Between Esoteric Practice and Scholarly Research : Alexandra David-Neel and her Impact in Czech Oriental Studies
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|The paper explores the impact of a French traveler and writer Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969) on the discourses of Tibetan Buddhism in Czech Oriental studies during the twentieth-century. Her writings about Tibet and its ‘esoteric wisdom’, which she claimed to have mastered, invoked curiosity and fascination, not only among the adherents of various esoteric streams, but also among scholars of Oriental studies. The paper focuses on her role as a mediator of knowledge about Tibetan Buddhism to the Western audience and points out her, still little acknowledged, contribution to the pivotal change of Western discourse on this topic.