Although I don’t consider myself to be a Buddhist, Buddhism will always hold a significant place in my life. I don’t consider myself to be anything really because I don’t feel like my spirit needs a label or definition, but it was Buddhism that revived my interest in anything spiritual. Actually, it was a very personally significant dream visit from the Buddha (or more accurately a dream conversation with his urn and ashes) when I was 25 or so that began to change my worldview and started me down a new path. Before then, I was stuck in the rational scientific materialist trap, I guess. Not that I don’t appreciate science or rationality, but that definitely isn’t the whole picture.
Anyway, I meant to talk about The White Lama…
Tibetan Buddhism is especially interesting, because it is a sort of blending of the native Tibetan shamanism and the Buddhist teachings that were brought from India to Tibet by Padmasambhava. Although it happens much later than that initial introduction, that is the background for The White Lama, which takes place in late 19th century Tibet.
The White Lama is about an orphan boy named Gabriel who is the reincarnation of the Grand Lama Mipam. Gabriel’s European explorer parents are killed very early in the story, and he is raised by Tibetan locals who train him spiritually and physically in their traditions. I don’t want to go too deeply into the story but it is all about Gabriel’s spiritual journey, his struggle to realize his destiny, an exploration of Tibetan culture, and the impact of colonialism and conquest on that culture and the people.
I really only picked up this book because it was written by Alexandro Jodorowsky, and I didn’t quite know what to expect. I was familiar with some of Jodorowsky’s other comic work, like The Metabarons, so I was pretty sure it’d be a good story… but its become a favorite of mine. The artwork is also impeccable, being illustrated by talented George Bess.
Again, not necessarily a horror comic recommendation for this Halloween season (although there are a whole lot of horrible things that happen), but lots ‘o supernatural goodness going on in The White Lama!