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The Way of the White Clouds


Buddhist monastery Thrangu Tashi Yangtse, Nepal near Stupa Namobuddha in the Himalaya mountains

Author: Lama Anagarika Govinda –

Publisher: Ukemi Audiobooks from W. F. Howes Ltd –

Genre: Religion, Travel –

Overall rating: 3/5 –

Writing: 5/5 –

Duration: 13:29h (long) –

Narrator: Seán Barrett –

Narrator/performance: 4/5 –

Impressions: n/a –

Performance errors: 0/5 –

Complexity/reading level: 5/5 –

Audience: General


This book is too long. It begins splendidly and then suddenly falls into oblivion. If it were four times shorter and contained only the first quarter of the book, it would be fantastic. This is my honest opinion.

The main problem with the book is that, at the beginning, the narrator is intriguing and charming. He reaches into an unknown land and takes everything in. He is fascinated by the people and events, and the reader just follows him, for better or worse. By the end of the book, however, he is completely lost in the pursuit after the material culture of Buddhism, together with his wife. Only once he encounters a guru who would not dazzle him with gifts nor accept any treasure. Thirteen hours and only one Buddhist who claimed that he had Buddha in his heart and will not accept devotional gifts. Did the author feel betrayed or perhaps offended? The explanations of his hard feelings felt that day are puzzling. This was by far the most interesting moment of the entire book.

By the end of the book, I was so bored with unconnected stories, anecdotes and lists from the documented temples that I was glad when the book reached its end. And that is where the author put all the important Buddhist dogma – just as a reminder or out of a sense of duty?

Materialism is honestly the main problem whenever the Western world meets Tibetan Buddhism or Buddhism in general. In this book, this element is unbearable, mainly because the author had absolutely no inkling that he is as transparent as clear glass with a lot of cold water in it. The book has historical value, for sure, but other than that, it is too long and is bizarrely crude, focused on objects and strangely nonspiritual.

The Way of the White Clouds audiobook cover

The cover shows what the book delivers – a lot of points of view by the portrayed man.

Cover Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash