Profound truths and absurd fables


A quote by Alexandra David-Néel (24 October 1868 – 8 September 1969).

The great majority of readers and hearers are the same all over the world.

I have no doubt that the people of your country are like those I have met in China and India, and these latter were just like Tibetans.

If you speak to them of profound Truths they yawn, and, if they dare, they leave you, but if you tell them absurd fables they are all eyes and ears.

Alexandra David-Neel

Born im France, Alexandra David-Néel was a Belgian–French explorer, spiritualist, Buddhist, anarchist and writer. Between 1916 and 1924 she travelled widely, setting out at first to Sikkim and from there to Tibet. As it was impossible to return to Europe during World War I, she continued to India and Japan, to Korea and then Beijing, China. From there she crossed China from east to west through the Gobi desert, and then stayed at Kumbum Monastery in Tibet where she translated the famous Prajñāpāramitā – the Perfection of (Transcendent) Wisdom.

She is most known for her 1924 visit to Lhasa, Tibet, when it was a forbidden city to foreigners. In order not to betray her status as a foreigner, she disguised herself as a beggar and a monk. She stayed for two months, visiting the holy city and the large surrounding monasteries.

David-Néel wrote over 30 books about Eastern religion, philosophy, and her travels, including My Journey to Lhasa (1927) and Magic and Mystery in Tibet (1929). Her teachings influenced the Beat Generation writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg and the popularisers of Eastern philosophy Alan Watts and Ram Dass.

Thanks to Antar Marc

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