Peter Cooper

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Peter Cooper, India, '70s.

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Peter Ashley-Cooper (aka Ngawang Tendup Lama, born Darjeeling, India - died).



  • Peter Cooper's parents were tea plantation owners in the Darjeeling area, where he spent his childhood.[1]
  • Peter was the son of the last British Governor of Bengal, born in the last years of the Raj, receiving a classical English education in Darjeeling and England. At Independence he had chosen to stay on in India, disinherited, based in Darjeeling but making forays down to the plains and also to Kathmandu. In Kathmandu he was penniless and relied on his friends for the wherewithal.[2]
  • Peter was the grandson of Lady Yu (spelling?), the coal & coke baroness of Bihar.[3]
  • He became a Tibetan monk, he was initiated at the Tibetan temple in Sarnath, near Varanasi.
  • Later he abandoned the monastic life & moved to Kathmandu, Nepal, where he was a friend of many.
  • Information is needed about his later life & death as nothing is known.

Family / Children

  • No reliable information.


Blog Posts

  • Nothing yet.


Richard Mueller & Peter Cooper, Delhi, '70s.
  • Richard Tenzin Mueller wrote:
Ngawang Tendup was always a great story-teller, A grand-son of Lady Yu (is that the spelling) the Coal & coke baroness of Bihar, he was 9 or 10 before he learned to tie his own shoes, as there were always servants around to tie them for him.
Night gathering in their British Raj haciendas with their Coleman lamps burning, it was a practice to put a whole circle of kerosene completely around the whole Palace to keep snakes from entering the party. Early education at Saint Joseph's School, Darjeeling.
Off to English public school at Eton, and then to Oxford, Balliol College I believe, in Medical Science, as that is how he got his Fellowship along with a Canadian woman doctor,a South Indian Neuro-Surgeon for the study of schizophrenia among patients in Velur (?) just north of Madras, South India.
Using LSD that Sandoz had produced in the late 1950's as a human guinea pig along with the two Doctors they all got stoned outta their minds doing medical research ... Peter's story is after nearly 3 years of research, he took all the written notes, all research done by the 3 and travelled to Varanasi and dumped them into the Bara Ganga, went back to Mysore where he had been working in Journalism, sold his Ambassador motorcar, gave away all his worldly posessions, walked to the Southern most point of South India and set out for Leh the northern most point of India.
How many months it took him to get to Varanasi, I don't recall,but laying outside the gate at Queens College (Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya), Gose Lama (go-head se- ser.po-Yello), literally Yellow-head a good ripe nickname for a Yellow Hat Gelugpa, otherwise known as Thubten Jungnay Lama. Gose Lama driving by in his donated 1942 Willy's Jeep saw Peter Cooper half-dead with pneumonia, took compassion on this wondering Sadhu and brought him to the Tibetan Monastery in Sarnath & nursed him back to health.
Peter, with English as a second language, knowing Urdu,and Hindi right from the teats of his early Ayas, also had learned Prakrit. In health Gose put him in a field in Sarnath to meditate and 6 weeks on gave him an oral examination, an ordination and the red & yellow robe of a Tibetan Traba.
What year this was is beyond me as I met Ngawang Tendup in the winter of 1966 along with Mike McAllister, after a stint in a Kuwaiti Jail, deportation, Bombay, Femster, the mail train to New Delhi, the Kumbha Mala in Allahabad ... which Mike and I only made about 6 hours and two blocks towards the Varuna, and Assi river before we turned back towards the railway station to try and get onto Varanasi. I hope I did receive some good karma from this experience of back-to-back-belly-to-belly don't-give-a-damn-cuz-I-did-that-already, but i doubt it ... the most humanity I had ever seen in one place in my whole life,and really didn't care if I ever had the experience again ... perhaps thats why I did so many miles trekking in the quiet Himalayas.
Peter in full Robes ... the scribe ... working for Gose & Co. Wrote those great letters begging for funds to support the Gompa and I went up to Mt Everest Base camp looking for the Yeti & enlightenenment, finding that without learning a language I couldn't learn squat ... and I had had a pretty poor education up to that point in my life, but I was without a remote control, a cell phone, or a computer or a wrist watch and had plenty of time in my ignorance to comphrehend a whole new alphabet & language.
If ever Nico Lha you want to have a research assistant on NT or P Cooper's life as I heard it from the Snake's hisss-mouth, Peter's an Earth Snake, I'm a Iron Snake, we did have a few differences but generally fairly compatible ... and what was that about Hyde Park, Peter Ashley Cooper debating with that Plumber from Plymouth ... the anarchist against WHAT??? Lobsang Rampa ... after he got enlightened in the upper stories of the National Library in London ... I could write tales, volumes on what the Master-story-teller told me from 1966 to Jigme Gyaltsan's Birth in 1977.
  • Klaus Schlichtman wrote:
I found a picture of Ngawang Tendup who was the one I met first when I landed in Sarnath in May (?) 1964. I could write something about him, if I tried, because especially during the three months I spent in the Sarnath Mahabodhi Society, digging the books in its library, we frequently met and talked, and later at the Bauddh Kaksh Hostel he frequently visited me and others, or course. I greatly admired his knowledge and erudition. I don't remember him being boring or NOT having had any experience with drugs, on the contrary, he was very knowledgeable, also with regard to some of the things Aldous Huxley wrote about, psychedelic experiences etc., and Peter had studied psychology if I remember rightly, in England. It must have been him who introduced me to the Abbot of the Tibetan Gompa, Goshi Lama, who I believe may also still be around.
  • Luke Rader wrote:
When I passed thru Benares and the Sanskrit University (1966), I remembered a Brit in a Tibetan robe and a Monkling following him. I asked about him. The story as I remember it was, he was a Brit, who was born in Darjeeling and returned to England with his parents. Went to the best schools, Eton or Oxford. Then into business. Felt something was missing. returned to India and one day, walked into a monastery. The monks said, "we have been waiting for you". It seems that the spirit of the old Lama had entered his body at birth. He went thru the tests of the rooms full of robes, staffs and begging bowls. His past recall, picked the old Lama's things. He was a Tulka or Tulku. Person with a re-incarnated spirit[4].
  • Nico Morrison wrote:
Peter Cooper was special to me, funny, touching, knowledgeable & endlessly unexpected, here is a true story: In 1966, a long hot summer, a very few students remained in Banaras at the Sanskrit University, among them myself, Andrew Somerville & the Venerable Ngawang Tendup Lama, Peter Ashley-Cooper. (Maybe Arthur & Klaus also?).
Andrew was expecting his Commonwealth Scholarship monthly stipend of IR800, a huge sum in those days & I personally was completely broke, indeed rupees were few and far between in the Bauddh Kaksh that scorching North Indian summer.
So we hung out in our ascetic little rooms in the Bauddh Kaksh, sweating under the ceiling fans & playing chess or making tea, it was even too hot to smoke chillums, well, during the day anyway. Finally word was received & Andrew collected his monies from the Cantonment Branch of the State Bank of India.
Money! One of the few air-conditioned hostelries in Banaras at that time was the famous Clarks Hotel; fantastically expensive & largely patronised by the wealthy American guided tourists, it was a remote haven of air-cooled bliss & imported whiskies.
So the plan was, hit Clarks. Now we have to tell some Peter Cooper back-story, Peter who was living at the Tibetan Monastery in Sarnath & teaching Tibetans English, unpaid, on the promise of receiving certain secret initiations; meanwhile he slogged at penniless teaching. This had begun to prey on his mind & he was no longer totally comfortable in his current guise, to say the least.
So as we gathered & ordered a rickshaw for the Cantonment, Peter, in his purple Lama robes, jumped up & asked to borrow Andrew's 'long-pant' trousers (far too short for him). Ripping off his Tibetan robes he pulled on the Western trousers & rode up with us to Clarks & got royally pissed as did we all.
That evening he had himself pedalled back to Sarnath, arriving in the middle of the night to become immediately embroiled with various Tibetans & consequently suffering immediate expulsion from the Monastery & indeed, retiring from the Monastic Order & Monastic Life.

External Links


  1. Email from Jay Winogrond - 14/05/2010
  2. Email from Keith Dowman - 20/03/2010
  3. Email from Richard Tenzin Mueller - 08/02/2010
  4. Email from Luke Rader - 2009

This article is a stub and needs expansion.

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