"We are traveling on the same path!"

Vajrabodhi with Lama Govinda at Almora
Kasir Devi Ashram, Himalays

My Guru: The Lama

We first met The Lama in 1968 in Marin County with his desciple Vajrabodhi (Neville-Pemchekov-Warwick). The Lama had established an American branch of the Arya Maitreya Mandala in San Francisco and we were one of his first U.S. students.

The Lama initated us into the Yogacara sect, along with a suitable mantra for each of us. Later the Lama moved to Mill Valley due to ill health after spending decades in India. In 1980 the Lama came to Mill Valley for treatment and I helped care for him and his wife Li Gotami. He remained there until his death in 1985 at the age of 87.

The Lama described himself as a homeless pilgrim:

"When I chose the way of a lone and homeless pilgrim I did so in the conscious pursuance of an aim that allowed me neither to make myself 'at home' in the security of a monastic community nor in the comforts of a householder's life. Mine was the way of the Siddhas: the way of individual experience and responsibility, inspired and supported by the living contact between Guru and Chela through the direct transference of power in the act of initiation" (Govinda 150).

The direct transference of power is a spiritual initiation and practice that is essentially independent of any established institutions, in reality most of us are spiritual pilgrims if not householder Bodhisattvas. Working and learning through multi-dimensional conciousness, step by step-unfolding of the full potential powers of creative thought, intelligence, and inner intuition as artists, scientists and explorers - we have become our own teacher, master, guru, and lama.

Lama Govinda relates a meeting with an old lama in a small temple in Tibet:

"You are a lama," the old man suddenly said to me, speaking in Tibetan, as if thinking aloud, "but not from this part of the country. Are you able to read our scriptures?"

"Certainly I am." I replied in Tibetan.

"Then read what is written here" - and he pulled out a manuscript hidden behind one of the prayer cylinders.

I read in Tibetan: "I will act for the good and the welfare of all living beings, whose number is infinite, so that, by following the path of compassion, I may attain perfect enlightenment."

The old lama's face lit up and he looked me straight in the eye exclaiming as he grasped both of my hands like one who has found a long-lost brother, "We are traveling on the same path!"

Work cited:

'Way of the White Clouds'
by Lama Govinda
Shambhala, 1970
P. 234

Further reading:

'Pilgrim of the Clear Light - The Biography of Dr. Walter Y. Evans-Wentz'
by Ken Winkler
Booksmango, 2013



Lama Govinda