One of the most interesting and controversial of the 20th century’s messengers Tuesday Lobsang Rampa’s seminal work The Third Eye has provoked strong reactions, both good and bad, since it was first published in 1956. It continues to divides opinion and fuels vigorous debate even now nearly 60 years later.
The book was titled The Third Eye and was purported to have been written by a Tibetean monk named Tuesday Lobsang Rampa; in it he gave an account of his upbringing and studies as a Monk in Lhasa, Tibet.
It sold over 300,000 copies in it’s first 18 months of publication and went through nine hardback printings in the UK alone- [Cit 1]
Since then it has sold many millions around the globe and is regarded in some ways as the single most influential book on how the West percieves Tibet and Tibetean life.. it is also credited with sparking the West’s interest Tibetean religions and practices especially those in close alignment with the New Age, New Thought movements of the early 20th century.
After the book’s publication and worldwide success the interest in finding out more about it’s author and his credibility reached fever pitch in the UK with leading tabloids offering rewards and information, and requests from academics to interview this monk from Tibet.
Eventually a private detective tracked him down to Ireland and revealed that he was not in fact a Tibetean monk but a middle aged Englishman named Cyril Henry Hoskin a plumber from Devon who had in fact never been to Tibet.
The next day’s headlines declared the book and it’s author to be a hoax and that none of the events in the book could be verified. Even the Dalai Lama got involved when he denied any knowledge of Rampa or his family. He did however acknowledge the positive interest that the book brought to Tibet and the Tibetean freedom cause.
Hoskin’s didn’t deny he was indeed born in England not Tibet and that he had changed his name to Lobsang Rampa. He explained that he had voluntarily allowed the monk to incarnate into his body in order that he could continue his teachings in the West. Everything that he wrote was written by the reincarnated Tibetean monk Lobsang Rampa not by The English plumber Cyril Hoskin. Of course today we would call this form of communication “Channeling” but in Cyril’s day he was ridiculed and exposed as a fraud and a liar. His books kept on selling though and he went on to write another as the channeled Lobsang.
Not once throughout the rest of his life did Lobsang change his story and he insisted up to his death that every word he wrote was true..
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa went on to write another 18 books and he died peacefully in Canada in 1981 having been driven out of Britain by the national press.
Although it is easy to dismiss Lobsang’s works as fraud it is undeniable that if his intention was to focus the world’s attention and love onto his beloved Tibet then he has succeeded admirably and I for one am one of the many who have light my candle from his flame..