Many online reviews of Christopher Hansard’s books feature some intriguing curiosities, particularly the contributions of some reviewers, whose identities and credentials raise a umber of questions. It seems Mr.Hansard entertains no difficulty in engaging in a vigorous and misleading campaign of self-promotion, after all his business was built upon an exotic fantasy of his own creation. It must be asked if such reviews were/are, in all likelihood, authored by the ‘Master of Dur-Con’
himself or his dwindling band of acolytes?
Let’s take a peek into that Byzantine world, we shall begin with a review featured on Amazon (see the following):
The Enigma of 'Prof. Sonam Amdongyapa'
‘As a professor of Tibetan culture I can say that this book is genuine and excellent. KB CHAffin's review is interesting and I will inform the family of Mr Hansard's teacher about Mr Chaffin's words. Mr Hansard is a teacher and physician of Tibetan medicine of high calibre as many othodox (sic)doctors, East and West can attest to. The Tibetan Art of Living and Mr Hansards new book, The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking are powerful translations of Tibetan culture to West that bringsmuch needed clarity and wisdom. Prof. Sonam Amdongyapa (Vienna)’
First observation I should note here is that, as someone who has been actively involved in researching and writing upon Tibet since the late 1980s, I have had the good fortune to develop a number of working relationships with Tibetan academics and writers. Curiously no Tibetan scholars I have approached have ever heard of ’Professor Amdongyapa‘, a rather puzzling fact given the relatively small number of Tibetan Professors, and the obvious pride felt within the Tibetan community when one of their members reaches such a position. Under such circumstances one would reasonably have imagined such a name would have been fairly well known.
I contacted too the Tibetan Community in Austria, as this ‘Professor’ was stated to be based in Vienna, they had never heard of that individual and had no record of that name. I also emailed the Austrian Universities, including private establishments, if they recognized the name of 'Sonam Amdongyapa'. Thus far not a single one has. Do we now begin to conclude this is a fictitious character, created simply to promote Hansard’s book? Who would benefit by adopting a Tibetan sounding name, and bestowing upon themselves a 'Professorship', all for the purpose of endorsing a work by the ‘Master of Dur-Con‘?
Some clues lie in the name itself and certain elements of the review. The family name ‘Amdongyapa’ is peculiar, and not typically Tibetan. The first component ’Amdo’ is taken from a huge region in North Eastern Tibet, which borders China, it is completely unknown to me for Tibetans to name their child after a geographic, cultural and political territory. The normal procedure is that an infant is named by a Lama, who through insight, bestows a name that signifies some particular quality, usually personal or ’spiritual’, and often unique to that person.
However, if we recall Hansard’s so-called ’lineage’ and his ’teacher’, for both of which he made clear associations with Amdo, the name ‘Amdongyapa’ takes on a singular perspective., particularly if the ‘reviewer’ is seeking to reinforce Hansard’s ‘Dur-Con’ claims.
A closer examination of ‘Prof.Amdongyapa’s’ review proves illuminating:
‘As a professor of Tibetan culture I can say that this book is genuine and excellent. KB CHAffin's review is interesting and I will inform the family of Mr Hansard's teacher ………..’
So the authoritative credentials are first established (after all who can argue with a Professor? well I can, and do) Hansard’s book is then stamped with an ‘academic’ seal of approval; but more interesting still, this person, whose name just happens to be formed of a region that figures so large in Hansard’s colourful ‘Dur-Con' invention, is apparently in close contact with the relatives of that mysterious ’teacher’ of Christopher Hansard, who ’himself’ is stated (on a number of Hansard’s Websites) as coming from Amdo! What a convenient circle of coincidence!
No one can expect anything less than deception and cynical manipulation from the Master of Dur-Con.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/2008 06:49PM by jeff bowe.