Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Anthony U. Leitner Memorial Collection
ARC Mss 15  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (363.45 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Materials

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Anthony U. Leitner Memorial Collection
    Date (inclusive): 1966-1997
    Collection number: ARC Mss 15
    Creator: Leitner, Anthony U.
    Collection Size: ca. 71 linear feet (159 boxes, 4 map-size folders, 39 audiocassettes, 96 videotapes).
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106
    Physical Location: SRLF (Boxes 1-146, 151-155, 157-159); Del Norte Oversize (Boxes 147-150, 156); ARC Map Cabinet Drawer 1 (++ Oversize); Annex 2 (audiotapes and videotapes).
    Language: English.

    Access Restrictions

    Majority of collection is stored off-site; advance notice required for retrieval.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Anthony U. Leitner Memorial Collection. ARC Mss 15. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by the Anthony U. Leitner estate, 1997.


    Anthony U. Leitner, known as 'Tony' to his friends, was born in 1934 in New York. He was admitted to the University of Chicago at the age of 15 and went to law school in New York City after graduation. He settled in Los Angeles and was a lawyer and real estate developer. After some involvement in politics, he became interested in spiritual growth through the Human Potential movement and various progressive psychological and spiritual teachers influenced by Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
    In 1975 Leitner met Tarthang Tulku, a Tibetan lama who had come from India to Berkeley in 1969 and there started the first successful Tibetan Buddhist Dharma Center in the United States. As a result of this meeting, Leitner became a fervent supporter of Tibetan Buddhism. He never lost his interest in other paths to enlightenment, but this became his most important focus.
    Leitner was a collector by nature, and his two-bedroom condominium in North Hollywood was filled with books, magazines, newsletters, tape recordings, videocassettes, as well as files of flyers, posters, photographs, prayers, stories, lecture notes, and program handouts. Texts that he thought to be particularly good were kept in multiple copies and filed so they could be sent as 'Dharma Care packages' to people who might benefit from reading them.
    Leitner evidently had a premonition before his death in 1996, since he died sitting in meditation posture in his shrine room, a manner in which enlightened Tibetan Buddhist monks often die. Among his papers were many texts relating to P'howa, a meditation practice which helps people to guide their souls after death to the Pure Land of Dewachen, said to be the surest way to attain Nirvana.

    Scope and Content

    UCSB acquired the Anthony U. Leitner Collection from his estate in the summer of 1997. In the donation were books, tapes, ephemera, and manuscripts, including flyers, publicity announcements, conference handouts, newsletters, and legal documents relating to Tibetan Buddhism and other spiritual movements in North America. These materials form an extensive record of when ceremonies, transmissions of doctrine, lectures, and workshops were held, and by whom. Some Tibetan Buddhist materials were intended only for people who had received proper preparation from a qualified lama.
    After learning about many different psychological and spiritual paths, in 1982 Leitner began to focus more on Tibetan Buddhism. Historically, Tibetan kings about twelve hundred years ago had invited Indian missionaries teaching the esoteric Tantric form of Buddhism into their land. Buddhism later disappeared in India, but this elaborate and rigorous path to enlightenment flourished in monasteries in the isolated land of Tibet until the 1950s, when soldiers from the People's Republic of China invaded the region in force. One result of this political action was that the Dalai Lama and other leaders of Buddhist monasteries, forced into exile in India, were more accessible to Americans than ever before. Needing support from the governments and people of the West, lamas ("teachers") from major monasteries traveled to Europe, Australia, and North America, to preach the Buddhist way to release from earthly suffering (the Dharma) and to found Tibetan Buddhist study and meditation centers.
    Hundreds of photocopied texts, most produced by Dharma centers in the United States, are in the collection. Often photocopied and cut to 5 by 11 inches to match the traditional Tibetan book format, most are in traditional literary Tibetan, romanized Tibetan, and English. The romanized Tibetan enabled Americans not familiar with the Tibetan alphabet to say the prayers correctly, and the English translation enabled them to understand what they were saying.
    Although over half of the collection is Tibetan Buddhism, Leitner never lost his interest in other spiritual paths. There are boxes of lecture transcripts from Robert Adams, an American pupil of the Indian holy man Sri Ramana Maharshi, and from Andrew Da Passano who taught how to stop aging, achieve realization on the Astral Plane, and control one's rebirth at the Temple of Esoteric Science in Los Angeles. Three Zen Buddhist centers in Los Angeles are represented in the collection, as is the Sufi Order in the West, an offshoot of Islamic mysticism.
    The manuscript component of the Leitner Collection is organized into the following nine series. Additional biographical and other descriptive notes are included in the container list. Non-manuscript items have been cataloged separately and may be searched on Pegasus, the UCSB online catalog.


    The collection is arranged in the following series:
    Series I: General
    • Alphabetical Files (Boxes 1-23)
    • Handouts (Box 24)
    • Adams, Robert (Boxes 25-27)
    • Da Free John (Boxes 28-29)
    • Da Passano, Andrew (Boxes 30-40)
    • Gold, E. J. (Box 41)
    • Lucid Dreaming/Dreams (Box 42)
    • Schlesinger, Robert Nathan (Boxes 43-44)
    • Saraydarian, Torkom (Boxes 45-47)
    Series II: Sufism
    • General (Box 48)
    • Feild, Reshad (Boxes 48-50)
    • Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Society (Box 50)
    • Sufi Order in the West/Pir Vilayat Khan (Boxes 51-57)
    Series III: Tibetan Buddhism
    • General (Boxes 58-65)
    • Handouts (Boxes 66-70)
    • Texts - Authorship Unknown or Diffuse (Boxes 70-71)
    • Texts - Alphabetical, by Author (Boxes 71-74)
    • Chagdud Tulku (Boxes 75-79)
    • Chogyam Trungpa; Vajradhatu (Boxes 80-84)
    • Dalai Lama (Box 85)
    • Drikung Kagyu lineage (Boxes 86-94)
    • Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition [FPMT] (Box 95)
    • Gonpo, Lama [Lama Tsedan Gonpo] (Box 96)
    • Kalu Rinpoche (Boxes 97-100)
    • Namkai Norbu (Boxes 101-107)
    • Sakya lineage (Boxes 108-111)
    • Sogyal Rinpoche/Rigpa (Box 112)
    • Tarthang Tulku (Boxes 113-115)
    • Tharchin, Lama (Boxes 116-123)
    • Thrangu Rinpoche (Boxes 124-127)
    • Yeshe Ningpo (Boxes 128-136)
    • Zong Rinpoche (Boxes 137-138)
    Series IV: Zen Buddhism
    • General (Box 139)
    • Dharma Zen Center, Los Angeles (Box 140)
    • Minnesota Zen Meditation Center (Box 140)
    • Rinzai-Ji (Box 141)
    • Zen Center of Los Angeles (Box 141)
    Series V: Oversize
    • Boxed (Boxes 142-150)
    • ARC Map Cabinet (Drawer 1)
    Series VI: Photographs
    • Color Prints (Boxes 151-156)
    • Black & White Prints (Box 157)
    • Negatives (Box 158)
    Series VII: Artifacts (Box 159)
    Series VIII: Audio Tapes (39 audiocassettes)
    Series IX: Video Tapes (96 vhs videotapes)
    The UCSB Library wishes to thank the Leitner estate, which provided generous funds to process and catalog the collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Buddhist literature, Tibetan.
    Zen literature.

    Related Materials

    The American Religions Collection (ARC) in the UCSB Library's Department of Special Collections contains additional printed and manuscript material pertaining to Buddhism and other religious groups represented in the Leitner Collection. ARC monographs are cataloged separately and may be searched on Pegasus, the UCSB Library's online catalog. There is additional printed Buddhist material in the Main stacks of the UCSB Library, which likewise can be searched on the online catalog.