How David Bowie Almost Became A Buddhist Monk

“I was within a month of having my head shaved, taking my vows, and becoming a monk,” Bowie said about this period of his life.
The year was 1967. David Bowie was 20.
Young David Jones (David Bowie’s real name) was 13 when he developed an interest in Buddhism after reading “The Rampa Story” by T. Lobsang Rampa. Over the next four years, his interest in Buddhism and Tibet grew until he was visiting the Tibet House in London up to four times a week.
image credits:www.billboard.com
But the man in the saffron robes, Chime Yong Dong Rinpoche, became Jones’ guru for several months.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Tibetan monk who had fled Chinese oppression, was at Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland. His fame and that of Buddhism was beginning rising on that side of the Atlantic, attracting a new generation of western seekers. David Bowie had started coming around Samye Ling monastery with his friend and collaborator, Tony Visconti (who had just worked on Bowie’s song, Blackstar), as well as that of Bowie’s girlfriend at the time, Hermione Farthingale.
While he didn’t become a monk, Bowie did in fact study for a short time with Tibetan Buddhist teacher Lama Chime Rinpoche, who remembers him fondly in a video below. Without a doubt, Lama Chime Rinpoche and the singer were close.

Bowie’s 1967 song “Silly Boy Blue,” one of his first originals, was a tribute to Lama Chime Rinpoche.
In the song’s intro from the ’01 Tibet House performance, Bowie recalls “stumbling into the Buddhist Society in London when I was about 17, and sitting in front of me at the desk was a Tibetan lama” who would become “my friend, and a teacher for quite some time. […] This was ’65, ’66. Right about that time, I wrote this next song. ”


Lama Chime Rinpoche issued a video of remembrance and prayers for David Bowie.

“I can not express in words,” he says. “I am so sad.” Rinpoche goes on to tell of meeting Bowie in 1965 — a story Bowie told his version of in 2001 at Tibet House — and also of knowing Bowie’s producer and collaborator, Tony Visconti. Then, before issuing prayers, Rinpoche says, “I’ll meet him again in the next life.”
SOURCE AND COURTESY: sivanaspirit.com

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