The White Lama Ippolito: An Italian Jesuit in Tibet

Donald S. Lopez

This is the third of final of these lectures in which Prof. Lopez’ research into the forgotten history of Christian-Buddhist relations.

Today Lopez starts by looking at the work of Athanasius Kircher, who characterised Buddhist so-called idolatory as imported from Egypt.

The main subject of the lecture today however is Ippolito Desideri, who was an Italian Jesuit missionary, who worked first in India, and then in Tibet.

He set about learning Tibetan and within a year had written his first book in the language; but he went on in a very short space of time to really master the language, and wrote a huge polemical work planned to refute transmigration and emptiness.

Before it was completed however he was recalled to Rome following a conflict with the Capuchin missionaries in the country, and his work was never published.

The response is by Prof. Leonard van der Kuijp, who once again manages to add information and really add to the discussion opened up by Lopez.


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