Who Was Dr Tuesday Lobsang Rampa?
Was Doctor Tuesday Lobsang Rampa Tibetan lama or the pen name of a plumber from Plympton in Devon? Whichever version of the story you believe, one thing that we can all agree on is that he wrote nineteen books, many of which continue to sell, and which became the starting point for journeys into the esoteric subjects. His legacy continues to be influential.
I first encountered his 1956 bestseller, “The Third Eye” during the early 1970s. I was instantly hooked and eventually bought copies of every book he published. However, even as a naive teenager, I noticed how his books gradually became thin and empty of any new information. They left me feeling indifferent, in complete contrast to his earlier work. Later, still in the 1970s, I wrote to him and received a reply by airmail from his address in Calgary, Canada.
I read every volume but the books that stand out in my memory are Doctor from Lhasa and You – Forever. The former for its accounts of Tibet, the Chinese invasion, and his experiences of those times, and the latter for its introduction to esoteric subjects such as the Astral Plane, Astral Projection/Travel, the Akashic Records, and others.
They stood on my bookshelf in the 1970s alongside other books on esoteric subjects, such as Peter Richelieu’s, “A Soul’s Journey“, and a few works of fiction like Frank Herbert’s Dune trilogy, another set of volumes that continue to influence new generations as evidenced by the recent release of the Dune film.
Whatever you might think of his persona, the fact is that Lobsang Rampa’s books became the starting point for a generation of young people looking for information about esoteric subjects. The occult was by definition hidden from the general population. To uncover this secret world, you had to visit obscure independent bookshops, or write to them requesting a mailorder catalogue.
He should also be remembered for informing people of the brutal invasion of Tibet by the communist Chinese and their ongoing occupation of this sovereign land.
The Lobsang Rampa books sold well enough for them to start appearing in conventional bookshops, even the larger WH Smith’s stores. He had as near to mass appeal as you could hope for in the late 1950s to the 1970s if your speciality was the esoteric arts.
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa – A Tibetan Lama’s Bibliography
Here’s a complete list of all nineteen of his books. Some lists you’ll see online include a few additional titles that have wrongly been attributed to him.
- Visit Tuesday Lobsang Rampa’s author page on Amazon.com
- Visit Tuesday Lobsang Rampa’s author page on Amazon.co.uk
- The Third Eye (1956)
- Doctor from Lhasa (1959)
- The Rampa Story (1960)
- The Cave of the Ancients (1963)
- Living with the Lama (1964)
- You – Forever (1965)
- Wisdom of the Ancients (1965)
- The Saffron Robe (1966)
- Chapters of Life (1967)
- Beyond The Tenth (1969)
- Feeding the Flame (1971)
- The Hermit (1971)
- The Thirteenth Candle (1972)
- Candlelight (1973)
- Twilight (1975)
- As It Was! (1976)
- I Believe (1976)
- Three Lives (1977)
- Tibetan Sage (1980)
The following three versions of accounts of his background are presented without prejudice. To hear a recording of Lobsang Rampa’s response (in his own voice) to those who suggested he is not who he claims to be please visit lobsangrampa.org.
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa – Version One
He was born Tuesday Lobsang in a small village in Tibet near Chakpori Hill, which houses the famous Chi’ih-Ling Ssu, one of the ‘Four Forbidden Temples.’ His birthname Lobsang means “Son of Lhasa” because his family were nomads who lived on the outskirts of Lhasa.
In early childhood, Lobsang suffered from chronic asthma. In those days little was known about treatment for asthma except that it could only be cured by ‘reducing or opening up one’s breathing passages’. This meant that Lobsang had to spend much of his time in the open air. Lobsang could often be found high on Lhasa’s mountainsides or sitting by a little hillside temple called Pong-Gumpa, meditating and watching monks below beating drums and chanting rituals.
One day Lobsang experienced an inner voice saying “Lobsang! You are to go to school so that you can have an education.” Lobsang was accepted into one of Lhasa’s monasteries where he learned English, logic, philosophy, literature, science, history, and languages which included Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Esperanto.
Lobsang studied for eight years at Sera Monastery studying scholastic Buddhist philosophy under Lama Ngawang Chosdhe. Lobsang was a diligent and brilliant scholar who often stayed in the monastery for weeks without leaving, which prompted his fellow monks to ask Lobsang what he did when there were no classes or chores. Lobsang told them:
“I go to my cell and close the door… If I wish to meditate I spread out a tiger skin and pray… Then from between the eyes emerges an eye [the third eye]. Immediately it sees into past, present, and future. It is not connected with this body at all but floats independently about three feet above me.”
One day Lobsang saw Lama Ngawang Chosdhe writing English words on a blackboard. Lobsang asked him what they meant and so began Lobsang’s introduction into the Western world. Lobsang credits Lama Ngawang Chosdhe as being a teacher who taught Lobsang all about the West, especially English. Lobsang says: “He would write a sentence on the board and ask what it meant, so I’d tell him and he’d say ‘you go to Lhasa Big Hut High School in England.'”
Following his education, Lobsang spent six months visiting different monasteries in Tibet before beginning his journey to Lhasa Big Hut High School in England. Upon arriving at Lhasa Big Hut High School he was informed that there were no places left for new students because of World War II. He refused to go home, insisting instead on attending Lhasa High School, which was a military academy.
Lobsang’s family were Buddhists and had given Lobsang permission to go to a monastery rather than do compulsory military service. Lobsang, therefore, refused the army training and as a result, he was assigned various menial jobs around the school. Lobsang made no secret of his dislike for those in authority over him, causing many problems with teachers and students alike
In 1944 Lobsang graduated from Lhasa High School as its top student. In 1945, Chinese Communists invaded Tibet and Lobsang left for India as an exile.
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa – Version Two
Lobsang’s birth name is Cyril Henry Hoskin. Lobsang claims that he was born in England on October 10th, 1910 at 6:00 am GMT. Lobsang has stated that his birthplace is 3 Crofton Road, Torquay.
Lobsang’s father was not known to the general public until Lobsang’s third book was published in 1956 after Lobsang had established himself as a lama and writer of popular books about astral travel and Tibetan wisdom. Lobsang wrote that his parents were Charles (Carruthers) Hoskin (1875-1930), an English plumber by trade, and Mary Anne Macdonald (1878-1957).
An article written by The Daily Mail stated that his family believed him to be an epileptic who suffered from frequent blackouts, during which he would go on walkabouts. This claim is substantiated by one of his mentors at the hospital, Dr. Crawford, who also deemed Hoskin as ‘incapable of normal communication’ and described him as ‘insane’.
Hoskin left the hospital and took a job as a gardener at an estate near Swanage where he had spent his childhood years.
Hoskin claimed that his father died in 1930 but his death certificate states that his father died on July 4th, 1947 at a nursing home in Hindhead after being paralyzed for five days from a massive stroke.
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa – Version Three
Lobsang is the pen name of Cyril Henry Hoskin (1910-1981), who spent most of his childhood in England, but during a visit to Tibet as an adult, he was reportedly recognized as a reincarnated lama and became known by the name Tuesday Lobsang Rampa.
Lobsang wrote books about his alleged experiences; however, after it was revealed that Lobsang had never been to Tibet, critics claimed that he fabricated the information in his books based on sources available to him. The controversy surrounding Lobsang’s work has caused debate among supporters and skeptics for over half a century.
Lobsang’s notoriety is arguably due to the embellishments of his stories. He wrote that he was kidnapped at age six by the Mongolian secret service and taken to Lhasa, Tibet where he was recognized as a reincarnated lama.
Lobsang also talks about high technology not known to western society in the 1950s such as Clavilux music, which Lobsang described as “splendid rays of coloured light emanating from a box” (Rampa). Lobsang claimed that he underwent extensive training in the occult arts; however, critics claim that Lobsang used this information to validate claims made by other authors who had written books on similar topics.
The Truth About Tuesday Lobsang Rampa
So who was he really? You will have to make up your own mind but before you do I suggest you hear all sides of the debate. Start with lobsangrampa.org where you will find PDF copies of all 19 of his books and in various languages. You can read them all online or download ebook copies.