Sei sulla pagina 1di 2

Herbert V. Gnther Herbert V. Genther [Herbert Vighnntaka Guenther, Ph.D., D.Litt.

] (March 17, 1917 - March 11, 2006) was aGerman Buddhist philosopher and Professor and Head of the Department of Far Eastern Studies at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. [1] He held this position from the time he left India in 1964. Early life He was born in Bremen, Germany, as the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Reinhold Gnther. Because he showed a greatinterest in the Orient from an early age his father encouraged him to pursue studies in this field. To this end he beganthe study of the Chinese language when he was nine. By the time he graduated from high school in 1936, he hadlearned the Sanskrit language as well. Education and early academia He went to Munich for further study after graduation, earning the Ph.D. degree in 1939 . Four years later he rec eivedthe degree Dr. Phil. Habil. in Vienna. From this beginning, Dr. Gnther went on tobecome one of the leadingBuddhist scholars of our time. Amongst the most influential of his European mentors were Professor WilhelmGeiger, a specialist in Pali and Sinhalese, and Professor Walter Wst - both of Munich. In Vienna, Professor W.Havers was his main teacher. During this time his considerable aptitude for languages manifested itself. In additionto Pali, Sinhalese, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, English, German, Russian, and Hindi, there were thoselanguages he studied 'for enjoyment' - Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Spanish, and Italian. He progressed to teachingand taught at Vienna University from 1943-1950. Travels to India Dr. Gnther journeyed to India, where he lived and taught for the next fourteen years. From 1950 to 1958, he was atLucknow University, where he developed a deep friendship with Kailas Nath Kaul, a naturalist, ethnologist andphilosopher. He then went to the Sanskrit University in Varanasi, where he was Head of the Department of Comparative Philosophy and Buddhist Studies from 1958-1963. The following year was spent at the InternationalSchool of America. The personal and intellectual encounters he had in India and the Himalayan region were to leavea lasting mark, for he was fortunate in studying with many prominent Tibetan and Mongolian lamas. Amongencounters of special note were those with the following teachers: His Holiness t heDalai Lama; Khri- byangBlo-bzang Ye-shes Rin-po-che, tutor to His Holiness; the Incarnate Lama Ka-thog dbon spr ul-sku; the IncarnateLama Dar-mdo-sprul-sku Thub-bstan Ihun-grub legs-bzang of 'Bras sprungs Blo gsal-gling

rgyal-rong and Abbot of Budhgaya; the Incarnate Lama Tarthang Tulku (Dar-thang sprul-sku), formerly of Golog Monastery in Tibet and theSanskrit University in Varanasi, and presently Head Lama of the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center and NyingmaInstitute in Berkeley; Lama Dam-chos rin-chen; Guru brTul-zhugs gling-pa; gNas-nang dPa'-bo Rin-po-che of Darjeeling; dGe-bshes Ngag-dbang Nyi-ma of sGo-mang sgrva tshang; dGe-bshes bsTan-'dzin rgyal mtshan; and theMongolian Dalarna Sog-po Tabla-ma rNam-rgyal rDo-rje. Family Throughout his career he was encouraged and sustained by his wife, Dr. Ilse (ne Rossrucker) Gnther, whom hemarried in 1944 in Vienna. The Gnthers had two daughters: Mrs. Edith Kimball, now of Stockton, California - aformer recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and Master of Arts from the University of Saskatchewan; andMiss Nora Gnther, who presently studies music at Brandon University, in Brandon, Manitoba. The Gnther familyhas, for many years, enjoyed musical performance - Dr. Gnther was a flautist, his wife plays the piano, and theirdaughter Nora plays the viola.