main Rampa-page From T.LOBSANG RAMPA's book from 1966:
"THE SAFFRON ROBE"
As for all of his books - he claims they are absolutely true -
and the people who KNOWS IN THEMSELVES - can recognise the wisdom…
some wordmistakes may be - the text is scanned. Headlines added.
THIS book is the personal story of Lobsang Rampa's boyhood at the great lamasery of Potala - in Tibet. It also covers some of the theme OUT OF THE BODY TRAVELS (20y before it was heard of in the west) - here triggered from crystals - and wisdom from his Guide, the Lama Mingyar Dondup.
OUT OF THE BODY TRAVELS is today wellknown ideas for the spiritual seeker also here in the west - but it has been known i the east for thousands of years - and here fellows a extract from page 92. Here he tells of how he was helped out of the coarcebody and experienced travels through the astral - body. He tells here how he as a young boy witnessed how some initiated lamas together worked through a big crystalball - where they focused their strong mental abilities into - and Lobsang observed this from outside before he was invited to go with them. He was meditating hidden behind a big buddhastauue in this temple - and had fallen in sleep when he suddenly woke up and saw this ritual.
Some part of this ritual was evidently done in the pupose of helping mental prisonered "death" people in their state of confusion.
Remember also that it was the TIBETAN BOOK OF DEATH that the today wellknown Raymond Moody used as a reference in his "early books".
CRYSTALS AND OUT OF THE BODY TRAVELLINGS....
So - here the young Rampa in the temple:
….tonight there was no moon to compete with and swamp the feeble starlight.
On the walls the shadows leaped and postured, now being of giant figures stretching to the roof, now squat dwarfs scrabbling on the floor. Off to the side near me a butter lamp was damaged. From its battered bottom there came a 'gluck - gluck' as melted butter seeped out, then a 4splatt!' as the congealing liquid spattered on the floor. Against a distant wall by the side of a window a tanka fluttered as almost as though it were a moth straining to reach the ffickering flames. It dattered slightly as it bulged away from the wall, vibrated, and then sank back as exhausted, only to repeat again and again. For a moment I had what was almost an attack of vertigo; I had awakened suddenly from sleep, and now as I looked about, the shadows moving and writhing and twisting, and the different cadences of the voices at the other side of the Sacred Figure, it rather bemused me. I looked up, up at the back of the head of the great figure behind which I crouched.
- For a moment I felt panic, the figure was toppling, toppling, it was going to fall on me and crush me. The out - lines wavered, and I got ready to throw myself sideways hampered as I was by my damaged legs. But suddenly - I almost laughed out loud - it was the illusion of life through the flickering of the shadows.
By now the pain had somewhat subsided. I got on my hands and knees and softly crept around the edge of the figure, so that I could peer into this, one of the inner of the temples. I had never seen a service in this temple before, we boys were rigidly excluded, for us it was the main temple, or one of the more common of the minor temples,' but this, hollowed in the rock far beneath the man - made structure, I wondered what it was, what they were doing here. Cautiously, pulling my robe around my waist so that I should not trip over it, I edged forward and peered round the corner.
This was interesting, I thought. In front of me in a circle were nine lamas all in their saffron robes, all with their heads facing the centre of the circle, and in the centre upon an ornately carved stand was Something -Something which I could not clearly distinguish. There seemed to be something, and yet there seemed to be nothing there. I shivered, and the shaven hair of my head stood rigidly erect like guards on parade, for the chill fingers of fear had reached out and touched me, stimulating me so that I was ready to flee. I thought that on that carved stand stood a creature from the shadow world, a creature which had no real existence in this, our world, and hardly any existence in the other world from whence it came. I stared and stared.
It seemed to be a globe of something, or a globe of nothing; it seemed to be almost without form, and yet what form there was rippled! I wish I could go closer, and peer over the head of one of the seated lamas, but that would be sure detection. So I sat back, and rubbed my hands into my eyes trying to wipe away sleep, trying to make them more alert, trying to make them see better in this haze and gloom. Satisfied that I had done as much as I could to my eyes, I crouched forward again on hands and knees, and stared, shifting my position slightly to get a better view between the shoulders of two lamas.
I saw - it occurred to me suddenly - that this was an enormous rock crystal, flawless, perfect. It reposed upon its carved stand and commanded the attention of the lamas who sat almost in devotion before it. They eyed it intently, and yet not so intently as to engage their physical eyes, but instead it seemed to be a use of the third eye. Well, I thought - I, too, am clairvoyant. So I stared no more with my eyes, instead, I let my clairvoyant faculties come into play, and in the crystal I saw colours, swirls, whorls) and a smoky turbulence. Amazingly, frighteningly, I seemed to be falling, falling from an, immense height, falling from the top of the world down into an abyss. But, no, it was not an abyss; instead, a world was stretching out in front of me, a world where there were different colours, different standards. I saw as from slight eminence people wandering about full of misery, full of sadness; some were full of pain. They were lost souls, souls without guidance, souls pondering on a method of release from their worries.
As I sat there entranced, as though I were on the sunlit plane of a different world, the chants of the lamas droned 'on. Every so often one would reach out a hand and ring a silver bell, another opposite would do the same with a different tone of bell. And so they would go on with thejr chants, their music sliding up and down the scale, not in notes staccato as in other parts of the world, but here a glissade of notes, sliding one into the other, merging into chords which echoed from the Walls and reverberated and made chords of their own.
The leader of the lama group clapped his hands, the one next to him rang a bell, and the third of the group lifted up his voice in a ritualistic chant 'Oh hear the voices of our souls.' And so they went on from one to the other repeating the age - old stanzas, first one at a time, then in unison, the cadence of their voices rising and falling, rising and falling, lifting me out of time, out of myself.
Then came the whole set of prayers of this group:
Oh! Listen to the Voices of our Souls,
All you who cower in the wilderess, unprotected.
Listen to the Voices of our Souls
That we may protect the unprotected
As the First Stick of Incense is lit and the smoke rises upwards
Let your Soul and your Faith rise also, That you may be Protected.
Oh! Listen to the Voices of our Souls,
All you who cringe with fear in the night. Listen to the Voices of our Souls
For we will be as a lantern glowing in the darkness That we may guide benighted wayfarers.
As the Second Stick of Incense is lit and glows with life Let your Soul Perceive the Light we shine that you may be guided.
Oh! Listen to the Voices of our Souls,
All you who are stranded at the Gulf of Ignorance. Listen to the Voices of our Souls
Our help shall be as a bridge to cross the chasm, To assist you farther on, the Path.
As the Third Stick of Incense is lit and the smoke 'trails Let your Soul step forth bravely into Light.
Oh! Listen to the Voices of our Souls,
All you who are faint with the weariness of Life. Listen to the Voices of our Souls
For we bring you Rest that rested your Soul shall sally forth anew
As the Fourth Stick of Incense is lit and the smoke idly drifts - We bring Rest that, refreshed, you may rise renewed.
Oh! Listen to the Voices of our Souls, All you who scoff at Holy Words.
Listen to the Voices of our Souls.
We bring you Peace! That you may dwell upon Immortal Truths.
As the Ftfth Stick of Incense is lit to bring fragrance to Life,
Open your mind that you may KNOW!
The sound of the chanting died away. A lama raised his bell and tinkled it softly; others picked up their bells and tinkled them. First they all rang separately, and then, according to some pre - arranged pattern, they all rang out together, forming a special tonal scheme which echoed and reverberated, and varied in pitch and intensity. The lamas continued their deep droning, repeating again 'Oh! listen to the Voices of our Souls,' ringing their bells, droning on The effect was hypnotic, mystical.
I continued to look at the people about me - - or were they about me? Was I in some other world? Or was I looking in a crystal? My strong impression was that I was m another world where ,the grass was greener, where the sky was bluer, where everything stood out in sharp, vivid contrast. There was the green sward beneath my feet - good gracious, I could feel it with my bare toes! I could feel moisture seeping through my robe where my knees were in contact. My hands, too, as I gently scuffed them seemed to feel grass and perhaps here and there a stone or - two. I looked about me with avid interest. There were great boulders in the foreground, of a greenish stone, here and there streaked with white veins. Other boulders were of different colours; one to which I was particularly attracted was of a reddish hue, reddish with milk - white strands running through it. But what impressed me most was the manner in which everything stood out with stark reality, the manner in which everything looked more normal than normal, with brighter colours, with sharper outlines.
There was a gentle breeze blowing, I could feel it above my left cheek. It was rather astonishing because it bore upon it strange scents, exotic odours. Some distance away I saw something that looked like a bee. It was buzzing along, and' it landed and entered the trumpet of a little flower growing in the grass. All this I saw without consciously being aware of the passage of time, but then I became alarmed, wary, for there was a whole group of people coming my way. I looked at them and I was powerless to move; they were coming towards me and I was more or less in their path. Here, as I looked at them, I sensed something very much amiss. Some of the people were old people who leaned upon sticks and who hobbled along bare - footed, clad in tattered rags. Others were obviously men of wealth, but not with the general air of well - being which affluence usually brings, for one thing stood out particularly about these men and women they were miserable, frightened, the slightest movement made them jump and clasp their hands across their breasts. They looked nervously about them, and not one seemed to be aware of his neighbour, they seemed to feel that they were alone, forgotten, desolate, and abandoned in some alien world.
They came on, each one an individual aware only of his own existence, and yet they came in a group, no one touching the other, no one aware of the presence of another. They came on lured by the voices which I, too, could hear: 'Oh! Listen to the Voices of our Souls all you who wander unguided.' The chant and the droning went on and the people came on also, and as they came to a certain spot - I could not see what actually was happening - - - each face lit up with a sort of unearthly joy, each person stood more erect as if he or she had received an assurance and felt the better therefore. They moved along out of my sight. Suddenly there was a clash of bells in dissonance, and I felt a violent jerk within me as if someone was reeling me in, as if I was a kite at the end of a string being drawn in against a gale which tried to loft it farther.
As I looked out upon that strange landscape I had the impression that night was falling, for the sky was darkening and the colours were becoming less distinguishable. Things seemed to be shrinking. Shnking? How could they shrink? But undoubtedly they were shrinking, and not only were they becoming smaller but a fog like the clouds above was beginning to cover the face of that world, and as my horrified gaze took in the scene getting smaller and smaller the fog changed into black thunder clouds shot with lightning.
The world was getting smaller and smaller, and I was rising upwards and upwards. As I looked down I could see it rotating beneath my feet, and then I decided of course it was not rotating beneath my feet because I was on my hands and knees in the temple. Or where was I? I was confused and dazed, and then once again came that sharp, terrific jerk, a jerk which nearly spun my brain out of my head.
Quite dizzy for the moment, I raised my hand to rub my eyes. And then I gazed again, and I saw before me that the crystal was a crystal once again, no longer a world, just a crystal lying dull and lifeless with no point of light within it. It stood upon its carved base as though it were a stone, or an idol, or anything, not as the most wonderful instrument of wonderful experiences. Slowly a lama rose to his feet and took from the base a cloth - - - it looked like black velvet. Reverently he unfolded the cloth and draped it over the crystal and then tucked it in. He bowed three times in the direction of the crystal, and turned away to resume his seat. As he did so his astonished gaze fell on me. For some seconds there was a stunned, shocked silence; time itself seemed to have been paralysed. I could just hear my heart give one loud 'thump!' and then no more. There was an impression that the whole of nature, the whole of time, was listening in hushed suspense to see what would happen next.
There was a mutter between the lamas. The one nearest me stood up and towered over me. He was the biggest of the lot, but to my terrified eyes he looked bigger than the Potala itself. He towered over me and started to speak, but then another lama recognised me. 'It is Mingyar's boy, Lobsang,' he said, rather relieved, 'this is our most telepathic boy. Bring him here.' The giant lama reached down and put his hands beneath my arms and lifted me up, for, being told that I was 'Mingyar's boy' had given him the knowledge that I could not easily walk, and so he saved time that trouble. He carried me into the circle of lamas, each one looking at me as if they were going to peer into my soul, as if they were going to peer through my soul, beyond, and into other realms leading to the Overself.
I was in a considerable state offright because I did not know that I had done anything particularly wrong. I had chosen this particular temple because some of the others were always thronged by small boys who were not seriously interested in meditation. I was. But what was that?
'Lobsang!' said a small, wizened lama. 'What were you doing here?' 'Honourable Master,' was my reply, 'it has long been my habit to come to the minor temples for private meditation, and I sit behind one of the Sacred Figures where I cannot disturb anyone else who is meditating. I had no thought of intruding upon your service, in fact I looked rather shamefaced - - - ' I fell asleep, and I was only awakened when I heard your service about to start.' Off to the left the leaking butter lamp had ceased its 'splat! splat!' and suddenly there came a short hiss as the floating wick, now deprived of liquid butter expired and was extinguished against the metal. For seconds it smouldered red, and then there was the acrid) rancid smell of charring wick. From outside our circle came a familiar 'Mrrow! Mmrrow!' Friend Cat importantly pushed his way between two lamas, walked to me with tail erect and butted me in friendship. I reached out a trembling hand and riffled my fingers through his fur. He turned to me, gave another butt, and said 'Aarrah!' and sedately stalked off, pushing his way between two more lamas. The lamas looked at each other, and a faint smile played about their lips. 'So, our guardian here knows you well, Lobsang! He spoke well for you, too, he assured you of his devotion and told us that you had spoken the truth.'
For a few moments there was silence. One of the younger lamas turned his head and saw the cat haughtily stalling away. He chuckled and turned back to the group. The old, wizened lama, who seemed to be very much the senior, and who was in charge of the service, looked at me then turned to each of his fellows, remarking, 'Yes, I remember; this is the boy who has to have special instruction. We were waiting for the return of his Guide before summoning him here, but as he is here let us test his experience and his capabilities so that we may assess him without the influence of his powerful Guide.' There was a murmured agreement, and low - voiced suggestions which I was far too confused to follow. These were the high telepathic lamas, the high clairvoyants, the ones who helped others, and now I was sitting with them, sitting shivering with fright, it is true, but still sitting with them. One of them turned to me and said, 'Lobsang, we have heard so much about you, about your iniate powers, about your possibilities, and about your future. In fact, it is we who investigated the Record of Probabilities to see what would happen in your case. Now, are you willing to undergo some ordeal in order that we may determine the extent of your powers? We want to take you for a walk in the astral, and in the world below the astral, we want to take you as a ghost through our Potala.'
I looked at him dubiously. Take? How did they think I could walk? I could hobble about the corridors, but my legs were not yet healed enough to enable me to walk with any degree of confidence.
I hesitated, thought about it, and twisted the hem of my robe. Then I replied, 'Honourable Masters! I am very much in your power, but I have to say that I am not able to walk much because of my accidents; but, as a good monk should, I place myself at your disposal hoping that my Guide, the Lama Mingyar Dondup, would approve of my decision.' No one laughed, or even smiled, at what must have sounded to be a very pompous statement, for I was young and inexperienced, and after all I was doing my best and who can do more than one's best. 'Lobsang, we want you to lie prone, we have to have you prone because your legs will not permit you to be in the orthodox position. Therefore it is you must lie prone.' The old lama carefully took a seat - cushion and placed it beneath my head, then he placed my hands with fingers clasped so that my two hands with fingers entwined were between the end of the breastbone and the umbilicus. Then they rearranged themselves; they shifted the crystal to one side, reverently placing it in a place that I had not previously noticed, in the base of a Sacred Figure. They sat about me so that my head was in the exact centre of the circle. One lama broke away from the group, and returned with sticks of incense and a small brazier. I almost disgraced myself by sneezing as a trailing cloud of smoke crossed my face and made my nostrils itch.
Strangely, my eyes were getting heavy. I had a sense of increasing lassitude; but the lamas were not looking at me, they were looking at a point far above me. I forced open my eyes, and I could see under their chins, I could see up into their nostrils, their heads were so far tilted that I could not distinguish their eyes. No, they were not looking at me, they were looking - - Where?
The incense smouldered on making a small sizzling noise which I had not noticed before. Suddenly I clutched my hands even more tightly because the whole building seemed to be rocking. I had heard of earthquakes, and I thought that suddenly we of the Potala were being afflicted with an earthquake. Panic welled up within me and by great effort I managed to suppress it, thinking that it would be a disgrace to my Guide if I scrambled to my feet and scuttled out of the temple while the lamas sat placidly on.
The swaying continued, and for a moment I felt almost sick. For a moment I felt that I was drifting up, I found that one of the beams of the roof was a few inches from my hand. Idly I put out my hand to ward myself off; and to my terror my hand went right through the beam, not even disturbing the dust which lay upon its surface.
With the terror of that experience, I sank down rapidly and landed on my feet by the side of a Sacred Figure. Quickly I put out my hand to steady myself knowing that my legs would not support me. But again, my hands went right through the Sacred Figure, and my legs felt firm and strong, I had no pain, no discomfort. I turned quickly the group of lamas was still there. But, no! One was absent. He was, I perceived, standing beside me and his hand was about to touch my elbow. He appeared bright, he appeared rather larger than the others, and when I looked at the Sacred Figure I found that I, too, was a bit larger than was my normal state. Again, a great knot of fear seemed to be inside me and my stomach churned with fright. But the lama took my elbow, reassuring me with, 'It is all right, Lobsang, there is nothing for you to fear. Come with me.' He led the way with his hand on my right elbow.
Carefully we skirted the lamas still sitting in a circle. I looked, and I looked in the centre of the circle, but my body was not there, there was nothing there. Carefully I felt myself and I felt solid. Surreptitiously I reached out and touched the lama beside me, and he was solid too. He saw my gesture and laughed and laughed. 'Lobsang! Lobsang! You are now in a different state complete with your body. Only those with the greatest occult ability, inborn ability, can do such a thing as that. But come with me.'
We walked on to the side of the temple, and the wall came closer and closer. I withdrew from his grasp and tried to turn aside, exclaiming, 'No. We shall hurt ourselves unless we stop. This wall is solid!' The lama regained his grip on me, and commanded, 'Come along! When you have more experience you will discover how simple this is!' He moved behind me and put his hands between my shoulder blades. The wall loomed ahead, a solid wall of grey stone. He pushed, and truly the most remarkable sensation of my life came upon me as I entered the stone of the wall. It seemed as if my whole body was tingling, it seemed as if millions - - billions of bubbles were bouncing against me, not impeding me, just tickling me, just making my hair stand on end, just making me itch pleasantly. I seemed to be moving without any difficulty whatever, and as I looked I had the impression that I was moving through a dust storm, but the dust was not hurting me, it was not troubling my eyes at all, and I put out my hands and I tried to grasp some of the dust. But it went through me - - or I went through it, I do not know which is correct. The lama behind me chuckled and pushed a little harder, and I broke right the way through the wall and into the corridor beyond. An old man was coming down carrying a butter lamp in each hand, and carrying something pressed between his left elbow and his body. I tried to avoid contact with him, but it was too late. Immediately I was set to apologise for my clumsiness, but the old man went on; he had walked through me, or I had walked through him, and neither of us was aware of the contact, neither had the slightest impression that we had just walked through another human.
With the lama guiding me, we moved through the building, never intruding upon the privacy of others alone in their rooms, but instead visiting storerooms and - a rather caustic comment or gesture on the part of the lama who knew me so well - we visited the kitchen!
The old cook - monk was there resting against a great leather container of barley. He was scratching at himself and picking at his teeth with a piece of stalk from some - where; every so often he would turn and spit in the corner, and then get back to his scratching and his tooth - picking. Eventually, as we stood watching him, he turned around, gave a hearty sigh, and said, 'Ai! Ai! Time again to prepare food, I suppose. Oh! What a life this is; tsampa, tsampa, and yet more tsampa, and all these hungry people to fill!'
We moved on and on through the building. My legs did not trouble me at all, in fact, to be truthful about it, I did not even think about my legs, f6r there was no reason that I should - they did not disturb me. We were careful, very careful, not to invade the privacy of another person. We turned the corridors as much as we could so as not to enter any individual living space. We came, deep down, into the storerooms. Outside there was my old friend, Honourable Puss Puss, lying stretched out full length on his side, twitching slightly. His whiskers were quivering and his ears were flat upon his head. We were approaching soundlessly, we thought, but suddenly he awoke to full alertness and sprang to his feet bristling~an4 with bared fangs. But then his eyes went crossed as he looked at the astral plane (as all cats can), and he started to purr as he recognised me. I tried to pat him, but of course my hand went right Through him, a most remarkable experience, for I often patted old Honourable Puss Puss and never before had my hand gone inside. He seemed as amused as I was distressed, but he just gave a butt at me, which went through me to his surprise this time, and then he dismissed the whole thing from his mind, lay down, and went to sleep again.
For long we wandered through solid wall8, rising up through floors, and then at last the lama said, 'Down again, let us go down, for we have journeyed far enough on this occasion.' He took my arm, and we sank down through a floor, appearing from the ceiling beneath, and through another floor, until we came to the corridor off which the temple lay. Once again we approached the wall, but this time I had no hesitation, I walked through it, rather revelling in the strange sensation of all those bubbles coming, all that pleasant tickling. Inside, the lamas were still in their circle, and my lama - the one who was holding my arm - told me that I should lie down in the position I originally occupied. I did so, and on the instant sleep came upon me.
Somewhere a bell was tolling. Muted at first by distance, it rapidly grew in volume. CLANG! CLANG! it went Strange, I thought, a BELL? Good gracious, it is tolling in time with my heartbeat. For a moment panic threatened to overwhelm me; had I overslept and been late for Temple service? Blearily I opened my eyes and tried to see where I was. This was STRANGE! I could not focus. All I could discern was nine horrible white blobs stuck on the top of saffron streaks. My brain creaked with the effort of thought. Where was I? What happened? Had I fallen off a roof or something? Drearily I became aware that there were various aches and pains surging back into my consciousness.
Ah, yes! It all came back with a rush, and with the knowledge came the ability to focus my eyes and see what was before me. I was lying on my back on the cold cold stone floor. My bowl had somehow slipped from front to back in my robe and was now supporting my weight between my shoulder blades. My barley bag - of hard leather - had worked down and was almost breaking my left ribs. Touchily I moved and stared up at the nine lamas sitting watching me. They were the horrible white blobs stuck on saffron streaks! I hoped that they did not know what I had thought.
'Yes, Lobsang, we DO know!' smiled one, your telepathic thoughts were very clear on the subject. But rise slowly. You have done well and fully justified your Guide remarks.' Gingerly I sat up, receiving a hearty butt in the back and a roaring purr as I did so. The old cat came round to face me and touched my hand as a sign that he wanted his flir ruffled. Idly I did so as I collected my scattered wits and wondered what would happen next. 'Well, Lob - sang, that was a good experience of getting out of the body',' said the lama who had accompanied me. 'We must try it often so that you can get out of your body as easily as shrugging off your robe.' 'But, Honourable Lama,' I said in some conflision, 'I did NOT leave my body - I took it with me!' The lama - guide's jaw dropped in astonishanent. 'What DO you mean ?' he exclaimed. 'You travelled in spirit with me.' 'Honourable Lama,' was my rejoinder 'I looked specially, and my body was not on the floo?, so I must have taken it with me.'
The old, wizened lama, the smallest of the nine, smiled and said, 'You are making a common mistake, Lobsang, for you are still bemused by the senses.' I looked at him and quite honestly I did not know what he was talking about, it seemed to me that he had taken leave of ins senses, for, I thought, surely I should know if I saw my own body or not, and ff1 did not see my body then it must not have been there. I suppose they must have seen by my sceptical glance that I was not taking in what they were saying, what they were implying, because one of the other lamas motioned for me to pay attention. 'I am going to give you my version of it, Lobsang,' said this other lama, 'and I want you to pay close attention, for what I have to say is elementary yet it is a matter which puzzles a lot of people. You were lying on the floor, and as this was your first conscious time of astral travelling we.helped you, we helped ease your astral form out of your physical form, and because it was done by us who have a lifetime of experience you did not feel any jolt, or any disturbance. Wherefore it is clear that you had no idea that you were out of the body.' I looked at him, and thought about it. Ithought, yes, that is right) I had no idea that I was out of the body, no one had said that I was going to be out of the body, so if they hadn't told me what to expect how could I have a feeling of leaving the body? But, then, it all came back to me that I had looked down and I had not seen my body lying on the floor as surely I should have done unless I was still in the body. I shook my head as if to shake the cobwebs loose; I felt that all this was getting too deep for me. I was out of the body, yet my body wasn't there, so if it wasn't there where was it, and why hadn't I seen it lying about somewhere? Just then the old cat gave me another butt and started knitting, bumping up and down on my lap, sinking his claws into my robe, and purring louder and louder reminding me that I must stay aware of his presence also. The lama who had been speaking laughed as he remarked, 'There! Old cat is telling you to scrape your brains clear so that you may perceive!'
I spread my fingers and raked the cat's back. His purrs increased in volume, then suddenly he just flopped at length. He was a big old thing, his head was sticking over one side of my lap and his legs were protruding over the other side, with his tail stretched straight out on the floor. These cats grew larger than the average sort of cat, they were normally fierce, but our temple cats all seemed to recognise me as a brother or something, because certainly I was as popular with them as they were with me.
The lama who had been speaking to me before turned to me saying, 'Leave him be, he can rest on you while we talk to you. Perhaps he will give you a good dig every so often to remind you to pay attention. Now! People see what they expect to see. Often they do not see that which is most obvious. For instance,' he looked hard at me as he said this, 'how many cleaners were there in the corridor as you came along? Who was that man sweeping in the barley store? And if the Lord Abbot had sent for you and asked you to tell him if you had seen anyone in the inner corridor, what would you have told him?' He paused for a moment to see if I was going to make any remark, and as I stared at him - open - mouthed, I am afraid - he continued, 'You would have said you saw no one in the inne~ corridor because the person who was in the inner corridor was a person who has every right to be there, who is always there, and who would be so correct in that corridor that you would not even notice him. So - you would say you saw no one in that corridor.'
Another lama broke in, nodding his head wisely as he added his piece: 'The proctors often have some difficulty when they are carrying out an investigation; they may ask if there were any strangers, or if anyone had been in a certain building, and invariably a custodian of the building would say that, no, no one had been in. And yet there 'night have been a procession of people, there would be proctors passing, there Would be perhaps a lama or two, and there might even be a messenger from another lamasery. But because these people were so common - that is, because it was so usual for them to be in the vicinity - their passage would pass unnoticed, and as far as being observed, they might just as well be invisible.'
One who had not yet spoken nodded his head, 'Yes, that is so. Now I ask you, Lobsang, how many times you have been in this temple? And yet by your look quite recently you had not even seen the stand upon which we rested the crystal. That stand has been here for about two hundred years, it has not been out of this temple, and yet you looked at it as if you were seeing it for the first time. It was here before, but it was commonplace to you, therefore it was invisible.'
The lama who had been with me on my astral trip through the Potala smiled as he continued: ~ You, Lobsang, had no idea of what was happening, you did not know you were going to be out of the body, therefore, you were not prepared to see your body. Thus, when you looked, you looked at lamas sitting in a circle, and your attention carefi4iy avoided your own body. We get the same thing in hypnotism; we can hypnotise a person to believe that he is completely alone in a room, and then that person in a state of hypnosis will look everywhere in a room except at the person who shares the room with him, and the hypnotised person, on being awakened, would take an oath to the effect that he had been alone. In the same way, you careflilly avoided looking at where your body was in plain view. Instead, you looked around the perimeter of the circle, you looked around the temple avoiding the one spot that you thought you wanted to see.'
It really made me think; I had heard something like that before. I had once seen an old monk who had had a bad attack of migraine. As he had explained it to me after - wards, things at which he looked were not there, if he looked at a thing in front of him he could only see things at the side, but if he looked towards the side he could see things in front of him. He told me it was like looking through a pair of tubes placed over his eyes, so that in effect he was as one wearing blinkers.
A lama - I did not know one from the other then said, 'The obvious often 'night be invisible because the more common an object, the more familiar an object, the less noticeable it becomes. Take the man who brings barley:
You see him every day, and yet you do not see him. He is a familiar figure that had I asked you who came along here this morning you would say, no one, because you would not regard the barley - carrier as a person but just as something that always did a certain ting at a specified time.
It seemed most remarkable to me that I should be lying on the ground, but then be unable to see my own body. However, I had heard so much about hypnotism and astral travelling that I was quite able to accept their explanation.
The old, wizened lama smiled at me as he remarked, 'We shall soon have to give you more specific instruction so that you can leave your body easily at any time. Like everyone else, you have been doing astral travelling every night, travelling off to distant places and then forgetting about it. But we want to show you how easy it is for you to get out of your body at any time at all, and go on an astral journey, and then return to your body retaining the full knowledge of all that you have seen, all that you have done. If you can do that you can travel to the great cities of the world and you will not be isolated here in Tibet but can acquire a knowledge of all cultures.'
I thought about that. I had wondered often how some of our higher lamas seemed to have all - knowledge, they seemed to be Beings apart, being remote from the pettiness of everyday life, being able to say what was happening at any moment in any part of our country - I remembered on one occasion I with my Guide had called upon an old, old man. I had been presented to him, and we had been talking, or rather my Guide and he had been talking and I had been respectfully listening. Suddenly the old man had held up his hand, saying, 'I am called!' Then he had withdrawn, the light seemed to go out from his body. He sat there immobile, looking like a man dead, looking like an empty shell. My Guide sat quite still, and motioned for me also to be still and quiet. We sat together with our hands clasped in our laps, we sat without speaking, without moving. I watched what appeared to be the empty figure with vast interest: for perhaps ten, perhaps twenty minutes - it was difficult to gauge time under those circumstance nothing happened. Then there was the colour of animation retuing to the old an. Eventually he stirred and opened his eyes, and then - I shall never forget - he told my guide exactly what was happening in Shigatse….
Link to part 2