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Louis and Alexandrine had met in Belgium, where the school teacher and publisher of a republican journal was exiled when Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte became emperor. Between the penniless husband and the wife who would not come into her inheritance until her father would die, the reasons for disagreement grew with the birth of Alexandra. Two years later, the Davids emigrated to Belgium.
Lack of money forced her to give up. This led her to become interested in the anarchistic ideas of the time and in feminism, that inspired her to publish Pour la vie For Life in Publishers did not dare to publish the book, though her friend Jean Haustont printed copies himself and it was eventually translated into five languages.
She was 21 years old. She left to sing at the opera of Athens from November to January Then, in July of the same year, she went to the opera of Tunis. During a stay of Jean Haustont in Tunis in the Summer of , she gave up her singing career and assumed artistic direction of the casino of Tunis for a few months, while continuing her intellectual work. Their life together was sometimes turbulent but characterized by mutual respect.
It was interrupted by her departure, alone, for her third trip to India — the second one was carried out for a singing tour on 9 August She did not want children, aware that motherhood was incompatible with her need of independence and her inclination to education.
The truth is probably quite different. She had, at her marriage, a personal fortune  and in , three departments helped her to finance an educational trip.
Through the embassies, she sent her husband proxies in order for him to manage her fortune. In , she arrived at the royal monastery of Sikkim , where she befriended Maharaj Kumar crown prince Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal , the eldest son of the sovereign Chogyal of this kingdom which would become a state of India , and traveled in many Buddhist monasteries to improve her knowledge of Buddhism. In , she met young Aphur Yongden in one of these monasteries, 15 years old, whom she would later adopt as her son.
She received an audience on 15 April , and met Ekai Kawaguchi in his waiting room, whom she would meet again in Japan. The Dalai Lama welcomed her, accompanied by the inevitable interpreter, and he strongly advised her to learn Tibetan, an advice she followed.
She received his blessing, then the Dalai Lama engaged the dialogue, asking her how she had become a Buddhist. She asked for many additional explanations that the Dalai Lama tried to provide, promising to answer all her questions in writing. Owen E. Owen , a reverend who replaced the absent Kazi Dawa Samdup. In her anchorite cave, she practiced Tibetan yoga. She was sometimes in tsam, that is to retreat for several days without seeing anyone, and she learned the technique of tummo , which mobilized her internal energy to produce heat.
As a result of this apprenticeship, her master, the Gomchen of Lachen, gave her the religious name of Yeshe Tome, "Lamp of Sagesse", which proved valuable to her because she was then known by Buddhist authorities everywhere she went in Asia. These three personalities of Buddhism, thus reunited, reflected and worked together to reform and expand Buddhism, as the Gomchen would declare.
In a letter by Sidkeong written at Gangtok on 8 October , he thanked her for the meditation method she had sent him. On 9 October, he accompanied her to Darjeeling , where they visited a monastery together, while she prepared to return to Calcutta.
He told her of his pleasure of having been allowed to become a member of this society. She planned to visit two great religious centers close to her Sikkim retreat: the monastery of Chorten Nyima and Tashilhunpo Monastery , close to Shigatse , one of the biggest cities of southern Tibet. At the monastery of Tashilhunpo, where she arrived on 16 July, she was allowed to consult the Buddhist scriptures and visit various temples.
The Panchen Lama bade and proposed her to stay at Shigatse as his guest, what she declined, leaving the town on 26 July, not without having received the honorary titles of a Lama and a doctor in Tibetan Buddhism and having experienced hours of great bliss. On 15 August, she was welcomed by a Lama at Tranglung. There she met the philosopher Ekai Kawaguchi who had managed to stay for eighteen months in Lhasa as a Chinese monk in disguise a few years earlier.
From there, they chose to cross China from east to west, accompanied by a colourful Tibetan Lama. Finally, they reached Lhasa in , merged with a crowd of pilgrims coming to celebrate the Monlam Prayer Festival. She found "nothing very special" in Potala, of which she remarked that the interior design was "entirely Chinese-style".
They were only told about the story later, by letters of Ludlow and David Macdonald the British sales representative in Gyantse. She managed to reach Northern India through Sikkim partly thanks to the rupees she borrowed from Macdonald and to the necessary papers that he and his son-in-law, captain Perry, obtained for her.
She hit the headlines of the newspapers and her portrait spread in the magazines. An agency from Marseille suggested a small house in Digne-les-Bains Provence to her in She, who was looking for the sun, visited the house during a rainstorm, but she liked the place and she bought it.
Four years later, she began to enlarge the house, called Samten-Dzong or "fortress of meditation", the first hermitage and Lamaist shrine in France according to Raymond Brodeur. In , she published her most famous and beloved work, Mystiques et Magiciens du Tibet Magicians and Mystics in Tibet. Her aim was to study ancient Taoism.
She found herself in the middle of the Second Sino-Japanese War and attended the horrors of war, famine and epidemics. Fleeing the combat, she wandered through China , by means of fortune. On 4 June , she went back to the Tibetan town of Tachienlu for a retreat of five years. She was deeply touched by the announcement of the death of her husband in In Forbidden Journey, p.
Sydney partway back, then putting her under the care of Lolo bandits to continue the journey to Chengdu. On 1 July, they arrived at Paris, where they stayed until October, when they went back to Digne-les-Bains. At a hundred years and a half, she applied for renewal of her passport to the prefect of Basses-Alpes. In , her ashes were brought to Varanasi by Marie-Madeleine Peyronnet to be dispersed with those of her adopted son into the Ganges. She is the only woman who appears as a leading explorer in the entire series.
The class of of the conservateurs du patrimoine heritage curators of the Institut national du patrimoine National Heritage Institute carries her name.
The class of of the institut diplomatique et consulaire IDC, diplomatic and consular institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development France carries her name.
MI VIAJE A LHASA
Carta desde Lhasa por Alexandra David-Néel