David-Neel, Alexandra (1868–1969)
French traveler, author, and Tibetan scholar. Born in the
Paris suburb of Saint-Mandé on October 24, 1868, Alexandra
David-Neel had a lonely childhood and spent much of her time
reading about Eastern religions and philosophy. David-Neel
was a practicing Buddhist and the first European woman to
enter the forbidden city of Lhasa in Tibet. She spent 14 years
in Tibet, living simply and studying Tibetan religion and occultism.
Her two major books, translated into English as Magic
and Mystery in Tibet and Initiations and Initiates in Tibet, are accounts
of her first-hand observation of Tibetan occult and religious
feats and have been frequently reprinted.
David-Neel received many honors for her books, including
the gold medal of the Geographical Society of Paris, the French
Legion of Honor, the Insigne of the Chinese Order of the Brilliant
Star, and the silver medal of the Royal Belgian Geographical
Society. She has also been the subject of several biographies
since her death on September 8, 1969, in Pigne, France.
Sources
David-Neel, Alexandra. Buddhism Its Doctrines and Its Methods.
New York St. Martin’s, 1939. Reprint, London Bodley
Head, 1977.
———. Initiations and Initiates in Tibet. London, 1932. Reprint,
New Hyde Park, N.Y. University Books, 1959.
———. Magic and Mystery in Tibet. Rev. ed., New Hyde Park,
N.Y. University Books, 1956. Reprint, New York Dover Publications,
1971.
———. My Journey to Lhasa. New York Harper & Brothers,
1927.
———. The Secret Oral Tradition in Tibetan Buddhist Sects. San
Francisco City Lights, 1964. Reprint, Calcutta Maha Bodhi
Society of India, 1971.
Foster, Barbara M., and Michael Foster. Forbidden Journey
The Life of Alexandra David-Neel. New York Harper and Row,