HOFFMANN, Ernst Lothar (Lama Anagarika Govinda)

HOFFMANN, Ernst Lothar (Lama Anagarika B. Govinda). Waldheim, Sachsen 14.1.1898 — Mill Valley, California 14.1.1985. German Bauddha. Son of a German father, the owner of a cigar factory, and Bolivian mother, who died when he was three. Became early interested in Buddhism through Schopenhauer. Matriculated in Hannover, in WW I served in army, but caught tuberculosis in Italy and was released. Now studied philosophy and theology in Freiburg i.B. without graduating. Lived as a painter and poet in German colony in Capri in 1920-28. In 1920 started Pāli at University of Naples. In 1928 to Ceylon, where he was soon ordained as Anagārika (also styled as Brahmachari Govinda) and lived in the Island Hermitage of Nyanatiloka. In 1931 moved to Darjeeling and in 1947 joined the non-celibatarian Kargyutpa order. Taught German and French at Santiniketan, then at Buddhist Academy in Sarnath, in 1933 briefly visited Tibet from Sikkim. In 1933 founded the Ārya Maitreya Mandala in India and became its spiritual head, called Anangavajra Khamsung Wangchuk. He had taken British citizenship in 1938, but was nevertheless interned during war in Ahmednagar and Dehra Dun, where he again met Nyanatiloka and other German monks. In 1947 became Indian citizen and married Li Gotami (originally Ratti Petit, 1906–1988), a painter and his former student in Santiniketan. The couple settled down in Almora, Indian Himalayas, where their home attracted many Western visitors. Several tours in Europe, U.S.A. and Japan (1960, 1965, 1968-69, 1972-73, 1974-76, 1977). For health reasons moved in the late 1970s to California and lived near San Francisco.

Publications: Die Grundgedanken des Buddhismus und ihr Verhältnis zur Gottesidee. 129 p. Leipzig 1920.

– Translated: Abhidhamattha-Sangaha. Ein Compendium buddhistischer Philosophie und Psychologie. 62+175 p. Munich 1931.

Art and Meditation. Allahabad 1936; The Psychological Attitude of Early Buddhist Philosophy. 271 p. Allahabad 1939.

Some Aspects of Stupa Symbolism. 19+20 P. Allahabad & L. 1940, new ed. as Psycho-Cosmic Symbolism of the Buddhist Stupa. 102 p. Emeryville 1976.

Grundlagen tibetischer Mystik. 12+357 p. Zürich 1956, 2nd ed. 1966, English tr. Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism. N.Y. 1969, French P. 1960.

Der Weg der Weissen Wolken. Erlebnisse eines buddhistischen Pilgers in Tibet. 439 p. Bern 1973, English tr. The Way of the White Clouds. A Buddhist Pilgrim in Tibet. L. 1966, French P. 1969; Insights of a Himalayan Pilgrim. 209 p. Berkeley 1991.

Mandala. Meditationsgedichte und Betrachtungen. 136 p. Zürich 1961.

Die psychologische Haltung der frühbuddhistischen Philosophie und ihre systematische Darstellung nach der Tradition des Abhidharma. Zürich 1962; Schöpferische Meditation und multidimensionales Bewusstsein. 330 p. Freiburg i.Br. 1977.

Buddhistische Reflexionen. Die Bedeutung von Lehre und Methoden des Buddhismus für westliche Menschen. 280 p. Munich 1983; Lebendiger Buddhismus im Abendland: Vision und Vermächtnis des grossen Mittlers zwischen Ost und West. 206 p. Munich 1986; English tr. by M. Walshe, Living Buddhism for the West. 142 p. Boston 1990.

Articles in Bulletin of Tibetology, etc., and further books.

Sources: Schumann, Buddhismus. 66-68, with photo; Wikipedia (further details and photo in German version, both with further refrences).

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