The first Tibetan travel Guidebook


A few weeks ago I went to a bookshop in Lhasa. I have bought a book namely Back and Forth of Himalaya in the Tibetan. 

This book was printed on the basis of the teachings from one of the greatest Tibetan masters in the 20th century namely Je Gendun Chopel.

Je Gendun Chopel

Je Gendun Chopel was born in the year 1903 in the Amdo region in eastern Tibet.  He had traveled to central Tibet in the year 1927 to seek higher teachings on Buddhism. 

After spending a few years in the Drepung monastery Gomang college. He debated with many of the great Geshes during that time and won in many of the debate seasons. Some of the monks praise him for his great wisdom and some have also criticized him. 

There is a great story that once when two great masters were looking for Je Gendun Chopel for a debate since they have heard that Je Gendun Chopel is undefeatable in the debate most of the time because of his great wisdom.

When the two great masters arrived at the gate of Je Gendun Chopel's home, they were shocked to see him smoking a cigarette in front of the Buddha's statue. 

Photo: Je Gendun Chopel's photo was newly found in Bhutan in the year 2006

Smoking is inhibited in the principle of Buddhism so they were very happy to see a mistake from him. They thought that they have won the debate even before the debate has started but after debating with him for a few hours, Je Gendun Chopel has logically defeated the two masters in the debate. 

From the above story, we can understand the greatness of Je Gendun Chopel's wisdom.  ( Je meaning lord in Tibetan )

Later Je Gendun Chopel traveled to India with an Indian master namely Rahula ( great Indian Scholar )

Rahula came to Tibet to seek ancient Buddhist scriptures brought to Tibet by the Tibetan ancestors from the 7th century to the 15th century.

One of the most popular Tibetan Masters during 20th Century

Je Gendun Chopel is known as one of the most popular Tibetan masters of the 20th Century. The reason behind this is his modernized thoughts, openness, and daringness of bringing the western idea into the isolated regions for many centuries. 

Photo Notes from Je Gendun Chopel 

The top ten contributions of Je Gendun Chopel

  1. Translating many ancient Indian scriptures into Tibetan including the Hinduism scriptures. 
  2.  Translating the Ramayan, and Bhagavati Gita into Tibetan.
  3. The first Tibetan master to compose the Tibetan version of the Kamasutra sexual book with his own personal practical experience. 
  4. Translating Tibetan scriptures into English.
  5. Composing the white book based on the history of Tibet.
  6. He is also a renowned Tibetan artist. Many of the arts are able to witness near the Jokhang Temple at the Gendun Chopel memorial museum. 
  7. Correcting many Tibetan scriptures. 
  8. Bringing a western idea into Tibet.
  9. Composing many popular Tibetan poems.
  10. The first Tibetan master to have written travel dairy which is the first travel Guidebook for Tibetan pilgrims. 

Proverbs from Je Gendun Chopel

  1. If you explain complicated logic in an easy way, people won't trust you. If you explain easy logic in a complicated way, people will praise you and trust you fully. 
  2. We will always fall into two traps. Excessive belief in what is believable and excessive disbelief in what is not believable, which seems to be the so-called life between the two. If you happen to be a follower of the way of the mind. Trust and doubt will always accompany you on most of your journeys. The Buddha himself encourages doubt, analysis, and careful observation, while the Buddha himself says that only through genuine devotion can the truth be realized. 
  3. A lie becomes a recognized truth, which is part of the cycle of suffering of Samsara. 
  4. I abandoned the act of pleasing others without even having the courage for telling the truth. 
  5. Negating existence is not so difficult but the more difficult is to negate nonexistence. Therefore "non-duality" is a gift brought by Shakyamuni Buddha to the world, this is a priceless gift. 

Photo: The cover of the Back and Forth of Himalaya Book 

Back and forth of Himalaya Book 

After sharing a brief introduction of Je Gendun Chopel. I would like to continue my story from the Tibetan book Back and Forth of Himalaya. 

Back and Forth of Himalaya book shares the contributions of the great Tibetan masters in brief. 

The book is focused on the travel diary of Je Gendun Chopel's travel duration in Tibet, Nepal, and India for 13 years.

The book shares important information about the recognizations of the exact spiritual places before 2400 years old during the time of the founder of Buddhism Shakyamuni Buddha.

Lhasa Gendun Chopel Memorial Museum

A memorial museum was built near the Jhokang Temple on Bhakor street to pay tribute to Je Gendun Chopel. Travelers can travel inside free of charge. Tibet Travelers tour Guide will show you the location of this memorial while traveling in Lhasa.

Photo: Je Gendun Chopel Memorial Museum in Lhasa 

The memorial museum was constructed around a few years ago.  They are three floors to witness the great works of Je Gendun Chopel.


Writing a travel diary is very rare in Tibetan culture. Through this book, we can learn more about the beauties of many other regions in our world. This travel diary is also one of the best travel Guides for Tibetan pilgrims. 

A few of the modern 21st-century popular travel Guidebooks are lonely planet Guidebook and the Footprint. This travel Guidebook shows that the wisdom of Tibetan ancestors was very much ahead since Tibetans have already started writing the Guidebook during the 20th century.

Thank you for reading the first Tibetan travel Guidebook from Je Gendun Chopel. For Tibet travel information or booking a tour to Tibet. Email us at 

Written By :Tenzin

Sep 17, 2018


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