I've just finished reading Donald Lopez's Prisoners of Shangri La, an interesting and informative account of Tibet as it exists in the Western imagination. One whole chapter is devoted to Lobsang Rampa; in fact it's the fullest account I have found of old Lobsang's strange life. Now he and I go back a long way. The first book I ever read on Buddhism was John Walters' The Mind Unshaken which I found in our local public library. It appealed to me straight away and when I went back the next week to return the book and get another on the same subject I found only one, The Third Eye by Lobsang Rampa. Wow! What a book! What a story! But as sometimes happens, disillusionment was not long in coming. A second and third Rampa book convinced me that he was a crank and a fraud, and of course I was right. I gave up on Lobsang Rampa and refocused on 'real' Buddhism. But Lobsang Rampa was not just a fraud, he was an amazingly successful one. He made several million dollars from his books and they can still be found in the 'Buddhism' or the 'Spirituality' section of most bookshops even today. Donald Lopez points out that Western adherents of Tibetan Buddhism today, scoff at and deride Lobsang Rampa’s books as inauthentic and fantastic nonsense. But then he makes what I think is a rather interesting point. What fakes like Lobsang Rampa claim about Tibet is bizarre in the extreme. But is it any more bizarre and unbelievable than what some genuine Tibetan monks teach and claim to be able to do? I'm thinking of rimpoches taking rebirth in two or more bodies, state oracles, prophetic visions and dreams, fierce protectors, 'rainbow bodies', miraculous relics, lung-gom, nasty old Dorje Shugden, etc. Interesting point!