Himalayas, Thupten Gyatso had heard something about this man of humble origins who inspired almost religious admiration from millions of his followers. The Dalai Lama was more than impressed by the written eloquence of this uneducated ex-soldier. The inji, a Tibetan term for "honorable foreigner," is assisted by God for some high purpose in his life. He filled his copy of the FUhrer's masterpiece with pithy annotations of enthusiastic agreement and underlined numerous favorite passages in yellow ink, virmally on every page. So much of what he read mirrored the ancient,wisdom of his own Tibetan heritage .... He was likewise surprised to find several important comparisons between National Socialism and Buddhism, especially the belief both held in common regarding service to one's people as the highest dharma, or purpose in one's life. Hitler, of course, was familiar with Buddhist principles, but it seems more likely that both he and Buddha drew upon the same font of Aryan genius to come to similar conclusions. Accordingly, after the FUhrer was elected Chancellor, in 1933 he received warm congratulations all the way from Tibet .... Harrer was part of the National Socialist influences already at work in Tibet for twenty years, but it was his personal contact with Tenzin that formed the 14th Dalai Lama's world-view. It seems strange, and then again, not so strange, that the great spokesman of Tibetan Buddhism is today's only world-class leader who embraced National Socialism, however subtlyY' Schaerffenberg even styles himself as the champion of the Tibetans, who "were being ground under the heel of Chinese Communist executioners" and accuses the Western public of indifference to the fate of the Tibetans. Such assimilations of the Tibetans and the Dalai Lama by neo-Nazis are naturally grist for the mill of those who charge the current Dalai Lama with friendship with the Nazis and with having been influenced during his youth by National Socialism. These charges appeared in the wake of the publicity surrounding Heinrich Harrer's membership of the SS in connection with the 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet; for exam-



w: Grimwald, "Germany and Tibet," first published in NEXUS 4 (May 1996). A.V. Schaerffenberg, "The Fiihrer and the Buddha," The New Order 119 (1995): 2,11.

The Nazis of Tibet .


pIe, Tom Korsky says that "The Dalai Lama has been branded as a Nazi dupe who fell prey to certain influences of the Hitler regime as schoolboy."175 Fascist influences on the Dalai Lama have been inferred from his audiences with lVIiguel Serrano and Shoko Asahara. 176 Even the fictions of Pauwels and Bergier, such as that of the thousand dead Tibetans in German uniform in Berlin at the end of the war, are laid at the Dalai Lama's door: "One wonders what today's Dalai Lama might be conveniently forgetting in relation to his community's Nazi affIliations, each time he proclaims the . Tibetan Buddhist's identification with the suffering of the Jews.,,177

Recent Constructions ofa Tibetan World Conspiracy MythAnother trend has originated from German authors,in whose books the idealized image of Tibet is being turned into its dark, but equally distorted, mirror image. Here the alleged connections to National Socialism and neo-Fascism are linked to a literal interpretation of the final victory of the armies of Shambhala, with Tibetan Tantric Buddhism being seen as a tool for world dominance by the Tibetans.178 In describing the most strident proponents of such claims, Martin Brauen writes: Like Ipares, Strunk, Ludendorff, Wilhelmy and Rosenberg some sixty years earlier, the Rattg-ens construct a conspiracy theory according to which the Dalai Lama i~ a world ruler and wants to establish a global 'Buddhocracy' by infiltrating the vVest with his omnipotent lamas ... and in sublime way making Western people ... part of his world-wide Kalachakra project. 179 And this wave has already spilled over to fundamentalist evangelical groups in the United States, which are now conjuring up images of an impending TibetoBuddhist global conspiracy. Quite apart from the monstrous nature of these claims, it should be pointed out once again that "conspiracism turns some of history's most powerless and abused peoples into the most powerful."

To conclude, and return to our starting point of the poster at the University of Munich, what actual basis is there for the belief in a Tibetan-Nazi connection? There was no collaboration of any kind whatsoever between the Tibetans and"

Tom Korsky, "Dalai Lama a 'Nazi Dupe'," China Morning Post (October 3, 1997). 176 Victor and Victoria Trimondi [i.e., Herbert and Maria RattgenJ, Der Scbatten des Dalai Lama: Se:cualitiit, Magie und Politik in. tibetischen Budhismus (Dusseldorf: Patmos, 1999), and Hitler, Buddha, Krishna; Colin Goldner, Dalai Lama: Fall eines Gottkiinigs (Aschaffenburg: Alibri, 1999). Instead, these audiences were apparently the result of poor planning of either poorly informed advisers, naivete or a lack of inmition with regard to the simation. See for example Helmut Clemens, "1st der Dalai Lama ein Nazifreund? Die Protokolle der Weisen von Munchen," Tibet-Forum 2 (2000): 6-S. 177 Hannah Newman, "The Rainbow Swastika: Nazism and the New Age," http:// 178 V. and V. Trimondi, Der Schatten des Dalai Lama, and Hitler, Buddha, Krishna. 179 lV1. Brauen, Dreamworld Tibet, SO.175


Isrztn Engelhardt

Germany in the Second World War. From the outset, the tenor was that "Tibetan opinion appears to expect an Allied victory in the EUFopean War, but the official attitude is one of careful neutrality.,,180 A statement rriade by Minister Surkhang in conversation with the young Tibetan revolutionary Phuntsog Wangyal in 1943 in Lhasa does make plain why certain hopes arose in some circles of the Tibetan aristocracy that Japan and Germany might be victorious, but for strictly domestic reasons: "If Germany and Japan win, the Council of .Ministers feels that we don't have to worry much. The British will eventually withdraw from India and their power will no longer be a direct threat to Tibet. And when Japan conquers China, they will leave Tibet alone. They are a Buddhist country.,,1.1 There is no indication in this statement, however, of any connection with or support of Nazi Germany. Thus, apart from the misrepresented scientific expedition to Tibet of five scholars associated with the SS and the non-committal letter from the Tibetan Regent to Hitler, the only evidence that can be adduced for a Nazi-Tibet connection consists of a host of unproven sensationalist best-selling stories. The occult Nazi-Tibet connection was first concocted by the French in the 1930s as a method to either exonerate or discredit the Nazis, drawing a direct line from Blavatsky's Theosophy to Nazi occultism, and alleging that there had been occult and esoteric connections between the Nazis and Tibet since that period. This same myth has been resurrected today to blacken Tibetan Buddhism and Tibet's exiled representatives, with the claim that the Dalai Lama was influenced by Nazi ideology and insinuating a Tibetan conspiracy to conquer the world. However, in the age of the Internet these conspiracy myths seem to spread with breathtaking rapidity and take root in the minds of those predisposed to such beliefs. Tibet, once a dream world, now a nightmare? The Western imagination appears to be inexhaustible when it comes to inventing new roles for Tibet. Written in May 2005

180 London, British Library, Oriental and India Office Collections (OIOC), LlP&S7121 4165, fa!. 68, Political Department, Secret, note from March 1, 1940. 181 Melvyn C. Goldstein, Dawei Sherap, William R. Siebenschuh, A Tibetan Revolutionary; The Political Life and Times of Bapa Phiintso Wangye (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004): 77-78.

Tibet: The "Ancient Island" of Giuseppe Tucci "Down to our day and age ... Tibet remains an ancient island floating above a world ravaged by new ideas. An island of great culture and of the innate artistic sensitivity of delicate humanity " .. I love the medieval spirit that still lives in Tibet and that, despite outward appearances, leaves a man more in control of himself than he could ever be in the West." These are the words of Giuseppe Tucci and they illustrate his vision of the country that he loved most of all those he had visited: Tibet. Thcci's work was directed towards both geographic exploration and scientific research; this resulted in both scholarly publications and more widely read popular ones. The study presented here tries to describ!, how Tucci's vision of the snow-covered country, which he described from various perspectives (especially the religious), was received by twentieth- century culture and influenced subsequent studies, always taking into consideration the overriding vision that motivated him: that the entire cultural history of Europe and Asia can be written as the history of only one continent: Eurasia.

Tibet: 1' ancienne lIe de Giuseppe Tucci Encore de nos jours et a notre .opaque ... Ie Tibet reste cette ancienne lIe qui semble flatter sur un monde ravage par de nouvelles idees. Une lIe de grande culture et d'une sensibilite artistique innee d'une humanite delicate ... J'adore cet esprit medieval qui vit encore au Tibet et qui, audela de toute apparence, laisse un homme sous contrOle de lui-meme, bien plus qu'i1 ne pourrait jamais I'etre en Occident . C'est en ces termes que s'exprime Tucci. Ceux-ci m;ntrent clairement Ie regard qu'i1 portait sur Ie Tibet, Ie pays qui, de toutes les contrees qu'i1 a visitees, lui tenait Ie plus a creur. Le travail de ce savant pionnier a eu pour objet autant l'exploration geographique que la recherche scientifique. II s'est consacre non seulement a des publications a caractere scientifique mais aussi a des Ceuvres pour grand public. La presente etude tente de cerner et d'analyser comment la vision de Tucci du pays couvert de neige, qu'i1 decrit selon diverses perspectives (en particulier du point de vue religieux) a ete peryue par la culture' du xx' siecle, et comment elle a influence les etudes ulerieures. Elle prend en compte I'approche globale qui I'a auime, faisant de l'histoire de la culture de I'Europe et de l'Asie I'histoire d'un seul et meme continent: I'Eurasie.


Elena DE ROSSI FILIBECKiuseppe Tucci's vision of the "ancient island" of Tibet may serve as a valid metaphor to define the difference between the way of life of the "other" and western concepts prevalent in his times. But first, let us recall briefly some biographical data on the great scholar of Asia. Tucci was born inNIacerata on June 5,1894 and died at S. Polo dei Cavalieri on April 5, 1984. He had a long and active life inspired by a strong humanistic motivation that pushed him to study Asian religion from what we might today consider a global perspective, holding that the entire cultural history of Europe and Asia can be written as the history of only one continent: Eurasia.! He taught Italian language and literature at the Indian universities of Shantiniketan and Calcutta before becoming, in 1932, Professor of "Religion and Philosophy ofIndia and the Far East" at the University of Rome, where he taught until 1964. In 1933, with Giovanni Gentile, he founded the Institute for the Middle and Far East (Istituto per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente - IsMEO), which is today the Institute for Africa and the East (Istituto per I'Africa e I'Oriente - IsIAO), and remained its president until the end of the seventies. It was through this institute in particular that he promoted and developed cultural relations between Italy and East Asian, cultures and developed Italy'S knowledge of East Asian languages and culture. Between 1928 and 1956 he uaveled many times to Tibet and Nepal, absorbing the background and gathering data for his many works on those countries' religions, art, literature, and history. He then directed his attention to other paths and other cultures. He studied Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism, in each case basing his religious and philosophical research on a thorough knowledge of philology and linguistics. His interest, I would even say love, for Tibet, which arose from his studies of


For a bibliography of Giuseppe Tucci's scholarly work see Raniero Gnoli, Ric01'do di Giuseppe Tucci (with contributions by Luciano Petech, Fabio Scialpi, Giovanna Galluppi Vallauri) Serie Orientale Roma LV (Rome: IsMEO, 1985) and the contributions in Beniamino Melasecchi (ed.), Giuseppe Tucci-Net centena1"io della nascita (Rome: IsMEO, 1995). See also the newly open website on Tucci:

Images of Tibet in the 19 rb and 20 rb Centuries Paris, EFEO, coll. Etudes thematiques" (22.1), 2008, p. 99-111


Elena De Rossi Filibeck

Buddhism,2 gave to the study of Tibetan culture a special identity, separating it from many other academic studies concerned with the Asian world. The image of "the ancient island'" is, among the many devised by the great Italian scholar, the one that best describes his view of Tibet, the most meaningful in relation to his vision of the snow-covered country. In many passages in his writings Tibet is presented as a place of unspoiled nature that inspires magical visions, a land that is mystical because it is unknown and because it is imbued with a strong religious faith: The Tibetans' almost exclusively religious culture was deepened by the isolation imposed by the belt of mountains that encloses the country' He continues: Few know the tragic beauty of those roads, the brilliant prayer of the land, and the dangers of the paths, and the storms in the sky-all so interrelated that a man walks almost dreamily there, caught between the admiration of a prodigy and the expectation of death.' As we reflect on the meaning of this "image" passed down through generations of readers and scholars, we cannot ignore the fact that Tucci the man was a product of his time, influenced by the culture of his time, especially during his academic formative years. Recent articles 6 on Giuseppe Tucci have ignored this aspect, for essentially two reasons: the first is that there are not as yet any documented studies that examine

See the Introduction to Giuseppe Tucci, Tibet, Paese delle nevi (Novara: De Agostini,1967): 12. 2nd ed, Rome: Newton Compton Editori, 1980) on p. 116 says: "Fino ad oggi ... il Tibet e restato COIne un'isola antica galleggiante suI manda sconquassato dalle idee nuove. Un'isola di grande cultura, di una sensibilid artistica innata, di umanita delicatissima .... 10 arna


G. Tucci (A Lhasa e olwe, l'ultima esplomzione italiana alla scoperta dei seg"eti del Tibet,

questa aura medievale che anc,?ra spira nel Tibet e che in fondo malgrado Ie apparenze, las cia I'uomo pili padrone di se medesimo di quello che non sia in Occidente." [Down to our day and age ... Tibet remains an ancient island floating above a world ravaged by new ideas. An island of great culture and of the innate artistic sensitivity of delicate humanity .... I love the medieval spirit that still lives in Tibet and that, despite outward appearances, leaves a man more in control of himself than he could ever be in the West.] Unless otherwise noted, all translations are by the anthor. 4 G. Tucci (Italia e O"iente, Rome: IsIAO, 2005) on p. 150 tells us that "Ia cultura quasi unicamente religiosa dei tibetani si approfondiva nell'isolamento cui la cintura delle montagne castringe iI paese .... " , G. Tucci (Italia e Oriente, 154): " ... pochi sanno la tragica bellezza di quelle strade, la scintillante preghiera della terra e Ie insidie dei sentieri, e Ie tempeste del cie10 COS1 congiunteche Puomo vi cammina quasi trasognato tra l'ammirazione di un prodigio e l'aspettazione

della morte ...." See Gustavo Bonavides, "Giuseppe Tucci, or Buddhology in the Age of Fascism," in Cumto,-s of Buddba, The study of Buddhism 1/uder- Colonialism, ed. Donald S. Lopez (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995): 161-196, and Per Kvaerne, "Tibet images among

Tibet: Tbe ''Ancient Island" of Giuseppe Tucci


sPu rang rdzong (Taklakot), vVeste~n Tibet, June 29, 1935. Giuseppe Tucci with a local dignitary. (Negative stored [Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente, Rome] 6027/21)

all aspects of the life of the scholar and thinker that we can refer to/ and the second is that the authors of these articles have tried to interpret Tucci's adherence to fascism as spiritual and intellectual, without considering the cultural climate of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, therefore reading in certain passages of Tucci's work a tout COU7't reflection of fascist ideology. vVe must not forget that within Fascist ideology and culture "one can find everything and its opposite ... since it was

researchers on Tibet," in Imagining Tibet, PeTCeptions, pTojections, and fantasies, eds. Thierry Dodin & Heinz Rather (Boston: vVisdom Publications, 2001): 47-63. These authors did not accept that Tucci subscribed to Fascism in the same way that eighty percent of all Italians at the time did; a man of such great culture and of such great vision could never be a doctrinaire fascist. This was clear to his close friends such as the palaeontologist Ruggero Schiff Giorgini (1882-1949), who was himself arrested by the Nazis for his antifascist views (see the newspaper II NlessaggeTo for lvlay 23, 1950). On Tucci's activities during the fascist regime, the only serious documented study on the subject is Valdo Ferretti, "Politic a e cultura: origini e attivitil dell'IsMEO durante il regime fascist,a," St07'ia Conte7"p07'anea 17.5 (1986): 779-819. Here, Tucci's great cultural work for the Institute is recollected through a careful examination of documents. Raniero Gnoli has left us the best definition of Tucci's position: "His thoughts were elsewhere, somewhere in the past, and if he ever did follow the events of the present it was only because this was necessary for the achievement of his plans and projects; the events of his own time were always secondary to his scholarship." See R. Gnoli, "Giuseppe Tucci e l'India," in Giuseppe Tucci nel centenaTio della nascita, ed. B. lvlelasecchi, 287-295, here 295. 7 These were the words of prof. Giuseppe Parlato during his speech on the Day of Asia 2006 (February 16, 2006) at the IsIAO of Rome.


Elena De Rossi Filibeck

formed by many different ideological blocks of a non-homogeneous nature,'" thereby answering Fascism's desperate need for support and cultural backing. Fascism borrowed extensively from late nineteenth and early twentieth century thought, but this appropriation does not make that thought itself in any way "pre-fascist." Rereading Tucci's works and his actions while positioning them in their correct historical cultural context, we can try to understand which intellectual influences conditioned those images of Tibet that flowed from his pen. Yet we must distinguish between Tucci's scholarly works, which published the scientific results of his travels, and his more popular publications, the latter accompanying the former in a travelogue or travel diary form, or as articles that illustrated special aspects of the expeditions. The "ancient island" image is more common in his popular works, those in which we often find a romantic, late-eighteenth century spirit. According to this spirit, in the travel diary form he allowed himself to give way to emotion and to abandon curiosity about the different in favor of a sensitivity to the remote and the ancient in Tibet, a kind of space-time detachment vis avis modern Europe and elsewhere. Thus Tucci tells us this in another of his written works recalling his travels in Tibet: To enter Tibet not only meant finding oneself in a country where nature isolates and protects, but it was also like traveling through time, immersing oneself in a far off medieval age when religion dominated human thoughts and human actions, as if the events that elsewhere changed and transformed conditions, that caused empires to crumble, and that gave birth to new balances [of power] had not been able to penetrate the snow covered country and overcome the resistance posed by traditions and millennia-old superstitions.' He continues: To travel at a time when the world becomes more and more uniform is to wander in a hospital full of dying people. Flashes of ancient traditions dissolve into a flurry of fading sparks and all we can do is try to bring the dead back to life. There is nowhere left to explore on Earth. With Tibet and Nepal I have ended my travels, and even there all is changing now that the East is absorbing our poison. All that we can do now is to travel back into the

Giovanni Battista Ferri, Filippo Vassalli 0 il diTitto civile come opem d'ane (Padua; Cedam 2002); 4-5. I introduce the example of the great Italian jurist Filippo Vassalli (1885-1955) here because, after the war, he fell upon the same fate as Giuseppe Tucci, i.e., in his appearance before the Investigative Committee (Commissione d'epurazione) for his collaboration in the writing of the Italian Civil Code in 1942. 9 G. Tucci, "II Tibet ne! momento attuale," Rassegna Italiana di politica e di cultzl1'o 18 (1951); 99-108, here 100; "Entrare nel Tibet non significava soltanto trovarsi nel mezzo diun paese dove la' natura isola e protegge, rna era come andare a ritroso, immergersi in un

medioevo nel quale la religione dominava il pensiero e Ie azioni umane, come se gli avvenimenti che intorno cambiano e trasformano Ie situazioni, fanna crollare imperi e creano altri

equilibri non avessero potmo penetrare nel paese delle nevi e vincere Ia resistenza di tradizioni e superstizioni millenarie."

Tibet: Tbe "Ancient Island" of Giuseppe Tuccipast and, as we deal with shadows and images, the soul finds peace. The rest does not matter. lO


It is important to recall what the late Maurizio Taddei (1936-2000) pointed out, that Tucci avoids the typical late-eighteenth century habit of the narrator's description of small and unimportant incidents at the onset of his travels. Tucci, on the contrary, begins his recollection as if already on location and with his journey from Italy very far away.ll In his popular publications there is a great feeling of melancholy and regret for a disappearing world, and for a nature that "isolates and protects." These impressions are strongly influenced by the cultural tenets of romanticism, but that is not their only source. Between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth the great current of idealism generated ramifications like the romantic idealism of Benedetto Croce and Giovanni Gentile. Te07~ia della spi7~ito conze un atto puro (1916), Gentile's most important work, is undeniably inspired by Fichte's romantic concept of the infinite. In romantic culture, art and religion found new strength: the former as the expression of sentiment, and the latter as the sentiment of the infinite. Artistic experience is thus the only effective way to touch the absolute. The cult and exaltation of the infinite brings with it intolerance for the finite.!' Many passages from Tucci's works show this leaning towards the infinite springing from the experience of uncontaminated nature, as in the following passage: It was already late November. Under a pure sky of crystal transparency the jagged peaks of the Himalayas smiled in all the whiteness and luster of their virgin ice and snow. lVlounts Gaurisankar and Everest seemed lost, giants amongst giants, within the infinite succession of the mountain range and pinnacles. Dazzled by these fantastic sights it almost seems that the religious experiences of whole generations are facing our conscience and giving rise to ineffable feelings of nostalgia that push us inexorably towards God. lJ

10 G. Tucci (La via dello Swat, Rome: Newton Compton Editori, 1978) on p. 92 says: "Non c'" pili nulla da esplorare sulla terra; con il Tibet e il Nepal io ho finito Ie mie esplorazioni; anche II tutto cambia. Ora che l'Oriente sta assorbendo il nostro veleno non c'" altro da fare che scendere nel passato; e siccome abbiamo a che fare con ombre ed immagini, I'anima

e in pace. Tutta il Testa non canta."11 1vlaurizio Taddei, "Giuseppe Tucci narratore/' in Giuseppe Tucci nel centenoTio della nascita, ed. B. Melasecchi, 113-126, here 113. II On the philosophical tendencies of the early twentieth century see Ludovico Geymonat, Storia del pensie,'o filosofico e scientifico, vol. 7, II Novecento (1) (Milan: Aldo Garzanti Editori, 1976); SIAE (Societii Italiana degli Autori ed Editori) and Nicola Abbagnano, Dizionm-io di filosofia (Milan: UTET, 1971): s.v. "Idealismo," 454-455, and s.v. "Romanticismo," 760. B G. Tucci, "L'ultima mia spedizione sull'Hymalaya," in Nuova Antologia (1933), reprinted as "Himalaya," in G. Tucci, Il paese delle donne dai ntofti 7nal'iti, ed. Stefano lVIalatesta (Vicenza: Neri Pozza Editori, 2005): 19-34, here 34: "Era gia novembre inoltrato: suI cielo purissimo, di una trasparenza cristallina, sorridevano Ie cime dentate dell'Himalaya in tutto il candore e 10 scintillio delle nevi e dei ghiacciai inviolati. II Gaurisankar e rEverest sembravane perdersi, giganti fra giganti, nell'infinita fuga delle giogaie e dei pinnacoli. Destate da queste visioni fantastiche par quasi che Ie esperienze religiose di generazioni intere si affac-

104And also:

Elena De Rossi Filibeck

These late-Buddhist schools carefully examined the Self and found in it the image and symbol of the microcosm and taught how to free from our imperfect nature a perfect being, beyond all restraints and all pain. 14 It would almost seem that these are the words of a romantic spirit, yet Tucci himself moves away from romanticism when he writes: Romanticism is always a contradiction between reality and fantasy: The romantic dreams of imaginary escapes while he sits safely at his desk: I, on the other hand, have lived this life and hope to live it even more as long as my years or my body, even more than my will, will permit. l5 The creation of a mythic image of Tibet, a process already widespread in twentieth century culture, was based on some of the same considerations that we can fmd in Tucci's works, especially with regard to the sense of mystery that surrounded Tibetan culture and religion;16 Tucci realized that Tibet's pull on western culture was due to its mysterious and alien nature; in fact even those who have dedicated themselves to the study of Tibetan culture and religi~n still find many shadowy areas "because the science of Tibetan culture is stilI in its infancy ... and Tibetan religion is still a mystery [to us] in its details and liturgy.,,17 Another typical aspect ofIate-nineteenth, early-twentieth century culture is the worry that industrial development and the ensuing uniformity of mass production could somehow destroy the aesthetic ideal of life and therefore destroy the exaltation of the beauty of nature. It is therefore typical of the literary and artistic philosophical culture of the time to see'in the East a world still dominated by natural beauty.'8 This intolerance for the trappings of civilization is very common in Tucci's works when he speaks, for instance, of "these cities of sounds and shrieks and shots,

eino insieme alIa nostra coscienza e suscitando nostalgie ineffabili ci risospingano con forza irresistibile verso Dio." 14 G. Tucci, "Nel Tibet occidentale, Splendori di un mondo che scompare," Le vie d'Italia e del mondo 8 (1935): 911-938, here 918: "... queste seuole del tardo b.uddismo sottoponendo ad acuta analisi il nostro io scoprivano in esso I'immagine e il simbolo del microeosmo ed insegnavano ad enucleare da questa imperfetta natura che noi siamo un essere perfetto al di 1.. di ogni contingenza e di ogni dolore." 15 G. Tucci, Vita nomade (Club Campeggiatori Romani, 1956), reprinted in G. Tucci, II paese delle don17e dai molti mariti, 191-203, here 194: "II romanticismo e sempre una contraddizione fra la realta e la fantasia: il romantico sogna evasioni immaginarie restando seduto a tavolino: rna io questa vita I'ho vissuta e spero di viverla ancora finche gli anni 0 il corpo piu del mio volere potranno." 16 T. Dodin and H. Rather (eds.), Imagining Tibet, Perceptions, projections,. and fantasies, 6. 17 G. Tucci, "Berretti Rossi e Berretti gialli," Asiatica 4 (1938): 255-262, here 225 (reprinted in G. Tucci, II paese delle donne dai molti mariti, 131-139, here 131): "... poiche la scienza delle eose tibetane e ai suoi inizi ... e la religione a volerla esaminare nei particolari e nel signifieato della sua liturgia e aneora un mistero." 18 An interesting presentation on this theme can be found in Rossana Bossaglia (ed.), Gli Orientalisti Italiani, Cento anni di esotUmo, 1830-1940 (Turin: Marsilio, 1998): 13.

Tibet: The ''Ancient Island" of Giuseppe Tucci


the forced race between walls and tracks, the necessity to bow one's head when entering long corridors which slice the skies."l9 He also writes: . Perhaps in no land other than Tibet does one feel the contrast between the tiresome doing and undoing that they call history and the impassive majesty of nature, which is almost a reflection of eternity, watching remotely and detachedly such a useless acting out of passions .... 20 Only there can one find and enjoy [true] freedom-not the freedom that so many rant on about today and that is always uneasiness because freedom in social life means only to bend before routines, or before the opinion of the many, or before brute strength, or before that consensus of common opinion that, in truth, means having no opinion of your own- ... because [true] freedom is that of the man who speaks with the stars and contemplates the mountains that blossom in the smile of dawn or dusk. 21 Tucci's academic development took place during the early twentieth century, therefore within a culture that strongly sought innovation in a11 areas, and was especially in need of a new approach towards science. This is certainly not the place to discuss the many philosophical currents of the time, some of which would soon give a voice and a meaning to the monstrosity of Fascism and Nazism, especially those that endorsed an irrational tendency towards violence, towards the total freedom of instinct, and towards unproven myths of race." Giuseppe Tucci's personal philosophy and works have very little in commmi with all this, I had become one with them (i.e., the Tibetans): The only European at their presence, in their country, I lived their life, I spoke their language, I nurtured myself on the same experiences, I shared their enthusiasms and their fears. 23 but very much in common with a new approach towards scientific studies.19

G. Tucci, Vita 12071wde, 194: "Queste citti rimbombanti di rumori e stridori e scopCOf-

piettii, la corsa obbligata fra mura e fotaie, 11 necessaria incedere a testa china nei lunghi

ridoi che tagliano il cielo a fette." 20 G. Tucci, A Lhasa e oltre, 134: "Forse in nessun altra luogo come nel Tibet senti il contrasto fra l'affannoso fare e disfare che chiamano storia e l'impassibile maestositi della natura: e come un riflesso delle cose eterne, che guardano remote ed assenti tanto inutile giacD di passioni .... " 21 G. Tucci, Vita nomade, 195: "Soltanto allora trovate e godete la liberti, non quella di cui tutti oggi cancionano ed e sempre soggezione, perche liberta nel vivere consociato vuol dire soltanto piegarsi alle consuetudini a alia volonti della maggioranza e della forza, 0 quel consensa con I'opinione comune che significa di fatto non avere la propria ... perche libert' e quella dell'uomo che parla can Ie stelle e contempla Ie montagne che si aprono al sorriso dell'alba 0del tramonto."22 In Christopher Hale, Rimmler's Crusade (London: Bantam Press, Transword Publishers Ltd, 2003) one can find documentation on the spirit with which Nazi's travelled to Tibet. On this see also the contribution by Isrun Engelhardt in this volume.23

G. Tucci, "Himalaya," 21: "10 era diventato tutt'uno con essi (i.e., i tibetani): solo

europeo aHa lora merce, nelioTo stesso paese, vivevo Ia lora stessa vita, parlavo Ia medesima lingua, mi nutrivo delle medesime esperienze, condividevo Ie lora ansie ed i lora enwsiasmi."


Elena De Rossi Filibeck

To recall that context, and we can only recall it, means to try to understand which of these new philosophies Tucci made his own and which he refused during his life as a scholar. In a small volume on the men of the twentieth century, Geminello Alvi24 presents the figure of T~cci as that of "a pilgrim," and therefore grasps a truly essential aspect of his personality. Tucci's pilgrimage took place on a double level, one physical and the other spiritual. While the former is striking for the strong feeling of adventure-one has simply to think of the means of transport of the time!-that makes him one of the great e.-'{plorers of the modern age, as one of his most famous students, professor Raniero Gnoli, once called him,25 the latter is demonstrated by Tucci himself, when in a study on his journey through Swat he says: To study is an adventure that lasts a lifetime, a continuous and careful pilgrimage, made by an ever curious and never satisfied intelligence. 26 He adds, in a lyrical passage that ends with a statement of his scholarly intent: As you can see, I have already confessed that science has pushed me towards the difficult and perilous roads of Asia. There is also no doubt that the pull of science has fostered in me an inborn desire for escape, an instinctive love for freedom and for space, the whim of imagination and of dreams that is satisfied only far away from human society-when one is alone between the earth and the sky, here today, there tomorrow in a landscape new every day, in the company of people who are new, but strongly rooted everywhere in this ancient land where even the men of today are the unconscious creation of a millennia-old tradition and the images of the past can tell those who look into them, the drama of past events, vain dreams, and eternal hopes. 27 The emeritus professor Luciano Petech, another of Tucci's great students, clearly states what he believes to be the two basic principles on whicll Tucci based his studies: First, the common heritage of today's modern historical science is that of the unity of the cultural phenomenon of a country in its diachronic vision, in its many components and political, institutional,. literary, artistic and religious aspects. Therefore, iri his works of synthesis, popula; or academic, the history Geminel!o Alvi, Uomini det Novecento (Milan: Adelphi, 1995): 162-166. 25 R. Gnoli, RieDldo di Giuseppe Tucci (Rome: IslVIEO, 1985): 20. 26 G. Tucci, La via della Swat, 16: "Anche gli studi sono un'avventura che dura tutta la vita, un pellegrinaggio continuo ed attento, compiuto dall'intelligenza sempre curiosa e mai soddisfatta." 27 G. Tucci, Vita nomade, 192: "Voi vedete che con questa confessione vi ho gia detto che se la scienza m; ha sospinto sulle ardue e faticose vie dell'Asia, non c'e dubbio che 10 sprone della scienza secondava in me una nativa volonta d'evasione, un istintivo amore della liberta e dello spazio, il capriccio del fantasticare e del sognare che 10 si soddisfa lontano dal!'umano consorzio, quando si e soli fra 1a terra e il cielo, oggi qui domani la in un paesaggio quotidianamente nuovo, tra gente nuova, rna radicata dappertutto su questa terra antica dove anche gli uomini d'oggi sono 1a creazione inconsapevole di una tradizione millenaria e Ie vestigia del passato narrano a chi sappia interrogarle, i drammi delle vicende trascorse, i sogni vani 0Ie speranze eterne."


"46 Pallas points out that he, or his informants, disagree somewhat with Giorgi but he will not try to harmonize things-he will simply reproduce the data he has collected. So he gives a description of the country, the monasteries, the role of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, the Khutukhtus, monks, weddings, births; and funerals, and closes with the translation of a patent by the Dalai Lama in 1754, issued in three languages (Chinese, Manchu, and Tibetan). Peter Simon Pallas (1741-1811) explored the Russian Empire on several research trips; in his Samlungen historischer Nachrichten iiber die Nlongolischen Volkerschaften 47 he included some Tibetan material from his collections (pp. 386-395): ''ArschanahRom oder Weyhe-Gebet bey Zubereitung des heiligen Wassers Arschan (Nach

42 On Bayer see Knud Lundbaek, T. S. Bayer (1694-1738), pioneer sinologist (London, Malmo: Curzon Press, 1986); M. V. Lomonosova, Gotlib Zigfrid Bajer - akademik Peterburgskoj Akademii nauk [G. S. Bayer - academic of the St. Petersburg Academy] (St. Petersburg: Evropejskij Dom, 1996). 43" Commentarii Academiae scientiarum imperialis Petropolitanae 3, 1728 (1732): 389-422, and 4, 1729 (1735): 289-301, 9 pI., respectively. 44 vValter Fuchs, Chinesische und mandjurische Handschriften und seltene Drucke (vViesbaden: Steiner, 1966): no. 184 (call no. Cod. Guelph. 115.1 Extrav.) 45 Neue Nordische Beytriige 1 (1781): 201-222. 46 Neue.Nordische Beytriige 4 (1783): 271-308. 47 Vol. 1: Samlungen zur politischen, physikalischen und moralischen Geschichte der mongolischen Volkerschaften (St. Pete.r;sburg: Akademie, 1776, XIv, 232 p., ilL); Vol. 2: Samlungen tiber den Gotzendienst, die Geistlichkeit, Tempel und aberglaubische Gebrauche der mongolischen Volkerschaften; hauptsachlich die aus dem Tybet abstammende Fabellehre und damitverkntipfte Hierarchie (St. Petersburg: Akademie, 1801,438, X p., ill.).

Some Notes on Early Tibetan Studies in Europe


einem Tangutischen Original)" and (pp. 396-409): "Auszug eines groJ3en tangutischen Werkes Mani Gambo, welches die Legenden vor den groJ3en Burchan~n Abida, Chondschin-boddi-saddo [AvalokitesvaraJ und Schaktschamunih enthalt." Both texts are given only in translation. Hakmarin, "Adjunkt" of the Petersburg Academy, starts his report with a brief history of the exploration of Tibet. He criticizes Giorgi for including "a lot of useless theological research." Then he gives a description of the countly, the habits, customs, religion, geography and history. There is no information regarding the Tibetan language and literature. Adelung The 18th century is brought to a close by the article on Tibetan by Johann Christoph Adelung (1732-1806), librarian in Dresden, in his Mithridates. 48 The work comprises four volumes and was continued and finished by Johann Severin Vater (17711826), Professor at the University of Halle.49 The main entry on the Tibetan language is found in vol. 1, while vol. 4 (1817) contains a number of short additions and corrections provided by Friedrich Adelung, the author's nephew and a linguist himself. The' Tibetan Pater noster was taken from Cassiano's work, and the linguistic comments are limited, probably all extracted from theAlphabetllm Tibetammz. This article has recently been studied as part of a research project on Wilhehn von Humboldt. sO Klaproth The two major scholars of Asia of the early 19 th century, Jnlius Klaproth S1 (17831835) and Jean-Pierre Abel-RemusatS2 (1788-1832) were interested in Tibet and its language. As there were no collections of Tibetan texts available in Paris at that time, both had to rely on the work of their predecessors and current news from Asian informants. Klaproth's talent as a linguist lay m~inly in collection and collation of materials, not in their analysis; his strenghts are in the fields of history and geography. Nevertheless, in a literary feud with Isaak Jakob Schmidt (see below, p. 163) he proved that the Uighurs spoke a Turkic language while the celebrated Tibetologist Schmidt insisted that they were "Tanguts."s3 Klaproth established the48 Odel' allgemeine Sp1"tlcbenktmde, mit dem Vatf1' Unser als Spracbpl"Obe in be)' nabe fUn! hundert Sprachen tlndMundarten (Berlin: Voss, 1806-1817): vol. 1, 64-72. "49 E. Kuhn, "Vater, Johann Severin," Allgemeine Detttscbe Biographie 39 (1895): 503-508.

" Ralf Vollmann, "Der Beitrag tiber Tibetisch in Adelungs Mithridates 1806" (http:// 51 Cf. H. Walravens, Julius Klaproth (1783-1835). Leben und Wel'k (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1999). 52 C E.A.X. aerc de Landresse, "Notice sur la vie etles travaux de M Abel-Remusat, Joumal Asiatique 14 (1834): 205-231, 296-316; H. Walravens, Zur Geschicbte dfl' Ostasienwissenschaften in"Europa. Abel Ril1ZftSat (1788-1832) 'lind das Ul1ifeld Julius KJaprotbs (1783-1835) (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1999). 53 Julius Klaproth, Beleucbtung 'lind Widerlegung dfl' Forschungen iJbfl' die Geschicbte del' mittelasiatischen Viilker des HfI"1"12 J.-J. Schmidt, in St. Petersburg. Mit einer Charte und zwei Schrifttafeln (Paris: Dondey-Dupre, Vater und Sohn, September 1824, 115 p.).


HmT17Zut Walravens

proper course of the Brahmaputra on the basis of Chinese maps54 and translated part of the yVei Zang tuzhi, an authoritative description of Tibet (1792), as well as related parts of the Da Qing yitong zhi :krn-#Ji;Jll;; . As early as 1826 he reported on Csoma's travels in Central Asia55 and reviewed Schroeter's Tibetan dictionary.56 Klaproth devoted some pages to Tibet in his Asia po0,glotta57 where he gave samples of the vocabulary, confirmed often identical roots of Tibetan and Chinese words and therefore presented a comparative Tibetan-Chinese listing. A major contribution is Klaproth's edition of Iakinf58 (Bicurin)'s translation of the Wei-Zang tuzhi; he had stopped his own translation efforts when he heard that the Russian sinologist had already done the work,s9 then added his own copious notes. He used Tibetan script and identified a number of Tibetan terms which had suffered from the Chinese transcription. 60 He also added a Tibetan glossary according to subjects. 61 Also useful is his description of Lhasa" but he did not follow Desideri in his correct interpretation of the formula "Om mani padme hum.,,6J He became interested in the subject because his mentor Alexander von Humboldt had given a woodblock with a trilingual inscription to the Royal Library in Berlin. He published a few notes by Desideri assembled by N. Delisle in the Jo1tmal asiatiq1te,64 and he has the merit of being the first to present to the scholarly world the Breve notizia dell'egno del Thibet dal Fra Francesco Orazio della Penna di Billi of 1730. 65 Possibly the edition54 Klaproth, "Memoire sur Ie cours du Yarou Dzangbo Tchou, au du grand fleuve du Tubet; suivi de notices sur la source du Burrampouter," iVlagasin asiatique, ou Revue geographique et historique de l'Asie centmle et septentl'ionale, vol. 1 (Paris, 1825): 302-329; also "Vber den Lauf des Yaru Dsangbo Tschu oder des groflen Stromes von Tibet, nebst Nachrichten uber die Quelle des Burramputer," Hertha 7 (1826): 155-171. 55 Klaproth, "Voyage de lvi. Csoma de Koros dans la Haute-Asie," Jounzal Asiatique 8 (1826): 224-227. 56 NouveauJotmzalAsiatique 1 (1828): 401-423. 57 "XVlII. Tubeter," in Asia polyglotta (Paris: Heideloff & Campe, 1831): 343-353. 58 H. Walravens, lakin! Bii'zwin, rltssische1' Monch und Sinologe. Eine Biobibliogmphie (Berlin: Bell, 1988). 59 Opisanie Tibeta v nyiffnem ego sostojanii (Sanktpeterburg: Imp. Vosp. Dom 1828, XX:vr, 223 p.). 60 Description du Tubet, traduite partiellement du chinois en russe par Ie P. Hyacinthe Bitchourin, et du russe en franc;als par 1\11.***; soigneusement revue et corrigee sur l'original chinois, completee et accompagnee de notes par lvi. Klaproth (Paris: Imp. Royale, 1831,280 p., 1 map). 61 Description du Tubet, 142-162. 62 Klaproth, "Der Buddhismus. I.H'lassa, der Sitz des Dalai Lama," Das Aus/and 3 (1830): 271-272,280-2820 63 Klaproth, "Explication et origine de la formule bouddhique Om mani padme houm," Nouveau Journal Asiatique 7 (1831): 185-206; Donald S. Lopez, "The spell [Om Mani padme hum]," in Prisoners ofShangr'i-La. Tibetan Buddbis17Z and tbe vVest, ed. Donald So Lopez (Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press, 1998): 114-134. 64 N. Delisle, "Notes sur Ie Tibet par Ie P. Hippolyte Desideri," Nouveau Jozwnal Asiatique 8 (1831): 117-121. 65 IUaproth, Breve notizia del ngrzo del Thibet dal Fra Francesco O,'azio della Penna di BiIIi, 1730. Ouvrage publie d'apres Ie manuscrit autographe de l'auteur, accompagne de notes (Paris: Impr~ Royale, 1835). Extl'ait du Nouveau Jozmzal asiatique ([NJA] 14, 1834, 177-204, 273-296,

Some Notes on Early Tibetan Studies in Europe


of another Chinese description of Tibet, which was published by Erich Haenisch, may be traced to Klaproth (1822).66 Klaproth certainly was not an expert on the Tibetan language but his contributions were valuable mosaic stones in the evolution of Tibetan Studies. The same may be said for his friend Abel-Remusat's involvement in research on Tibet. He was the first to translate from the Mahavyzttpatti, for which he used a polyglot edition in the French Royal Library.67 An essay on the Tibetan language, which neatly compiles the available data, concludes a volume on the Tartar languages where one does not expect to find it. 68 The papers on the various tribes of Tibet and lamaist hierarchy are based on Chinese sources. 69Csoma

As is well known, the proper beginning of scholarly Tibetan studies is connected with the name of Alexander Csoma (1784-1832) froin Koros, in Transylvania (Korosi Csoma Sandor). Csoma was eager to find the homeland of the Hungarians, which he suspected to be situated in the neighborhood of Tibet. He learned Tibetan . in India and Tibet, prepared a dictionarY and a grammar71 of the Tibetan language, both rriilestones of Tibetan Studies, and a number of articles which he published mostly in the Journal ofthe Asiatic Society ofBengal.72 Csoma's role in the devel-

406-432). While it is to Klaproth's credit to have published this text in the original language, it is often overlooked that Father Orazio's Rappresentanza de' Pad7'i Capucini missionan sopra la missione del Gran Tbibet was published already in 1740: Missio Apostolica, Tbibetan07Serapbica. Das ist: Neue durch Pabstliche Gewalt in dem Grossen Thibetanischen Reich von denen P.P. Capucineren aufgerichtete Mission und iiber solche ,.. beschehene Vorstellung (Munchen: Witter, 1740): 128,224. 66 Erich Haenisch, "Eine chinesische Beschreibung von Tibet, vermutlich von Julius Klaproth. Nach Amiot's Ubersetzung bearbeitet," in Southern Tibet IX.4, ed. Sven Hedin (Stockholm, 1922): 1-66. The original translation may be connected with Jean Joseph Marie Amiot SJ. (1718-1793). 67 Abel-Remusat, "Fan, si-fan, man, meng, han, han tsi yao ou Recueil necessaire des mots Sanskrits, Tangutains, Mandchous, Mongols et Chinois," Ftmdgruben des Orients 4 (1814): 183201; the call no. of the text is FM 228 (Bibliotheque nationale de France). 68 "De la langue tibetaine," chapter 7 in Abel-Remusat, Recbercbes sur les langues ttmares,

ott Memoins sur difft!1'ens points de la grammaire et de la litteratzwe des Mandcbo,ts, des Mongols, des Ouigoun et des Tibttains, vol. 1 (Paris: Imprimerie royale, 1820, LI, 398 p.).'69 Abel-Remusat, "Notice sur quelques peuplades du Tibet et des pays voisins, tiree de l'ouvrage du Ma-touan-lin et traduit du chinois," Nouvelles Annales des Voyages 15 (1822): 289-302; "Aper~u d'un memoire intitule: Recherches chronologiques sur l'origine de la hierarchie lamaique," JournalAsiatilj'ue 4 (1824): 257-274. 70 Essay towards a dictionary, Tibetan and Englisb; prepared with the assistance of Bande Sangs-Rgyas Phun-Tshogs, a learned lama of Zangskar, during a residence at Kanam, in the Himalaya Mountains, on the confines of India and Tibet, 1827-1830 (Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1834, XXII, 351 p.). . 71 A grammar ofthe Tibetan language, in English (Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1834, XII, 204 p., 40 pI. 4). 72 Csoma, Tibetan studies: being a reprint of the articles contributed to the Journal of the Asiatic Society ofBengal, ed. E. Denison Ross (Calcutta: BaptistiVIission Press, 1912,585 p.).


Hartmztt Walravens

opment of Tibetology can hardly be overrated. An extensive literature on him and his work is available.73 We shall therefore simply provide bibliographic references in the footnotes and focus on some of the less known experts of the 19th century.74 Schott Wilhelm Schott (1803-1889),15 an Orientalist from Mainz, specialized in East Asian languages. But interest in East Asia at the universities was small; therefore Schott, a remarkable linguist, learned and taught additional languages - Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Turkish, Persian, Mongolian and Tibetan. He wrote scholarly reviews on current publications, like Csoma's grammar6 and Schmidt's dictionary,77 Schiefner?s and Jaschke's monographs. In addition he published on the Gesar saga.18 Ewald and Schilling von Canstadt Heinrich Ewald (1803-1875)79 was one of the major scholars in Biblical and Oriental Studies in the 19th century and Professor at the University of Gottingen. One would not readily connect him with Tibetan language studies but he wrote in a letter: "I have the honour of returning the Fourmont leaf to you, which you were kind enough to communicate to me. These weeks I have studied Tibetan

13 Theodolilll'*li'f$!.. [Comprehensive dictionary of the Japanese language], 2nd ed. (Tokyo: Shegakukan tl,"jt!'i[, 2000). For example, according to "Hatena: Diary-Hazure nikki" /'A"v~~ (!200401), there are localities throughout Japan referred to as "Tibet." Surprisingly, even Adachi ,!Eft vVard and Machida lIlTs:! City in Tokyo are sometimes referred to as "(the) Tibet (of Tokyo)." In other words, the locality considered to be the most backward in a particular area is deemed to be the "Tibet" of that area. What is more, in many instances the local residents themselves use this expression to refer self-mockingly to where they live. 16 The reassessment of Kawaguchi has made rapid progress since World War II, starting with scientific expeditions to northwestern Nepal by the cultural anthropologist Kawakita Jire )Ii:.s:!=Jl~ and others in the 1950s. Kawaguchi's five-volume Chibetto ryoM ki 7""':Y H~ 1T~ [An account of travels in Tibet] (Tokyo: Kodansha ~fiI'~t, 1978) has become a longs eller, while his voluminous collected works have recently been published (Kawaguchi Ekai chosakushit jiiJJ:1 :ttilii''i1'F~, 1-7 vols. + 3 sep. vols. [lzumozaki-machi 1:f:jg;~IIIT, Niigata: Ushio Shoten ? \.., :lO'I'Ji5, 1998-2004]), and several academic studies of him have also appeared (cf. note 1 above). 17 The term nyitzo netsu is taken from Hatani Ryetai 3J)Ji~Til1i, "Meiji Bukkyo gakusha no kaigai shinshutsu" ~iil{J,~"jt'ltO)m?'~iil:f:j [The overseas forays of Buddhist scholars of the Meiji era], Gendai Bukk)'o m1"(;{J,~ 105 (1933): 103. However, while Hatani dates the rise of Tibet fever to Meiji 26-27(1893-94), it should be considered to have started several years earlier, as mll,be seen below,

The Tibet Feve7- among Japanese Buddhists of the NIeiji Em


"land of mystery," and the interest of explorers, adventurers, scholars, surveyors and also religious figures and dreamers was therefore drawn all the more strongly to Tibet. In late nineteenth-century Japan this interest manifested itself in the form of a "Tibet fever" among Buddhists. There can be little doubt that this fever had its genesis in the fact that two St\ldent-monks by the name of NanjiS Bun'yu ii~j(tt (Bunyiu Nanjio, 1849-1927) and Kasawara Kenju S'tJ)j(liJf~ (1852-83) were sent to England by the Otani ::k:;;S~ branch of the Shin tradition in 1876 and began studying under Max Miiller at Oxford from 1879. Miiller had for some time been convinced that there existed early Sanskrit manuscripts in some of Japan's old temples, and he asked NanjiS and Kasawara to seek them out. NanjiS in turn asked Kurihara Shigefuyu *J)j(:m~ (dates unknown), who was teaching Sanskrit independently at the Otani branch's Ilcuei KyiSkiS 1f~!i&ty, to investigate the matter. In 1877 Kurihara, an assistant translator of the third grade at Higashi Honganji **ffii.Ij'lf, had translated Monier Monier-Williams's Sanskrit NIanual (London, 1868) under the title of Sansllku shifbllnten fzM:l'1>j,j(~, 3 vols. (Kyoto: ShinshU TiSha Honganji KyiSikuka ~**IJR*Jli,lj'lfifk1f~). Together with two collaborators-Kanematsu Kuken ilif0@';{ and Ota Yukei :XSO:f,fi!t-Kurihara visited various ancient temples in Yamato ::k:Ofp, Kawachi iiiJl"l and elsewhere and discovered a Sanskrit manuscript of the Vajracchedikii Pmjiiiipiimmitii written in Shittan ~;I; script at KiSkiji i'iiJJt'lf, palm-leaf manuscripts of the Pmjiiiipiimmitiihrdaya-sz7tm and Unzfeavijayii-niima-dbiim(lf at HiSryliji lti:~~'If, and other manuscripts which he then copied and sent to England. ls On the basis of these valuable materials, Miiller was able to advance the textual study of Buddhist scriptures, and with the collaboration of NanjiS he published in quick succession the Sanskrit texts of the Vajmccbedikii, Larger and Smaller Sllkbiivativyz7ba, Pmjiiiipiimmitiibrdaya-st7tra, and Unzfeavijayii.19 It was only natural that, after his success in Japan, Miiller should have turned his attention to Tibet, and he seems to have conveyed to NanjiS the importance of searching for Sanskrit manuscripts of Buddhist scriptures in Tibet. NanjiS consequently drew up plans to stop off in India on his way home from England, visit Buddhist holy sites, and then cross the Himalayas into Tibet and return to Japan via China. But he was unable to carry out this plan because he hastily returned home via the United States after hearing of his father's death and his foster mother's illness.'o This happened in May 1884, and thereafter Miiller would every now and18 Cf. F. Max Muller (ed.), Buddhist Texts frOnt Japan (Anecdota Oxoniensia, Texts, Documents, and Extracts chiefly from manuscripts in the Bodleian and other Oxford libraries. Aryan Series, vol. 1, part 1; Oxford: Clarendon Press,1881): 1-12; Batani, "Meiji Buklcy6

gakusha no kaigai shinshutsu," 99.19


Because his pulmonary tuberculosis was getting progressively worse, in 1882 Kasawara returned to Japan and died the following year. Cf. F. Max Muller, "The Late Kenju Kasawara," The Jozt17JaI oftbe Pali Text Society (1889): 69-75 20 Cf. Nanj6 Bun'yii, "N6mi Yutalca shi yukeri" !jg{iij:1I:A;Jli[lt ~ [N6mi Yutaka passes away], Sbin Bulekyo If!f{Lil'J( 6-9 (1905): 664 and Kai"yzIToleu: Sansulwz-itto "otobajime 't\%IB*lZ-Y /77 Y v rli'fti1it.J [Reminiscences: The beginnings of Sanskrit studies] (Tokyo: Beibonsha 1JLJ1A, 1979): 170-172; N6mi Yutalca Tsuiokukai ~~{iij:1I:iilt~~ (ed.), Nomi Yutaka iko ~~{iij:1I: iiHIii [Posthumous writings of N6mi Yutaka] (Kyoto: Shinshii Otani Daigaku 1917, repr., Tokyo: Satsuki Shob6 ]iJl~m, 1998): 239-240.



Olcuyama Nao)i

again in his letters to Nanja urge him to undertake an expedition to Tibet. 21 Nanja forever regretted the fact that he had been unable to fulfill his former teacher's fervent wish, and whenever the opportunity arose he expounded on the importance of sending an expedition to Tibet. From among those who were directly or indirectly influenced by his exhortations there emerged a succession of people who aspired to go to Tibet, thereby creating a situation that came to be lmown as "Tibet fever."" In January 1887 Nanja suddenly departed on a trip to India, and after visiting various places in Ceylon and India, he went on to Shanghai, from where he made a visit to Mount Tiantai 3C#rli, returning to Japan in May. His account of this voyage includes the following passage: The one matter for regret was that my plan to go from Shanghai via Tianjin and Beijing to Mount Wutai, and then finally enter Tibet [from Sichuan], study in Lhasa, look for Sanskrit scriptures, cross the Himalayas to Darjeeling, and come out once again in Calcutta carne to nothing. 23

21 This was pointed out on the basis of Miiller's correspondence with Nanja contained in Nan}o sensei ibo if~'d'C:i:m'5 [vVritings of Professor Nanja] (Kyoto: Otani Daigaku *'b~ *"i':, 1942) by Murakami Mamoru HJ:~I, Kaze no U7na: Cbibetto guM den J!\O).~-i!'li1i!l*it.; Ii'< [Rlung rta: Tales of searching for the Dharma in Tibet] (Tokyo: Kosei Shuppansha IXM tI:J),/l(1'i, 1998): 75-78, and Emoto Yoshinobu iI;$:J!l;i$, Nomi Yutaka: Cbibetto ni kieta tabibito ~~,ljij'Jt-TA:,y Hclll;tt;::!il'iA [Nomi Yutaka: The traveller who vanished in Tibet] (Tokyo: Kyuryuda *il!I1it, 1999): 54-60. 22 The first installment of the anonymous "Chiberto jijo" ID'ii1i!l:;Jl=HI' [The situation in Tibet], published in fourteen installments in the Yimlill1'i Sbinbzt1l Wt;'iCjfJiIl!l from 3 June 1903 commented on Nanjo's role in this area in the following terms: "The Rev. Nanja Bun'yii, the leading Buddhist scholar in Japan, studied under Dr. Max 1vliiller and learnt of the great value of the Tibetan Tripipka, and after returning to Japan he vigorously propounded this view, whereupon all of a sudden there were many in monastic society who craved for knowledge about Tibet and eventually aspired to knock at that gate and gain a glimpse of the secret truth. [... ] They were all monlcs who had been directly or indirectly inspired by the Rev. Nanjo." Nanjo also heads the list ofJapanese planning to go to Tibet mentioned by Senda Gaknnin Ii 1it"i':A (otherwise known as Furukawa Rosen ti"Mog) II), "Chibetto Buldtyo no tanken" IDli1i!l{L l\'l(O)~jfri [The exploration of Tibetan Buddhism], in Rosen ileo ~) IIJtflii [Posthumous writings of (Furukawa) Rasen], ed. Sugimura Kotaro t'-HJ1:*~~ (Tokyo: Bukkyo Seito Doshikai {Ll\'l( jlfjiEl1ilJ0"i'::, 1901): 185-186, and by Takashima Beiho ~',*i*" "Nomi Yutaka lmn 0 itamu" !~iJjfJU!""'I'$'tr [Mourning Nomi Yutaka], Sbin Bukk)'o ::fiJi{Ll\'l( 6-9 (1905): 668. But Nanja himself was later to emphasize rather tlle role of the Temperance Association in the interest in going to Tibet: "Around that time there was at the Bungakuryo Jt"i':~ [actually Futsu Kyako w;l!j(tJi'] a dub called the Temperance Association (Hanseikai B:1!l'''i'::), which promoted teetotalism and also greatly encouraged the study of Buddhist Sanskrit texts, and it was probably because of this that there arose a great groundswell of interest in Buddhist sites in India and the exploration of Tibet. Nomi already had at that time a great ambition to explore Tibet." (Nomi Yutaka ikif, 239). 2l "Orukotto shi no shokan" ;!"Jl..':c1,y ~B;;O)ti'* [Olcott's letters], Reicbikai Zassbi %fP "i'::1tilZ 46 (1887): 53-54. On Nanjo's plan to enter Tibet via Sichuan and on the reasons for the abandonment of his trip, see "Nanja Bun'yii shi kicho" if5f,Jt4l~i!i'Jiil\!.Il [The Ven. Nanjo Bun'yii returns, to Japan], Reicbileai Zassbi 38 (1887): 163.

The Tibet Fever among Japanese Buddhists ofthe Meiji Era


Nanja had not lost his desire to carry out the mission of going to Tibet via China to look for Sanskrit manuscripts, bequeathed to him by his mentor Miiller.24 But this trip of his had been impulsive and lacked proper planning, and had he attempted to enter Tibet Nanja might never have returned; fourteen years before his pupil Nami Yutaka lii:l#!f:Jt (1868-1901?) disappeared without trace in the interior of China's Yunnan province. It was just as well that Nanja's plan came to nothing.

A Periad afFeverishnessWith Nanja acting as the pyrogen, Tibet fever broke out in Japanese Buddhist circles from around the start of the third decade of the Meiji era (1887).25 Shortly. after his return to Japan, Nanja became professor at Otani College in Tokyo and part-time lecturer in Sanskrit at Tokyo Imperial University, and because he was regarded as a new authority on Sanskrit and Buddhist studies in Japan, he wielded considerable influence. Another fact that cannot be overlooked is that many of those who went on to make plans for visiting Tibet under the direct or indirect influence ofNanja also had links to either or both of two new private Buddhist colleges, namely, the Futsii Ky6ka 'lflffifY:13l in Kyoto run by Nishi Honganji (established in 1885 and closed in 1888) and the Tetsugakukan rg'lti'ir in Tokyo founded by Inoue Enrya it..I:fIlT in 1887 (and now known as Toyo University), For example, Kawaguchi was one of the first batch of students at the Tetsugakukan (though he joined midway through the year), while Nami spent one year at the Futsii Kyaka and then entered the Tetsugakukan after a period at Keia Gijuku. Both of these colleges possessed a progressive ethos, and they attracted many Buddhists who were passionate about reviving and reforming Buddhism. In addition, the Temperance Association (Hanseikai J.)(:1!j'~) formed within the Futsii Kyaka, in 1886 and its journal Hanseikai Zasshi J.)(:~~~i!i1i continued to act as opinion leaders in Buddhist circles even after the closing of the Futsii Kyaka. One subject that was discussed with particular fervour in these circles was the investigation of the true life and teachings of Sa:kyamuni, the starting point of Buddhism. This was a new issue that had arisen under the stimulus of Oriental studies in the West. In the history of Buddhism in modern Japan, the thirty years from about24 A letter from Millier to Nanjo dated 30 July 1884 contains the following passage: "I hear that Mr. Bendall [Cecil Bendall, 1856-1907] is going to Nepal and possibly to Tibet to look for Sanskrit MSS. Do not forget that at some later time you might do something useful by going to Tibet through China. I do not mean at present, but after some years." (Na17jo sen-

sei ibo, 25-26).25 An early example was Shaku Unsho J!R~1!l\ (1827-1909) of the Shingon tradition. In a letter dated 30 Nov. 1886 and addressed to his disciple Shaku Kozen J!R~?t., whom he had sent to Ceylon for study, he describes plans for a journey to Ceylon, India and Tibet; se~ Kusanagi Zengi :1jI:~::1i: (ed.), Shaku Umbo J!R~~1l (Tokyo: Tokukyokai {iIlIffi;Si, 1914): vo!' 2, 33. Although this plan was not put into practice, it was the same as Nanja's earlier plan and als9 similar to the travel plans oflater Japanese students in Ceylon and India, to be touched on below. Unsho had close contact with Nanjo, and the latter's influence on his plans is undeniable.


Okuyama Naoji

1887 to 1917 can in one respect be defined as a period of study and explor~tion in Asia by Buddhists. This Zeitgeist was linked to the establishment of modern Buddhist studies in Japan, and it also constituted part of the movement to reform Japanese Buddhism. Buddhist studies in Japan underwent a great transformation through the adoption of the methods ofIndian and Buddhist studies in the West, and this opened the way for Japanese Buddhists to explore the teachings of Sakyamuni, which represented the starting point of Buddhism. As is the case with many other religions, for Buddhism the return to its origins and the reform of current conditions were two sides of the same coin. This is why the establishment of modern Buddhist studies did not just represent the reform of a single academic discipline, but was able to turn into a Buddhist reform movement, and it was an important element in a struggle in which the revitalization of Buddhism, regardless of sectarian differences, was at stake. It was for this reason, it could be said, that promising young Buddhists threw themselves one after another into this task At the same time, as adherents of Mahayana Buddhism, they hoped to discover, in some part of Asia where Buddhism had formerly flourished, evidence to disprove the thesis, propounded by Eugene Burnouf and other European Orientalists, that the Mahayana had not been taught by the historical Buddha. The Tibet fever was the most radical manifestation of this, and for Japanese Buddhism the investigation of Tibetan Buddhism held the hope that it might become a trump card in helping it regain its former position. 26 In addition, many of these people, reflecting the current of the times, were nationalists, and when they betook themselves to other Buddhist countries in Asia they became pan-Asianists, advocating international solidarity founded on Buddhism. Although these people left their mark in both the West and the Orient, of prime importance in connection with Tibet were the movements of those who went to Ceylon and India to learn Sanskrit and Pali and to study the precepts ofTheravada Buddhism. Known at the time as "students in India," they regularly provided Japan with information about South Asia, and by doing so they became one of the sources not only of the craze for studying in Ceylon and India but also of Tibet fever. The first Japanese Buddhist to go to Ceylon for the purpose of study was Shaku K6zen ~~?t.i (1849-1924) of the Shingon tradition, who left Japan in September 1886. In March of the following year Shaku S6en ~*iJi[ (1859-1919) of the Rinzai tradition 1li\i;jj1f* also arrived in Ceylon. They were followed in 1888-89 by monl{.5 from various branches of the Shin tradition, namely, Yoshitsura H6gen n:!i;~ (1865-1893) of the Bukk6ji {b.;Jt~ branch, Higashi Onj6 Jll:1.! (1867~1893), and Tokuzawa Chiez6 jt\R.~~~ (1871-1908) of the Honganji branch, Koizumi Ry6tai Ih~T~* (1851-1938) of the J6sh6ji ~jffi~ branch, Asakura Ry6sh6 fJlkTi (18561910; Koizumi's younger brother) of the Otani branch, and Kawakami Teishin )1126 Okuyama Naoji, "Dogi Horyu to Chibetto" 1l:1tll~cT""v I- [Dogi Horyu and Tibet], KztmoguSlt Kenk:J~t l!~liJf~ 3 (2001): 206-211. Cf. Furukawa Rosen E!liiiJ~) II, "Chibetto Bukkyo no tanlcen," in Rosen iko, ed. Sugimura Kotaro, 168-180; id., "Daijo hibussetsu mondai" **~F{b.iill.rR~~ [The issue concerning whether or not Mahayana was taught by the historical Buddha], in Rosen iko, 168-180.

The Tibet Fevez' among Japanese Buddhists of the iVleiji Em


J:.tH~ (1864-1922) of the Honganji branch. Tokuzawa, Koizumi, Asakura, and Kawakami accompanied Henry S. Olcott (1832-1907) and Dharmapala Hewavitarana (1864-1933) of the Theosophical Society on their return to Ceylon after their first visitto Japan in 1889.27 There is evidence that the monks of the Shin tradition discussed amongst themselves, as their next objective, plans to cross over to India and from there go on to explore Tibet. This can be inferred from the fact that Yoshitsura, Koizumi, Higashi, and Kawakami, who are known to have had a definite desire to go to Tibet, all had very similar plans, as will be seen below. There can at least be little doubt that they shared information and views about Tibet. They began to take concrete steps towards entering Tibet in 1890. An editorial in Hanseikai Zassbi 5.7 (pp. 1-7), published on 10 July of this year and entitled "vVhat We Wish of Those Studying in India," called upon these students in Ceylon to find and gather as many of the original texts of the Mahayana scriptures as possible, and, as if acting in response to this, they began to move away from the tropical island of Ceylon in the direction of the Himalayas and beyond." In his diary (held by Busshoji {b~\l4', Fukui t~fr City) Yoshitsura had already noted in an entry for 29 January 1889 that "in the evening I went to Vidyodaya Pirivel).a and discussed going to Tibet," and it is evident that he was from quite an early stage intent on going there. Koizumi fell in with Yoshitsura's ideas, although it is not known when, and plans were made to "set out from Ceylon at the end of this year (1890) and on the way home enter deep into the interior ofIndia, pass through Nepal, Kashmir and Tibet, and arrive in Japan in Mayor June of next year.,,29 But in November 1890 the Japanese Navy's training ships Hiei J:ttz and Kongo iE[l/,]1j called at Colombo en route to Istanbul to repatriate the survivors of the Ottoman

27 On the circumstances of these monks who went to Ceylon, see Okuyama Naoji, "Rank. no hasso: Meiji nijunendai zenhan no Indo ryiigakuso no jiseki" 7/jJ-(7))\.(j;i-1jJj It=+{~i\fJ'F(7)~PIJ!'1ll''Jt(j;i(7)**J' [The eight monks of Lailka: The achievements of studentmonks in India in the first half of the third decade of the Meiji era], in Buk/')'o Bzmlea Galelwi jussbztnen, Hiijo Kenzo habsbi leoki kinen Z"onbnnsbzt: Indogakn shosbiso to sana slnten iL!l'&y{r:'Jt *+Ji'D"f' . ~U~';f:=:.m1J$rilc~'iliY:ll>-.-( /F'Jtil1f!/"!j;l",i::{-(7)Ji'D31f [Collected articles in commemoration of the lO'h anniversary of the Society for the Study of Buddhist Culture and the 70,h birthday of Dr. Hojo Kenzo: The philosophies ofIndology and their periphery], ed. Bukkyo Bunka Gakkai jusshUnen, Hojo Kenzo hakushi koki kinen ronbunshu kankokai ijjl!l'& Y{r:'Jt*+Ji'D"f'~t(,!fiJEt1\t1J$;~~,iliy:ll>fiJ1T* (Tokyo: Sankibo Busshorin 0J~m{jjl.;j;f:, 2004): 89-106. 28 Their initial purpose in going to Tibet was thus to look for and collect Buddhist Sanskrit manuscripts, and later the collection of Tibetan scriptures, centered on the Tibetan canon, was added to this. 29 "Ryoryiigakusei no kicho" iffil1ll''J!:1:(7)11i\Ji!Jj [The return home of two students], HanseiIwi Zassbi 5.11 (1890): 34. On their travels plans, see also "Zai-Indo Nihon ryugakuso no kirrkyo ippan" 1'E~PIJ!'S*1ll''Jtij;i(7)JlIiJ/.-liII [Recent news of Japanese student-monks in India], Dento ii:)l-, Tonlko kaleai kiji JfJl;;~il:fflj"ilc* [An account of a voyage to Turkey] (Tokyo: Oyama Takanosuke, 1892): 33 (repr., NIeiji Sbi1"!de" TOdo tanken kikObun sbzlsei IjJjltC/!v) 0 - F~i1i*21TY:lI>J1l(; [Collected travel writings on the exploration of the Silk Road during the iVIeiji era], vol. 10, Tokyo: Yumani Shobo og,;:H==ii'm, 1988).


Oku:ya71la Naoji

battleship Ertztgntl, which had in September been wrecked in the vicinity of Cape Kashino tJl'l!llf of Oshima Island ;kJ!, (Wakayama Prefecture), and the fate of these two Japanese monks was irreversibly changed. Following negotiations with crew members, permission was granted for two Buddhist missionaries to accompany the ships as far as Istanbul, and Yoshitsura and Koizumi were chosen for this mission. They promptly changed their plans, boarded the ships and, after reaching Istanbul, went via Paris to London and as far as Oxford. Then, on returning to Paris, at the request of Emile Guimet they performed the Shin tradition's Manko 1l.\'iI,~l1!' service at the Musee Guimet, after which they boarded a passenger vessel at Marseilles and arrived back in Ceylon at the end of NIarch 1891.30 Yoshitsura then joined the Kango, which had called once again at Colombo on its return voyage, and arrived back in Japan in May, while Koizumi, after visiting Buddhagaya together with Asakura, returned to Japan in June. Perhaps because he had overexerted himself while overseas, Yoshitsura died of illness two years later. In April 1891 Higashi moved from Ceylon to the headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar on the outskirts of Madras (present-day Chennai), where he studied Sanslait. He later moved on to Bombay (present-day Mumbai), where he too died of illness in September 1893, two months after Yoshitsura's death in Japan. Consequently he was unable to carry out his plans to set out in September or October of the same year on a journey to collect ancient Buddhist Sanslait manuscripts, during the course of which he intended to reside in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata) until late February or March of the following year to copy Sanslait manuscripts held by the library of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and then, having waited for the snows to thaw, smuggle himself into Kathmandu, where he would wait for the right opportunity to cross the Himalayas into Tibet, examine the Buddhist Sanslait manuscripts held by the Dalai Lama in Lhasa, and return to Japan via Mongolia and China.3l Kawakami, meanwhile, left Ceylon in January 1893 and, passing through Adyar, went to Calcutta University. He too cherished a desire to go to Lhasa and there study the religion of Tibet under the Dalai Lama.12 After having attended Higashi's

)0 For details of their journey, see Chiba Joryii T**'!!', "1891 nen, Pari no hoonko" 18914'. /'V O)~.\'i!.mI' [The Hoonko service in Paris, 1891], in Shinran no Bukkyo: Nalwnishi Chikai sensei leannlei kinen l"onbunsbii m:iii'O){L~-'Pi1!f,,Iiii'5'ciii!Mil~~~ili;Jt:ll; [Shinran's Buddhism: Collected articles in commemoration of the 60,h birthday of Professor Nakanishi Chikai], ed. Nakanishi Chikai sensei kanreki kinen ronbunshii kankokai (Kyoto: Nagata Bunshodo 7kS3JtI:llt, 1994): 799-817; Okuyama, "Rank. no hasso.," 95-98. )1 Cf. Furukawa Rosen, "Boyii Higashi Onjo kun seizen no keikaku" t:ioIUlililtsiltr O)iltilID [The plans of my late friend Higashi Onjo], Bnld')'o {L~ 94 (1894): 20-22. 32 "Butsumon no Fukushima chiisa" {LF~G'Ytj.l'.\'P1E:: [A Buddhist Lieutenant Colonel Fukushima], Hanseikai Zassbi 8.3 (1893): 1-2. Even prior to this there had been reports of his "resolve" to conduct research on Buddhist scriptures and religion in Bhutan, Nepal, and Kashmir and return home after having undertaken further investigations in Tibet, Manchuria, Mongolia, and Beijing; see "Kaigai Bukkyoto no shosoku" ~7HL~1iEO)IJ!j,!l!, [News of Buddhists abroad], Honseikai Zasshi 6.4 (1891): 31. For these two references I am indebted to Komoto Yasuko ~*mt'i'-, "Nomi Yutaka Sekai ni okent BuHyoto ni miru Chibetto kan" ~~Iiii'1:!:

The Tibet Fever among Japanese Buddhists of the Meiji Era


deathbed in September and conducted the funeral service, Kawakami went to Darjeeling to make preparations for a trip to Tibet, and while in Darjeeling he was looked after by S. C. Das. Owing to a lack of source materials, there is much about Kawakami's overseas movements that is unclear, and almost nothing is known of his activities around this time. But it is to be surmised that he studied Tibetan, probably at the monastery Yigah Choling (Yid dga' chos gling) in Ghum near Darjeeling, while waiting for an opportunity to enter Tibet, as Kawaguchi was to do some years later. Kawaguchi may in fact be described as a second Kawakami. After persevering for more than three years,'l Kawakami eventually gave up any thoughts of entering Tibet from this direction and returned to Japan in 1897, the same year in which Kawaguchi embarked on his journey. Thus, the attempts made by Japanese students in Ceylon and India to _enter Tibet during the 1890s all ended in failure, and_ it was Nami Yutaka of the Otani branch of the Shin tradition who, in view of this poor outcome, set out to enter Tibet from China. l4 He was probably one of the first to aspire to go to Tibet, but was slow in making a start, and fmally managed to set out in November 1898, one year and five months after Kawaguchi's departure. In Dajianlu fTW1lt (Dar rtse mdo; present-day Kangding ~:lE in Ganzi ttT5: Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan) he met up with Teramoto Enga ~*~~ (1872-1940), also oithe Otani branch, who had with similar intentions been studying Tibetan at the Tibetan temple Yonghegong ~f.~'8 in Beijing, and they proceeded to Litang ~:IJ1f (LiIi'i!tJ'l-f;:;bH)r.,{l.~fiEJJ f;:J\l.r.,'T":Y Hill. [The view of Tibet to be seen in Nami Yutaka, Buddhists around the wodd], Sekibii 1'11 9 (2003): 60-62.J3 It is to be surmised, however, that he did not remain in Darjeeling all this time, but moved back and forth between Darjeeling and Calcutta depending on the seas-on, as well as conducting field trips to other parts of India. He is known to have visited Burma (Myanmar) and Kashmir, and in June-July 1896 he appears to have gone as far as Istanbul. C Shirasu Jashin s~lt~, "Shin Saiikiki mishiirokn shirya no shutsngen ni tsuite: Ito Dogetsu, Ashikaga Zuigi, Watanabe Tesshin no Uehara Yoshitara e no henshin" Ii'tfiWl:!lG~cJJ *liJ(~5I:**O)Il~j!K -::lit Yl-fJriiiiJiil~ . .lE:fJjJffii~ . i~illt&~O)J:Jjj()'5';;t$!~"O)il&{~ [On the emergence of historical sources not included in New reC01m of tbe Westem real",s: The replies of Ito Dogetsu, Ashikaga Znigi and Watanabe Tesshin to Uehara Yoshitaro], Honganji ShilyO Kenkyztjoho *1ll!~5I:**liJf~ mlt 7.8 (1994): 11-12. 34 In a memoir written in 1897 and entitled "Yo to Chibetto" Tr-Wjt [Tibet and I], Nami wrote that because not one of the students in India had achieved their goal of entering Tibet, "I finally decided to make an attempt vi.a the route from Sichuan province in China out of a desire to resolve in the field the question of whether or not I could actually manage to enter Tibet." Cf. Okuyama, Hyiiden, 109. As background factors in Nomi's decision to head for Tibet via China mention must also be made of the influence of Nanja, who had himself considered entering Tibet from Sichuan, and of the fact that the Otani branch had since the time of Ogurusu Kocho 1j'*fl'iWlJ[ (1831-1905), a pioneer in this field, been actively engaged in proselytizing activities in China and had a high level of interest in Tibetan Buddhism that was being practised there. Cf. Suwa Gijo WiW~~, "Hikyo no hozo ni idonda Higashi Honganji no Chibetto tanken" ~l!!J!tO)$jtf;::jjJslvt~JIt*Ill!~O)Wjt~~ [The expeditions to Tibet by Higashi Honganji in search of a Dharma-treasury in a secret land], Chligai Nippo (21 Jan. 1958) and "Higashi Honganji-ha no Chibetto tanken ni tsnite" Ji[*Ill!~IffiO)Wjt~~f;:JM:1t 'c [On the Higashi Honganji branch's expeditions to Tibet], Tokai Bukkyo Ji[m{f,.~ 4 (1958): 17-18.


0lw:yama Naoji

thang) and Batang c~ (,Ba' thang), where the local official refused to cooperate. As a result they were forced to make their way back to Dajianlu. Shortly afterwards Teramoto left for Chongqing and returned to Japan the following year. Nomi spent the winter in Dajianlu and from the following spring made two unsuccessful attempts to enter Tibet via Qinghai and Yunnan. In April 1901 he sent his last letter from Dali while attempting to enter Eastern Tibet by following the Jinshajiang ~lYiI upstream from Lijiang ,iij;iI, and nothing more was heard ofhim. 35 One year after Nomi's departure from Japan, Kawakami went into action once again. Since his return to Japan he had been teaching Sanskrit at Nishi Honganji's Bungakuryo :lC:~, but in 1899 he resigned and became an overseas student of Nishi Honganji, going this time to Beijing in December of the same year in order to make another attempt at entering Tibet. It may be assumed that his aim was to follow the same course as Nomi and Teramoto and try to enter Tibet from the Chinese interior. But once again he failed to achieve his long-cherished goal, for he was caught up in the Boxer Uprising that broke out the following summer and was confined to the Japanese Legation in Beijing during the siege of foreign legations. His plans to go to Tibet would seem to have been abandoned. 36 Meanwhile, after having parted with Nomi in Dajianlu, Teramoto had returned to Japan in April 1900. Then in August, during the Boxer Uprising, he was appointed interpreter for the headquarters of the 5'h Hiroshima Division at the recommendation of Higashi Honganji and accompanied the troops to Beijing. In September he visited the monasteries of Huangsi Jil''i'f and Zifuyuan ~t1i\m, still bearing the scars of tlle uprising, and discovered in their pillaged ruins a copy of the Tibetan canon and other works, which he purchased and brought back to Japan with the army's assistance, thereby accomplishing something that no one had previously managed to do. l7 In September 1901 the A kya Khutukhtu (Blo bzang bstan pa'i dbang phyug bsod nams rgya mtsho, 1871-1909), the greatest living Buddha of Kumbum Monastery (Ta'ersi fi\'f:f:f'i'f) in Qinghai 1ifiilf, and one of the Khutukhtu's residing at Yonghegong, arrived in Japan with seven attendants under the guidance of Teramoto and Okochi


35 At this time Batang was under the direct jurisdiction of the Dalai Lama, which means that Nomi and Teramoto were the first Japanese to enter Tibet. But since their goal was Lhasa, this would have been little consolation to them, especially in the case of Nomi, who disappeared without trace. J6 . There is circulating among Kawakami's relatives a story that prior to the Boxer Uprising Kawakami, disguised as a Chinese merchant, managed to travel some distance inland but was exposed and came close to being attacked, whereupon he hurried back to Beijing. So far no evidence to corroborate this testimony has been discovered. 37 This copy of the Tibetan canon was first discovered by Kawakami, but it appears that because he returned to Japan after the Boxer Uprising, Teramoto gained all the credit. Cf. a letter from Nanjo to Teramoto postmarked 3 Sept., Meiji 34 (1901) in Teramoto Enga and Yokochi Shogen ;fJi


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